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Family Beach Day Checklist

July 12, 2016

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Family Beach Day ChecklistIt’s time for a family beach day!  Grab this Family Beach Day Checklist and start gathering your items to make sure that you’ve got everything you need for a day of fun in the sun with the whole family.

Get the free printable Beach Day PDF Checklist here.

Gear:

  • Beach Towels
  • Umbrellas/ Beach Tent
  • Beach Chairs
  • Water Resistant/Outdoor Blanket

Clothing & Accessories:

  • Beach Bag
  • Swim Suit
  • Cover Up
  • Swim Goggles
  • Floaties
  • Flip Flops/Water Shoes
  • Rash Guards
  • Change of Clothes
  • Hair Tie
  • Hair Brush

Sun Protection:

Kids Playing in Water

  • Water-Proof Sunscreen
  • Lip Balm
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat

Food & Drinks:

  • Lots of Drinking Water
  • Juice Boxes or Other Beverages
  • Snacks (e.g., sandwiches, fruit, cut up veggies, pita chips, hummus, crackers, etc.)
  • Cooler with Ice or Ice Packs
  • Napkins, Plates, Utensils
  • Extra Bags for Garbage 

Pinterest Beach Day Checklist

Entertainment:

  • Beach Toys (buckets and pails, beach balls)
  • Frisbee
  • Reading Materials (books, magazines, tablet)
  • Headphones or Bluetooth Speakers
  • Boogie Boards or Surf Boards 

Extras:

  • Wallet
  • Cash
  • Camera
  • Phone
  • First Aid Kit
  • Hand Sanitzer/Wet Wipes 

Beach Hack Items: 

  • Plastic Sandwich baggies
  • Baby Powder
  • “Fake” Dirty Diaper/Empty Jumbo Sunscreen Bottle
  • Uninflated balloons

That’s all you need for a great day at the shore!  Enjoy your day and let us know how it goes!

Click here to get the free printable Beach Day PDF Checklist.

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at Checklist Parent.  She has made it her mission to empower parents to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, yogi, 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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The Ultimate Time Management Strategy – The 5 D’s

June 7, 2016

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Would you like to find out how you can more easily focus on the important people and activities in your life and easily dispense of the rest?   If so, you will want to learn about the time management system I learned about when I went to a real estate investment seminar in Dallas this past weekend.  You wouldn’t think that this would be the place to learn one of the most simple yet profoundly powerful time management techniques I’ve ever found, but it was.

A speaker named Beth Clifford, a mom and very successful real estate developer, shared this system.  She called it the 4 D’s, but I added an extra D based off of what she said.  I’m calling it the 5 D Method of Time Management. And here it is:

  1. Devote: Figure out what’s really important to do and devote an uninterrupted block of time to it.  Put out the literal or methaphoric “Do Not Disturb” sign and completely focus on the one important thing.#donotdisturbHow do you figure out what’s important to do?  When you’re dealing with a particular area of your life, ask yourself what one thing you could do that by doing so would make everything else easier or unnecessary?  That’s a great question for tasks.  At work, that one thing could be doing client calls or writing that one article.In your relationships, you could ask what one thing  you could do that by doing so would contribute most to making the relationship more loving and intimate?  In your marriage, that one thing could be a date night.  With your kids, it could mean spending time playing board games or reading aloud to them.Once you have it figured out, schedule a time for that activity and keep that time sacred.  No phone calls, social media, e-mails, other conversations allowed.  FOCUS entirely on the task at hand.
  2. Do It:  After you’re done with your Devote Time, there will be myriad other tasks that come to you.  The remaining 4 Ds will help you figure out how best to handle these tasks.The first of these is “Do It.”  If a task comes to your desk and it could easily be handled in 3 minutes or less, just do it.  Don’t wait on it and have it hanging over your head to steal your focus, attention, and brain power.
  3. delegationDelegate It: If it will take longer than 3 minutes and could or should be done by someone else delegate it.  Delegate it to your employee, co-worker, significant other, older child, etc.  Let someone else take care of it and then move on to someone else.  If you do delegate it, make a note to follow up to make sure it’s done though.
  4. Defer It: If it can’t be delegated and will take longer than 3 minutes, defer it until you can better focus on it.  The beautiful thing about focusing on the one thing in devote time, is that when you’re focused on the most important things you’ll realize that many lesser things never have to be done.
  5. Dump It: this is for tasks that don’t have to be done at all.  Just because someone asks it of you doesn’t mean you have to say yes.  Dump the fluff and you’ll find yourself with tons more time!

