Unclutter Your Life

The Benefit of Board Games

We live in a world controlled by the signal on our phone and if WIFI is available.  I know it sounds crazy but the truth is what happens when we can’t get a signal on our phone?  Or what happens when the internet goes down?  Is there sheer panic in the house?  Do your kids begin to complain there is nothing to do?  Do you panic trying to figure out how to entertain not only your children but yourself without the internet.13466261_1072249162814235_5737085668642488373_n

When Belinda was younger, we played board games.  I may have dreaded the never ending Junior Monopoly.  Then there was Hungry Hungry Hippos. Rummekube was a hit too.  We also played card games like Skippo and Uno. The truth is it was fun.   13310591_1062006360505182_3337841790709831875_n

Board games (and card games) are great at any age and provide a lot of fun and laughter, but there are also many other benefits that you may not realize.

#1 – Teaches problem-solving

Board games provide a lot of opportunities to practice problem-solving.  Kids are always thinking about their next move and how they can keep you from winning the game.

#2 Encourages teamwork

There are a few games where you have to work together. Hi Ho Cherry O is one of the first ones with a team aspect to the game. Even when the games which don’t call for teams you can pair an older child with a younger to “help” during a game which may be too advanced.5197pt1mh8l-_sl75_

#3 Teaches children to follow directions

Learning to follow directions is a biggie when it comes to board games. Kids need to learn to take the time to understand and follow the rules so there isn’t complete chaos. This also provides some teaching moments when a rule doesn’t work in your favor but you need to follow it anyway.

#4 Sneaks in some learning

Board games are a great way to sneak some learning into your day without your kids complaining. Even the preschool games like Candyland and Chutes and Ladders have some basic skills. Learning to count your moves, match up colors and shapes and even practicing math facts can all be accomplished with games.  Did you know that on Chutes and Ladders good choices are often rewarded with a ladder while the naughty children are the ones going down the chutes.12743976_992100247495794_5472616629628768676_n

Some favorite family game recommendations:
Monopoly
Candyland
Chutes and Ladders
Chess
Battleship
Scrabble

Does your family do game night? What are some of your favorites?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Travel Tips

How to Keep Your Kids From Getting Cranky

It is Friday and families all across America are gearing up for a big vacation, a small family getaway, or a fun-filled weekend because we are still in the midst of the busiest vacation time of the summer.  Despite all of the excitement, how many of you have seen this face on your child?  I mean we are excited about vacation, we can’t wait to get away from the craziness of our daily lives, so why aren’t the kids, right?

Whether you’re embarking on a road trip, traveling via plane, taking a cruise, or doing virtually anything in between, here are some travel tips that may help keep the crankiness away….

#1. Less is more.13466261_1072249162814235_5737085668642488373_n

I know I was probably the worst offender of this rule.  I was always over-packed in an effort to ensure that Belinda was never bored.  The truth was that despite all of the extra snacks and toys, she really only needed one or two toys and/or games to keep her entertained for an entire trip. Resist the urge to overdo it in this area. I usually included card games or activity books that easily fit into my purse so that they could be taken into restaurants.

#2. Remember the 3-1-1 rule.

Are you flying to your destination?  Remember that the TSA has strict policies on flying with liquids.  Specifically, you can only bring one quart-sized bag per (one) traveler filled with no more than three ounce travel-sized bottles.  Baby formula, breast milk and baby food have different requirements so be sure to double check those rules.  By following the 3-1-1 rule, you will definitely save time and hassles.

#3. All hands on deck.

No matter the age of your children, they can provide valuable insight when you are shaping your itinerary. Keeping the kids involved in the planning process will not only incentivize them to have as much fun as possible, but it will also give them something to anticipate while reducing the feeling that they’re being dragged on vacation. Encourage the  kids to be on the lookout for road signs, gate information, etc. too.

#4. Put some prep in your step.

