Are You Ready for a Storm Emergency?

da6112a71651c8c23f7ef058c9676329It was a crazy hurricane season and thankfully, it is almost over.  Over the last several months, people have had to leave their homes due to hurricanes, fire, and tornados.  Now some of us are starting to think about winter – the Farmer’s Almanac says it will be a bad one.  UGH!  I am not one for cold weather but I am gratefully I work from home so I can stay snuggled in on those cold winter days.

If you were a Girl Scout or a Boy Scout, you have always been told “be prepared” and we want to help you.

The truth is “Be Prepared” should be your motto.  I mean who wants to be in the midst of the “craziness” when an evacuation  or storm warning is issued.  We have all seen the news when a storm is forecast, right?  People running to the store for bread, eggs, milk and maybe some batteries.  I am grateful hubby is BIG on being prepared and we are well stocked.

No matter where you live, there is always the potential for an emergency situation to arise and it’s infinitely better to prepare ahead of time rather than having to scramble at the last minute. So here’s some steps process for preparing.

#1 Make a List

What kind of emergencies are you likely to face in your area? Maybe it is hurricanes, or tornadoes, or blizzards.  Whatever it is, create a list of items you might need.  Yes, there are the basics like food and water, but how about those unusual things?  Maybe a pocket charger for your phones, LED or solar lamps (in the event of long-term power outage and the need to work in the dark to repair something, etc.), baby wipes and perhaps the most essential emergency supply: chocolate.

#2 Gather Items Into One Location

Maybe you have the emergency supplies on hand,so you figure you are all set. The next question is but can you find them quickly?  If not, they won’t be much help to you or your family. You can keep items in a closet like we are now, or in plastic totes in an accessible area of your garage.

Have kids?  What about a Go Bag, or an emergency backpack for each them. A variety of things they might need based on their age if you need to leave your home in an emergency.

#3 Rotate Your Supplies

You’re all stocked, right?  You have everything you need, right?  Did you know canned goods and bottled water don’t stay fresh forever?  They have expiration dates on them.  So be sure to check your supplies at least once a year to rotate out the about-to-expire goods and replace them with fresh items.

#4 Develop a Preparedness Mindset

This is a great time of year to check out the clearance and sale items to add to your emergency stash. Camping goods (portable stoves, lanterns, etc) are in the Fall.  Backpacks at the end of the back-to-school season. Canned goods are often cheaper around the holidays and you can stock up on candles at Christmas. You can also find many emergency supplies at the dollar store.


Will you be ready when an emergency hits?


If the answer any of these questions are a resounding NO, then you need to get it together. It is never too late to start. Batteries should be a mainstay in your home. Candles, extra food with important papers & medications easy to grab if you need to evacuate.  Do you have a list of all of the medications and supplements you take available?  I have one in my purse, one in my planner and one on my phone with the name of my doctors so if there was an emergency, I am ready.

What are your best tips for being prepared in an emergency?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!



Busy Mom Tips

Hopefully by now you have settled into a routine after the back to school craziness.  Are you wishing you could put an “out of order” sign on your head and run away?  Thank you to The Peaceful Mom for the inspiration for today’s blog…

Are you searching for a way to get it all done and stay sane?  Do you wonder if it is even possible to do that?  Is your to-do list growing while your time seems to be slipping away?

I know my daughter is grown but I do still run into days like this.  I think I still suffer from the same overwhelm I did so many years ago juggling work, business and family.  Here are some tips from the Peaceful Mom and me.


It is okay if you don’t get everything done.  Let me repeat “it is okay NOT to get everything done”!  Some things can wait.  Yup, I still suffer with mom guilt.  🙂  The best way for me to get things done is to set THREE tasks a day as my top priority.  I used to do this when Belinda was growing up.  Picking just one or two things to get done during the week while I was working full-time and being mom taxi.  I seemed to forget how well it worked until a business coach, Desiree Wolfe suggested the same thing for my business.

