Candy, costumes, and creative decorations … oh my!

Trick or treat walk with my dog

Written by Katie Peterson

It’s that time of year again! Fall is upon us, and the kids are already on premature sugar rushes; it’s time for Halloween! Your kids are mentally prepared, but are you? We’ve compiled the most useful and creative things to know so you’re ready for anything this Halloween season.

Candy

Candy always seems to be a stressor on Halloween. What if you leave a bowl out and the neighborhood kids take too much? What if you run out? What if your kids eat way too much while they’re out trick-or-treating? A really great way to save yourself from worrying about candy on Halloween is to be as prepared as you can.

Buy more candy than you think you’ll need and keep the receipts! You can return whatever you don’t end up using later.

If you can’t be home to pass out candy, placing a bowl out with one of these cute reminders should help encourage the trick-or-treaters to help you ration your candy for a while:

  • Roses are red. Violets are blue. We’re out trick-or-treating just like you! Please take one treat!
  • Take a treat! But leave the rest for other boys and ghouls!
  • Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, please take just one sweet to eat!
  • Although we’re not home to give you a scare, here’s a bowl of tricks and treats, take one … if you dare!

After Halloween is over, take full advantage of the candy on sale at the stores and begin stocking up for next year (assuming the candy isn’t the type to go stale). You’ll thank yourself when the prices rise again right before the holiday.

Costumes

Costumes can cause unwanted stress without the proper preparation. With these tips in mind, your kids will be safe, and you will be stress-free.

Depending on where you live, encourage costumes for your kids that will look good while still keeping warm. For instance, a genie outfit with high heels might not work out so well on a cold night of walking. And if you can help it, you don’t want your cute costumes (and the kids inside them) to be covered up with big coats while out for the night. A good solution for making your costume warmer is to layer turtle necks and leggings of the same color underneath.

For Halloween safety, fasten reflective tape to candy bags and add it as an accent to your child’s costume. No need to go overboard with this one, but as long as your child can be seen by cars in the dark, the tape will be worth it. Another good thing to keep in mind, utilize all sidewalks or walkways to avoid walking close to traffic. Be sure to keep an eye on your little ones and have them by your side to avoid any accidents.

To avoid last-minute stress before going out, be sure your kids try on their costumes a few weeks before Halloween to double check there aren’t any last minute adjustments or accessories needed. Make sure everything fits and isn’t broken beforehand so you have extra time to rebound if you find a problem.

 

Creative decorations

One of the best parts of Halloween is the decorating, but it can also be one of the most stressful and expensive. You’ve got to round up all the boxes from the attic, untangle the lights (and end up buying more when you find all the bulbs broken), and there never seems to be enough money in the budget for all the ready-made decorations at the store. Whether you are the house on your block to “Deck the Halloween Halls” or not, we’ve gathered some of our favorite DIY decorations that might scare the kids, but certainly not your wallet or gumption to decorate.

window decorations
Photo courtesy of http://www.woohome.com

Use the light from inside your house to create window decorations:

Grab big pieces of black construction paper, colored crepe paper, and scissors, and you’ve got all you need for this creative and easy decoration hack. The light from the room behind the paper is all the illumination you need to make a big statement on your street.

Reuse milk cartons to make a lit pathway for trick-or-treaters:

milk cartons
Photo courtesy of http://www.eighteen25.com

All you’ll need for this one are milk cartons, a craft knife, sharpie marker, and lights. Draw the ghost eyes and mouth on the empty milk carton, and cut a small round hole in the back for the lights to go in. After that, you’re all set to line them up and plug the lights in! (Just make sure the plug side ends up somewhere near an outlet or extension cord).

monster door
Photo courtesy of http://www.coolmompicks.com

Make your door a monster with whatever crafts you have lying around:

The best part about this DIY is, whether you have time to go all out with spider webs and sparkles or you just slap on streamers and eyeballs, the door monster will still come to life!

