24 Hours With …

24 Hours With … Author Jennifer L. Scott

I am so excited to share this next “24 Hours” profile with you. Jennifer L. Scott is an author, blogger and mother. I started reading her blog The Daily Connoisseur a few years ago just before her first book, Lessons from Madame Chic, was published. It is a fantastic read, particularly if you are interested in paring down your clothing and your lifestyle to include only the things you love most. Jennifer is most famous for her 10 Item Wardrobe (detailed on her blog and in her book). It is truly inspiring and has definitely changed the way I dress and shop! She has written several articles for the Huffington Post, and is about to launch her second book (details to follow). I am thrilled she took the time to answer some questions for Simple Baby. Please say hello to Jennifer!

Madame Chic Final Cover

Do you work inside or outside of the home? I am a writer, blogger and YouTuber and I work from home.

What is your childcare/schooling situation? My oldest daughter (3 1/2) is in preschool and my toddler (nearly 2) stays home with me.

What is breakfast, lunch and dinner like in your family? The girls and I always eat breakfast together. I usually have lunch with my youngest while my daughter is at school and in the evening the whole family sits together for an early supper (usually 5pm!).

Do you meal plan or wing it? Do you like that? I almost always plan my meals for the week. Without doing this, it is chaos.

What is the most challenging part of your day? I sometimes find the late afternoon challenging if I feel exhausted and I know there are still a few hours until the children go to bed. But this is when I muster up every last bit of energy I have to carry on!

What is the easiest part of your day? Choosing my outfit for the day. This is always effortless and fun for me with my ten-item wardrobe.

In terms of running a house with a family, what do you feel like you have figured out? The biggest things I’ve figured out is that you must always go with the flow of the day and not push things.

Does anything still stump you? Toddler tantrums. I usually ride them out with a calm and placid expression on my face but the things that set them off still baffle me.

How do you take care of yourself and recharge? I like immersing myself in the arts. So I’ll make time to practice the piano, read a great book or listen to a symphony on the radio, for example.

If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend it? Meditate more, read more, and write more.

Any other organizing tips you’d like to share? Clear the clutter as much as you can so you aren’t stuck organizing clutter.

Thank you so much for sharing your day with us, Jennifer! I love your tip to clear the clutter instead of just organizing it. So much more effective. Jennifer’s book, Lessons from Madame Chic, is pictured below. I can’t recommend it enough!

24 Hours With … Deena

Deena is one of those people you immediately love. I met her a few years while volunteering for the Art & Antiques Show. She is so warm and welcoming to everyone, and you feel like you’ve known her forever after one conversation. Thankfully Deena and her family recently moved just down the road from us, so I get to see her a lot more! Brace yourself for a brilliant take on dinners. I can’t wait to try her technique! Please say hello to Deena:
Deena and fam BW
1. Do you work inside or outside of the home? If outside of the home, what are your hours? I work outside of the home and I’m so grateful to have very regular hours from 8-5!

2. What is your childcare/schooling situation?
Our daughter, Grace, has been home with a nanny since she was 4 months old (now 21 mo.) and started going to a mother’s morning out program 2 mornings a week when she was 19 months.  I pick her up from school on those days and bring her home to be with the Nanny the remainder of the day.
3. What is breakfast, lunch and dinner like in your family? It totally depends on the day!  My husband travels for most of the week, just about every week, so our week days usually go like this:Breakfast – Nanny is out our house and has breakfast made for Grace before Grace even wakes up (She’s a keeper!!), I usually make a protein shake for the road, and when John is in town, he usually works from home for a little in the mornings and will make whatever he feels like. On Saturdays we have a big breakfast all together at the table!Lunch:  I usually bring a lunch to work and every few weeks I like to go out to lunch with a friend I haven’t seen in awhile.  One of the perks of working is the ability to schedule childless lunch dates.  It’s one of the few occasions I get to eat out without having to chase/entertain a toddler so I really look forward to these lunches out!  When John is in town, he will usually try to do lunch with a friend or colleague.  Grace either eats the lunch I pack for her at school or eats at home with the nanny. Dinner:  When John is in town, we do our best to eat like civilized people at a table and together.  When he’s gone, I’m usually chasing Grace around the house with a fork full of food crossing my fingers she will take the bite.  We start off at the table, but after a few minutes, she’s throwing food all over the place and climbing out of her chair, and that’s when the great food chase begins.  I’ve actually resorted to feeding her in the tub a few times (2 birds, 1 stone) since she’s perfectly distracted while she’s in there and doesn’t even realize I’m feeding her.  I’m praying this is a stage she will grow out of because I really prefer the civilized way of eating.  When John is gone, I’ll usually eat once Grace is asleep or I’ll pick on my meal during the great food chase.4. Do you meal plan or wing it? Do you like that? I meal plan, but not in the way you may think.  I typically decide what we will eat for dinner for the week on Saturday and then I grocery shop on Sundays.  Our nights are too hectic for any real cooking, so I usually make two meals on Sunday.  We eat one meal on Sunday night and the other meal on Monday night.  I make enough for left overs, so then we eat Sundays left overs on Tuesday and Mondays left overs on Wednesday.  Thankfully my family doesn’t mind leftovers!  If I can’t make two meals on Sunday, I’ll only make one and then make another meal on Monday night after Grace goes to bed, that we will eat on Tuesday and we will eat Sunday’s leftovers on Monday.  I usually have the Nanny cook on Thursday (she’s Cuban and her food is incredible…did I mention she’s a keeper??) and then we usually have dinner plans on either Friday or Saturday so we eat the leftovers on whatever night we don’t have plans.  

