Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Time Line

By Ellen Delap CPO

It here already! The holiday fun has started! With a myriad of activities, events, and tasks, the best way to approach the holidays is with a holiday time line. Start with a family meeting to talk about all the special parts of the holiday season.

What makes the holiday special for each family member? Make a list of the most important part of the the holidays for each person. Now you know what your goals are for the season.

Using a big month at a glance calendar, pencil in all the dates from your family meeting. These are the items to work around as you create your holiday time line.Add the tasks and times to get the “other stuff” complete.


Gift giving: dates for purchases completed, wrapping, mailing. With a list, this can be completed before December 15.

Tree trimming: dates for setting up the tree, outdoor lights, indoor decor. With organization and help, this can be completed by December 8th.

Holiday events: dates for cookie exchange, parties, family gatherings. Review your calendar each day to be sure what you need for each event. Work back two days to prepare for each event.

All of this together means a less stressed holiday! You enjoy what is most important by pacing the activities. How does your holiday time line work?


Certified Professional Organizer and Family Manager Coach Ellen Delap is the owner of Professional-Organizer.com. Since 2000, she has worked one on one with her clients in their home and offices streamlining their environment, creating effective strategies for an organized lifestyle and help prioritize organization in their daily routine. She holds ADD and Chronic Disorganization certificates and specializes in working with ADD and ADHD adults and students. Ellen has been featured at The Woodlands Home and Garden Show, on ABC13 Houston, in the Houston Chronicle and regularly contributes to national blogs and publications. To learn more about her and her work, visit www.professional-organizer.com, tweet her @TexasOrganizer or become a fan on her Facebook Fan Page Professional-Organizer.com.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Benefits of Gratitude

Have you ever felt in your heart of hearts a deep sense of gratitude that goes beyond just your immediate circumstances but that inspires you with a profound desire to repay Life for what you have personally been given in your life?

And what does gratitude have to do with parenting? The negative thoughts that arise when we are concentrated on the way things should be and are not, can rob us from the joy that our children bring us every day. We need to eliminate our routine negative thinking and labeling of our children before we can actually see the behaviors we want from them.

sandra huber, parenting tweens, kids behavior"Photo by Melita Morgantown"

I know it may sound like a platitude but studies show that focusing our attention on the richness of our experience and saying “Thank You” for even the little things can can be very rewarding. They are finding that grateful people are optimistic and energetic and deal better with stress and illness. Gratitude, in short, can make you happier. But I know you know that. Now the challenge is to actually do it. And there’s really no excuse: especially when you consider your kids are watching.

Truth can set you free and gratitude is not a matter or time or effort: it's possible to move from a life of "surviving" and getting by to one that cultivates a spirit of Gratitude.

When I ask you to consider the power of being grateful, I am not asking you to stick your head in the sand and pretend that nothing is happening that needs your attention. "To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great," Robert A. Emmons (Emmons, R.A., & McCullough, M.E. -2004. The psychology of gratitude). "It just means we are aware of our blessings.

One of the things that I started doing a couple of years ago and found incredibly powerful, was the nightly routine of a gratitude journal. It has evolved nicely into a deeper daily practice that reminds me of how full my life truly is. A good friend of mine gave me a beautiful journal that I decided to use and write 5 things for which I was grateful. It became a profound ritual that brought a sense of closure to every day. Some times, in our quests to be better, or more successful, or more organized, or better moms, parents, spouses, we get stuck in the energy of more, and forget the gifts of now.

Remember: "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." - William Arthur Ward

I know that you are keenly aware of how important it is for us to be the kind of adult we hope your child to become. How do you show up in the world with a sense of thankfulness, not only during the Holidays, but all year around?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

5 Organizing Projects You Can Complete in 5 Minutes


Don’t have hours to get organized? Here are 5 things you can do for 5 minutes to get your home in order.

1. Recycle junk mail. Stand over your recycle bin or a paper sack and toss old newspapers, extra catalogs or clippings you no longer need.

2. Sort through a kitchen drawer. Set a timer for 5 minutes, grab a shopping bag, open the drawer, pick through anything no longer needed and donate it.

3. Make a clothing donation bag. Go through your clothes closet and choose 5 articles of clothing you never wear. Put them in a donation bag to be given to your favorite charity. Stop at Goodwill on the way to get these out the door.

4. Five minute toy pick up. Enlist your kids to help. Put on energizing music and have a pick up party.

5. Delete email. Take 5 minutes to delete email from your sent box, especially if it is older than a month.

Feel accomplished? Organizing is not about finding the perfect time or creating the perfect system. It is about the baby steps to create a level of order in your world that works! Share with me your 5 minute organizing project!

About Ellen


Certified Professional Organizer and Family Manager Coach Ellen Delap is the owner of Professional-Organizer.com. Since 2000, she has worked one on one with her clients in their home and offices streamlining their environment, creating effective strategies for an organized lifestyle and help prioritize organization in their daily routine. She holds ADD and Chronic Disorganization certificates and specializes in working with ADD and ADHD adults and students. Ellen has been featured at The Woodlands Home and Garden Show, on ABC13 Houston, in the Houston Chronicle and regularly contributes to national blogs and publications. To learn more about her and her work, visit www.professional-organizer.com, tweet her @TexasOrganizer or become a fan on her Facebook Fan Page Professional-Organizer.com.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

30 days of Gratitude

moms, help for moms, how to be grateful, how to teach kids gratitude
I love doing theme-months for this blog: it keeps me focused on finding the “juicy bits” in everyday life!

