Borrow our Organization Filing System to get Your Home in Order

organize2

We are halfway into Spring. How is your seasonal organizing in preparation for Summer coming along?

I’m behind as usual. I finished cleaning out my attic in early Spring, but still have the basement to sort out.


At least I got a jump start of my family and business filing organizing. I got a kick in the butt when Staples generously sent me one of its “Get Organized for Spring” kits which included some binders, dividers, hole punch and other tools for getting my stacks of paper in check!

I started keeping track of all the household and filing to-do’s by creating a family binder and a small business binder with help of Jennifer Ford Berry‘s popular book series “Organize Now!” I was fortunate to nab one of these handy guides at my town yard sale, unused! It was what I needed to get everything to organize my family budget, my business marketing plans, my to-do lists and other aspects of my super busy life.

inside-apartment-design-home-large

 

Organizing your household is not just good for de-cluttering but it could also raise your energy level, help relieve anxiety and clear room in your mind to focus on other matters that will bring joy, good fortune and happiness.  I’m a big believer in Feng Shui and clarity we get from  keeping things in order.  Also blame the fact I’m a Type-A, Eldest child and a Virgo!

The Staples binders came in quite handy to separate the categories. I used the hole punch to keep large receipts in place under their respective tabs in the binder.

Feel free to borrow the categories I used to separate the dividers in my binders:

  • Warranty information
  • Life insurance information
  • Budget/spending record
  • Bills to pay
  • Utilities/services directory
  • Home decorating ideas
  • Car maintenance schedule/Receipts
  • School schedules and holiday list
  • Lunch menus
  • School information page
  • School reading lists
  • Summer Camp and programs information
  • Medical information sheet for each family member
  • Emergency directory
  • Prescription drug record
  • Health insurance information
  • Travel packing checklist
  • Before-we-leave checklist
  • Vacation idea list
  • Home renovation contractor lists
  • House-sitter information sheet
  • PTA newsletters and rosters
  • Business records
  • Tax Documents for Personal
  • Tax Documents for Business
  • Big Ticket Items receipts
  • Consultants and Independent Contractor records
  • Liability Insurance
  • Business & Office Equipment registry

Hope these are helpful to you as you get yourself and your family organized for the season! Good luck!

5 Tips to Avoid Overbooking your Child

In this era of the “helicopter parent”, we see plenty of evidence of parents overbooking their children in activities. But the effects of involving your children in too many activities could have health consequences. The stress can lead to anxiety and depression in children.
To help parents avoid this dangerous potential consequence, resident expert on character education for the Wear the Cape Foundation has come up with “5 Tips to Avoid Overbooking Your Kids and Create Life Balance”:
1.     Let your kids know that you care about them for who they are, not just what they can do. Children need to know that your love is not contingent on their achievements.
2.     Remember that children do not have the same sense of time that you do. Part of growing up is being able to put things in perspective. There will likely be another friend, another team, another trip if this one does not work out.
3.     Working hard at something you love to do is one of the best parts of life. It takes some of us a lot of experimenting to find those things we love. Kids need that free time to try new things, as well as the permission to give them up and try something else.
4.     Some kids organize their time and find their interests with just a little exposure; other kids may need a bit of a push to try things that don’t seem attractive or interesting (or may be threatening). The trick here is to be sensitive to individual needs and persistent in offering opportunities. If you need to be pushy, try to offer alternatives, so kids have a voice in what they will be doing. For example, some children thrive in competitive sports, and others may find their niche in hiking or dancing.
5.     Remember to include exposure to helping others in your family activities. One of the best ways of developing empathy in our children (and ourselves) is to feel the gratitude that is expressed when we help others. This doesn’t happen if we don’t have the opportunity of interacting with others in need or whom we help. This can happen within the context of the family itself, as well, and doesn’t necessarily require a formal charity event. Create opportunities in which children can feel that they have meaningfully helped other family members or the whole family accomplish something. The combination of caring, responsibility, feeling respected, and gratitude is a powerful stew that nourishes the soul.
“When we’re overprogrammed and feel we can’t keep up, or are constantly running on empty, stress can lead to anxiety, depression and take a toll on our minds and bodies,” commented Dr. Brown. “For children, this can surface in many ways – trouble sleeping, frequent irritability, aggressiveness with siblings, trouble in school, moodiness or frequent illness are all common signs that something is not right and needs to be explored.”
To raise children of good character, a combination of guidance, freedom, and support in the context of shared values should be provided, Brown adds. 