Some tasks can wait, it all depends on what needs attention at the moment. I have started using my Passion Planner for more then just keeping track of office hours, weekly to dos, business stuff and medical appointments.  I am using it to list my 3 things for the day.  I love the fact it has space to make lots of notes  as well as a spot to celebrate “good things which happened”.  Now, I am sure you could accomplish more than 3 things in a day BUT for those days when getting 3 things done is a struggle, you will want to have this system in place.  Sometimes the list looks like this:

Yup, when brain fog sets in, this could be my list of things to do.  The biggest accomplishment is no losing my temper and on some days it is a true miracle.


Do you have “time pockets”?  You know the 5 or 10 minutes while you are waiting for the kids in the school line or washing some dishes as you cook dinner.  I like the term “time pockets” instead of multi-tasking.  Pick a task to do while you are waiting (one which will only take a few minutes)… waiting for the kids, waiting in line to check out, waiting for your gas task to be filled.  How many time pockets do you have and how can you fill them to get more things done?


Busy moms need practical, functional tools to stay on top of all the details. Let’s face it we are not only juggling our own stuff but things for the entire family.  I use a paper planner, the calendar app on my phone and Notes on my phone.  I talked about my Passion Planner.  It is where I dream big, set my goals and priorities then create a weekly plan to pull it all together.  I use my smart phone calendar to set notifications and keep track of appointments because it is linked to my iPad and my MAC.  The benefit of Google Calendar is you can keep everyone’s stuff organized then share it with everyone across all devices.  You need to find a system which works for YOU.


I take time each week to plan for the upcoming week. My planning time is Sunday evening and I plan out:

  • My Calendar: Set the goals, projects and top priority tasks for the week and time block on my calendar.  I also prep for the week for posting on all of my business pages with CinchShare.
  • Meals:  Planning for meals is a BIG help for busy moms.  Since I only cook twice a week, it is not tops on my list.  
  • Money:  This is now part of my Sunday night routine.  Review the bills which need to be paid and figure out what the budget will be for the week.  

When you take the time to plan, you will find the week goes some much smoother.  Include scheduling the planning time on your calendar so you don’t make excuses.


Carpooling can be a life saver for the busy mom.  Team up with someone to share the mom taxi role.  You take the kids to practice, she picks them up.  You watch her kids so she can run errands and then swap so she watches yours.  Remember we don’t have to do it ALL!  Teaming up with other moms gives everyone a break.  No help?  Why not limit your kids extra activities and your extra commitments.  No, it won’t make you a bad parent!  

The BIGGEST tip is to remember what is really important and stop obsessing over little things.  For many years, I felt guilty for leaving Belinda a daycare from the time she was 6 weeks old BUT when things came together and I was able to quit my job to work at home, I realized what was important.  She didn’t remember spending days at daycare when she remembers (I hope) is the time we spent together while she was in HS and my schedule was flexible.

Remember you are doing the best you can do with everything on your plate.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Beat Manic Mornings

Some have already gone back to school or will be in the next week or so.  While the kids on the Jersey shore know the new school year is just around the corner.  Today’s post was inspired by It has been a long time since I had anyone going back to school but I do remember some of the tricks which helped this crazy busy single mom stay sane (okay, maybe only a little).

Transitioning from summer days to the schedule of the school year can be rough.  Belinda always had a schedule even in the summer because of sports (gymnastics, field hockey and cheering) but she was definitely NOT a morning person.  So the first step was adjusting from the late nights and late mornings to early to bed, early to rise.  When she was younger, we started about 2 weeks before school started with moving bedtime up about a 1/2 hour every few days until the time school started, she was going to be at her required bedtime.  No it wasn’t easy and many days it was a fight BUT when the school year started it was a little bit easier.

Here are some tips to to help you send your kids back to school and make mornings a little less crazy at your house.  You can take a few pro-active steps to reduce the stress and chaos.

