I first met blogger Nicole Avery at a local blogging meet-up last year. I knew who she was as soon as she walked in the room – the charisma and presence that comes across on her blog was unmistakable in real life.
The second thing I liked about her was that she had thought to make and bring BLTs for everyone, whipping them out just as we all began thinking how hungry we were. (Lifesaver!)
Recently, Nicole was approached by Wright Books to turn the idea of her blog into a book. Lucky woman, you might say. Yes, that’s true – but it’s also a result of sheer hard work.
And, of course, planning.
Planning With Kids, the blog, was created as a way for Nicole to share tips for making life simpler. The overall theory of the website is to use various ways of organisation – meal planning, rosters for the children to lend a hand around the house, timetables, budgeting and more – to leave more time for parenting and the fun things.
Let’s face it – there are day-to-day tasks around the house and in parenting that none of us enjoy terribly much. And so, I tend to agree – and have found from my own experience – that streamlining the mundane things makes life easier. Better.
The book has the same theories behind it, and provides practical tips that have worked for Nicole, her husband and their brood of five children. Age-appropriate tips for children up to twelve (the age of their oldest child) to help around the house, a how-to meal planning guide, and step by step instructions for budgeting and saving are all part of the sections on running the house.
And then there is parenting. While not strictly a ‘parenting book’, focusing instead on the planning and organisation of family life, there are major parenting considerations when doing this. For example, setting and changing routines, preparing for a new baby, toddler tactics, introducing children to the internet and school readiness.
Finally – but definitely just as importantly – comes a section for You. Making time for yourself and your interests is an important part of being happy in your life, Nicole suggests, and offers tips for making this happen. (We all know how simple it is to ‘forget’ to schedule time for yourself amongst everything else that a parent must do!)
Along the way, there are tips from other parents – some with one child, others with eight, but all useful, practical suggestions that have worked for different families, sometimes offering a backup to Nicole’s words and at other times an alternative approach.
There is more – much more – in this book, and I recommend you check it out. It is not written in a preaching tone and Nicole never pretends to have a perfectly scheduled family or the eternally neat display home, but she does share her experiences in making life as a parent, and as part of a family, better.
But the thing I love about this book the most? Nicole’s natural, friendly personality shines through.
Title: Planning With Kids
Author: Nicole Avery
Publication Date: April 2011