In between overdoing it

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Organizing Month 11:Clearing out Holiday Stress

Organizing Month 11: Holiday stressWith the end of November comes my second to last installment of my walk through the book “One Year to an Organized Life,” by Regina Leeds. So far in this series we have tackled emotional and physical clutter and it has made all of the holiday activities so much easier. Here are links to the spaces we have organized so far; Kitchen, Garage, Bathroom, Bedroom, Paper Organization, Memorabilia, Travel, Kids Rooms, Living/Dining Room.

The author said it but I didn’t really believe it until Thanksgiving came upon us. She stated after creating organizational habits throughout the house this year your home will now support you during the holidays instead of sabotage you. She was totally right!

The freak-out begins

Every year about two weeks before Thanksgiving, I start to get anxious. I start to freak out imagining all that has to get done before Thanksgiving. Creating lists upon lists or what needs to be cleaned, purchased and cooked.  Tending to take on way to much this time of year, the process of prepping for the holiday’s makes me over complicate all of these things.

I worry will there be enough food? I envision how messy my house will be for guests.  Not to mention the time it will take to shop, prep, cook and clean the house, while still having to work a full-time job. Add to that the anxiety of seeing Christmas ads all over the place by early November. Are they kidding I haven’t even gotten through Thanksgiving yet and I’m already feeling the pressures of Christmas shopping?

Turkey, family and flooring oh my!

Well, to my surprise this year that didn’t happen when by all reason it should have been worse. See, about two weeks before Thanksgiving we were scheduled to get new flooring installed through almost all of our home. This renovation was scheduled for October but had to be postponed due to Hurricane Matthew.working-mother-clip-art-multitasking_mom1

Not only did I have my entire house in shambles, I had no floor for about a week and a half before the big day. Almost the whole house of furniture was packed into three bedrooms and we were still living in it! So roughly about four days before Thanksgiving, I had to put my entire house back together.

Still we could not move all the furniture back completely until the baseboard’s were done THE DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING. What? When I should be prepping, cleaning and cooking I had to move furniture.

The weird thing was, this year I was not stressed. I truly believe all of the work of de-cluttering had played a large roll in this lack of the anxiety I have come to associate with Thanksgiving.

In fact, once the floor was installed we realized how much nicer our home felt with less stuff. As we moved in some furniture, we uncluttered more and decided to get rid of pieces to make our small home feel more open.

During the renovation my kids and I were stuck in the bedroom and front yard for much of the time. I took this opportunity to further pare down my children’s belongings and tackled the scrapbook cabinet I had mentioned in a prior post. Getting rid of toys, cloths, and video games I missed on the first go around. Once that was done we moved on to Thanksgiving.

What was Thanksgiving like as a kid?

The first section of this chapter, in my view, is the most important. Surprisingly it has nothing to do with organizing your physical space. Instead it deals with confronting where your holiday stress comes from and setting your intention for this years celebration’s. This might not seem like a big deal, but it is huge.

It starts with several journal questions that dive into what your holiday was like as a child. They seem like simple questions at first but help you to discover some thought patterns that may be trapping you into a certain way of thinking about Thanksgiving.

Growing up my parents hosted Thanksgiving. My mom and Dad where really good cooks and dinner was always delicious. However my cousins, who would come over, had a beautifully decorated and immaculately clean home. My family… not so much. I remember being the only one to clean the house before Thanksgiving because I was embarrassed. To me our house was always a mess, our furniture was old and out dated. It was nothing like the clean, well-kept home my cousins had.

Looking back I realized my parents were more concerned about the food they prepared and the family time we had.  They were never much for appearances. Not having a ton of money or time, they felt these resources were better spent on providing a great meal, not on the appearance of the house.

However, after answering these questions I discovered the majority of my Thanksgiving stress was generating from this memory. It was not in the food preparation so much as the house cleaning I worried over. It was so difficult to keep the house clean to the way I wanted with two dogs and two children.

Mom, we really didn’t need a 20 lb Turkey

The other thing I realized is I completely over spent and over-cooked for Thanksgiving dinner. Every year I would watch my parents prepare Thanksgiving enough for 30 people when we where only 10. One year my mother even bought a 20 lb turkey! So growing up I always thought this was the way Thanksgiving was done.

This discovery was made when I was making my Thanksgiving menu, something that the author advises in the third section of the chapter. Going down my list, noting all of ingredients to shop for there was a nagging feeling to make this list longer. Eventually my husband asked why I was trying to make Thanksgiving stressful for myself by adding more to do? He was totally right. I didn’t have the time or the energy to add more and why did I feel like I needed too?

