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You’re probably reading this because you have a little one on the way and you know you have to plan a baby shower and maybe are even dreading it! Honestly, most baby showers could be done better, WAY better, so your sentiments of creeping doom are understandable.

Perhaps part of the problem is that they are things people think you have to do, and they do them out of obligation instead of by choice. But if you think about it honestly, would you want to live in a world where there is nothing in place of a baby shower? The first order of business if you want to have an awesome baby shower instead of just another mediocre one is to have the right attitude about it. Realize that it’s not going to be mediocre by default, but that you can and will make it better.

The first thing is, make sure you have good invitations. Baby shower invitations are a call to action, and they set the tone for the actual event to follow. The perfect invitation for a baby shower should be elegant without going overboard and getting all the way to pretentious. Check and double-check the grammar and the spelling, because once they go out, it’s too late. Also, please forego the traditional paper invites; they are no longer necessary in 2017. Even if you’re having a huge event, people can bring the image of the invite in their phones and we can all save a few trees.

Now, once people come, really the thing to concentrate on are the games. Don’t make these kind of mistakes, for starters. Definitely plan several diverse games, but for Pete’s sake keep your guest list in front of you the whole time you are doing it. This alone will save you the kind of potential embarrassment that we all definitely want to avoid!

Keep in mind these days that there are cultural differences to take into account. For example, in many parts of North America, baby showers are WOMEN ONLY! In other parts, it’s considered offensive for the men NOT to show up. So make sure that all your guests understand what kind of a party you are throwing. Especially if you’re planning on a women-only affair, make sure everybody knows to avoid a situation where only one woman brings her SO. Please note that, for example, in Latin America baby showers are almost always co-ed.

You see, it’s actually not that complicated. Follow this simple advice and your baby shower will stand out famously among all the other cringe-worthy ones.

Is it just me or is this winter the coldest it’s ever been? And, is your kitchen as cold as ours, despite the warm oven and the central heating and that delightful cup of cocoa? Well, you are in the same freezing ball of snow, then it means that you cannot withstand standing in the kitchen cooking for hours, can you?

While a packet of pastries and more cocoa sounds delightful, that isn’t the healthiest option, especially if you are an athlete or a CRA garnishment professional watching your waist. But, worry not! We don’t wish for you to sleep on an entry stomach, snack on unhealthy foods or starve to death. With the rest of the freezing families and singles out there, we have come up with simple, fast and, hearty instant pot recipes.  In a few warm minutes, you will be back on the warm couch with a bowl of the healthiest food to fill you up and keep you warm.

The five best instant pot recipes include:

1. Easy Chili

This is one of the easy-to-prepare recipes as you can prepare it within 45 minutes. The chili’s preparation time is 20 minutes, it takes 20 minutes on the pressure cooker, and it will be ready in 35 minutes.

If you are craving a hearty meal to warm you up this winter, you should get ready to prepare chili. This is a simple beef and beans chili recipe. Besides guaranteeing to warm you up an hour after you set foot in the kitchen, this easy chili loaded with layers, upon layers of umami, spicy flavors and textures will leave you satisfied.

The recipe for your chili is available here: https://recipesinstantpot.com/2018/01/18/easy-chili-instant-pot/

2. Easy Mac and Cheese

You can never go wrong with mac and cheese, and the best part is that you need an instant pot to prepare this meal that guarantees warmth and fullness. The reason why this mac and cheese meal will take less time compared to other meals is that you get to cook it under a high pressure.

Like baked mac and cheese, your kids and the entire household will fall in love with this instant pot mac and cheese. The result of using a high-pressure cooker making mac and cheese is that it results in the creamiest, cheesiest, and the most delicious simple meal perfect for busy and cold weeknights or weekends. The best part is that you can have this mac and cheese as a side dish or as the main course!

The best part about preparing this meal is that instead of waiting for water to oil for you to add macaroni, the making sauce in a separate pan, you throw everything in the pot. Once you pressure cook the macaroni with butter, salt, and water, plus some dry mustard, you will have perfectly cooked macaroni. You don’t have to keep an eye on this and once cooked; you just need to add your milk and cheese.

