"A great burden was lifted from my shoulders the day I realized that no one owes me anything."
Harry Browne 1933-2006
Author and Politician
"A great burden was lifted from my shoulders the day I realized that no one owes me anything."
Harry Browne 1933-2006
Author and Politician
Parenting is all about allowing your kids to grow into healthy, responsible, mature young adults in a safe and loving home. To that end, knowing when to say no to your children is crucial, not only for their healthy development, but for you as well. Nobody really wants to be me Mean Mommy. However, children crave boundaries and structure, so you can relax in the knowledge that saying no to your kids won’t turn you into Joan Crawford. To the contrary, setting and enforcing boundaries with your children conveys to your kids a sense of consistency, which is exactly what their little psyches need to feel safe.
My mom was a pretty tough cookie, so I know from experience that the hard lessons are the best (and most memorable) ones. Did your son leave for school this morning forgetting his clothes for football practice? Did your daughter forget her trumpet again? In the past, perhaps you’ve dropped everything and driven the items to the school, but next time say no. Tough as it may be to leave your child twisting in the figurative wind, these really are the teaching moments.
When you stop rescuing them from their own careless small mistakes, they learn to be more mindful because they don’t want to make that same mistake again. More importantly, they learn these lessons on the small stuff, rather than after they leave home and realize you aren’t there to fix every mistake they make. Best to teach 'em early.
Now if your kids aren’t old enough to get themselves ready for school, their mindfulness may not be your issue. Perhaps you’re dealing with tempers instead. It’s easy to give in when they pitch a fit to get their own way and you’d do almost anything to make the noise stop. Resist it, young Skywalker! That’s what they’re betting on. Remaining calm when your kids act out is definitely the harder choice, but it benefits you both in the long haul. Talk it out, ask about their feelings, engage them, but do not cave to the tantrum because it's easier. By holding firm in a loving way, you retain your parental authority, they learn that you can’t be manipulated, and amazingly, they learn that their parent is strong. And your kids need to know you're strong.
If your parental resolve has gone off the rails lately and you’ve caved in to your kids’ every desire and tantrum, you can get back on track again by re-booting their expectations. Choose one small “no” at a time rather than instituting a shock-and-awe “things are gonna change around here” tactic. One caveat: pick the hill you want to die on carefully. In the grand scheme of things, not everything is worth fussing and fighting over and being a kid is a hard thing. If he wants to wear his Spiderman pajamas to school, who cares really? He'll figure it out eventually.
Bottom line? You have no reason to feel guilty when you say no to your kids. Boundaries = LOVE AND CONCERN. Your kids are counting on you to communicate limits about what is acceptable behavior and establish consequences for what isn’t. They desperately need to know the lay of the land in your family. Sure, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth sometimes, but when they react poorly to your boundaries, try not to take it personally. No matter what they do, trust yourself. You’re still the parent and you really are smarter than a fifth grader.
Today's Myth: Organizing Products Are Expensive
Getting organized often means you need tools and products to get the job done. Oh sure, you can break the bank on fancy schmancy organizing products but there are plenty of ways to re-purpose items you already have that will help you get organized but won’t cost you thing. Frequently in my client work I recommend we use the free option as a placeholder to my client can get used to the new system before going out and buying the actual product. This way, if they don't like the new system, they're not out any money prematurely.
Egg Cartons and Ice Cube Trays: If your refrigerator has an automatic icemaker and your old ice cube trays are buried in a closet or garage, pull them out and stack them inside a drawer to organize small jewelry such as earrings and bracelets. Egg cartons and ice cube trays are also good for kids to use as paint trays for art projects, or as an organizer in the garage or basement for storing nails, screws, nuts and bolts. Crafters and scrap bookers, use both types of trays for organizing beads and other small embellishments.
Paper Towel & Toilet Tissue Tubes: These cardboard tubes that you’d normally put into the trash or recycling are great for organizing extension cords. Just wrap the cord around itself and slide the entire bundle inside the tube!
Empty Cans: Instead of throwing out empty vegetable and fruit cans, clean them out, remove sharp edges, take off the label and use them for storing and organizing kids’ art supplies. These and tennis ball cans are great for kids to decorate with stickers and paints, to make the perfect container for colored pencils, markers, paint brushes, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners and other tall narrow items.