Prepare the Night Before

Generally anything you can do the night before will help to relieve stress in the morning. Kids should pack backpacks, make lunch, choose clothing and pick up after themselves. Mom can make sure all permission slips and forms are signed and all homework makes it back into the backpack, then set the table for breakfast (or at least think about what the kids will eat the next morning).  I know this sounds like a lot of work after a long day especially for the single mommas BUT it does help.  I know breakfast is the most important part of the day but it was not Belinda’s favorite meal and she hated eating in the morning.  The key was to have some grab and go things she could eat while getting ready or on the way to the bus stop.

Gather Your Gear

Having one central spot for everything is key.  It makes heading out the door a snap. Place backpacks, shoes, library books, lunch money, permission slips, etc. on and around an entry way table or in bins or baskets inside your entryway closet. No more searching for lost keys or forms you need to sign.  Ours was the counter in between the kitchen and the living room.  This way we could see everything on the way out either the front or the back door.

Create a Morning Routine for the Kids

Routines are the key to making your mornings run smoothly. It started with a routine for me.  Up early to get ready for work then get Belinda up.  Probably making a list of everything your kids need to do, creating a checklist they can mark as they accomplish each task would work for some but we weren’t list makers.  If you have kids who are too young to ready, use pictures.  If we had multiple kids, this would have been a definite to do.  A chart inside a plastic page protector so your child can use a dry erase marker then erase the marks each day. A great way to teach kids responsibility while ensuring you are not running around like a crazy women trying to get everything done in the morning.

Use Rewards

Use whatever your kid loves (watching TV, playing on the computer, playing video games) as a reward for when he gets ready ahead of schedule. In other words, no playtime until he’s done what he needs to.  

Get Ready First

This was always huge for me.  The fact I was a morning person made the difference.  It was easy for me to be up at 5AM to get what I wanted done before I woke up Belinda.  If you aren’t a morning person, you need at least a few minutes before the kids wake up to gather your thoughts and start your day well. Creating a routine for yourself is imperative for sane mornings.  Believe me the 10 minutes or so of quiet time to drink your coffee will make a big difference in the way your day goes.

What is your best tips for a sane morning when school starts?  Share your ideas with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!



Saving Money 

I don’t know about you but I always find summer a harder time to save money.  From farmer’s markets to flea markets, a little here and a little there is spent.  Before long, you are over your spending budget.  Yes, there are lots of things to do which are free BUT I always found the more we are out and about, the more tempting those quick stops are for snacks or dinner.

Here are some tips on how you can save some money and trick yourself into a fatter bank account.

Play A Mind Game
Target shopping for me is deadly.  I usually go in for just a few things and before long my bill is up to $75 of things I must have (or at least I think I need).  Try this mind trick (courtesy of the Peaceful Mom):

When deciding whether or not to purchase the cute new outfit or decorative item for your house, imagine someone holding the item you want to purchase in one hand and offering you the cash equivalent with the other hand. If you would take the cash then skip the purchase.

Carry a Savings Reminder
If you are a visually-oriented person, which I am, try this. Researchers at Duke University found study participants who kept a gold coin in their wallet as a reminder to save, saved more than twice as much as study participants who didn’t. I’m adding an arrow charm (to symbolize reducing debt) to the zipper on my wallet (see photo above).

So far, it’s working “like a charm” to help me remember to spend less.

Leave It In the Cart
How many of you are an impulse spender?  Admit it, many of us want instant gratification when we are happy, sad, angry or you can substitute in your reason.  I’m trying to curb the impulses.  When online, I put it in the cart and walk away from the computer.  It is easier for me to walk away in a store but online, I seem to quickly hit “order”.  This has really helped me to reduce my spending.  I have also found when I leave things in the cart, the store I am shopping with will usually send me an additional discount to encourage me to submit the order.  Another win, if I decide I really do need to place the order.

Use Automatic Withdrawal
I have an automatic withdrawal at the bank so when checks are direct-deposited, $25 or more goes directly into a savings account. If you don’t see it, you can’t spend it, so it’s probably one of the easiest ways to save more money every month.

Save All $1 Bills
If you are a cash person for spending, use this savings trick. Every time you break a larger bill and receive dollar bills for change, place those bills into a separate part of your wallet so you don’t spend them. Then every evening when you arrive home place those one dollar bills in a jar or an envelope. I have a friend who told me about this a long time ago but she uses $5 bills.  You will be surprised at how it adds up.

