Archive for the ‘Moms’ Category

Busy Moms Kitchen Survival Guide

March 15, 2016

Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, work-at-home mom, or a working mom, busy moms need help and no one knows this more than Emily Kaufman and she shared some time saving and money saving solutions in the kitchen for busy moms.

Emily

Start with snacks. Moms want snacks for kids that are easy to make and also nutritious, so just bundle plenty of cheese sticks, fresh fruit, and pre-cut raw veggies together in a large container and place them in the fridge so kids can serve themselves when it’s snack time.

Snacks

Dinner made simple. Now, getting dinner on the table is a daily chore. As busy moms, we need to feel confident in the food we’re serving our family, but don’t always have time to make a home cooked dinner. That’s why I like Banquet frozen meals that have provided wholesome meals wholesome meals for more than 60 years and they’ve recently been made even better.

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Customer feedback is important to Banquet and that’s why you’ll find more food, more meat and more real, quality ingredients like mashed potatoes made with real cream and 100% natural chicken breast in place of dark meat. In fact, the Salisbury Steak Meal has 25% more food and the Chicken Pot Pies now have 20% more meat. You’ll also get real white meat chicken in popular kid favorites like Chicken Fingers and Fried Chicken dinners. Banquet meals are available in the freezer aisle at grocery stores nationwide for under $1.25 and you can find out more at banquet.com.

Water

Beverages on a budget. Keep beverages simple at the dinner table and throughout the day. Children should drink six-to-eight glasses of fluid each day and water is a perfect drink at meals when you dress it up with a wedge of lemon. It’s easy to make and also easy on the budget.

ChoreMonster

Delegate tasks to the kids. Finally, get the kids to help out in the kitchen by delegating simple and age appropriate chores to little helpers, tweens and teens so it’s not “all on mom.” From setting the table, doing the dishes and even taking out the trash.   You can make an old fashioned daily chore chart and if your familiy is plugged into smartphones and tablets, there are several apps, like Chore Monster, that make chores fun for kids.

 

Emily Kaufman, has been a leading “mom expert” since her first television appearance in 1996. She was a contributor to Good Morning America, has numerous appearances on The Today Show and is a regular contributor to The Steve Harvey Show, offering practical lifestyle, travel and parenting tips and advice. 

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Chef Amy Thielen Shares Tips to Get Summer Fresh Tomatoes in the Middle of Winter

January 22, 2016

Finding fresh fruits and vegetables in January is definitely a challenge but perhaps you are not looking in the right place. Professional chef, Amy Thielen, is host of the Food Network’s Heartland Table, amy thelen and has great tips to find great tasting family farm grown tomatoes in the middle of winter.

Amy-Thielen-Red-Gold-Tomatoes

Question: Amy, how can you find fresh farm tomoatoes in the middle of winter?

Amy Thielen: Well, they’re not in your produce sections so don’t look there. I’m going to send you right down the middle aisles. Outside of summer, I don’t buy and cook with fresh tomatoes. I use canned tomatoes and I’ve tried them all, but Red Gold Tomatoes really are my favorite. They are picked at peak ripeness. They are grown under the sun. not in a greenhouse. They are canned immediately and I know they are going to have great flavor, be super tender and really bright red. When it comes to canned tomatoes, you want the deepest red you can find. In fact, the redder the tomato, the more of that antioxidant lycopene it has inside. Red Gold Tomatoes these are grown on family farms in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana in the hot Midwestern sun. They are non-GMO verified and the can is BPA free.

Canned-Tomatoes-Cursh-Test-Red-Gold

Question: Are all canned the tomatoes the same? How can you tell they were picked at their peak of freshness?

Amy Thielen: Some people say canned tomatoes are the same but they’re not. They vary in quality and all you need is a simple crush test to determine if they are picked at the peak of freshness. What I do is take my whole can (and I like to buy whole peeled tomatoes) and then I pour them into a bowl or, in this case, a colander, and I give them what I call a quick crush test. I squeeze one. and I can tell immediately if it squeezes to a pulp that the tomato was picked at teh peak ripeness and it’s going to be really, really sweet.

