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Back to school, back to healthy meal planning

Posted By Meal Five, Friday, September 1, 2017
Updated: Friday, September 1, 2017

   
   

The back-to-school ads are in full swing, and we’re weeks away from packing that first lunch and loading everyone on the bus. It’s back to the back-to-school routine. Heavy sigh. In some ways, it’s hard to get back to the routine. In other ways, you look forward to it.

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For working couples with kids, summer is particularly challenging because while the kids have the summer off, the parents don’t. Summer becomes a matrix of summer activities and camps strung together with a prayer that they will all be dependable and fun for their kids. The only “vacation” in summer vacation for mom and dad is usually the last 2 weeks of August because you can no longer sign your kids up for anything. Everything is closed or shut down to get ready for the next school year.  

For couples who have one parent at home, summer is a driving nightmare. Getting your kids to and from their activities at the height of road construction season is a serious test of your patience. There is no opportunity to focus on anything because every 45 minutes you need to be someplace you’re not and nothing really ever gets done. 

As the summer goes on, the kids go to bed later and get up later, and by mid-August you need to do the equivalent of getting them adjusted to a new time zone. The only vacation for you is putting the little darlings back on the bus in the fall. 

But no matter what the situation, it seems that by the time the school year comes around, everyone is ready to get back to it. The routine.

The transition to the back-to-school routine is almost as serious as the New Year’s resolution. We focus on better work/study habits, we try to eat better and improve our overall performance. It’s new pencils, new shoes and a new chance to do better. Even mom and dad see it as an opportunity to improve things.

One of the things that changes big time when we get back to the routine is our eating habits. Gone are the days of lunch at 3 and dinner at 8:30 or 9:00. Now we need to think ahead and plan so dinner can happen when it needs to happen.

Meal planning can be a hard routine to get back to after 3 months of barbecues and burgers, but it’s a very important core value necessary for your kids to feel and do their best. There is no way to avoid “you are what you eat” when it comes to good performance in and out of school.
 

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Here are 4 meal planning strategies that can help get you back in meal planning mode or get you started for the first time.

  1. Design your meal plan based on the weather.
    Don’t know where to start? Try the weather. Is it going to be 70 degrees and sunny or 50 and raining? Pick simple recipes that fit the situation. Be sure to include healthy snacks and lunch stuff. Make your list, go grocery shopping, and you’ll have what you need to execute the plan.
     
  2. Design your meal plan based on your schedule.
    Be realistic about how much time you have each night to cook. If you’ve got 3 kids in 3 sports, you will have to make something that can be done start to finish in 30 minutes or less so you need to prep the meal early so you can finish it faster. Choose simple recipes (5 ingredients or less), grocery shop, and you are set for your week.
     
  3. Divide and conquer meal planning.
    Split forces. One person does the grocery shopping, one person cooks, the kids do the dishes. It takes effort to make good food and everyone needs to pitch in. If one is running the kids around to activities, the other is getting the meal done. Every meal that gets made goes through the same 3 steps: planning, shopping and cooking. The more you plan ahead, the easier it is to cook. Ask the kids to help with the planning. Find a simple cookbook that has simple, healthy meals that are done in 30 minutes and let them pick what they want. If you give them a say in what is going to be on the table, they will have a better attitude about cleaning it up… sometimes.
     

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  4. Use meal planning tools.
    There are lots of resources out there that can help you get a good meal on the table. Technology is your friend. Find a meal planning website that offers healthy video recipes for fast and easy learning. Subscribe to one that does all the healthy meal planning for you. Many sites are surprisingly inexpensive and simplify the process so that you can get dinner on the table consistently.

Having a healthy, tasty dinner most nights does not have to be hard. Don’t let the concept of home cooking intimidate you. You don’t need to get fancy or complicate it. Instead, go for simple and fresh. If you buy good ingredients, most of the work is done for you. A great dinner can be a sautéed chicken breast, fresh blanched broccoli and a good baguette. No need to overthink it.
 

