Organized With Clardy

Solutions For Simplifying Your Life

Teaching My Kids About Stranger Danger May 15, 2012

My girls are going to be 4 in July and their need for independence is rapidly growing.  It is getting harder and harder for me to take them out in public by myself (or even with my husband for that matter).  They are refusing to hold my hand “I do it by myself” and when I go to put them in a shopping cart I get “really moooommmm” with an eye-roll included (where do they learn this stuff at such a young age??).  It is nearly impossible to keep them contained so I can keep track of them!

Well, the final straw broke the camel’s back this past weekend where for 60 seconds I thought one of my daughters was gone.  60 seconds doesn’t sound like a long time but it was like everything moved in slow motion.  She was there and then she was just gone.  My husband and I took the girls out to a little carnival, they had snow cones, face paintings, balloons, playgrounds, a band, etc.  We were all sitting at a picnic table eating snow cones, I got up to throw my snow cone paper away and when I returned to the table Lil’ Bit was not there.  I asked my husband where she was…he said she went with you to the trash can…I told you she was following you.  Unfortunately, with the band playing it was very loud and I never heard him say Lil’ Bit was following me.  She was nowhere to be seen.  We frantically searched and yelled for her (which was all in vain because the band was so loud) and nothing!  I can’t even describe the feeling, it was such an overwhelming feeling of fear, dread and helplessness.

Fortunately, we had a happy ending.  Lil’ Bit had got up from the table to follow me to the trashcan but had been distracted by the band.  She loves to dance so she had gone up in front of the band to dance.  When the song was over she realized she was by herself and walked up to a women who looked very similar to me (hair color, height, etc) and just started holding her hand.  Thankfully, this women was a mom and realized what was going on and was able to spot us pretty easy (read: frantic parents and an identical twin sister in tow).  Well, of course I made a scene….I have never been one to stay calm under pressure….lots of sobbing ensued!  It makes me sick to think of how this story could have ended completely different.

I don’t know if it is because there have been several missing children in our area lately or because I just finished reading The Shack (highly recommend) but Stranger Danger has been on the mind lately.  So, all of this lead to me spending the day looking for the best resources for teaching my 4 year old’s how to handle Stranger Danger.  Here are my findings…..

*Just a side note – I am not endorsing any of these sites or opinions, just sharing the resources I came across….*

Online Resources:

Teach Kids How – This website gives a breakdown, by age group, of tips to assist you in the process of talking to your children.

  • Pediatrics –  Have your kids take our Stranger Danger Quiz to see if your child knows who the strangers really are.  Just because they look nice  and normal  – they are still strangers.  Unfortunately, the boogie-man isn’t always an ugly scary monster that is easy to pick out.
  • Child Care – More general safety tips such as: Parents should be cautious about blatant use of a child’s name on a back pack or jacket. Kids sometimes believe that a person can’t be a stranger if they know them by name, when the reality is that their name was easily readable on their attire or the individual heard a youngster’s name mentioned.

Momeo Magazine – Stranger Danger: Why You Need Teach Your Kids How to Fight Off an Abductor  – Set up a code word set up with your child and remind them it’s not OK to go off with anyone, even their uncle or babysitter, if they don’t say the code word. If someone other than you is picking them up from school and this has not been prearranged, tell your child to refuse to leave the principal’s office until you have been called and it’s been approved.

Free For Kids – List of websites that may help parents, teachers, grandparents, etc. teach children about stranger danger and child protection.  Coloring pages, quizzes and puzzles are provided, which are a ‘non-threatening’ way of instructing children about this often worrying threat to their personal safety. Songs and poems are also valuable tools as well as, helpful video clips and animations to reinforce the need for protecting children from strangers and to provide safety rules for kids.

Child Safety and Abuse Prevention Programs  – Child safety coloring pages, activities, games, handouts and more.

Amazon Books – has tons of books on the topic of Stranger Danger

YouTube – Stranger Danger video for kids

The Masons’ Child ID Program – We did this about a year ago, the Masons had a booth at one of the summer festivals and it took less than 10 minutes for both of my kids.  Very worthwhile (and FREE!).  This video is from a specific chapter but it is my understanding that all chapters provide this service – contact your local chapter for more info.

While I don’t want to scare my girls and make them live in fear that all strangers are evil, I also want to make sure that I prepare them adequately for whatever life throws at them…….

Would love to hear your thoughts on finding that fine line between too much and not enough preparation…….

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If you would like to Simplify Your Life, visit: www.organizedwithclardy.com for free organizing solutions, tools and resources and info on private coaching.

Sign up here for monthly tips and solutions for getting organized.  Register now and receive “Purposeful Parenting” & “Simplified Life” tips as our gift to you.

