Make time for the people you love

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Life is always busy, but when long weekends come around, the last thing families want to be doing is catching up on all the smaller tasks and projects that have been neglected. Organization is a key strategy that can help make sure you and your family stay on track, and have time to spend with each other on weekends and holidays. Below, we’ve outlined a few ideas you can use to make time for your family and friends:

 

Have family meetings

Set a time and day once a week for your family to discuss what events are happening in the coming week, what projects need to get done, and what tasks need to be accomplished around the house. This is a great opportunity to get a complete picture of what is going on with every member of your family, so you can properly plan your week ahead. This could include coordinating rides, planning meals and shopping trips, or scheduling when to pay bills. Make sure someone in your family takes note of everything that is going on, so nothing gets forgotten. This meeting is also a great time for everyone to take a break from school or work to be with each other.

 

Use a calendar

Family calendars are a great way to keep track of tasks, events, and due dates that come up during your family meeting. This way, there is one central area where everyone can view what is coming up in the week ahead. The calendar can come in many forms. Depending on your family and routine, one calendar set up in a central area of your home may work best, or you could synchronize online calendars with each family member. This way, every individual will be able to integrate their personal tasks and events with family ones.

The family calendar only works if every member can have easy access to it, and regularly updates it if new events or tasks come up. Make the calendar a part of your family routine, and consider updating it or revisiting it at your weekly family meetings.

 

Delegate tasks

Make sure each member of your family is contributing to household tasks like laundry, grocery shopping, yard work and cleaning. No one person should be solely responsible for everything, so at family meetings make sure each family member is assigned a list of tasks to complete that week. In order to make this work, assign task that match up with each person’s interests, schedules and abilities. For example, if you have young children, they might not be able to help with supper, they can set the dinner table when they get home from school. If you or your partner have late meetings, whoever is free should be scheduled to give rides to sports or music lessons, or alternate arrangements should be made ahead of time.

Tasks can also be delegated to people outside your family as well. Carpooling can be set up with your children’s friends so you and your partner don’t have to drive as often, or extended family can step in to help with other tasks to free up your time for driving. Alternatively, you can hire out tasks like shoveling, mowing or pet walking to local neighbours or businesses.

 

Keep your home organized

Having an organized home makes for an organized life. Eliminating your clutter, sorting through your belongings, and arranging items to suit your family’s lifestyle can have a major impact on how organized the rest of your life is. Consider making home organization a part of the smaller tasks that each member of the family needs to accomplish each week. Organization should become a part of your family’s regular routine. For example, toys should be put away once children are finished playing with them, and mail should be opened and dealt with each day instead of letting it pile up all week. By accomplishing these tasks on a regular basis, you and your family will have less to do around your home each week, leaving more time for you to relax on the evenings and weekends.

 

Simple changes to your family routine, like setting up weekly meetings and following a family calendar can help make sure everyone stays on track of household tasks and events. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and get the whole family involved in household tasks, and don’t underestimate the importance of having an organized home. Don’t let another long weekend like this one pass you by, and take the necessary steps to get your family organized!

Simple, easy and fun: lunches ideas your children will love!

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If you’ve been struggling to get a lunch together, or have run out of ideas on what to make for your children, we’ve got some solutions for you! There are many different tips and tricks that will help you and your children have ready-to-go lunches they can grab before leaving in the morning. However, lunches aren’t easy unless you take the time to plan, prepare and organize lunches ahead of time. It’s as simple as pre-cutting vegetables or throwing items in the freezer. Take a look at the suggestions below to help you plan an easy-to-make lunch that your children will be excited to eat:

 

Freeze ahead of time

Never underestimate the power of your freezer. So many food items and beverages can be made up to a month ahead of time, and pulled out whenever you need it. To save even more time, make sure you freeze items in individual-sized portions, so you don’t have to worry about defrosting items in advance.

For example, juice boxes should be stored in your freezer, not your drawer or cupboard. This way, the juice will stay cold until lunch time, and it will double as an ice pack to keep the rest of the lunch from spoiling or getting warm. Dishes like pasta, rice, and even peanut butter and jam sandwiches can be made up weeks in advance and stored in single portions. Keep these in plastic bags or containers, and pull them out the night before to make sure they’re not frozen for lunch the next day.

 

Set up a lunch station

Instead of making all of the lunches on your own, get your children involved in the process by setting up a lunch station. At the start of each week, cut up a variety of vegetables, fruits, cheese, and meat. Place these items into reusable containers or bags in individual sized portions, and have your children pick out what they want for lunch the next day. You can even purchase individual dipping sauces like hummus or guacamole, or make your own.

