6 Features of an Organized Closet

6 Features of an Organized Closet | Tipsaholic.com #home #organization #closet

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You’ve already purged your closet of everything you don’t wear anymore. Now you need to organize it so that your remaining clothing stays in good condition and is easily accessible. After all, if you can’t see it or get to it, you’re never going to wear it!  The following six features of an organized closet will help you know how to get your clothes in order.

 

Long Hanging Clothes

Most closet rods are at a height that is ideal for long hanging items like dresses and long coats. Be sure to use the appropriate hangers for each item: shaped hangers with broader shoulders for coats and suits, no-slip velvet hangers for delicate items, and wood or plastic for everything else. Please straighten out all those old wire hangers and roast some marshmallows on them, because that’s about all they’re good for!

 

Short Hanging Clothes

Skirts, pants, and shirts don’t actually take up much vertical space in your closet. By installing two rods–one about 40 inches above the floor, the other about 40 inches above that–you can double the amount of clothing you can hang in the same sizes space. Not handy with a screwdriver? Not to worry! If your current closet rod is high enough, you can use one of these closet doublers to do pretty much the same thing. Again, be sure to use the right hanger for your clothes. Skirts should be clipped to straight hangers, as should pants. You can also fold pants over open-ended hangers like these. Tops belong on plastic, wood, or no-slip velvet hangers.

 

Folded Clothes

Everyone has their preferences for how to fold a pair of socks or pair of jeans, but no matter how you do it, there are a couple key things to keep in mind for your folded items. Don’t stack your folded clothing too high. For one thing, you’ll forget about the stuff on the bottom of the stack. For another, those bottom pieces will get smashed and creased from the weight of everything on top. Four pairs of pants, six sweaters, or eight t-shirts is a good rule of thumb. Stack like items together, and keep each stack separate by using dividers or bins. Match socks before throwing them into a drawer; even better, use small dividers to keep pairs of socks separate and visible.

 

Shoes

We are probably all guilty of tossing our shoes into a jumbled mess on the floor of the closet (or living room…or bedroom…or entryway…) but this greatly diminishes the life of your shoes. Storing shoes properly not only helps you know where they are and what shoes you have–so you don’t end up accidentally buying a sixth pair of black heels–but also keeps them looking neat and clean. For people with the floor space, stacking shoe shelves are a great way to organize and display each pair. Over-the-door and other hanging options are ideal for people with less room to work with. Special occasion shoes should be boxed up and labeled so they don’t get dusty or damaged when not being worn, and tall boots should be stored upright with shapers inside to keep them from folding over and getting creases.

 

Accessories

Make sure your jewelry, scarves, and other accessories have a place to live too. But don’t just toss them into a drawer or on a shelf! Each piece needs its own little home, or else your necklaces will end up in a knotted jumble and you’ll be forever searching for matching earrings. See where you have a little extra space to work with and put it to good use. Wall mounted or over-the-door jewelry organizers great for walk-in closets, compartmentalized trays can slide into an unused drawer, and hanging pouches take up very little real estate on a closet rod. Scarves, ties, and belts can be rolled up stored like socks in a drawer, hung on individual wall hooks, or stored on a hanging organizer on your closet rod. Purses should be stored upright on a shelf or in a box.

 

Seasonal Clothes

This category includes things like sweaters, gloves, warm scarves, and coats for winter, and swimsuits, sundresses, and sandals for summer. Store these items in the harder-to-reach spaces in your closet: high shelves, the end of the closet rod, on the floor in the very back, etc. That way they won’t distract from the clothing that is seasonally appropriate right now. Fold knits carefully and store them in clearly labeled boxes. Hang silks, linens, and other delicate fabrics inside garment bags so they won’t have deep creases when you get them out again. Add a cedar block to each box, or include a hanging block inside a garment bag, to prevent pests from munching on your clothes while you’re not wearing them.

Check our archives for more helpful hints on keeping your closets organized!

 

Jen is the mother of two sweet girls; her days are filled with Dr. Seuss books and laundry, block castles and pink tutus. Reading is her first passion. Finding and testing out delicious recipes is a close second. She and her husband are working on making their fixer-upper home into something amazing. It’s a satisfying but painfully slow process. Read more from Jen at her blog: Nothing Can Come Of Nothing.

 

Featured image courtesy of The Hanger Depot.