post signature

Memorial Day Pool opening season safety tips

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of pool season again because most public and private pools open for the first time in the year. It’s a good time for parents to review their water and pool safety rules. 
Here is a snippet of some tips we’ve shared from the now-defunct “Parenting the First Time Through” blog:
Never leave a child unsupervised Children should never be left unsupervised in the water, especially very young children.  It only takes a few inches of water to drown, so don’t think that your toddler will be fine alone in the baby pool. Accidents happen, children can fall and hit their head, infants can lose their balance and go under, or even crawl into a slightly deeper section of a sloped wading pool while chasing a toy. ‘
In its Drowning Prevention Fact Sheet, Safekids.org states that since 1999, an average of 745 children under the age of 14 drown every year, with children under the age of 5 representing 76% of all deaths. Further, in 2009 more than 5000 children under the age of 14 suffered non-fatal near-drowning injuries. Children under 5 made up 80% of this number.
These numbers are startling and should be a call to vigilance for parents, especially those who own pools at home.  Safekids.org goes on to say 72% of deaths and 55% of injuries occur at home pools under the age of 5, while 45% of fatalities in the older age bracket (5 to 14) occur at public facilites.  Even inflatable pools are not exempt. In just those few inches of water there were 244 reported submersion cases between 2001 and 2009 in children under age 11.

Don’t count on the lifeguards to babysit – While public pools and beaches may employ lifeguards, don’t count on them as the sole supervisor of your children. They are there to help make the swimming area as safe an environment as possible for everyone. That means they are watching not just your children, but you, your friends, your friends’ children, and every other swimmer. That’s a lot of people.
In sum, be vigilante. 


10 Things To NOT Ever say to your Kids

 I stumbled upon this very well written article published last Spring in Women’s Day, titled, “10 Things You should Never Say to your Kids.” Seeing as how I’m guilty of uttering more than one of these offenses, I read author Denise Shapani‘s explanations of each and they make complete sense! Very insightful stuff.  Now the challenge is to remember these lessons and resist the urge to repeat the offensive utterances. Oy!

The list of the ten are:


1. “I know you can try harder.”

2. “Are you sure you need that second cupcake?”

3. “You always…” or “You never…”

4. “Why can’t you be more like your sister/brother?”

5. “I told you waiting until the last minute was a mistake!”

6. “You’re the best at soccer!”

7. “Don’t worry—the first day of school will be fine.”

8. “Because I said so!”

9. “I wish you didn’t hang out with Jack; I don’t like that kid.”

10. “That’s not how you do it! Here, let me.”

Head over to Women’s Day to read Shapani’s reasoning for each HERE!

photo: Thinkstock
post signature

30 Blogs for Frugal Moms

The recession may be over but that doesn’t mean you have to stop watching your pennies and staying on budget. For those moms (and dads) out there who like to pinch pennies and save a few dollars, here is a post from our partners at Au Pair Care, featuring 30 blogs and blog posts dedicated to helping out frugal moms:

 

Couponing
While taking the time to clip coupons and scour weekly papers, print ads and websites for the best deals may seem more time-consuming than the payoff warrants, you may be surprised at just how much money you’re able to save on food and personal care products by using coupons to your advantage. These five blogs give you some insight into how coupon-savvy moms manage to save so much money, helping you fill your pantry without emptying your bank account.
Utility Bill Savings
While it’s certainly important to help your family do their part in making a positive impact on the environment by saving energy, the savings that a few small changes can generate is another motivating incentive. These five bloggers talk about the best ways to make your home more energy-efficient, and how to make sure that your energy costs aren’t higher than is strictly necessary.
Frugal Meal Ideas
Feeding your family on a budget doesn’t have to mean that you’re resorting to cheap, pre-packaged foods that are long on the preservatives and short on quality. These five food bloggers understand the importance of striking a balance between high quality and low cost, providing great meal ideas that won’t break the bank.
Savings at the Pump
Gasoline prices might fluctuate slightly from time to time, but they’re almost always more expensive than is manageable for many families. Saving fuel is not only good for the environment, but also good for the family budget. That’s why these five bloggers are offering their sage advice on how to save at the gas pumps, so that you are able to reduce your footprint while increasing your budget.
Saving on School Supplies
Back-to-school shopping is a lucrative season for retailers, coming in second only to the winter holidays in terms of revenue. Whether you’re purchasing supplies for one child or several, it’s easy to overspend when autumn rolls around each year. These five bloggers understand the struggle of keeping your children well-stocked and set up for academic success without draining your wallet in the process.
Saving on Kids’ Clothing
Shopping for kids’ clothing can be one of the most stressful and upsetting situations for families on a tight budget, as kids are anxious to have the name-brand duds of their peers despite the fact that the family budget doesn’t quite have room for a pair of designer jeans. These five blogs tackle the sensitive and often complicated subject of shopping for kids’ clothes on a tight budget.