Preparedness is the name of the game: Pre-print your boarding passes, keep copies of your itinerary on hand, and be sure to play the “Did You Bring?” game with yourself and your family members several times. This way, there are less likely to be major surprises or “bumps in the road” along the way!

#5. Pack some snacks.

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When we took road trips, even when I was a child, we ALWAYS had a snack bag.  When flying, we packed snacks too because let’s be honest – you don’t want to rely on airplane or rest stop services for food.  Traffic, flight delays and other unforeseen circumstances could prevent you from addressing your child’s hunger before the moodiness kicks in.  I liked to always have snacks on hand that children can access on demand so you won’t need to pull over and prolong the travel process.

#6. Traveling isn’t a race.

I wish someone had shared this tip when I was traveling with Belinda.  I mean doesn’t the airline ALWAYS let parents with small kids board first?  Of course, this depends on whether or not there are others in your row of seats BUT it is a great tip for those with toddler’s or even the tween’s who hate being confined.  Take your sweet time and wait by the gate with your children until the plane is almost full before boarding. Think about it: Depending on the age of your child, being on a plane may not be their favorite place to be – so your best bet is to spend as little time on the airplane as possible. If you’re worried about overhead storage space, send your significant other or eldest child (if they’re old enough) onto the plane first in order to reserve some bin space.

#7. Smile, smile, smile.

Things happen — maybe your flight gets delayed, you’re late for an event, or something else totally unexpected happens. Regardless of what comes up, it’s important not to wear your emotions on your sleeve. As long as you’re having fun, your kids will rise to the occasion and do the same!

As long as you keep these things in mind before and during your travels, this vacation might prove to be the most fun and rewarding trip your family will ever take. Safe travels!

What are your best tips for traveling with kids?  Share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Travel Tips

Traveling with Kids

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Summer will be quickly upon us and for many that means VACATION!!!!  Whether it is a day trip or a road trip. Whether it is a 1 hour ride or a 12 hour ride; keeping the kids busy and happy can always a challenge.  Belinda always used to fall asleep on long rides so we didn’t hear a lot of the “are we there yet?”.  She was just like me – I was (and still am) asleep about an hour into riding as a passenger on a long trip. Belinda loved staying at hotels as long as they had a pool and room service but what kid doesn’t, right?

Traveling can be tough on kids, which makes it tough on parents.  So here are some tips to help while on the road or when you arrive at the hotel.

Snacks. Picking on snacks and road trips seem to go hand and hand in our family.  I can remember snack bags being packed even as a child when we were on the road.  Bring the ones your tot likes at home it will save some money, and have some healthy options, and eliminate LOTS of food stops.  Let each child have their own bag filled with snacks

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Activities:  Whether you are on the road or in the hotel, you want to have some of your children’s favorite toys or movies (within reason). Give your kids something familiar to play with by letting them choose a favorite toy to bring along.  Let them pack their own activity bag:

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I love this suggestion from one of my readers….

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Now, you arrive at the hotel – for some kids (not mine) it can be hard to get comfortable. But there are lots of ways to bring a bit of home with you – without bringing your whole house along – that will help your kid feel more at ease and get a better night’s sleep.

Bedding:  Wouldn’t you sleep better with your own pillow or a blanket? For kids who crave consistency and routine, these homey touches can make a bland hotel room much more appealing.

Bedtime routine is usually tossed out the window when we travel, right?  But taking the time to read a book, or sing a song, or whatever your child loves to do before drifting off to sleep will help.

Bring their favorite sleep item. Belinda has puppy.  Puppy went on every trip from the tip she was 2. In fact, puppy traveled to college and if I were to ask her now that she is married where puppy is, I am sure he has a special spot in her home.  Make sure you bring that something special that comforts them at night.

What do you bring with you to help your kids feel at home on the road? Share in the comments.