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It’s important to have a healthy relationship with food, and unfortunately, that is difficult in America. We have too many choices and a lot of them are bad. The only way you really know what’s in your food is to prepare it yourself. Develop the habit of meal planning and create a back-to-school resolution to make the habit a priority.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to share it with a friend, please do. At MEAL5.com, our mission is to help people improve their eating habits and their health with simple, easy recipes and healthy meal plans. They are offered in Quick Cooking Videos that are easy to learn from. Thank you for taking time to read this article. Eat well. Get smart. Love life.

Source from MEAL5.com
 

   
 
 

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Tags:  cookies  event planning  health  healthy 

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Planning Baby's 1st Birthday

Posted By Jesnine Erillo, Thursday, August 11, 2016


Your baby’s first birthday is a huge milestone. It is a milestone not only for your kid, but for you, as a parent. Take time to appreciate your accomplishment and throw a party in honor of surviving your first year of parenthood!

 

Planning a baby’s first birthday can be overwhelming at times, but after reading this blog, you might gain a bit more confidence on your ability to make the party run smoothly.

 

Plan

As obvious as it might seem, you do have to plan – and we mean plan a lot. You should not just randomly choose a location and invite everyone you know the day before the event, then expect everything to go perfectly. Depending on how grand you want your event, you should start planning for the party about two months ahead of time. You are going to need enough time to select and finalize a venue. Additionally, you have to order cupcakes, a cake, tableware, party supplies, decorations, party favors, and gift bags. It takes time to decide which flavor you want and which baker to order from. If you want to have a theme, choosing the theme will take some time and getting supplies to compliment your theme will be a hassle if you do not plan ahead.

 

Guests

Give yourself enough time to send out invitations to your guests and finalize RSVPs. You want to avoid inviting too many people. That way, you can avoid overwhelming the baby (and yourself). It also helps to keep the costs down. Acknowledge the fact that you might need some help on the day of the party. It is okay to ask for help. Maybe hire a babysitter to help you whilst you host the event. Or if you prefer, ask one of your guests to help. Certainly, anyone would love to spend some time with an adorable baby.

 

Activities

The children at the celebration will probably be very young. It is a good idea to give them some activities and games to do. Perhaps you can dedicate an area for the babies to play with some toys. Then place some chairs surrounding the area for the parents to sit and relax while they watch their children. You can also prepare some games and prizes for the kids. Giving the big kids something to do is a good way to prevent them from bothering some of your older guests.

 

Relax

Even though a baby’s first day is a milestone, do not feel bad if you would prefer to have a small celebration with just your immediate family at home. Your baby’s first birthday does not have to be the biggest event ever. You will have plenty of other opportunities to throw extravagant celebrations for your child. After all, the first year of parenthood is incredibly difficult with having to stay up late nights and constantly needing to change diapers. It makes sense to want to relax a bit rather than stressing over a giant party. The important thing is you make sure your child knows you love them. In the end, a small celebration can be just as memorable as a big one.

 

Tags:  baby  birthday  first  party planning 

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DIY Party Decorations

Posted By Jesnine Erillo, Tuesday, August 9, 2016

When planning a party, your expenses can add up very quickly. With having to pay for everything from food to chairs, it is a good idea to look for ways to save some money — especially if you are on a tight budget. One easy way to save money is by making your own party decorations.

 

Rather than spending a hundred dollars at some party supply store, you can reuse the household items you have lying around to make some cool décor. These creative, DIY decorations will add a creative flair to your event and will make your party a hit!

 

Red Plastic Cup Party Light String

For this gorgeous DIY, you only need a few supplies: a drill, plastic cups, and holiday lights. Most of you will probably already have these three items somewhere tucked away at home. However, if you are missing plastic cups or holiday lights, you can most likely buy some at your local department store and still save a fair amount of money! While this is just a simple modification to your holiday lights, it looks so much more stylish.