6 Tips for Staying Sane as a SAHM

6 Tips for Staying Sane as a SAHM | Tipsaholic.com #home #family #kids #mom

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If you’re a stay-at-home-mom, you are familiar with both the joys and the sorrows. You’ve probably sacrificed a lot to be at home with your kids and you don’t regret the time you’re spending with them – but as much as you love being their mommy, there are those days. Those are the days you just need a little break! So how do you do it? How do you keep your chin up even when monotony and/or insanity appear imminent? Consider these ideas for staying sane as a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom)!

1. Find an audio indulgence.

Your hands are never free, but your ears sometimes are. If you have access to a smartphone or other device, put it to good use while you do chores and play with the baby. Listen to something you want to learn about, hear advice on, or for pure entertainment. If you don’t have a device you can tote around the house, fold laundry in a room with a computer while you enjoy Ted Talks or informational videos on YouTube.

2. Take a Mommy break.

You’re working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You deserve to go out alone once in a while. Take yourself on a date, perhaps aiming to go once a month. Where’s the one place you never go because you don’t want to haul the kids in? What do you want to eat while no one is around to ask for bites? Treat yourself!

3. Create a mommy-morning.

Get up before anyone else. Start your day the way you want to – coffee, tea, exercise, meditation, reading… relax into it. By the time the kids get up, you will be ready to welcome them.

4. Develop a simple, flexible routine.

Choose a few things you and your children enjoy doing and incorporate them into the day. Go for a walk in the morning, read a book before naptime, take a bath in the evening. Simplicity is the key to making and keeping routines while remaining flexible for days when doctor visits, errands, or lunch dates disrupt them.

5. Fit in a hobby.

Quiet times are perfect times for moms to indulge in an interest. Try to keep it simple – if you can do just a little bit each day you will be able to create and learn even if you have interruptions. Even a five-minute instructional video can inspire you to keep going.

6. Phone a friend.

Everyone’s favorite lifeline is also a great preventative measure for insanity. Call someone who understands where you’re coming from and won’t pass judgment, but might have some good advice. Moms, sisters, and grandmas count too!

 

Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at www.utterlyinexperienced.blogspot.com, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.

 

Featured image courtesy of Sunny Skyz.

7 Tips for Smart Pantry Organization

7 Tips for Smart Pantry Organization | Tipsaholic.com #home #organization #closet #kitchen #pantry

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There’s a reason a pantry is hidden behind a door. When we try to cram a lot of food in a tiny amount of space, a disorganized mess is what we get. Try these pantry organization tips to maximize the space in your pantry.

 

1. Baskets

You can find baskets everywhere these days, often at great discounts. Grab a couple and put them in your pantry to use as an easy pantry organization solution. Use them to corral small objects that can easily spill out, such as little potato bags for your kids’ lunches and instant oatmeal packets.

 

2. Stackable Bins

Put a couple of stackable bins on top of each other at the bottom of your pantry. You can use them to hold potatoes and onions (separately, since onions can cause potatoes to go bad fast), recyclable items, or pet food.

 

3. Small Wire Baskets

Look at the sides of your pantry and you might find a lot of wasted space. Ashley of Domestic Imperfection came up with the brilliant idea of screwing in pencil organizers to the side walls of her pantry. She then filled them up with spices and other small condiments. What a great pantry organization idea!

 

4. Tiered Shelves

Instead of rummaging through stacks of cans every time you need a can of coconut milk for your dinner, invest in a couple of tiered shelves to help you easily see all the cans you have at once. These shelves can be used for spices as well.

 

5. Lazy Susans

A lazy Susan, or a turntable, is a great way to efficiently use corner space in your pantry. Corner shelves can be awkward to fill with food containers, but a lazy Susan will allow you to use the whole corner. Here is a great example of this clever pantry organization solution.

 

6. Storage Containers

Food containers can be brightly colored and harsh on the eyes, making it harder for you to find what you’re looking for in your pantry. Try dumping out your dry food into clear storage containers that have an airtight seal. Add pretty labels to them, like this, and your pantry will look much more organized. As a bonus, your dry food will last a lot longer thanks to the airtight seal.

 

7. The Zoning Strategy

Last but not least, the zoning strategy will help you navigate your pantry. Divide your pantry items into “zones” according to your lifestyle. For example, you could assign a basket to hold all of your baking items, from muffin cups to chocolate chips, if you bake cookies a lot. Put all of your kid-approved snacks in a plastic bin to make it accessible for your children. Another basket could be filled with noodles, bottled pasta sauce, and Italian seasoning for your family’s Spaghetti Nights.