Red-Gold-Tomatoes-Pizza

Question: Let’s talk about how to pack more nutrition in family meals this winter with these great tomatoes

Amy Thielen: I have a couple recipes that are good for high-quality canned tomatoes. one is a Tomato Mozzarella Pie with rich custard and a lightly seasoned tomato top. Then I have a variation with a Thin Crust Pub Style midwestern kind of Pizza with a cracker crust and fresh tomato marinara. I like toss my own cracker crust dough which doesn’t even have yeast. It’s very simple to make or you can use any pizza dough that you like or have on hand. First, brush the crust with olive oil, then lay down a thin blanket of fresh mozzarella, and then I tear the tomatoes and lay them right on top. Finally, I shower the pizza with parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and pop it into a 500 degree oven for 10 minutes. It’s going to come out blistering and so fresh — who doesn’t like fresh tomato in the dead of winter? You can find some of my recipes for crusts in my cookbook, The New Midwestern Table, and you can find all these recipes on www.redgoldtomatoes.com.

New Year: Positive Solutions for Busy Lives

January 7, 2014
Jodie Watson, Real Simple, Real Life

Jodie Watson

It’s a new year and it’s time to focus on making some positive changes to our busy lives.  Instead of letting life control you, it’s time to take control of your life and achieve the goals to improve your health, career, finances, self-esteem and more.  This is the time of year that everyone looks for solutions to everyday issues and problems that can make you healthier physically, financially, and more in the coming year but have fun too. Author Jodie Watson has some helpful tips today in all these areas so let’s start with fun

Make travel easy with new App from Expedia. If you’re looking to save time and money when making travel or vacation plans, think about travel the same way you bundle your phone, internet and cable together to save money.

FireShot Screen Capture #349 - 'Expedia Travel_ Vacations, Cheap Flights, Airline Tickets & Airfares' - www_expedia_com

At Expedia, you can book your flight and hotel at the same time and save up to $525. Another tip for taking the stress out of our busy lives is to take advantage of the chance take a short trip when travel deals come up.  Expedia’s mobile app makes being spontaneous easy by helping you find a hotel for that weekend getaway quickly and saving you up to 40 percent on your room. Go to Expedia.com for all the details.

Don’t let a busy schedule derail your weight loss goals.  With the new year, almost everyone has a resolution to shed a few pounds and Atkins is an option for quick and easy weight loss.

FireShot Screen Capture #352 - 'Low Carb Diet Program and Weight Loss Plan I Atkins' - www_atkins_com_Home_aspx

Atkins is the leading low-carb eating plan that provides quick, satisfying weight loss with an easy to sustain approach to stick to those goals in the New Year. The New Atkins Made Easy book simplifies the traditional diet with tools like its Carb Ladder that helps navigate through the plan ensuring weight-loss without feeling hungry. If you’re on-the-go, the book has shopping lists, easy recipes, and meal plans plus tips for dining out.  They also have new low-carb, sugar-free, bite-sized Chocolate and Chocolate Peanut candies so you can satisfy cravings without the guilt. For a FREE Quick Start Kit and download the app for smartphones and iPads Go to Atkins.com.

New tools to mange your personal finances. You can get simple tips for better money management with easy to understand videos at BetterMoneyHabits.com, a site that Bank of America and Khan Academy have set up to help you better understand your credit, saving, budgeting, and more.

Screen Shot Website BetterMoneyHabits-450x279

You’ll learn that it’s all about taking small steps, like paying those bills on time!  This habit will strengthen your credit score, which is your financial identity. A better credit score makes things like getting a car loan easier and less expensive.   Also, set a budget. This sounds simple, but so few people actually put a budget together and live by it.