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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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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I Have Been Nominated for a Liebster Blog Award!

April 21, 2016

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I’m so excited!!! I have been nominated for a Liebster Blog Award!liebster-award

What is the Liebster Award you ask? It’s an award given to bloggers by other bloggers. Award nominees must be blogging for under 2 years and have less than 1,000 followers. It’s a way to connect with other bloggers and share or exchange feelings, advice, confidence, support, experiences or anything you want to talk about or get off your chest. Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

I’m very excited and honored to be nominated for this award!  I want to thank Heather at Silly Kids, Trix Are For Moms, for nominating me.  It means the world to have my blog be recognized as being a Leibster (i.e., sweet, valuable and welcome).  I did a little happy dance when I found out I was nominated.  Check out my happy dance in the video below.  It’s dorky, but I’m ok with that.  I own my inner nerd. 🙂

There are a few guidelines that need to be followed when you are nominated for the Liebster. You have to:

  1. Write a blog post about your nomination, displaying an image of the award.
  2. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the person who nominated you asked you in his/her blog post.
  4. Nominate 5-11 other new bloggers who you think deserve this award, and come up with 11 questions of your own for them to answer.
  5.  List these rules in your blog post for the next nominees
So now that I have completed 1, 2, and 5, I’ll be answering Heather’s questions:
1) Why did you start your blog? 
We (my brother Marc and myself) started this blog as an off-shoot of our iphone app, the Checklist Mom.  This checklist app has been downloaded over 100,000 times and we had this huge list of e-mails.
We realized that there was a huge community of moms/parents out there that wanted to get organized.  When we surveyed our moms, we found that their biggest challenge was finding time for themselves.  This blog was started with that in mind.  Also, because I love writing and sharing stories, I thought I’d use this format to hopefully help those parents out there.
2) What’s your favorite season (time of year) and why?
I live in Los Angeles, where there is not that much difference in the seasons.  You have to get used to the subtleties.  There’s slightly more rain in the winter and days are shorter.  Early summer, you get the marine layer coming in the morning from the ocean so it’s foggy and often cooler at the beach in the mornings then at other times of the year.  We call it June Gloom.  September and October can sometimes be the hottest months.  Weather is strange, but I love it.
With that being said, I love summer best in LA.  The days are longer and more people come out to play. Even though we have beautiful weather all year long, people still hibernate a bit in the winter months.  In the summer we have all sorts of free outdoor concerts and movies and other activities.  It’s really fun.
Outside of LA, in places where there are actually seasons, I love autumn best.  I love when the trees are in full color.  I think I also love autumn because my birthday in in October and I feel gifted and celebrated at that time of year.  Lastly, because the school year starts then and I’m often starting new projects/classes around that time in my business, I love that September always comes with a sense of new beginnings for me.
Wow, what a long answer to a short question. 🙂
3) What’s your favorite subject to write about?
I love writing about thriving.  How to thrive as a woman, how to create thriving relationships, how to raise thriving kids, etc.  I’m a bit obsessed with it (I think in a good way).
4) How do you come up with new ideas to write about?
I created an editorial calendar at the beginning of the year and looked at the holidays and significant events happening for each month.  I have that to refer to.  I also just write about what inspires me and what I hear about in the news.
5) What’s your favorite book? Author?
It’s hard to limit myself to 1.  I will share my favorite 3: The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
6) What’s your favorite TV show?
I don’t generally watch television, but over the holidays I did have a delicious binge on Netflix of Jane the Virgin.  I thought it was hilarious.
