Posts Tagged: working mothers

Spring Cleaning?

I love the idea of spring cleaning and getting organized, I really do. There’s something about a fresh start that I’m crazy about. I can’t decide whether I like January or September more for getting back on track with new routines, so I just consider both months “clean slate months”.  Spring is another perfect time to hop on the organization bandwagon! You see, there’s always a fresh start a few months away in case your best intentions didn’t work out!

When I was growing up, my very organized Mom not only did a major cleaning each season but actually changed the décor depending on the season. We had sheer, light flowing curtains that were pulled out in the spring/summer and heavier ones for the fall/winter.  The same went for bedspreads. Remember bedspreads? The upcoming season’s clothes were switched for the outgoing like clockwork. The storm windows were replaced with screens. It was a time for change…welcoming nicer weather after a long winter and getting cozy in the fall in anticipation of colder weather.

I’m not sure that I’ve ever done a real full on spring cleaning. The kind of cleaning that Martha would approve of, I mean.  The super thorough cleaning that includes vacuuming the refrigerator coils, washing the walls and resealing grout lines. Do people really wash their walls? I’m thinking this might be the year I put a little more effort into getting our home into shape.

But where to even START? According to the experts decluttering is the first step, but that might take well into the fall (or more realistically, NEXT spring).

I did a “Spring Cleaning” search on the internet that took 2 seconds to provide 60,200,000 results. AHHHHH!!  There are Facebook groups dedicated to offering ideas and encouragement as you whip your home into shape for spring. Google “spring cleaning checklists” and you’ll find everything you need, including 30 day challenges that might provide just the right motivation. What could be easier? Just print a checklist and get started, right? Even if my grout lines don’t get resealed this time, there’s always the fall (or more realistically, NEXT spring).

Is spring cleaning a yearly ritual for you or are you just trying to keep up with the never ending laundry and making sure all family members and pets are fed? Do you have any tips to share?  I’d love to hear them!

 

About the Author:

Karen Pearson is one of the friendly voices you’ll hear on the other end of the phone when calling Customer Service at Mabel’s Labels. She enjoys writing about her family, which includes a husband, 3 kids and a rescue dog from Greece.

 

How to motivate an unmotivated kid.

Big brother helping little sister with homework.

I’ve always been fascinated by what makes some people super motivated, and others, not so much. I found this particularly interesting when I saw differences in motivation between my children.

Why do I have two kids who are equally clever, yet one is disappointed with a certain mark or grade in school, while the other thinks it is more than acceptable?

A few weeks ago I spent an evening holding a gun to one kid’s head forcing him to prepare for a math test taking place the next day. No gun to head, no study. Across the room was the other child busily typing on her laptop. When I asked what she was working on, the response was “I have a science test in two weeks so I’m just putting together my study notes to get a jump on things.”

Two kids – born only fifteen months apart with the same parents, same home environment, same encouragement, same role modeling, and yet so different. Why?

With no answer to that question, frustration was mounting. When you have a smart kid not working to potential, it’s enough to make any parent get twitchy. I usually rely on natural consequences – don’t study, then you fail. Better luck next time. Problem is – with this kid, doing badly doesn’t bother him too much. Not exactly what I’m looking for in a consequence.

I happen to be lucky enough to be pals with psychologist and parenting author, Alyson Schafer. She gave me a few quick tips that I’ve put into practice – and my kid and I are not as frustrated with each other.

Tip #1: Teach him the EFFORT IS NOT STUPIDITY. This is big. Whenever he actually had to TRY at something, he liked to default to “Oh well, I guess I just suck at this”. That’s a pretty easy out, so we’ve had lots of conversations trying to turn this way of thinking around.

Tip #2: Don’t dictate when he’s going to study, but task him to. Every Sunday he creates his own study plan for the week. No longer is it me nagging him to study, it’s him having to be accountable to his OWN plan.

Tip #3: Don’t argue when he thinks what he’s studying is useless. He’s likely right. Have the open conversation that there are bits of the curriculum that are outdated or won’t be relevant to him. Get on his side, but remember to teach that getting through this is all just a step to be able to have choices when it comes to post-secondary education and a career.

Do your kids have different motivation levels? How do you manage your expectations around the effort they do or don’t put into school or activities?

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

Easy Ways to get Greens into Your Day

It is spring! And nothing says spring like the budding of green from the earth. I am not talking about the crocuses and daffodils, I am talking about the herbs and baby greens.

One of the best ways to get kids to eat veggies is to let them plant seeds and grow tasty herbs like mint on the window sill. In colder climates, these can be started in April in separate small pots and transferred to a larger group pot when the frost warnings have passed. A pizza pot is a great way to start!

Plant:
• Parsley
• Oregano
• Chives
• Basil
• Baby spinach

 

Cut a handful of fresh herbs to sprinkle on top of a cooked (or delivered) pizza. Before you know it, you will be growing enough to add to a salad each day. Graduating to baby kale, Swiss chard and mustard greens is only a step away and can be done mid season as they are hearty through fall. It doesn’t have to be a big ordeal or an expensive process, the idea is to bring on the green.

Other spring vegetables that should be honored this season are green beans, asparagus and leeks. The easiest cooking method is to roast them all together. Rinse leeks well under cold running water and cut into rings, and then place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Rinse the tips of asparagus and lop off the woody ends and place on the same sheet. Rinse green beans and line up one end to even out the tips for trimming. Line up the other end and do the same to maximize the amount of bean and minimize the waste. Drizzle with a mere tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and bake in a hot oven at 400F for 12 to 20 minutes depending upon the thickness and size of the veg. Stir once or twice so that the veg on the end doesn’t burn.

You can do a huge batch of these at a time and serve them in salads or as a cold side dish any time. Feel free to store in the fridge in glass jars in vinegar with a little sea salt like pickles. They go great on sandwiches or as a perk next to baked fish.

Working more vegetables into your day gives your body the spring clean that the house and garden are getting. Your skin and vitality will thank you.

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

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