 

With a little work and a bit of time, you can turn your pantry into a pretty little spot in your kitchen rather than a messy eyesore that you dread rummaging through. For some more organizing ideas, check out Organizing Your Kitchen and Tips for Organizing Kids Closets.

 

“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.”  Please check out my blog What the Vita!

 

Featured image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.

Tips for Housetraining Your Puppy

Tips for Housetraining Your Puppy | Tipsaholic.com #pets #training #dogs

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When to start housetraining

Start housetraining your puppy the minute you get home. When you bring your new family member home, put your pup (on a leash) down where you’d like him to go and give him about 10 minutes to go to the bathroom. If your puppy goes, be sure to say something like “go potty” as soon as he starts so that you can use that command in the future. When he’s done don’t forget to praise the heck out of him or her!

Must have: dog crate

Housetraining will be ten times easier if you have a dog crate for your pup! When you’re not watching your puppy put him in the crate and because it’s a small confined area this will become what they consider their home and will likely not have an accident in there unless it’s a real emergency.

The general rule for a dog crate is that they can stand up, turn around and lie down in it easily. However, it shouldn’t be so big that they can go potty in the corner and lie down across the crate. The Midwest Life Stages Crate is great because it comes with a divider so you can use it over the course of the dogs life and just adjust the size and you won’t have to keep buying bigger crates as he grows. Just make sure you get the appropriate size for how big you estimate your dog will be.

Puppies have small bladders

Since puppies are small, their bladders are as well. You also have to keep in mind that not only are you training your dog to do their business outside, you’re also training them how to hold it. If you’ve ever potty trained a child, you understand that the idea of “holding it” isn’t something you’re born with, it’s a learned behavior.

Because puppies (and smaller dogs, too!) have small bladders and aren’t used to holding it, you will have to let them out more frequently at first. My rule of thumb is every two hours is best, at least for the first few days. As your puppy gets good at holding it you can bump it up slowly. Maybe up to 3 hours for a few days, then 4 hours for a few days, etc.

Once your dog is trained he or she should be able to hold it for up 8 hours, depending on the dog. But you can’t expect them to hold it all day. Remember to let your dog out before you leave the house and when you get back to prevent accidents!

Extra tips

  • Always let your dog out 30 minutes after a meal, after a nap, after a bath and first thing in the morning. These are times when they’ll almost always immediately want to relieve themselves.
  • Praise is good when they go where you want, when you want. A small (pea sized) treat the second they finish and some petting is great positive reinforcement.
  • It’s better to prevent than punish. Punishment doesn’t work well with dogs. If you can’t watch your puppy closely, put him or her in their crate to prevent it from happening in the first place.
  • Get used to the signs your dog gives before they go to the bathroom. Most dogs sniff/circle around right before they squat or lift their leg. If you can catch them before the act you can take them outside before they have an accident.
  • If your catch your dog having an accident make a loud noise or clap to startle them and get them to stop. Then silently scoop them up and put them outside to go. They may or may not continue, but if they do, praise as usual.

It takes a while to train a puppy, but the more consistent you are, the better the results! Also check out these great tips for basic obedience training!

About the Author: Aileen is a wife, entrepreneur and animal lover. She lives in a small California town, with her husband and a handful of pets, where she spends her days doing freelance blog design. You can find more at Life by Aileen where she talks about chasing dreams and her attempts at a simpler life or follow along on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest.

Featured image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.

 

7 Creative Ideas for a Pregnancy Announcement

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Announcing a pregnancy is one of the most exciting times of one’s life. You want it to be special and memorable, and getting a whole bunch of likes on Facebook doesn’t hurt, either. Many creative parents-to-be have come up with many fun ways to announce a pregnancy, including the seven great ideas listed below. Maybe these pregnancy announcement ideas will help you come up with one of your own!

1. Get your older kids to participate in your pregnancy announcement. (picture: slide 1)

Your older children are probably as excited about the upcoming new baby as you are, so why not include them in your pregnancy announcement? You could create a special t-shirt for your beaming toddler or give chalkboard signs for your two older kids to hold for a special photo.

2. Let your adorable pet(s) announce your pregnancy. (picture: slide 2)

Have a pup or a couple of feline friends who have no idea what’s coming to them in 9 months? Put a cute sign around their neck or put them next to a homemade sign for your pregnancy announcement.

3. Get creative with signs. (picture: slide 3)

Pose with your significant other next to a sign that clearly implies that a baby is on the way. A bright yellow sign that says BUMP AHEAD is perfect, but DIYing a couple of clever directional signs on a pole could be another great way to announce a pregnancy.

