Parenting

This Christmas, You Drive the Sleigh

Christmas gift

Aah, Christmas. Everyone’s favorite time of year, right? Well, yes, but for those of us (moms) responsible for all the planning, shopping, cooking, and entertaining, the holidays are not always the easiest time of year. It doesn’t have to be so. How about this year, you drive the sleigh?

Today I attended a workshop held my good friend and coach, Sheila Storrer. The topic for discussion was having the kind of holiday that we (moms) want to have.

We spent the morning talking about what’s important to us this season and how to get out of the “I should” which often leaves us frustrated and disappointed. Each of us created a plan for the month of December. I bet you are wishing that you could have been there. I wish you could have my friend. Because let me tell you, this workshop could not have come at a better time. While it’s officially not even December, all the women in attendance had lots to say about the weeks ahead. It was apparent that all the women in attendance care deeply for their children and they have the best intentions for their family’s holiday. Everyone wanted to make the holidays very special. But they also had some concerns.

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Streamlining the Morning Lunch Crunch

Streamlining the Morning Lunch Crunch

When my eldest daughter was in kindergarten, I was a class helper. She sat next to a sweet boy from Japan, whose lunches were a daily source of amazement and envy—from the kids, as well as me and the teacher! He had a three-piece stainless bento box, and each layer contained beautifully-prepared food that looked like it should be on display somewhere: sushi rice shaped into animals or cars; carrots or apples carved into rosettes or spirals; bits of dried seaweed carefully cut into whiskers, or grass, or decorative stripes; tiny bite-sized cookies in ethereal shapes and colors.

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Style Guide: Prepare Your Home for Baby’s Arrival

If you have a baby on the way, you should start preparing your house for the new family member in advance. In just a few months, you won’t have time to deal with your house, so it’s better to get this out of your way as soon as possible. Not only will you be able to prepare your home for your baby stress-free, but you’ll also be able to create a stylish, safe and healthy environment for your family.

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5 Simple Self-Care Ideas for Busy Moms

Self-care is so important for all caregivers

Being a mom may be one of the best jobs in the whole world, but it’s definitely one of the hardest as well. Most often we are so preoccupied with our children that we completely forget to do something nice for ourselves and thus unwind all the accumulated stress. Unfortunately, lack of self-care not only has negative consequences on our health and general well-being, but on our children as well since they can feel our frustration and discontent. In order to help you be the best mom and still manage to take good care of yourself, we’ve prepared several simple self-care ideas for you to take a look at. Enjoy!

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Top Ten Dorm Room Must-Haves

College student dorm

My eldest child will be moving back to campus next month to start her sophomore year. Just over a year ago, we were up to our eyeballs in Pinterest and other websites with tips on what students need for their dorm rooms. First off, let me just say that, unless your kid is rooming with two friends and they have completely coordinated their color scheme and décor—or they’ve got a single room—there is no way their room will ever look like a Pinterest board!

A dorm room is going to be their home for nine months, so it should reflect their personality, be practical but comfortable, and not too cramped—a place they’ll sleep, study, eat, and socialize in. Most likely the university will provide the minimum: a bed, a desk, and a chair. Everything else is on you.

Here’s the “Top Ten” list of items that are beyond the basics (e.g., bedding).

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RESET and get Strength from Structure

reset

It’s September, and some parents refer to this month as the “true new year.” For busy parents of school aged children, it feels like that anyway. Now that everyone is back in school, we parents have a wonderful opportunity to hit RESET on all those routines that may have gone by the wayside during the last couple of months.

  • RESET your wake-up time. Make a habit of waking up at the same time every weekday. Provide your child with an alarm clock (not their cell phone). If they have trouble hearing it, place it across the room. TIP: For those kiddos who want their cell phone in their rooms at night because they like to listen to music – consider the Amazon Dot. It connects to Spotify and other music services but it won’t let your kid Snapchat all night.
  • RESET your morning routine.
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Parents Need a Break During Summer Vacation Too!

summer vacation

For kids, summer vacation is amazing – long days, no school, no homework, few if any responsibilities, playing all day, sleeping in until noon and hanging out until late at night. For parents on the other hand, summer can be far from easy.

Summer vacation means more “work” for parents than the rest of the year. Although you probably booked summer camps in February, there is still a lot to be done. Your schedule can be changing week to week, which may increase everyone’s anxiety levels. If your kids are in day camps, then you might be coordinating rides or chauffeuring

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An ADHD Story: My Son Might be a Mad Scientist

Doc Brown Back to the Future
Remember Doc, the white haired, mad eyed inventor from Back to the Future? Do you remember the scene where Marty goes to visit Doc in his workshop and walks through a cluttered kitchen where a complex Rube Goldberg machine is set up to feed the dog?  My twelve-year-old son with ADHD is a modern-day younger Doc.

My son’s recent projects include: Various robots made with Makeblock; An Arduino powered laser pointer mechanism designed to entertain our cats; a Lego EV3 cobra

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A Mom’s Guide to Fighting the Effects of Decision Fatigue

Do you suffer from decision fatigue?

Do you suffer from decision fatigue? Adults make thousands of decisions each day. These range from the mundane (cereal or oatmeal?) to important life and business decisions. As we go through the day, our brain’s ability to make good decisions, compromises, and to resist temptations falters. Scientists call this decision fatigue. As a mom, you may have experienced this phenomenon as decision paralysis when you’ve spent the day working and caring for your children…then all the sudden you can’t figure out what to make for dinner?

As we make hundreds of big and small decisions and exert willpower over temptations, each act of resistance erodes our willpower at the end of the day. Like when our children ask us the same thing twenty times, and in the late afternoon we suddenly give in?

Scientists have even found that as decision fatigue sets in food becomes more appealing, making it extra difficult to make good food choices. This explains why people tend to buy more junk food at the end of the day!

Business leaders have sought to maximize their decision-making ability by eliminating some of the mundane decisions they have to make every day. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg choses to wear a gray t-shirt and jeans to work every day. President Obama favored only blue or gray suits for the same reason. They literally wanted to preserve their decision-making ability for the many critical situations they faced each day.

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The Case for Handwritten Thank You Notes

Thank You Notes are an Important Tradition

The holidays are about traditions. Some holiday traditions are generic and some are unique to the family, some are old and some new. At some point, the job of passing on these traditions shifts from the grandparents, to parents of young children. It’s not discussed, it just happens that way. Family traditions need repetition in order to carry on, much like good habits need repetition to stick. In our half Jewish family, we do a great job with the traditions surrounding Christmas, but we are lousy about lighting the menorah at Hanukkah. This year we only remembered the first day, shame on us. Actually, shame on my husband and me, because we need to be the ones to carry out these traditions so that they become ingrained in our children’s experience of the holidays. It’s that whole lead by example thing. Something else the kids won’t continue, if we don’t,

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