post signature


Milla Jovovich: Mothering in developing nations inspire me

Model, Resident Evil  actress and mom to two, Milla Jovovich captured my heart when she said in a recent interview that she is inspired by mothers in the developing world and strives to mimic their simple, traditional and instinctive mothering styles. 
Much of the things families in agrarian and other “Third World” do is guided by convenience and resourcefulness. 
Jovovic explains how they motivate her: 

I’ve always been inspired by mothers in Third World countries. I feel that the connection with children and mothers is so strong in places where there are not so many “things” to get in the way. No electronic distraction devices, no high tech baby equipment, just a mother carrying her little one everywhere, sharing a family bed and having the help of all the other women around to raise the baby. 

I always thought that the Western way of raising kids was so disconnected. Everyone has their cubicle at home, babies go into nurseries, little kids have their own rooms. You are so separated from one another! We have been co-sleeping for years with our daughter and I feel that it’s helped us so much to stay connected as a family. 


Especially as my husband and I can have such tough work schedules making films, where we’re on set for at least 12 and sometimes 14 hours a day! Because we share sleep at night, our daughter naturally feels very connected to us and that in turn makes her want to please us! She trusts us and listens to what we say. There is an innate sense of respect between us all that I feel can be lacking with some of the other parents and children I see in our society. I feel that some problems that parents say are “typical” i.e. arguing, defiance, tantrums, interrupting, disrespect, disobedience, screaming etc. we just haven’t had to deal with in any serious way!

Of course I’m very hands on with following through on consequences when my daughter is misbehaving, but I think that because she feels totally accepted and included in our world, she does’t want to let us down and I know that even though we disagree on things sometimes, like rules, it has made discipline so much easier for us. ESPECIALLY when I feel like I’ve made a mistake as a parent, making up for it is so much simpler when you share all that extra cuddle time in the evening and mornings together!

Love it!

Read the rest of the interview at Romy & The Bunnies.

photos: Instagram, courtesy Milla Jovovich
h/t PEOPLE
post signature

Divorce Parents Problems: The issue with the ‘Visitation’ parent

When parents separate, divorce or never marry, they often have to split custody of the child. Normally, if a cordial agreement is reached, the child spends the week with one parent and may visit the other parent on weekends or twice a month. For the visitation parent, they may be in another relationship or it may be more convenient to not have full time custody of their child.  If the split is contentious, a mediator or court may settle the visitation and child support payments to the custodial parent who keeps the kid most of the time.
Parents that do not have a court ordered payment plan may feel the need to compensate for not having to make  regular support payments  by spoiling the kids rotten and showering them with gifts on the days they have them. This means taking them on trips, fun play parks and of course buying them tons and tons of toys and other goodies to take home.  By showering their kids with gifts on the weekends they have them, these parents may feel like they are buying affection or forgiveness for not being there regularly. The kids love it!
Note that on the first visit with Tom Cruise, he took daughter Suri to Disney world, spurring a bunch of tabloids to speculate that Suri prefers to stay with him.
But the custodial parent isn’t always happy with the “spoilation.”
In real world among regular non-celebrity parents, what happens when the “visitation” parent returns the kids to their custodial parents until the next visit? I’ll tell you what: They create little entitlement kids who expect gifts and toys all the time. The kids also can become jealous of other kids when they receive gifts because they are used to being the subject of material affection. It can make birthday parties when other children are celebrated difficult.
Also, it grows a child who has a sense of entitlement and who expects rewards without hard work.
How to curb this problem? If you are the custodial parent, press upon the visitation parent to NOT give the child a gift at each visit. Instead, give the monetary value of a gift to you to use on the child later. The custodial parent, especially if they do not receive regular child support payment, can use that money for child care so mom/or dad can go out. They can use it to buy a toy when earned.
It’s one of many challenges and struggles that parents and children have to deal with when they are not being parented in the same home by their birth parents. 
Have you had to deal with this challenge? How have you reacted? What have been the response of the kids? What would you suggest other parents’ do to cope or deal?

