Finding Time for Yourself in a House Full of People




For many of us the holidays are a time for family. The in-laws come to visit, family members come from all over and everyone stays for a while. While this can all be wonderful, it can also be stressful, especially if you already have a crowded home. How can you find time to recharge your batteries and stay calm this holiday season? Here are some tips:

  1. Get Out – One of the easiest things to do when you are feeling a bit squeezed is to get out. Go to the store to pick up something for dinner, go to the mall for a last minute gift, or even just go hang out at the coffee shop for half an hour to recharge. You don’t need to tell anyone why you are going. Just say you have to pick up something and you will be back soon.
  2. Shut the Door – Although some of us feel it is rude to leave guests unattended, when it comes to family or long term guests it is a must. You have to have time to yourself or you will quickly grow tired of your guests. It is okay to retreat to your room and shut the door. Taking a long, hot bubble bath, reading a book, or just taking a nap are great ways to get away from everyone for a while so that you can return refreshed.
  3. Plan Activities –Another thing to do that your guests will enjoy also is to plan outings. These outings should be of the nature that you can all scatter and do what you wish. Trips to a local park or sightseeing location, a large museum or zoo, or even a trip to the movie theatre or arcade can allow everyone to be together without being on top of each other. If you don’t have a lot of money everyone can pay for themselves or you can find great affordable options like free or discount days to plan your visit around.

As you can see it is very important to set aside time for yourself when you have a house full of people. Even if your house full is not just there for the holidays, and especially if they are not, you need to set strong boundaries and make sure you get the time you need to recharge. We all have different comfort levels when it comes to being around others. Some of us, extraverts, love it and can handle long periods together. However others, introverts, can’t handle too much together time and need a lot of isolation to regain their balance. If you are a guest be respectful of the needs of others and give them some time to get away without feeling pressured.

Author Bio:

Ken Myers is the founder of & has learned over the years the importance of focusing on what the customer is looking for and literally serving it to them. He doesn’t try to create a need, instead he tries to satisfy the existing demand for information on products and services.







Family Game Night Goes Digital

Family having fun at home using electronic tabletIn a 2013 survey of teens, Pew Research Center found that 95 percent of teens use the Internet and 47 percent of teens own smartphones. One in four teens identified themselves as cell-mostly users, indicating they primarily go online with a mobile device. With this kind of usage, the Internet is becoming a pervasive part of childhood and adolescence.

In this technological climate, how are parents to spend quality time with their child? Despite any animosity you might hold, the Internet can be your friend. You can use the smartphone your children are infatuated with during family game night by downloading some exciting and easy-to-use apps. And, if you do not have a smartphone handy, there are still ways you can download games onto your computer your whole family will enjoy.

Thrilling Gaming Apps for Your Smartphone

While board games have their place, sometimes it’s fun to mix it up by using an iPad, computer, tablet or smartphone. Scrabble is a classic word game that now has a Scrabble App. You can enjoy all the features common to the board game while being able to connect with other friends over the Internet on Facebook. If you want to make this a part of your family game night, there is also a pass-and-play option available, allowing multiple players to compete from your living room. This app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android phones. According to consumer reviews on, this game allows for learning in a fun and self-directed way that is excellent for all ages.

Along the same lines, interactivity knows no bounds in Just Say It!, an app that works very much like the popular board game Taboo. In this multi-player battle of wits, you are given a word which your teammates must guess, along with a series of words that cannot be used as clues. You must race the clock and have your teammates guess more words correctly than the opposing team to win. This app is compatible with both iPad and iPhone.

‘Smart’ Apps for your Smartphone

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, you want to try The Night Sky app, compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android. This app gives you access to encyclopedic knowledge about the stars and allows kids to be able to track satellites and identify constellations with ease. It turns learning about astronomy into a game. Product reviews on indicate this app uses your smartphone or tablet’s internal GPS to track the movement of stars, providing you with accurate, up-to-date data about the universe.

Yes, Computer Games Still Exist!

Apps are also available for download directly onto your computer from sites such as Facebook. Everybody Draws is an app available on Facebook that follows the same basic concept as Pictionary. You create visual depictions of everyday words and others try to guess what you are drawing. This game can be enjoyed either as a family or online. Connect with your Facebook friends and you to play even when you are not around each other.

Another Facebook application, Song Pop, is designed to support single-player use, but can be played as a family, competing against any of the one million users of this game. Song Pop plays snippets from a song from a variety of genres and asks players to correctly identify the singer of each song. Players compete against real-life opponents and the app configures weekly rankings based on your performance. This game is endlessly exciting and new tracks are added as your scores rise.

Ginger Willis

Ginger is a mom and avid reader from the Northwest. She runs a small consulting business from her home and enjoys writing about parenting and social media trends.






Even Swimming Pools Need Beauty Products and TLC

Little girl in swimming poolPeople with light hair who spent a lot of time in the pool as kids will tell you—after a whole afternoon of soaking up the chlorine, you can come out looking like the Joker. Green hair isn’t the only side effect of chlorine over-exposure, though. There are plenty of reasons why you need to keep your chlorine levels in your pool balanced.

Swimsuit Wear and Tear

You spend all spring looking for swimwear that looks good and getting in shape to wear it, so if it falls apart after three laps around the pool, you’re going to be annoyed. It may be the chlorine that’s to blame. According to All About Water, chlorine can seriously shorten a swimsuit’s lifespan. It’s easy to forget that chlorine is actually a corrosive and potentially dangerous chemical, and even when watered down, it can do some real damage over time.