This Thanksgiving we had a wonderful time and I actually got to spend it with my family instead of in the kitchen. I allowed myself to take some shortcuts and help by purchasing cake and pie instead of making it myself and let my husband do the clean up.

Thanksgiving isn’t suppose to be about stressing out, or having an immaculate home filled to too much stuff. It is about family and making memories. So this year I am setting my intention on that.

[ctt title=”‘The holidays are about families celebrating together-the holiday is not supposed to be perfect,’ ” tweet=”‘The holidays are about families celebrating together-the holiday is not supposed to be perfect,’ ” coverup=”bla8Z”]from One Year to an Organized Life by Regina Leeds.

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Kid, I’m Not Suppose To Be Your Friend

kids I'm not suppose to be your friendSaw this video the other day I thought I just had to share it on the blog.

It is sassy, funny and so on point. Just when I feel I am messing up my kids something like this comes along to let me know I am doing the right thing.

We can not always be our child’s friend. If we want to mold them into productive members of society and help then ultimately live a happy life,  we need to know sometimes they are going to say “Mom, I hate you.”

It hurts to think of this, but it is our job to guide them. Even when they are hating you for some imagined slight or removal of a privilege. Know in your heart that you are doing the right thing. You are protecting them, guiding them, parenting them. If they don’t like you, it’s ok because in the end you are loving them the way they need you to.

How do you feel about this video? What do you think about her points? Have you ever mixed ice cream and wine? Would love to know your thoughts on this topic. Share them in the comments below.


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Back to school and back to the basics!

success in parentingChildren are back in school!

How much preparation do you give your children? My kids have been back in school for several weeks and the prep work made the process so much easier.

What am I talking about?

 If we want our children/students/grandkids to be prepared, we need to teach them routines. In the weeks prior to the start of school I began my preparation. This included adjusting morning and nighttime routine such as getting up and going to sleep.

 We love the summer as much as the next family, but we needed to gradually adjust our sleep schedules, slowly, to come more in tune with what they would look like when school started. This was a gradual process. If you would like more information, I have a series of videos in my Facebook group, bit.ly/SuccessinParenting, where I spoke about the specifics of changing these schedules as well as other routines.

The biggest struggles in my family at this time: meal planning/times and extra-curricular activity schedules. Why are these times a struggle? Meal times are my nightmare because I do NOT cook (it is not from a lack of trying). The other difficulty is scheduling of soccer practices/games. I am sure I am not the only one with these types of struggles, right?!

Let’s begin with how schedules interfere with meals. My 8-year-old and 16-year-old are both on traveling soccer leagues for different cities. Gavin, my baby, has practice on Monday & Wednesday evenings from 5:30-7 pm. McKenzie, my middle child and my girl, has practice Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 7-8:30 pm. Do you see any meal planning difficulties?

It gets better… Not really…Beginning next weekend, they will both have games on the weekends. So what is a mom to do? I picked up my essentials: a highlighter, calendar, and cell phone. Once both schedules were released I got down to business.

Comparing the kids’ schedules and our schedules took some work. We reached out to our extended family members and friends to help when we didn’t have enough adults to cover both activities. It takes a village! Pre-planning our schedule has been a life-saver in my house! Develop and utilize strategies and tools that work best for your family to fit in multiple extra-curricular events.

I have found it is better for my family to have a plan for everything from after school until bedtime, but it looks different for each of my children. A lot of the time, our schedules have to be on a sliding scale from strict to flexible. If you have a child that learns best with visuals, provide a picture schedule. Place the schedule in an order you think will work best. Then watch your child for signs of fatigue and frustration.

If you see these, change the arrangement of the pictures to work for your child. For a child that learns best through the auditory modality, record their schedule on an audio device so that they can stop and replay instructions as needed.

Here is a new strategy that someone recently shared with me. It can be modified in several ways and your child can try their hand in helping to color it and/or set the tasks. Click the link below to learn more about the After School Routine Clock.

 

http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/91715/school-routine-clock

Now on to the food.

I love to eat and I would love to say I am a fantastic cook! But because I have the inability to cook, it wouldn’t be the truth. Meal planning is how we survive. My hubby plans and preps meals for the week, typically. He preps each meal the night before so that all I need to do is heat it. He’s awesome!

Does this always work as planned? Heck no! I still burn meals, arrive home later than scheduled, have errands to run, etc… But I have backup plans! Eat a gluten-free (gf) diet can throw a wrench in plans sometimes, but it  can make easier too. I always have gf pasta, veggies, and other staples readily available to prepare on the fly.

