Aug 06 2014

Manage Back-To-School Stress with these Tips – The House Plan Shop

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Category: Miscellaneous

School Bus StopWhen it is time to head back to school, preparing your kids for the upcoming school year can be stressful. Below are some tips to help you remain stress-free as your family gets ready for the new school year.

 

  1. Routine is key. – Get everyone on a schedule and find a comfortable routine that works for your family. Children are comfortable with routines because they know what is expected of them and what will happen next. Stress-free kids equals stress-free parents. Additionally, consider asking your kids for their input when making the schedule. By adding their input, you’re kids will be more cooperative when it comes to the daily routine.
  2. Shop with a plan. – When it comes to buying back-to-school clothing, only buy what your kids really need rather than overbuying. Determine what each child has outgrown and purchase only the clothing items needed to fill in the gaps. You’ll spend less time shopping and less money on clothing that isn’t necessary. Additionally, when buying school supplies, shop from the list provided by the school/teacher for each child. There is no need to buy items that are not on the list. This will help keep your budget in check.
  3. Get organized. – Getting ready for school each morning will go more smoothly if you take some time to get organized before the first day of school. Designate a space to store backpacks, jackets, etc. If your children put all of their belongings in the designated space when they come home from school, everything will be easy to find in the morning. Also, create a plan for packing lunches. If you children buy lunch at school, distribute lunch money as part of the daily or weekly routine. If they take lunch form home, pack lunches (or let the kids do it) and place them in a designated area each morning, so the know where to find them before leaving the house.
  4. Eat breakfast. – We’ve heard it a thousand times, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Eating breakfast before everyone heads out the door will curb hunger, boost energy, improve mood and help everyone focus throughout the day. Breakfast will provide plenty of energy until lunchtime, and when the kids are happy and in good moods, you’ll be less irritable and happy too.
  5. Take a break. – Parents often spend so much time taking care of others that they do not take care of themselves. Schedule “me time” each week and stick to it, whether that means going for a weekend jog or sleeping in on Saturday morning, when your happy, rested, and relaxed, it will help you take care of others with a smile.

 

 

 

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Jul 29 2014

Recipe: Summertime Strawberry Lemonade – The House Plan Shop

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Category: Recipes

Strawberry LemonadeDon’t let the dog days of summer drag you down. Kick back, relax, and enjoy a tasty glass of strawberry lemonade. This cool drink recipe is one the whole family will love!

 

Summertime Strawberry Lemonade

 

Ingredients:

3 cups cold water, divided

2 cups frozen sliced or whole strawberries, partially thawed

½ cup fresh lemon juice

½ cup sugar

Ice cubes

 

Preparation:

  1. Place strawberries in a blender or food processor container with 1 cup water. Cover and blend until smooth. Add remaining 2 cups water and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into a large pitcher.
  3. Stir in lemon juice and sugar. (Add more sugar if necessary to taste.)
  4. Pour into ice-filled glasses.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

 

Servings: Approximately 5 1-cup servings.

Prep time: 15 minutes

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Jul 17 2014

Featured Colonial House Plan: Elegant and Simple – The House Plan Shop

Colonial House Plan, 027H-0169What’s old is new again. The elegant simplicity of this Colonial house plan will never become obsolete. Stunning details like the treatment of the windows and gables, plus the sturdiness of a brick exterior lends to its historic appearance. George Washington didn’t sleep here only because you haven’t built it yet. If he did, he would find plenty of room with four bedrooms on the second floor. He would be impressed by the modern interior, beyond the convenience of indoor plumbing, which by the way includes two full baths and laundry. Whether dining on mutton at the kitchen food bar or the dining room table, or warming himself at the great room’s fireplace, he would be at home with the warmth and coziness of this two-story home plan. What a great place to begin your own history.     

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Jul 08 2014

Recipe: Easy Baked Beans for Your Summer Barbecue – The House Plan Shop

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Category: Recipes

Baked Beans

It seems like everyone has their own recipe for tweaking canned pork and beans. But in case you don’t, this easy recipe is a good one to get you started

 

Baked Beans 

½ to 1 pound of bacon

1 onion chopped

2 16 ounce cans of pork and beans

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup ketchup

3 tbs of prepared yellow mustard

1 tbs of lemon juice

 

Cook the bacon. Cut it into pieces and set aside. Add the chopped onion to some of the bacon grease and cook until it is soft. In a large bowl, mix everything but the bacon. Put the mixture in a baking dish. A Dutch oven works great. Top with the bacon and cooked covered in a 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes.

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Jun 17 2014

Lawn and Garden Tips for Dealing with Summer Drought – The House Plan Shop

Sprinkler

The summer sun is high in the sky. As the temperatures soar, Mother Nature decides to hold back on rain. Your grass, garden, and trees are beginning to suffer. Below are a few tips for keeping your green space green throughout the summer.

Mulch
Did you know that unmulched soil can lose up to twice as much water as mulched soil, due to evaporation? Three to four inches of mulch around your plants will not only reduce soil temperature and keep moisture in the soil, but it will help to smother those pesky weeds that want to steal any available water. As a bonus, organic mulch will break down in the soil building up its organic content and preventing compaction. That gives your soil a better chance to soak up water for your plants use. When mulching around trees, pull the mulch back a bit around the trunk to allow air to reach it.

Water
It is best to water in the morning when the humidity is high and the temperature is cooler. Less water is lost to evaporation this way, and it prepares your plants and lawn to face the hottest part of the day without wilting. In the heat of the day, water evaporates faster causing you to use more water to get the job done. Also, water droplets on the plants work like a magnifying glass for the sun and could cause “sunburn” on the leaves. Watering too late in the day doesn’t give the plants time to dry properly and could promote fungus growth. Since shade is so important in keeping down the temperature of your lawn, don’t forget to water your trees. To help the water reach deeply to the roots, drill holes 24 to 30 inches deep around the base of the tree and fill them with compost. Water your lawn and trees slowly to help the soil absorb the water. This will also help to prevent water loss through transpiration which is a way that grass and plants “sweat” through their leaves. Finally, be mindful to deal with pests that will sap your precious plants and lawn of their strength.

Conserve
Plants use about one inch of water from the soil per week of the growing season. Use a rain gauge to estimate your watering and listen to the weather forecast to decide when to water. A soaker hose will help allow the water to soak in slowly without runoff.  Allowing your lawn to grow taller will help retain moisture by preventing water loss through transpiration. Consider directing the downspouts from your gutters to flow toward your trees or shrubs. Or even better, collect rainwater that flows from your roof into a barrel to use on a not so rainy day.

Keeping these tips in mind will help your plants, lawn, and trees stay a healthy green all summer.

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