To make sure your children get the food they need, make up a list or chart of what they are supposed to have in their lunch. For example, identify that they need two different fruits, one vegetable option, a starch and protein option, a beverage, and a snack or dessert. This way, you can ensure your children make a balanced lunch.

 

Use the right tools

Another way that you can make lunch easy and organized is to use pre-set containers to store food. This will make space for fruit, vegetables, sandwiches and snacks, and ensure that your children get all of the different food groups for a healthy lunch. They also make lunches look fun and visually interesting.

For hot food, use a thermos instead of plastic containers. This will save your children time at school by not having to wait in line to use a microwave. Reusable lunch bags also work well, as they are always ready to go. Utensils and non-perishable snacks can be put into the reusable lunch bag the night before so only the items in the fridge have to be put into the bag the morning of.

 

Timing is everything

Don’t leave making lunches to the last minute. Even those these suggestions will make lunch easy, it will still make the process less stressful if you make lunches the night before. Make this a part of your evening routine by putting lunches together either right after your children come home for school, or right after dinner.

You will also need to make sure that snacks, vegetables, fruit and other food items are cut and ready to go. Set aside time each week, like on Sunday night, and prepare all the items your children will need to make lunch. Food like hard-boiled eggs can also be made ahead of time and used throughout the week on their own, in a sandwich, or in a salad. 

Goal setting for 2018

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In January, many people set goals for themselves for the new year ahead, but more often than not, these goals are forgotten by the time February comes along. To make sure this doesn’t happen again this year, be smart about what goals you decide to set so you can see them through to the end result.

 The first step of goal setting, whether it’s short-term (something you want to get done in the next few days or weeks) or long-term (something you want to achieve in a year or more) is to look at the big picture. Decide what it is you want to ultimately achieve, without worrying about the details yet. For example, you might want to get your home organized. This is a major undertaking that must be carefully considered – just saying you want to get organized is not enough to fully realize your goal.

 A popular method for setting personal goals is the SMART method, which starts with setting specific goals. While it is important to have an overall idea of what you ultimately want to achieve, it is important to narrow this down to more manageable goals that have a specific focus. If you want to organize your home, you may want to focus on achieving organization in a single area of your home. Now, the insurmountable task of organizing your home in 2018, becomes organize the kitchen in February, and organize the office in March, and so on.  

 The next step to this process is measurable, because in order to clearly understand what it is you want to achieve, you must be able to determine that you have actually achieved it. Here, the goals you set become a bit more focused. Now that you have the organization narrowed down to a room of your home, you can further determine what you want to do to get organized. For example, you may want to set a goal to organize your kitchen so you can eliminate clutter in your cupboards and drawers, clean out old food items and condiments in your fridge, and get rid of the pile of unused cookbooks.

 Your goals must also be achievable. Think carefully and be honest with yourself when you are setting goals. Is this something that you are able and willing to dedicate the time to? Getting organized is a big commitment that not only involves spending the initial time to declutter, sort through, and put away – it involves changing your lifestyle and habits to ensure you stay organized in the long-term. Once you consider your goal of getting organized, this may need to be rethought if you aren’t going to be able to dedicate the time need to get organized.

 Not only do your goals have to be achievable, they also have to be realistic. If you’re busy at work, involved in a lot of evening and weekend activities, or have other events happening in your life, this may not be the time to focus on a home organization goal. Goal setting requires time and dedication, and although you may want to take the time for them, life may not always make it easy.

 Lastly, it is important to determine a time frame for when you want your goal to be achieved. As it is still the start of the new year, many people will be planning on what they can achieve within the year. It is important to be realistic with this step – wanting to achieve a goal within the year is different than actually being able to do it. Be practical, and give yourself ample time to achieve your goals. You will only end up disappointing yourself or causing unnecessary stress if you rush the process.

 Goal setting is not as easy as it may seem. It requires careful planning, time and dedication to the ultimate goal you want to achieve. Be specific with your goals, and make sure they are measurable so you can better determine if you are on the right track to achieving your goal. It is also important to make sure that your goals are achievable, realistic, and can be completed in a specified time frame. This process requires you to be honest with yourself, and really think about whether or not you are able to fully dedicate yourself to the task.

Get SMART! Achieving your dreams and aspirations for the future can be possible!