Make it here: Red Plastic Cup Party Light String


 

Recycled Magazine Party Decorations

Most of us probably have multiple magazines at home that we have barely even touched. Let’s not put these magazines to waste! We can recycle those magazines to make chic party decorations. This DIY is so simple to make that you can even have your kids help out. If you are looking for something cheap (relatively free), easy to make, and tasteful in appearance, then this DIY is definitely for you.

Make it here: Recycled Magazine Party Decorations


 

Simple Spiral Hanging Decoration

These spiral decorations look stunning and are incredibly simple to make. They are perfect for any occasion. As complex as they might appear, these decorations are surprisingly easy and quick to make. All you need for this DIY is a piece of paper, a knife, a ruler, a cutting mat, and a pencil. After you gather up these supplies, you are good to go.

Make it here: Simple Spiral Hanging Decoration


 

Remixed Paper Spiral Star

One variation of the simple spiral hanging decoration is the remixed paper spiral star. These spirals are just as easy to make but look all the more intricate. Like the original simple spiral, these do not require a shopping trip to Michaels just to make. You most likely already have all of the required materials at home. Despite the ease that goes into making this decoration, many of your guests will be left impressed by your artistic abilities.

Make it here: Remixed Paper Spiral Star

 

Tags:  decorations  diy  party 

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What to Expect on Your Wedding Day

Posted By Jesnine Erillo, Monday, August 8, 2016

 

Many of us have probably dreamed of our wedding day since we were children. Now the big day is coming to a close. Sure, you might be aware of what usually happens at a wedding. Certainly, there will be gowns, tuxes, cake, vows, and kisses. However, there are more to wedding days than just the ceremony. Here are some things that you should be prepare yourself for that you might not expect.

 

Surprises

As many other people might have told you already, there will be some surprises at your wedding. It can be something small like losing that hairclip you wanted to wear. At the same time, it can be a much larger dilemma. Nevertheless, it is your wedding day, and it will still be memorable by the end of the day. Prepare yourself for some curveballs. It is definitely a good idea to consider hiring a day-of coordinator to help you out. When you look back, you probably will not care about the little things that did not work out. Ensure everything you get to do everything you want to do, otherwise you might regret not being able to get to do it in the future.

 

Nervousness

Your wedding day will be a huge milestone in your life, so do not be surprised to be feel a bit overwhelmed by everything going on. Almost every bride has gotten some nerves before they walked down the aisle. After all, it will be one of the biggest moments of your life. Something you can do to help with your nerves is to carefully choose your bridesmaids. You want your bridesmaids to be your sisters or lifelong friends, not someone you that you do not think can handle you in your worst state. Your bridesmaids should be able to help you in even the toughest situations. In case you do get some last minute jitters, your bridesmaids should be capable of calming you down and providing you comfort.

 

Little Moments

Given the previous two things, your wedding might seem like a more nerve-racking event than ever. However, another thing you should expect on your wedding day are lovely, little moments. While the entire day might be lovely, some of the most memorable times from your wedding are the ones you will least expect. Perhaps the moment you will keep looking back on in the future will be the time your husband whispered comforting words in your ear. If you are lucky, these little moments will be eternalized by candid pictures taken by your wedding photographer.

 

Tags:  bride  expectations  wedding 

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Top 50 Party Songs

Posted By Jesnine Erillo, Friday, August 5, 2016

 


The music you play will either make or break the party. If you decide to play “Baby” by Justin Bieber on repeat for three hours, the vibe of the party will probably start to die down. At the same time, playing a playlist full of classical music probably won’t get the crowd dancing either.

These party songs are essential in pumping up the crowd and easing the awkward tension. Playing these songs at your next event will surely make your party a hit.