5. What is most challenging part of your day? Dinner Time!!6. What is the easiest part of your day? Bedtime and the free time after that!  I’m so fortunate to have a child who loves to sleep and goes down very easily!

. In terms of running a house with a family, what do you feel like you have figured out? Finding great help!  Like most woman and moms, I want to do it all.  We all want to do it all and do it perfectly!  The only way I’ve somewhat been able to find a work/home life balance is by bringing on a wonderful Nanny, who not only loves and takes great care of Grace, but also keeps up with the daily chores.  This allows me to be able to fully focus on my family when I am home.  Once I realized I couldn’t do it all and get it all done perfectly, we brought on the Nanny, who has been such a blessing!   

8. Does anything still stump you?  What doesn’t still stump me??  I would love to know how to cook a great meal while simultaneously watching a toddler – I know tons of you do it and I’m amazed!  I seriously only cook when my daughter is asleep!!  I’m also still struggling to get back on a regular workout routine.  With a traveling husband, early mornings and after-work workouts aren’t possible, so for now I’m sporadically fitting it in at lunchtime.   

9. How do you take care of yourself and recharge? If I can’t get to the gym during the day, I try to at least go for a walk or jog with my daughter in the evenings and always on the weekends!  I’m recharged through bi-weekly Bible Study meetings with a great group of girls.10. If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend it? I’d read for fun!11. Any other organizing tips you’d like to share? I love schedules and structure, and have found that I accomplish the most when my entire day is mapped out.  I schedule almost everything I do in my calendar.  This ensures I don’t forget all the countless “to-do’s” always running through our minds.  It not only gets the to-do’s off my mind and on paper, but everything get’s it’s own time-slot (and a reminder alarm) so that every day is hopefully a productive day.  It also ensures my to-do list doesn’t get too long and unmanageable.     

12. What does a usual 24 hours look like in your house?
6:30 AM Wake up; get dressed & ready for work
7:30  AM – Nanny arrives and gets breakfast started for Grace
7:45 AM – Grace wakes up – eats breakfast
8:00  AM – leave for work (School Days we leave at 8:45AM)
1:00 PM  (school days) – Pick Grace up from School and take her home
5:30 PM – Get home from work
6:15 PM – Dinner Time/Bath time
7:00 PM – Begin Bedtime routine
7:30 PM – Bed Time
8:00  PM – Freedom for the night!!Thank you, Deena, for sharing your day with us! Truly, I love your dinner ideas. We are all about the leftovers in our house too! And workday lunches are so amazing—no babysitter to schedule! Grace is a lucky girl to have such a sweet mama!

24 Hours With … Lucy

Have you ever met a mom that makes being a mother of three look like a total blast? Lucy is that friend for me. She and her husband Phil have three young girls ages 5, 3 and 1, and somehow manage to have an amazing social life, too. Lucy is always game for a new adventure, and her girls are just as fun to be around. Here is a glimpse into how Lucy gets it done.
Lucy fam BW
1. Do you work inside or outside of the home?
I work inside the home.

2. What is your childcare/schooling situation? My oldest daughter goes to preschool. She’s in an afternoon class from 11:45am-3pm. I know it seems pretty crazy but it actually works out really well for us. It gives me back a nap time break!

3. What is breakfast, lunch and dinner like in your family? I morph into a short order cook for breakfast. Everyone seems to eat something different. Oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, fruit, waffles and then Phil usually has coffee and a Cliff bar. On the weekends breakfast is like a social event. We do eggs, bacon, pancakes – someone plays DJ, there’s a dance party. It gets crazy!
I usually pack a lunch to eat in the car on the way to school – PB&J, turkey and cheese wraps, fruit, veggie chips. Phil goes out to lunch every day. He claims it’s a work thing. Dinner is at 6. Phil is usually walking in the door as we’re sitting down to eat. Some days he misses it. Other days, I wait and eat with him after the kids are in bed.

