Planning Your Holiday Meal… With Your Tween

November 1, 2010

It’s November.  You’re juggling parent-teacher conferences, PTA meetings, report cards, and a changing after-school schedule for your preteen now that winter sports have begun. With all the other responsibilities you have to contend with this time of year, the thought of preparing the Thanksgiving meal can be overwhelming. It’s helpful to treat this holiday like any project and to combat the stress by getting all those to-dos down on paper and asking for help when you need it.  Why not recruit your family, especially your preteen(s), to take care of tasks that don’t need your personal touch (or supervision in the kitchen!)?

Chances are, if you’re cooking this type of meal, you know about it well in advance, which is fortunate, because the key is planning ahead and sharing the work.  Following is a list, which will help you organize your family.

For an in-depth timeline on how to approach the Holiday Meal, visit!



Get Organized – Prepare to Fight the Flu

November 5, 2009

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but flu season is upon us.

Seems like every time I turn on the news, they’re talking about flu shots and H1N1 vaccines.  If you’re not on the priority list (or your doctor has run out of them), take the hour you would’ve spent in the waiting room and spend it preparing for flu season with a little organization.

Today (15-25 minutes): Check your stock of cold & flu supplies. Throw away any medications that have expired and see what’s left. Make a list of the items you need to restock in order to prepare for a possible bout of the flu – cold medicines, Tylenol, Vitamin C, throat lozenges, tissues (you get the gist). Your list need not be medicine-cabinet specific – feel free to add pantry staples like canned chicken soup and your favorite tea.

ASAP (15-20 minutes): Head to the nearest pharmacy and replenish your flu-fighting supplies. It’s important to do this as soon as possible, while you’re still healthy.  Stick the list in your bag or jacket pocket so you can take care of it the next time you pass a Duane Reade. Because if you wake up one day this winter with aches and fever and a sore throat, you won’t want to get out of bed, let alone go to the drugstore.

While you’re there, pick up an extra bottle of hand-sanitizer. With any luck, you won’t need any of those items on your list!

Stay organized – and stay healthy!

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Ask the Organizer Friday!

July 17, 2009

You’ve got organizing questions.  I’ve got organizing answers.

This week, a reader asks:

Being organized in food shopping- how do you know what you have, what you’ll need, when to go, and how much?

The first thing you should do is to take inventory of what you have on hand – check your fridge, freezer and pantry, and see what’s there.  Try to organize these food-storage locations so that you can see everything.  I like to use an Expand-A-Shelf (which is like a mini flight of stairs) so that you can even see what’s hiding in the back of the cabinet.

Now, in addition to the things you already have, think about things you’d like to have around — include your favorite snacks, drinks, lunch items, cereals, beverages, etc.  Once you’ve brainstormed a little, type up a one-page list of all these food items (you’ll probably have to use columns, and it would be helpful to create categories that match supermarket aisles and areas).  Be sure to leave room on this one-pager for ‘Others’ – items that you may one day have to shop for, but didn’t think of today.

No time to create your own list from scratch?  There are plenty of great ones to start from online, like this one from Home Based Working has a variety to choose from as well.

Whatever list you decide to go with – your own or an internet version – go ahead and print out a bunch. Hang one on the fridge. Whenever something needs to be replaced, circle it on your list (or write it into that ‘Other’ section).  Trying a new recipe? Circle the items the recipe calls for that you don’t already have in the house. When 10+ items have been circled – it’s time to go food shopping.  Take the circled list with you, and hang a fresh one on the fridge.

p.s. – I rarely circle ‘ice-cream’ but I always manage to bring some home anyway.

I hope this helps!

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