4. Include a pair of teeny baby shoes in your pregnancy announcement. (picture: slide 4)

Who can resist a tiny pair of baby shoes? No one can and that’s why this style of pregnancy announcement is so popular. Also, this could be a great way to announce the gender of your baby.

5. Consider a holiday-related pregnancy announcement. (picture: slide 5)

Announcing a pregnancy during pumpkin season or just before Christmas? Take advantage of your great timing to come up with a creative holiday-themed pregnancy announcement, such as carving a tiny pumpkin inside of a bigger pumpkin or hanging up an extra Christmas stocking.

6. Come up with an exciting math equation. (picture: slide 6)

One plus one equals two, right? Not always, since one could have another little one inside her. If math is your thing, you could come up with a fun equation that has your family and friends doing the math and realizing that you’re pregnant!

7. Include humor in your pregnancy announcement. (picture: slide 7)

A new pregnancy is a very joyful event, but when you make it funny, it’s even better. The mother-to-be could be scarfing down ice cream or junk food as the father-to-be anxiously reads how-to books or nervously assembles a crib with many parts.

Looking for more ideas for family photos? Here’s some ideas of how to dress your family and a cute way to display your family photos.

7 Creative Ideas for a Pregnancy Announcement | Tipsaholic.com #photography #baby #announcement #pregnancy

“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.”  Please check out my blog What the Vita!

Featured image courtesy of Life of a Mompreneur.

10 Tempting Vegan Desserts

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I’m going to be honest. I am anything but vegan. I am a heartless consumer of meat, dairy, and eggs, and I find it hard to imagine living otherwise. But the world these days is riddled with vegan this and vegan that, and it makes a gal wonder – what if? What if it were easy, tasted fabulous, and could be smoothly incorporated into a non-vegan kitchen? What if you could still have all of your favorite goodies and desserts without sacrificing the flavors you love?

You can.

These 10 spectacular vegan desserts will cover your cravings from A-Z: chocolate, cookies, ice cream… And there’s plenty more where that came from.

1. Chocolate Glazed Vegan Doughnut (picture: slide 1)

2. Raw Vegan Fudge (picture: slide 2)

3. Vegan Chocolate chip cookies (picture: slide 3)

4. Vegan Strawberry Shortcake (picture: slide 4)

5. Vegan Sugar Cookies (picture: slide 5)

6. Simple Vegan Chocolate Cake (picture: slide 6)

7. Malted Vegan Ice Cream with Soy Caramel Ripple (picture: slide 7)

8. No-Bake Vegan Cheesecake (picture: slide 8)

9. Ultimate Vegan Brownies (picture: slide 9)

10. Perfect Vegan Cinnamon Buns (picture: slide 10)

Giving up dairy and eggs just got easier. Test a recipe or two this weekend and impress family and friends with your new vegan-savvy delights!

10 Tempting Vegan Desserts | Tipsaholic.com #recipe #cooking #vegan #dessert

Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at www.utterlyinexperienced.blogspot.com, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.

Featured image courtesy of Joy the Baker.

7 Ways to Make Your Dinner Party Memorable

7 Ways to Make Your Dinner Party Memorable | Tipsaholic.com #entertaining #recipe #cooking

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1. Be thoughtful when creating your guest list. Invite people you think will mesh well, who will enjoy each other and bring a pleasant atmosphere to your dinner party. Balance out a reserved friend with one who is particularly good at making new friends, or simply invite people who you feel will have a lot in common and naturally converse.

2. Keep the menu simple. Now is probably not the time to try out foods you haven’t made before. Avoid foods that require complex preparation so that you are more likely to be ready on time and enjoy a stress-free evening. It’s a good idea to serve things that are crowd-pleasing and basic. A variety of tried-and-true favorites at the table ensures that every guest will find at least one dish to enjoy.

3. Set the mood with music, lighting, and comfortable, cozy spaces. A personalized playlist vibrating softly in the background gives people permission to use their voices rather than keep a thoughtful silence. Low light and candles tend to make people more comfortable too. Cozy groupings of chairs and cushions ensure that your guests aren’t too far apart to start socializing.

4. Provide a fun appetizer and a drink. Rather than leaving your guests to entertain themselves while you finish up with the meal preparation, give them something to put in their mouth and get them talking. For some great ideas, try one or two of these fun finger foods from Chocolate, Chocolate and More.