Jodie Watson is single working mom and an organizational expert who knows all about helping clients with a fresh start by advising them on how to let go of the old systems that aren’t working and usher in new solutions. She is the Founder and President of Supreme Organization and was a regular on Real Simple, Real Life, a lifestyle make-over show on the TLC Network where she helped women identify their day-to-day organizational challenges. Jodie offers realistic solutions that save money, save time, clear the chaos, and make lives less stressful and more manageable.  After working in the entertainment industry for many years including Joan & Melissa River’s Rugby Productions, she launched Supreme Organization in 2005.  She’s a member of the National Association of Organizers (NAPO), Vice President of the Los Angeles Chapter of NAPO, & has a roster of celebrity clients.

Smart Solutions for Working Parents

September 24, 2012

Today’s working parents need help since juggling a career and family have special challenges and concerns.  Between managing jobs, kids schedules, and tightening budgets, getting life organized at work and at home doesn’t usually come naturally so working moms and dads need smart solutions. Whether you work at an office or work from home, there are answers for working parents on how to manage time, eat healthy, reduce stress, and take control of your day and life.  TLC Network’s Jodie Watson has the essentials for some smart solutions for working parents.

#1:  Eating Right is Easy.  It’s not easy to make sure you’re getting a wholesome meal since working parents are always short on time.  Here’s a smart solution to that dilemma – a delicious, wholesome meal that’s ready to eat in just 60 seconds and under 320 calories. Barilla’s new microwaveable meals are made with 100% natural ingredients and have no preservatives.  There are five different varieties of delicious pasta and sauce to choose from including two with whole grain pasta. In fact, Women’s Health magazine recently named Barilla’s Whole Grain Fusilli with Vegetable Marinara Sauce as one of the  “125 Best Packaged Foods for Women” in the “Pasta & Rice” category.  Since these meals are shelf stable, you can throw them in your bag when you’re on the go or leave them in your desk at work. Barilla Microwaveable Meals are available at all major grocery stores.

#2:  A Great Way to Stay on Budget.  If you’re like most parents, it’s stressful to control your finances and budget.  The PayPower Prepaid Visa Card is a great budgeting tool and alternative to credit and checking accounts that offers freedom to control your finances since you can only spend what you have.  They are as convenient as traditional bank cards but you don’t have to worry about overdraft fees or interest charges. Plus, they’re safer than cash since the funds are protected from unauthorized use if your card is lost or stolen.  No credit check is required and you can use it everywhere Visa is accepted, including online and over the phone.   You can get PayPower Prepaid Visa Cards in your local grocery store and find out more at paypower.com

#3:  New Ways for Parents to Relax.  At the end of a long day, it’s nice to create an ambiance in your home that can help you de-stress and relax.  Here’s a new candle that I like because of the added convenience and safety features. Energizer® Flameless Wax Candles are made from real wax and are better than flamed candles because they are safe to use around children and pets.  The have advanced LED technology and a timer so you can set the time of day the candles automatically turn on or off. The flicker is very realistic, they come in a variety of colors, styles, and scents and are available at Amazon.com.

#4:  Stop Nagging Kids About Skin Care.  Parents hate having to nag kids to do things. Believe it or not most girls don’t even like to wash their face, moisturize or use sunscreen because of the way the products smell or feel.  But about 80% of lasting sun damage happens by the age of 18. Moms I know want to help their kids take care of their skin and protect it while they’re still young.Willa Skin Care is a line of natural skincare products developed by girls for girls. Their liquid to foam face wash doesn’t irritate eyes, it cleanses gently and smells great.And the natural sunscreen goes on dry, doesn’t feel sticky, plus it’s tinted so girls don’t end up looking like a “ghost” when they put it on. Willa Natural Skincare are products girls love to use every day. You can find them at 300 Target stores nationwide or get more info at WillaSkinCare.com.