Eyeglass Cases: If you have a hinged hard plastic eyeglass case you aren’t using anymore, turn it into a travel caddy for small personal items such as tweezers, ear plugs, cotton swabs and makeup brushes. It also makes a handy travel first aid kit for Band-Aids, aspirin, nasal breathing strips and antacids or a handy manicure case for scissors, emery board and nail clippers.
Tissue Boxes: Plastic grocery bags are handy to have around but seem to end up everywhere. An empty tissue box makes a great bag dispenser. To make it easier to dispense from, fill the bottom of the box with something heavy such as a layer of driveway stone, a baggie of pennies, dried beans or nuts and bolts.
Jars: Any size jar can be re-purposed for storing and organizing tons of things around the house, plus they’re clear so labeling isn’t necessary. To save drawer space in your kitchen, corral cooking utensils in a wide-mouth jar on your countertop. Save baby food jars to organize binder clips, paper clips and rubber bands on your desktop and jelly jars with lids make great shakers for making salad dressings.
Shoe Boxes: There are no better free dresser drawer dividers than shoe boxes. Use them to separate underwear, hosiery, dress socks and athletic socks. A few shoe boxes in a deep kitchen drawer separates and organizes small items such as snack bags, Jell-O boxes, and sauce mix packets.
Need more pantry space? I did too and I'll show you how I built it myself using The Container Store's ELFA system!
Thanks for sharing and here's to your simpler life!
"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead."
Nelson Mandela 1918-2013,
Anti-Apartheid Revolutionary, Politician and Philanthropist
Decorating your home doesn’t have to mean a trip to a furniture store or expensive design elements. Many things you already have can be used to make your home look great. Even if you're not a very handy or crafty person, you can still make these easy do-it-yourself projects and make your home pop. Here are 13 fun ideas to add life and color to your by investing just a little time, effort and money.
Boring to Blazing Stairs
Plain wooden stairs are boring. Why not liven them up with a pop of color? You can simply paint them in fun shades or paint a graduated color scheme. Another fun idea is to use stencils and patterns to make your stairs chevron printed or colorfully patterned. If you don’t want to paint, try peel and stick paper. Interesting patterns and colors can decorate the stair risers and since they don’t get stepped on they will stay fresh for a long time. When it's time to move or change things up, just peel them off!
Chalkboard Wall Art
Everyone loves the chalkboard paint theme that is going around, so why not make your own? An old mirror with a cool frame can be the perfect way to reuse and create wall art you'll love. For extra effect, cut letters out of re-positionable labels to create a word or phrase on the mirror before painting it with the chalkboard paint. Then peel off the letters to reveal shiny mirror words against a black background. Don’t forget chalkboard paint comes in many colors, so you can paint an entire wall and use colored chalk to create your own works of art. Great for kids’ rooms and kitchens!
I never thought about making my own coasters, but these are so easy! All you need is bathroom or kitchen tiles and some of your favorite photos. Simply use Mod Podge to adhere photos to the coasters. Spray the tiles with clear acrylic sealer to keep them waterproof and let them dry for three days before you use them. This works great for gifts and theme parties too!
I love plants but my home has no garden space. What can I do? Vertical and container gardens are the way to go in small spaces. Not only can you grow a lot, but you can also use plants indoors and out to decorate your space greenly. Hang planters from the walls to create a vertical container garden, use pallets to grow flowers and veggies on your patio or balcony or keep plants hanging in your living room for extra ambiance.
Speaking of plants, another cool way to bring the outdoors in is with terrariums. All you need is a clear jar or vase and some dirt to create a one of a kind living work of art. Fill the bottom of the container with pebbles or marbles for drainage and add a layer of dirt on top. Use succulents for the plants and add a splash of color with tiny toys or fairy gardens for fun. Set a cluster of terrariums on a sunlit table or hang from wires for a cool modern feel.
Get Rid of Clutter and Decorate
Got a lot of little things cluttering up your space? Turn them into art. Small items like wine corks, toy cars, balls, or anything you have a bunch of can make a fun and easy art piece. Just get a large glass vase or jar and fill them with the items. Then place the jar anywhere as a statement piece or centerpiece. Great for themed parties and storage, this easy décor item is a hit!
