Rocks, Pebbles, Water

Just like me, my son struggles with organization.

Last Friday I urged him to clean out his backpack.

He refused.

“There’s nothing in there that shouldn’t be,” he said.

I pushed.

He pushed back.

When I promised to put all the binders and folders back in for him, he finally agreed.

Nothing in there?

Just several inches, an entire can’s worth, of crushed sour cream and onion Pringles.

“Oh yeah,” he said.

And just as I was about to ring his disorganized neck,

Susan Kruger showed up in our lives.

Well, her book did anyway.

And it’s a game changer.

It’s called SOAR (Set Goals, Organize, Ask Questions, Record Your Progress) and it’s full of simple tips and tricks that support student’s success in and out of school (and in this case, their mama’s, too!)

My favorite tool is the time management one Kruger uses for establishing priorities.

The approach is so brilliant in its simplicity.

Imagine you have a big empty glass jar.

That jar represents the 24 hours in your day.

Now fill that jar with rocks.

Those rocks represent all the things you have to get done in your day; the “must-dos.”

For Tuck, it’s his math homework, studying for his French test, and talking to his teacher about a report.  For me, it’s meal prep, laundry, bills, responding to correspondences, writing and exercise that comprise my rocks.

So now you have a jar full of rocks, but is the jar full?


There are empty spaces in between all those rocks that can be filled with pebbles.

Tuck’s pebbles are soccer practice, working on his mountain bike trails and hanging out with friends.  Mine are tennis, yoga and coffee with a friend.

But believe it or not, there is still room in the jar.  Pour in water and it fills in the spaces between the rocks and pebbles.

That’s the time left for Tucker to watch tv or play games on his Kindle or Wii.  For me, it’s a 20 minute nap, sitting down with a book or watching my favorite t.v. program.

And what Tuck and I have both realized, is that if we fill the jar with our pebbles and water first, there ‘aint no way to fit in those rocks.

Essentially I’m still doing exactly what I’ve already been doing everyday, but the real difference is that I’ve categorized and prioritized everything.

Here’s what I mean…

Old Way – Empty 1/2 the dishwasher… answer email…take Meg for a walk… answer phone…empty other 1/2 dishwasher…check Facebook…put breakfast dishes in  dishwasher…put a load of laundry in washer…answer the phone…check email…jot writing idea down on slip of paper (later lose)…and on and on I go until I look up at the clock and it’s 2:45 and I’m late picking up the kids.

New Rocks, Pebbles, Water System – In the morning I draw several circles on a piece of paper (my rocks) and begin filling them in.  1 hour household (clean up kitchen, plan dinner, laundry, bills etc).  When that hour is up, I’m done. The rest can wait until tomorrow’s hour or I can pass on a couple of things to the kids as after-school chores. 1 hour communication, i.e. sit down at my desk and go though my email, Facebook and twitter, replying to whomever I need to.  I also use this time for phone calls.  Another hour is for writing. Another for exercise.  You get the picture.

Basically I’ve finally stopped flitting through my days and focus solely on the current task at hand. So by the time the kids get home from school, I feel like I’ve accomplished so much and can be wholly present to them, ready to kick around a soccer ball, play a board game or just hang out.  Once their rocks are complete, that is!

What about you? Do you or your child struggle with organization? Do you have favorite tricks or tools to share?


That for Which I am Willing to Shout from the Rooftops…

Here are a few of the things I’ve been really digging lately:  

1.) My new iPad cover. I do most of my writing old school – pencil, paper, composition notebook. When I found this cover I was beyond excited – Old meets new!

2.) This Youtube video.  An Open Letter To Moms from Kid President  I can’t get enough of this kid!  But my kids are a bit worried about the “dance in the grocery store recommendation,” because, well, I already do!

3.)  My milk frother.  Last summer I discovered a love of lattes, but it turns out I just really love frothy milk. So every morning I whip up a bit of milk and pour it right on top of my regularly brewed cup.  Andie also loves it with her mint tea.  I couldn’t find a link, but I bought it at Target for 20 bucks.

