Friday, August 22, 2014

Calling All Peanut Lovers!

There will plenty of fun for all the family at the 2014 Annual Bluffton Boiled Peanut Festival 
 Saturday, August 23rd from 12 - 5 pm
on State of Mind Street, Bluffton, SC!

Activities include:

  • A Peanut Cook Off & Peanut Dish Competition
  • Boiled Peanut Eating Contest
  • Ms Peanut and Little Goober contest (for the under threes)
  • Live Music
  • Vendors providing refreshments along the Promenade
  • Kids activities including a bouncy house & more!

For all the details and to sign up for the Cook Off go to the event website at

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Do you or your teens have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning?

Here's a neat trick if you or your teen need some extra motivation to get up. I’m doing this on an iPhone, but I’m sure other smart phones have similar capabilities.  

Determine how much time you need to comfortably get up and ready and even have breakfast.  Lets say you need to be out of the door at 8 am and it will take 45 minutes.

Set four separate alarms on your iPhone - turn off snooze and turn the volume to the highest setting.
iPhone Alarm Feature

1st Time: 7 am 
Label:  “Good Morning Beautiful, 
nearly time to get up” 
Sound: Something easy on the ears
like Chimes or Slow Rise

2nd Time 7.15
Label: “Get up now if you want a
shower & breakfast”
Sound: Still gentle like Ripples
or Waves

3rd Time 7.30
Label: “No time for breakfast!”
Sound: Attention getting from the
Classic menu like 
Old phone

Final Time: 7.45
Label: “Only time for a lick and a promise now, GET UP!”
Sound: Something annoying from the Classic menu Bell Tower

Play around with the alarm labels and sounds.  If you are still having trouble try putting the phone in an empty mug, as it amplifies the sound!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Planning a Weekly Dinner Menu for Your Family

Mean Planning Template
Why plan ahead?   
  • It Saves Time - at the grocery store because you have a shopping list and at home because you know exactly what you are cooking every night.
  • It Saves Money - You buy what you need and what's on sale.
  • It Saves Waste - You use everything up that you have in the fridge and freezer.
  • It Reduces Stress - Saving time, money and waste in itself reduces stress.

What you'll need
  • Your calendar or schedule
  • Access to your fridge, freezer and pantry
  • Grocery store weekly flyer, online or paper copy.
  • Recipe cards or cookbooks.
  • Note pad & pen
  • Attitude - Put on your Domestic Diva crown!

Here's How
Using the template that I have designed, fill in the top line of boxes Monday - Sunday with your families plans for the week around dinner time.  Will you be eating out, working late, coming from an after school activity? Is it someone's special day?  This will establish what kind of meal you need to prepare, from none at all, a crock pot meal you can start in the morning, a freezer to oven meal or a special treat for someone.  Ask the family for requests, then try to work them in, if not this week, then next. If someone has a birthday, make their favorite

Next, check in your freezer to see what main ingredient you have in terms of meat, fish and vegetables.  Same goes for the fridge, what needs using up? Write this down in the boxes provided.

Decide on meals you can make with what you already have and fill in the appropriate daily meal plan box by choosing which day it makes sense to make that meal.  

Weekly Flyer

How many more meal ideas do you need? Check your local grocery stores weekly savings flyer (available online and in paper print - offers usually run from Wednesday thru the following Tuesday).  Look for savings in the fresh meat, fish and produce sections first.  Try to vary the type of protein each day by selecting a meat or fish not already featured on your weeks menu.  

Family Treasures!
Still need meal ideas? Go through your recipe cards or cookbooks for inspiration or to be reminded of a dish you haven't made in a while.  Once you have decided on a meal for each day, check your pantry and fridge for any other ingredients you will need to make them.  Now you plan is complete, write your grocery shopping list.  Add additional items you need (see grocery list below)

Reminder to get foods out of the freezer!

Share with your family What's for Dinner by posting the weekly menu on a dry erase board in the kitchen.  

Tips for a speedy supermarket trip

  • Never leave home without : Your list, Re usable bags, Your Loyalty card
  • Write your shopping list in the order groceries are displayed in your store, or like with like.
  • Shop the edges of the supermarket first - Deli, Meat, Fish, Dairy, Fresh Fruit and Vegetables. Buy the essentials first before moving into the aisles, so you won't be so tempted to buy unnecessary products.
  • Stock up on sale and BOGO (buy one, get one free) deals, for items you use regularly, if you have room in your budget.  
  • Download your grocery store app and link it to your loyalty card to get e-coupons for further savings in store.  
  • Let your children know before going into the store, that they can earn a treat at the end of the trip, if they have behaved and have been helpful.  
  • Consider letting them choose the cereal or cookies for the week. (Albeit from a list of products you approve of). Give older children their own list of items you know they can find and reach.

