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Cleaning the Cleaning Appliances

What’s not to love about your cleaning appliances? They don’t need payment, they don’t need to be fed, they don’t complain, and they do their job when it’s convenient for you. The least we can do is give them a bit of love. Besides, keeping these guys clean helps them run better and last longer, and even save energy.

Dishwasher

For a quick degreasing and odor removal, place a cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe container on the upper rack of your empty dishwasher. Run the machine using the hottest water cycle available. If it still smells musty after this, sprinkle a cup of baking soda over the bottom of the dishwasher, then run for a second cycle. If you’d prefer to use a dishwasher cleaner, Good Housekeeping has a list of recommended ones that handle food and grease, as well as hard water minerals.

Washing Machine

Using a similar method as above, set your empty washing machine at its hottest temperature cycle, and run it with 1-2 cups of white vinegar. This helps to descale and remove mineral deposits, especially if you do this once a month as part of a maintenance schedule. For a store-bought solution, many brands such as Affresh and OxiClean offer washing machine cleaners in tablet or liquid form.

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Questions to Ask Yourself for 2019

We’ve all done the New Year’s Resolutions thing umpteen times. We’ve made lists with ambitious goals, hopeful ideas, and grand declarations. Everything from getting fit to managing finances better to organizing your home to hiking more with your kids. Raise your hand if you’ve gotten to March, with that list long forgotten, or with very few items checked off. (Raises hand.) I have found that lists of lofty goals can sometimes make me feel worse if I have not come close to achieving everything in due time.

For the past few years, instead of making a list of resolutions, I’ve made a list of questions. Seriously, questions! Questions that may help me prioritize factors in my life, that make me think twice about some things, and yes, that lead me to question what I have taken for granted. But of course, you don’t want a brain explosion! It doesn’t have to be all so deep, life-changing, and philosophical—it just needs to help you give more thought to what’s already in your world, and what you’d like to add or improve.

To help you get started, I’ve categorized the questions. These are just ideas to kickstart your own question-making process.

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Keep Your Home Safe When Leaving for the Holidays

If you are heading out of town for the holidays, for a long weekend or for a week, it’s a prudent idea to have a checklist of To-Do’s to ensure your home’s safety. Unfortunately this most wonderful time of year also brings about a rise in theft and burglaries. According to CNN Money burglaries peak during December because would-be thieves know people are on vacation, or are out shopping or visiting all day. Here’s our thorough guide to keeping your home safe and looking “occupied”.

Use these sectioned checklists:

Electronic

  • Put timers on several lights around the house, including your holiday lights and front/back porch lights. Have the timers go on and off at varying times, so an obviously unoccupied, dark home doesn’t suddenly all light up at 4:30pm. Winter hours mean dark mornings–set timers to also turn on 6:00-9:00am.
  • Double-check indoor/outdoor holiday lights and wiring. Don’t leave any fire hazards.
  • Unplug your automatic garage door opener so thieves can’t open it with a universal remote.
  • If you’ve got a security system, a video doorbell, or motion detector lights, check to make sure it’s working properly.

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Winter Driving: Preparing Yourself for the Cold Weather

Winter is a difficult time of year in a number of northern areas in the world, as freezing temperatures cause a variety of problems in occupants’ daily lives. Weather conditions such as freezing rain, sleet, and snow can be especially dangerous and threaten your safety when driving.

Roughly 76,000 people experience a car accident in the snow every year. This statistic underscores the need for safety precautions in order to keep you and your family protected from these risks. Beyond knowing what to do after a car accident, there are several ways to prepare for unexpected weather conditions. Here are some tips to have your car ready to go no matter the situation.

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5 Steps to Make Your Guest Bedroom Ready for Holiday Guests

A guest bedroom

The winter holidays are just around the corner, and I am C-A-L-M. We are getting ready early this year. We know who is coming over for dinner, and who will be staying with us. I know what the menu will be and who is bringing what dish. I’ve even made a shopping list. Bring it on! I admit it, I was feeling in control. Then, last night, one of the kiddos was feeling congested and he wanted the humidifier in his room. Piece of cake, I knew exactly where to look!

A few minutes later, as I am digging around in the guest bedroom closet, unsuccessfully trying to locate the humidifier, a terrible thought occurred to me. Guests will need to sleep in this very room and it looks like a tornado swept through here long ago! My smug holiday mood evaporated pretty quickly.

The door to the guest room is always closed, and for good reason! The bed hasn’t had sheets on it since the last guests stayed here (over the summer). On top of the bed, there are boxes and bags with various purchases needing to be returned to various stores. The Halloween bin is on the floor, empty.

