A mother’s influence and never ending love

Written by Dawn Kroeger

In celebration of Mother’s Day and support of moms who work outside the home, I’ve come up with five simple tips to simplify and improve quality of life for you and your family.

  1. Hire a cleaning person to keep your home in tip-top shape, but not one that requires you actually pick up the house before they come and clean
  2. Hire a full-time nanny to help out, especially at dreaded bath and bed time
  3. Have all food delivered by a grocery service and make sure it is healthy and balanced – NO TRANSFAT!
  4. Sign up for one of those online style services that just sends you clothes that match your personality
  5. Hire a trainer to come and shake you out of bed at 4:30 a.m. and drive you to the gym

Excellent. Once those items are complete, your life will be smooth sailing and stress-free. Oh, wait. What? You can’t afford all of that? You can’t find a trainer who makes wakeup calls? Yeah, me neither.

Like most women I have many roles in life – wife, sister, daughter, friend, team member, employee, 424959_10150520067426637_1617488211_nmentor, volunteer, and mother. While I am not defined by any single role, the most challenging and rewarding is that of mother. I don’t have a cleaning person, or a nanny. Laundry piles up and sometimes my kids end up on the bus accidently when they are supposed to be picked up from school. I try hard to plan the healthiest meals I can for my family but sometimes they eat Ramen noodles and McDonalds drive through.

Yet, I am a fantastic mom. I know this is boastful, but I am. I have been blessed to grow up both personally and professionally with extraordinary role models. I have learned so much by watching and understanding what makes a balanced, healthy, successful working mom.

My mo400516_10151015465666637_198613670_nm: While my mom, Jo, worked my entire life, most of it full-time, it never felt like she wasn’t there. She was always present. She practiced lines for school musicals, was there for sporting events, field trips, class parties, and even after a full week of work, would plan fun weekend road trips to the beach, zoo, or to visit friends. We always had clean clothes (she was better at this than I am) and she balanced our lives with focus and fun. I recall several fish stick dinners on the run, but this was part of the fun! Her actions taught me not to feel guilty over a fish stick dinner here and there – these quick fix meals allowed us to embrace life and spend more time on family bike rides and playground adventures. In turn, I don’t feel bad when I ignore my messy house, or surprise my kids with ice cream for dinner on the way to the children’s garden after work.  After all, spring is here – who needs clean socks? She must have been overwhelmed with balancing it all, at some point, like each mom is, but in true rock star mom fashion, we never knew if that was the case. We just knew she loved us, worked hard, and provided a fun and balanced life for us. My dad helped too, but this is not about dads today. You get your honor next month!

My grandmother: My grandma Mary worked full-time while raising six children. Let’s just say, maybe I am a great mom because I have two children. Most days three would push me over the edge into medium mom mode. But somehow, Mary got it done. She too, like my mom, worked full-time yet planned weekend trips to the beach for her brood each Sunday. I’ve seen pictures. The joy on the faces of the kids, the relaxed looks on Grandma and Grandpa. Clearly, she knew the importance of balance and it shows in the six hard-working children she raised.

Mother of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®: Mary Ellen Sheets, the founder of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, has led by example and been an important influence in my life and career. As a single mom, leaving her secure job with the State of Michigan, she invested $350 in an old truck and took over the business her two young sons started. Her drive, faith, and commitment to supporting her family through entrepreneurship is inspiring. Mary Ellen’s stories of the early days of working hard, not having much money at the time, but donating her first $1000 profit to charity is a remarkably generous and humbling act. Knowing Mary Ellen and understanding the deep love she has for her children, and seeing the pride on her face when she talks about how far the business has come, is humbling. It was not always easy. I can only imagine the stress and heartache as she worked hard, as a single mom, to grow the business and conversely, the joy of watching this labor of love become the family business which provides for her children and now grandchildren. It is an honor to know Mary Ellen and her commitment first and foremost to her children as she worked to make TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® what it is today is something all moms can both appreciate and use as a source of inspiration.

On Mother’s Day, I reflect on the many moms who have influenced my life and I aspire to be as positive of an influence in my daughters’ lives. My Mother’s Day wish for all moms is to be blessed with strong, encouraging, role models who teach the importance of balancing work and career so you, too, can boast being a fantastic mom. Oh, and I wish you all the ability to provide your children with clean socks, even if it means picking up an extra pack at the grocery store when time doesn’t permit doing a load of laundry.

