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5 Tips to Make Moving with Children Easier

Moving is difficult for even the most organized people. When children are involved the difficulty increases. Whether you are going just down the road or overseas here are some tips to help ease the transition.

1. Pack your room first and your child’s room last.

Children crave constancy and comfort. Make your child’s bedroom a safe place for them in your old home and recreate that same sense of ownership for them in their new bedroom. Older children may see this as an opportunity to get a whole new space with new furniture or décor, while younger children will do better with a room that same of the one they left behind. By packing your child’s room last and unpacking it first upon arrival it will make the move easier for your child.

2. Be prepared.

Have the information for local services. You will need to know where to find the local hospital, pediatrician, dentist, pharmacy, grocery store, and the nearest chain restaurant that the kids love before you depart and arrive at your new home. Put the list together before moving day and make sure to make extra copies putting one in a purse and another in the glove compartment just in case. Moving is a completely different experience with children; being prepared for any emergency is necessary.

3. Take your children away for moving day.

Your moving days are going to be incredibly hectic. Having young children around makes it more stressful because it is nearly impossible to pack and parent at the same time. Consider having your children stay with a family member or friend if possible. If you can’t find childcare, one of the parents should take the kids somewhere and entertain them while the other packs up the house. While this might seem less than ideal, in the long run it will make the entire process less stressful.

4. Try to keep your cool.

With as hectic as moving can be it is easy to fall in the trap of being overly stressed. Parents are the central point of safety for children so it is important to take a minute to catch your breath. Remember that parents help show their child how to respond to situations. By keeping your cool it will let your children know that everything is going to be ok.

5. If it’s important to your child keep it with you.

Never pack your toddler’s favorite toy or special blanket. Having them around will ease the transition during the move. If it’s important to your infant or toddler, keep it in your sight when you’re moving.

Source: Yahoo Homes

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How to Throw a Last-Minute Halloween Party on the Cheap!


Ruh roh… The gang is headed to your place for some post trick-or-treating refreshment! But no need to run screaming from the back door. You can do this!

Here are some tips for throwing together a spell-binding Halloween scene – on the cheap, no less!

FOOD: Make a big pot of something they can help themselves to. Chili or sloppy joes are good choices. Set up a buffet area with everything your goblins need: bowls/plates, silverware, napkins, and a basket of buns or corn bread. Have several candles on the buffet. A big bowl of popcorn – and you’re done!

DRINK: If you don’t have time to make blood red punch with dry ice “fog,” no worries! Cider is a perfect beverage for this party.

DÉCOR: Cheap and easy! Gather some colorful leaves, dry them off and flatten them for a couple hours, then scatter them on your buffet table. Have acorns in your yard? Throw them in there, too!

TABLESCAPE: If you have a tablecloth in a fall color, use it! If not, think about using a sheet. A clean flat sheet in a shade of red, orange or brown works fine. For your centerpiece, more candles and a group of small pumpkins or gourds work well. Scatter more leaves around, and voila!

MUSIC: Nothing sets the mood of your party like spooky music. If you don’t have a good CD, find a couple at the library. How about the soundtrack from Halloween? Or play a scary movie on TV during your gathering.

GAMES: They’re not just for kids! Whether your group is grown-up or not, these games are sure to delight!

  • “THE HANDS-FREE DOUGHNUT DEVOUR” Having purchased a dozen or so doughnuts, you hang one by a string just above mouth-height for each contestant. Without using their hands, they must eat the entire doughnut. Sound easy? Try it! For more giggles and shrieks, use powdered sugar doughnuts. (Have clean up supplies at the ready!) We recommend you do this in a non-carpeted area, or put down a drop cloth to catch the inevitable doughnut detritus. Depending on your space, you can have all guests do this at once, or one at a time. For extra fun, time the contestants.
  • “HALLOWEEN BOCCE BALL” Clear out an area in a room for this one. You play regular bocce ball rules, but instead of using bigger bocce balls and a small pallino, you use apples (yellow and red) and a pumpkin!
  • “WHO AM I?” On each guest’s back, place a sticker with the name of a different famous monster or scary villain from a list you’ve prepared ahead of time. The guest must ask ONLY yes-or-no questions to figure out who they are.

