I’ve been a mad follower of Nicole Avery over at Planning with Kids for ages now. Her blog attracted me because (a) the word ‘planning’ always attracts me because I am a planning freak; (b) she has, like, LOTS of kids (Five! Four boys! …!) and (c) she plans those kids into a happy, harmonious existence. She is so well-plannned, in fact, that I’ve read her posts for ages and she has never once mentioned that she would like to drop those kids off at the local pound and head for the hills with her ever-patient husband, Phil.
Nic’s blog and I are a match made in heaven – for me. Nic writes the posts with the great ideas and I just implement them at my place. I’m not entirely sure what she gets out of the relationship, but hey, that’s just the way some great connections of the heart go, right?
Now I’m excited because Nic has authored an amazing, must-have, cannot-put-it-down-because-it’s-just-so-chock-full-of- the-good-stuff book. It’s creatively titled ‘Planning with Kids’ (just so you don’t miss her). I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking how on earth does a mother of five kids find the time? Well, she finds the time because she has read her own book.
Here’s what Nic had to say about the whole thing.
So, Nic, how did you get to be so beautifully organised anyway?
Nicole Avery: My husband. I was really all over the place, living from pay to pay before I met my husband. He helped (made!) me save so I could go overseas on my own. I started learning some internal discipline from him. I had always been organised at work and very planned in how I approached the projects I was working on, but until I met Phil, I struggled to transfer this into my personal life.
Have there been days when you’ve wanted to ditch the Planning with Kids thing and just be into, you know, Planning Without Kids?
NA: No, my corporate background before kids was performance management, call centre management and project management. While I loved the order part, sorting, scheduling and making things happen, it didn’t give me an emotional connection. My absolute favourite thing about blogging is the emails I receive from mums who write to tell me how my posts have helped them – you can’t beat that.
What do you do when you have ‘those’ days?
NA: Music is a big part of my life and can help me keep it together. If it is one of those days and it is me who is struggling, then I go for calming music. I tweeted recently that this is my calming song: What I thought of you – Holly Throsby. Listening to it makes me feel better. The whole album is great actually. If it is one of those days and it is the kids who need calming then I will often head outside. Four out of our five kids are boys, so when they are all going a bit mad I will head outside and kick the footy with them.
What three things do you not leave home without?
What do you keep in your car for emergencies?
Nappy wipes – is there much they can’t do?
Change of clothes for toddler – he always needs them.
Tissues – you can never have enough really.
Old plastic shopping bags. Tied up for safety of course, but always find a use for them – wet clothes, vomit, rubbish, etc.
A hidden $20 note. We have coins as well, but I sometimes get stuck without cash and it can mean I can run into the shop and get a couple of loaves of bread (one doesn’t go far at PWK) and not have to go a bank before hand.
What might be the biggest ‘planning’ mistake that a lot of parents make?
NA: To not have routines for the kids or themselves. Routines can sound limiting, but I have found that by establishing good routines you have a really solid foundation to cope with all other aspects (crises!) of family life.
And, Nic, what’s for dinner tonight at your place?
NA: Pumpkin Soup. Not very exciting but its easy to cook, everyone loves it and pumpkins are a great price at the moment.
I love Nicole’s work and I love her book . I’m in it, you know… page 255…up towards the top… see, that’s really me in an actual book. A real book. Not just a book in my head.
Best bit is, if you’re a follower of either Planning with Kids or Maxabella loves…you can WIN A COPY OF THE BOOK with me in it. And to help you on your way to becoming a Planner with Kids, I’m including some other yummy Kikki K stuff. I love Kikki K and this is all stuff I use myself. Cute stationery with swedish cheekbones!
One lucky follower will win… (apologies for the shite photography once again. I think I go okay with the composition, but the rest is just point, press and hope for the best…)
1. A copy of Planning with Kids
2. A jar of heart paper clips for clipping all that paperwork that infiltrates our castle walls
3. A box of Family Conversation Starters to spark the dinnertime chit-chat
4. A To Do list to help get your thoughts organised.
5. A sweet little owl notebook because the owl is sweet and you can never have too many notebooks.
6. Some heart magnets because if I have a bird, I have to have a heart.
7. A shopping list and a little notebook because they were free with my purchase of all of the above.
So, there you have it!
Just leave a comment on this post revealling your best organisational tip for home or family.
Tweet this post for an extra entry (leave me a comment to let me know you tweeted).
Facebook for another one (leave me a comment to let me know you’ve faced).
Post about the competition and you’ll get two extra entries (leave a comment to let me know you’ve posted!).
And spread the good word about the new parenting bible Planning with Kids wherever you go because it is just that good (especially page 255). We’ve all heard those fattish blokes at BBQs say ‘it’s a shame this parenting thing doesn’t come with a manual’ (ho, ho). Well, buddy, now you’re not just very not-funny, you’re also very wrong. Personally I’m stocking up so I can give a copy of Nic’s book to every new mum I encounter. Robin B, I’m sorry, but you’re just going to have to move over and make a little room.
Have fun on this amazing journey, Nic! x
Entries close on Friday 6th May at 5.00pm Sydney time. I’ll randomly draw the winner out of a hat and post their name on Sunday, 8th May. Good luck! x