7) What kind of pets do you have?
I have a Chihuahua mix named Pinky.  She’s the perfect pet for our family.  My husband wanted a cat, I wanted a dog.  We got a sweetheart of an 8 lb dog that doesn’t bark.  When she wants to communicate she says “meeeeee.”
8) What’s your favorite post that you have written?
My favorite post was “How Being More Selfish Could Make You a Better Mom.”  I got very vulnerable in that post and was terrified to put the story I share out there, but now it’s my favorite post.
9) What is one thing that you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t yet?
One thing that I’ve always wanted to do is visit Antartica.  I came pretty close – I was in Ushuaia, Argentina – that’s the Southern Most City in the world and where many people board the boat for Antartica.  Alas, I didn’t have the thousands of dollars needed to pay for that boat.  I hope to get there one day.
10) Would you rather, fly to the moon? Or, sail the seven seas?
I’d much rather fly to the moon.  Even as a kid I wanted to be an astronaut.
11) What is your inspiration for writing?
I imagine that there is a really overworked and overwhelmed mom who might just need a little bit of advice or to hear the story I’m sharing.  It might help her feel a little less overwhelmed or at least a little less alone.  She is my inspiration.
My questions to my nominees:
1)What gets you out of bed each day?
2)If an alien landed on earth, what would your top tip ‘for living here’ be?
3)What is your ‘happy song’?
4)Do you have a special place real or imagined?
5)What childhood fable, fairy tale or movie stretched your imagination and sticks with you today?
6)What is your favorite type of movie?
7)What is your idea of a perfect evening?
8) What’s your favorite post that you have written?
9) What is one thing that you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t yet?
10)If you could visit anywhere in the world where would it be?
11)As a kid, what did you want to be when you grow up?The-Liebster-Award-pastel
And now here are my Liebster nominations:
5 great blogs and bloggers:
Inez Bayardo of Diary of a New Mommy
Reuben Wadsworth of Wadsworth Longfellow
Luanna Spinetti of Mommy Soul
Check out these great blogs!  And in the comments I’d love to hear your answers to some of these questions too.
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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10 Powerful Questions to Ask Yourself – 52 Checklists Project Week 13

March 30, 2016

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10 Powerful Questions to Ask Yourself

For this week’s Checklist Project, I’m sharing 10 Powerful Questions that I Ask Myself.

I believe the most powerful thing you can do to transform your life for the better is to ask yourself powerful questions.  Most people either ask no questions (generally because they think they know everything already, have no curiosity, or are afraid) or they ask very bad questions.  When you ask no questions, you will stay stuck and doing the same thing.  Ever hear the quote – “if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting”.  If you’re never asking questions like “how can I change or improve what I’m doing to get better results?,” you’re going to stay in the exact same place.  So instead of thinking things like “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” ask “it ain’t broke, but how can I improve it?”

Almost worst than asking no questions at all is asking yourself bad disempowering questions. For example, which of these questions are you most likely to ask of yourself – “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get better?” or “What’s right with me?  How can I hone it?”  Ask yourself those sets of questions and see how they make you feel.  The former tends to shut you down and discourage, while the latter opens you up and inspires.

Successful people ask great questions and/or have people around them who ask them great questions.  That’s one of the things that I most love about coaching.  As a coach my main job is to ask powerful questions of our clients.  When a really powerful question lands the client lights up and says “that’s a great question!”  The question opens up a whole new avenue for them that they never considered and solutions show up.  I want to leave you with ten powerful questions today to open you up.  Sit with them and see what comes up.  Also share the questions with others.  You’ll be thrilled with the transformation that results when you shift the questions you ask yourselves.

