Articles for Organized Mom Blog

This questions from a new mom returning t o work arrived today. I wasn’t able to reply so I thought I would post her question.

“I am a first time mother who just returned to work on Monday! My head is spinning. I was once an organized person but i now feel life spiraling out of control. I read on this site that there are many Blackberry applications for moms to help keep them organized. I was wondering if there was a list of these applications somewhere on this website or on the internet? Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.”

Although I don’t have a list – I will share with you MY SECRET for using my blackberry to keep organized.

Are you ready ? It’s not about a Blackberry Mom application. It’s about using a service that offers EVERYthing you need on a remote server so you can access it from HOME WORK and your blackberry.

If you are a busy working mom, busy stay at home mom, Busy work from home mom, you need to DUMP and simplify. To do this you head over to: http://www.Gmail.com and created yourself an email (then get RID of all the others – its a time waster.

With your new Google account you can SYNC directly to your blackberry AND to your outlook (where you can also download your GMAIL email), organize your calenders, and have access to everything from your desktop, remotely from work, and on your blackberry.

You can also:
Invite others to share with you – colour label your kids, work, personal appointments, in google calender – share documents you create (google docs) – budget & track payments in google (excel), create a monthly grocery list ect.

If you don’t have the time to ‘set it all up yourself. Check out Famundo -it’s $4.95 a month – but you have to sync to outlook then to your blackberry. Whereas Google will Sync Real time with your blackberry.

So my Mom Blackberry keeping it all together trick is GOOGLE.

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Another busy mom shares her tips for keeping her family’s schedule and home together. . Today’s featured busy mom is Isabel Isidro Mom of three balancing parenting and co running a business.

Isabel Isidro is a mother of three boys, ages 7, 4 and 2. She is also the co-founder of PowerHomeBiz.com, a 10-year old site for home business owners and solo entrepreneurs, and runs WomenHomeBusiness.com and LearningfromBigBoys.com. She just tries to live and learn each day – not always succeeding, but always trying.

How do you keep your children’s schedules together ?
My kids are 7, 5 and 2 — and they all go to school. The two youngest are home by lunchtime while the eldest spends the full day in school.

We have a strict schedule in the house, and the kids know it. The younger boys take a nap in the afternoon. They play or relax in the afternoon after school, and one of their favorite activities is playing Wii with their father. The kids then eat dinner, and take a bath. Then from 7:00-8:30 pm, it’s their study and reading time.

I give them the materials they need to work on and practice with, and they choose the books they want to read. By 8:30 pm, they’re on bed and ready to sleep. They’re early risers, and wake up anywhere from 5:30-6:30 am – even on weekends! None in the family are late sleepers.

To the extent possible, we don’t do any extracurricular activities during the weekdays, only weekends. School is tough already for the kids, and we’d like them to have time to rest, have fun, play with each other and just be kids.

Saturdays, though, are when things go crazy with their schedules. They have various lessons, and by lunchtime, I am tired from driving around the area going from one lesson to the next. However, in the afternoon, we always make it a point to go to the library to pick up the books that they’ll read for the week.

Do you use a particular day planner ?
No. I used various dayplanners – from the cheapest to the most expensive leather bound planners. I even attended a daylong seminar by one of the big businesses in dayplanning business on how to organize and plan your day using their dayplanning system.

But none really worked for me. I will be “good” and use the planner judiciously for a few weeks, or even a month. And then nada — blank pages after that.

For one, I need something that I can carry with me all the time, not some bulky planner that sits nicely on a desk but impractical to be carried in my purse around. My purse is heavy enough as it is with all the kids’ stuff, and having a bulky planner does not work.

Do you own a blackberry?
Not a Blackberry, but I use an iPhone with an app for my to-do lists for the day. It’s been very effective for me. I carry my phone all the time, and having my things to do and scheduler on the same small device allowed me to keep track of what I need to do for the day. I just love it!

What is you most used ‘time saving tip’ when it comes to running your house?
You need to be a goddess of multi tasking and organization. Find the best strategy that works for you and your family.

For me, I need to spend a little time the night before thinking what the family needs to do for the day – e.g. making sure the kids have put their assignments in their bags. Otherwise, I’d forget it! I spend a little time putting my list in my iPhone’s to-do app. Read More→

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I don’t make it to my children’s school often. I am lucky to live in a small town where the kids still walk to school. However today a lightening storm started 10 minutes before the bell rang so I decided the mom bus needed to be started. What does this have to do with homework ? Well My daughters teacher told me ‘Abbie doesn’t seem to be interested in doing any work at school” guess what that means – we don’t finish our work at school …..

