Is your garage full of everything BUT your cars? Purge your old junk, get organized and turn all that wasted space into the new favorite room in the house! (Or rent it out, and the reno will pay for itself.)
You can turn your garage space into a …
Master Bedroom Suite
Bar and lounge
Air bnb flat
Teen game room
Get online and get inspired!
1. Make a “Things to Do” list together. Sit down with your kids and brainstorm all the things they’d like to do this summer. This helps prevent “cramming” at the end of August, and you’ll have fun checking things off the list together. (Also serves as a cure for “I’m bored”. More on this later…) The list can include bigger things like “go camping”, and then plenty of simpler things like, “make a lemonade stand, build a sandcastle, do sidewalk chalk, sleep in late, go out for ice cream, swim in a lake, Nerf battle, sleep in a backyard tent, make s’mores, catch a frog”. Let your kids know that this is an “idea” or “wish” list, and not a list of “have to’s” or demands.
2. Feel the rhythm. Before summer vacation begins, have a chat with your kids about what to expect. Show them ahead of time the family calendar and give a brief overview of their childcare, their swim lessons, their soccer games, nap schedules, etc. When are they expected to wake up and go to bed? Different styles (structured/loose) work for different families, but all kids appreciate knowing what is expected of them. If you have teens, they’ll want to know the mornings they can sleep in, and when they have to get up and get going. Also talk about their responsibilities as a family member- what chores are they expected to keep up with daily? Weekly? How much screen time are they allowed each day? What counts as screen time?
3. Leave some white space on your calendar. Save some room for improvisation, and times when the mood strikes for mini-road trip, a special play date, or an afternoon at the movies (or a DVD so Mom can take a power nap). White space is also nice for some quiet reading or playtime in their bedrooms. Everyone needs some time to unwind and be by themselves sometimes, and a hyper-social summer schedule can cause stress for more sensitive or introverted kids. Pretend you are all from Barcelona and call it a SIESTA! Si!
4. Boredom never killed anyone. I love it when my kids tell me they are bored. (okay, not really, but I pretend I do...) I respond, “Oh, good! Did you know we think of our BEST ideas when we’re bored? Go lie down and stare and the ceiling for a while and you are gonna think of something really cool to do!” This is NOT easy, but resist screens when kids say the “B” word. Kids are amazingly adept at invention and creativity if left alone to work it out. At Montessori preschools, the teachers know that when the kids are fussy and unfocused, they wait it out patiently until, EVERY TIME, the kids find something to work on, and a creative hush falls over the room.
5. “Put your own oxygen mask on first.” Well, we’ve saved the hardest one for last. Parents, whether you are working inside or outside the home, summer can be tough for us. We feel pressure to entertain, to educate, to nourish, to enrich, to socialize, to exercise, to EVERYTHING our kids. Find a way (you know you can), to take care of yourself. What feeds you? Time alone? Time with a friend or spouse? A walk? A cup of coffee all alone? A killer kickboxing class? If you do, you’ll find yourself with the energy and resources to make it allllll the way to Labor Day with only a few minor Mommy Meltdowns. ;) Good luck out there!
Ready to find YOUR fixer upper or dream home? Click HERE!
Ever wonder why Hollywood movie stars hang out in a “Green Room” before walking on stage? Have you ever been seating in a rustic steakhouse painted in deep, rich reds, and had the best meal of your life? Colors can effect your emotions, your actions, and even your well-being. Painting is one of the least expensive and impactful ways to give your house a makeover. Here’s a run-down of what colors to paint your house and why…
BLUES make us feel clean and fresh, like looking at the sea and sky, which makes this a great choice for a master bath.
REDS invoke feelings of passion and appetite, which is why it’s a great choice for dining rooms, invoking lively conversation and hearty appetites.
GREEN is the color of calm and concentration- use this color in home offices.
YELLOWS make us HAPPY!!! The kitchen is often the “heart” of the house- slather the walls with a sunny yellow, and the whole family’s outlook might be a little bit… sunnier!
get your family good with these clever swaps!
Cupcakes (meatloaf with mashed potato “frosting)
Grilled cheese (pound cake with orange frosting)
Frozen Cereal (put the whole bowl in freezer overnight- with spoon!)
Breakfast is Served! (really it’s yogurt, peach, and apples!)
so we don't mean to nag, but it's not hard! grab a couple neighbors and make a party out of it!
How to Prep an Emergency Supply Kit
Okay, okay, it's not a "superfun" topic, but here in NorCal, we all know earthquakes happen. Stop procrastinating, put this on your springtime To-Do list and prepare! We’ve included some amazon.com “cheats” to make it super simple.
Be prepared to live on what’s in your kit for at least three days. Think: fresh water, food and hygiene. Put together one larger kit for your home, and smaller backpacks for your office and cars.
Emergency Supply Kit Checklist For HOME
(use a 30 gallon trash can $29, Home Depot, in a cool place, raised off the ground)
Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person; each person will need a gallon each day (Family of 4= 12 gallons of water). Also, remember food and water for pets! Check out LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, $19.79 on amazon.com
Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food, check out Augason Farms 30-Day Emergency Food Storage Supply Pail (feeds a family of four for a week, storage life of 20 years!), $83.99 on amazon.com
We like the “Always Prepared First Aid Medical Kit” on amazon.com for $22.99. It’s got all the basics you’ll need.
Battery-powered radio, check out “iRonsnow IS-088 Dynamo” radio/flashlight/phone charger with handcrank/solar, $19.99 amazon.com
Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
Garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Paper towels, toilet paper
Matches in a waterproof container
“To-Go” Kits for Office and Cars
Stuff old backpacks with the following:
Pair of sneakers/walking shoes
Small First aid kit, we like “MediSpor 100-Piece First Aid Kit”, $19.99, amazon.com
A few cans of food with opener
Flashlight, extra batteries
For more information, go to:
Did you know a walk around the your yard can be like wandering through a buffet line of nutritious, juicy fruit, all year round? We live in a climate that can support an almost never-ending harvest season! Do you enjoy pears, apples, lemons, plums, pomegranates, persimmons kiwis, and figs, to name a few?
Not sure what or where to plant?
There are so many great nurseries in the East Bay, but a local favorite is Orchard Nursery, at 4010 Mt. Diablo Boulevard in Lafayette. (www.orchardnursery.com)
Take a walk through their extensive inventory, and even if you don’t buy anything, we promise your mood will be lifted! It’s beautiful!
Here are some things to think about when considering raising your own backyard flock…
Do I have the space? Each chicken requires 3 square feet in which to roam.
How many chickens should I get? In best conditions, each hen will lay about 4-7 eggs per week. How many eggs does your family eat per week?
Aren’t they loud? Only roosters (male chickens) crow. Hens (female chickens) cluck pleasantly and “chat” amongst themselves. They lay with or without a rooster.
What do they require? Chickens eat feed from your local feed store (like Concord Feed), and lots of fresh water- they also love kitchen scraps, fresh greens, bugs, and leftovers. Chickens need a safe coop in which to sleep each night, safe from predators, and a space to forage and peck during the day, called a “run”. Free-ranging hens are fun backyard companions, and will follow you around the yard hoping for treats!
Check out www.backyardchickens.com for LOTS more info!
hi! i'm leslie.
i'm a wife, mother of two boys, third-generation realtor, clinical psychologist. ('cause, you know, that helps sometimes...)
(oh, and here's my website)