Here are my ten powerful questions for my checklist:#52checklistsproject week 13

  1. If happiness were the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
  2. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?  What’s holding you back?  What would it take for you to do it?  
  3. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?  What could you do to truly live more? 
  4. What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
  5. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
  6. What is wanting to be born through you?
  7. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
  8. What could you do to double your income in the next 12 months?
  9. What are you most grateful for?
  10. What’s next? What’s your next best step? 

Ask yourself these questions and watch how they make you fly!  I invite you to share your answers and/or your favorite questions in the comments below.  Make your own checklist of questions and share it here, on twitter or on Facebook with the tag #52checklistsproject.

what are your most powerful questions

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 career choices.  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 Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @thereikicoach.

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Will Watching Unhappy Stories Help Turn Your Kids Into Happy Adults?

February 29, 2016

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will watching unhappy stories help turn your kids into happy adults?Last summer I spent a few days in Copenhagen, Denmark with my family.  There was something about the city and the Danish that I couldn’t put my finger on at first.  Later I realized what it was – everyone just seemed so happy!

My happy kids in Copenhagen

My happy kids in Copenhagen

For those of you who don’t know, for almost 40 years Denmark has been rated as the world’s happiest country by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).  I definitely felt it when we were there.

I’ve long been a student of happiness and a student of parenting, so when I heard of the book The Danish Way of Parenting – A Guide to Raising the Happiest Children in the World, by Jessica Alexander and Iben Dissing Sandahl, I knew I had to get it.  It’s one of my books on the 10 Books To Read in 2016 Checklist.

The premise of the book is that the reason Danes are so happy is due to their upbringing. There are certain things that Danish parents do that lead to their children being such happy adults.

I’m currently in the middle of the book, which talks about 6 major things that Danish parents do that leads to happier kids. One thing in particular really struck me – Danish parents don’t just tell their kids stories with happy endings.  In fact, many Danish stories are tragedies.

Here in the United States we are somewhat maniacal about needing our kids’ stories to have happy endings. I remember an uproar on Facebook when Big Hero 6 came out. One person was calling for an end to kids movies where there is a death. “Why do kids need to be reminded about death?!?” she asked. It’s viewed as terrible to make kids experience sad or tragic stories.

Statue of the little mermaid in Copenhagen. Photo courtesy of Avda-berlin.

Statue of the little mermaid in Copenhagen. Photo courtesy of Avda-berlin.

Hans Christian Anderson, the fairy-tale writer, is one of Denmark’s most famous writers.  Many of his stories had dark endings.  For example, unlike Disney’s Little Mermaid, in the original Little Mermaid, the little mermaid does not end up happily married to the prince.  Rather, the prince marries someone else and she turns into sea foam from sadness.  The Little Mermaid is definitely not the only fairy tale that’s been sanitized for kids: here are some other fairy tales that Disney made into happy endings that are really not very happy at all.

In the United States we feel that children should be spared these darker aspects of life.

According to the book’s authors, “Danes believe that tragedies and upsetting events are things we should talk about too.  We learn more about character from our sufferings than our successes and therefore it’s important to examine all part of life.

According to the authors and to researchers, watching or hearing sad or tragic stories leads to more happiness than watching movies with happy endings because it teaches kids (and adults) to be empathetic and have a deeper respect for humanity.  It makes them appreciate the positive aspects in their own life more.  It helps them to feel more grateful for the simple things in life – things that we could take for granted if we focused too much on the fairy-tale life.

I don’t know if the question I posed in the title is the correct question – “will watching unhappy stories turn my child into a happy adult?”  Maybe the questions are more: “Do I help my child by shielding her from harsh stories?” “What would happen if I allowed my child to watch something sad and tragic and afterwards we discussed how that felt and what she could learn from it?” “What if we could look at a story that’s sad or tragic and find something good or positive from it?”  That’s the Danish Way.  They seem to be doing something right.  Are you willing to try this?