PRIZES AND FAVORS: The dollar store is your friend! If you’re not familiar, check it out! You’ll find everything you need for candy, decorations, silly prizes, even costume props.

CAMERA AT THE READY! Record the fun on video or snap pix throughout the party, and send them to the guests the next day – possibly with blackmail instructions.

Remember, your goal is FUN – not perfection. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Judy DiForte is marketing manager for The Betty Brigade, a concierge company specializing in relocation, organizing and event planning, based in Ann Arbor. To sign up for The Betty Brigade newsletter, click here.

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12 Things to do in Saline – Pick Apples at Lutz Orchard

Each week, for 12 weeks, we will feature something fun to do in Saline, Michigan. Located just 10 miles southwest of Ann Arbor, Saline is a lively community offering the charm of small town living combined with easy access to the vibrant cultural offerings of Ann Arbor.

  1. Watch a Movie in the Park
  2. Take a Trip to the Farmers Market
  3. Attend Saline’s Summerfest
  4. Enjoy the Sounds of the last Summer Music Series of the Season
  5. Dine Downtown
  6. Explore the Rentschler Farm Museum
  7. Spend the Day at Mill Pond Park
  8. Take a Class at the Two Twelve Arts Center
  9. Experience Oktoberfest


#10. Pick Apples at Lutz Orchard

Spend a beautiful fall afternoon picking apples at Lutz Orchard, between Saline and Tecumseh. On 12-acres, Lutz Orchard has a wide variety of apples including standard choices such as Northern Spy and Delicious apples as well as several seldom seen varieties including Snow Apple, Rhode Island Greening, and Wolf River. In addition to apples, the farm grows squash and pumpkins.

Lutz Orchard operates seasonally. It is best to call ahead to plan your visit. For more information, call 734-429-5145.

Are you searching for a home for sale in Saline, Michigan?



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Travel to Florida: 5 Things To Do When Visiting the Tampa Bay Area

Summer is finally here, and while we love Ann Arbor, this means we’re all ready for a long vacation and a break from the real world. If you’re looking for a breath of fresh air, head on down to Florida and experience all that the Tampa Bay Area has to offer.

Here are a few of our favorite things that you won’t want to miss:

Theme Parks. Despite the heat, families tend to migrate to the theme parks in the summer. Head to North Tampa to experience a plethora of wild animals and roller coasters at Busch Gardens or cool off next door at it’s water park partner, Adventure Island.  You can even get a discounted pass if you’re going to be visiting both parks! If you’re looking for a little more magic, take a drive up to Orlando to visit Disney World or Universal Islands of Adventure. It’s only a little over an hour away and well worth the drive!

Sporting Events. No matter what your sport, Tampa Bay has something to offer. Head to downtown St Petersburg to catch a Rays baseball game or hit downtown Tampa to see the Bucs hit the field or the Lightning hit the Ice. If basketball is more up your alley, stop by to see the Orlando Magic play after that Disney trip. Don’t forget to pick up an authentic jersey while you’re here – we wouldn’t want you going home empty handed!

The Arts. The Tampa Bay Area is well known for the arts. Downtown St Petersburg in particular has been voted the #1 mid-size art destination in the country two years in a row! From local co-ops and galleries to the largest collection of Salvador Dali’s works (Dali Museum pictured above), the Chihuly blown glass exhibit and the Museum of Fine Art, there is an endless amount to experience. This truly gives the city life.

