3 Ways To Make Children Feel Included During a Wedding Reception

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Children love feeling important and special. Rather than just relegate them to a boring room away from the festivities, incorporate them in things throughout the night. They will not only enjoy the experience a great deal, they will also be better behaved which is a huge bonus!

  1. Create a plan with the DJ to play kid friendly songs at intervals throughout the evening. Each time it’s dance time for the kids have the DJ make an announcement. To ensure this is a success, determine which movies are currently a hit with kids. Such as the big hit cartoon that’s currently a smash success at the box office. Or, if you know any young children, ask them what’s popular and what they’d enjoy dancing to at the wedding.
  2. If you want to allow the children a little bit of “crazy time” in order to expend some of their extra energy, include a piñata in the party. Buy one that is wedding themed of course, and go for a large one that is difficult to crack open. Let the kiddos have at it for awhile, and then amuse them by blindfolding the bride and groom and letting them try to hit the piñata. Repeat with everyone taking turns until someone finally cracks it open. Have a cool prize on hand for the winner.
  3. If only a few children are attending the wedding and they are over the age of eight give them an important job that is also fun. Purchase a few Polaroid cameras and plenty of film. Give one to each kiddo and ask them to document the wedding or reception. Prop a large cork board somewhere in the midst of the festivities and ask the children to pin they’re photos to it throughout the night. To ensure they take quality photos have a contest. Give prizes for things like Best Photo of the Bride, Funniest Photo of People Dancing, etc. If you’re feeling extra generous you can even let the kids keep the Polaroid cameras as a wedding favor.

4 Cheese Man ‘N’ Cheese

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Sometimes the traditional dishes are the best ones and macaroni and cheese is no exception. What better way to please everyone then with this tried and true classic? The great thing about macaroni and cheese is there are so many ways to mix it up and make it your own. We threw in four cheeses to this particular dish because who doesn’t love cheese? But you could certainly mix up what you use if you would like a less sharp cheese in your dish. Or you could throw in some pepper or cayenne to the sauce to add a pop of spice. Whatever your preferences, this particular recipe is guaranteed to be a hit!

 

Ingredients:

16 oz. of elbow macaroni

1/2 cup of butter

1/2 cup of flour

2 cups of shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cup of shredded fontina cheese

6 oz. of brie cheese (be sure to remove rind and chop into manageable pieces)

1 1/2 cup shredded Gouda cheese

2 teaspoons salt

4 cups of milk

1 1/2 sleeves of Ritz crackers 

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cook the macaroni as directed.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, remove from heat and stir in the flour and salt until smooth. Return to medium/high heat. 
  4. Gradually stir in milk in increments of one cup at a time, and stir until smooth. Once one cup has been stirred in until smooth continue until all four cups have been stirred in. Be sure to continually stir so that the flour doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan. Stir until the mixture is thick. 
  5. Stir in all cheese gradually until melted and smooth. 
  6. In a large baking dish spray with a nonstick spray and put macaroni in the dish. Add the cheese sauce over the macaroni and mix until it is evenly distributed. Sprinkle any leftover cheese over the the top of the dish.
  7. Place the Ritz crackers inside of the sandwich bag and crush Ritz (do not crush it into a dust). 
  8. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a bowl in the microwave and then add Ritz crackers after the butter has been melted and mix well. If you like garlic you can even throw in a chopped clove of garlic and mix that into the cracker topping as well. 
  9. Evenly sprinkle the Ritz topping over the macaroni and cheese in the baking dish and then place the dish into the oven. 
  10. Bake for 45 minutes or until the cheese on top is golden brown.
  11. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes and serve.

Chief Household Officer Report: How Moms Can Build a Practical Autumn Wardrobe For the Kids

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Fall is a busy time of year for clothing stores; back to school means that the kids need new clothes. This can also be a challenging time of year to continue working on home improvement projects because funds get funneled to your child’s needs. To keep the dream of a remodel project alive, try these suggestions for filling their closet without draining the bank.

