3 Ways to Get Dinner on the Table

 

 

3 steps to get dinner on the table

 

There’s nothing more exciting than getting home and smelling yummy dinner!  Whether you are the parents and kids, living with roommates, or living alone, getting dinner on the table makes a difference every day. It’s about self care and care for others.   Taking care of ourselves and our family, we nourish our bodies and our community with dinner together. How can we make getting dinner on the table easy? There’s lots of organizing steps to getting dinner ready.  There’s planning, shopping, preparing and clean up. Here’s some easy steps to short cut and dinner help is here.

 

Beginner’s guide to meal planning

Getting dinner on the table is no accident. It requires a plan.  A meal plan approach makes sure you have what you need, when you need it and with healthy options.  The plan starts with knowing how many meals you need to plan.  It also requires a balance of veggies, fruits, proteins and carbs.   The more colorful your plate, the healthier.  Having a plan means that you will have the ingredients on hand to prepare.

  • Start with just one of the food groups.  Start with proteins and work around this.  Pair the same protein with many different veggies or fruits.  When you start with only one food group it’s less overwhelming to create your dinner plan.
  • The family dinner list is a family friendly way to plan dinner. Your family shares with you 12 ideas that they will all eat for dinner. It can be super duper simple, like grilled cheese or baked potatoes, or taco bar. The idea is to have your family gather, share and then eat. Keep this list and the necessary ingredients handy when you shop.
  • The Family Dinner Project gets you started with the online dinner program, Food, Fun and Conversation: 4 Weeks to Better Family Dinners.   This guide helps you make family dinners a household staple in just four weeks. This free guide includes healthy recipes, dinner activities and loads of conversation starters.
  • Pantry staples and a freezer inventory make meal planning easier. What’s already here to use?
  • Short cut meal planning using a pre-set menus and prepped ingredients like Hello Fresh, Blue Apron or other meal kits. 

 

Ready, set, shop

Now it’s time to get the goods.  Create a list and shop by store. Make it digital so everyone who is out of the house can shop. Cozi, AnyList, and OurGroceries all have easy to use online lists that are accessible by you and your shopping buddy. Use online coupons from the stores you typically shop. A shopping trick that helps is to shop that same day every week. You can shop twice a week and always have milk. Belong to a  Automate non-perishable delivery with Amazon Subscription and your toilet paper arrives regularly.  Remember to:

  • Always bring a list.
  • Organize your list by aisle. The perimeter of the store is where essentials are purchased.
  • Stick to your list.

 

Quick and easy preparation

Can you make dinner in 15 minutes or less? Can you make a day of making dinner?  What’s your quick and easy hack to get dinner on the table?  Take help to get dinner on the table by partnering with your kids, partner, or those in the vicinity.  Use short cuts from the grocery store with prepped or frozen veggies.  Prep what you can one day a week and store in the plastic ware ready to use.  Just like other routines, getting dinner on the table requires thinking ahead.  Get your protein ready by defrosting the night before in the refrigerator.

  • Make a no- cook dinner that requires only assembly. Try cold foods, like sandwiches or salads for dinner.
  • Early prep with a slow cooker for all day cooking.
  • Instapot cooking speeds up your dinner.
  • Prep and cook on a weekend.  Consolidating all the work of dinner makes for a quick evening dinner.

 

What’s your biggest take away from getting dinner on the table? Family dinner together! It’s the opportunity to review the day, learn what’s happening for each of you, and a time to connect. It’s time to cook dinner together and learn a new skill. It’s really not about the food. It’s about the time together!

 

More dinner ideas here! 

After the Flood Decluttering and Organizing

 

After the Flood decluttering and organizing

 

In the past few weeks we have seen decluttering and organizing in sad circumstances.  Families and businesses have suffered great losses due to flooding.  Families and businesses have reached out across the country to supply those in need with items they are letting go of.  The catastrophic circumstances have lead to an all time new attetion to decluttering and organizing.  In reflection, the response to life altering circumstances is letting go and decluttering.

 

Holding onto things

There have been lots of reasons in the past that we have been holding onto things.  There’s emotional attachment, unrealized value, and that “just in case” thinking.  When we see that our things have been ruined, we feel regret.  Several of my clients mentioned that although it was necessary to let go of items in their homes after the floods, it still was hard despite these being ruined. Despite, the blessings of help during the flood, it was still difficult to bag up clothes and home goods.  There’s an art to letting go.