Algae is a problem of a poorly sanitized pool. You can’t underdo it on the chlorine and hope for the best. Proper balance is what matters.

Health Hazards

Here’s a big one: chlorine-related health hazards. Children, especially, can get irritated eyes, itchy skin and swimmer’s asthma (a breathing condition related to chlorine). Check out Pool Wizard for a reference guide to the biggest offenders.

Attain Proper Balance

It’s vital you maintain a proper pH level in your pool. You want to keep your pH level at around a medium 7, with 7.4 to 7.6 being ideal. We recommend an alkalinity level of around 100 to 150 ppm, and calcium hardness of 175-275 ppm.

To get started, buy one of the many products that enable you to test your chemical levels, from electronic testers and kits to chemical strips and liquid testers.

You generally want to add calcium to your pool just once, at the beginning of the season. Chlorine will need to be replenished every now and then, so test your water regularly, and dissolve shock in water before adding it to the pool.

Safety Tips

  • Any time you’re going to add more chemicals to your pool, wear safety goggles, rubber gloves and old clothes, in case the chlorine splashes
  • If you get your calcium in tablet form, do not try to pre-dissolve them; they get hot when mixed with water and could burn you
  • Don’t add shock through your filtration system; it does not mix with chlorine

If you keep your pool clean, you shouldn’t have to drain and refill it more than once every three years. Keep the chemical balance right and clean it regularly, and you can jump in whenever you want.


Alexandra Jones

Alex is a Spinning instructor and grad student in Houston.






4 Creative Uses for Mason Jars

4 Creative Uses for Mason JarsWhether you need charming home decor inspiration or cute gifts for a bridal shower, just reach for a mason jar. They’re endlessly useful!

Fancy Drinks

Stay hydrated during the summertime, and make drinking a refreshing experience by using mason jars as your glasses. Vintage mason jars create that retro feel reminiscent of lazy Sunday afternoons relaxing on a porch swing. Whether you’re mixing up a fruity refresher to sip on while flipping through Better Homes and Gardens or playing bartender for a summer evening soiree, mason jars sweeten the experience. Add sliced cucumber or frozen berries to your iced water. Accent cool ginger ale with sliced strawberries. Put a twist on traditional lemonade with recipes such as Frozen Blueberry Lemonade, Roasted Peach Lemonade, and Blueberry Mint Lemonade. Lemonade with raspberry, strawberry, peach or mango-flavored iced cubes are also a hit. Don’t forget to garnish with a pieces of fruit or striped straws.

Strawberry lemonade in a mason jar

Strawberry lemonade in a mason jar photo from Flickr user Wendy / twodolla.

Rustic Mason Jar Light Fixtures

Create a decorative focal point in your kitchen or dining room by crafting a custom mason jar light fixture. The Cheney’s House to Home blog built a charming mason jar chandelier using DIY ingenuity and electrical expertise. Tools include a drill, wire stripper, wire nuts and screw driver. Supplies include keyless sockets, a canopy and lamp wire. Don’t forget three vintage mason jars too. With a little bit of wiring and light bulb installation, you’ll design a homemade light fixture. Create a canopy of varying lengths and mount to the ceiling. Illumination from the mason jars will give your home that farmhouse coziness and retro ambience.
Mason jar light fixtures photo from Flickr user Alan Levine / cogdogblog.

Mason jar light fixtures

Flower Vase

Adorn those open, bare spaces in your home with an array of flower arrangements that will color your kitchen and decorate your living room. Collect a variety of jars in different sizes, including mason, jelly, apothecary, and wire bale glass jars. Use the various jars as vases for flowers, and group the jars together as a coffee table centerpiece or fireplace mantle decor. To design an eye-catching floral display, arrange five different jars each filled with colorful flowers of varying lengths. Place a couple jar-vases on a stack of books. Also, if you’re in need of whimsical bridal or baby shower favor ideas, go for floral decor. Arrangements of flowers, daisies and baby’s breath in single blue Ball Perfect Mason Canning Jar are charming accents for a bridal luncheon or baby shower. Then give the flowers to guests as favors.

Mason jar vases
Mason jar vases photo from Flickr user Jinx!

Decadent Desserts

As if dessert isn’t wonderful enough by itself, put it in a mason jar. Serve Neapolitan ice cream with chocolate syrup, gelato or classic ice cream sundaes in mason jars as a cool summertime treat for dinner guests. Desserts in jars also make great birthday, hostess or thank you gifts. Involve the kids while making Jell-O lemon pudding and whipping up the meringue for Lemon Meringue Pie — in a jar. Kids will also love to help bake red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting — in a jar. Other “in a jar” dessert ideas include chocolate mousse, strawberry cheesecake and carrot cake. Tie a disposable wooden spoon to each jar with ribbon, make a homemade label for its lid and you’ve made a delicious gift for any occasion.

 Chocolate parfait


Chocolate parfait photo from Flickr user Andrea Goh.
Cover photo of mason jar party favors from Flickr user Janet / Kid’s Birthday Parties.

Maria Mencia

Maria is devoted to contributing to her community’s art program, environmentalism, and being the best mom she can be to her twin boys. Writing is her favorite way to wind down after a hectic day.