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Fourth of July BBQ Checklist

June 28, 2016

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The Ultimate 4th of July BBQ ChecklistThe Fourth of July is coming up!  Are you planning on having a party?  

If so, we’ve got the ultimate checklist for you to make sure you’ve got everything you need handled. Just follow this list and enjoy your shindig with less stress, less mess, and much less fuss.    

TWO WEEKS BEFORE

  • Make guest list and send out invitations – for a casual affair like a 4th of July BBQ, e-mail invitations are fine.

WEEK BEFORE

  • Enlist help. You will need assistance with cleaning, bringing dishes, manning the barbecue, serving drinks, etc. Figure out who can help with what. And many of your guests will offer – to help set up, bring a side, or clean up. Take them up on it and add what they are doing to your list!
  • Clean the house. Top to bottom. Yes, the week before. This may seem like it’s a bit ahead of schedule but if you do a big clean ahead of time, the day before your BBQ you’ll only need to wipe down your kitchen, the surfaces guests will see, and the bathrooms guests will use. [Unless you live in my house, where within 12 hours, the house looks like it’s never been touched. ;)]
  • Confirm Guest List. Make calls or send e-mails if you haven’t heard back from people you have invited.
  • Decide where you’re hosting your party.
    • Make sure you have enough seating and shade.
    • If it’s your backyard, schedule when you will mow the grass, set up tents, etc. Also make sure you have a contingency plan in case of rain.
  • Plan your menu. Consider how many people you expect and what food you’d like to serve. Make lists of what you have, what you need, and any other necessary items Items you’ll need
    • Meats for the grill (e.g., burgers, hotdogs, ribs, salmon)
    • Buns
    • Vegetables for the grill (e.g., corn, bell peppers, zuchini, eggplant)
    • Side dishes (e.g., baked beans, guacamole, potato salad, cole slaw)
    • Chips & Dips
    • Desserts (e.g., ice cream, cupcakes)
    • Drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
    • Plates
    • Cups
    • Napkins
    • Cutlery
    • Table cloths
    • Serving platters
    • Serving spoons
  • Decorations. Decide which decorations, if any, you’d like. Decorations can be as simple as red, white and blue napkins and table cloths and decorated cupcakes.
 A FEW DAYS BEFORE
  • Do your shopping. Unless there’s an item you need to buy fresh the day of the BBQ, picking things up ahead of time will save you stress.
  • Confirm Your Serving Dishes. Match up your many to any cooking/serving dishes you will want to use. Missing something? Borrow or buy it now.
  • Pick Your Outfit. You don’t want to be trying to figure this out as your guests ring the doorbell. Keep in mind you want to be relaxed and comfy.
THE DAY BEFORE
  • Set up. As much as possible. Lay out your serving dishes, set up tables and chairs, and put up any decorations your heart desires.
  • Do a Last Minute Tidy. Wipe down surfaces, and make sure guest bathrooms and party areas are neat.
  • Buy Ice (or have tap someone to buy ice for the day of the party)
  • Cook and prep any items that can be done in advance  
    • Make your pasta or potato salads.
    • Shuck your corn on the cob.
    • Make your dips.
    • Marinate your meats and vegetables.
    • Bake your desserts but leave the icing for the day of the party so it’s fresh.
  • Create a music playlist.  Great music always helps set the perfect vibe.  Organize your playlist so that when guests come, all you have to do is hit Play. If you don’t like having to make your own, you can find lots of great ones pre-made on Spotify.
TWO HOURS BEFORE
  • Last Minute Prep. 
    • Cut up your veggies,
    • Put chips in their bowls,
    • Set up drinks in coolers with ice.
    • Frost any deserts that need to be frosted.
AN HOUR BEFORE
  • Glam up. Shower and get ready before your fabulous guests arrive.
PARTY TIME
  • Party! Put out appetizers and greet your guests. Make yourself a cool drink and relax.
  • Have fun! You’ve worked your booty off to have a great party. Enjoy it!

4th of July BBQ Party Checklist

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Parent Facebook Page and on twitter as @monickpaulhalm.