Jodi Clardy, Certified Family Manager Coach & Professional Organizer

Creator of “Clarify, Simplify…..Achieve!tm” the Simplified Life System

Office:(757) 809-7503    jodi@organizedwithclardy.com

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Creating a Memory Tote For My Kids – Organizing All Their Art Work May 1, 2012

Now that my girls are in school and bringing home art projects on a regular basis, I decided it was time to put a system in place for organizing and protecting all of these projects.

To create a Memory Tote we used:

  • 18 Gal. Storage Totes – (I picked these up at Wal-Mart for $5.50 each)  You will want one for each child.
  • Legal Size File Jackets – (These are file folders with enclosed sides.  I found these at Staples for $12.49 for a 12 pack)  You will use one folder per year per child.
  • Small bin with lid – (Wal-Mart had for $1.00)  This is to hold non-paper arts & crafts.
  • 12X12 box for the inbox – (Also found at Staples on the clearance table for $3.99) This will serve as your designated arts & crafts inbox.

Memory Tote Supplies

I let my girls pick out the color of the totes and small bins and we even found matching makers to label everything!

Step 1: Get all arts & crafts into the new designated inbox. To keep them from getting mixed in with our regular inbox “stuff” I have designated a separate inbox for their projects and the girls are in charge of placing their crafts in the inbox as soon as they walk into the house with it.

Step 2: Once the inbox is full, the girls and I go through the inbox together to decide what to do with each project.  My girls are only 3 so we do not have an overwhelming amount of arts & crafts just yet but I know it is only beginning so how to decide what to keep, what to give away and what to (gasp!) throw away!

Some questions I ask myself when deciding what to do with a particular project:

1.  Is it unique to my child?  Does it show her personality off?

2.  Does it show a stage of her writing or drawing capabilities and skills?

3.  Does it represent a certain memory that is special to my child?

Step 3:  Process each paper/project…

To keep – for those projects that have been deemed worthy of keeping file into the appropriate folder.  We used one folder per kid per year.  When this folder is full we made it a rule that we cannot keep anymore projects, unless the folder is purged and room is made for the new project.

To give-away – the girls’ grandparents LOVE receiving art & craft projects from the girls in the mail.  We do not have family close-by so this is something the girls can do special for the grandparents and aunts & uncles.

To throw-away – unfortunately it is not possible to keep every sheet of paper that the girls color.  So, if the girls and I together decide to throw an item out we always take a picture of the project before tossing.  That way we can look back over all their creations without contributing to any clutter!

Seasonal art – fall is my favorite season and last fall the girls made this really cool project with trees and leaves at Sunday School.  In our living room we have frames that hold art projects.  So, instead of filing these away I  have stored them with the fall decorations so that this fall I can put them in the frames and enjoy them all over again.

Kid Art Frame

For items that are not flat/paper, place in the small bin….

Small Bin

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If you would like to Simplify Your Life, visit: www.organizedwithclardy.com for free organizing solutions, tools and resources and info on private coaching.

Sign up here for monthly tips and solutions for getting organized.  Register now and receive “Purposeful Parenting” & “Simplified Life” tips as our gift to you.

Jodi Clardy, Certified Family Manager Coach & Professional Organizer

Creator of “Clarify, Simplify…..Achieve!tm” the Simplified Life System

Office:(757) 809-7503    jodi@organizedwithclardy.com

 

Tackling my Paper Overwhelm! March 6, 2012

I had a system in place for handling all the paper that came into our house but since my girls have started school and other extracurricular activities – we quickly outgrew that system.  In the past, I have had an inbox (drawer) close to the garage door.  This is where any paper that entered the house was dumped so it could be sorted and processed at a later time.  This had worked out well because it was right where we came in and tended to drop everything anyway.  I had a set time each week that I went through my inbox and paid the bills, filed papers away, etc.   However, as you can see…my inbox (drawer) was overflowing before that set time arrived each week.  I had to start a stack on top of the desk…

I also had an inbox upstairs by my desk.  While generally I don’t recommend having two separate places for basically the same thing, I was finding myself making stacks in every room upstairs that needed to be carried down and put in the downstairs drawer.  Not to mention, that when I do process all my papers I do so upstairs at my desk…I just pull out the drawer and carry it upstairs during my set time.  So, the upstairs inbox was where every piece of paper that made it upstairs would go – so it can be sorted and processed at a later time.  Items like receipts from shopping bags, magazine tear sheets, etc. ended up here.