post signature

20 Websites to Prepare & Celebrate for Kindergarten Graduation

Bellyitch Rewind

It’s that time again for many families with young children: Kindergarten Graduation!!!  In preparation, please check out this lit of 20 blogs becomingananny‘s compiled to inspire you and your friends with different ways that you can make your children’s kindergarten graduation an exceptional experience.  These blog entries cover the ceremony, how to make the cap, recipes for some tasty graduation treats and of course some gift ideas.
The Ceremony
If you are wondering what kind of ceremony to have for your kindergartener and his classmates, these five blog posts will help you come up with some ideas.  The kids are young, so their attention span isn’t incredibly long. This makes it’s important to keep the ceremony short and to the point.  Many times the ceremony can be held during the school day so as to not add any additional budgetary concerns by having the event at night and requiring additional staff.
The Cap
One of the cutest things you can make for your child to wear on their graduation day is a cap and gown.  Some schools choose to rent the gowns and some own them.  Many schools skip the gowns altogether, but stick with the cap and tassel.  These five blog articles will give you some ideas on how to create caps for the kids to wear that aren’t very expensive.  You can get a group of parents together and make them for every student.
The Treats
It wouldn’t be a celebration without treats.  For food, think of different yummy kid friendly snacks, such as finger foods.  While you are considering what snacks to make, try to come up with some that look like a diploma or graduation cap so that the snacks can tie into the event.  The next five blog posts will give you some tasty ideas to make for your little graduates.  Remember, these treats don’t have to be difficult or expensive to feed the guests at your kindergarten graduation.
The Gift
The graduation gift can be anything from favor bags for all of the graduates to something special from mom and dad to commemorate the day.  These bloggers have ideas for both options.  Whatever the present, make sure you take plenty of pictures of the big day so that you can create a mini brag book or some scrapbook pages to remember this milestone event.  The next five blog entries can help you figure out what gift you want to give the graduate in your life.
One of the best gifts you can give your child is your time.  These blog entries have given you lots of ideas on how to celebrate this milestone in your child’s life, but even if your school doesn’t opt to do a big ceremony you can make the day special for your graduate just by being there.  Remember, before you know it you will be celebrating your child’s high school graduation, so make sure not to miss a minute of this ride of a lifetime.

post signature

Watch First Time Expecting Women get pregnancy advice from THEIR moms (VIDEO)

Another Mother’s Day has wrapped. The annual holiday is also a great time for daughters who are mothers to reflect on the advice they were given by their own mothers.
A recent 1-800-Flowers.com survey found that  3 out of 4 women seek their mother’s advice with 18-24 year olds  seeking relationship and health advice; 25-39 year olds seeking parenting advice and 40 to 55 and 55+ seeking home projects insights. 

The relationship differs depending on age. Millennials say they are best friends with their moms, they talk about everything (36.9%); while Gen Xers and Boomers say their relationship with mom is complicated (31.2% and 31.0% respectively).
It’s no surprise then to discover that the survey results found that 79% of women would feel positively if someone told them they were just like their mother.
And first time pregnant women too turn to their moms for advice and counsel on what to expect.

The Daily Share sat first-time mothers-to-be across from THEIR moms to ask them any and every question they had about what to expect from motherhood.


The result is a candid and endearing short video. Check it out:



post signature

Mother’s Day: 10 Songs to dedicate to Mom (VIDEOS)

Thinking of a song to dedicate to or play for your mom today, here are a few classics to consider playing for or dedicating to your mom today. Enjoy!





post signature