If so, here’s another Hans Christian Anderson story that you can watch with your kids — the Little Match Girl.  Please remember that this story does not have a happy ending.  I watched it with my 7-year old and we had a good talk afterwards.  I’d love to know how it goes for you.

Monick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom, and has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and career choices.  She’s a busy mom of 3, certified life and career coach, yoga teacher and practitioner, 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 Important Tips For A Great Valentine’s Day Date – Free Downloadable Checklist

February 9, 2016

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Ultimate Valentine's Day Checklist

Valentine’s Day is coming up!  We’ve gathered 5 most important tips you need to have the Ultimate Valentine’s Day Date.  In order to save you time, we’ve scoured the internet to put everything you’ll need to create the perfect date for you and your honey in one place, and we created a free downloadable Valentine’s Day Checklist for you.  All you need to do is read below and follow the checklist.

valentineDownload our free Valentine’s Day Checklist here: Click Here to get your checklist.

Here’s our guide to get it all done with ease:

  1.  Find Childcare

Kids are great, but when they’re around romance tends to go out the door.  So, first order of business is to find childcare.

If you don’t have childcare already zipped up, you can go to care.com or UrbanSitter.com to find local sitters that have been vetted by other parents.

2.    Make a Plan: Dinner

The next step is to make your V-Day plans.  Most people choose a romantic dinner out on the town.  If you’re looking for some inspiration or ideas check out Open Table’s Top 100 Most Romantic Restaurants for 2015 to see if there’s a local romantic restaurant nearby for you and your sweetheart.

Lemon Ricotta Strawberry Pie with Poppy Seed Shortbread Crust from closetcooking.com

Lemon Ricotta Strawberry Pie with Poppy Seed Shortbread Crust from closetcooking.com

If you’re looking to stay home and cook a romantic meal, you can check out some recipes from closetcooking.com.  This blog gathered 50 incredibly yummy looking Valentine’s Day recipes.  Check out the link.  You’re bound to find something perfect amongst the group.

Dating Divas     Schedule Another Fun Activity:

If you’d like to do something more unconventional you should check out the Dating Diva’s Top 76 Valentine’s Date Ideas – some are outings and some are for home.

Though we are always happy to have a romantic dinner out, my husband and I like to be a bit more unconventional for Valentine’s Day.  It makes V-Day less pressured and more fun.  This year my hubby and I are doing #31 from the Dating Divas suggestions.  We’re having a yoga date.  The yoga studio where I teach at is having a partner yoga/acro yoga class.  For me that’s fun and bonding.  I can’t wait.

Last year we did something very unconventional too.  We did a wedding proposal flash mob for Valentine’s Day.  If you want to know what that is, you can check out this video below.  Ours was to this same Bruno Mars song, but was in a night club in Hollywood.  We went and had a lovely sushi dinner nearby and then went over to to the club to dance and surprise a very happy young woman.  It was awesome!

3.   Get Spruced Up

I’m not one of those moms that never leaves the house without makeup and her hair done.  I’m whatever is opposite of that.  So, I appreciate (as does my husband) when I get a little dolled up.  Because this is not necessarily my thing, I went surfing on Pinterest to see what I could find.

    Style Hair

I went on Pinterest and searched for “easy romantic hairstyle”  I only searched for EASY.  If you’re like me, that’s all you’ve got time for.  Actually, for the most part these looks were too complicated for me. My go-to upscale style is generally “well brushed.”  However, I found this 2 minute bun that looks doable to me.  I’m going to try it.  Check it out too.

    Find Perfect Outfit:

Red & White Combo from "5 Valentine's Day Outfits You Already Own" on babble.com

Red & White Combo from “5 Valentine’s Day Outfits You Already Own” on babble.com

For the Valentine’s Day outfit, you don’t need to go shopping.  Check out this babble.com article on finding 5 great Valentine’s Day outfits in your closet: 5 Pretty Valentine’s Day Outfits You Already Own. 