As you can see, this inbox was overflowing too…urrgghh!  If you are wondering what in the world that is on the top of the pile, that is a bright orange dinosaur one of my 3 year old’s made at preschool 🙂

After dedicating a few hours to sort through my two in-boxes, I found three culprits to be the main source of my paper overwhelm.

1. My kid’s arts & crafts –  I noticed that craft projects, coloring sheets and finger paintings (and bright orange dinosaurs) were a major part of my overflowing inbox issue.  As a solution, I have decided to create memory totes for each of my girls which will include a separate inbox dedicated solely to their creations.  The good thing about this system is that the girls are in charge of placing all their masterpieces into this inbox – no more art projects tangled up with the water bill!   More to come on that later, that will be my next project post – creating memory totes for kid’s art & craft projects.

2. Coupons – I LOVE coupons.  I have signed up on all of my favorite products’ websites and I am always getting samples and coupons in the mail, coupons from loyalty programs, coupons from the Sunday paper, etc.  So, I decided coupons were important (and plentiful) enough to justify their own inbox – drawer.  So, I have now dedicated the drawer below the main inbox – drawer to my coupons.  This has also helped me not misplace/forget a valuable coupon when needed.  I have a set time on Mondays that I go through all my coupons – I do this as I am making my menu for the following week.

3. Junk Mail – In the past, I have not sorted through my mail before putting it in the drawer.  I know this is a no-no but it was working for me…not to mention walking in the door in my house is no easy task.  The dog is excited and wants fed, my three year olds’ (who I am desperately trying to potty train) both have to go the bathroom at the same time, my hands are full, coats and shoes are flying everywhere, the girls want a drink…and a snack…you get the picture so it was easier to just dump it all in the drawer and deal with it later.  However, I can see now that a few minutes spent sorting the incoming papers will save me hours later.  So, from now on the junk mail will go right into the recycle bin which is also right beside of the garage door.  Also, because we have moved recently – I updated my information with the following services to reduce the amount of junk mail being delivered….

Catalogs
Credit & Insurance Offers
Manage Your Mailbox

Now my routine is to immediately sort through mail/papers coming into the house.  Coupons go straight to the coupon drawer, junk mail goes directly in the recycle bin, the girls put their creations in their tray (which they love by the way…they think this is a very big girlish task!).  I continue to process the paper in both the downstairs and upstairs (which is now a very manageable amount) inbox once a week  on Wednesday…..ahhhh paperwork overwhelm has been tackled!

I would love to hear your tips for tackling your paper overwhelm……

 

 

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If you would like to Simplify Your Life, visit: www.organizedwithclardy.com for free organizing solutions, tools and resources and info on private coaching.

Sign up here for monthly tips and solutions for getting organized.  Register now and receive “Purposeful Parenting” & “Simplified Life” tips as our gift to you.

Jodi Clardy, Certified Family Manager Coach & Professional Organizer

Creator of “Clarify, Simplify…..Achieve!tm” the Simplified Life System

Office:(757) 809-7503    jodi@organizedwithclardy.com

 

 

Printables for all occasions! February 29, 2012

As I posted last week…I love printables!  So, when I came across 1+1+1=1 blog I was instantly in heaven!  Had to share their latest post Outer Space Theme Printables & More

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are also printables like the Solar System Pack that can be used for several different age groups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the bottom of the post several links are provided to numerous printables…all in a different theme.  Everything from Angry Birds to different seasons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My girls are going to LOVE all these new printables….

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

If you would like to Simplify Your Life, visit: www.organizedwithclardy.com for free organizing solutions, tools and resources and info on private coaching.

Sign up here for monthly tips and solutions for getting organized.  Register now and receive “Purposeful Parenting” & “Simplified Life” tips as our gift to you.

Jodi Clardy, Certified Family Manager Coach & Professional Organizer

Creator of “Clarify, Simplify…..Achieve!tm” the Simplified Life System

Office:(757) 809-7503    jodi@organizedwithclardy.com

 

I Love Printables! February 23, 2012

I am obsessed with Printables.  Some of my favorites are….

 

Morning Routine Flash Cards For Kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chore Chart for Preschoolers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daily goals worksheet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next three come from iheart organizing….one of my favorite blogs!

Weekly routine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A peek at the week

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kid's morning routine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, so now that I have posted the above Printables I am embarrassed to post mine.  I am so obsessed with Printables that I have been trying to figure out how to make my own.  So, I made my first today.  Yes, I know that it is not near as nice (colorful, clear, exciting, etc.) as the examples above and that when you print it the background is all blue and fuzzy (why this is…I have no idea!) but it is my first and I am still playing around trying to figure out all the details!  My next one will be better…hopefully!

My first attempt at making a Printable! Don't worry I won't be offended that you didn't download it! HA!

