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Organized MomThis week’s featured almost always organized mom is Tara Reed. Mom, artist, and designer. She recently launched a new website as well !

Here are Tara’s interview answers and tips for moms to get organized:

How do you keep your children’s schedules together ?
My household is a family of 2 – me and my son. I’ve been divorced for 5 1/2 years now, run my own business out of the house and my son just got his driver’s license… some days it’s a tad busy!

I have a combination of schedule managers but use a write-on-wipe off calendar on the side of the refrigerator for anything that is on my son’s schedule or that will affect my son.

For example, it doesn’t really matter to him if I have meetings, appointments or conference calls while he is at school – those don’t make the fridge. But if I’m speaking or have a teleseminar that is in the evening, it is there so he could see it.

Of course, he is a 16 year old boy so verbal repetition and texting seems work a little better than my calendar system. :) At the beginning of the week I’ll do a litte, “Here’s what I have going on, here’s what you have going on… anything you haven’t told me about?” (There often is.)

Then each morning while he’s getting ready for school I’ll remind him of anything that day. Then when he doesn’t remember after school, he texts, fesses up that he didn’t really listen, I tell him for the 5th or 6th time and it sinks in. (They say people need to hear things 7 times to really hear them, in my experiencethat is extra true for teenagers!)

Do you use a particular day planner or mom planner?
I have a Mac and recently discovered this wonderful system called “Daylite”. It may be more than an average mom needs but if you are a mom that is also working from home in any way – check it out!

It has a calendar, contact list management, connects emails to people automatically, politely reminds you of upcoming events… it does everything but clean the bathroom! I have it on both my iPhone and Mac and they sync very nicely – so if I make an appointment away from home I just hit “sync” and don’t have to retype everything.

Daylite has helped me save time, find communication threads and remember when to call people back, send in art for consideration and more. I truly can’t say enough good things about this software!

Do you own a blackberry?
No. As an artist and avid Mac lover, I went from a basic phone to an iPhone. Now I couldn’t live without it!

What is you most used ‘time saving tip’ when it comes to running your house?
Don’t obsess over dust. If you have a choice between dusting and relaxing with your kids, spouse, significant other or a good book – choose the latter. (Do dust sometimes of course!) I often feel like I’m ‘falling down on the job’ if my house wouldn’t be ready for a white glove test or photo shoot with a home interiors magazine but the truth of the matter is, we live here. I work here. Kids hang out and play guitar here. It can’t be 100% clean all the time. So save time by dusting 1/2 as much as you are compelled to and spend a little more time having fun! Read More→

Categories : Featured Busy Mom
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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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Organized Mom Judy

In the spirit of making sure moms feel supported as they tackle the busy life of motherhood and organizing their family schedules and lives, the Almost Always Organized Mom is happy to introduce another real mom juggling it all and her tips for busy moms.

How do you keep your children’s schedules together ? I only have one child, so keeping his schedule together is pretty easy. He goes to school or summer camp 3 days a week (full day – I run a home-based business and use this time to work). We then have play dates (by ourselves or with other children) on the days that he isn’t in school.
He takes swimming lessons which vary by time and date throughout the year and we love to visit the zoo and play at the park.

Do you use a particular day planner ? I keep track of all of my appointment and my son’s appointments using my calendar in Microsoft Outlook. I set reminders so that I always know when we have to be somewhere.

Do you own a blackberry? No, but I wish I had some kind of “sophisticated” phone – I am leaning toward an iPhone, but haven’t invested in anything yet.

What is you most used ‘time saving tip’ when it comes to running your
house?
Involve your children! My son is at the age where he loves to help out – so it keeps him occupied and helps me to get everything done.

Do you have a favourite quick meal for your family? Yes, my favorite meal is a chicken dish:

Take skinless/boneless chicken pieces, sprinklewith salt/pepper to taste.
Divide into single serving or dual serving sizes and place on a large piece of aluminum foil.
Add 1 clove of crushed garlic to each “package”.
Add tomatoes, mushrooms, sliced onions. Add chopped fresh rosemary.
Fold up the aluminum foil to make a leak-proof package. Leave some room for steam to accumulate inside of
the package.
Bake on a cookie tray at 350 for 1-1.5 hours. Serve over
rice. The chicken and vegetables cook in their own juices, so there is no added fat required. It is delicious and healthy!!

Tell us the truth ? What would we find in your car right now ? Oh my –
a bit of everything – some extra clothing for my son, toys, papers, snacks and water bottles – my car is always in some state of dis-array! I believe I have a bunch of old clothes in my trunk that need to be taken to goodwill too!

What advice would you give to other moms who feel the pressure of trying
to be ‘super mom’?
Set priorities and let everything else go. You will drive yourself crazy if you try to do it all – so don’t try. In my house, I have “let go” of the idea of having everything neat and orderly all of the time. I can’t keep up with it and run my business and take care of my family – so I do the important things (laundry, cooking, and having some fun) and let go of the clutter. Does it bother me? yes, but I have learned to accept that I just can’t do it all.

What is your number one goal for the year ? How do you plan to reach it
?
That’s a really good question. I can’t say that I have one main goal for the year. I have lots of small goals. I try not to set any goals that are too large or too daunting – but rather set many smaller goals
that I can reach in a short time. That way I am always getting small doses of accomplishment throughout the year rather than striving for one main goal. This way if I miss a few along the way, it isn’t upsetting because I have also accomplished many!

Dr. Masucci is a mom to one beautiful boy and a small-business owner. She lives in Pennsylvania just north of Pittsburgh where she operates a maternity and breastfeeding boutique (A Mother’s Boutique ) and writes about parenting and breastfeeding on her blog Mommy News and Views.

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