First, go through everything they have in their closet. Wash the clothes that they are planning on keeping, fold and store away summer clothes, and get rid of run down or ill-fitting ones. You can donate the gently worn stuff, and sell the items that are still in good condition. With the money you make, you can in turn buy new clothes.

 

While going through the closet make a list of all the things they need so when you go to the store it’s quick and easy to find the necessities. Time is money! Be sure to solicit your child’s opinion on the type of new clothes they’d like. If not, money can easily be wasted on garments your child won’t wear. Another benefit of making a list ahead of time is the resulting opportunity to get the best prices by shopping the sales. If you plan ahead you can even wait until certain sales start, and in the end you’ll get the most amount of clothing for your money. Correlate the list you made while cleaning out their closet with stores and split up your shopping days.

 

It’s also smart to think about balancing good judgment with trends. For example, if your teenager wants to buy a shirt because it is in style but it is unflattering on their body or won’t be popular two months later, him or her to buy something else. Don’t forget to consider the value of layering. Garments that can only be worn in sub-zero temperature don’t offer as much value as those that can accomplish the same goal by simply wearing a few of them at a time. A little ingenuity goes a long way when budgeting, and if you play it right, you’ll still have money left over to push forward with your home design project!

How To Create an Awesome Homework Station For Your Kids

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This is a very timely topic with school starting.  Make sure your family begins the year the right way!

A great way to start this project is to first decide on a central work space where homework will always be done. If you have more than one child things will be easiest to manage if they all work at the table together at the same time. This way you’re nearby to answer questions or offer help to anyone who might need it.

The idea behind the homework station is to preserve usable space. So, plan to make it portable. Otherwise a homework station can quickly overrun the room it’s in because the supplies and organizational items are always present and potentially in the way.

Here’s what to include:

A standard desk organizer that is typically used to store magazines. Rather than magazines, use it to create an in/out box for documents that require a parent’s signature.  Us a cute label on which you can write and label the front of it, “To Be Signed.”  Or, if you’d like to include a few other documents you can label it “Parent’s Papers” and add copies of permission slips, school directories, school calendars, etc.

A spiral bound or journal style school year planner. Although you likely have your own calendar management methods, and your kids’ teachers will likely require them to rely on a school provided organizational method, it is very effective to have one single planner at the homework station. This applies, of course, to homes with multiple children.

Each night, when it’s homework time, begin the session by opening up the planner and reviewing it with everyone. Not only will it keep things on schedule and task, it will also provide an excellent way to see whether or not efforts can be combined during the week to accomplish things that are occurring at the same time.   

The other items to be included in an awesome homework station are the various supplies that kids need on a regular basis. Basically this is the home backup version of the supplies you send with your kids on the first day of school. These include: loose leaf paper, pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, highlighters, markers, post it notes, paper clips, stapler, glue, sticky tabs for flagging book pages, scissors, etc. There are certainly many more possibilities so the best way to plan for the station is by asking each child what he or she usually uses while doing homework.

Once you have everything ready set it all on a large tray that can be slid in and out of a storage space and you’re all set!

Advice: How To Prepare Your Teen For the First Day of High School

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The first day of high school is easily one of the scariest days in a kid’s life. It starts a whole new chapter and it involves a multitude of new people and experiences. To help your teenager get through it smoothly, try these tools and advice.

 

Help them prepare for the first morning of school. The night before the big day do things like packing a lunch or putting money in their bag, and making sure the backpack has all the necessities and is ready to go. Also, help them pick out an outfit and lay it out with shoes and accessories so it’s easy to get ready the next morning. Knowing that they’re fully prepared will decrease apprehension. The morning will also go smoother and it will take their stress level down.

 

Next, remind your teenager that everything is going to be okay. The repetition in this is key because hearing it multiple times will truly rest their mind and keeps doubts out of it. This sounds simple but gentle reassurance will help them sleep easier.