There are a few items I can almost always successfully make like: garlic bread and grilled cheese. But those are not meals nor are they nutritious. My suggestion is to stock your pantry with nutritious items that are easy to keep on hand and simple to prepare.

What types of time management strategies do you currently have in place? How do you manage the time for homework, snacks, chores, etc….?

 

 

 

 

How To Get Back On A School Schedule

How to get back on a school scheduleAll around the United States the bathing suits, sunglasses and Nintendo DS’s are being shelved for textbooks, backpacks and school uniforms. Yes, summer break has come to an end here and with that us parents must face the re-establishment of a school routine. This is a tough one since summer days are longer, more casual and less structured than a typical the school year. It can be quite a challenge to re-establish proper bed times, study hours, and less playful activities.

In my household we are battling fiercely to get back into the school routine.  This week we have seen our fair share of tantrums and resistance. Every evening we are met with pleas for “5 more minutes,” at bedtime and kids who look like they are heading for a firing squad at having to put away their electronics in the morning.

[ctt title=”Although summer was a blast and it was great to let loose for a little, routine is what kids strive for. ” tweet=”Although summer was a blast and it was great to let loose for a little, routine is what kids strive for. ” coverup=”sPY52″]To help them feel safe, connected and know where they fit and what to expect. Even thought at first they are resistant in time they will adjust. Here a few ways to help you kids adjust to reentering the school year routine.

Re-establish specifc mealtimes

(source WebMD) After a few months of a flexible mealtime schedule. It will be much easier to get into the groove of the school day by starting of with a good breakfast the same time each day. Most students lunch time will be at a designated time (mine are always early in the day) so the other meals should adjust to follow suit. This will also help student stay fueled for the more hectic pace of the school day.

 

Get back to the RIGHT foods

 

I will be the first to admit I have taken the easy way out for summer cooking this summer. Yes it has been a summer of hot dogs and hamburgers.  Tons of snacks, pops and ice creams. But with the longer school day kids need brain power in the form of more nutrition. So it is imperative that we reinstitute some proper nutrition.

Determine a set bedtime and stick to it

Between vacation travel, family events and just it being lighter longer outside. My kids bedtime had extended about an hour longer on than during the school year. Plus our bedtime routine has been totally thrown out of whack. No harm was done since they had a more flexible time to rise. However once the school year has begun, the alarm will ring and it is off to school we go. So in order for children to function and learn they need the right amount of sleep. See my post HERE on the right amount of sleep for each age.

Set screen time limits

During the summer I found myself being very flexible with the amount of screen time my kids had. Since it was so hot out and we mostly had to stay in doors I extended the one hour of screen time to a lot more. This week it has been a struggle to have then put down the DS but it has helped greatly in regaining their attention.

Homework comes first

It is great to have time to play and during the summer we had long stretch’s of uninterrupted play. Once school began kids need to understand that school work needs to come before playtime. Once the homework is completed, then you can play with your friends.

Getting back to afterschool movement

During the summer you have more time to play sports, outside, go swimming in the pool or head to the beach. Once school begins students spend the majority of the day inside, in a state of inactivity while learning. It is important to give kids a way to burn off this pent-up energy. This comes in the form of afterschool sports56 ways to get back to a school schedule. I agree it is much harder to fit this in afterschool. Mostly, this can take a toll on the parent who has to stand around during sports practice. In my view, this activity is necessary for a well -rounded child.

It is hard to let go of the carefree feeling of summer but it is also nice to get back to a set schedule and a bit of routine…at least until Holiday Break.


Gymboree Sale On Now!

Let’s close out the Summer Stronger

summer strong

 

You still have time to join ****NEW Start Date September 1****

End Summer a Healthier You

I know I don’t post much about Shakeology and Beachbody related info on the blog but part of my search for balance as a working mom has been to try and get myself healthy. Beachbody has been a big part of that. This summer I have slacked off a bit and have failed to stay consistent in my workouts.

I don’t know about you but this summer has gone by in a blur. It has been fun, frustrating, emotional but I have learned so much about myself and where I want to go in the future. Also what I want to return to. As the school year approaches I need to get myself back on track,  to re-establish why I started writing this blog.  To get back in touch with why I needed to find moderation in the first place. I, as well as all us mom’s, need to take better care of ourselves. Let’s moving forward with idea and establish healthier routines.

