Holiday Sanity: How to Not Loose It During the Holidays

The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. For some it can also be the most stressful. Holiday sanity might even sound like an oxymoron. Trying to get everything done from baking, shopping, Christmas cards, and going to holiday parties can get overwhelming! We know!

If the holiday season totally stresses you out then this podcast is for you! In Episode 5 we chat about ways to maintain your sanity during the holidays. From doing Christmas cards NOW to not having to go to every holiday party will help you find time to just sit back and relax with a hot cocoa and watch the Hallmark channel because we all know there’s nothing better than cuddling up on the couch watching a good Hallmark Christmas movie!

In this episode
  • Creating and sending your Christmas Cards now!
  • You don’t have to go to every holiday party.
  • Easy holiday recipe and cooking tips.
  • Enjoy the holidays without stressing that your house is messy.
  • Wrap as you buy!

So pour a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy Episode 5 of The 29 Minute Mom – Ways To Maintain Your Sanity During The Holidays!

Click Play!
Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes! 

Jennifer Ford Berry

As a Friend, Are You the Driver or the Passenger?

driverpassenger

Friendships take work, much like a marriage.  Part of that work is making time to spend with each other.  We were not made to walk this earth alone.  God created us to be in relationship with other people.  Women especially were made for this and were given a desire to spend time with others talking, laughing, sharing and connecting.

Lately I have been wondering if women know if they are the driver in a friendship or the passenger.  I think women tend to fall in one category most of the time or the other.  We ALL feel very busy and at times overwhelmed with just keeping up with life’s basics: the cleaning, cooking, laundry, work, driving the kids, maybe a spouse and SO much more.   Sometimes women just feel too darn tired to add another thing to their plate!  They FEEL like they don’t have the time. But the truth is we all have the time, actually the same amount of time…it is how we use that time that will determine what kind of life we are living.

When you look at your relationships with friends would you say you are more of the driver or the passenger? Now I am not talking about all of your friends or acquaintances I am speaking only of the women that you would consider your closest or best friends.

The Driver:

-Intitates most of the planning.

-Makes the majority of the calls.

-Loves to entertain and practice hospitality.

-Is a social and outgoing person.

The Passenger:

-Not as interested in entertaining but still loves to get together if they get invited.

-Friendships are important but not at the top of her priority list.

-May feel that she is not sure what to plan or feels she is not good at making the plans.

-Most of the time is just along for the ride meaning that she will go wherever her driver takes her but usually waits to get “picked up” instead of “offering a ride”.  This is all figuratively speaking of course 🙂

-Sometimes has trouble stepping out of her comfort zone.

I am working on a new book (yes very excited)!  It is all about how to live an intentionally balanced and organized life.  Throughout this stage of writing I will be sharing many of my thoughts and ideas here on the blog.  Balancing friendships is just one of the things I will be writing about so I can’t wait to hear from all of you on this topic!

Do you tell yourself when the kids are out of the house you will have time for your friends?

Are you dreaming of retirement when you no longer have to work everyday and can start having more fun with friends?

In your opinion, how much time does it take to stay in a close friendship with someone?

I think it depends on the friendship.  Some will always pick up right where they left off and some will feel awkward if too much time goes by.

Do you have the attitude of “I’ll see you when I see you” or are you really good at making time for your friends and feel disconnected if too much time goes by?

I think this season of Thanksgiving is the perfect chance to spend a few minutes thinking about the friendships that are important in your life.

  1. Make a list of the 5 friendships that are truly important to you.  Research shows that you  are like the 5 people you spend the most time with so write your list wisely.
  2. Next to their name write why this relationship is so important to you.  This way next time it has been awhile since you have spent time with this person, you can read this and remember why it is important that you make time for them.
  3. Now write a new list of at least 3 people that you currently would like to get to know better.
  4. Finally, grab your calendar and your phone.  Find some open time…even if it is an hour!  Make a call or shoot a text and plan some time with your friend.

Jennifer Ford Berry

12 Days of Giveaways

12daysofgiveaways

 

I am pretty sure I have mentioned it before but I will say it again….

THIS IS MY FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR!!!! 

This is why I have decided to put together a fun little series I call “12 Days of Giveaways” and thanks to a bunch of AMAZING companies that have teamed up with me, YOU are going to have a chance to win some of my VERY favorite products!  Does that sound like a fun way to spend the next 12 days?? I sure think so!!

1.Gatheredtable.com: EVERYONE receives a 12 month free subscription! One lucky winner will receive a gift set including: a grocery gift card, towel and a cutting board.

2. Fridge Coaster: Win a $40 GC toward their products!

3. Young Living Essential Oils: Win one bottle of Stress Away oil!

4. Smead: Complete Smead filing system!

5. Life in Case: a Life In Case portable filing box!

6. Organize Now: a signed copy of Organize Now! think & live clutter-free and 30 minutes of phone coaching!

7. Dipsy Dabber: Win 2 Dipsy Dabber containers!

8. Bulu Box: Win a FREE 3 month subscription!

9. Getting Organized Magazine: Win the entire library of Getting Organized magazines, a free subscription to the magazine and one for a friend!