4.)  This Tedtalk blew me away.  Amanda Palmer: The art of asking. Brilliant.

5.)  My two new favorite TV shows.  Touch and Nashville.  (Thanks Mom for turning me on to Nashville!)

6.)  Enneagram.  Enneawhat?  Enneagram is a system of personality types that I am finding wildly fascinating.  Now that I’ve determined my numerical type and that of my kids, I totally “get” myself and them on a whole new level.  A good place to check out the descriptions of each type is here – Introduction to the 9 Enneagram Types

7.)  This utterly fabulous workbook on study skills. Not only is it helping my kids get organized, but me, too!  I cannot recommend this book enough!

More to follow in a future post!

8.)  Coconut Water Mango Smoothies.  Tucker loves them and I sneak more healthy stuff in there then he’d ever imagine.  Not much in the way of a recipe.  I just throw a bunch of frozen mango in a blender (sometimes pineapple, and if I’m drinking alone, a handful of spinach!) and fill just above the fruit with coconut water, which is full of electrolytes and lots of other good stuff.  I throw in a splash of o.j. and milk (makes it taste like a creamsicle), protein powder, flax oil, acidophilus and the calcium pills Tuck won’t take.

9.)  My perspective on aging.  After hearing Laura Linney’s on this Fresh Air interview I welcomed my crow’s feet.  “As I’ve been aging, and parents are dying and I’ve unfortunately lost friends who were way too young to go — you realize what a privilege it is to age.  And that’s not a message we hear a lot in the United States.”  You can check out the entire interview here – Linney Mines ‘The Big C’ For Serious Laughs

10.)  Hanging out with other Preemie Parents at the March of Dimes March for Babies, which I’ll be doing again this coming weekend, Sunday, May 19th at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, NH.  Once again, proceeds from all book sales will go to the March of Dimes!

(By the way, nobody’s paying me to do this rooftop shouting.)

So what’s got you shouting these days?


Boots, Hats and a Giveaway

As I rifled through my closet, determined to whittle down to the items I truly adore, I discovered (confirmed!) that my love of boots…

These are rubber rain boots!














and hats…












runs deep!

Most of my cowboy (or cowgirl, as my daughter, Andie insists) boots come from thrift stores.  They’re already broken in, supple and forgiving, waiting for my feet to make them a new home.  One of the new pairs, the green floral, were a Christmas gift from my husband.  I’d been lusting after them for months, but they were wildly expensive and I’d never in a million years buy them for myself.

(This is the note he included with the boots that had me blushing on Christmas morn.)

And then there are my hats.  All summer I wear straw cowboy (cowgirl) hats and my head is rarely without a cap on once the first chill arrives in the fall air.  I bought a cupcake hat the other day and did a cupcake hat dance in the ski lodge.  Andie threatened to immediately run away if I didn’t stop, but of course, once we arrived home, my cupcake hat was on her head!

I asked a friend in the ski lodge if she liked my hat and she said, “Yeah, if you’re 10!”

This is my second to newest hat and the one everyone keeps asking “Where did you get that hat?”

You can’t tell from the photo, but the hat is really sparkly and lined with cozy fleece!












Up until now, I’ve given a vague answer about a friend whose friend makes them and brought some to a ski race.  But after some digging, I’ve exchanged emails with the friend of the friend and when she learned I was going to mention her Jamms Hats in a post on my blog, she offered to give one away.

Winner gets to choose the style and there are many from which to choose!










Andie has two!

So what do you think?  Are you feeling the hat love?  If so, leave a comment here and I’ll let you know on Feburary 14th (feeling more love!) if you’re the lucky winner chosen by  And if you’re not, you should just buy one anyway and then everyone will be asking you, “Where did you get that hat?”  Once again, here’s the link to Jen’s site just in case you’re like me and can’t wait – Jamms Hats

What about you – What are some of the things you love? 

Courtesy of Go Dog Go!