Jodie Watson is an organizational expert and the Founder and President of Supreme Organization.  Jodie can been seen regularly on Real Simple, Real Life, a lifestyle make-over show on the TLC Network where she helps women identify their day-to-day organizational challenges and offers realistic solutions that save them time, clear the chaos, and make their lives less stressful and more manageable.  After working in the entertainment industry for many years including Joan & Melissa River’s Rugby Productions, she launched Supreme Organization in 2005.  Jodie is a member of the National Association of Organizers (NAPO), Vice President of the Los Angeles Chapter of NAPO, and has a roster of celebrity clients.

Busy Moms Survival Guide 2012: Must Have Tips & Tools for Moms On-the-Go

June 11, 2012

Carolyn Barnes, CleanMomma.com

Did you know that 72% of moms with children over one-year-old work and moms with a full-time job spend 13 hours each day working at the office or at home completing family chores?  Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, work-at-home mom, or a working mom, you probably feel overwhelmed and as though you are always running out of time. Between managing jobs, the kids schedules, and meal planning, today’s mom does it all. So if you’re a busy mom who needs help with balancing the budget, balancing your schedule or just balancing “your act,”  Carolyn Barnes from CleanMomma.com has some helpful ideas for overwhelmed moms on the run.

Latest way to conquer those mountains of laundry clutter.   For most busy moms, laundry is a constant challenge and ARM & HAMMER® Plus OxiClean® Crystal Burst Power Paks is a new solution to conquer the mountains of laundry in your home.   They are great for moms who need to save time since they’re pre-measured you just throw one in the washer and go.  The Power Paks have over 99% active ingredients, provide cleaning power that neutralizes odors and they tackle the toughest stains that busy moms see every day like dirt, grass, blood and oil.  Since there are no heavy detergent bottles, there are no messes or spills and the best part is you’ll save 30% over premium competitor prices.  You can find out more at ArmAndHammer.com.

The best kept secret for carpet cleaning that can save you money.  Here’s a great way to save time and money on a dreaded chore of carpet cleaning. Vacuuming is not enough to keep your carpets clean.  In fact, you should deep clean your carpets every three to six months since a pound of dirt can hide in every square yard of carpet.   The best-kept secret in home carpet cleaning is Rug Doctor.  Their machines are easy to use, clean most rooms in about 20 minutes and can save up to 80 percent over the cost of professional carpet cleaning services. They’re the only hot-water extraction cleaner with a platinum rating by the Carpet Rug Institute that’s available to consumers and have many professional level cleaning products to solve almost any carpet cleaning  problem you may have in your house. These include Anti-Allergen Carpet Cleaner, Oxy-Steam Carpet Cleaner and Pet Formula Carpet Cleaner. You can rent machines in major grocery stores and home centers or just go to RugDoctor.com to find a location near to you.

A big money saving tip for your grocery budget.  The biggest way you can save money is to stop wasting money and that starts at the grocery store.  Carolyn says she didn’t used to have a plan when she went grocery shopping and she’d end up buying a lot of food that her family wouldn’t be able to eat before it went bad and literally waste $40 to $50 in groceries each week.  She found that planning meals in advance and knowing exactly what groceries to buy saved her a couple hundred dollars a month. She now keeps a list on the fridge until she goes to the store and then Carolyn sticks to the list.  She recommends that if your kids are with you when you shop that you teach them the list is “sacred.”  Another important grocery tip is make sure you get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to have on hand as snacks for the kids.  This is great for busy moms, since fruits and veggies are easy to prepare and healthy.  Keep a bowl of fruit out on the kitchen table so that good choices are the temptation instead of cookies or potato chips..

How busy moms can get a little time for themselves.  Busy moms can be a little a less busy with proper planning so time management and organization is key.  Technology is great but Carolyn is also a little old school about making a list and keeping it on the fridge so she can keep adding items to it as I remember them.  I also like that it gets it out of my brain and onto paper so my to do list is not cluttering my brain.  If you take just five minutes to get organized, you’ll get time back for you at the end of the day or when you need it for exercising, relaxing or taking five minutes to look through a magazine.