Then Darryl’s teacher says ‘Darryl doesn’t seem to be interested in doing his school work’. Sigh, I have to admit I have NOT been keeping the kids school events and homework organized. I have no homework system or home work routine. So in a hope in becoming the organized mom again I took my daughter to the dollar store to get a system in place for her.

The boys each have a school agenda, that I NEED to be using. Abbies is primary and the school doens’t order school agendas for the primary grades. So I needed to create one for her (actually it’s more for mom).

So here is our solution for organzing Abbie’s school homework.

Total cost: less then $7.00

Large zip locking bag (with a slider because the other ones are frustrating for little fingers and won’t get closed = lost homework organizers). ( I usually have these in my box but I bought 8 for $1.00) Read More→

This week’s featured busy mom Nicole Budleski shares her secrets for keeping it all together as a busy mom and business owner!

How do you keep your children’s schedules together?
My husband and I use Outlook quite a bit between the two of us to maintain everyone’s schedules. Our daughter’s elementary school web site also has a great Outlook calendar download feature that tells us everything for the year such as parent-teacher conferences, field trips, early-release days, etc. It works pretty slick!

Do you use a particular day planner ?
No, I don’t. However, I do use some of the Steven Covey principles of prioritizing tasks and not over-scheduling my day. I used to feel so defeated at the end of the day when only five of the 10 things on my list were crossed off. Now, I’m happy crossing-off the five I scheduled for myself. (Well, most of the time!)

Do you own a blackberry?
Yes, I just purchased one a few weeks ago. I set it so it only rings for phone calls. Email notifications can usually wait until I have a block of time to read them.

What is your most used ‘time saving tip’ when it comes to running your house?
I enjoy cooking, therefore I like to prepare large meals on the weekends to either freeze or reheat later in the week. I also discovered how to cut my grocery shopping time in half. I organize my grocery list in the order of the store layout, tear it in half and pass it to my husband. We each take a cart and then meet in the middle of the store to checkout. I realize this sounds a bit silly, but if your husband offers to help and you’re willing to accept selections that aren’t exactly what you would have picked out yourself then try it! It also helps keep your spouse and/or kids involved in your grocery budget and realize how much food really costs.

Do you have a favourite quick meal for your family?
Breakfast for dinner. We raise a dozen laying hens here on our property and it’s pretty easy to walk out to the coop, grab a few eggs and pull together a quick meal.

Tell us the truth ? What would we find in your car right now ?
A pair of snow shoes, a container of trail mix, partially nude Barbies, assorted Crayola markers and a couple of empty coffee cups.

What advice would you give to other moms who feel the pressure of trying to be ‘super mom’?
Expand your definition of what is acceptable and cut yourself some slack.

What is your number one goal for the year ? How do you plan to reach it ?
My goal is to expand TicklerTags into the school fund raising market this year. I will be launching a marketing campaign in a few short weeks to elementary schools and parent-teacher organizations.

Nicole Budleski is a 35-year-old, married mother of two girls, ages 7 and 2. Nicole’s marketing background and knack for organizing lead to the development of TicklerTags for her daughter’s after school activities and transportation arrangements. You can visit her site, www.TicklerTags.com to see her full line of backpack reminder tags.

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How many computers do you have in your home ? I have five (but I am a self proclaimed mom geek). As the resident geek of my flock I am in constant demand to help my friends clean up their computers. Which I really shouldn’t have to do if they are maintaining their computer.

So here are my tips for looking after your family computers and keeping their maintenance up to date.

1) Check your antivirus programs and make sure they are downloading their updates. If you don’t have one, get AVG free. Make sure you only have one anti virus program or you will find your computer will stop liking you.

2) Protect your kids ? Hey PROTECT YOUR COMPUTERS. Kids will visit any and every website on the internet and downlaod all kinds of nice and not so nice things to your computer. So stop right now and get cyber patrol. Know what your kids are doing and keep them from doing things to your computer that they shouldn’t.

2)  Run a disk Defrag. Go to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories ->  System Tools -> Disk Defragmenter *do this every week. Need more ?  You need to do this each week

3) Clear your internet cache. You need to do this each week. Videos:  Fire Fox Internet Explorer

4) Take your videos, photos, and music off your computer. Most of us don’t have enough memory to store all of these on our computer without slowing down your computer.

5) Remove unused programs using the Control panel  add/remove programs. Read More→