After School Tips

Now that you’ve been pulled into the back-to-school madness, how do you keep it together? Homework, meals, extracurriculars, the kids’ social lives, and your own work and social life. Oh- and don’t even get us started on the mess we know this can bring into the house. Keeping your Sturbridge home in order while all this is going on is just icing on the cake. It’s not easy, but here are some tips on how to keep it together after school- the next hunger games- may the odds be ever in your favor.

  • Tip #1: Prioritize

Acknowledging that getting everything done would require Mary Poppins is the first step. Recognizing that without a floating umbrella and magic bag that you can pull everything you need out of, getting everything mentioned above done is impractical. So, prioritize what’s most important to you and your family. For example homework is pretty important, but it won’t kill the kids to miss a sports practice if you have a busy week, or to order out instead of cooking if you’re too exhausted from juggling the rest of the world on your plate. Maybe you want to prioritize a date night and hire a sitter- whatever it is, just figure out what is most important to you and focus on the more important tasks.

  • Tip #2: Organize

This tip is easy for the person who loves lists and schedules. Now that you’ve got your priorities straight, organize for them! If homework comes first, setting up a schedule where homework happens before play time, snacks, etc., and keeping track of assignments can help you maintain it as a priority. If cooking healthier meals for your family ranks high on your list, organize meals at the beginning of the week. You can shop and meal prep on the weekend, or simply plan out what meals you want to make for the week, at any level, organization is key to getting the job done in a manageable way.

  • Tip #3: HAVE FUN!

When all is said and done, don’t forget to enjoy what you are doing and have fun. Accepting you might not be a superhuman and are unable to have everything done perfectly should help relieve some stress. If you enjoy cooking, don’t let the thought of meal prep for the week overwhelm you. Cook what you love and make the kids do the dishes/cleanup! If you love cheering loud for them at a sports game, make sure you bring a good lawn chair and forget about tidying up that night. Do what you love and have fun whenever you can.

Use these tips and get the most for your family out of this school year! You got this!

Labor Day Weekend in Maryland

There are so many great events going on in Maryland during this time of year and around Labor Day. Here are just a few to help you start to plan the perfect three-day weekend!

1. National Hard Crab Derby & Fair – Crisfield

August 31-September 3, 2017

Only in Maryland, where the blue crabs are the best. Crab races, crab cooking and picking contests, carnival rides, live entertainment, fireworks and more! While it’s a few hours drive, this is a great event for Marylanders that is worth the ride. Even better- most events are free and besides a $3 admission fee on Saturday, admission is free for the other days. Don’t miss out on this crab-filled extravaganza!

2. Summer Concert at Downs Park

Sun. Sep 3, 2017 4:30pm – 6:30pm

Right in Pasadena in Anne Arundel county, there’s a summer concert with the Baltimore-based band Appaloosa. So grab the lawn chairs and picnic blankets, and pick up a sammy from one of Yelp’s Best 10 Delis in Anne Arundel County, MD and enjoy a relaxing evening on your long weekend with your closest friends and family.

These last two events are going on past Labor Day Weekend in Maryland, but are still great ways to spend a long weekend!

3. Maryland State Fair

August 24-September 4, 2017

Fried Oreos, horse races, rides, live entertainment, and Maryland themed shows and displays- a great event that has something for everyone! Adult admission $8, Senior admission (62 & over) $6, Children (6 to 11) $3, Children 5 and under are admitted FREE. Pack up the car and let’s go!

4. Maryland Renaissance Festival

Weekends Aug. 26-Oct. 22, 2017

Archery, a glass blower, juggling school, jousting, costumes for rent, theatrical performances, and just about any food you can imagine on a stick! The 41st annual Maryland Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, right in Anne Arundel county, is the place to be.

Don’t miss out on all the events that are going on around you and the perks of being a Marylander! Happy Labor Day!

What’s the Deal with all these Pineapples?

What’s the deal with all these pineapples? Aside from the obvious, that they’re a delicious and nutritious fruit, you may have noticed an abundance of pineapples being featured in unlikely places. Pineapples have been popping up all over the place this summer; music concerts, block parties, picnics, printed on clothing and even home decor.

But what’s the sudden fascination with this delectable tropical fruit?


In addition to their wonderful nutritional benefits the pineapple is also a symbol of welcoming. This may be because of the legend around it. The legend depicts a tale of a New England Sea Captain who sailed among the Caribbean Islands. The captain would return to the colonies with the cargo from the Islands such as fruit, spices, and rum. Whenever he returned, he would spear a pineapple on a fence post outside his residence. His friends came to see this as a sign of his safe return, and a sign to visit and share in the exploits and tales of the Caribbean. This sparked a trend even back in colonial times with home decor, as colonial innkeepers added pineapples to their signs and pineapples were common at inns across New England. This is why it is perfect for home decor even today, as it has represented hospitality for decades!

Do you want this trendy sign of hospitality in your home? Here’s a great DIY pineapple centerpiece to help you make everyone feel welcome and keep the tradition going.

Best Spots in Annapolis to Picnic

Nothing says summer like a picnic. July was national picnic month! Break out the picnic baskets, and enjoy these great spots in Annapolis with the special people in your life.

Quiet Waters Park

A perfect place for all day outings. Not only do they have several great spots in the woodlands and by the water for a picnic, but you can also rent a bicycle, kayak, canoe or pedal boat and explore the beauty of Harness Creek. The parking fee is small, and the opportunities for fun are endless!

Truxtun Park

Truxton Park has great trails for nature walks. There’s also a boat ramp, swimming pool, tennis courts, and several other amenities for the whole group to enjoy.

Jonas Park

Often referred to as a retreat for locals, this spot is extremely peaceful. Admission and parking are absolutely free. So grab your crab cakes and old bay, throw them in the picnic basket, and come visit the park and the gorgeous views of the bay it offers.

Don’t let the summer go by without enjoying a picnic with your closest friends and family!

Tips to Keep Pesky Insects Out of Your Home

Have the bugs been relentless this summer? Are the citronella candles and bug repellents just not cutting it? Here are some alternative tips on how to keep insects away this summer.

  1. Plants

Here’s a great list of 12 plants that repel unwanted insects. Some of these plants are herbs that you can cook with as well, such as basil, mint, rosemary, etc. These allow you to keep insects away, and also serve to add fresh flavors to your dinners this summer!

  1. Oils

The Farmer’s Almanac recommends several different oils to ward off mosquitos and other insects that bite. Some oils that they recommend are lemon eucalyptus, baby oil, or imitation vanilla extract. Visit their website for more natural oils that repel insects.

  1. Stay Hydrated

Mosquitos like wet areas, so stay hydrated and drink plenty of water to keep the sweat down and the pests away!

  1. Wear Appropriate Attire

You don’t have to wear a snowsuit to keep the bugs from biting, but wearing light longsleeves and jeans at night when you’re outside can help shield your skin from summer night pests.