Calculate Your Cost of Time Spent
I haven’t tried this but maybe I should…..Whenever you want to spend money on a non-essential item, try converting the cost of the purchase into the amount of time you had to work to pay for it. YIKES!  Being self-employed, this could be ALOT! For example if you are paid $10 an hour then your $50 dinner out would cost you five hours of your life.

Thinking about your money in this way can help you to evaluate if the cute dress or dinner out is worth so much of your time — and many times it’s not.

Focus on the Positive
You know I am all about focusing on the positive to bring more positive into your life, right?  A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found people who focus on their reasons for saving (a fun vacation, a better car, buying a home, etc.) saved more than study participants who concentrated on specific strategies for cutting back like eating out less often or using coupons.  When you shift your mindset to focus on what you will be gaining, rather than what you are giving up, you will save more.

Saving money can be much easier when you “trick” yourself with these simple ideas.  What are your best tips for saving money?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Do You Have a Command Center? 


Happy Monday!  For many it is a holiday, off from work for President’s Day along with the kids.

Quick question, have you ever wished for one central spot to keep the kids and you organized?  I mean besides the pile on the kitchen counter or table when the kids unpack their bags from school?  Maybe you have a basket where everything gets dropped?

If you are like me, usually something gets lost in the “pile”.  Or something never makes it to the pile so it never gets done.  What if you had one spot for everything?30-days-to-an-organized-life-create-a-simple-control-center-the-peaceful-mom

Does your refrigerator look like this?  Notes and lists everywhere.  Mine isn’t this neat and as a result, you guessed it, things get lost.

As women, we need to fulfill many roles and take care of many responsibilities in our families.  Everyone looks to us to keep them on track.

A Control Center is the communication center for your family where you keep track of all activities, as well as the plan for managing your household. It is in one central location so everyone knows the plan.  Each control center may be different BUT the common elements are:

Calendar:  to keep track of appointments, doctor’s appointments, music lessons, sports practices/games and family social events.  We have one on the fridge but the information never seems to make it past my planner or the calendar on our phones.

Meal Plan – A weekly meal plan will not only help you get dinner on the table but will save you time and money as well.  Since it is just hubby and I, there is not meal plan.  LOL.  I cook on Monday and Tuesday for the week for him and freeze.  A meal plan allows the kids to pitch in and help to get things ready.tpm-weekly-menu-planner-v-400x516-jpg

Grocery List – Keep a grocery list on your fridge so you can mark when you are about to run out of items.  We use a wipe board and add to it as needed which is a HUGE help when it comes time to grocery shop.


Kid Plan – Chore charts and lists with morning, afternoon and evening routines will help to keep kids on track.

Household To Do List – Keep a list of home projects to be done such as seasonal cleaning and repairs.  13707710_1089930014379483_9067719231614975101_n

This is also a good spot for Emergency information for babysitters.  A list of phone numbers for neighbors is good to in case your children need to call them.

The Oh Snap Pockets by Thirty One are perfect for kids papers or to keep forms handy.  They can be personalized for tasks or for individuals OR you the chalk front which is easily wipeable to change as needed.  The Oh Snap Bins are great for keys or your cell phone.

The key to a successful system is to keep it as simple as possible.  Too many steps or ‘over-organizing’ can be a waste time.  Choose your most basic, essential needs and skip unnecessary elements.15978018_10155552665707908_3547647048080751605_n

Not a lot of space, how about the NEW Hang-It Pocket Organizer.  Get organized in the mudroom, office or playroom with this five-pocket organizer.  It can be tied on a door or hung on the wall. Extra-roomy pockets are great for craft supplies, file folders or even kids’ toys. Pair it with our Wall Together collection for the ultimate wall storage solution!

Printables are courtesy of The Peaceful Mom.  Be sure to check out her blog for more tips, tricks and printables.

My essentials in our control center is a calendar and the grocery list.   Choose what works for you.  What would you include?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!