Create hanging ghosts:

ghost hanging
Photo courtesy of http://www.simplydesigning.porch.com

All you need for this project are a few Styrofoam  orbs from the craft store, cheese cloth, eye-hooks, string for hanging, and black craft paint for the ghost’s eyes. Just drape the cheesecloth over the orbs after you’ve painted on the eyes and start shredding the ends. A few of the ghosts grouped and hanging on your porch or from trees makes for some cute (and cheap) Halloween decorations.

Utilizing these creative DIY’s and tips this Halloween will save you money and stress so you can focus on what really matters… enjoying the holiday, however you’ll be celebrating! Have fun this year, and remember, this is a day when too much candy is the goal, as long as the majority is saved and shared rather than eaten!

What are your favorite Halloween tips and DIY’s? We’d like to hear them! Like us on Facebook for more helpful tips and updates. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward!

Throw a housewarming party so good your friends will want to move in

Written by Jessy Howe

Throwing a housewarming party- tips from your local moving company TWO MEN AND A TRUCK

Congratulations, you’re a homeowner! The next best thing to transforming your new space and making if feel like a home, is filling it with all the people you love. Say “cheers” to your new house, it’s time to celebrate with a housewarming party!

Prep your home

Don’t wait too long to host your housewarming party, if you want your home to be absolutely perfect, you might never have one! Do be sure you are mostly unpacked with personal belongings put away. Having boxes cluttering the way for your guests will be uncomfortable and take away from the beauty of your new home.

It’s okay if each room isn’t fully put together yet, but remember to at least have a clean hand towel, soap, and toilet paper in the restroom.

Feed your friends (they’ll love you for it)

There are so many options, and all equally delicious! You can never go wrong serving drinks and buffet style appetizers such as pigs in a blanket, sliders, veggies, and mozzarella bites. Other crowd pleasers include a backyard barbeque, going potluck style and asking that everyone bring a dish, or roasting hotdogs and s’mores over the fire.

Invites

Who to invite can be tricky, especially if you’ve moved long-distance and don’t know many people in the area yet. This is an ideal opportunity to meet your new neighbors and co-workers in a fun, casual setting. If you’ve only moved a few blocks away, your friends and family will be excited to come and celebrate your new home.

If you’re extremely crafty, grab paint swatches from your local hardware store to create themed DIY invitations. If that’s not your thing, send a quick e-vite!

Fun

It’s a party, have some fun! Our favorite ideas and housewarming activities include:

  • Set out recipe cards for guests to share their favorite with you.
  • Place an address book out to gather your closest friend’s addresses.
  • Set up yard games such as corn hole, badminton, volleyball, or jumbo Jenga!
  • Get the kids involved and put them in charge of giving tours.
  • Create a playlist to play in the background and keep up the energy.
  • Buy a few disposable cameras for guests to capture the fun. You’ll enjoy the surprise of seeing what was taken.

Most importantly, enjoy having your friends and family over to help warm your new home! If you have any housewarming party ideas or tips, we’d love to hear them! For more inspiration, check out our Pinterest Housewarming Party board.

Like us on Facebook for more helpful tips and updates. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward!

Cherishing moments with your children this Father’s Day

Written by Mike Bowers, Sales Development Specialist

My father was raised on a potato farm in Croswell, Michigan. He was a model student who won cross-country championships, and went on to the Marine Corps at the age of 18 where he continued to excel and receive accolades. He was always busy and worked 60-hour weeks as an automation electrician at a metal stamping plant, working side jobs and at one point also taking Father's Daynight classes to obtain more certifications for his job. The majority of our family photos include my father in the background still dressed in his dark navy work uniform. I can still smell the bearing grease and hydraulic fluid his boots emitted if I close my eyes and concentrate hard enough.

