Rejuvenation and Renewal


Taking time to rejuvenate is something I share with all women.  We are constantly nurturing others and need to “put on our own oxygen mask first.”  This is exactly what I did this weekend as I attended my college reunion last weekend.

I am a lover of learning and am always eager to return to school. My Smith College reunion afforded me this opportunity in many ways. On Friday evening I attended a session on Supporting our Children with LD/ADHD as They Launch. Sharing information and learning from moms in the “trenches” was empowering to everyone.  On Saturday we learned from former Smith College President Jill Ker Conway about taking the next step as women.  It is all about thinking outside the box and finding ways and places to make a difference using our strengths and skills.  Our final speaker was writer Katrina Kenison, author of the gift of an ordinary day.   It gave each of us the opportunity to examine our focus as women moving through motherhood and onto the next step. You can tell the growth that occurred as women looked to each other to provide coaching to move forward.  

It was an extraordinary weekend of empowering each other.  I seldom saw others texting or using technology. Women were sharing how to connect on Facebook! We were all engaged in the lives of each other, where we are now and where we are headed.  Engaged women discussed politics, history, economics and the important details of homes, families and current events.  

And most importantly it was a fabulous family weekend.  My twin sister Ann and I both graduated from Smith, so one of the best parts of the weekend was sharing moments together.   Each morning we would take a brisk walk about the beautiful campus together.  It was especially meaningful to walk on campus on Saturday night during illumination.  

I want to encourage you to find ways to nurture yourself through the things you are passionate about! Learning from other women, supporting each other as we move forward, and being in an amazing environment is something we each need.  I would love to hear how you are making this happen in your life!

Ending the School Year with Organization

Did you know the end is just as important as the beginning? Closings, completions and round ups make for great celebration.  Here are a few baby steps to get this school year “done.”

Spend an hour culling through all the papers that have come home this year. Decide what is precious and sneak the rest out the door.  With those final touches, you will finalize this year’s school memories.  Be brutal and know what “precious” means to you. 

Clean out your own paperwork from school activities.  Finalize what you will be passing along to the next boy scout leader, PTA volunteer or church Sunday School teacher. Pass the papers along before the end of June so you are ready to begin fresh for your new volunteer opportunities.

 Print all the photo memories from this year using automated services. Only 6% of photos are being printed, so choose the most precious.  Archive the photos on cd, dropshots, or other medium to clear off your camera for summer memories to come.

Evaluate and donate kids clothes that are too small.   Shorts, tees, and other summer attire from last year may not fit.   Decide how many you need of each for this summer, take a little shopping trip, and be ready.

Host a family celebration for the end of the year. Too often we miss these opportunities to give our kids a hug and praise for their successes each year.  Bake or buy cupcakes, purchase ice cream and have an end of the year grand slam celebration.  Making the most of every day makes a big difference!

How will you celebrate the end of the school year?

Favorite Organizing Products

These are a few of my favorite things!

Love label makers! These make everyone’s life easier!  You can find where it is, where it goes and everyone in the family can put things away.  Dymo Letra Tag and Brother P Touch are my faves.

Desktop paper sorters come in lots of styles. My favorites open from the top and have hanging files in them. The hanging file categories include action, pay, file and other every day paper slots. Choose one that matches the decor of your room.

One of my favorite “outside the box” ideas is to use the hanging shoe organizer in lots of different places. These are great at the back door for bug spray and sunscreen, great in the craft room for all the small tools, glues and attachments, great in the toy room for Barbie or hot wheels and great in the kids room for hair bows.   You can see everything, you can reach most things and it is an unused space that provides for storage.

What are your favorite things?

Six Steps to Summer Success

Summer is just around the corner!   For our family that means time by the pool, time to relax and time for family fun!  The key to summer is knowing what works for your family.  

1.       Keep a routine that works.  Everyone still needs a good night’s rest and great yummy healthy food!   Delicious summer treats include berries and berry smoothies, low fat high protein hot dogs or burgers on the grill, and ice cold watermelon.  Keep bedtime routines consistent with a little later time, but still with a routine.

2.       Family fun includes fun place to go!

Houston Children’s Museum       

Houston Zoo                              

Berry picking                              

Nature Discovery Center            

Lunar and Planetary Institute    

Galveston beaches

Area parks

3.       Let’s continue learning this summer too!  Visit the public library once a week, learn a new educational computer game, play chess, RISK or monopoly board games, plant a garden, or take care of a pet.  There are so many experiences to explore.  And don’t forget to include writing and math too in what you do, from baking a cake to journaling about summer travel.

4.       Swimming and summer are a natural! But also add in hiking, biking, walking, jogging, skating and other outdoor activities. Take advantage of cooler morning and evening temps for outside fun.

5.       Summer is the time for creativity.  Encourage your young artist with sidewalk chalk, water color paints, paper mache, crafty creations, and other artistic mediums. The wonderful aspect of creativity is that there is no “wrong” way to express yourself.        

6.       Include more down time in your week. The summer is the best time to kick back and relax. Take a break from the harried and hurried school routines by having more time for talking and just being around the house.   Have summer be the time for family and friend connections.

What are your summer success stories?