Articles for busy families

It’s more tips from another Almost Always Organized  Mom. Cleo blogs about Consumer advocacy at Consumer Mom. She is a 40 something full time mom, a freelance consultant, and part time consumer advocate, serving on the board of directors of two consumer organizations.

consumermomHow do you keep your children’s schedules together ?
Some days, I don’t. When I do keep it together, it’s usually thanks to the Gmail calendar program! I have set it up w/ different colors for my work, the kids, my favorite classes at the gym, etc.

Do you use a particular day planner ?
I use Gmail calendar …. and just got an iPhone over the summer. The iPhone calendar synchs w/ Google; but I haven’t done it yet!

Do you own a blackberry?
Nope. … but some would say the iPhone is “just as bad”…

What is you most used ‘time saving tip’ when it comes to running your house? Time saving vs. sanity-saving? Sanity saving I fold laundry while I watch TV, so I don’t feel guilty watching “the Mentalist” or “The Closer”. Saves time too :). My most successful time saver has been my crockpot. I like to eat at home. I use the crockpot at least once a week, especially in the fall and winter. I’m psyched for stew and soup weather! My kids help me put items in and mix them up, too. They can even cut some veggies; it’s fun, saves money and means we eat healthier food (instead of going out to dinner).

Do you have a favourite quick meal for your family?
It would have to be quesadillas — just take a Trader Joe’s whole wheat tortillas, add fillings w/ cheese or ham, cooks fast on the stove. Add a salad, another side and you are done. Another favorite is pasta. I keep all the “fixings” separate — sauce in one bowl, cheese in another, sausages in one, peas in one — so people can add what they like (or not). I find keeping sausage in the freezer a quick go-to protein (we prefer low fat chicken or turkey Italian sausage)…

Tell us the truth ? What would we find in your car right now ?
Right now — empty tea cups, clothing to take to a friend (my son’s outgrown; they are her son’s size), library books to be returned, 2 booster seats, a yoga mat and tons of stickers on the doors. And probably on the floor you would find an empty juice box (or 2) and kettle corn kernels from the Sunday farmers market!

What advice would you give to other moms who feel the pressure of trying to be ‘super mom’?
Don’t try to be supermom. Be yourself — be your best self — as best you can, as often as you can. Tell your kids you love them — and have fun being a mom! A supermom enjoys her kids! When I’m stressed about the house or my bank account or my last stressful trip to Target w/ screaming kids, I think, hey, they will be gone soon enough, and then I will miss them and then…I will have plenty of time for all that other stuff (clean house, nice furniture, perfect hair and make up, whatever…!)!

What is your number one goal for the year ? How do you plan to reach it ?
My number one goal? Hmm. I have a lot of goals. To stay healthy, to take good care of my family and to be more organized! I plan to reach it by taking it one day at a time. And rewarding myself with dark chocolate whenever necessary….

You can read some of Cleo’s posts on her Consumer Mom Blog or follow Consumer Mom on Twitter.

Categories : Featured Busy Mom
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I am not sure where to start when describing how incredibly busy I will be this week.

I am starting a series of mom interviews to feature bloggers and get some of their great tips for organizing and time management for their families this week. All of which will be posted here at Organized Families.

If you are interested in being interviewed please drop me a note through the contact form.

I also have a client blog to complete, an aupair training manual to write for Rod’s new aupair (my boyfriend for those of you who are new to my crazy life blog), another client who needs help getting started on twitter to promote their blog, a fence to finish staining, invoicing, and you know the daily life of being a single mom with three children !

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As a single mother with three children its easy to get burned out and need a little time on my own to get caught up with work, home and SLEEP.

I have paired up with three other moms and started an overnight babysitting exchange . Here’s how it works; one weekend each month I host a sleep over for all three families (8 children). This evening usually consists of playing a game, followed by movies and a sleep out on the living room floor in sleeping bags. The following morning I pull out my waffle makers and the children feast on waffles and oranges.

Each mother hosts a pajama party at her home as well. Leaving me with two glorious evenings to clean, blog, even sleep. One of the mothers uses her evening to have date nights with her husband and the other to work on school assignments.

So how do you start a babysitting exchange ? Start by determining your needs. An exchange will work best if you can find families needing the same type of help you need. When each family has different needs (over night versus Saturday mornings) the exchage can become complicated. Begin asking around to friends, moms at different events to see who all might be interested in starting a childcare exchange network with the same requirement as you.

Planning a weekend away with your partner or husband ? Look for a family who may also like to consider a weekend away. If you don’t have friends you know well enough for an over night exchange, consider short term babysitting swaps or groups.

I have an exchange with another mother who like me needs to attend her children’s school PAC meeting each month. My meeting is the first  of each month hers is the second Tuesday. This exchange works great 10 swaps a year all pre-booked. We drop our children with their pajama’s and tooth brushes and pick them up ready for bed.

The Baby sitter exchange offers a venue for meeting other parents looking for childcare exchanges. Be sure to require EACH adult over the age of 16 in each home to have a criminal record check performed. offers Criminal record checks for all of the USA and Canada.

Meet with all the parents ahead of time to discuss, agree upon and write down what each parents responsibilities will be. Be sure to provide information to each parent regarding your children’s likes, dislikes, important medical information, and a secondary emergency contact. Medical release forms should be provided to each member of your exchange.

Utilizing a childcare exchange may help you free up some time in your busy life to care for yourself or catch up on your to do list. You may be surprised how many people are open to the idea of exchanging childcare once you start asking around.

Let me know what sort of childcare exchanges are working for your family.

Categories : Articles, parenting
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