10. Post It: Win a packet of Post It Reminder Tags!

11. Kidecals: $30 GC toward their online store!

12. Wrap iT Gift Bag Organizer: Win a wrap iT gift bag organizer!

Holiday Party Planning Tips

Holiday_party_planning_tips_title

Hi everyone! A big thank you to Jennifer for giving me the opportunity to guest post here today.  I blog over at Love Your Home, and when I started blogging there about a year ago, I picked up Jennifer’s book Organize Now! as a guide to get myself, my family, and my house in order, all while sharing my experience on the blog.  After being on maternity leave for a year, of course all my attention was on the baby, and not so much on keeping our home tidy and organized (I’m sure all of you moms have experienced that!)

I started her book on the very first page, and my goal was to follow week after week and complete a new organizing task.  Unfortunately, life did not allow for that, but I hold onto this book dearly and open it often to see where I could put my organizing skills to work.  I have completed projects with Jennifer’s help and motivation through the pages of her book such as: creating task lists and shopping lists; setting a perfect family evening routine; planning our meals for the month; organizing my office papers; storing craft supplies; closet organizing; and so on.  There is so much left for me to do.  Her pages cover areas from organizing high-traffic spots in your own home, to special events, routines, etc.  What I enjoy is how every section is given a specific checklist of goals and tips.  It’s detailed, but not overwhelming.  This book has really been a great addition to our lives, and it never gets outdated!

With the holidays approaching, I thought a perfect topic to cover today is organizing parties.  Even if it’s a small get together with a couple of friends, there is always a lot to prepare.  And speaking of preparation, it’s a good idea to stock up on many things (drinks, snacks, extra gifts) as a foray of visitors come a knocking on your doorstep this holiday season.

When planning a party, remember to do the following:

  • Choose a date that works best for YOU. Don’t feel like you need to accommodate everyone’s schedule.  With so many family events already going for a lot of people this month, the chances are that someone may miss your party and there’s nothing you can do.
  • Decide on a guest list early. The earlier the better because then you can start thinking about how much food you’ll need to prepare, or what gifts to buy, and then plan a budget.
  • Always request RSVP. These days, people are more likely to get back to you by email.  You can leave a phone number on your invites, but include an email address that you check often as well.
  • Give yourself time. It’s Thursday and you want to have 15 people at your house by Saturday night.  Well, that’s asking for stress! Besides, it’s best practice to give your guests a couple weeks’ notice in case they have to take time off work, etc.
  • Prepare as much as you can ahead of time. For example: decorating, party favours, setting up the buffet table with linens, ordering the wine, cold food dishes, and cleaning the house (or at least the areas guests will use/see that evening – powder room, dining room, living room, kitchen).
  • Don’t stress about the event.  If you planned it early, as you should have, there’s no need to anyway.

One of my go-tos when it comes to organizing a party is lists.  Make a list for everything! What to buy, what to bake, what to make, what to decorate, what to clean, and what (and who) to shop for.  Next to my lists I keep a handy calendar and pen so that I can plan when to do each activity.  Don’t forget to also take care of yourself! Take an evening to get a manicure, or soak in a hot bath the night before to relax those muscles after all that hard party planning!

I like to give my readers a little something when I’m on the topic of organizing.  Today I’m offering a FREE to-do list printable when you click here! I conveniently made it a letter page so that you can fill it with all your needs for your next soiree (no matter how big or small).  Plan your tasks by day, week and month so that nothing gets forgotten.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post today! I hope I have offered you some great tips for planning your next holiday party.

About Antonella:

I am the face behind the blog Love Your Home.  It’s a place where I share organizing tips, decorating ideas, shopping finds and trends, crafts and DIY projects, some favourite home recipes, life, and much more.  I’m a mom of one beautiful little girl, and with my husband we are still living in our first home together – a humble townhouse in the suburbs of Toronto.  With the addition of a little one into our lives, I’m constantly changing our place to make it work better for us.  I am strongly passionate about blogging because I can talk decorating (a long time love), create and bring out my artistic side.

http://loveyourhomeblog.blogspot.ca/

Find Out How You Are Wasting Time

wasting time

Are you wasting precious time?

When we come into this world we all start out with different levels of resources.  Some are born into families with money and influency some are born into poverty.  Some are born into parts of the world where opportunities are plentiful, some are born into rural areas where these same opportunities do not exist.  Some are born into families that will give them an abundance of love, some are born into families where they will have to fight for attention and affection.  

Time is the one resource we are all given equally.  And the most amazing part is that the amount we are given each day stays consistent throughout our entire life.  We can not borrow or buy more.

This is why it is crucial that we are efficient with our time, that we protect our time.  Most importantly that we use the time we are given in a way that will leave the biggest impact when we are gone.

Many of you reading this may often wonder at the end of the day or week: “Where did my time go”?  I believe that it is extremely important to be able to answer this question throughout your life.  We must be intentional with our time.  Are you wasting time?

After almost 13 years of being an expert organizer I have noticed that the difference between the people that reach their goals, both personally and professionally, and those that don’t is the way they are using the time they have been given.  I have also learned that most often people THINK they know how they spent their time but when they take a closer look they are surprised by how they are wasting time.  Five minutes here and ten minutes there….can really add up over the course of the week.