Check out the entire recipe here: https://recipesinstantpot.com/2018/01/12/easy-mac-and-cheese-instant-pot/

3. Honey Teriyaki Chicken

Have you missed hearty and flavorful teriyaki chicken but you don’t want to spend your entire afternoon preparing this meal, how about a simple instant pot recipe that requires a minimum of five minutes for preparation?

The instant pot honey teriyaki chicken is full of flavors and extremely easy to make. This chicken will leave you wondering why you even eat out when you can prepare this delightful meal in few minutes and have it ready as you watch your favorite TV show.

The directions are so simple; just make the sauce, saute, add the sauce,  pressure cook, and then serve. You can have the full recipe here: https://recipesinstantpot.com/2018/01/14/honey-teriyaki-chicken-instant-pot/

You will also love this recipe because you will realize that all the ingredients needed are most probably in your kitchen, and the whole family will love this meal whether you prepare it during weeknights or over the weekend.

Given the time it takes to prepare this chicken, it is the go-to recipe for every busy person.

4. Country Steak

Who said you need hours to prepare and serve up steak? As you think of the best ways for staying warm and healthy this winter, you better have this recipe. It is one of the simplest, fastest, and the easiest steak recipes for flavorful, tender, and filling steak.

You will also like it because it is one of those efficient freezer-to-pressure cooker recipes. It has a short preparation time, and in four steps, your steak is ready. The steps are: prepare your steak, saute, pressure cook, and release.

Beware that the cooking time will change depending on the size of the steak. Here is your full recipe: https://recipesinstantpot.com/2018/01/16/country-steak-instant-pot/

5. Portuguese Chicken and Rice

Did you ever think that you could prepare, cook, and serve chicken and rice in less than one hour? Well, you can, once you get an instant pot.  Also, you don’t have to be Portuguese.

In under an hour, you will serve up and enjoy delicious spoonfuls of tender chicken with veggies soaked in the aromatic and colorful coconut turmeric sauce, and paired with perfectly cooked fried rice. Then, top all that with creamy melted cheese! Appetizing, isn’t it?

Well, this meal is eleven (or less) simple steps away. Just make sure to serve and start digging immediately to enjoy the flavors!

Here are the directions: https://recipesinstantpot.com/2018/01/09/portuguese-chicken-and-rice-instant-pot/

Conclusion

If you are still wondering about what you will do to keep warm, healthy, and how you will make this winter a little more interesting, get started with these five recipes. Keep in mind that there are many more recipes from where these came from – we hope your kitchen is stocked up!

Unless you’re one of those grinches who waits until the day of Christmas to realize how awesome the holidays are… who doesn’t love sleighing the holiday game? It’s fun to soak up the season and show your spirit! Getting the cutest wrapping paper and ribbons, decorating the prettiest tree, hanging lights, and eating all things peppermint are just a few ways to sleigh the holiday game.

This year, creating epic custom holiday cards is also on that list because we have the ultimate online stationery company to assist. Basic Invite is a digital stationery design company with the best holiday cards and hundreds of completely customizable online Christmas cards and they have gifted us with some of their most helpful tips to creating the perfect Christmas card online.

What Are You Celebrating

You name it, Basic Invite’s got it. From holiday cards and Christmas cards, to Hanukkah and New Years whatever you are celebrating Basic Invite has a card for that which makes it easy to sleigh any occasion.

Choose Your Colors

Colors are a huge part of why Basic Invite is such a unique company and an equally huge part of sleighing the holiday game! Even as early as Halloween, color schemes find their way into almost everything because there is a color pattern for every holiday. So, if you want to be on top of your game decorating your cards with the right colors is step one.

For Thanksgiving and all of your other fall harvest celebrations, earthy tones like brown, green, and yellow are often used alongside red and orange. And when it comes to Christmas the options are endless! Goodbye are the days where red and green are the only two acceptable Christmas colors. Now, you can make any color work whether it’s blue, silver, gold, or even bright funky versions of the standard holiday colors. Thankfully Basic Invite has over 180 custom colors to choose from so no matter what you can pick the colors that work for you!

Don’t Forget Foil

Foil is essential when it comes to holiday greeting cards and Christmas cards. Basic Invite offers three foil colors: gold, silver, and rose gold. Each color comes in flat or raised foil and all of them will add an elegance and festive touch to your holiday cards.