You can watch a video of Carolyn Barnes’s Busy Moms Survival Tips courtesy of WKYC-TV in Cleveland.

Carolyn Barnes is one busy mom.  A momtrepreneur with her own website, cLEANMomma.com, where she has great tips to help busy moms to conquer clutter and get fit in the process – both physically and financially.  Her family has faced the same challenges many Americans have faced in the down economy and has great survival tips.  Carolyn was recently featured on Good Morning America and has made numerous local television appearances Carolyn’s program has been featured on The Doctors, Style TV, KTLA News, CBS News, plus the L.A. Times, Washington Post,  Shape Magazine, Fitness Magazine, and L.A. Parent.

Five Ways to Save: Last Minute Holiday Travel & New Year Getaways

November 29, 2011
Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

With the holidays looming, millions of Americans will line up at airport terminals grimly hoping that they’ll survive their air travel experience with their bank account intact after all the extra fees.  If you booked your holiday travel in advance this season, domestic airfare was expected to be down 1.4 percent overall, with tickets averaging $302, as opposed to $306 last holiday according Bing Travel. But if you’ve waited until the last minute to book your holiday travel plans, you still have options.  The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman, has valuable advice for everyone traveling this season to avoid the ho-ho-hums of holiday travel.

Travel Tip #1: Road Trips vs. Air Travel Can Save Thousands of Dollars for Families.  If you’ve waited until the last minute to book a flight, you’re going to have a challenge finding a great airfare Christmas week but there still may be time for New Year getaway deals.  Driving instead of flying can save you two ways – a family of four can save thousands of dollars in airfare even with the price of gasoline on a road trip. You’ll also save hundreds of dollars on luggage fees.

Travel Tip #2:  Book a Reservation at an All-Suite Hotel vs. Standard Hotel.  Savings is about getting more bang for your buck so stay at a hotel that gives you more value than just a standard hotel like an all-suites hotel.   Embassy Suites Hotels is the only full service hotel that gives you a two-room suite for the price of one room.  This holiday season, they are also giving away a $10,000 online shopping spree.  You can enter to win at EmbassySuites.com and you receive one entry for every night you stay between now and January 31st.

Travel Tip #3:  Never Pay for Breakfast.  If you book the right hotel, you should never have to pay for breakfast which can save a family of four several hundred dollars over a one-week vacation or trip.  Look for hotels that provide a breakfast as part of the lodging fee, like Embassy Suites that includes a free cooked-to-order breakfast.  This can be a significant savings when you travel with kids.

Travel Tip #4: Get Local Deals at Your Drive-To Destination through Tourism Websites.  No matter where you live, road trips are a trend this winter because of the savings.  Recent holiday travel polls show that Americans are sticking with their cars instead of braving airport hassles and are choosing closer to home getaways for winter breaks.  Connecticut, the Closer Than You Think state, is a great drive to destination and a fun winter escape with four different areas for snowboarders and skiers of all levels. Places like Mohawk Mountain have seven ski lifts and snowmaking capabilities plus affordable packages for children starting at $27 a lift ticket. Beyond the slopes, there’s Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration and a free planetarium show at Mystic Seaport.  You can find lots of getaway ideas and discounts at dozens of area hotels, restaurants, attractions and shops at CTVisit.com.

Travel Tip #5:  Don’t Forget to Use Travel Reward Programs to Save. Travel reward programs and credit card rewards have more ways to use points for travel items outside of hotel rooms and airfare and include activities and meals when you arrive.

The biggest trend is that overall, travel spending for holiday travel is up from a year ago and 41% of people traveling are spending $500 or more.  Also, travel technology and the latest apps that make travel easy are trending in travel.