  1. Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas
  2. Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO Feat. Lauren Bennett & Goon Rock
  3. Low (Apple Bottom Jeans) – Flo Rida Feat. T-Pain
  4. Boom Boom Pow – Black Eyed Peas
  5. Dynamite – Taio Cruz
  6. Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield
  7. DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love – Usher Feat. Pitbull
  8. Give Me Everything (Tonight) – Pitbull Feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack, & Nayer
  9. Just Dance – Lady Gaga Feat. Colby O’Donis
  10. Fire Burning – Sean Kingston
  11. Tik Tok – Ke$ha
  12. Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees
  13. OMG – Usher Feat. Will.I.Am
  14. Sexy And I Know It – LMFAO
  15. Poker Face – Lady Gaga
  16. Hey Ya! – Outkast
  17. California Girls – Katy Perry Feat. Snoop Dogg
  18. On The Floor – Jennifer Lopez Feat. Pitbull
  19. Shots – LMFAO Feat. Lil Jon
  20. I Love Rock And Roll – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
  21. Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-A-Lot
  22. Jump On It! – Sir Mix-A-Lot
  23. Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice
  24. Thriller – Michael Jackson
  25. Raise Your Glass – Pink
  26. Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 Feat. Christina Aguilera
  27. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
  28. Sandstorm – Darude
  29. Teach Me How To Dougie – California Swag District
  30. Sexy Back – Justin Timberlake Feat. Timbaland
  31. Yeah 3x – Chris Brown
  32. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
  33. Stronger – Kanye West Feat. Daft Punk
  34. This Is How We Do It – Montell Jordan
  35. Play That Funky Music (White Boy) – Wild Cherry
  36. We Found Love – Rihanna Feat. Calvin Harris
  37. We No Speak Americano – Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP
  38. Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) – Beyonce
  39. Another One Bites The Dust – Queen
  40. U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer
  41. Club Can’t Handle Me – Flo Rida Feat. David Guetta
  42. Bust A Move – Young MC
  43. Hey Baby (Drop It To The Floor) – Pitbull Feat. T-Pain
  44. Footloose – Kenny Loggins
  45. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  46. Twist And Shout – The Beatles
  47. Y.M.C.A. – The Village People
  48. Macarena – Los Del Rio
  49. Cupid Shuffle – Cupid
  50. Cha Cha Slide – DJ Casper

Tags:  music  party  songs 

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Most Exotic Places to Get Married

Posted By Jesnine Erillo, Friday, August 5, 2016

 

 

There are numerous locations where someone can get married. While you can just tie the knot at the church down the street or maybe just elope at a nearby registry office, some people are considering distant places with gorgeous scenery.

 

Imagine saying, “I do” in front of a naturally beautiful backdrop with the whistles of birds joining the choir. Or reciting your vows whilst being surrounded by glamourous architecture and a gorgeous sunset. If you need help finding these exotic wedding locations, then you should definitely read on.

 

Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India


Many little girls have dreamt of getting married in castle. Well this is the next best thing: getting married in a palace. Oberoi Udaivilas is a 5-star hotel that resembles a pristine palace that anyone can imagine a princess living in. Having your wedding here will make you feel like royalty.

 

Belmond Hotel Caruso, Ravello, Italy


At the Belmond Hotel Caruso, you can stand at the edge of a glass-like infinity pool overlooking a breathtaking view. Ravello is known for their iconic cliffside gardens. A wedding here would be filled with beautiful sites.

Chateaux Vaux-le-Vicomte, Maincy, France


France is known for being a romantic country. Chateaux Vaux-le-Vicomte is a historical setting located in a 1,200 acre park. It is yet another venue that will make you feel like a queen. If you decide to get married at this location, you will definitely feel like royalty.

 

Laucala Island Resort, Fiji


Laucala Island Resort looks like heaven on earth. This resort perfectly balances tranquility and romance. If you are one of many people who would prefer a beachside wedding venue, then Laucala Island Resort is definitely a venue to consider. It is filled with swaying palm trees, green plants, and clear waters. This location is perfect for those of you who want to get away.