5. Set the table. You are the host/hostess, and it’s your job to choose the theme and the formality. Paper plates and plastic utensils can be great for casual gatherings and barbecues, but if you’re looking for something a bit more organized, take a look at these 5 tips for a great tablescape at Remodelaholic.  A classy centerpiece can also add to the conversation and mood of the party. Candles and a bit of greenery are all you need to get started, but you can take it to the next level with these super-simple ideas for centerpieces.

6. Enjoy your own party. Nothing can dampen the spirit of a party like having the host or hostess running to and fro throughout the night and never stopping to socialize. Remember, you invited them, and as much as your guests may seem to be enjoying each other’s company, they came to see you. Besides, after all your hard work, you deserve to put your feet up and enjoy the food and the friendship.

7. Send your guests home with something. A simple party favor puts the finishing touches on your evening together. A ceramic dip bowl with a recipe for your favorite dip attached, a mini-dessert to enjoy the next day, or a small piece of jewelry for female friends is a great way to send them off. Go here for more great ideas!

 

Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at www.utterlyinexperienced.blogspot.com, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.

 

Featured image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.

10 Easy Appetizers for Any Event

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Dinner party, birthday party, holiday party, superbowl party… if there’s a reason to get together and celebrate, we do it! And regardless of the occasion, the best part of an event is often the amazing food. As a host or hostess of a good party, you may have realized that one way to get your guests in the spirit of things while they wait for the main course is to start feeding them before the feast even begins, but who has the time for appetizers during the hustle and bustle of meal preparations? You do – because these 10 delectable easy appetizers are the fastest, easiest starter foods you’ll ever make, all with 4 ingredients or less!

1. Chicken Parmesan Bites (picture: slide 1)

2. Lime Yogurt Fruit Dip (picture: slide 2)

3. Salami Tomato Skewers (picture: slide 3)

4. Cranberry Brie Bites (picture: slide 4)

5. Bacon Wrapped Smokies (picture: slide 5)

6. Watermelon Ricotta Bites (picture: slide 6)

7. Ranch Bread (picture: slide 7)

8. Melon and Prosciutto Skewers (picture: slide 8)

9. Cucumber Sandwich Bites (picture: slide 9)

10. Bacon Ranch Chip Dip (picture: slide 10)

 

10 Easy Appetizers for Any Event | Tipsaholic.com #food #recipe #entertaining #appetizer

Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at www.utterlyinexperienced.blogspot.com, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.

Featured image courtesy of Celebrations at Home.

10 Better-For-You Muffin Recipes

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Muffins of all kinds make a great on-the-run breakfast or a tasty snack, but it can be hard to find muffins with healthier ingredients that are less like their sugary, fatty cousin the cupcake! Amp up your muffin arsenal with these 10 recipes that will fill you up without filling you out.

10 Better-for-You Muffin Recipes - Tipsaholic.com

1. “Best Ever” Healthy Muffin

This muffin recipe claims to be the best of the best, but we’ll let you decide! This one has a little bit of everything and is sure to get your mouth watering.

2. Skinny Banana Blueberry Muffin

A tried and true favorite at my house, you won’t want to miss trying a bite of these muffins. The oils typical to many muffin recipes is replaced with Greek yogurt and the sugar content is cut down by substituting honey and mashed banana. Eat up!  

3. Apple Muffin

It’s hard to go wrong with a five-star rated recipe, especially one full of cinnamon and applesauce. Add in pecans for a satisfying crunch.

4. Zucchini Muffin

The easiest way to get more vegetables in your diet is to hide them in something you really like to eat, right? This healthy muffin makes it all possible and is packed with fresh zucchini.

5. Cranberry-Citrus Muffin

Lemon and cranberry form the perfect marriage of flavors in this fabulous recipe, and with all that extra taste, the need for sugar and oils is trimmed way back.

6. Banana Muffin

You won’t believe that this muffin is healthy once you’ve had a bite. Chock full of bananas and whole grains, it’s sure to satisfy your both your sweet tooth and your inner health nut.

7. Coconut Pineapple Muffin

This recipe fits the clean-eating trend to a T. Full of naturally-occurring and flavorsome ingredients like honey and coconut milk, your taste buds will never miss your old muffin stand-by.

8. Chocolate Muffin

It seems that no matter the diet and no matter the health trend, someone is always in need of a chocolate fix from time to time. This health-i-fied chocolate muffin is less than 100 calories and can be devoured guilt-free.

9. Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffin

This muffin is full of healthy grains and soft swirls of pumpkin. Be prepared to leave a melts-in-your-mouth review for this recipe.