 

Emergencies don’t give us time to process holding onto things and why. In a quick decision, regrets occur.  Let’s remember that grief is a part of holding onto things and that grief can resurface later despite the most awful of circumstances.  It takes time for perspectives to shift in holding onto things.

 

Letting go of things

“When natural disasters of this magnitude strike, they bring out the best impulses in many of us. We feel empathy for the victims and an urge to reach out and help them in any way we can, ” according to Psychology Today.  We want to help by giving.  Most encouraging has been the financial donations for those in need.  There are many local and national agencies to give donations for these emergencies.

 

It’s also a reminder to ourselves that disaster can happen to anyone and anywhere.  When we see that our friends, neighbors and families have suffered through the loss, we know that we could be experiencing the same.  It’s a prompting to us to use this new awareness in a positive light and let go of our own things too.

 

Difficult times take time to process. Whether you experienced flooding as either a helper or a victim, take time to tell your story, share your experience and reflect on the new perspectives after the flood.

Lessons Learned From Hurricane Harvey

 

 

Lessons learned from Hurricane Harvey

It’s been a rough week in Kingwood (suburb of Houston), Texas. We have seen rain for days followed by epic flooding.  While it’s been a scary, sad, chaotic, unprecedented week, there are always lessons to learn when life takes you on a spin to Plan B (or C.) Here are the lessons I learned this week from my life in Kingwood after Hurricane Harvey

 

#HoustonStrong #KingwoodStrong

  1. Stand up and be counted! You can do this! You got this! Hastag or not, Houston shows it’s underlying strength in times of adversity. The hashtag has surfaced everywhere showing us to be tough but big hearted and strong enough to face what it takes to rebuild our city. Being strong takes courage however we know we can rebuild our city. Our stengths comes from knowing how to work hard, be kind, and take on what comes our way.

 

Team Up

Many hands make for light work. That’s especially the case when disaster strikes. Having a team not only eases up on the work itself, it also helps with the stress. Research shows that surrounding yourself with positive people, energy and conversations makes hard situations easier.  When you are together, process the situation, make it fun and also get work done.  It’s overwhelming and endless when you are undoing the damage of flooding.  Be the person that turns things upside down and make team work happen. Think about how to be a part of the solution! In our community local churchs banded together to aid families in need.  Food was available all over the community.  Boaters from the “Cajan Armada” rescued our people over and over.  Find a fit for your strenghs and share the work and fun.

 

Find the good

It’s not always easy to find the good. It can be distracting when traffic snarls while getting to your home to clean up.  It’s an emotional roller coaster when you are working on your home and emptying all your first flood onto your lawn.  Find a way to find the good.  Here’s the little things I noticed in the last 2 days that helped me find the good in our community.

  • A “corner store” on the corner of 2 streets, giving away from cleaning supplies, food and supplies.
  • ” A boat came and got us,” driven by the Cajun Armada, people from Louisiana who knew the devastation a hurrican causes. Thousands were rescued by these men and women.
  • Families helping families rip up flooring.  Kids, moms and dads working together to help other families that they had not met.
  • Chain saws, manned by anyone and everyone, ripping through trees making passage ways available
  • Free food, supplies, and support at every corner in our community.

 

There’s never a good time for disaster. Our country has been through a lot this year.  Texans are showing what it’s like to be strong, stay positive, and make a difference by helping others in our community.

 

What lesson have you learned from Hurricane Harvey?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Organized, Productive Back to School

easy organized productive back to school

 

Back to school means school starts, activities gear up and nightly routines begin again.  While it is sad to see Summer end, we welcome getting back to school as a fresh start for our kids and ourselves. Let’s make it an easy, organized, productive year for our families at back to school time.

Easy, organized, productive routines

By far families feel the crunch most in the morning and evening. Mornings feel rushed with getting out the door. Evenings fly by with activities and dinner.