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Hosting A Safe Holiday Gathering for Senior Guests

Having guests visit for the holidays is an exciting time for the whole family, although some needs may vary from guest to guest. Senior citizens are especially unique in their needs. If you’re expecting a few elderly family members in for the holidays, you’ll need to prepare accordingly. Whether they’re spry or a bit mobility-impaired, you’ll find it’s best to have a safe home ready for your senior guests.

Here are some adjustments for your holiday gathering that will make it safer for your guests.

Arrange transportation

While rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft are a great way to save time and ferry your guests to and from the airport, it’s not always a good idea to use those as a substitute for a personal pick up. Particularly when your senior guests need assistance, it’s usually best that you or another family member meet them at the airport.

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This Christmas, You Drive the Sleigh

Christmas gift

Aah, Christmas. Everyone’s favorite time of year, right? Well, yes, but for those of us (moms) responsible for all the planning, shopping, cooking, and entertaining, the holidays are not always the easiest time of year. It doesn’t have to be so. How about this year, you drive the sleigh?

Today I attended a workshop held my good friend and coach, Sheila Storrer. The topic for discussion was having the kind of holiday that we (moms) want to have.

We spent the morning talking about what’s important to us this season and how to get out of the “I should” which often leaves us frustrated and disappointed. Each of us created a plan for the month of December. I bet you are wishing that you could have been there. I wish you could have my friend. Because let me tell you, this workshop could not have come at a better time. While it’s officially not even December, all the women in attendance had lots to say about the weeks ahead. It was apparent that all the women in attendance care deeply for their children and they have the best intentions for their family’s holiday. Everyone wanted to make the holidays very special. But they also had some concerns.

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Get Help for the Holidays: Outsource, Delegate, Simplify!

Holidays

You survived Halloween and Thanksgiving, which means the winter holidays are just around the corner! The next few weeks will be a whirlwind of shopping, planning, hosting, traveling, and celebrating, all on top of your already frenetic life. This should be a joyful time of year, but with all that is on your to-do list, it feels overwhelming. Instead of hiding under your covers until January, tackle the holidays with this three-prong strategy: Outsource, Delegate and Simplify.

You deserve help – who says you need to tackle the entire holiday season by yourself?

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Organizing Strategies – Make it Simple; Make it a Habit; Adjust it; Stick With it

Make It Simple

There is one big mistake everyone makes when they begin to get organized. Want to know what it is? Containers, baskets and bins. That’s right. People rush out and buy lots of containers before they know what they need and before they sort through what they have.

Here’s how to approach the organizing process. We like to call it the Clutter Clearing System.

Step One: Form a vision for the space.

Let’s take the kitchen. Family is coming over and you’ll be hosting the holidays. Are the counters cluttered? Are the drawers packed full?

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Organize Your Board Games

November days are short and rainy in the PNW. Fall sports seasons wrap up and we spend more time indoors with our families. Cozy weekend afternoons make a perfect time to play board games. This is also a great time to organize the board games you own. It’s as easy as tic-tac-toe.

Step One:

Board games need a central location where everyone can find them. Whether it’s a closet or a cupboard, the space just needs to be accessible and known to all the family members. Some families keep games in the children’s rooms. Board games for adults or older kids can go in a family room or another shared location.

Step Two:

You can’t play a game that doesn’t have all the pieces. Locate all the bits and make sure they are in the correct game box. Secure flimsy boxes with a large rubber band or a thin strip of Velcro. Toss any games with missing pieces. Donate unpopular games.

Step Three:

Sort the games. Group games played mostly by adults in one area, perhaps on a high shelf. Children’s games should be easily accessible to them. Utilize lower shelves unless it’s dangerous for very young children or toddlers. Use a lidded bin to store children’s wooden puzzles. Only bring out a couple of small puzzles out at a time and store the rest – that way clean-up is a cinch – you won’t spend precious time looking for lost puzzle pieces.

So, don’t fret the rainy afternoons or dark evenings, instead rally the family around the table for an exciting game of Exploding Kittens (no cats are harmed – I promise!) or an old favorite like Chess or Settlers of Catan. Thinking ahead to the holidays, if you would like to expand your collection with a new favorite board game checkout this list of the most popular board games of all times.

Some of us have a closet full of board games, but honestly, most of the gaming happens online. If you find that the only time you access the game closet is during a power outage, then consider really downsizing the volume of games. Be authentic to how your family spends time and consider whether the space being taken up by board games could be used for something else. Perhaps you have some craft supplies that need a home? Let us know if you’d like help figuring out how to best use the space in your home. We do love (excuse the pun) this kind of puzzle.

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