Merry Christmas from TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®

Written by Claire Schneider

Christmas ecard 2014

Wishing you a heartwarming Christmas season with your friends and families! From your friends at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®

We truly appreciate all of our customers and think of you as one of the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® family. Thank you for allowing and trusting us with your possessions and helping you to the next move forward in your life.

Our post-move survey stats indicates that 96 percent refer our brand to friends and family. We are so grateful to receive this level of loyalty, and this season, like those past, is a time to reflect on and give thanks for this incredible blessing – along with so many more.

Without you and the communities we serve, we wouldn’t be the “Movers Who Care®”. We hope you’ve settled in since your move and hope you enjoy a very Merry Christmas!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

Get crafty this season with old moving boxes

Written by Claire Schneider

Thanksgiving has passed, and now it’s time to put holiday cheer into full effect! One of my favorite things about Christmas is decorating our home and warming it up with endless amounts of the spirit of the season. Our team at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has come up with three festive ways to use your old moving boxes in ways that will not only be fun to create with your family but will also be conversation starters with visitors and guests.

Gingerbread house

The Christmas season would not be complete without building a classic gingerbread house. Instead of making one from a kit, why not make a one out of your old moving boxes? This is a traditional yet whimsical design item for your home that will undoubtedly be a statement piece. You could use the house to disguise a dog kennel, hide presents, house your Elf on the Shelf for the night, or it can even be the main centerpiece for the Holiday Express train. The options are endless.

gingerbreadhouseHere’s what you need to build you gingerbread house:

  • 1 wardrobe box
  • 1 dish pack
  • 1 medium box
  • Paint in a variety of colors
  • Packing tape
  • Hot glue gun
  • Batting
  • Box cutter

To start, I cut out the frame of the house using the wardrobe and dish pack boxes. I used the dish pack for the roof and the wardrobe box for the sides making sure to cut out a door on one of the sides. Next, I took my two roof pieces and painted three draped lines on each one to add some character. Then I taped the sides and roof pieces together on the inside of the house using packing tape. Next, I cut out the batting to look like snow and glued that to the edges. The nice thing about this part is I didn’t have to worry about cutting my edges perfectly straight; edges have the appearance to line up flawlessly since it is covered.

Next, I used my medium box to cut out the wreath, candy canes, and gum drop pieces. Finally I painted and glued them to the house for a festive look.

Name tags

Chrsitmas tagsInstead of using the same name tags on your gifts each year, get creative and assemble your own unique ones! This is a very simple and achievable craft which will make your friends and family feel special this holiday season.

Items needed:

  • 1 medium box (depending on how many tags you plan to make)
  • Paint
  • Festive ribbon
  • Box cutter

For the shapes of the tags, I looked up Christmas patterns and printed out my top three. I then traced them on the box and carefully cut them out. Next, I painted them and added a ribbon to the top. Last, use the back to write the recipient’s name or even a cheery note.

Card holder

card holderOver the years I’ve thought I should get a card holder but never found one that I truly liked enough to purchase. So this year I decided to make my own out of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® boxes.

Here’s what I used:

  • 1 dish pack box
  • Burlap
  • Paint
  • Ribbon
  • Box cutter
  • Hot glue gun

For my card holder I decided I wanted to have a more vertical orientation, so the dish pack box was the perfect option for me. Next, I cut out a 12” x 24” section of the box. With the burlap I purchased at my local craft store, I cut out a rectangle a few inches longer and wider than the cardboard piece. Then I wrapped it around the cardboard and glued the edges. Now that I had my background, I then stenciled my holiday message. Since it was going to hold the holiday cards I will receive, I decided to go with “Season’s Greetings”. Last, I attached red ribbon in a crisscross fashion where I will clip on the cards as I receive them.

I hope these festive crafts gave you a few fun ideas on how to recycle your old moving boxes this holiday season. Visit our Pinterest page for more holiday inspiration!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

Best Thanksgiving wishes from TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®

Written by Hannah Conlin

Happy thanksgivingTurkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes: ‘Tis the season to gather with family and friends, to indulge in the annual starch- and sugar-enriched feast, and to reflect on what you are most thankful for. Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday to laugh, to share memories with loved ones, and manage to move up two pant sizes in a single night!