10. Peanut Butter Banana Muffin

Those bananas you’ve had sitting on the counter and turning brown for a week? Perfect for this healthier muffin snack. Peanut butter adds a bit of protein and that delicious nutty flavor to this recipe.

10 Better-For-You Muffin Recipes - Tipsaholic.com

 

Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at www.utterlyinexperienced.blogspot.com, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.

The Basics of Dog Obedience Training

Basic Dog Obedience Training Tips and Tools via Tipsaholic.com

Teaching your dog a few simple commands can make life a bit easier for both of you. For example, if you can teach your dog to sit and stay, you can use this before opening the front door without the risk of your dog running out into the street or overwhelming a guest as they walk in the door.

Every pet owner should teach their dogs at least a few basic commands and use them on a regular basis. Making your dog sit quietly before meals, when children are around or just for fun are great tools to have to help control your pet since we can’t talk to them and tell them what we need from them. We’ve got the basics of dog obedience training to get you started.

4 Basic Dog Obedience Tasks You Can Teach At Home via Tipsaholic

Tools for training

  • Treats: go for smelly, soft, tiny pea-sized treats like these. The size is great for training because they don’t take your dog long to eat and you can move on quickly.
  • Treat Pouch: you can keep treats in your pocket, but it gets a little messy and you’re going to end up smelling like treats all day. This one is great because it clips to your belt or pocket.

Tips before you begin

  • Keep training sessions short, maybe 5-15 minutes so your dog doesn’t get bored and restless
  • Stay positive! Do NOT punish or get frustrated with your dog if they don’t get it right away. You want your dog to look forward to training sessions. If you start to get angry or frustrated end the session and try again later.
  • Try not to use a voice command at first, saying “sit” a million times when he doesn’t know what that means will just cause him to ignore that command. Once you have the hand gesture down then you can add a voice command to it. But again, avoid saying it over and over and over. If they aren’t doing it they either don’t understand the command or are too distracted.

 

“Watch Me”

One thing I recommend is to teach a dog to pay attention to you. This command basically says, “Hey, look at me, I’m going to give you a command”.

To start call your dog over, as soon as he looks at you, say “good, watch me” and give him a treat. That’s basic idea. You can do this randomly throughout the day and have a quick 5 minute session where anytime he looks at you, you say “good, watch me” and he gets a treat. Soon you should be able to call your dog over say “watch me” and have him know to look at you, even if there are some distractions around.

 

“Sit”

A basic command is the “sit” command. To train your dog to do this, have a treat between your thumb and fingers so your dog can see and smell it. Then slowly guide your dog into a sitting position by moving your hand over to your dogs nose and then up, kind of in a swooping motion. You might have to go slowly, let you dog sniff the treat and then move your hand up over their head. Naturally, most dogs will sit so that they can lift their nose higher. You might have to do this a few times, but eventually your dog will get it.

 

“Down”

To train a dog “down”, put them in a “sit” first. Take a treat between your fingers and hold it in front of the dogs nose then slowly bend down, pulling your hand (and the treat) down to the ground. Your dogs nose will follow and he might lie down right away.

If he doesn’t lie down try twisting your wrist with the treat so the back of your hand is blocking the dog’s nose from the treat. Most dogs will try to reach around with their noises. Another trick is to slowly pull your hand towards you (still on the ground) so the dog will lie down to get closer to it.

If your dog gets up to get the treat when you pull away, that’s fine. Don’t give him a treat, put him into a sit and try again. You’ll eventually figure out what works to get your dog into a down position.

Once your dog gets the idea you won’t have to bend down and eventually you’ll just be able to point down and your dog will understand that signal.

 

“Stay”

The best way to train your dog to stay is to have him in a “down” because he’s less likely to get up.

While your dog is lying down, put your hand up as if to say “stop” and take a few steps back. If he doesn’t get up, walk back to him and give him a treat. As your dog gets good at this you can move farther and farther away, turn your back or even leave the room.

When you want to release your dog just walk back over and say “ok” to let him know he can get up.

 

About the Author: Aileen is a wife, entrepreneur and animal lover. She lives in a small California town, with her husband and a handful of pets, where she spends her days doing freelance blog design. You can find more at Life by Aileen where she talks about chasing dreams and her attempts at a simpler life or follow along on FacebookInstagramTwitter or Pinterest.