Nightlife and Dining. From the laid back atmosphere provided by Central Avenue to the more upscale Beach Drive, Downtown St Pete is definitely a first choice for all ages, both locals and travelers alike. Be sure to check out the unique local cuisine before hitting the town! You can also head over the bridge to South Tampa or Bay Street and you’re sure to find some of the best dining and nightlife around. Whether you’re looking for a drink on the beach, the night of your life or something family friendly, Tampa Bay has got you covered.

The Pinellas Beaches. While there’s plenty to do to keep you busy, the Tampa Bay area also provides a healthy amount of beautiful beaches perfect for relaxation. If relaxing just doesn’t cut it you’re itching to check out a few prime pieces of Real Estate while your in town, you may want to stop by a few of the most expensive beach homes on the market.  They won’t let you down.

If you’re ever in the area and have already covered this to-do list, feel free to stop by Smith & Associates Real Estate and I’m sure we can come up with a few more ideas! Be sure to check out our blog, like us on facebook or follow us on twitter to stay up-to-date on the local community and Real Estate market!

What are your summer plans? We’d love to hear all about them in the comments below and for a few reasons to visit Ann Arbor, visit the Smith & Associates blog!

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Happy Father’s Day

Celebrated on the third Sunday in June, Father’s Day honors the contribution that fathers and father figures make for their children.

What do you love most about your dad?

“I love my Dad for a million reasons…there is NO end to the ways I love him, but if I had to choose a favorite little quirk….I’d have to say my Dad’s tradition of making his family breakfast whenever we get together. It doesn’t matter whose home we are at, my Dad ALWAYS makes toast and eggs for our whole family. And it’s worth mentioning that everybody usually wants something different: scrambled, omelets, poached, sunny side up – he makes them all, and it does it with a smile and love in his heart and it is all DELICIOUS!! One of the many simple yet wonderful ways my Dad shows us he loves us. Goes to show that littlest things can mean the most. Love you Dad – I am tied with my Ems for the luckiest daughter in the world!”

- Laura Outlaw


What are some of your favorite memories of your dad?

“My dad always had a large vegetable garden. He comes from a long line of farmers – his mother grew up on a farm in Virginia and his father on a farm in eastern Maryland. He taught me how to plant the seeds and watch them grow, how to pull the weeds (and not the baby plants), and the best part – how to grab an afternoon snack. You walk down the line of green beans, make a quick stop at the snow peas and turn the corner to the raspberry bushes. Because of my dad, I now have a large vegetable garden as well. I can’t wait to take my boys out to the garden and teach them to plant seeds, to weed the weeds and not the plants, and to grab a snack.”

- Lindsay McCarthy

“I loved going to Fraser’s Pub and German Park with my dad. Also, I was thankful that he chaperoned on many of my daughter’s elementary school field trips – Historic Walking Tour of Saline, Toledo Zoo and many more.”

- Nancy Crosbie

“I always loved going fishing with my Dad at the Rod And Gun Club in Sandusky, Ohio.

I remember one time we were fishing and felt a big tug at the end of the line. It took a while to reel in. When it finally surfaced, we realized we had caught giant turtle! The turtle had latched on to a small sunfish we had originally hooked. We kept reeling and saw that a snake had chomped onto the foot of the turtle. So, that day we officially caught a sunfish, a snapping turtle and a water snake on one hook! Talk about FOOD CHAIN”

- Jennifer Fry

What do you love to do with your dad?

“One of our favorite things to do together is golf!”

- Chad Wiebesick

How are you spending Father’s Day?

“My dad and I work together, so we’ll be spending the weekend in an action-packed Q3 Strategy Session for our company. After living apart from my dad for about 10 years when I went off to college and then moved to Michigan for grad school, it’s great to be able to see him every day and have him available for “Pop Pop” time with my kids!”

- Marisa Smith

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Father’s Day Gift Guide: Top 6 Gifts for Dad

Fathers Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day Gift Guide – An infographic by the team at Charles Reinhart Company, Realtors

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What do you love most about your dad?

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