Grocery List - Check weekly flyer for sale items

Friday, August 15, 2014

Want a good reason to purge your shoe collection?

Your old shoes could be someones first pair ever.

From August 16 - 30
Trade in your new, used and unwanted shoes for special discounts at the Outside Hilton Head retail location, right here on Hilton Head Island, to benefit the non-profit organization Soles4Souls.

“Customers are encouraged to bring in donations of new or used unwanted shoes, and in return, receive special discounts on in-stock footwear in the store. Merrell Footwear and Outside Hilton Head fund the program’s overhead. Donated shoes are distributed through the non-profit organization Soles4Souls.”

Location:  The Plaza at Shelter Cove, 50 Shelter Cove Lane.
Call (800) 686-6996 or visit

To find out more about the organization Soles4Souls and to find a shoe drive near you, visit

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Er, kids, before you go, help me with my End of Summer To Do List, please :)

Thank you kids, for your help!

My kids are leaving soon to head back to college.  In the beginning of the season we cleaned out the garage and checked over all our beach and pool equipment and toys, then never gave the garage another thought, until now.  It’s been pretty much a dumping ground for bikes and beach chairs and so what, it was summer.  While I have the extra hands to help, I want to have a quick tidy up, purge and hose down.  It won’t take long to do now, if we all chip in.  If and when we have to bring our outdoor furniture in, the garage will be clean and organized for us to do so.

....... followed by this!
This is what's for supper!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Donate Your Summer Paperbacks! Buy Cheap Textbooks!

Summers Paperbacks

Would you like to find a new home for the books you read this summer and buy cheap textbooks? Rather than putting your summer paperbacks on your (already full) bookshelves, take a moment to consider if you will ever read them again. Gently used books are in demand, if you can just find the right home for them.  

When asked most people would suggest:
  • Selling them online.  
  • Exchanging them with your friends.  
  • Donating to local Hospitals, Hospice and Assisted Living Facilities
  • Donating to Thrift Stores and Charity Shops
  • Donating to local libraries

For a far reaching solution, you might be interested in

An organization that sells used books online in order to donate books worldwide, raise money for literacy programs and libraries and recycle books keeping them out of our landfills.

“Better World Books uses the power of business to change the world. We collect and sell books online to donate books and fund literacy initiatives worldwide. With more than 8 million new and used titles in stock, we’re a self-sustaining, triple-bottom-line company that creates social, economic and environmental value for all our stakeholders.”

Textbooks: Save up to 90% when buying used textbooks. Plus get free shipping!

"With about 60,000 textbooks on our website, reducing the price of each and every one of them is a serious undertaking. Fortunately, we had the great foresight of building an advanced AI to do the number crunching for us, and bring you the best new and used textbook prices on the web.
But that's not all, even the smallest book order you place with us helps unlock reading materials for schools around the globe who otherwise wouldn't have them."

They offer free shipping, world wide, to buyers and donors alike.  Just fill in the information to download a free shipping label.

The numbers are impressive.  As of August 2014 they have donated over 13 million books, raised over $18 m and re used or recycled over 140 million books!

Check out their website to find out how it all began and the different ways you can share your books and make a difference!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

It’s still summer but domestic diva’s are always ahead of the game.

Multi tasking!
Got a Phone? Okay, lets schedule some necessary maintenance calls.  The kids will be back at school/college very soon (here in SC anyway). Visitors will finally go home, tourists will leave and our neighbors will return.  We had a house full all summer and it shows.  I have a few things on my list that I need deal with and all it takes is a phone call (for now).  Schedule the appointments one or two a week for the end of August throughout September, now you have fewer bodies at home during the day.

  • Carpet cleaning/floor polishing
  • Car service
  • Window Washing/Gutter cleaning
  • Heating Maintenance
  • Exterior Painting
  • Hour Washing/Driveway Power wash
  • Replace Pine Straw/mulch

  • For my friends north of Virginia, add:
  • Pool Winterization/Closing
  • Lawn Sprinkler Winterization

Did I miss anything?  What’s on your list?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Are you getting the best deal from your service providers who maintain your yard, pool, pest control and cleaning?

How much should you be paying?

We all did the leg work once, when we researched, interviewed and hired our service providers, but when was that?  How do you know you are getting the best bang for your buck? Taking a moment to review each service and the cost, not only ensures that you are getting the best deal, it lets your providers know that they need to be competitive to retain your business.  

Talk to friends and neighbors, to see if they would happily recommend whomever is working for them.  Call the competition to get quotes.  You have the option to go back to your vendor and ask them to improve their price and/or include additional services.  Its not a personal thing, it’s business. If you can reduce your monthly yard service charges, you have the option to spend the savings upgrading your plantings.  Your landscaper still gets your money, but you get more for it!