 

Tags:  exotic  marriage  venue  wedding  wedding venue 

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What to Expect at a Quinceañera

Posted By Jesnine Erillo, Friday, August 5, 2016

 

A quinceañera, also called fiesta de quince añosfiesta de quinceañeraquince añosquinceañero or simply quince, is a celebration on a girl’s fifteenth birthday that marks the transition from childhood to womanhood. If you have been invited to a quince and you are unfamiliar with what usually happens, do not worry — here is what to expect.

 

Mass

Many times, a quince will be preceded by a mass. If there is a mass, you should try to attend. It might be considered offensive if you decide to ignore the mass in its entirety. Whether you do or do not share their beliefs, you should treat the religious ceremony with solemnity and reverence. If it is your first time attending mass, just try your best to pay attention and go with the flow.

 

Attire

At the quince, the celebrant will most likely have on a bright, large, and extravagant dress. You should plan on wearing something elegant and formal. You should certainly avoid dressing too casually. At the same time, you want to avoid overdressing. You do not want to end up taking the limelight away from the celebrant by wearing an even brighter, larger, and more extravagant dress than her.

 

Gift

You are not necessarily required to bring a gift to the quince. However, often times, it is expected of you to bring a gift anyway. It is like most birthday parties where you would traditionally bring the birthday celebrant a gift. If you do plan on bringing a gift, keep in mind that you do not need to buy anything too expensive — just make sure your gift is appropriate.

 

Celebration

The father of the celebrant will dance with his daughter in their first waltz. Then, a group of damas (girls) and chambelanes (boys), or The Corte de Honor, will perform a waltz during the celebration. Most people will dance at the quince. However, if you prefer not to, you do not have to. You will not be looked down on upon simply because you did not want to dance. The celebrant will not be dancing the entire time either. She will probably occasionally walk around in an effort to entertain and make the guests as comfortable as possible. You might not get the opportunity to spend a lot of time with the celebrant, but remember to greet, congratulate, and wish her a happy birthday. 

 

Tags:  quinceanera 

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Choosing Entertainment for a Wedding Reception

Posted By Jesnine Erillo, Thursday, August 4, 2016
 


The entertainment at a wedding reception determines the vibe. If your entertainer consistently misreads the crowd, it would not be surprising if the party dies down quickly. Here are some steps you can take to insure you have great entertainment.

 

DJ vs Live Band

The age old question: do you want a DJ or a Live Band? Decide which one you would prefer to have at your wedding. While some DJs might be cheaper and have a wider range of music to play, some people prefer having a live band because you can enjoy just watching them perform.

 

Listen to Samples

Stake out the talent. It would be a good idea to ask the DJ you are considering for some samples. You should ask the live band you want for some videos of their prior performances. Do not just decide whether you want to hire the entertainment solely based on their resume. You have to determine whether or not you are going to enjoy the entertainment. The best way to determine that is simply by listening to them yourself.

 

Ask Questions

When you are in the process of actually hiring the talent, make sure you ask all of the proper questions. For example:

  • Do you do this full-time? — You want to know if they will be reachable when you need them. Otherwise, you might end up being surprised with their voicemail while they are working at their other job.
  • Do you have references? — With a list of references, you can find out from other brides how the entertainment was at their wedding receptions.
  • Can you learn new songs? — If you have any special requests, you want to know if your entertainment will be able to meet it. 

 

Make a Contract

When you are hiring the entertainment, you want to make sure that they are willing to provide a written contract. The written contract should include the start and end times, cancellation policy, refund policy, food-and-drink policy, total fee, overtime rate, and a list of songs you want and do not want to be played. In case you have to cancel the band, you want to know if you will be able to get your deposit back. If the reception lasts longer than expected, you should find out how much the band or DJ is charging for overtime. This contract helps both you and the entertainment.