 

Gosh! it looks even fuzzier on this post then it did when I printed it out!

 

Do you have a favorite Printable….please share!

 

Hoping to have some pics of my Family Command Center in progress next week…still waiting on some supplies/items to arrive in the mail to get started…so stay tuned….

 

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

If you would like to Simplify Your Life, visit: www.organizedwithclardy.com for free organizing solutions, tools and resources and info on private coaching.

Sign up here for monthly tips and solutions for getting organized.  Register now and receive “Purposeful Parenting” & “Simplified Life” tips as our gift to you.

Jodi Clardy, Certified Family Manager Coach & Professional Organizer

Creator of “Clarify, Simplify…..Achieve!tm” the Simplified Life System

Office:(757) 809-7503    jodi@organizedwithclardy.com

 

Family Command Center Project Cont’d February 16, 2012

Last week I researched different Family Command Centers to find the elements that I wanted to include in our FCC.  This week I have been trying to find all these items…what am I going to purchase…what am I going to make, etc.  I have come to the conclusion that I need about 10 FCC…there are so many options out there…how do you decide!

How easy is this…peel & stick chalkboard panels…best part…it is ONLY $11.49 at Lillian Vernon!

Peel & Stick Chalkboard...Only $11.49 at Lillian Vernon!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The whole purpose of the FCC is to keep us on track so a clock will be important…

 

Love this! but this might make it difficult to teach two 3.5 year olds how to tell time!

Whatever Wall Clock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really like this one because we have a Black Lab…Aggie – who is like our first born!!

Black Lab Wall Clock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All 3 of our children!!

 

As far as calendars go…I am in love with Cozi.  I am able to sync my outlook calendar and my husband’s outlook calendar….it all just flows into one Cozi calendar….I will print this out monthly and weekly….so we will have two views.

Cozi

 

I am having a hard time finding the pretty green bins in this picture….I am going to make a trip to TJ Maxx to see if I can find a comparable item.

Green Storage Bins - Wall Mount

 

I did find….

Magnetic Magazine Pocket

Mesh Basket Ladder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have decided to make the homework stations and the bulletin board so I can match them to our decor!

 

Ahhh….so many options…so little wall space……

 

 

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If you would like to Simplify Your Life, visit: www.organizedwithclardy.com for free organizing solutions, tools and resources and info on private coaching.

Sign up here for monthly tips and solutions for getting organized.  Register now and receive “Purposeful Parenting” & “Simplified Life” tips as our gift to you.

Jodi Clardy, Certified Family Manager Coach & Professional Organizer

Creator of “Clarify, Simplify…..Achieve!tm” the Simplified Life System

Office:(757) 809-7503    jodi@organizedwithclardy.com

 

Family Command Center February 9, 2012

Now that my girls have started preschool, the amount of paperwork that enters our house has tripled….school info, homework, birthday party invites, art projects…the list goes on and on.  My small inbox that I have for incoming papers is filing up in one night, by the end of the week I have papers spilling out everywhere!

Not only is our paperwork overflowing…so are our schedules!  We are now squeezing in all the girls activities in between mine and hubby’s!

Girls After Swim Lessons at YMCA

So, I do believe it is time to revamp our systems!  I have been very inspired lately by all the Family Command Center postings, articles, etc.  I have a very boring hallway leading to the kitchen from the garage and it would be the perfect spot for a Family Command Center.

Step 1: Decide on the design…here are some of my favorites…

 

Family Command Center #1

 

Family Command Center #2

Family Command Center #3

 

 

Family Command Center #4

 

This is an awesome solution for all the girls homework & art projects they bring home….

Family Command Center_Homework Stations

 

This is so much fun!….not to mention they have all sorts of colors now in chalkboard paint….My favs are supergirl periwinkle and army boy!

Family Command Center_Chalkboard Wall

Family Command Center_Chalkboard Calendar

 

 

 

 

Love the changeable numbers on this board!

Family Command Center_Bulletin Board

 

 

 

 

 

LOVE the look of this compared to a regular bulletin board!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a Family Command Center?  What works for your family?  Let me know….

 

Step 2: Start putting together all the elements of my new FCC…….

 

 

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

If you would like to Simplify Your Life, visit: www.organizedwithclardy.com for free organizing solutions, tools and resources and info on private coaching.

Sign up here for monthly tips and solutions for getting organized.  Register now and receive “Purposeful Parenting” & “Simplified Life” tips as our gift to you.

Jodi Clardy, Certified Family Manager Coach & Professional Organizer

Creator of “Clarify, Simplify…..Achieve!tm” the Simplified Life System

Office:(757) 809-7503    jodi@organizedwithclardy.com

 

 

 
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