Blog Posts by Yahoo! Contributor Network

  • 8 Kitchen Cleaning Shortcuts

    Keep your kitchen effortlessly clean with these easy tips.

    If your kitchen is one of the biggest problem areas in your home, you'll need a cleaning strategy that won't eat hours out of your day! This high-traffic area that can accumulate a lot of dirt, debris, and germs over the course of a single day. Keeping those floors and countertops sparkly clean might feel like an impossible mission, but there are some simple, low-maintenance ways to keep the entire area pristine, organized, and free of germs.

    Here are eight cleaning shortcuts to help you get that kitchen in great shape, fast:

    1. Steam-clean the microwave. One of the easiest ways to clean the microwave is to put about three or four wet paper towels inside and heat them on high for about five minutes. The steam from the towels will make it much easier to loosen up grime and food particles. Just wipe the inside down with a kitchen cleaner and you'll be good to go.

    2. Disinfect the garbage disposal. This is one of my favorite tricks for keeping the garbage disposal clean and

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  • 5 Ways to De-Germ Your Child After School

    Make sure to disinfect your kids' hands after school.

    From the moment your child leaves your front step, to the moment they return, their hands touch an innumerable amount of objects. Bus seats, door handles, coat racks, desks, playground equipment, shared school supplies, library books, lunch trays, drinking fountains, musical instruments, computer keyboards -- and don't forget about the restroom. If the possibilities of winning the lottery were as good as contracting germs in a school, let's just say we'd all be filthy rich. So what can you do about it? How can you protect your child (and family) from these nasty predators before they invade your home?

    As a teacher, I have learned a few tricks along the way that help keep me and my students healthy. Here's what you can do when they get home.

    1. Throw away or clean water bottles each day. This may seem simple and common sense, but eco-friendly people often just refill their bottles and continue to use them. I'm all for saving money and the environment, but some of my students Read More »from 5 Ways to De-Germ Your Child After School
  • 5 Tips for Managing Your Family's Bathroom Time

    Spread out bathroom time to avoid morning struggles.

    "Stop banging on the door! I'll be out in a minute!" I can't believe that my oldest daughter is only eight years old and I've already heard these words uttered in my home. The kids have gotten pretty good about sharing their toys and books. We haven't, however, managed to share those bathrooms with quite as much ease. So, how do we manage our family bathroom time?

    Spread out.

    We're lucky enough to have two and a half bathrooms in our house, but that doesn't mean that we aren't juggling showers, teeth, hair, and time in front of the mirror, especially with a family of five (four of whom are girls). We've found that spreading out in the mornings helps us be more efficient. The kids brush their teeth and do their hair downstairs in the half bathroom. My husband gets ready for work in the master bath. I share with my husband or get ready in the kids' bathroom. This way everyone is able to get out the door on time and we aren't all on top of each other.

    Take it out of the

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  • 7 Fall Beauty Essentials

    Make sure you have eyebrow gel on hand this fall.

    Fall's most-coveted beauty looks include a lineup of bold and dramatic hues, dark and moody color palettes, and luminous, flawless skin. Make sure you're well-prepared for your seasonal makeover with products that will help you become an autumn beauty in a flash. You'll need to modify your skincare and beauty routine for the season, and can also pick up some double-duty products to create those looks with ease.

    Here are seven beauty essentials for fall:

    1. Dark-colored lip gloss. This is the season for the bold lip and if you're not too keen on wearing lipstick this season, go with a lightweight gloss in a darker color. Just line your lips with a matching color and fill then out with a burgundy, dark cranberry, or purple lip gloss.

    2. Smoky eyeshadow palette. Create high-drama eyes this season with a purple-based smoky eyeshadow palette. An eyeshadow duo or quad that helps you create a layered look with pinks, purples, and greys will be perfect for fall. Wear the color wet

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  • Making After-Dinner Chores Fun

    After dinner chores can be fun!Do your kids groan at the mention of evening chores? After a long day of school, extracurricular activities, homework and dinner, chores are the last things on our kids' (and our) minds. But - as all parents know - chores teach responsibility, service, and duty, and work must be done before fun can be had; right? Think again! By making after-dinner chores fun you can get right into family fun time while still completing your daily duties. Here are some ideas:

    1. Timed races
    - Assign everyone their duties, then set the clock. Kids can either race against each other to see who finishes their chores first, or see if they can beat a pre-determined or past record time.

    2. Assembly line - To make clearing the dinner table fun, try a family assembly line. Stand in a row between the table and the kitchen, then pass items to each other one at a time. Make up cadences and chants to repeat as you methodically clear the table.