Don’t forget to use defensive flying tips BEFORE you board the plane.  That means use technology first to find out about delays in advance and have a back up plan including phone numbers or email addresses programmed in your phone so you can let your family know about delays – especially if you have someone picking you up at your destination.  Also, make sure you have a boredom buster bag for the kids with games, books and electronics so they don’t cranky.

Tara Aronson’s Busy Moms Survival Tips for Overwhelmed Moms on the Run!

January 26, 2011

January 2010:

Tara Aronson, Lifestyle Reporter

Tara Aronson, Lifestyle Reporter

Watch Video. Did you know that 72% of moms with children over one-year-old work and moms with a full-time job spend 13 hours each day working at the office or at home completing family chores? Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, work-at-home mom, or a working mom, you probably feel overwhelmed and as though you are always running out of time. Between managing jobs, the kids schedules with school and play, cooking, and cleaning, getting organized and under control doesn’t usually come naturally and busy moms need help. Working Mom and Lifestyle Expert, Tara Aronson, wrote the book on helping moms get control of their homes and their lives with Mrs. Clean Jeans’ Housekeeping with Kids and she has five time management tips for busy moms.

TIP # 1 – Don’t Skip Breakfast. Mornings are the hardest times for moms and kids with getting everyone ready for school and work and though you know that skipping breakfast is a bad idea, it takes a lot more time to cook a nutritious breakfast. Here’s an easy alternative when you’re on the go and need to get out the door, Carnation® Breakfast Essentials™. It has more than two times the protein of an egg, twice the calcium of a 6 oz cup of yogurt and 21 essential vitamins and minerals in every serving. It’s also easy on the budget since one serving averages $0.76 when using a glass of milk and the kids can even make this easy breakfast by themselves which saves moms time during the morning madness.

Carnation Breakfast Essentials

Don't Skip Breakfast!

TIP # 2 – Make Technology Your Friend and Reduce Stress. Today’s mom can use the latest technology to help organize her day and find ways to relax. Here are two lifesavers for moms. Whether you’re running errands or attending soccer practice, an Android smart phone will help you keep it all together. The new LG Optimus M from MetroPCS costs $229 and has over 100,000 apps with features like social networking, texting and email. You get unlimited calls, texting and internet access, service starts at $50 a month and you never sign an annual contract You can find out more details at MetroPCS.com.

LG Optimus M from MetroPCS

Android Smartphone: LG Optimus M from MetroPCS

Now, busy moms get stressed out but did you know that technology can help reduce stress? Video games aren’t just for kids and a recent clinical study conducted at East Carolina University found that playing Bejeweled 2 reduced stress 47% on adults tested. It’s easy to see why more than 300 million women around the world play it and now, the sequel Bejeweled 3 has launched with an expanded Zen mode for stress reduction where you can customize ambient sounds, mantras and even breath modulation settings. You can get it in stores or at PopCap.com.

Bejeweled 3

Get Bejeweled 3 in stores or at PopCap.com.

TIP # 3 – Get the Kids Involved. First of all, you’re a mom, not a maid, and it’s important to be a good parent and teach your kids age appropriate chores to learn the life skills they need to succeed in life. That includes not doing every thing for them when they’re old enough to start making the bed, cleaning their room, taking out the trash, and even doing laundry. By delegating these chores, it’s less stress on moms and it’s teaching kids responsibility.

Weekly Chore List

Age appropriate chores teach kids important life skills and help busy moms.

TIP # 4 – Conquering Clutter, Cleaning and Chaos. Here are three easy tips to conquer clutter, cleaning and chaos and it starts with keeping a schedule and posting it on the fridge, or “family central,” so everyone knows the plan and keeps track. Next, cleaning is delegated so that’s a family affair as well and the kids chore lists on also on the fridge. Finally, have a catch-all basket for important papers like homework that needs a signature, etc. and set that in a place you won’t miss it and keep another basket where you can collect items that go back to bedrooms so you only have to make one trip.