4. Do you meal plan or wing it? Do you like that? I mostly wing it. And yes, I like the flexibility. I like to eat hot meals on a cold/rainy day and cold meals on a warmer day. The weather changes all the time so it’s nice to whip up a crock pot meal when the day turns nasty. I also like holding off on the grocery store until I really need to go (you try shopping with 3 kids – they don’t even make a cart to hold them all! Also it saves money). This means I create meals out of what we already have. It can be awesome or terrible.

5. What is most challenging part of your day?
It’s most challenging when 2 or more children are throwing a temper tantrum at the same time. This usually happens in the twilight zone (AKA 4pm-6pm).

6. What is the easiest part of your day? I don’t think any of it is easy. But, I am used to the pace, maybe? I love our daily adventures. We always have something fun planned: zoo, beach, story time, play dates, museums, parks, or even just playing around our house. It is awesome to do something fun every day. So, I guess it’s “easy” when we’re all having fun.
7. In terms of running a house with a family, what do you feel like you have figured out? This is a dangerous question…just when you think you have it figured out – BAM, another milestone or blow out (see #5). I think I’m fairly good at balancing. Phil and I are social and like to go out a lot (with each other on dates and with friends). We do things to keep our relationship first and fresh. I am blessed to stay home with the girls so I get to pour so much into them during the day. I have an awesome network of supportive mom pals. My family is close so we get to see them a lot. With Elizabeth in pre-school at our church’s school – we’re finally making church friends. I train to run 2 big races a year (half marathons this year) so I even find time to burn some calories. It’s a juggling act!

8. Does anything still stump you? How do you get a 2/3 year old to keep her seat belt on while you’re driving? Can someone please create a potty training boot camp, where I can send you a child and they come back potty trained? Why is there no restaurant in town that serves alcohol and has a kid play area?

9. How do you take care of yourself and recharge? My MOPS group has really been a saving grace. The kids go to a nursery while the moms have breakfast together and listen to a speaker. It’s wonderful to have a supportive group of mom friends and have someone tell you you’re doing a good job. We have play dates, girls nights and parties with husbands, too. I’m also in a book club and my husband and I are not afraid of hiring a babysitter.

10. If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend it? Would or should? I would probably be on Facebook or watching one of our junk TV shows. I should be doing one of the many projects laying on my dining room table.

11. Any other organizing tips you’d like to share? Pre-planning helps a lot. Our diaper backpack (I need 2 hands) could keep us alive for a while in a desperate situation. A box (or 3) of raisins can prevent/stop a meltdown. Also, Phil gets grouchy when I’m booking babysitters and sending him calendar invites (he’s thinking in $). But Saturdays are so much better when we know we have a fun night planned for us.
12. What does a usual 24 hours look like in your house? There is no start time – sometimes it just feels like a continuation of yesterday. But, breakfast happens. Phil flees to work. We pack a lunch and head out on our morning adventure. We get back in the car and have lunch and drop Elizabeth at school. The younger 2 take a nap. I eat girl scout cookies and watch Sex in the City reruns. We pick up Elizabeth from school and go to a park or a pm play date or host friends at our house. Dinner happens. Phil plays wrestle-mania with the kids, we go for a walk, boat ride or ride bikes. Bath, stories and bed for the kids. (Hopefully now it’s 7:30-8pm-ish) Phil and I watch our junk TV shows, eat dinner (if we didn’t with the kids). Maybe I go for a run, blog, monogram/sew, read, do a project on my dining room table, baby books, organize pictures & videos, work on MOPS stuff, etc. It could be 9pm or 2am and then I go to sleep.
Thank you so much, Lucy, for sharing your day. I love that you have an adventure planned every morning. What a great way to get everyone up and out of the house. And I totally agree that scheduling date nights in advance is the best way to make sure it actually happens. We send calendar appointments, too! Love your family life, Lucy!

24 Hours With … Katrine

I think many of us love learning through example. Sure reading about a technique or an idea can be great, but I much prefer real life experiences. And who isn’t a little bit nosy? I love hearing about the little habits and ways of other people. With that in mind, I will be featuring different moms and how they juggle life. Don’t worry—this won’t be about having it all, wanting it all, leaning in, leaning out or anything else like that. It is simply a peek into someone else’s life. From this, I hope we can all see we each struggle in different ways and we all have something to offer.