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Happy Mother’s Day – Free Mother’s Day Checklist

May 4, 2016

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Free Printable Mother's Day ChecklistMother’s Day is coming up this weekend.  Do you have everything you need to make Mother’s Day a special event?  Or are you a mother who’d like to make sure that the people in her life know how to make this a special day for you?  If so, you’re in luck.  We’ve compiled a free checklist you can use to make sure it’s a special Mother’s Day.  You can access the Mother’s Day Checklist on your iPhone or iPad using the Checklist Mom app.  It’s one of the suggested lists under the “New Mom” icon.  Or print out our free printable Mother’s Day checklist for yourself, leave it in a conspicuous place, or just forward this post to your special someone.

 

Mother's Day Checklist

Mother’s Day Checklist

1. Cards

2. Flowers

3. Gifts

  • Shop & Order Early — Remember gifts bought online or through a catalog will take time to ship. Give yourself plenty of lead time or budget for rush delivery.
  • Make a Gift – You can choose to DIY and make a special gift. This is especially great to do with kids. Give yourself enough time to gather materials and make the gift.
  • Wrap Gifts — Wrap gifts and attach cards ahead of time. For added impact, place Mom’s gifts in the living room or on the breakfast tray for Mother’s Day morning.

4. Activities Out

  • Make Reservations — Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants, so plan and reserve in advance. Also resorts, amusement parks, hotels and bed & breakfasts fill up fast as well. Make any reservations at least a week in advance.
  • Buy Tickets — Any event on Mother’s Day will probably be well attended. If you plan on taking in a play, movie, concert or sporting event make sure to purchase tickets in advance.
  • Plan on One of Mom’s Favorite Activities — Whatever your special mom loves – whether it’s antique fairs, motorcycles, zoos, or anything else – bring her/allow her to indulge in that for Mother’s Day. If you have outdoor plans, check the weather and have alternate plans in mind.

5. Fun at Home

  • Movies— Get and watch fun Mother’s Day themed movies at home.  Check out our blog post – 10 Great Movies to Watch on Mother’s Day for ideas.
  • Games — Does Mom love games? If so, Mother’s Day is a great opportunity for some family fun and togetherness, in game mode!

6. Cooking for Mom

  • Recipes — If cooking for Mom, make sure you’ve selected the recipe or recipes you like and have the recipe on hand.
  • Groceries — Do your grocery shopping the day before (or make sure there will be time Sunday morning to go out and get what you need).
  • Clean Up Afterwards — Make sure the chores are done (kitchen and dining area clean), and mom can relax.

7. General Preparation

  • Check In with the Family — if you’re planning to visit any family (e.g.,  grandmothers, aunts, friends) phone several days in advance to confirm plans.
  • Have Kids Finish Homework — Minimize any potential worries that might get in the way of a fun and carefree Mother’s Day, and make sure homework is complete by Saturday.
  • Have Cameras Ready — Take plenty of pictures to remember the special day.

That’s our Mother’s Day checklist! What are your plans for Mother’s Day?  Let us know in the comments and please share this post with anyone who you feel could use it.

 

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom and stepmom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @thereikicoach.

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5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day with Your Kids

April 19, 2016

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5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day With Your KidsEarth Day is coming up this Friday and it’s a wonderful opportunity to teach your kids about taking care of the environment.  This is something that I’m really passionate about teaching my kids.

I’m not sure why, but people in the part of Los Angeles where I live really litter!  Sometimes I’ll even see people driving down the street and they’ll throw their trash out the window!  It drives me and my husband nuts.  Once he went to talk to someone who’d just dumped a bag of trash on the street and asked him “Why did you throw that on the street?”  The guy responded “Because the street cleaners come and pick it up.”  My husband replied “They only come once a week!”  The guy just shrugged his shoulders and walked away.  Grrrr.

I was raised that you NEVER littered.  You picked up after yourself and you left a place at least as clean as you found it.  Because I live around so many people who obviously were not raised that way, I’m obsessive about making sure my kids have more respect for their neighborhood, city, and world.  Litter is just one of the problems challenging our environment and it’s up to us and our keeps to make sure that the world is around (or we humans are around) for future generations to keep enjoying it.  Earth Day is a wonderful time to bring that message home to our kids.