6 Habits to Strengthen Family Ties

6 Habits to Strengthen Family Ties | Tipsaholic.com #family #bonding #activities #kids

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Families are under constant pressure these days. Whether it’s the distractions of dear old Dad’s job or daughter’s softball commitments, time together is becoming more and more scarce. If you’re ready to recommit to strengthen family ties, put down the electronics and start with one of these family-fortifying habits.

 

1. Family dinner

Research has proven time and again that dining together as a family promotes lifelong healthy eating habits. Other benefits of this family practice include improved communication and raising kids who learn to eat a variety of foods instead of fixating on mac and cheese. If family dinner isn’t already a part of your routine, aim for at least one family meal a week and build from there.

 

2. Read together

Besides the obvious benefits of inspiring a love of books and advanced school readiness, reading together as a family is a great way to wind down at the end of a long day.

 

3. Family game night

In an age of seclusion via personal electronic device, families tend to be a bit disconnected. What better way to get back in sync than to share some laughs over a card game or two? If you’re ready to go beyond the board game, introduce games of strategy, brain teasers, and puzzles. For a real challenge, get out of the house for a family scavenger hunt like this one from Spot of Tea Designs! Make game nights a permanent on your calendar to ensure the whole family can leave room for it in their schedules.

 

4. Get active together

It doesn’t matter if you’re swinging at the park, canoeing across mountain lakes, or horseback riding across desert dunes – getting active outside as a family is a great way to connect. Try a new sport or hike a new trail to keep your family interested and excited.

 

5. Start a new tradition

See if your family can come up with an idea that’s all their own instead of following the traditions of others. Get creative! What’s something you all enjoy doing? Could you do it on a certain day each year or always in a certain place? These are the things your family will cherish and remember over many years and multiple generations.

 

6. Define your family’s values and priorities

Get everyone on the same page by determining and writing down your family’s beliefs, goals, and values. Allowing every family member to be involved in the process will encourage continued support and discussion of those values. Be sure to show the reasons behind each belief or goal and explain how remaining loyal to them will benefit the family as a whole. For even more family fun, you can make a poster to hang where you will be reminded of your commitments.

 

Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at www.utterlyinexperienced.blogspot.com, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.

 

Featured image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.

How to Organize a Pantry

How to Organize Your Pantry via Tipsaholic.com


It takes a bit of time to thoroughly organize a pantry, big or small, but in the long run it’ll save you time. Plus, opening up the pantry doors to find a neat, organized space is always a good thing! Start a great organization system with these 5 steps.

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5 Steps to Organize a Pantry

Start from scratch

The best way to start is to pull everything out. Once everything is out of the pantry you can throw out expired items and see everything you have. This also gives you a chance to wipe down all the shelves and remove anything that doesn’t belong there.

 

Sort by type

While everything is out of the pantry sort everything by type. Pastas, canned items, cereal, etc. Bunch them together in groups on your kitchen table or floor so you can have an idea of how much space is needed for each item and how you might want to store it.

 

Containers for storage

For things that don’t stack well like seasoning packets, bags of marshmallows, etc. add a few baskets or bins to the shelves in your pantry to keep them organized rather than just throwing them anywhere. These are great because they’re clear and you can see what’s inside! If you want to make your pantry a little more stylish try some metal baskets!

Also consider storing things in different containers than what they come in from the store. Things like flour, sugar, quinoa and more usually come in large bags that are odd to store. Get some large mason jars, cute glass jars like pictured above, or plastic containers (these ones looks amazing!) to repackage everything and make it more convenient. You can even spend a month or so collecting jars from old pasta sauces, etc and use those.

 

Organize

Since you already have everything sorted, you can slowly put everything back into the pantry in an organized manner. Remember to keep the lighter items near the top and the heavier items (like cans) near the bottom, especially if you’re in an area that has earthquakes.

 

Label

Not everyone wants or needs labels, but it can add a little touch especially if you buy or print up some pretty labels. You can label baskets, bins, shelves or even the containers themselves. The great thing about this is that while the primary food shopper or cook in the house might know where everything is, but if everything is labeled anyone can come in and find what they want quickly. Another plus to that is that no one has to shuffle things around messing up your newly organized pantry!

 

Aileen is a wife, entrepreneur and animal lover. She lives in a small California town, with her husband and a handful of pets, where she spends her days designing blogs and running her online boutique. You can find more at Life by Aileen where she talks about chasing dreams and her attempts at a simpler life.

 

5 Ideas for Organizing Children’s Books

5 Ideas for Organizing Children's Books | Tipsaholic.com #reading #storage #books #kids

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Children’s books are an important part of childhood (and parenthood), but a collection of board books, picture books, and nursery rhyme books can easily get out of control. Here are some useful ideas for organizing children’s books.