This month, I am sharing with all of you 30 days of gratitude. Gratitude is defined as the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful. I believe that gratitude is so much more than saying thanks for the things we have and for the things we like. It also asks that we tune into our lives and find the blessings even at times when things don’t look so good!

Why is gratitude so hard to embrace sometimes? I have wondered about this question, especially when well-meaning people give me that “smile” that says, “you are living in la-la land Sandra, you can’t possibly find anything positive to be happy about!”

Am I delusional? Am I out of touch with so-called “reality”? Maybe the reason why many of us find it hard to embrace the joys of thankfulness it is because as a society, we focus on our shortcomings, lacks and limitations more than the blessings we experience.

Many of us rush through our days in our fast-paced culture. Rarely do we stop and take stock of our achievements and accomplishments. To consciously move into an attitude of gratitude we need to stop and take a breath and slow down.

Our children are the perfect teachers for those of us who want to be present and find the miracle in the little things. Many of us moms have heard our children go to the simplest of the birthday parties only to tell us they had the best day of their (short) lives! Or how the ice cream they just ate is the best ice cream ever!

When we are feeling stressed, unloved or unappreciated, it truly helps to take our focus from the negative and acknowledge the many other times when we have felt better: the people in our lives who have made our days brighter or those who chose to see the best in us when we didn’t. The good night of sleep we have had or the delicious meal that me enjoyed with our family.

That is what I call taking inventory of our blessings.

I know that my now 9 year old daughter can be a challenge to my patience sometimes. When the time comes for me to “practice what I preach”, I remember that the very same traits that make it hard for me to stay cool and calm sometimes are the same characteristics that will one day make successful in the real world: her assertiveness, her eloquence and her great wit!

I know that clich├ęs and platitudes have little impact on our daily lives. It’s the practical application, the embodiment of this idea of gratitude that will lead you and me into a new and sustainable way of being happy, independent of outside circumstances.
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy
In Gratitude,
Sandra

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Somethings never change... or do they?

"Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers."
- Socrates (470-399 B.C.)

stress, tantrums, kids behaviorIt’s official. Children have always been thankless, greedy creatures. The next time your child says or does something that more resembles the spawn of Satan than the angelic infant you brought home, remember these words of Socrates. Kids are designed to test us and push their limits. It would be unhealthy and more than a little creepy if yours didn’t do likewise.

-Hal Runkel, LMFT author of ScreamFree Parenting

What do YOU do to stay Screamfree? How do you handle your frustration when you are ready to sell your kids on Ebay? I'd love to hear your words of wisdom!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Own it!

By: Melissa Atkins Wardy

Last night I read an apology posted on a blog belonging to a young television star who is at the center of a controversy surrounding racy photographs taken of her for a men’s magazine. Let me restate that, photographs she participated in, for a men’s magazine.

I’m sure you have heard the whole story by now, but what has really struck me as interesting is how the stars explained themselves, and made a lame attempt to apologize.
I am currently raising two preschoolers, a four year old and a two year old. I frequently feel like a prison guard, controlling riots and breaking up yard fights.

The two year olds’ favorite game to play is “Wild Animals” in which he tackles his sister from behind, sits on her, and bites her hair. Needless to say, my crew issues quite a few apologies back and forth throughout the course of the average day.

I don’t mind that I have ‘high energy kids’, as I like to call them. While I sit here in the quiet of a house when everyone is sleeping, I can honestly say I enjoy the craziness and crack up at the insane situations the kids get themselves into.

You have to be able to laugh at yourself, while scolding the two year old after removing him from his sister’s head, when you say, “Ben! We are not wild animals and we do not bite people on the hair!”

Which brings me to my point – the apology. I realize the boy lacks impulse control. He is two. But he needs to develop some emotional intelligence and empathy towards his poor, saliva-covered sister.

So every time he is a rascal, he has to stand face to face and say, “Amelia, I am sorry I made you feel______.” Hurt. Scared. Slimey.

For the age of two, that is an acceptable apology. Now what if he were a famous 24 year old television actress whose participation in a super sexy photo shoot left her fans, and the parents of her fans, in an uproar? The thing NOT to say is, "Well! I'm sorry if you're offended!" That isn’t really an apology, because there is no ownership of action. Nor is the right thing to do to shift blame, deflect responsibility, or claim you don’t know how it happened.

I don’t know how magic happens, but I do know how young women end up with their clothes off in front of a photographer. I’d much rather hear an apology that is authentic, mature, and demonstrates ownership: "I participated in a photo shoot that I wasn't necessarily comfortable with as it went on, and in hindsight I made poor decisions in what I agreed to wear and how I agreed to pose. These photos do not reflect who I am nor do they show respect to my fans, many of whom are young. I apologize for my actions, and will do better in the future."

When you hurt someone, let them down, or scare them, apologize and mean it. Care about that other person. If my two year old can do it, so can you.screamfree, parenting, young girls, oversexualization of girls 
Melissa Atkins Wardy is the owner of Pigtail Pals – Redefine Girly, an empowering apparel and gift company for girls.
She advocates and writes about issues involving the sexualization of girlhood. Check out her website at www.pigtailpals.com.
You can read her blog at: http://blog.pigtailpals.com,find her on Facebook www.facebook.com/Pigtail Pals or on Twitter at @PigtailPals.

It is time we change the way we think about our girls.