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Guest article by Cathy Bates

The Simple Pleasures in Life Rediscovered

The recent downturn in the economy has created some very positive opportunities to live more simply. Families are eating at home more, finding creative ways to entertain themselves, and refocusing on the importance of relationships. Try some of these simple ideas:

• Get the family involved in planning and preparing meals. Each family member gets to pick a night, plan the menu, and help prepare the meal. You might even get an economics lesson in by setting a budget for the meal and letting them shop.
• Pack a picnic and head to your favorite hiking spot or to the beach.
• Plan a family game night. It can just be for your immediate family or invite another family.
• No vacation budget? Campout in the backyard or plan a mini-getaway.
• Do a service project together. You will create lasting memories together and the family will realize how blessed they are even in tough times.
• Need service a little closer to home? Do projects around the house together, like cleaning out the garage or organizing a room.
• Check your local newspaper, library, craft store, or home improvement store for free activities and events.

Cathy Bates is owner of Practical Solutions Professional Organizing and they can help you gain control of your surroundings and life, rediscovering the simple pleasures in life. Contact Practical Solutions for more information at 909.810.3719 or go online to

Categories : Articles
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Well it arrived. My 35th year. For years I have been saying ’35 will be the best year of my life’ and now I have to make sure it is.

To launch my 35th year, this almost always organized mom needs some inspiration, organization, and new goals. This week is all about inspiration  for a tired mom who needs to increase her energy and to that she needs some motivation!

Although I have made some great leaps organizing my children’s schedules, my personal space has suffered as a result. My yard is a tad overgrown, my room lacks an inviting feel and some days my ‘almost always organized’ feels like we may be on time but my home is no longer my respite.

When I tell others how to find my home my response for the last year has been ‘You can’t miss my home. Its the single mom home with the use to be brown picket fence and overgrown shrubbery.’

Standing by the Declutter Guide’s advice of letting go of perfectionism. I started painting that use to be brown fence yesterday. My mother arrived to help and I let my children get messy with me. Read More→

Categories : Organized Mom Blog
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Spring gardening. I don’t know about you but my yard is a MESS ! I am rather embarrassed by the state my yard has gotten into. Super mom of three, I mastered scheduling, running house and running a business. Keeping my yard up was limited to mowing the yard every two weeks.

yardSpring is here and all around people are cleaning up their gardens and yards. This year that one item is at the top of my Spring to do list. Clean up my yard.

Clearing the over grown blackberry bushes is the obvious starting point in my back yard and today I jumped through that step. Now I am looking for hints for spring yard clean up and now I am researching what comes next in Spring Yard Clean up.

This looks like a great tip and it’s my next step:

“Do you want new beds? If so, lay out newspaper 5 or 6 sheets deep, then add several inches of compost over the top. This kills existing vegetation by smothering it. Four months later, you can dig it up to work the compost into the soil. No sod removal is necessary. “ Click Here for more Spring Yard Tips

Would love to know your Spring Gardening tips.

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Spring Cleaning ChecklistsThe local playground has bloomed with a carpet of white tiny daisies and the sun was shining all day yesterday. Which leads me to thoughts of spring cleaning and none too soon since I see that a few of the corners of my house have some small spider webs when the sun shines through the window just right!

I can’t help but wonder why we all feel a need to spring clean, so I spent a few minutes looking up spring cleaning online to discover that spring cleaning is defined as “Spring cleaning is the period in spring time set aside for cleaning a house, normally applied in climates with a cold winter.”

This makes sense since those of us up North are limited by cold wet weather during the winter months. I can’t easily run outside with a rug to beat it with a broom. OK I wouldn’t actually ever do that. I have included some free printable spring cleaning checklists below for everyone though!

For me spring cleaning is about purging. It’s when I go through the kids clothing for summer, pack up winter items and while I am at it give the closets and rooms a good vacuum and wipe down.

ListPlan It offers a great Spring Cleaning Checklist for those of you looking for a checklist to help you get through the spring cleaning on a task by task basis.

Most of my check lists come from ListPlan it, it’s a affordable solution and definitely saves me more then enough time to justify the small membership fee.

I have three major Spring Cleaning items that have to get done in my home each spring. 1) the kitchen top to bottom. 2) My mini van – this year I am taking it in to be shampooed 3) The ceilings , light fixtures, and fans.

Here’s a list of Free Printable Spring Cleaning Checklists:

List Planit: Get Organized for Spring
Our Busy Family Life: print spring cleaning checklist
Clean and Shiny: print spring cleaning checklist
Martha Stewart: spring cleaning list

I am beginning to get the hang of scheduling six kids. Ok, I have cut back on work. I have cut back on sleep. I have cut back on painting my nails. (Really I actually did this every two weeks when I was super single mom of three kids!)

I refused to give up on my 7am-730am mom time and the kids are all on board after 3 weeks of my consistent reminders that until the alarm goes off at 730 am no one is to get out of bed. Wondering what I do for half an hour ? I should be working out but no, I am curled up with a coffee reading a book.

muffins3My mom time results in needing to get six kids from bed to van in 45  minutes. I could give away all my secrets, but instead I will just share one. Quick breakfasts 101. Muffins. Muffins and more muffins with granola yogurt days in between. (ok I do actually make other quick breakfasts as well.) Read More→

Categories : Menu Planning
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