    3. Silly sing-a-long - Music makes any activity more fun! Take turns

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  • When to Transition Your Kids from Baths to Showers

    Making the switch from baths to showers depends on your child.
    Bath time is a soothing nightly ritual for many parents and children, and can also be a great way to play in the suds. But at some point, your child will likely want to see what showers are like - and you'll probably be ready to let him. How do you know, though, when your child is ready to safely move from the bath to the shower, and how can you make this transition easy for everyone?

    Your best bet is to follow your child's lead, experts say. Some kids are eager to move on to showers as young as the toddler years, while many elementary-aged children are still perfectly happy filling up the tub for their nightly soak. When my son was 3, he was happy to exchange his baths for the chance to stand under the showerhead. But my friend's child, who is 7, isn't quite ready for that step. Since there's no "set" age for when a child first showers, take into consideration your own kid's personality, interest level and maturity for a hint about when this could happen.

    If your child does

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  • Create a Relaxing Family Bathroom

    Organization is key to a relaxing bathroom.

    Whether you have one bathroom or three, the last thing you want to do when you're in there is feel overwhelmed with clutter or messiness. You don't need your bathroom to be as comfortable as your family room or bedroom, but don't want it to feel like a doctor's office waiting room, either. What can you do to create a relaxing bathroom the entire family can enjoy?

    Utilize organizational tools.

    Baskets, buckets, and bins are the perfect organizational tools for your bathroom. Keep cleaning products together (and locked away from little hands), store makeup in one bag, and place a basket by the toilet for (ahem) reading material. The more compartmentalized you keep things in your bathroom the more organized and relaxing it will be.

    Keep clutter out of sight.

    You're storing items in bins and baskets, but where are you placing them? To the extent possible, a relaxing bathroom is clutter-free. You should strive to keep items in medicine cabinets and under the sink. If you

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  • 10 Beauty Items Every Mom Should Carry in Her Summer Bag

    Protect your hair with a hat in the summer sun.With summer knocking hard on our doors, the desire to lay around on a sandy beach rises along with the mercury. Whether you are visiting your local beach or heading for a summer getaway, you'll need a well-equipped beach bag to make the most of your day out. The following summer must-haves allow you to strut in style and have you looking your best all day.

    #1: Sunscreen
    When it comes to summer essentials, sunscreen remains a staple. Although available in both lotion and spray forms, the former is a personal favorite. Lotions are easier to apply and more effective when it comes to those hard-to-reach edges, especially around the eyes. Choose a gentle, lightweight, oil free sunscreen, preferably with SPF 30, to help you cruise through the day. Water resistant sunscreens are recommended if you plan on hitting the water. As sunscreens dilute and wear-off easily, experts advise touch-ups every couple of hours.

    #2: Tanning oil
    For the perfect sun-kissed body, you many choose to use

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  • Fun Ways to Reward Your Child After a Sports Season

    Treat your little athletes to a movie night.The soccer/basketball/football/baseball season is finally over. Your little lacrosse star rocked it out on the field this year. Before you say goodbye to field hockey and move on to the next sport, take some time to reward your child for a job well-done with these seven season finale activities for kids of all ages.

    1. Professional sporting event

    Did your child just finish playing tee-ball? Head out to a minor or major league game to celebrate. No matter where you live, you can typically purchase inexpensive tickets for mid-week, daytime games. Your son or daughter will love watching the pros play and imagining themselves out on the field.

    2. Season-specific team party

    Get together with the rest of the team to celebrate the end of a successful season. Remember, fun is the name of the game, especially for young kids. A pool party is perfect for the summer months, while a sledding excursion may be fun when there's snow on the ground.

    3. Award ceremony

    While some leagues

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  • 3 Benefits of Youth Sports Teams

    There are several benefits of youth sports.When I first talked to my son about playing basketball in the winter league, he wasn't too sure about it because he told me he was bad at basketball when they played in gym. We didn't discuss it much after that until I took him to his first game one cold December morning. He continued to go to basketball every Saturday and each week he improved. Never once did he complain or say he didn't want to go. He had a good time and participated fully although many of the other boys were more advanced. As a parent, I was happy to open his eyes to his own potential.

    Here are three benefits of enrolling your children in youth sports leagues:

    1. Learning - Sometimes kids get caught up in being as good as their friends. They are afraid they won't be able to do things right. My son learned that although basketball isn't his strong suit, he could still get out on the court and learn. By the end of the season they kids were playing actual basketball games and not just doing drills. He learned that

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