    Get New Scent:

There’s definitely something to be said for wearing one of your favorite perfumes for your special date.  If you want to do something extra-special you can get or make a new scent.  If you’re into something natural here’s a great quick and easy recipe for making your own “romantic evening” perfume using natural oils.

4.    Set the Mood

If your date will be at home, you want to set the right romantic mood.

Flowers

Simple but Elegant Romantic Floral Centerpiece by familyholiday.net

Simple but Elegant Romantic Floral Centerpiece by familyholiday.net

Get fresh flowers and make a lovely table centerpiece.  This FamilyHoliday.net site has 27 romantic centerpieces you can make.  They are all elegant, and some of them are particularly simple,.  I love this one pictured here which is just the rose (minus stem)  in simple clear glasses (I think we own these exact glasses – so that’s already a score) with little votives scattered around.

Music

The last step in setting the mood is to get the music.  You can set up a playlist filled with some of your favorite romantic songs.  There are great playlists already on Spotify (you can just do a search for Valentine’s and your favorite genre and I bet you’ll find something).  If you want to make your own, you can check out Billboard’s Top 50 Romantic Songs of All Time.

5. Gifts

If you’re into DIY, you can check out this great post from DIY Joy on DIY Gifts for Men.  Buzzfeed has “23 Insanely Romantic Ways to Say I Love You” with food and/or booze.  The Buzzfeed article gave me some great insights into the working of the male mind.  🙂

If you’re not into DIY and don’t want to stress with shopping, Real Simple has curated 37 Valentine’s Day Gifts for your husband or boyfriend.

That should cover you for the gifts and then you need to get or make the card.  In my house sometimes (ok… pretty much always) the card is my husband’s “present.”  And we think that’s totally ok.  Valentine’s Day is more about the experience of being together and expressing our love for one another in non-material ways.  Though this year, I’m going to try one of those Buzzfeed “love through food” gifts.

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Download our free Valentine’s Day Checklist here: Click here to get your checklist!

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Ok, that’s everything you need to have a great Valentine’s Day date.  The only thing missing is the right attitude.  Don’t take it too seriously and just have fun!  It doesn’t have to be “perfect” to be a perfect date.  Let me know how it goes and/or if I missed anything!

 

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The Ultimate Super Bowl Party Guide & Checklist

January 26, 2016

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The Ultimate Super Bowl Party Checklist

The Super Bowl is coming up on February 7!  The teams have been decided: the Denver Broncos will be playing the Caroline Panthers in Super Bowl 50, and now it’s time for the Super Bowl Party!

What do you need to have a killer Super Bowl party?  We’ve done the work for you.  We have created a video and a PDF checklist that you can print out that will help you get organized and remember everything you need to have the Ultimate Super Bowl Party.  We’ve even curated simple time-saving delicious recipes for the most popular food and drink options.

Keep reading below to find out what you need to have the ULTIMATE SUPER BOWL PARTY!
Click Here To Download the handy Super Bowl Party Checklist

Guest List & Invitations:

-The first thing you’ll need to do is figure out your guest list and invitations. Make a list of everyone you are inviting and gather their e-mail addresses.

-Decide if you want to have the party be BYOB or potluck. Paying for all the food and drink can be pricey, so if you have BYOB or potluck style, this defrays the costs.

Super Bowl Party Invitation from Evite

Super Bowl Party Invitation from Evite

-Send out e-mailed invitations. That’s generally the easiest and most practical thing for a Super Bowl party. Good etiquette says to send out invitations 2 weeks before the party.  Evite is a good site for free e-mail invitations.  

Food:

Photo by: Triple Tri on Flickr

Photo by: Triple Tri on Flickr

Now that you’ve sent out your invitations, it’s time for the most important part of the Super Bowl Party. No, not the Game… the food!  Here are the most popular items, plus some super quick and easy recipes for each one.

