Today’s busy family spends a great deal of time rushing from sports practice to music lessons to the grocery store, with several stops in between. Christine Klein’s book offers practical advice and ideas to help parents simplify their lives and organize their families. For example, she explains how keeping a master grocery shopping list taped to the refrigerator can help reduce stress. Then, when you run low on flour—or one kid wants a special lunch treat—it’s easy to add to the list, avoiding those painful moments standing in the grocery trying to remember what it was that Sally wanted. It also helps to plan meals a week or two in advance. You know what you need to buy and can budget for the expense. Her advice is peppered with quick and easy recipes designed to increase the amount of time parents spend with children. She suggests involving the whole family by assigning everyone chores, from setting the table to chopping the vegetables. Her money-saving suggestions run the gamut from shopping at thrift stores, resale shops and garage sales to reducing utility expenses by winterizing your home and checking the seals on doors and windows to make your home more energy efficient. She also offers a host of practical ideas for organizing leisure time. Make the most of your weekend and time off by planning ahead. Then, give yourself a break by eliminating one activity so you can have more time to relax and play with the kids. Klein draws on her own experience as a consultant and mother of two to provide ideas on ways to include children in household activities. She outlines a 12-month seasonal home maintenance calendar that highlights tips to make common tasks trouble free. Simple steps such as keeping the lawn mower blades sharp and cleaning the lint trap on the clothes dryer will speed up household tasks and help you to be more efficient as well. The strategies for setting goals, decorating with things you love, and doing homework together after school are among many of the easily-implemented tips that should make life easy for any family. This book’s focus on adding joy and productivity to your life will be a useful tool for your active family.
Maria Karalis Illinois Dietetic Association
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