  • Create and keep a personal checklist for everyone to follow for morning and evening. Post it where your family each can see it. Parent nagging does not promote getting things done, while a checklist can.  The list includes the most basic and most important things to check off.  Keep it short and simple. However, it can include things can are easily forgotten like brushhing teeth and combing hair.
  • Pattern your day.  That is create a pattern, routine or time assigned for important tasks. Homework should have a set start and finish time.
  • Make meals easy.  Many families have opted for Sunday prep day, a dinner box, or dinner prep (and easy decisions) that arrives like Hello Fresh.
  • Make time for gratitude. During dinner or at bedtime are great times to share what we are grateful for, high and low points of the day, and a special acknowledgement for your kids’ and your successes each day.  There’s power in ending the day positively.

 

Easy, organized clothes and school supplies

There’s clothes, school supplies and other supplies required to start the school year.  Take stock and assess what you have already. This may require making a huge mess when gathering it all together. It’s worth it since you know what you have and purchase only what you need.

  • Think of creating a “uniform” for your kids to wear to school. Like the concept of the capsule wardrobe, use color and your child’s style to pull together a minimum number of outfits.  It will clear the closet clutter this way too!
  • Purchase your school supplies and 2 back ups for future use. Help your child set up their supplies for homework and for school.
  • Keep one bag for each child for each activity. Prep your landing strip by having enough sturdy hooks for each.
  • A productive day starts the night before.  Set your and your kids’ clothes out the night before.  Do as much as you can.  Se bags and backpacks in the landing strip and technology charging in a common space.  Make these steps part of your evening checklist.

 

Easy, organize, productive paper routines

On the first day of school, a tidal wave of paper comes in. Be prepared this year to be organize and productive with a command center for your papers.  The command center is where action papers are located.  The command center can be as simple as a single drawer or inbox or a series of categories customized for your family.

  • Your kids and you drop paper here daily.  You triage it and then add tasks to your list.
  • Once a week, or daily if you need to, spend one hour to get the paper work done. That means pay bills, fill in information, add dates to your calendar and all other administrative tasks.
  • When your “to file” is big enough, you can file it easily.
  • Your list can grow and grown, however choose 3 Most Important Tasks to complete that day or that week.

The key element to remember is keep it simple sweetie!  The easiest, simplest way to get organized is the way to go!  Wishing you the best back to school ever!

 

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Best Family Travel Tips

best family travel organizing tips

 

 

On a recent trip with my grandkids, I knew that we had entered a new age of organizing for families. We love the opportunity to travel with our grandkids and took the fun on the road.  It’s no longer just clothes and shoes to pack.  Now it’s multiple ipads, movies, chargers, medicines, hand sanitizer and more.  Here’s best family travel tips to make sure you are organized and ready for fun!

 

Start with a list

There’s simply too much to remember to pack for your family.  There are lots of lists available online or create your own checklist.  Our list includes all the details, no matter how small.  When you travel with kids you want to be sure you are prepared.  We added medicines and first aid supplies.  You can be sure your list is complete by adding items and reviewing it after your trip.

Create a family command center

When a family of 5 shares a hotel room, it can be chaotic.  It’s easy to lose the most important of items like money or tickets.  Create a command center with wallets, purses, and other important items.  This can be near the tv or by the mini refrigerator.  Unload your pockets or purse each night and restock each morning before you leave your accommodations.  Taking a few minutes to set this up and keep it orderly each day will make your travel more fun and less stressful.

Create a charging station

Just like at home, you want your devices ready to go in the morning.  We created a charging station for all devices.  We brought along 2 extra power strips to plug in all the devices.  Each device had it’s own charger.  I also have an extra charger for my phone during the day that I would recharge each evening.   Devices were plugged in each evening so everyone would get a good night’s rest too. Label each charger so you know who owns it and what device it belongs to.

 

As in all, travel keep the basics in mind as you pack.  A little organizing goes a long way!

 

An organized family is a happy family!

The Secret of How a Reset Helps You be More Organized

reset your home, office and life

 

Days and weeks take a toll on our organization and productivity. We work hard and play hard. Some times our organization suffers because we are too busy.  That’s why a reset can make a difference.

 

What’s a reset?

By definition a reset is when you get back to your baseline, get started fresh and get back in order.  It is typically a verb that shows the action of placing back. It means to move (something) back to an original place or position. However, let’s think of it as noun to help you restore order.

 

When do I reset?