The most popular options for the Super Bowl party are:

-Chicken Wings.  Here’s a delicious but EASY and quick Chicken Wings recipe .

-Chili. Here’s a super easy crockpot Chili recipe that’s sure to be a hit.

-Nachos/Potato Chips. Here’s a delicious nacho recipe shore to score you a touchdown: Honestly Yum Super Bowl Beer Nachos Recipe.

Honestly Yum Superbowl Beer Nachos. Courtesy of Honestly Yum

Honestly Yum Super Bowl Beer Nachos. Photo by Honestly Yum

-Dips:

Salsa (here’s an easy and yummy bacon corn salsa recipe.  That’s right, I did say bacon! plus 20 other easy salsa recipes to try),

Hummus (5-minute hummus recipe),

Spinach-artichoke dip (great, quick, and easy spinach-artichoke dip recipe),

Multi-layer dip (here’s a great Mexican Layer Dip that will be the star of any Super Bowl Party), and

Guacamole (did you know that 79 million pounds of avocados are consumed on Super Bowl Sunday?!  Eat your share with this super easy Paleo-friendly Guac recipe).

-Pizza (Domino’s says that Super Bowl Sunday is its busiest day of the year).  The easiest and quickest thing would be to call and order in.  But if you’d like to make your own, here are 10 quick and easy, kid-friendly pizza recipes.

-BBQ: pulled pork, ribs, brisket, hot dogs, hamburgers/sliders

-Subs/Hoagies (Again ordering a sandwich platter would be easiest and quickest or set out sandwich fixings so everyone can make their own.  If you’d like to prepare a hoagie for the group here’s a great classic Italian Hoagie Recipe)

-Healthier Fare: vegetable platter, fruit salad, shrimp cocktail

Desserts:

Peanut Butter Football Cookies

Peanut Butter Football Cookies by Blue Apron. Photo by Blue Apron

Don’t forget desserts, such as

-brownies (Here’s a super easy brownie recipe with only 5 ingredients)

-cookies (easy and festive Peanut Butter Football Cookie Recipe.  It’s always nice to have desserts with football theme)

-cakes/cupcakes (this is a truffle football cupcake recipe  is true to them and that looks delicious, but I won’t lie… it looks like it requires a fair bit of work.  The recipe says it’s only 25 minutes of prep time.  If you decide to do this one, make sure to take a picture and let me know).

Drinks

The next most important ingredient for a Super Bowl party is drinks. And when you think of Super Bowl, generally you think of alcohol.

-Beer: bottles, cans, or keg (if you’re expecting a big group)

-Cocktails: when you’re serving cocktails it’s fun to pair them with the food you’re serving or make drinks based off of the teams playing.  For the latter, here’s a blog post with several cocktail recipes inspired by the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.  I love that there are even Bronco and Panthers’ themed jello-shot recipes.  

-Wine

Don’t forget Non-Alcoholic drinks for kids, designated drivers, and those wanting to take it easy on the booze:

-Water

-Soft Drinks

-Juice/Punch

Coolers/Buckets/Small Tubs to store the beverages.

Bottle Openers:  Have several around so guests won’t need to go hunting around for them and miss the game.

Ice –You need enough ice to fill the coolers/buckets and for drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Buy even more than you think you’ll need.

Table Settings – Plates, Bowls, Cups, Napkins and Cutlery

Serving Platters & Serving Spoons

Image Courtesy of Spaceships and Laser Beams

Image Courtesy of Spaceships and Laser Beams

Decorations: The focus will be on the food, drinks and camraderie, but adding a pop of festive décor will help set the mood.