TIP # 5 – Organize Errands to Save Time and Money. Organizing your time by combining errands will save you gas, time and money so plan your errands so you make one trip instead of three or four. Go to Tara’s MrsCleanJeans.com website to get lots of free tips to help you organize a busy mom’s life.

2010 Holidays on a Budget: Making Them Special

December 8, 2010

December 2010:

Tara Aronson, Lifestyle Expert

Making the Holidays Special on a Budget 2010 View Video on Vimeo.

It’s the most wonderful time of year but now more than ever it can also be a frustrating time financially with the economy weighing heavy on everyone’s mind. But there’s no need to cancel Christmas or your holiday spirit because you can still make the holiday season special — even on a shoestring. Believe it or not, Gallup’s initial poll of Americans’ 2010 Christmas spending intentions finds consumers planning to spend an average of $715 on gifts.  But budget minded elves can save $325 by harnessing Santa’s secret to making the holidays memorable even when money is tight.  You just have to be creative – from planning holiday parties to giving great gifts that work – you can plan a Christmas that’s 50% off the projected spending amount and still have lots of great memories to last a lifetime.  Lifestyle Expert, Tara Aronson has some tips to make the holidays memorable when money is tight.

Host a Holiday party for under $25.  You can definitely host a holiday party for under $25.  It’s simple and easy to do with an old-fashioned pitch-in or potluck themed party where everyone brings a dish.  Your guests supply great hors d’oeuvres, casseroles or holiday cookies and you provide the party space and drinks – sodas, punch or even some of the budget wine that’s available.

New Ways to Save Online
The average Christmas gift budget for 2010 is $715 and you can save 50% of that budget with one simple idea.  Instead of buying a gift for everyone in your family or circle of friends, use the old fashioned Secret Santa idea and draw one name so you buy one gift instead of ten or more.  This is a great way to save and everyone will appreciate the savings.  Just in case you want to get a little personalized something for everyone on your list, here’s a new spin on an old fashioned gift giving idea that saves time and money.

At PearTreeGreetings.com, you can craft personalized cards and gifts. There are hundreds of designs and colors to choose from in a price range from $.85 to $1.25 per card.  You can also design personal stationery that’s a unique and personal gift for anyone on your list.  It’s easy to upload your photos, write personal greetings, and your cards arrive within a few business days printed on beautiful thick card stock that’s 100% post-consumer recycled.  The unique and personalized designs make a cherished memorable gift.

Now this is one of my favorite ways to save money online. At Pig.com, you can earn up to 15% cash-back on purchases and $5 will be added to your online Piggy Bank just for signing up.  This website gives you cash back on purchases made at 1,000 of the most popular online stores and there’s no limit to the amount you can earn. Once at least $10 accumulates in your piggy banks, you can cash out and collect real dollars.  You can also earn $5 just by referring other friends and family to the website.

Christmas Gifts that Don’t Cost a Dime.  You know if your budget is super tight one of the most priceless gifts you can give is the gift of time.  Classic gift ideas that won’t cost a dime are coupons for the gifts of “time” like “5 hours of Babysitting” – “Movie Night @ Home” – “One Hand Car Wash for Dad” or even a “Day at the Museum.”  Also, check out Craigslist.com under FREE and who knows what you might find.

Give More.  Spend Less.  Get Family & Friends Involved in Spirit of Giving and New Traditions. Make those Homemade or Personalized Christmas Cards and make it a family affair.  Also, the whole family can get into the spirit of giving by adopting a charity each year like the Heifer organization.  $20 buys a Gift of Chicks and your gift will help provide a family in need with a starter flock of 10 to 50 chicks that will lay 200 eggs a year – a steady source of nutrition and income for a third world family.  Also, start a new tradition of volunteering during the holidays – this could be volunteering to help serve Christmas dinner at the local mission, caroling at a nursing home, or assisting with pet adoptions.  Also, designate a Make Room for Santa Day and have the kids clean out closets of old clothes & toys that are then donated to a local mission or homeless shelter.  Finally, create an ornament for the tree for each family member (perhaps a child’s school picture) and don’t forget the pets.  This ornament collection grows throughout the years.