 

Speaking of sleeping easier, encourage them to go to bed earlier. Getting a full night’s rest is important because it will help them be more awake and therefore more social and outgoing the next day. A teenager who went to bed at two in the morning because they were up all night worrying is a lot more likely to have a bad first day.

 

Also, tell your teenager to be social and confident because everyone is nervous. This is the first time they will meet new classmates and first impressions are important. Everyone is a little bit scared and people will remember who reached out to them and was kind from the beginning. Small things like introducing themselves and smiling at people can result in friendships that will last the full duration of high school.

 

Another great thing to tell your teenager is to be friendly with the teachers. This will give the teachers a great first impression of your student which will last the entire year. Building teacher relationships also creates a reliable resource to which your child can turn if they need guidance while at school.

 

Last, make sure your teen understands the map of the school and will be able to locate classrooms. With these things in place the first day is sure to go much better than it would have without some thoughtful planning. 

How To Look Professional So You Can Get the Job or Promotion You Want – Part 4

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Part 4 – Eye on the prize, feet on the ground

Invest in high quality shoes and take exceptional care of them. Before spending money on unique shoes, buy three pairs of classic and versatile shoes. Go for timeless styles in standard colors that will coordinate with the vast majority of your wardrobe. As soon as any signs of wear become apparent take them to the cobbler and have them repaired.

It’s also smart to ensure that these three pair are comfortable enough to be worn for several hours. Walking from hotels to convention centers, giving long presentations, or giving clients a tour can cause serious fatigue and foot pain. Pain in the body translates on the face and it will become evident that you are uncomfortable, and this is very distracting to people who are trying to communicate with you.

Last, but certainly not least, we give you this crucial advice: Always keep in mind that your boss or client is not just thinking about how you appear to them. More importantly they are considering whether or not you present well to others. There’s no way you’re getting that business development job if your boss thinks that your appearance would send the wrong message to business partners. The same goes for your clients if you are independently employed. If your role in their company involves interacting with their customer base they are not going to be comfortable associating you with their brand when you look a mess.

Don’t forget to go back and read Parts 1, 2, and 3 so you can be sure your whole look is completely work ready!

How To Look Professional So You Can Get the Job or Promotion You Want – Part 3

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Part 3 – Head to toe

Never allow a button up shirt to gape open or pull and stretch across you bust. This is quit distracting and someone who is distracted cannot attentively listen to your awesome new idea or invaluable feedback. They’re too busy thinking, “Doesn’t she realize that her shirt doesn’t fit?” Or, they’re uncomfortable with the glimpse inside your shirt. Buy shirts that fit your chest and have the rest of the shirt tailored down to fit well everywhere else.

Maintain your nail polish or don’t wear it. This requires little elaboration. Everyone knows how terribly tacky a worn manicure looks. It screams, “I could not care less about my appearance!” Same goes for your pedicure on days you’re wearing sandals or open-toed shoes. Skip them if your toes don’t look clean and presentable. There is something very off putting about unkempt feet.

Take pant length seriously. Pants that are too short look silly and as if you aren’t investing in your own professional wardrobe. People will assume you must have borrowed them because certainly you didn’t buy them that way on purpose. Give people the impression that you are smart enough to invest money in your wardrobe by wearing pants that are clearly the right length for your legs. Just as important, perhaps more so, make sure they are not too long. Pants that flop at the bottom and drag on the ground at the back of your shoe look absurd! And it makes you look utterly clueless.

Don’t overlook sleeve length either. As rule, shirt sleeves should not extend more than slightly past the wrist bone, and jacket sleeves should land at the wrist bone.

Next read Part 4 – Eye on the prize, feet on the ground

How To Look Professional So You Can Get the Job or Promotion You Want – Part 2

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Part 2 – Pay attention to detail

Go easy on the perfume. Feel free to wear it, but know that going overboard with it might send the message that you aren’t self aware. In business, it’s crucial that you are self aware. Whether you care to or not, you affect the people and projects around you. So it’s important to convey to others that you are aware of your responsibility to contribute well. If you stroll into a meeting and everyone in the room feels suddenly asphyxiated by your designer perfume they might think, “Jeez! This woman has no idea the effect of her presence!”