The best way to change how you use your time for the better is to track your time.  I know, I know at first you may be yelling: “I don’t have enough time as it is, why should I “waste ” more time tracking it”?!!!  Why? Because I will bet that you will actually FIND more time in your days when you complete this exercise.  

I challenge YOU to track your time for ONE WEEK!

Do you want to change your life forever?  Do you want to reach your goals?  Do you want to live a balanced life?

Commit right now!

Grab this FREE printable to get started.  Keep it simple. One or two words per time slot.  

Time Tracker

Get excited!  This will be life changing!

[Tweet “Find out how you are wasting time!”]

 

Jennifer Ford Berry

My Favorite Parental Control App


Screen Time App

After months of trying out several parental control apps for my daughter’s smart phone I can finally comment on my favorite one….Screen Time!  

I believe it is extremely important to not only be aware of what my children are doing online and with social media but it is also important to limit the amount of time they can be online!  We have strict rules in this house about how much time can be spent staring at a screen.

I was really looking for an app that would most importantly keep my daughter safe. However, I really love anything that will help me be more efficient with my time, so I also wanted one that would save me time reminding her about phone usage and checking to make sure everything on her phone was appropriate for her age.  This app does all of that and so much more!

My favorite feature of the Screen Time app is that I can set tasks that need to be done in order for her to earn time on her phone.  This is super simple (another perk) and I am able to approve these tasks from my own cell phone, as well as on my computer.  I simply get a text when the task is complete and then I approve it. When it gets approved, her time limit is automatically increased. I absolutely LOVE this feature because I no longer have to remind her what responsibilities need to be done such as: make your bed, clean your room, clean the bathroom and feed the pets.  She WANTS more time on her phone so that is her motivation for getting these tasks done.

I also love that I can limit the apps she is using and the types of websites she can go on.  As a mother, this gives me more peace of mind when she is using her phone.  I can keep everything “age appropriate” with a simple click of a button.

Another cool feature is the “Bedtime Blocker” which allows me to set a designated time when all apps and website usage shut down.  I can pick and choose if I want her to still have access to phone calls or texts, which is useful when she is  babysitting.

Overall, I am REALLY pleased with this parental control app.  The only complaint I have is that is not yet available for the Ipod Touch…I would love to limit my son’s time automatically too from one main app!

I contacted the developer of the Screen Time app recently and here is the background information he gave me:

My name is Steve Vangasse and I starting developing the original Screen Time app early in 2013 when I became concerned at the amount of time my three children were spending on their new tablets. I’d had enough of arguing over how much time they were spending on their tablets and trying to get them to do other activities. Like most parents, I didn’t like having to confiscate or hide their tablets. There had to be a better solution.

I looked for something that would allow me to not only monitor, but remotely manage the amount of time my children were spending on certain apps and games. I also didn’t want this to be all about restricting access, but something that could reward my children for managing their own time responsibly. I couldn’t find anything on the market, so I decided to build a solution myself.

The difference Screen Time made to family life was amazing. The kids really took to managing their time, and with the addition of the tasks feature, began to help around the house and finish their homework (ahead of time!).

I mentioned what I had created to a few friends who tried it with their own families and, very happy with the results, persuaded me to publish Screen Time on Google Play. That was last summer and things have really grown since then. We’ve added loads of new features and are building and planning many more. Everyday I am blown away by the positive feedback I get from customers.

Jennifer Ford Berry

Spring Organizing Tips

Yesterday I appeared on the Winging It, Buffalo Style show.  I talked about tips and tricks you can do to help you get your home ready for Spring.  Here are some of the Spring Organizing Tips  that I mentioned on the show:

  • Come up w a plan: one room per week etc. Make a checklist!
  • Pair down so you can clean less during the summer: less knick knacks, picture frames, throw pillows, stuff on the kitchen counter, maybe remove window treatments.  Set up your home as simple as possible for the summer months so that you spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying the nice weather!
  • Ask for help! If you can afford it hire someone.  Otherwise make it a family project.  Explain to the kids that the more we complete now the more time for fun we will have over the summer.
  • Spring Cleaning Tips:
    • Furniture coasters: great for moving those big pieces so that you can clean behind them.
    • online slots font-size: 16px;”>Wool light: to wash curtains Tip: hang them outside to dry and they will be easier to iron.
    • Leave the bathroom light off when you are wiping the mirrors (less streaks).
    • Mr. Clean Erasers: doors, baseboards…I love these little guys!
    • Clean cobwebs with a broom and an old T-shirt for great results.
    • Clean your washing machine: 2 cups bleach in hot water run through a cycle. Then 2 cups of vinegar in hot water and run this through another cycle.
    • Clean your stove burners: Place ¼ cup of ammonia and the burners in a zip lock bag over night. The fumes from the ammonia will leave them sparkling clean!
    • Clean your refrigerator: baking soda and warm water for a fresh clean smell.
    • Open the windows: nothing smells more like spring than fresh air!

 Jennifer Ford Berry