Many people partake in certain traditions which make their holiday special, so before you find yourself slumped on the couch hit with the ever-so-common post-feast food coma, consider doing the following to craft your own Thanksgiving Day tradition:

  • Eat your dessert first. Don’t wait until after the turkey and plethora of side dishes to dig into your grandmother’s famous pumpkin pie. Have a small slice before the meal, just to get your taste buds warmed up for Thanksgiving feast.
  • Run a 5K with a friend. Turkey trots are very popular across the nation. Walking or running a few miles in the morning before the big feast will rev up your metabolism, produce an endorphin rush to boost your mood, and will set the tone for a day where you’ll need lots of energy – especially if you’re playing host or hostess to house guests. In addition, most run/walk events are tied to a charity, so you’ll be giving back, too.
  • Go to a parade. While the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade held in New York City is perhaps the most famous of all, many states hold turkey day parades. Gather up the family and head down to a parade near you to see the different floats, costumes, and catch some candy because, hey, candy is just what you need before chowing down on a massive Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Enjoy the games. When family and friends gather together on Thanksgiving, they seem to share one love: football. Everyone gathers in the family room to watch their favorite teams battle it out on the field. If you aren’t a football fanatic, consider starting your own gaming tradition. Hold a Twister or Jenga tournament and show Uncle Joe the steady handed master you are.
  • Cut the coupons. With Black Friday promising the best deals for your wallet, it is important to be prepared and know where to find those savings before waking up at 3 a.m. Seek out the best deals over a slice of pumpkin pie and to map out your shopping route to ensure you hit the best discounts in a timely manner.
  • Share what you’re thankful for. Congregate around the dinner table and have everyone write down what they’re thankful for on a piece of paper and put it into a bowl. Then, pass the bowl around and have each person select one of the hand-written sentiments and read it aloud, and guess which person is thankful for what.

No matter what you do this holiday season, remember to enjoy your time with family. From our TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® family to yours, happy Thanksgiving!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

Holiday décor and store: Believe in TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®

Written by Arika Ford

“Believe” is a term we can all relate to, especially during the holiday season. Believe it or not, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® can help you prep for the holidays, protect your decorations, and help you stay organized for years to come. While preparing your home for the holidays is an exciting task that can involve the entire family, just thinking about hauling out the decorations from wherever they are stored can be a stressful endeavor. We’ve complied a few tips to help organize and store your decorations for years to come. After all, we’re the experts!

dishpack kitPack perfectly: When packing up your picture frames, candles, and other non-festive items to make way for your holiday décor, try using one of our dish pack boxes. These are perfect since they’re double corrugated boxes making storage of heavy items safe to lift without worrying about the bottom dropping out of the box. The dish pack also comes with adjustable cubbies making it ideal for storing smaller, fragile items. Just wrap each item with packing paper then place it in its designated cubby and it will be safe.

Keep it clean: Are you having a holiday party and don’t want to completely trash your floor? We have a 25 foot roll of clear, adhesive carpet shield you can place over your floor in high traffic areas. You can customize the size by cutting it for the front door area or around the designated kids’ table!

Two Men and a TruckHire moving muscle: Do you wish you could rearrange your furniture to make way for holiday decorations but the thought of moving your heavy couch deters you from such a task? Give us a call to schedule your internal move. We are happy to rearrange any heavy furniture as our movers are professionally trained and will move the same piece until you are happy with its final resting place. When you are scheduling your internal move, don’t forget to schedule a time for us to come back after the holidays to move the furniture to its original position. Don’t risk ruining your holiday fun by hurting yourself. We are happy to help!

Believe it! We offer many practical products that are ideal for packing up seasonal items. These products come in various sizes and are ideal for all of your packing and storing needs. Make TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® your one-stop shop for all of your holiday needs this year!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

Trick-or-treating safety and etiquette tips

Written by Arika Ford

Though trick-or-treating can be a fun family outing, parents have a lot to contend with. From the increased foot and vehicle traffic, to kids running ahead of you, parents may need some help making it through what can be a long two hours of craziness outside in the d-d-d-dark. We’ve gathered a few age-appropriate tips on etiquette and safety to make this the most non-scary Halloween (for parents) yet!

Ages infant through age 4 obviously need additional supervision when trick-or-treating. To make them bright and noticeable in the dark of night, include glow sticks or reflectors on their costumes. This doesn’t have to ruin the costumes. With a little creativity, the reflectors could actually contribute to the costume and add a unique twist. If you live in rural areas, you can look into other types of social gatherings for kids like trunk-or-treats and parties at local businesses or churches. But let’s face it, neighbors love to see the little ones dressed up and festive. Plus the kids are very excited to get outside and collect their coveted chocolate treasures.