Some ideas:

-banners and/or streamers

-football shaped balloons

-actual footballs or football jerseys as décor

-decorate using team colors

I’m not particularly crafy, but if you are crafty and into decor check out Spaceships & Laserbeams for tons of ideas and craft projects to make your Super Bowl party look amazing

Enough Seating for All

Everyone should be comfortable and able to see the television. Get extra folding chairs if needed (you can ask people to bring some with them). Also, you can use rugs, blankets &/or throw pillows to make sure that even those who end up on the floor are comfortable

Mini Games for Fun

Side games are a fun way to make a Super Bowl party even livelier.

Games for Adults:

-Betting Games are always a hit.  The Boxes game allows everyone who wants in to put money on a particular square. This game is much more about luck than skill, so anyone (even those who don’t know or care much about football) can enjoy this.

-Prop Bets are other fun ways to get people involved.  A prop bet is a wager that is not affected by the final outcome of the game, but allows betters to bet on all sorts of other things such as: the coin toss result, gatorade shower color, national anthem length, which coach will be shown first after kick-off, which song will the half-time entertainment perform first during the half-time show, etc.  

Another popular form of entertainment during the Super Bowl is drinking games. Some popular drinking games are to drink every time a specific player’s name is mentioned or a particular scandal. In 2015, drinking for every mention of DeflateGate was a popular drinking game rule. Drinking game rules can also apply to commercials or the half-time show (for example, you have to down your drink for every wardrobe malfunction during the show or take a sip for every cute animal shown in a commercial).

If you’re having drinking games, be safe and make sure you task a designated person to stay sober and hold everyone’s keys.

Games for Kids:

You want to keep the kids occupied and happy so don’t forget to get some games for them. To avoid them getting sucked into their screens, you can offer classic games such as twister, board games, musical chairs, or hot potato

You can also set out crayons and coloring books and/or arts and crafts to keep them busy.

Television

Last, but certainly not least you need a television to broadcast the game. Use the biggest television you have. If you have a large crowd and it’s hard to see, you can have more than one television broadcasting the game.

Also, if you decide to buy a new TV this is a good time. There are some of the best sales of the year on televisions leading up to the big game. You can expect to save approximately 19% at this time of year!

If you want a bigger screen, but don’t want to buy a new one renting a large TV or a projector and screen are also options.

 

That’s everything you need to have a great Super Bowl party other than to show up and have fun!

Click Here And Downloadthe Checklist Mom Ultimate Super Bowl Party Checklist to make sure you forget nothing, accomplish everything and have a winning party!

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Gift Wrap Hack – How to Wrap a Gift In Under 30 Seconds

December 23, 2015

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Christmas presents-02If you’re like me, you’ve been spending a LOT of time wrapping gifts these past few days/weeks. Since we’re all about saving you time here, I went searching for a faster way to wrap a gift.

Of course, if you want quick packaging there’s always the gift bag. I personally am a big fan of the gift bag – it’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s reusable. What’s not to love?

Sometimes you want/need to wrap though. So, how do you do it faster?

I trolled around on youtube and found this video – it was a from a Japanese department store worker who could wrap a gift in about 15 seconds. Here’s the video:

I looked at the video and tried to emulate. Woah! I obviously had the wrong method and wrong size paper. My package was a mess. I ended up taking about 5 minutes and having a pretty messed up looking package. I started over and went with my traditional slow method.

So I went back to youtube and found this video. It explains the Japanese Department Store wrapping style and I thought I saw where I went wrong.

I studied this video and went frame by frame and tried and tried and still my package just looked like this.  Not pretty.  My Attempt at 15 Second Gift Wrapping

I gave up and used that same sheet of paper and wrapped the traditional way.  It took me about 1 minute and came out like this:

2015-12-23 10.13.27

In the end trying to save those extra seconds really ended up wasting me minutes, but it was worth it if it could have helped some of you moms out there save some extra time.  I’d love to know if you’ve tried the “Japanese Department Store” gift wrap method and if you had better luck than I did.

As for me, I’m going out to buy more tissue paper and gift bags.  I think I’ll leave the super speedy gift wrapping to the department store gift wrap workers.Gift bags

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