I spent a good portion of my childhood playing in sports tournaments and school events and I was often disappointed as I looked into the audience to see if my dad was there to watch. I frequently participated in dinner table discussions about how I need to apply myself more and always give my best attempt at everything I do. If there was room for improvement, the Sergeant oozed out of my father and squeezed out every ounce of effort I had. Like most young adults, I always thought I had it worse off than most kids. I used to say to myself, “What could he possibly know about being a teenager in the 90s?” and “When I have kids …!”

Fast forward to today. I am an adult with two children and wrapped up in “life”. I came to the realization that my dad’s seven-day work weeks paid for my karate lessons and moved us out of a declining Father's Day 2neighborhood and into a blue-ribbon school district. The long hours he devoted to his job (he still works at the same plant seven days a week!) has shown me how to endure sacrifice. I hear all of the parental guidance and speeches of tough-love echo through my head as I find myself sputtering the exact same advice to my children – verbatim! There we have it … I have become my FATHER — it must be hardwired into my DNA. I have been told that I walk like him and I have the same mannerisms. Ironically, I have transformed into the parent I insisted I would never resemble.

It was Father’s Day 2012, I went to visit my dad and found him in the garage tinkering with his generator. Out of nowhere he said words that I never expected to hear from him. Tears welled up in his eyes and he said, “Michael, I have worked my entire life away and I missed all of you kids growing up.” We stood in silence for a few seconds and I assured him he has done an incredible job. As I have admitted many times before, he molded me into the man I am today and I could not thank him enough! Is it possible to be a great father and still feel like you failed? I could only be so lucky to have the positive impact on my children as he did on me.

Father's Day 5The words, “Cherish Every Moment” are now tattooed on my shoulder to remind me that we only go around this life once. As an adult, it is very easy to get lost in work and other responsibilities, unfortunately taking away precious time of watching your children growing up. Live without regrets and be thankful for all you are given. Once you are done reading this, call your dad or your child and take the time to tell them how much you appreciate them! I could not be happier to be just like my hero, my role model, my FATHER.

I wish all the fathers out there a Happy Father’s Day!

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.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Annual Meeting 2013: The Highlights

As we continue to grow as a company, so does the attendance at our TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Annual Meeting. There were many highlights at this year’s four-day event filled with networking, education, and of course, celebration.

Scott Burrows

The first day started off with an inspiring speech by Keynote Speaker Scott Burrows. He shared his story of being a quadriplegic after a tragic car accident and how it changed his life forever. Even though he wasn’t able to take part in the activities he loved, he was determined to keep a positive outlook and decided to improve his life by focusing on his attitude and physical health.

He did a great job of tying his vision and how he worked to accomplish his goals, along with our company’s Vision 2018.

Scott Burrows

 

“When you start to believe, your mindset and grit will always be there to carry you through. If you’re looking to thrive, to beat the odds and achieve extraordinary results, don’t give up on your shared vision of where you want to be in 2018. Be willing to make adjustments along the way to get you back on course.”

 

At the end of his speech. he revealed to everyone that hard work and determination really does pay off. He stood up and explained he is now able to walk and take part in activities he loves, such as golf.

Scott Burrow

MWC2

One of the biggest announcements this year was the launch of Movers Who Care® 2, a technology system that automates the way franchises create estimates, book moves, etc. The new system was created to help us, as a company, get closer to growing as a system of one and improving the core purpose of moving people forward. At Annual Meeting, franchisees were able to sit down with the MWC2 panel and ask any questions they had about the new system. The panel also shared best practices and advice on the MWC2 conversion. Click here to view the Q & A session.

MWC2 Panel

Awards Night

This year’s awards night had a Jimmy Buffet theme. Awards were given to celebrate the hard work and accomplishments of franchises strived for during 2012. And everyone did have a reason to celebrate as pointed out by Brig Sorber:

“Tonight you all have something to be proud of. With the system’s growth, we are continuing to set ourselves apart from other moving companies. At year end, we achieved 37 straight months of growth and 21 consecutive record months. Over the past three years, together, we have achieved 60% growth.”

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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.