It’s a best practice to reset daily and weekly.  A daily reset is getting your bags emptied and reorganized, your kids’ backpacks uncluttered, and  your clothes in a hamper or hung up.  Each evening take 5 minutes (with your family) to reset your home. That is to restore order to important bags, spaces and spots to have a fresh start for the next day. A list can help you be sure you reset all the areas that are important to you.

 

Make your your week starts with a weekly home reset ion Sunday. It’s your preparation for having a great week.  Take 30 minutes to check your calendar for the week so you know what’s ahead..

 

A weekly office reset is best on Friday.  At this time you are most in touch with your projects and tasks. Capture information, get your desk back in order, create files for loose papers and tidy up your space at this time.

 

What else is behind a reset?

In the book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains small changes in behavior and the impact. With a reset, you are applying the science of change to your life in a way that can make every day better. Life with new habits requires reminders and practice. Build in support for this new habit with baby steps, attaching your reset to an existing habit, and acknowledging how important can be for you.

 

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4 Easy Ways to Organize Your ADHD Child’s Room

organize your adhd child

 

Summer is a great time for you and your child to work on an organizing project.  It’s when you have more time together, so together you can tackle their bedroom. It’s a project that can last beyond one day or a weekend to complete. There’s time for mixing in music and fun while you work.  It’s a partnership you and your child can work together on, collaborate and end with an organized room.  Together you can organize your adhd child’s room.

 

Big trash can

Start simple.  It’s typical that you can’t see the floor.  There’s more trash in our kids rooms than ever. An ample trash can helps get this contained.  Give your kids an open trash can that’s well placed for use.  When you cull out the trash, you have  a great small start to organizing.  Keeping the floor clear as a routine helps keep the room more organized in general.

 

Big categories

Often we over complicate and over think the organizing in our kids rooms.  Think of big categories for ADHD kids.  Resist the urge to have small bins sorted super specifically.   The common categories are media, toys and clothes. Media can be stored in a bin by game system and a notebook for each cd.  Clothes can all be hung and there can be a bin for pajamas and underwear.  Stuffed animals are easy to store in a large basket or toy box.  Keep the organization simple and labelled for you and your child to maintain order too.

 

Let go of lots of toys

Our kids have lots of toys in their spaces. It’s overwhelming and too much to organize or play with.  Your child may feel every toy is special.  It can be hard to decide what to let go of, but here are some steps you can work on together.   Start letting go of toys that are for younger kids. The most important of these keepsake toys can be stored in a bin.  Decide where you will store toys and use this as a limit for toys in your home.  Your child can choose 3 toys to let go of and share with others.  Let go of 1 stuffed animal a week and have a moratorium on purchasing new stuffies.  Any way you decide, it’s a good time to release some toys.  Overall, a less cluttered environment is a positive environment.

 

Daily Dash time

The most organized space needs a daily pick up time. The Daily Dash gives your children time to get items back to where they go.  Talk through the day with your child and see what is the most advantageous time to pick up.  Set an alarm on their phone, write a reminder on several post it notes, schedule a family daily dash time or write out a chart of responsibilities including daily dash time. When everyone picks up, it’s a noticeable difference in your home.

 

This summer, one of your goals may be to be more organized. It’s important to walk through organizing and partner with your kids.  For the not naturally organized, this will take reinforcement.  Be patient and kind as you work alongside your child to help them be more organized.

 

More ideas here  on my Pinterest Board ADHD

 

Easy, Organized Summer Travel

easy organized summer travel

 

It’s travel season! It starts right after the end of school and trickles down in mid- August.  There’s lot to prepare.   If you are like most families, nothing slows down before or after your trip.  So how to get ready on a moment’s notice?  Here’s 3 tips to getting organized for summer travel super easy!

 

Travel checklists

No reason to reinvent the wheel!  Keep a travel check list for you and your family.  It’s the best secret to ensure that all that you need it with you.  A list makes sure you include everything you want for your trip without having to remember it all.  Here are some of my favorite

 

Travel apps

Most destinations have their own apps now too!  It’s easy to log on and learn what’s to offer at that location.  There are offer schedules,coupons, maps and other information too. It’s like an insider’s guide to your destination.  It’s best to log on to the specific location you are headed to but there are general ones as well that make it easy to make the most of your time away.

