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The Holidays & Overnight Guests PDF Print E-mail
 By Melissa Tosetti and Teresa Riccobuono
Do you have guests coming to stay with you over the holidays?  Here's a few tips to help you as well as your guests enjoy their visit so much more. 
If you have a spare bedroom…
Make sure the sheets have been freshly laundered. 
Also, set aside an extra blanket in case they get cold. 
For an added touch, set aside a box of tissue, as well as a few books and magazines so your guests can keep themselves entertained.
A couple of bottles of water by the bedside will be appreciated.
Place a few small holiday decorations in the room to keep the feel of the holidays intact.

If your guest will be sleeping on the couch which is not a sofa bed
Use a set of twin sheets for the sofa. It may not be a perfect fit over the cushions, but will help them be more comfortable while they sleep.

Provide a pillow with a freshly laundered pillow case as well as a few blankets. 
If possible, make adjustments to your morning routine if guests will be sleeping in community areas of your home. If you are an early bird and they are a night owl, prepare as much of your morning routine in advance. Grind your coffee beans the night before. 

In the bathroom…
Set aside a clean towel and washcloth for each guest.
Fragrant soaps and travel size toiletries in their original packaging (if you have them) will make your guests feel special.  

You may also want to put items like cotton swabs and cotton balls where your guests can see them.
Teresa has a couple of extra robes in sizes of her frequent visitors – (father, brother, best friend).
In the kitchen…
Keep fruit and snacks visible so guests feel free to help themselves.

If your guest is a coffee drinker – make sure you have creamer and sugar.

If your guest is a tea drinker – have English breakfast tea for the morning and Chamomile/herbal tea for the evening.
If your children or pets have any dietary restrictions, be sure to let your guests know so they don't inadvertently cause problems.

Let your guest know in advance if you’re planning on dining out or will be attending a holiday event over the course of the visit. It will help them plan their budget and wardrobe and give them an opportunity to let you know of any constraints they may have.
If your home has any quirks, such as sticky doors, tricks to getting an appliance to work correctly or you have multiple remotes to work the television set correctly, please let your guests know about them.
Our thanks to Kathleen Kuebelbeck for the many ideas she offers in her article, What Every Girl Should Have... for overnight guests
Schedule It! PDF Print E-mail
By Melissa Tosetti
Christmas is nine days away and Hanukkah begins tomorrow!  It's likely you still have dozens of errands and tasks to do before the holidays officially arrive. 

Instead of trying to haphazardly squeeze your to-dos into your day - schedule them. Literally, write them into your calendar to ensure you give yourself the time you need to get the tasks done.  

One of the things I used to always get caught by is wrapping gifts.  Every Christmas Eve I'd scramble to get it done right before walking out the door to go to Paul's dad's for dinner.  A task that should be fun became a stressful chore.  After learning a time management tip from a friend - to block out travel time on your calendar for out of the office events such as lunch meetings, it dawned on me that I could apply the same technique for tasks such as wrapping gifts, holiday shopping and more. That simple habit has made all the difference in the world allowing me to enjoy the holidays so much more!   

For more ideas on how to thrive during the holidays, download a copy of Thriving During the Holidays.  The eBook is filled with easy-to-implement, time and money saving ideas to help you turn the holidays from something you survive, to a time to thrive. There’s no reason why kids should have all the fun during this time of year! The goal of the Thriving During the Holidays eBook is to help you turn the holidays into something you enjoy just as much as the children around you. 
Thriving During the Holidays shows you how to: 
  • Create a holiday budget.
  • Save your sanity and your cash when shopping.
  • Strategies for making holiday travel as smooth as possible.
You will also learn how to:
  • Plan your meals to save time and money.
  • Stay in control of your schedule.
  • Donate more than just cash to charity.
Find out how to save money on:
  • Holiday Cards
  • Gift Wrap
  • Decorations
We also share our favorite:
  • Holiday Websites
  • Shopping Spots
  • After Holiday Sales Strategies
There's also an entire chapter dedicated to tips on how to relax and enjoy the holiday season so much more. 
Thriving During the Holidays is available at the affordable price of just $4.95. To purchase and immediately download your copy, click here: 
Smart Winter Skin Care PDF Print E-mail

As great as it feels to go in from the cold, heaters can cause skin to get dry and flaky.  It's tempting to head to the drug store or beauty counter and drop money on anything that claims it will help.  Before doing that,check out this article from the experts at WebMD: 10 Winter Skin Care Tips

In additon to offering advice that includes items you likely already have at home, it also includes one of our favorite tips for skin care - see a specialist!  A dermatologist can save you hundreds of dollars by suggesting products they know will work for your skin - rather than a potentially very expensive trial and error method.

Save Money, Time & Calories PDF Print E-mail

Slow cookers were made for cold, busy December days. Endless to-do lists and crazy holiday traffic turn the idea of making dinner when you get home into a Herculean effort!  No wonder we tend to go out to eat more the last month of the year.  But going out to eat takes time and effort as well.  It also takes money that you'd probably rather spend on something more important than grabbing lunch or dinner on the go.

If you don't already have one, pick up a slow cooker the next time you're at Macy's or Target - or order one online.  This 6 quart slow cooker by Crock-Pot is programmable.  Place your ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning before work and set the timer.  Walk in the door after work and be greeted by the smell of dinner which is ready to go. 

As for recipes, our go-to website for slow cooker meal ideas is A Year of Slow Cooking

Save time, money and calories this December by getting that slow cooker to work for you. Every kitchen should have one! 



Simple Pleasures of the Holiday Season PDF Print E-mail
By Melissa Tosetti

It's so easy to get swept away by holiday to-dos and must-attends. But what about your holiday want-tos?

If you haven't already, free up a few hours in the next two weeks and take time for the simple, affordable pleasures of the holiday season. Need ideas? Here are a few of our favorites:

Holiday TV
Stay in for the night, make a batch of popcorn and watch a holiday movie and at least one holiday cartoon.

Outdoor Décor
Jump in the car for a tour of your neighbors’ outdoor holiday decorations.

Go caroling. Seriously! Drag your family and friends out to spread some holiday cheer.

Holiday Stories
Read holiday stories to your kids. Don't have kids? Try your nieces and nephews. They will love the attention.

Ice Skating
Nothing will put you in the mood faster than gliding (or sliding) across the ice.

Hot Cocoa
Take a few minutes for yourself and enjoy a mug of homemade hot cocoa. Don't use the stuff that comes in an envelope. Instead, make it yourself with fresh whole milk, a few tablespoons of cocoa and just enough sugar to taste. Marshmallows or whipped cream make a perfect topping.

Remember, you're in control of your schedule. It's important to pencil in the things you really want to do otherwise, something will always get in the way. Don't let it. Make the time to do what you want and you'll enjoy the entire holiday season so much more.
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