Ages 5 through 9 are still the perfect age for trick-or-treating but safety can be an issue, especially with excited kids who may want to run ahead of you. Repeatedly remind your children of sidewalk and street crossing safety beginning the week before Halloween so it becomes automatic in the child’s mind. Constant reminders on looking both ways before crossing the street cannot hurt and is better to remind too much than not enough. Again, going overboard with glow sticks and reflectors isn’t a bad idea. One fun idea is to use glow in the dark make up instead of the regular Halloween kind. You also may want to travel with your trick-or-treaters. Remind them to mind their manners as some neighbors only like to see the little ones, however if older children are very polite, it will remain an enjoyable experience for all.

Ages 10 through 15 are tricky! Some kids are smaller in stature and can totally get away with dressing up and trick-or-treating with no problem. Still others look a lot older than their actual age. My opinion is as long as they are in an actual costume, are aware of their surroundings, and are being kind and courteous, it is fine for them to trick-or-treat. Assign them to groups and be sure they have a watch or are able to use their phones to check in and keep track of time. They are still kids and you can’t blame them for still wanting candy! To keep them in line, make sure they know the rules and understand the consequences of not following them.

Food allergies Kids and parents should always be on the lookout for the teal pumpkins in the neighborhood. This is a project the Food Allergy Research and Education Organization (FARE) is implementing to bring awareness to the growing issue of food allergies, and to urge citizens to provide a candy alternative. Houses with a teal pumpkin are offering non-food treats, such as toys, to help each child feel included this Halloween.

The-Teal-Pumpkin-Project-5

Kids of all ages love Halloween treats and parents (be honest) love to sneak the candy when their kids aren’t looking. So have fun, be safe, and let some of the fear come out of Halloween this year.

Click here for more Halloween safety tips.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

 

Easy, inexpensive, and eco-friendly DIY Halloween box costumes

Written by Claire Schneider

The little ghouls and goblins are gearing up for their favorite time of year, Halloween! This holiday definitely isn’t just for the kiddos, so we’ve come up with a few Halloween costume ideas to involve you parents as well. These costumes are a fun and creative way to get your entire family involved this year.

Family of s’mores

Are you looking for a cohesive Halloween costume theme for the entire family? This s’mores-themed get-up allows everyone to be involved and is very simple to make. All you need is:

  • Smores2 large boxes
  • 1 dish pack box
  • Elastic or string
  • Brown paint
  • White paint
  • 2 white pillows

Begin with taking your two large boxes and cut four square pieces about 2.5’x2.5’ in size. These will become the parent’s graham cracker portion of the costume. Since I was using our TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® boxes, I just flipped over the box so the tan side was up. Next, I took the brown paint and began painting the dashes and indents to transform the cardboard into the giant graham crackers. Then cut two holes about a foot to foot-and-a-half apart for the straps. I used elastic for the straps but you could also use string or Velcro.

Next, take the dish pack and cut two rectangular panels to create the Hershey’s bar. Make sure the rectangle isn’t too big so your child can easily walk and trick-or-treat. Then, spray paint both panels brown. Once one panel is dry, take the white paint and write HERSHEY’S across it. Next, just like with the graham crackers, cut holes or tape straps to the cardboard panels.

For the marshmallow, all you need are two white pillows and string to make transform your child into a plump marshmallow.

Milk & cookies

milk & cookiesContinuing with the food theme, I love this idea of having a parent dressed as the milk and all the kids dressed up as cookies. The awesome thing with this costume is it’s perfect no matter how many kids you have. The items needed are:

  • 1 medium box
  • 1 small box
  • White paint
  • Black paint
  • Brown paint
  • Elastic or string

Creating the milk carton is super-simple. All you have to do is cut off the box flaps of our medium box. Even though our TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® boxes are already white, I wanted to cover up the writing so I quickly spray painted it white. Once dry add a few black cow spots and the words MILK. Unlike the picture here, I decided to go without the hat portion. the The last step is to add straps. Same with the s’mores costumes; I used elastic since it’s more comfortable and adjustable.

For the cookie, take the small box and cut out two circle pieces. I flipped them over so the brown side was facing up and added chocolate chips using the brown paint. You can just draw circles but I wanted to have fun and draw the chip shape. Just add the straps and your little tike is ready to become a scrumptious treat.

Lego

LegoIf you’re not thrilled about dressing up this year, we have one just for the kiddos as well. For the Lego costume you will need:

  • 1 small box
  • 6 small plastic cups
  • Tape
  • Spray paint
  • Elastic or string

For the Lego costume I chose to cut off all the box flaps, but you could also tape up the box and cut out a head and arm holes instead. Then I used tape to affix the six cups to one side of the box and spray painted it red. Lastly, I added the straps last. And it’s as simple as that!

Check out our blog 5 simple DIY Halloween costumes for more ideas!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.