Do you have a big event or party coming up and want to make it extra special? Use stencils and fabric markers to make words, phrases or images on your fabric napkins for a one of a kind look. This also works great for kitchen and bathroom decorating. Use stencils and fabric paint to create a great look on hand towels and other fabrics. Even the tablecloth can be stenciled for a beautiful effect.
Plain wooden chairs and tables can be turned into a work of art with just some paint and a stencil. Even lace can work great for a wonderful painting effect. Lay down the stencil or lace and use spray paint or gently paint on to form unique patters and shades. You may want to practice on scrap wood first to make sure you have the technique right, but it is an easy and inexpensive way to make your furniture look modern and new.
Patterned Light Switch Covers
Small touches can really stand out. Changing up your wall switch covers and outlet covers can add a fun punch to your room. Use peel and stick paper or scrapbook paper and cut to the proper size. It only takes a few minutes to make a huge difference and add some color to your home.
Recycled Paper Wall Art
Want to make your own unique wall art? Why not use old books? Pages from old books have a retro look and you can frame them for fun wall art. Add a splash of color with a simple painting of a flower or abstract shapes and you have a great conversation piece. Comic books also work great for this and you can create fun collages and colorful works from them in no time. Even newspaper can be a cool background for your art.
Simple DIY Headboard
You can make your own headboard fast and simple without having to invest a lot of money or time. You can use cardboard and fabric to make a temporary headboard for quickly changing decor, or you can make a longer lasting headboard out of wood and heavy fabric that will stand up over the long term. All you have to do is cut out a fun shape and cover it with fabric for a headboard that you can be proud of.
T-Shirt Memories Wall Art
Do you have a lot of t-shirts hanging around from high school and college? Team shirts and travel shirts, full of great memories and yet stacked in the back corner of your closet? Get them out of the closet and where they can be enjoyed. Use art canvas and staple the shirts to it and then hang them on the wall. Or create a fun wall hanging by pinning or sewing the shirts together to form a quilt.
Wine Bottle Art
Do you have a lot of wine bottles lying around? Why not make them into art? You can cut the tops off your wine bottles (video here) to make glasses and vases. Or, paint them for fun centerpieces,candle holders or bud vases. Thread some lights in them for a fun lighting element or hang them as an art piece.
Spend a few minutes on some of these projects and before you know it your home will take on a fresh, new look. With just some items you already have and a little time even those of us that lost the crafty gene can pull off a great statement piece that will have your friends and family talking.
Always curious, Ashley Hardway is constantly learning and passionate about sharing what she learns with others. Based in the Houston, Texas office of Morningside Nannies, she loves to help families grow stronger, help their environments and communities, and keep moving forward! Check out @NannyLady on Twitter to connect and find out more.
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Confession: I love to travel. I hate my jewelry roll. There I said it. Did you ever keep using something you don't really like just because you have it? Yep. I've been using a jewelry roll for years and although I know a lot of people swear by them, I just never really loved it. The necklaces always got tangled together when I had to put them in the same pocket and finally when the inside snap pulled off and I had to use a safety pin to keep my rings attached I decided I'd had it.
I wanted a better option so I went to my local Container Store and searched not only in the travel aisle, but in any aisle I thought might have something I could adapt for my travel jewelry needs. (Speaking of adapting, that reminds me of this recent post about another organizing product I have).
Anyway, I ended up finding this cool plastic stacking organizer. Each compartment is a separate container with threads on top, that screw right into the bottom of the container above it to make a stack. Genius! (Plus it's about 6 inches tall so it's easy to pack!)
Now I can travel with all my necklaces, earrings and rings in a single case, but because they're all separate from each other the necklaces don't get tangled together. I did put matching earrings and necklaces in one of the containers though, which is handy for traveling with sets. Now I'm trying to think of other cool ways to use this handy organizer stack. How would you use it?
My interview with my pal Peter Walsh. Bear in mind this contest is way over, but I love Peter and am so glad we got an opportunity to chat!
"I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again."
Stephen Grellet 1773-1855, Missionary
Adaptable, creative and resourceful. That's what you need to be to get ahead in business. I try to be all those things in other areas of life too. Which is why when I brought home this Umbra Tubo Organizer for my makeup brushes, I was disappointed and you can see why.