Gold and rose gold are perfect for Thanksgiving invitations and silver and gold pair perfectly with every Christmas card design. Anyone who receives a foil card is going to instantly swoon and immediately ask you where you got it! Never forget the foil!

Envelopes & Address Printing

Pairing your cards with the perfect envelope is super important. The envelope is the first thing that people will see when they open their mail and it’s the detail that will bring your look together and create a cohesive and finished product. Classic white is always a solid choice, but choosing an envelope liner or a metallic lined envelope will take your look one step further. Colorful envelopes are another great idea because your card will be sure to stand out from the start! Choose from 40 different colored peel and seal envelopes and always opt for address printing.

Sleighing the holiday game is much easier than it may sound and kicking things off with a holiday card is the perfect way to get into the spirit for the rest of the season! Head over to Basic Invite and customize yours today! Shop from hundreds of designs and use coupon code HOLI30 for 30% off your 2017 holiday cards.

If are approaching the end of maternity leave, you need to start moving some of your focus towards preparing to return to work. There are five steps that you should keep in mind as part of your preparation process of returning to work after maternity leave.

In reality, there are other steps you need to take in anticipation of going back to work after having a baby. However, these are designed to give you a good start.

Pamper Yourself

In advance of returning to work, consider taking some time to pamper yourself. This can include getting your hair done and perhaps also a mani-pedi.

With this in mind, consider going shopping for some new clothes. You certainly don’t want to return to work wearing maternity clothes. However, your “regular” wardrobe may not quite yet fit. Getting back to your pre-pregnancy status does take a bit of time. That is perfectly natural. Indeed, some designers have come up with clothing for a woman who recently gave birth.

Ease Back Into Work

Many new mothers find a transition from maternity leave back to a full 40-hour work week highly distressing. Odds are, your employment very well may allow you some flexibility in this regard.

Seriously consider easing back into work. For example, during the week before your maternity leave is scheduled to end, spend a couple of days working a few hours. When it comes to the actual end of your maternity leave, consider making the return date mid-week rather than on Monday. By taking this course, you won’t be facing a full, 40-hour work week, which can seem daunting.

You might also want to consider working half or three-quarter time during the first week. This not only helps you ease back into your job duties, but it also is likely to lessen anxiety about being away from your baby.

Saying No is Crucial

As your maternity leave comes to an end, you will find the number of people making a wealth of requests about a variety of things. Of course, this will include your employer and coworkers. That is to be expected. However, you will also find other people not necessarily associated with your work making requests of you. These can even be things that are enjoyable like asking you to attend a social event.

The reality is the transition between maternity leave and spending a great deal of time with your baby to work and spending less time with your little loved one will be challenging enough. Thus, you need to understand how important saying “no” is during in the direct aftermath of maternity leave. If you don’t learn to say no, you will find yourself incredibly stressed out and having less time to spend with your baby and your family.

Meet with Your Boss Before You Go Back

Arrange to meet with your boss before your return date. As a strategy, consider meeting with your boss outside of the office. This will allow you running into coworkers who will wrongly assume you are back. It also helps you limit the amount of time you are away from your baby before your maternity leave ends.

In the meeting with your boss, find out if there have been any significant changes at the company since you’ve been on maternity leave. Ask your boss what priorities he or she has for you when you return.

This is also the time that you should raise the question of easing back into work. Odds are that if you raise this issue sufficiently in advance of the date you are scheduled to return to work, your employer will be more than willing to work with you to make your transition back as easy as possible.

Put Your Purse in the Backseat

This is a tip that you really should consider following while still in maternity leave. When you are a new mother, you likely find yourself stressed and sleep deprived. The best of mothers have inadvertently left their babies in the backseats of cars. More often than not, the mistake is noticed immediately and corrected, but not always.

One thing you can do to lessen the chance that you will leave your baby in the back of the car is to leave your purse there as well. You’re likely very used to taking your purse everywhere. You may feel almost “naked” without it. Thus, in the unlikely event you don’t remember taking your baby from the backseat, you likely would find yourself unable to get very far without your purse in hand.

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Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who focuses on personal finance and other money matters. She currently writes for Checkworks.com, where you can get personal checks and business checks.