Looking for some ways to bring a little St. Paddy’s Day fun into your life next week?
We’ve got some suggestions from a few of our favorite bloggers!
Set aside some time this weekend to be ready for Monday, and don’t forget to wear green!
This Irish Tea Cake recipe sounds like a lovely way to kick off the day, with a lovely cup of tea for breakfast! [Source]
These adorable Mini Shamrock Piñatas would be a fun little gift for the special kids in your life! Thanks to The Centsible Life for sharing these! [Source]
Does your morning sound like this? You are not alone!
After spending 2 years doing freelance and contract work from home, I recently decided to return to working in an office at a full-time job. I knew that it would be challenge, for many reasons, but mostly because my son and I have gotten into a morning routine that would need to change. I would not call this a routine of efficiency, mind you, but one that seems to scream “it’s a miracle that we even got out of the house today.”
My son is 8 and he has diagnosed learning and attention issues. A lot of this affects his executive functioning skills. Think of executive functioning as the CEO of the brain, controlling how you go about motor planning, reasoning, and problem solving. A great example of his executive functioning deficiencies are his putting on his backpack before he puts on his coat—he’s not thinking in quite the right order.
Unfortunately, working with him on his executive functioning skills has told me that I have the very same issues, in spades. While my motor planning is pretty good, I’m often running around trying to put together my lunch, or making sure I’ve remembered my laptop and my cell phone—I often leave the house without them, knowing that I’ve forgotten something, but not sure exactly what it might be. And let’s not even talk about the time I headed out in tights but no skirt.
It’s stressful for everyone, and it often ends up with one or both of us yelling at each other, to hurry up and tie shoes, brush teeth, or find the last yogurt for the lunchbox.
I knew there had to be a way to make it easier for us. After a great deal of reflection, it came down to a simple kindness, from me to me. Or rather, my Present Self to my Future Self, and it can work for you too…
Take your average Sunday night. You’re tired, and want to hang out your couch catching up with the goings-on of “The Good Wife”. You don’t want to worry about work stuff, because that can wait till the morning. But the truth is, it shouldn’t. Your Present Self in that moment should think about Future Self running around on Monday morning trying to keep everything together, and show a little kindness to her. Charge your phone near your bags so you don’t forget it. Pack your lunch and your kid’s lunch so it’s ready to run out the door with you. Pour cereal into bowls to save some time. Sure, it’s more work than you may want to handle, but when you prep the night before, you’re not under the gun and can think clearly.
We’ve also taken to writing lists of everything that we need to do before we leave the house, and we work on tackling it together. This way, we’re both improving and helping each other. Having Present Self think of Future Self also gives us a context to understand why and how we are doing what we do.
We may never look like a NASCAR pit crew, but we’re getting better every day.
This is a guest post from our friends at Camperoo, a new concierge service that will help you organize your child’s summer plans.
We all have heard from her (or him); the parent that is completely organized and has summer booked and planned months in advance. It’s only February and you receive an email showing you their entire summer camp, vacation and activity schedule, asking you to share yours. “It’s still snowing in some parts of the country, how can I even begin to think about something at least 3 months away? I just got over Christmas!,” you think to yourself.
At Camperoo, we help parents simplify this process through our online camps marketplace . As an experiment, earlier this year, I sought out to book 50 families entire summer schedules to learn more about how to streamline this and help parents like you make it simpler. We still have a few spots for Concierge, so apply here.
Here are 7 tips to help you jump start your summer planning–concepts we came up with after directly talking to different types of parents. Let’s face it, the last day of school isn’t getting any further away–the faster you get this going, the more time you’ll have to think about other things! Here’s a step by step spreadsheet to help you plan.
Tip 1: Make a list of activities, topics, and concepts that each child likes
Instead of blindly picking cool-sounding or nearby activities / camps, take a few minutes to write down activities and subjects that your kids might be interested in to help direct and guide your plans.
Tip 2: Think about your priorities and goals for your kids this summer
Do you need to stay close to home, save money, or sleepaway to build independence and grit? What are the things that matter most to you–and what matters most for your child? Hone these items and you’ll be able to evaluate camps, vacations, and activities based on these things.