With your pest control service, are you getting a discount for paying for your annual contract up front? Why not? Better your money in your bank than theirs.  Compare how often they visit and if they charge for additional calls between scheduled maintenance to deal with a problem.

Hire a service and keep your sanity?

How about the housework?  Compare the cost of a cleaning service (who provide all their own cleaning products) to a single housekeeper.  Often times a service is more flexible if you need to change your cleaning day.  

When I had four children at home all the time, I really appreciated weekly help with all the cleaning and laundry, in fact I couldn't have done it on my own.  I told my husband, it made me a better mum. If I had had to clean the house from top to bottom to see it messed up within 15 minutes of the kids getting home from school, we would of had less harmony in our home and more yelling!  I needed someone who could spend the day at my house, so between us, we could get through all the laundry cleaning, organizing and ironing.  

As our children grow, so our needs changed.  I no longer have to change five beds and five sets of towels, only one, so I no longer have a housekeeper, but if I did I would be on a bi weekly schedule for sure.  I would also consider a cleaning service now, because they send two or three people and they are in and out in a couple of hours tops.

Breakfast, they say it's the most important meal of the day.

No Time for Breakfast?

If you know the mornings are not your finest hour, set the table the night before and set the coffee maker on a timer. Cold cereal with milk and a glass of juice is quick and easy to provide in the morning, but gets boring.  I passed along some ideas to 
Always Active Athletics and they have put together an article with some great ideas!  

Check it out

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

It’s not too early (or crazy) to order your firewood.

Just add red wine!

Ah, the glow of a wood burning fire, in the home or in the fire pit.  It’s a sign of the changing seasons, some comfort, as the summer fades and the days get shorter.  You want to be ready and spontaneous for when that day arrives, which is why this crazy lady has chimney sweeping and ordering firewood on a To Do List in August!

 I spoke with a local company Carolina Morning Firewood
  "We are the only producer of kiln dried firewood in the Lowcountry, perhaps in South Carolina.  We hold certificate #1, the first issued, by the SC Department of Plant Industry, for certifying that our kiln dried firewood meets USDA standards for treatment to kill bugs and mold for shipment out of the state, and we ship to both other states and one foreign country.  We are also a large supplier to the restaurant industry in the Lowcountry and Florida as they like kiln dried wood as the wood burns hotter.  Finally, our customer base also includes a number of hotels and home owner associations in the area as well.  We actually start calling our prior customers in late August to get residential deliveries started in September as it gets pretty crazy later in the year when the residential business is piled on top of our commercial business.  Our residential service area is most of the Lowcountry, from Savannah to Charleston".

They will also deliver and stack the wood on your property!  

It may be time to have your chimney inspected and swept.  Scheduling this now will avoid disappointment later! You can check out the residential rates for chimney inspections and cleaning on Carolina Morning Firewood's website.. A one stop shop, my kind of vendor!  

So, I'm not crazy after all as they suggest you order for delivery in September, before their busy season starts!.

check out Carolina Morning Firewood

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Schools open in a few weeks - But before we book our Champagne Brunch .....

Fabric Bins, Fun, Lightweight, Not Expensive!

A New School Year!

For some, it’s a relief to have our little (and not so little) ones back in school/college and we welcome the fall routine.  For some, it’s a time for first’s - First day in kindergarten, middle school, high school, college, senior year etc.  It’s always busy and as much as we try to remember everything, something will always be last minute.  So, to avoid a catalogue of last minute chores, I’m starting the back to school countdown.  It already started in SC and GA last weekend with tax-free shopping.  Now we have purchased new items we need to make room for them in the closet to avoid over crowding. Take a look at uniforms, after school activity kits, shoes, sneakers and light jackets.  What fits?  What needs replacing?  

Time to be organizing, donating, and gifting!

When organizing a youngster's closet think small; small bins, small stacks and light weight baskets so that children can find what they are looking for without making a huge mess.  Label the bins or have your child draw a small illustration, to make locating items easier and have your little one involved.  Put toys and books on the open spaces or in baskets to make clean up fast and friendly. If your children share a space,  make a custom area in the closet for each child, using name signs or color coding hangers and bins.   

Where To Find These Bins!

  1. Amazon, Fabric Drawer
  2. Walmart, Storage Bin

(P.S. - hold on to the unwanted shoes for a special event I'll tell you more about on August 15th - it's worth it!)

If your child does not have a uniform to wear, consider putting outfits together and labeling them Monday-Friday to save time and stress in the mornings.  You can buy dividers likes these on line and personalize them with the days of the week!