 

When You  Return

It’s hard after vacation to get back into the groove. There’s lots competing for your time and energy.Plus you are travel weary.

  • Start with clothes. Grab all laundry and get a load started.
  • Pile up all the papers and go through it ruthlessly keeping just bills and most important papers.
  • Try to bring home as few extra papers or odds and ends from your trip as possible.  For articles you pulled during your trip or paper keepsakes,  take a picture with your smart phone or save the article to Evernote.   Leave the free stuff like toiletries, extra sundries or other goodies for another traveler to enjoy.
  • For email do a quick triage and delete as much as you can.  Categorize what remains by the date or day of the week you can work on it.

Have a travel tip that works for you? Share here!

 

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No tears homework time! 5 Tips for Organizing Homework Time

back to school homework time

Homework does not have to be a nightmare!  Kids crying, mom crying and still no homework done can be a thing of the past with these 5 tips for getting homework done.

1. To do homework,  you must know what homework needs to be done.  Be sure your child writes in his/her planner every day. It takes coaching your child about when to write down homework and to write it down each time it is assigned.  This step is the most important because it saves hours.

2. Assign a spot for homework to be completed. Your child’s room is NOT the spot.  A location just off the main hub of life in  your home works well.  Your child can ask for help if needed and you can gently supervise from not too far away too.  Set up this station with a small caddy containing all the essential supplies.

3.Set a time for homework to begin.  Homework time requires a time to be set.  Your child needs a little time off and time to decompress. Having a start time that is non-negotiable helps everyone avoid procrastination. If your child has lots of after school activities, talk through the process and when homework will start.  With both of you on the same page about start times, homework proceeds more smoothly and quickly.

4.  Decide on your paper system for homework. Have a folder marked for homework, where the papers come home and return to school.  Completed homework that is not turned in can be a major frustration.   Be sure  to check with your child to see completed homework in his folder before bedtime.

5.  Use a timer if homework is dragging on and on.  Some times distractions prolong homework. Set a small timer with a clock face at the work table.  Have your child work for 30 minutes, then take a 5 minute break and then repeat the process.   This way real work is being completed.

What are your tips for getting homework organized?

 

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3 Back to School Tips for Busy Parents

back to school tips for busy parents

 

The school year starts off in a few weeks. It’s a mad dash from August to June with dates, activities, homework, dinner and more.  As parents we are striving for a level of organization and sanity.  These three back to school tips will make your year more organized and less chaotic.

Weekly planning time

Most of your kids invitations and information comes in through email and websites.  It’s hard to consolidate it.  Weekly planning time gives you the opportunity to search through email, school sites, teacher sites and other spots where that information is shared.  Gather up your family calendar and task list, as well as a beverage of choice, and spend an  hour gleaning information. It’s also helpful to sit with your middle and early high school students and make a weekly grid of their homework and after school activities.

 

Choose your calendar that works best for you.  If  you love paper planners, use a paper planner. You can always shoot a photo and share it with your family.  Cozi and Google calendar offer online real time access for everyone in your family.  If you like auditory reminders, set your online calendar and “invite” your family for them to receive alerts too.  Use what works best for you!

 

 

Family meeting

There may be some eye rolling, especially from your spouse, when you mention a family meeting. You can call it the family huddle, gathering time or whatever you prefer.  Hosting a time when everyone shares calendar events and family activities makes family efforts run smoother.   There are always last minute things like baking cupcakes and purchasing poster board. But there will be fewer emergencies when you share during a family time.

 

It’s hard to find a good time to meet after you are back to school. It’s in finding what works for your family that will make hosting your family meeting happen.  Some families sit together after church on Sunday. Some families meet at 5 pm each Sunday.  Decide when you can consistently meet and get started. It’s good to make this pay day for allowances too.

 

Family dinner

Family time together can never be undervalued.  A shared meal is the time for us to share our thoughts and feelings.  But how to overcome all those distractions?   Be realistic about your options.  Even if there is only one time a week, set that expectation.  Dinner time should be a no tech time for everyone, including parents.

 

family dinner conversations

Try something new this year for family dinner conversations. This  dinner conversation jar is filled conversation starters.  It’s a fresh take on that same old conversation.

 

Wishing you and your family the best start to the best back to school ever!

 

More tips for back to school here.