Towards that end, I gathered 5 easy ways to share Earth Day and the importance of nature with your kids.

  • 800px-MCAS_Yuma's_Environmental_Department,_CDC_assist_kids_with_Earth_Day_event_130425-M-HL954-163PLANT SOMETHING: Go into the garden or even a potted plant for the house.  Plant a tree, flowers, herbs, a vegetable garden.  Allow your kids to play in the dirt and get their hands dirty.  Then you will all enjoy watching your plant(s) grow and maybe eating of the fruits of your labors.
  • CLEAN SOMETHING: Earth Day is a wonderful time for a clean up.  Grab the kids, some rubber gloves and some trash bags and pick up trash from the beach, creek, city streets or anywhere else you find litter.  If you go online, you will likely find organized clean-ups in your area.
  • LEARN SOMETHING: Take the kids to a museum (natural history museum or science museum), zoo, or farm to learn about nature.  You can also take them on a nature hike and point out the birds, animals, and plants.
  • RECYCLE SOMETHING: bottlesGather up and return bottles and cans to a recycling center (you can even do something fun with the money you get back).  You can also create a recycled material craft.  
  • REDUCE SOMETHING: Teach your kids about the importance of reducing.  Turn off the lights.  Save on gasoline and bike or walk somewhere to commute.  Visit a Farmer’s Market and save on packaging by buying straight from the farmers.

Those are some ways I came up with to celebrate Earth Day with your kids and teach them to be good stewards of our natural resources.  How are you going to celebrate Earth Day?  Let me know in the comments.

How will you and your kids celebrate earth day

 

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom and stepmom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @monickpaulhalm.

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5 Must-Do Tax Preparation Tasks That Should Not Be Ignored!

April 6, 2016

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tax 1040 snappaHere we go again!  Tax season for most Americans is in full swing here in the US and taxes are due on April 18th (you have 3 days of reprieve this year).  Are you stressed out trying to gather everything you need to do your taxes yourself or have a tax professional help you?  Are you trying to figure out what you need to gather for tax preparation?

Screen shot 2016-04-07 at 12.05.38 PMTax Preparation Checklist If you are like me and have a tax preparation checklist handy to use, planning and preparing your taxes becomes a much easier task and relieves worry.  Our “Tax Preparation” pre-done checklist is available for FREE this week on the Checklist Mom app under the “Managing Money” template. As an additional perk we have also prepared a free downloadable PDF Version for you to make sure you have everything you need handy. Click here to get it now

Read below to find out my five must-haves that I’ll make sure to have checked off my checklist and available for my accountant:

  1. Get the tax preparation checklist to avoid forgeting something important.

    Checklist Mom Tax Preparation

    Identification – It’s important to have your driver’s license, social security ID number, and any additional identification details you might need for the rest of the family. The bottom line is that you will need this to have your identity verified by your tax professional and government authorities.

  2. Copy of previous tax filing documents – Your previous year’s returns will help your accountant make calculations faster and easier. If your accountant has done your taxes in the past, they should have that handy.
  3. Income statements – If you’re employed, you’ll normally receive an income statement (W-2)  from your job. If they forget to give it to you, you’ll need to remind them of it before the deadline. If you’re self-employed you’ll need to bring evidence of income received through the year.  It’s important that you bring a profit and loss statement in the case you have a business.
  4. Expenses and Donations – Certain expenses are deductible or eligible for tax credits.  Bring your mortgage interest statements. In case you, your spouse or your kids are students then bring along your education expenditures and your student loan interests. If you have any of the above expenditures, it’s likely that you might qualify for credits when you file your returns.Your charity and church donations as well as doing things for the greater good can be tax-deductible, therefore, reporting them might certainly lower the amount you’ll be filing.  So bring receipts of these donations.
  5. Dental, medical and optical expenses – High medical expenses are really good deductibles. Make sure to check them off of your checklist as your compile your prescriptions, health insurance and medicals bills to share with your tax professional.