In the picture above, it's obvious that once I put my brushes (and a handful of Q-Tips and tweezers) into the tubes, some of the items weren't tall enough for me to easily pull them out. Hmph. I really liked the product though, so I put on my thinking cap to figure out how I could adapt the product so it would meet my needs.
You can see in the next picture that all it took was a few pieces of crumpled up tissue paper (in bright green cuz it's fun!) stuffed into the bottom of each tube. The paper takes up space, lifting the shorter items up high enough so they're easy to grab. Plus it adds a little pop of color to my bathroom vanity.
I could have just as easily used other things to take up space in the bottom of the tubes such as sand, rice, glass beads or even coffee beans. So before you return that not-quite-right organizing product to the store, put your creativity to work and try to adapt it so it works for you.
"If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul."
Harold Kushner Rabbi and Author
We all travel now and again, for busienss or for pleasure. No matter where you're headed, here are a few tips to help you save money by packing light so you can avoid checked baggage fees.
Think getting organized doesn't change your life? This is one woman's story about how it does.
Thanks for sharing and here's to your simpler life!
There are certain times of my life when I am so thankful that my family is organized and has routines. Getting ready for vacations under extreme circumstances is one of them. A few years ago, our family headed to the New Jersey shore just five days after I got out of the hospital after heart surgery.
“Crazy” you might think but it was actually a great way and place for me to recuperate. Because we have a system and a packing list that resides on my computer it was really easy. For the heavy lifting and running around, my big sister was a big help. She came by the day before we left and loaded up food, towels and sheets and even took my kids shopping for what they were missing. I just orchestrated. Once there, I had lazy days and walks on the boardwalk; exactly what the doctor ordered. Here is our family system:
Tip One: Pack in One Week
As a general rule, getting ready to go on vacation shouldn’t take longer than the vacation itself. A typical schedule for the week before vacation might look like this:
Sunday – Check the weather for the place you are going so you can pack appropriate clothing. Go online and cancel your newspaper and mail for the days you won’t be home.
Monday – Clean the house. Print out your packing list.
Tuesday – Run to stores to pick up sundries you will need.
Wednesday – Pack toys, books, music etc.
Thursday – Wash and pack clothes.
Friday – Pack dry food. Drop off your pet to be boarded if necessary.
Saturday – Pack cold food in cooler, pack the car & get on the road!
Tip Two: Make a Packing List
Keep a general list on your computer so you don’t have to create it every year. For example, write “5 shorts outfits, 3 pajamas” instead of “green shorts, tan t-shirt, blue pajamas, plaid boxers.” Have the children pack their own clothes and toys, but give them the guidelines. Give them each a bag to fill it with toys, videos and books of their choosing. Bring your list with you and make adjustments as necessary.
Tip Three: Plan Meals In Advance
Plan out dinners for the week and make sure you have some staples for lunch and breakfast. For the first night, it’s easier to pack something pre-made so you just have to pop it in the oven. For the last night of vacation, don’t plan a meal, just eat left-overs so there’s less to bring home.
Tip Four: Prepare for the Weather
I once heard someone say, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” How true this is! You don’t have to let bad weather spoil your vacation; you just have to have a Plan B. Check the weather for wherever you are headed so you at least have an idea about the temperature and precipitation. Even if it’s supposed to be dry, I usually pack umbrellas and waterproof jackets for everyone in my family. Wherever you go, find indoor activities for your Plan B.
Tip Five: Don’t Over-Schedule
Have you ever had a vacation that was so packed with activities you needed another vacation when you came home? Think about that before you take your next vacation. You want everyone to have fun, but you also want to have some relaxation built in. In my experience the kids are usually worn out by mid-week. Whether it’s experiencing Disney World, going to a beach or visiting friends out of town, the change in schedules will affect the children, so plan on it. Take one day and don’t do anything extra. Sleep late, go to bed early, lie around and watch movies or whatever suits your family. Take a “Sunday” in the middle of your vacation week and recharge everyone’s energy.
Debbie Lillard is the founder and owner of Space to Spare and the author of A Mom’s Guide to Home Organization and Absolutely Organized