Tip 3: Plot out your schedule week by week and block off all important dates
Now that you have your goals and interests in place, create a quick spreadsheet with each week of summer laid out on top and the proposed plans for each week below. Start with broad terms like : Vacation, Camp, Grandma’s House, Stay at Home, etc. to start penciling in a schedule
Tip 4: Seek out summer camps and other enrichment activities that reach your goals
Now you know what you’re looking for, spend some time on google with your keywords and your local summer camp and activity print guides. Camperoo is only in the SF Bay Area now, but there are tons of online resources and items at your school
Tip 5: Plan out field trips, play-dates, and vacations to fill in the other weeks
For the weeks that you don’t want to find summer programs, seek out your local city guide and find field trips and diy activities. Look for things you and your kids wouldn’t generally do and try to find a week to focus on those things.
Tip 6: Make decisions, and commit.
Now that you have a list of all your activities, camps, and vacations, start putting them onto your schedule. Register early and commit. Lots of programs have discounts for early-birds. Leave a few weeks flexible but just book the programs you love before space run out.
Tip 7: Share your committed and flexible plans with friends
Congrats, you’re now THAT parent, who’s on top of things! Share your schedule with your friends with this step by step guide, and hopefully they’ll chime in with comments so you can coordinate and make this summer the best one yet!
Go through these 7 steps and you’ll have your entire summer schedule booked before the end of the month (okay, we’ll give you a bit of leeway to get it done before Spring Break). If you still need additional help for inspiration, please apply to be a Camperoo concierge beta customer. If you fit the requirements, Emmie will personally help you as one of her 50 parents, or just answer any questions you have about summer camps or activities. We’re on a quest to make this summer extraordinary for parents and kids–hope you can join in on the fun!
You may have noticed we added a new feature at the end of last year, the ability to create shared Lists for your Circles.
We’ve got some suggestions of ways to use Lists, and we would love to hear how you’re using them in the comments below!
Vacation and travel: Amy from the marketing team says that Lists came in handy on a trip to Tennesee over the holidays, where she and her boyfriend kept a list of places they went, so they could remember specifics at a later date.
Party planning: Team member Jenn relied on Lists to keep her roommates organized and on task while they prepared for their New Year’s Eve celebration. “I coordinated groceries in one list, Costco supplies in another, and tasks that needed to be done around the house in the third list.”
When you’ve got a group of people working towards a common goal, it’s nice to be able to see what others are finishing so you aren’t wasting time duplicating efforts, and nothing is getting left undone.
Daily family organization: Aaron was willing to share his very specific shopping list with us; as you can tell, only the very important items make his list. Shay told us that “we have one set for each store we frequent, which reduced the “I’m at the drugstore, do you need me to get anything” texts to a minimum.” That’s a great idea!
Holiday shopping: Because she’s able to share Lists only with specific family members, and not everyone in the Circle, Lizz and her parents are keeping a list of ideas for her sister’s upcoming birthday, and they’re able to manage it within Life360 instead of having to install yet another app to share the list.
General reminders: Mike and his wife are expecting their first baby this spring, so they “keep a list of “stuff we want to ask her doctor at her next pre-natal exam.” Then we go through the list once we’re in the room with the doctor and fire off all the questions. I think that our doctor winces now when the phones come out.”
Are you using Lists yet? Have you come up with any great uses we didn’t mention here? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!
Love is in the air, and Valentine’s Day is coming up this weekend! We had a few bloggers we love share some of their ideas to make this Valentine’s Day extra special for your family!
These no-paint canvases from Cam at Growing Up Goofy are adorable, and would be a fun project to make for grandparents, caregivers, or any special someone! [Source]
You could knock out this sweet Valentine’s Day wreath from Simply Real Moms while you’re watching TV, and hang it on your front door, or maybe even your office door, to bring a little of the love to the office! [Source]
There’s a really cute variation of this wreath over on Home Life with Mrs. B, which you can find here: Valentine’s Wreath
The ladies over at Simply Real Moms also share this recipe for a Creamy Nutella Dip, which looks like the perfect dessert for a Valentine’s Day dinner. Or for breakfast, because it’s a holiday so all healthy eating rules are out the window, right? Besides, you’re dipping FRUIT! [Source]