These are only a few of the things that I’m addressing on my checklist, click HERE to download our more comprehensive Checklist Mom “Tax preparation checklist.”  Using a checklist will ensure that you are better prepared to provide your accountant with all the details he or she needs to accurately file your tax documents .

Click Here And Download our Checklist Mom “Tax Preparation Checklist.”

Wishing you the best of luck during tax season and many happy returns!
Marc Paul

Marc Paul - Checklist Mom founder

Marc at 7 years old.

Marc Paul is the CEO and Founder of Checklist Mom. Marc is married to Efua (a child psychologist) and father of Cleo, age 7, and Noah, age 5.  Marc is a technology entrepreneur who is passionate about organization, parenting and creating better tools to enable moms and dads to be the best that they can be so that they and their families can thrive. Marc is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur, real estate investor and a technology geek. You can colntact Marc at [email protected]

 

Disclaimer – Remember that our Checklist Mom blogs and checklists are designed to make you aware of, and to remind you of, options you may have available to you. They are put on this website with the understanding that Next Generation Mobile Inc. (TheChecklistMom.com) is not engaged in rendering legal, medical, tax or financial advice,

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7 Tips for an Award-Worthy Oscar Party

February 25, 2016

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snappa-1456469149The Academy Awards show is coming up on Sunday February 8!  We can’t wait to see who wins!   And what better way to enjoy and share the excitement than being with your good friends. Have a killer Oscar party and invite them all. 

What do you need to do?  Don’t stress, we’ve done the research for you.

We found this great Oscar planning party article that we want to share with you, “Oscar Party Ideas: 7 Ways To Throw The Perfect Party” by Jim Donnellythat is simple and to the point. 

Donnelly highlights the following ideas for the party:

1. Invite Lots of Friends: Life gets busy. That’s why a big event like Oscar Sunday is the perfect opportunity to see all those friends you don’t see enough. Mixing in different social groups is a cool way to introduce strangers to each other, and add to the liveliness of the party. 

2. Guess the Winners: Get ballots for all your attendees and see who can guess the most correct winers for the different categories.  Need a ballot? Check out the full list of Oscar Nominees!

Marc & Monick in their Oscar Party finest

Marc & Monick in their Oscar Party finest

 3. Dress to Impress: You don’t have to go overboard, but it is definitely fun to get all gussied up like the stars for just one night. You can even roll out your own red carpet on the front porch to add to the ambiance. Another fun activity is to dress up like your favorite movie characters.

4. Have a Feast of Food: This does not need to be crazy.  If you want to save time and money, do a potluck thing. You can even stick with the theme and offer awards for Best Appetizer, Best Libation, Best Entrée and Best Dessert! Here are a few recipe ideas to get you started. Try some Chocolate Peanut Butter Puffed Rice or a Blood and Sand cocktail!

5. Award Your Own Oscar Statuettes: You can get little plastic ones by the bagful at your local party store or on Amazon. Hand them out as parting gifts as your guests start filing out after the Best Picture is announced, or you can give them as gifts for the Best Food Awards (see above). This is a definitely memorable favor, no one will soon forget.

Champagne bottle party favors with tuxedo and dress and mustache and lipstick and scissors and pipe cleaner www.berries.com/

Champagne bottle party favors with tuxedo and dress and mustache and lipstick and scissors and pipe cleaner.  Photo courtesy of www.berries.com

6. Decorate the Place: Red carpets at the door, champagne bottle favors, special ballot envelopes, movie posters on the walls are all very special touches. Simple streamers and balloons will work, too.  What’s important is to capture the glamour of the big event.   

7. Watch the Oscars Live: It’s the reason you’re all there, right?We suggest you start the party early to enjoy the stars as they come down the red carpet (one of my favorite parts).  Enjoy the glamour and the show, but more importantly, enjoy the company, food and fun!  

You now have 7 ideas on how to throw a super Oscar Party. We’re sure you’ll come up with many more on your own.  If you do, please share them in the comments below!

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