Term paper time – help for the anxious

Screen Shot 2018-02-13 at 2.31.45 PM I’m completely sympathetic to anxious students struggling to even start papers for grades, and I never call it laziness. It may be debilitating perfectionism. It may be lack of successful strategies. Or fatigue. Whatever the causes, procrastination then paralysis makes it impossible to move from clear thinking to complete sentences. Anybody love a student like this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sd2Q6Fagemg. Here’s help. Continue reading “Term paper time – help for the anxious”

Fun cookie tip!


Getting an early start on cookie baking for friends and family this year? It’s easy enough to arrange plates and tins of flat cookies that stack and wrap easily, but I needed a way to store and transport the slidey unstackables. This works well! Continue reading “Fun cookie tip!”

Low-stress solutions for young families, part 1

From Seasonsofparenting.com

It happens. —The late-night wet bed or stomach flu. — The backseat upset tummy. — Stuck in a long line, waiting room or laundromat, thirsty and anxious with nothing to do. It’s never convenient, but it can be much easier with very little preparation.

Continue reading “Low-stress solutions for young families, part 1”


For years, I’ve listened to morning radio – the news while I did dishes on weekdays, public radio shows during Saturday morning cooking and laundry.

I’ve repurposed that prime time, and more.


Continue reading “Static”

Crying in the cart

woman picking out produce

Who hasn’t done it? – You’re tired, the kids are tired, but you need bread and bananas and wearily head to the store. The experience can either bring stress and sadness or build relationships. Here are tips for your trip, and a suggestion for the rest of us.

Continue reading “Crying in the cart”

Start with one corner


Weather ~ a cool, cloudy, early summer morning

Wildlife ~ chipmunks, gray squirrels, and sparrows, cardinals, house finches, titmice, and one nuthatch 

Mood ~ content

I was the youngest in a family with short lifelines and I look forward to the day when we are together again. Until then, we are connected in memories that are surprisingly comforting. And helpful. ~Such as when I haven’t done the dishes for a couple days and I can’t actually see the counters. “Start with one corner,” my mother used to say of spring cleaning. Or even cleaning my room.

Turns out, that works for all big projects and all ages.

Does your child have a long math worksheet? A room to tidy? Term paper? Divide it into smaller projects with clear stopping points and meaningful rewards after each — the younger the child, the smaller the parts. You’ll be teaching time management, self discipline and the power of earned rewards.

Special education aides know the value of dividing worksheets into rows, or columns, or blocks, or setting a timer for the required amount of attention. A small reward of time spent doing a more pleasurable activity follows the completion of each chunk of work.

For anyone with a short attention span, a tendency to procrastinate for fear of failure, or simple dislike for the job at hand, focusing on smaller pieces transforms what can feel like a life sentence into manageable steps. Then success builds on success. I’ve come to approach just about every project this way from complex magazine assignments to cleaning the garage.

What is that daunting project for you today? The household budget? FAFSA paperwork for your student’s college applications? Making Halloween costumes? Sorting and donating unused items in storage? Cleaning the car?

Above all, begin. Start with one page, one corner, or just clear off a workspace and gather the needed materials. Set a timer if that helps, then give the task your full attention, accomplish your first goal, establish a time to do more, then do something fun. You will have earned it!