 

1. Edit, edit, and edit.

Before you start to organize your children’s books, focus on editing the books that you have. Do your kids currently read all of the books that they own? Are there some books that they’ve outgrown or books that are too advanced for them to read right now? Donate books that you don’t think your kids will read anymore and store away advanced books in sealed plastic bins to pull out at a later time. If your collection is still so big after some editing, you can rotate out books the same way some parents rotate out toys so that your kids always have something “new” to read. This editing process should be done yearly or bi-yearly.

 

2. Keep the books easily accessible to your kids.

The more accessible your children’s books are, the more likely that your kids will actually read the books and put them away when they’re done. Which spots in your home are more accessible to your kids — their playroom, their rooms, or the living room? Consider your children’s heights when placing the books on a bookshelf or wall ledges. If you have a toddler, put the books facing forward so your young reader can easily see where his/her favorite books are at.

In the same vein, if there are some precious books that you’d rather not get damaged, such as books from your own childhood, put them at a higher height to keep them away from your kids, yet still available when you’re there to supervise or read with them.

 

3. Categorize books in some way.

Maybe one of your kids love ghost stories while another is a fan of fairy tales. You could divide some of the children’s books into smaller plastic bins or cardboard boxes and label them according to theme, reading level, or any other category that will work well with your children’s reading preferences. Another idea for organizing children’s books into categories is to use color stickers on the spine of the books and assign each color to a category.

 

4. Have a separate spot for library books.

The library late fees can quickly build up if you don’t have a system to prevent your library books from mixing into kids’ books. Designate a basket or bag to always hold the library books and simply grab the whole thing when you head to the library.

 

5. Involve your kids in organizing children’s books.

However you choose to organize your children’s books, be sure to include your kids in the decision making process and have them help you set up the system. They’ll be more motivated to keep up with the system and keep everything organized and neat.

If you’re still building your collection of children’s books, here are some great suggestions for ages 1-3 and ages 4-8. When you’re done organizing children’s books, why not create a fun little reading nook for your kids?

 

“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.” Please check out my blog What the Vita!

Featured image courtesy of {Smith} Peas in a Pod.

10 Home Decor Updates Under $20

10 Home Decor Updates Under $20 - Tipsaholic.com

 

Updating your home decor doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. Breathing new life into a space can be as simple as changing a lampshade or adding a new piece of art. You’d be surprised how changing your pillow covers can make an old couch feel new again.

To help satisfy your interior design bug on a small budget, here are 10 items to update and refresh your home decor all for $20 or less.

tipsaholic - 10 home decor updates under $20

1. Lampshade

Tired of the same lamp you’ve had for years? Swap out the lampshade to create a brand new look.

2. Candle Holder

A candle holder is an accessory no coffee table or shelf should be without. Bring nature indoors with this festive candle holder from Zara Home.

3. Pillow Cover

Changing your pillow covers is one of the simplest and most affordable ways to update a room. H&M’s home line has a variety of options starting at just $5.95 per cover.

4. Vase

Your local TJ Maxx or Marshall’s are both fantastic places to find unique vases to hold your farmer’s market blooms. Choose a vase that reflects your personal style.

5. Frame

A new frame can transform the entire feel of a piece of art or gallery wall. Michael’s and Target are both great places to find appealing and affordable frames.

6. Art Print

Support independent artists and add charm to your home by purchasing an art print from Society6. No matter your style or aesthetic this site has something for everyone.

7. Mirror

Add new life to a wall by hanging one or several mirrors. Target offers a variety of shapes and styles.

8. Shelf

Not sure where to display your beloved trinkets? Instead of cluttering a table incorporate a shelf into your decor. You’ll find a variety of types and sizes at IKEA.

9. Tablecloth

Next time you’re in the market for a new tablecloth look no further than Etsy. Everyone’s favorite artisan site has numerous sellers with tablecloths under $20.

10. Throw

Resurrect a drab armchair or ottoman with a colorful throw. It can be a little tough to find throws under $20 but Target has several great options.

feature image via anthropologie

 

Clarissa Fidler is a 20-something trying to find her place in this world. She grew up in Seattle, attended college in Utah, and now calls Chicago home. In her free time you’ll find her reading the New York Times, cuddling with her cat Harper, catching up on her favorite blogs, running along Lake Michigan, or checking out a new restaurant.  Read Clarissa’s blog: West Hawthorne Place.