Don’t go overboard with accessories. No matter how creative or eccentric you are, you want people to know that you are capable of thinking with a no nonsense mindset. It’s too much to have earrings swinging, bracelets jangling, and a necklace that’s constantly banging into the keyboard on your laptop. Better to look well coordinated but and do so in a slightly understated way. Are you the type of personal who feels strongly about expressing yourself with your appearance? No worries – just opt for less conspicuous ways to accomplish the goal. Color is a great alternative. Make a statement with the color red rather than with 17 accessories.

Complete the look of specific garments. By this we mean don’t forget things like a belt. It simply looks odd to see a garment with belt loops and no belt. It’s as if you didn’t finish the job. This is NOT the message you want to send. Again, this a matter of acknowledging details. People want to get the impression that you can see something through to full completion. Show them by not skipping the belt!

How To Look Professional So You Can Get the Job or Promotion You Want

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Part 1 – Eyes and hair

The old adage is, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” This is very valuable advice. People will take you at your own reckoning of yourself. If your style says, “I have this handled and I mean business” then people are going to take you more seriously! This is even truer if you’re consistent about it.

In other words don’t randomly show up to work in an impressive outfit. People will likely just assume that you were feeling especially confident on that particular day, and then they will assume you will dress down again the next day. If you do go back to ho-hum the next day, then the message of ‘power house’ never really translates with any strong affect. Use our guide to upgrade your style and do it every day. Then watch those goals get attained faster than you thought they could!

  • Take the necessary steps to have clear, bright, white eyes. This one might sound odd, but people respond to you differently according to the alertness in your eyes. If they’re blood shot, red, and fatigued looking a coworker, client, or boss might get the message that you’re overworked and under rested. Which might mean that you can’t handle additional responsibility or a new project? Bright eyed and bushy tailed, as they say!
  • Give up the bun and ponytail and style your hair every day. Buns and ponytails scream, “Why bother?” It suggests that you aren’t attentive to details that make for an overall better impression and outcome. If you can’t be bothered to care about something as simple as messy hair, how is someone to know that you are capable of showing great attention to detail in your work?

Next read Part 2 – Pay attention to detail

How To Let Your Husband Be Part Of the Home Decorating Plan

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Let’s face it ladies, when it comes to home décor we want to be the queen of the castle! How many stories have your friends shared wherein the moment they tied the knot “his stuff” was the featured items at the next garage sale? While this is sure to illicit a giggle on your part, it isn’t necessarily realistic. When two people share a home they both deserve to love the space they’re in. However, combining styles can be the ultimate challenge if you have very different tastes.

  1. Begin by both agreeing to accept the idea of décor that is eclectic. Eclectic décor is by definition a unified representation of varied styles. If you both embrace the fact that things won’t look too polished or perfect you’ll be off to a great start!
  2. Come up with an agreed upon color pallet and keep it simple. Color is a great place to start with any decorating scheme, and when you’re combining styles it’s an easy base from which to work. This doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Find colors you both love and be creative. Just make sure you both know the plan and then if you go shopping separately everything you bring home will coordinate.
  3. Let him have fun with texture. Guys often like things with varied textures and there are endless design options that are beautiful and even elegant. A rough texture wood coffee table or a slick granite counter top would be great addition to any home and would also likely be his cup of tea.
  4. Try the long-trusted interior design ratio of 80/20. Designers agree for the most part that if 80% of a room’s design coordinates, 20% of it can be a bit of a free for all. How to divide this? Rather than 80% you and 20% him, try agreeing on 80%. Then each take a 10% creative license with the rest.
  5. If you still can’t quite agree to disagree a little, try dividing up the house. If he’s the king of the kitchen and you’re the dame of the den, divide and conquer!