 

Read the Fine Print

You want to avoid being surprised by additional charges. Make sure you read the fine print to see what equipment the band or DJ needs that you might have to pay extra for. 

 

Tags:  entertainment  wedding  wedding reception 

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Casual Wedding Attire

Posted By Christian Muniz, Tuesday, August 2, 2016
 

The invitation says “Casual Dress Attire’ and you don’t necessarily know what that means. Casual wedding apparel can be very mystifying. While this type of dressing sounds the most relaxed, it can also be the most open-ended and most frustrating. Consider the wedding venue being attended beforehand to better help you determine the level of formality. Casual style dress is typically reserved for a morning or daytime wedding in an informal venue. Here’s simple breakdown.


Men:

It is strongly recommended that men wear a nice collared or button down shirt in a short or long sleeve. A nice polo is acceptable to go along with dress pants, or casual, but neat khaki pants. No jacket is necessary, but one or the other would be fine to wear. However, if you choose to do so, it’s easy to take off if you feel a bit over dressed.


Women:

For women attending a casual wedding, a skirt or dressy pants with a nice top to compliment it would be totally fine. If you prefer otherwise, you could even wear a casual dress, which would still be certainly appropriate for the occasion.


Footwear:

Although a low heel is recommended for women, a heeled or structured sandals are fine too. A casual shoe like a loafer or something similar would be conventional and nice for men. Sneakers or sneaker-like shoes should be avoided unless you know you’ll be participating in something athletic or on rough ground at this event.


When attending these casual types of weddings, try to avoid wearing jeans, tank tops, t-shirts, stretchy pants, cargo shorts, flip flops and athletic clothing. All these kinds of clothing are prohibited, unless specifically approved. If the invitation says casual, this indicates the wedding will most likely be held outdoors or on the beach, meaning the event will be much more laid-back, especially when it comes to attire.

Tags:  wedding  wedding attire  wedding planning 

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Formal Wedding Attire

Posted By Christian Muniz, Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 2, 2016

 

When attending a formal wedding, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a tuxedo or gown is firmly required. Although it may not be necessary, the event is still normal enough for it to be suffice. However, the term “formal” suggests something slightly less formal than “black tie” attire.


For the Ladies:

A cocktail dress or a long, dressy skirt and top would be appropriate. It is strongly recommended that their attire be in neural dark tones such as brown, gray, or black during the fall and winter seasons as to light colors and fabrics for the spring and summer seasons. Ladies should be dressed elegantly for a formal evening.


For the Men:

Put on an attitude of honor, respect and serving. Simply, wear a suit. It’s always better to be overdressed than under dressed. Wear light colors and fabrics for spring, summer and day weddings. Wear darker colors and heavier fabrics for fall, winter and evening weddings.


Don’ts:

Regardless of the dress code on the invite, there are a few things you should never wear to a wedding ceremony. Not only should you avoid wearing white, but there are other pieces in your closet you should probably stay away from unless specified in your invitation.

  • Sneakers: Leave your tennis shoes at home and wear an appealing pair of flats if comfort is your top priority. This category of footwear implies a very casual message, and even if the invite says “casual dress” it doesn’t mean you can look like you just came home from the gym.
  • Shorts: If your invitation states that rompers and shorts are acceptable, ensure to give your length a check. If your fingertip extends past the hemline of your shorts, they are obviously too short to wear to a wedding. Remember, you want to look presentable and classy.
  • Flip-Flops: Rubber footwear is never acceptable for a special occasion like a wedding ceremony. With that being said, no one would blame you if after a few hours of dancing in heels, you want to swap them out for something more comfortable.
  • Distressed Clothing: Check your clothing and ensure that it’s not torn or contain any stains. Verify that your outfit is clean and neatly pressed. You always want to look presentable from head to toe, especially when attending a relative’s or friend’s wedding ceremony.

Tags:  wedding  wedding attire  wedding planning 

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