Ask Kate: Part 2
17. Q: My mom ALWAYS asks me to do stuff even though I have two older siblings. Do you tend to have one of your kids help or cling to you more?
A: Hi Christina! This is a topic of conversation amongst all moms, I think. I’ve talked to my friends, who are also moms, and it seems that in every house — our houses at least — that there are certain ones of our kids who are naturally “more helpful” than others, for whatever reason. We tend to ask more of our “more helpful” kids, but not on purpose, we just need help sometimes (ie: “can you carry this for me?”, “can you remind me to take the coupons along when we leave for the store?’” Etc.)! So to answer you, although I ask all of my kids did help from time to time, I DO notice who of my kids are most helpful (without complaining!) and I make sure they are extra rewarded for their help AND their good attitude! I’m betting your mom notices too! So, keep up the good work. I know your mom appreciated YOU and can count on you, or she wouldn’t ask you for so much help! ;) Take it as a compliment! XO
18. Q: My children are allowed to stay up later during the summer months and with school starting do you have any tips to prepare children to get to bed and wake up earlier without tears?
A: I think I answered this recently, but I’ll answer it again. We start going to bed a bit earlier, and getting up a bit earlier — gradually — starting around two weeks before school starts. This includes ME. We all tend to stay up super late during the summer and then sleep in and it really does help to start moving towards our school year sleep schedule to avoid tears during that first (dreaded) month of school…. Good luck (I know we ALL need it!)!
19. Q: Hello to my favorite Mother of 8! You seem to have it all together in your life and I’m still struggling with that, especially in the organization department. I don’t think I’ve ever heard you talk about things like cupboards, fridge, closets, etc. How do/did you keep those clean with little kids and did you use or do anything special to keep them that way? I have 4 little ones and they are out to destroy any chance of a organized house. Would you be willing to show pics??
A: Hi Jessica. Well, I certainly DON’T have it “all together” but I DO try. And, I happen to enjoy organization. It makes sense to me and saves me time, hassle and headache to have a “home” for everything. It is difficult to keep everything running smoothly no matter how organized you are. You’ll find helpful tips on kitchen organization in my new book “Love Is In The Mix,” which is coming in September. Yay! (You can preorder my cook book right here on my website!) Beyond that, all throughout the house, I use labels and baskets and find a place to store everything that “makes good sense.” If there are things that you don’t want your kids to be able to access (for safety reasons or otherwise) I put locks on those cabinets or use a cabinet that is too high for them to reach. Otherwise, the key to organization is:
1. First, find a home for items that makes the most sense. This is especially important if you “stock ahead” on household/food items like I do.
2. Label it! Label the shelf or basket (ie: “kids shampoo and conditioner”)
3. Change it. If the closet isn’t shelved in order to be used the way to need it to be, either re shelve it, or get baskets or crates to make it work.
4. Make sure everyone knows where items are to be stored. We have storage shelves and closets all through out our house. Everyone knows where paper towels, toilet paper and cleaning supplies are kept, where the kids toiletries are kept and where the band aides and batteries are stored. If everyone knows where each item “lives” they can help you put stuff away AND can go and fetch items for you when you need it (my kids consider it fun to go “shopping” in our house for items needed, lol!)!
5. Be disciplined. Organization takes constant commitment to keep your home… well…..organized! Just because you label and organize once, doesn’t mean it will stay that way. In fact, Murphy’s Law says, it won’t. Be committed to keeping your cabinets and closets organized… Every time (oh, and take a deep breath when you open closets and find that your kids — or spouse — has undone what you’ve worked so hard to do!!!!)
Hope this helps! Good luck!
20. Q: Love you and the kids! What grade is everyone going into this year?
A: Hi Kelly! I have 2 seventh graders and 6 third graders this year. Can you believe it??? I sure can’t! Wow! Time flies when you have a houseful of kids!
21. Q: I have really learned so much from you and was wondering — will you keep writing books and if so, what would your next book be about?
A: My next book is “Love Is In The Mix” and its my FIRST ever cook book. It’s coming out in September and it is SO much more than “just” a cook book! There’re pages and pages of my tips and our family traditions too! You can preorder it right here on my website! Hope you love it! We can’t wait!
22. Q: Hi Kate! I have to admit that I have always paid for school lunch for my kids. However this year I have decided to make their lunch for them. I really don’t know what to send them. And also I noticed that you do your kids the night before. Does that make the sandwich soggy? How sad is it that I have no idea how to pack a lunch. HELP!
A: Hi Amanda. First, congratulations for attempting to pack your kids school lunches! It’s not as hard as you think, is healthier and less expensive! So yay for you!!
I focus on packing a daily well balanced and healthy meal for my kids that excites them when they open it up! I get pretty creative. I’ve included these detailed tips in my cook book that’s coming soon (see above. I’ve mentioned numerous times in this post already, lol).
As far as avoiding “soggy” sandwiches, here’s some tips:
-I always “blot” the meat, lettuce, tomato etc before making the sandwich.
-if you’re packing chicken, tuna or egg salad, I’ll usually put the salad in a container and pack the bread separately. My kids can then spread the salad on the bread OR sometimes they eat the salad and the bread separately. Either way, it’s not soggy.
-I pack their entire lunch IN their lunch box the night before. I put the packed lunch box IN the fridge overnight and add an ice pack in the morning. This helps it stay colder longer and it’s always worked for us!
Hope these tips help! Happy packing!
23. Q: Are you doing signings for “Love is in the Mix?” If so, please try to schedule one in Pittsburgh, Pa!
A: First of all, thank you for your email full of kind words. Second, I am planning some book signings and I’ll keep Pittsburgh in mind! :) I’ll get there if the opportunity presents itself! Hope to meet you and sign for you soon!
24. Q: What is your day to day routine like during the school year? Getting 3 kids out of the house for school every morning is going to be a new experience for me, and I’d love some tips to make it run smoothly!
A: Hi Jennifer. Our school morning routine is very much like clock work (have you seen our Celebrity Wife Swap episode where the kids come downstairs at 6:03 am? Well, they really do!)! We are up at about 5:45 am. Eating breakfast by 6:05 am, teeth brushed, hair done, shoes on and out the door! On the bus by about 7 am!
The key is: routine routine routine! Do the same routine painfully every morning and soon your kids will catch on and do it themselves. This routine will also ensure that you don’t miss anything. Also, I plan/ lay out breakfast the night before and also pack lunches the night before. All book bags are packed and ready to go at night as well. You can’t take chances so plan ahead!!! Here’s hoping for happy school mornings for you….. AND for the rest of us too!
25. Q: I have lost the weight I wanted to take off! One problem though, I’m having a hard time toning! What exercise works the best to help me?
A: Yoga!!! It tones the flab and strengthens muscles! And it’s fun and challenging too! I prefer “hot yoga.” Look into it.. You’ll probably love it too!
26. Q: Mady’s pictures were amazing. I am wondering what kind of camera she uses?
A: believe it or not, she uses her iPhone and iPad!!!! I’ve thought about getting her a “real” camera but she prefers those “cameras” because she can edit them immediately with all of her photo shopping apps!