Work and Home: A Balancing Act for Parents Today

The following post is by contributor Christen Babb of Nurture Baby.

For many parents today, financial pressures continue to mount while the economy continues its  lethargic recovery.  Whether you’ve gone back to work full or part-time, away or at home, a paradigm change is created.

We’re challenged to balance our families’ changing  schedules and demanding jobs while maintaining our sanity.  Most of us already know the importance of staying organized, getting help from people you trust,  and learning when  to “unplug.”

But what other practical measures can we implement to relax and enjoy our families while at home?

This is current  struggle of mine, as I have gone back to work full time and with two young children at home.  In fact, it seems ironic that I speak from any position of authority, while frantically schlepping a breast-pump on a cross-country business trip and struggling to schedule meetings around  doctor’s  appointments, ballet classes, and preschool functions.

However, I do hope to leave you with some practical coping techniques to help create rhythm in your busy work-life schedule. I also hope to hear from you and encourage you to leave your thoughts in the comments.

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Checking In With My 2011 Family Goals: At-Home Fire Drills

The following is by editor Kara Fleck.

As 2011 dawned on us last January, I set some goals for my family in the new year: to become local tourists and really get to know the area in which we live, to break out of our food rut, and to practice regular monthly home fire drills.

Today I am checking in with one of those goals, the monthly home fire drill.

The Goal: a Monthly Drill

As I said in January, we began doing monthly home fire drills last fall, but it is important to keep up this practice every month.  It isn’t pleasant to think about a fire, of course, and I don’t want to perpetuate a fear, but I also want my family to be prepared, just in case.

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Weekend Links and Laundry Tree Givewaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered the Laundry Tree giveaway yesterday!  And thank you to Lisa of Laundry Tree for being so generous to Simple Kids readers.  I just love being able to arrange things like that for you guys.

The winner of the Laundry Tree giveaway is: Casey B, who said,

“I have just started making my own laundry detergent and am so interested to try these.”

Congratulations, Casey! Check your email for a message from me with further details.

And, on a more personal note, can I just thank you for all of your grass stain tips in the comments yesterday?  I think my laundry and I are going to have a different Summer this year, thanks to your advice.  It was lots of fun talking laundry with you guys. Who knew there was so much to say on the topic?

This week on Simple Kids we’re going to be talking about at-home fire drills as I check in with my family’s goals for 2011, rotating children’s toys and books, and finding balance when working outside the home (part-time or full-time).

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Weekend Giveaway: Laundry Tree

Welcome to this weekend’s giveaway!  Today’s giveaway has been provided by our sponsor, Laundry Tree.

This giveaway is now closed.  Thank you!

I mentioned yesterday that my family uses soap nuts for our laundry.  I first learned about them a while ago from Tsh, Simple Mom, and am so glad that I gave them a try. I admit, I was a tiny bit skeptical at first, but I have been impressed with how well they clean.  I even use them to clean our cloth diapers.

Soap nuts are a dried fruit (not actually a nut) whose cleaning properties make them an alternative to traditional laundry detergents and cleaners.

From the Laundry Tree website:

  • They are simply a dried fruit — 100% totally natural.
  • They are organically grown and are free of harsh chemicals, so they are incredibly gentle. (This makes them especially great for those with sensitive skin — including babies and those that suffer from allergies, eczema, and psoriasis).
  • They’re totally biodegradeable, so they’re better for the environment than regular detergent.
  • They’re antimicrobial, so they’re even good for septic and greywater systems.
  • They are low-sudsing — exactly what you need for HE (or high-efficiency) washers.

The outer shell of the soapnut contains saponin, a natural substance known for its ability to cleanse and wash. (That’s what makes them so GREAT for cleaning your laundry!) And here’s a cool fact: soapnuts aren’t a new concept; they have been used to clean all kinds of fabric for centuries, and are only now gaining popularity in the Americas and Europe as a powerful, yet natural alternative to modern detergents. Having used any number of other detergents, we’re here to say so far man has yet to best Mother Nature in coming up with a genius cleaning agent for clothes.

The Giveaway

Laundry Tree is offering on Simple Kids reader the chance to win 2 “Deluxe Starter Kits” – 1 for the winner and 1 for the winner’s friend. I love that you get to share!

The Deluxe Starter Kit includes everything needed to wash nearly 150 loads of laundry with SoapNuts:

  • one 500 gram bag of SoapNuts
  • three 1 ounce bottles of the scent of your choice
  • one extra washbag
  • one sample bag to share with a friend

To Enter

To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post telling me why you would like to try soap nuts.

This giveaway will end today at midnight, EST Saturday April 9th. Good luck! This giveaway is now closed.  Thank you!

Caring for Kids’ Clothes: a Peek Inside My Laundry Room

The following post is by editor Kara Fleck.

During the month of April on Simple Kids, one of the topics we’re covering is caring for kids’ things and kids’ spaces.  I thought that I would start with the area that seems to occupy the bulk of my homekeeping:  the laundry.

Now, I am not an expert on laundry, by any means.  But, I will confess that of all the household chores, doing the laundry is one that I actually don’t mind very much.  There’s something to be said about the sense of accomplishment from treating a stain successfully or empty laundry baskets and dresser drawers full of clean clothing at the end of the day.

My laundry process has evolved over the years.  I thought I would share how I care for my family’s clothes and then open up the comments to ask about your family’s laundry.  Yes, I’m inviting you to air your dirty laundry on Simple Kids today!

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