To kick it off in style is my dear friend Katrine. This mother of one is a real go-getter with incredible energy. She never pretends to have it all figured out, but she does make it look easy. Quick to offer help and also quick to ask for help, she is that unusual combination of being totally put together and also completely open-minded to new ways and ideas. Here is Katrine’s 24 hours:

Thanksgiving 2013 BW
Katrine with her husband and daughter

1. Do you work inside or outside of the home? If outside of the home, what are your hours? I tell people I’m a garbage lady for Advanced Disposal because ultimately that’s what I do—just in the marketing department. Generally I work about 45 hours a week (8-5) with some before/after from home and some travel. I feel fortunate because my commute to work is only 3 miles, which drastically reduces my time away from home, not to mention the lack of traffic stress!

2. What is your childcare/schooling situation? Our daughter (F), 18 months, goes to school at a church very near to our house/my work. She goes every day for the full day and loves it. I call it school because I don’t like the way “daycare” sounds and she’s learning, so it is school.

3. What is breakfast, lunch and dinner like in your family? Breakfast is either the three of us or just me and F. Mornings are much more relaxed when it’s all three, as I’m less rushed to get her and me out the door.  Those mornings we may have eggs versus the hurried mornings, it’s quick things like cereal or waffles. I have oatmeal and cereal at work for those rushed mornings.  We try to make enough dinner so there are leftovers for my daughter (and sometimes me) for lunch.  Lunches and snacks get packed in the morning. Lately, my husband and I have been making smoothies for lunch. We throw in a bunch of veggies and fruit in our high-powered blender for a quick and nutritious lunch. Dinner depends on if he is working or not and are usually fairly quick/easy but always healthy with plenty of veggies.  We try to opt for those recipes that do not require numerous pots and pans to minimize cleanup.

4. Do you meal plan or wing it? Do you like that? Meals are a team effort between my husband and me. When he is off work (which is regularly due to his wild work schedule), he takes care of planning, shopping and cooking. It’s so nice to have a delicious meal waiting when I come home from work. When he is working, it’s 12-hour shifts and sometimes through the night, so meal planning is key because much of it is up to me to run the household pretty much solo. Kudos to those moms who have it that way all the time!

5. What is most the challenging part of your day? The most challenging part of my day is what I think challenges any mom who works inside or outside the home, and that’s simply finding time to get it all in. I always have to leave my desk at work with more work than there was when I sat down that morning. And when I get home, all I want to do is sit in the living room floor and play with F.  Dinner, clean up and the chores of running a household are always there nagging for attention. Finding the balance and being ok with “good enough” versus perfect is my biggest challenge.

6. What is the easiest part of your day? I feel blessed that I am a morning person, so it’s easy to get up and get things done while everyone else is still asleep. I get up at 5 and most days will work out between 5:30 and 6:20. Having that time to do something for me sets the tone for the rest of the day and starts it off right.

7. In terms of running a house with a family, what do you feel like you have figured out? We rarely go out to eat and instead use the money we save to have a housekeeper come every other week. It means more time on the weekends to do what we want and enjoy time as a family. We’re fortunate enough to “buy” time, and that’s ok.  Planning dinners and making enough for leftovers makes meal preparation more smoothly and healthy – two things that are vital to a happy household.

8. Does anything still stump you? How do I make the weekends feel more relaxing for us? I feel like Saturday and Sunday are busy with laundry, errands and getting ready for the next week, and we only have one child!

9. How do you take care of yourself and recharge? I run about 20 miles a week and do some strength training. I tell people that I am not a nice person if I don’t get a couple solid runs in a week. Prior to having a baby, I competed fairly competitively in triathlons (swim, bike and run races). Now I just do some running races here and there. I’ll likely never compete at the level I did and while I miss racing, I don’t miss the second job of training so seriously.  My time is simply better spent playing kitchen and dress up with F.

10. If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend it? Playing (without the feeling that I should be tending to something else) with F.

11. What does a typical day look like?
5:00 am: wake up (to music, not blaring alarm)
5:15: 50 minute run/work out
6:30: shower, get ready for work
7:00: F gets up, give her breakfast while packing lunches
7:45: out the door to school & work
8 – 5: work at the office, either work through lunch or take time to work on personal items. (I always pack my lunch or go home if husband is off work)
5:20 pm: home to prepare dinner/play before dinner
5:45: dinner
6:15: play
7:00: bath, bedtime for F
7:30: clean kitchen, relax 
8:30: read in bed 

I love that Katrina calls it “school” because I do the same thing! Daycare has such a bad connotation in our country. And how smart to work out first thing in the morning. Making the weekends more relaxing is definitely a great point—one we are all probably figuring out in our own way! Thank you for sharing, Katrine!