Business Tips and Tricks, Celebrate and Connect

A Thank You in Life and in Business

Thank-you-letter

Do you remember, as a child, being reminded to send thank you notes when you were given a gift?  Maybe it was a birthday, a special occasion or for some it was even for holiday gifts.  I used to dread them.  I mean what do you say to someone who you never really see who sends you a gift, right?  I always wanted the thank you notes that had messages already on them.  Less writing and I could just sign my name!  LOL!!

Fast forward to being a Mom. I had Belinda write thank you notes.  She grumbled ALOT but what kid doesn’t, right?  She thought that saying “thank you” when she saw the person was enough.  I have to admit, at times it made perfect sense.  When she asked, I always said “it is proper”.

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Then I became a business owner.  I heard “the fortune is in the follow-up“. So, what would make me stand out from so many other consultants?  What would make them remember ME?  I began handwriting thank you notes and mailing them about 10 days or so after an order was placed.  At first, I didn’t think much of it.  If I met the individual in-person, I mentioned something that I remembered about them.  If it was an online order, I thanked them and told them that I knew how much they would love their order.

I thanked them a second time when I sent them the shipping information for direct ship orders.  If I was delivering them, another thank you note was included in their bag.  Some thought it was “overkill” BUT I I truly do appreciate their support of my business.

I have continued this practice for 5+ years no matter what – old or new customer.  The response is AMAZING!  In this day and age of internet and social media, people truly appreciate “snail mail” that is NOT a bill.

I still hand write thank you notes for things that people do for me personally whether it is a gift or just a thoughtful gesture.  I want people to know that they have made a difference in my life.  Now, I will admit that if I use a thank you card that already has a message, I will add a special note.  People need to know that you care.  They buy products from people that they like and care about.  What better way to continue to build that relationship that by sending a thank you note, right?

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Here is my tip to make this easy for you (or your children)… I use Thirty One’s Timeless Beauty Bag to hold everything.  There is a spot for pens, cards, envelopes, and stamps.  It is a great gift for that NEW team member or for the college bound student or someone in the military.  I picked up LOTS of thank you cards at the Dollar Store.  You get 8 or 10 in a pack and then I get a variety of them.

Have thank you notes to send to your customers, grab the bag & take it with you.  You can write a few while you are waiting for the kids to get off the bus or while they are at practice.  We all know how long that can take, right?

Just remember that a little “thank you” can make a difference in the life of the person that is receiving it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Favorite Products

Beauticontrol Extreme Hand Repair

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Yes, the cold crazy days of winter have brought out the worse in my hands (an hubby’s).  I am happy to say that it is on the counter and we are BOTH using it.  The truth is that like most people, when my hands are soft, I forget to use this AMAZING cream.  But it doesn’t take much to remind me that it needs to be a part of my daily regime.

I was to this AMAZING (yes, that is my favorite word!) about 3 years.  My hands were  chapped and rough.  So much so that during the winter months, hubby always complained when he held my hand.  I tried lotion after lotion with no success.

One cold night I joined a group of direct sales consultants for coffee.  We were getting together to share some upcoming shows and our best tips.  Who knew that at Atlanta Bread I would find a solution to my rough hand problem.

Maggie, a wonderful BeautiControl consultant, offered us hand cream while we were talking.  Of course, I was skeptical because I had tried EVERYTHING.  I put some on and when the night ended, I headed home.  Never thinking about the cream or how my hands felt.

I got home and when I went to touch hubby’s check, he stopped me.  He expected my hands to be cold and rough.  He was SHOCKED when they were soft and smooth.  He began asking lots of questions considering he knew I had gone to Atlanta Bread.

I told him about the hand cream.  His response “Did you buy some?”  When I said NO, he told me to go back and get some.  He would even buy it.

I love telling that story because to this day, Maggie and I are great friends.  It is a testimonial to how wonderful the product.

Can you tell that I LOVE this stuff?  Email Maggie (spawithmaggie@yahoo.com) if you want to know more OR just CLICK HERE and order some.  Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!