2009 Top 5 Busy Mom Time Management Makeover Tips

December 7, 2010

October 2009:

Tara Aronson, Lifestyle Expert

Tips from Lifestyle Expert, Tara Aronson. 72% of moms with children over one-year-old work and moms with a full-time job spend 13 hours each day working at the office or at home completing family chores. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, work-at-home mom, or a working mom, you probably feel overwhelmed and as though you are always running out of time. Between managing jobs, the kids schedules with school and play, cooking, and cleaning, getting organized and under control doesn’t usually come naturally and busy moms need help. Working Mom and Lifestyle Expert, Tara Aronson, wrote the book on helping moms get control of their homes and their lives with Simplify Your Household and Mrs. Clean Jeans’ Housekeeping with Kids and she has smart time management tips for busy moms  Here are her top five tips for a Busy Mom’s Time Management Makeover.

TIP # 1 – Eliminate Morning Madness. Simplify your mornings by doing as many things as you can the night before.  Sign off on homework and school papers, pack lunches, pack up backpacks and station them near the door and lay out school clothes including shoes, socks and hair bands.  Finally, make sure kids set their own alarm clocks as it encourages them to be responsible for their own schedules.

TIP #2 – Conquer Clutter and Cleaning to Prevent Chaos. You can conquer what I call important clutter like receipts, mail, permission slips and other important items by creating a temporary holding area with what I call clutter-buster baskets.  These are not a permanent dumping grounds because you will check them daily and distribute the contents. Now, here’s a cleaning tip most people don’t know about.  Many kitchens can get foul odors if the dishwasher and garbage disposal are not properly cleaned as directed in their Use & Care guides.  In fact, dishwashers in particular can be a problem when dirty dishes sit for several days or when food residue is not completely rinsed away.  I recommended something that is brand new on the market from Whirlpool for a cleaner, fresher dishwasher and disposal, Affresh™ Dishwasher and Disposal Cleaner.  You use this once a month or as needed and it’s the only national two-in-one product available that removes odor in dishwashers and garbage disposals.

TIP #3- Make A Family Calendar to Save Time by Organizing Schedules. Everyone in the family has activities so it’s important to make a family calendar.  This can help you figure out things like what errands can be combined and if you can arrange car pools that can be real time savers. Also, establish routines with set times for homework and playtime so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each day.  Now, with school in full-swing, several play dates for your toddlers in the afternoons, and soccer games on weekends, kids can get some tough stains on their clothes that can be time consuming to get out.  To tackle these messes, here’s another new product, Tide Stain Release.  It’s an in-wash booster designed to help remove the toughest fresh and dry stains.  Just drop one of these duo pacs into your washing machine, along with regular detergent, and Tide Stain Release will help lift tough stains like grass to ketchup on everything from your clothes to your favorite linens.

TIP #4- Get the Kids Involved to Save Time Cleaning. Make family participation in household cleaning and maintenance the rule rather than the exception.  On Saturdays, have your whole family engage in a 60-minute cleaning routine.  This is a round the room and through the home cleaning and organizing system.  The goal is turn housework into teamwork, with each member of the family helping to get it right and fast.

TIP #5- Learn the Art of Delegation to Balance Work and Family. Working mothers of all kinds need to know that getting your entire family involved with effective time management is the key to overcoming overwhelm and balancing work and family. Too many times, moms try to do it all by themselves.  They need to look at their family to as a support system.  Start getting kids involved early with age appropriate chores to lessen your load.  The more the kids pitch in, the less Mom and Dad have to do, and the more free time everyone has to go to the movies, eat out at a favorite restaurant or take afternoons off to head to a park or a beach.