Monday, August 31, 2015

5 tips to Get Organized for Back To School!

Moms and Dads, does back to school make you feel overwhelmed and disorganized?  

Getting school supply lists together, kids back on schedule, buying new school clothes, managing your job and home at the same time can lead to chaos.  Don't forget the vacation laundry that seems to never end! Here are some tips for getting and staying organized for back to school:

1. Set Goals

Set some small goals for yourself week by week.  Keep your goals SMART! Realistic is the key.  Keep it simple.

2. Write it down & Check it off!

Keep yourself accountable to all that you need to do by writing it down somewhere consistent.  Little slips of paper all over the house aren't effective if you lose the pieces of paper.  Use a planner or to make lists of what you need to get done and by when.  
Celebrate what you accomplished.  Pat yourself on the back and perhaps give yourself a little reward for accomplishing and getting stuff done.  Checking off those boxes will help you see yourself closer to your goal and motivate you to keep going!

3. Schedule YOUR stuff too!

Are you trying to get to yoga or exercise regularly?  Are you in need of your own shopping trip but prioritize getting the kids what they need?  Don't forget to make time in your schedule for you to stay on top of the things you are doing for yourself, not just for your family or your job.  Put yourself at the top of the priority list.  That includes time for relaxation and fun as well.  A few minutes of down time can go a long way to recharging your batteries.  Make it consistent by setting up rituals and times of the day that you can create habits so taking care of you becomes part of your every day!
You may want to try meditation, taking a quiet walk, painting, coloring or other project. Remember to make time for fun each and every day. When you feel better so much more gets accomplished!

4. Clear out clutter!

Have designated space in your home or office for sorting through mail and other physical papers.  Keep a trash can by the front door to dump the junk mail as soon as you empty your mailbox.  Have folders or baskets labeled for action items to be sure you get to them as needed.  Don't forget the electronic clutter as well.  Designate time in your day to check email, Facebook and other methods of communication.  Otherwise turn your phone settings to fetch data hourly or manually so to be less distracted by that addictive little "ding".  Spend a few minutes each day tidying up in order to be more focused on what you need to get done.  

5. Delegate chores

You are managing your job, your home, your family and just about everything else that comes up, so look for ways to get your kids more involved.  Age appropriate tasks such as doing dishes, vacuuming, mowing the lawn can absolutely be given to the kids to do.  Even your preschooler can empty his or her own backpack and put papers in a pile for you to review on their own.  Having trouble getting them to eat lunches you pack?  How about having them do it?  Have guidelines of what to pack for example - one veggie, one fruit, one dairy and one snack per lunch.  This not only gives you back time to get stuff done but it will teach your kids responsibility and build confidence!

If you are looking for a tool to help you stay on track, check out this Kick Ass Plan kick ass plancalendar today! For more info on Maximize Wellness Counseling & Coaching or to schedule a free consultation or go to a workshop go to

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Savor the Flavor!

Summer = ice cream!  

I'm a coffee or chocolate chip mint with rainbow sprinkles cone girl myself.  My husband goes for vanilla dipped in chocolate. This time of the year just would not be the same without regular trips to the ice cream place.  Part of the fun is getting to pick which of the all the amazing flavors to enjoy.  

For kids who have life threatening allergies things are very different.  Dairy or nut allergies make a simple summer ritual almost impossible.  

In my family we have an allergy to peanuts and tree nuts.  Many people may think that means staying away from certain flavors.  Not a big deal, right?  It is not that simple.  When we go out for ice cream we all stay away from any nut related flavor, however my daughters choices are even more limited.  Any flavor has potential to be cross contaminated by nuts and therefore they become off limits for her to even try.  We look for places that have soft serve machines with vanilla and/or chocolate and double check that they are they only flavors every put into the machines. Toppings and cones?  Nope, probably not.  Unless a topping label can be checked for nuts and a completely new container is willing to be opened, it becomes off limits as well.   
Today I am not writing to elicit sympathy or even educate on food allergies.  

The purpose of this post is to recognize the importance of savoring and appreciating the little things that make life so beautiful and good. 

 A few months ago an ice cream place opened up in NYC called A La Mode. They are completely nut free and have some dairy free options.  Mark and Sandy, the owners of the shop recognized a need for a place where kids with allergies can go and not have to be limited or miss out on this experience.  For us to go to the shop it was an all day affair.  Early morning train into NYC and heading north and east to 55th street and 1st avenue, but well worth it.  

Getting to walk into an ice cream place and pick any flavor, topping and cone without fear of an emergency trip to the hospital (or worse) is a luxury most children get to experience as a regular part of summer.  Thanks to A La Mode we did too!  

We are truly grateful for the opportunity to have an experience that most take for granted and recognize the importance of appreciating the little things that bring joy.  

As you go about your summer rituals and experiences, take a moment to imaging what it would be like if you weren't able to do whatever it is you enjoy and then savor and appreciate the joy and awesomeness of the experience! Taking time to enjoy living in the moment and savoring those little things that often get taken for granted...

and if you happen to find yourself on the upper east side of NYC, definitely try the ice cream! 

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