I know I have not talked about it much but this is the reason I return to Beachbody. I know I can find the support of friends that I have grown up with and the guidance of what has worked for me in the past.john maxwell

So *September 1, I will being again towards my search for moderation and balance in health. Taking what I have learned about myself this summer I will enter the Fall with a goal. Not just a physical goal but a mental and emotional one as well. To conquer fears, to challenge myself and to emerge a stronger, healthier me.

If you would like to join leave a note in the comments below or email me at inbetweenmoderation@gmail.com. You do not have to purchase any Beachbody products to participate (although they are helpful!) This contest will be in the style of the Biggest Loser. It’s a cost of $5 to join which goes into the “pot” to be won at the end.

Over a 21 day timeframe, the group will work together to guide, motivate and incentivize you to work out and make clean eating choices. August 1st will be the first weigh in. Privately, you will send your “group coach” a private message of your weight on your scale, with the date written on a paper beside it. We will have weekly weigh ins, and on September 22, 2016, we will have the final weigh-in, where at that point, the person who has lost the largest percentage of body weight, will win the entire pot of money!

What happens before the grocery store?

 

wgeaThat box of sugary cereal sitting high on the grocery store shelf. Those bananas in the produce section, The gallon low-fat milk in the dairy case. As a family we hastily run thorough the supermarket grabbing these items, but do we ever think of how they got there? More importantly, do our children understand that these items don’t magically appear on grocery store shelves? They are grown, cultivated and raised to become our food.

Our children are now generations removed from the agrarian system and really might not have a grasp of how our food is produced. This thought occurred to me as I was attempting to overhaul our household diet a few years back. When every item in your pantry is surrounded by cardboard, how will our children ever learn what real food is?grocery store

It became an important endeavor for my children to learn what real food was. Not packaged Goldfish crackers, but real fish. Not Oreo cookies, but oranges. Not Eggo waffles but real eggs. So I embarked on a journey to educate myself and them. This entailed learned about not only how things grow but also about the circle of life.

They are still young and I didn’t want to get to graphic about it, but I felt it was important to have an appreciation for the idea that meat doesn’t come from the meat counter. Some animal gave its life to nourish us.  Like Mustafa from the Lion King says, one day we will become the grass the animal eats and we will nourish it. We depend on each other.

To teach them some of these pretty heavy concepts, I looked to my local community for help. First I became part of a Community Supported Agriculture program. For a fee these programs give you a portion of what the farm produces. Sometimes it’s a little, sometimes the box is over flowing. It is all based on the harvest. So every other week, my children traveled with me to the farm to pick up the box and see what vegetables it contained. They also were able to tour the farm and speak with the farmers. You can see if your community has a CSA program at LocalHarvet.org

In the summer, I also try to take the kids to a local “U-Pick.” A U-pick is a farming area where you can pick as many items that will fits into a box or bucket for one price. I will have them pick cherry tomatoes and green peppers then they help me cook them for that night’s dinner. This way they not only had the fun of picking the vegetables they also got to see first-hand how they become a meal.

The toughest concept, but one I feel was the most important, is to have respect for our environment and the animals in it. Eating meat is not a bad thing, it is what is something natural. However, it is important to have an appreciation for the animal that gave its life for our food. So whenever possible, I try to buy grass fed and humanly raised meats and fish. Yes, it is more expensive and not always in the budget. However, if my children can learn to be good stewards of our planet, that we are all connect, and to respect other creatures. That lesson is priceless.

 

 

5 yummy ways to use up bananas

bananas-1326987

Seeing as bananas are pretty much the only fruit my son will eat it is something I always have on hand. I almost always have 2 or 3 bananas that have survived the week and reached the over ripe stage. Here are a few interesting recipes that use over ripe bananas.

  1. Banana ice cream – This is something I make pretty regularly and it is my preferred way to use up over ripe bananas. I find I can shove these few bananas in a freezer bag quickly and once they are frozen solid they are all set for ice cream.
  2. Banana Bread -This is a recipe I posted about a year ago. It is amazingly moist and delicious and easy to bring together. Plus it is low calorie and low fat. They only problem is sticking to just one slice!
  3. Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie – I like to use some of my frozen bananas to thicken up a smoothie. I use shakeology but you can use them in really any smoothie recipe to bump up the creamy texture and sweetness.
  4. Banana Muffins – Plan on trying this recipe today since I have some Nutella to use up. Sounds yummy!
  5. Banana Cookies – Did you know you could substituting bananas for eggs! Did not know you could do this with bananas until I found this recipes. I think it is genius. Can’t wait to try it.
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