Feels Like Spring

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4   I don't know about you, but yesterday with the sun shining so brightly and the temperature in the high 40s, it almost felt like spring was in the air.  Just as nature changes for the better (in my opinion) in the spring, many of us feel the urge to bring positive change to our homes, schedules and self.   With spring, comes the desire to make our homes lighter and brighter.  Additionally,  we look for ways we can free up time to enjoy the longer days and maybe make some positive self changes a long the way ...especially if we have long forgotten our New Years resolutions. Several new clients have reminded me of the amazing, uplifting power of letting go of clutter.   For one client in particular, we had two storage units to clean out and what I estimated would take several days, ended...
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Extend the Growing Season With a Cold Frame

Given the right conditions, a vegetable garden will yield a year-round supply of fresh produce. You can extend the growing season by sheltering plants from frost in early spring, late fall, and even winter.  There are several options for protecting crops against cool weather. Your choices depend on the amount of time and money you want to invest.    Cold frames and row covers are the simplest, least expensive structures for protection from the cold. Cold frames are raised beds that are covered with a glass, fiberglass, or plastic cover. They shelter plants from wind and use the sun’s heat to warm the soil. They’re also useful in hardening off seeds before Spring planting.    The ideal location for a cold frame is a south or southeastern exposure, against a North wall that will provide further protection from the elements. Placing the bed on a slight slope will help with drainage,...
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Snow and Donuts!!

I think it is safe to say that we all are going a little stir crazy! Having an unexpected snow day in the middle of the winter can be fun, and can break up our routines, but too much snow, and too many days off from school (and work) can wreck havoc with our over packed schedules, create stress and sometimes be very demotivating.Our neighborhood streets are still pretty bad since we haven't been plowed. I have been able to get out, but on a limited basis. Yesterday, I worked out at home and after my surge of endorphins kicked in, proceeded to organize my office closet, and knock out a few work to dos that I've delayed getting to. While I was busy doing my work, I told my kids, who were home from school again, that I'd take them to Krispy Kreme donuts if they got their rooms picked...
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Three Elements to Organizing

I am sometimes asked by a client why a room that we have worked on together still gets disorganized.  Sometimes it is because the system needs tweaking, or it may be time again for a good purge.  Though, sometimes it is because there are some habits or behaviors that if modified, could help support the system. Usually the first phase of organizing focuses on the physical space.  This is where the most change happens.  In order to organize a space, items need to be sorted and purged.  Once a client has identified the remaining objects in a room, then the room is zoned, items are grouped by type and then a home is found for each item and/or group of items.  We then talk about storage and strategize on ways to keep the system up. This is where we talk about types of behaviors or habits that help or hurt the...
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January is Get Organized Month

Hello Brooksfield family.  I greatly appreciate this opportunity to be an occasional blogger for your school community.  I have been working in the organizing field, providing both residential and business organizing services, for over 8 years.  My motivation and passion is to assist clients, through the organizing process, to find clarity and time in their home and work lives.  Prior to starting my company, Simplify for Life, I worked in the association management field for 15 years.  Do you know that the National Association of Professional Organizers designates January as "Get Organized Month"?  I think they do so because many people have getting organized as one of their top resolutions.  Many of us, myself included, have an innate desire to start the year off right, in control, organized, so that we are prepared and ready to manage our workload and personal lives instead of being in reactive mode.  I don't know...
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Green Cleaning - Why It's Good for You and the Planet

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While there are many green practices worth adopting, switching to green cleaning products is one of those actions I advocate for both as a way of helping the environment but also of protecting our own health. Why Switch to Green Cleaning Products? A Safer Home Each day, families are put to risk by household cleaning products found throughout their homes, most of which are unregulated and untested, and many whose toxic ingredients are not disclosed on labels. According to National Geographic, only about 30% of the roughly 17,000 chemicals found in household products, including those used for cleaning, have been sufficiently tested for their effects on human health. Healthier and safer cleaning products offer natural, non-toxic, and biodegradable alternatives that are just as effective as synthetic chemical cleaners. A Safer Environment The use of synthetic cleaners has adverse effects on air and water quality, as well as land-based environmental concerns. Many...
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Green manure

Brooksfield’s garden project is off to a strong start. The two raisedbeds where we’ll plant vegetables and perennials require some soilamendment, and Fall is the ideal time to get started. By preparing thesoil in the Fall, we’ll ensure that the garden is ready when the firstwarm days lure us outside.One method for restoring nutrients to soil is to plant a cover crop,or green manure. A green manure is an organic method for improvingsoil fertility. It’s “green” because it begins with a plant, ratherthan an animal. A green manure is particularly useful in preventingsoil erosion and compaction. It also restores nitrogen to soil whereplants with high nutrient needs were previously growing.To prepare the bed for a cover crop, or green manure, till undersummer plant waste and rake the soil to remove clumps.  A cover cropcan be planted as early as August, or as last as November.  There areseveral types of cover crops...
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Holiday Green Living Tips by Adrienne Spahr

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It’s estimated that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Americans generate one million tons of waste a week. Holiday gift giving and decorating doesn’t have to sacrifice the environment – with some creative green thinking and action, you can have a festive holiday that is good for the planet, and maybe even your pocketbook! Here are Green Living Consulting’s tips for a Green Holiday:   Keep up the 3 R’s Through the Holidays More than 8,000 tons of wrapping paper are used for presents - the equivalent of 50,000 trees. Try these eco-practices to reduce waste: Wrap gifts with paper that is made from recycled content or recyclable. I often use the off-white paper included in shipments and decorate using colored ribbon or stamps. Comic strips from the newspaper also make great wrapping paper.Buy gifts with minimal packaging and wrap in a reusable bag.Recycle wrapping and tissue paper, bags, and boxes...
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December Happenings!

12.00 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4     The Lower School Classrooms at Brooksfield School are beginning to look festive!  One 3 to 6 year old classroom is studying Kwanzaa.  They had fun lighting the candles on the Kinara and celebrating the seven principles like unity (umoja) and faith (imani).  They even made their own Kinara to hang up in the classroom!  In another Montessori classroom the children are studying Ansel Adams.  Ansel Adams did not create art with paint but instead with photos. He was a photographer who primarily took black and white photos of nature. One of the teachers even brought in a 35 mm camera that the children can use to take photos!  On the art shelf, there is work that allows the children to set up their own landscape and take photos just like Ansel Adams. The children can set up a winter scene or...
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The Classrooms Are Buzzing with Activity:

12.00 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4       The Lower School classrooms at Brooksfield School are alive with activity!  For the Artist of the Month, one preschool classroom is studying Claude Monet.  He was from Paris and lived more than 150 years ago.  He painted in the style called impressionism.  He loved to paint outside.  One child even commented, “He made that painting that looks like it’s wet!”  We have some astute art viewers. We checked on our organic gardens this week….why now, you might ask?  Because last week’s rye is beginning to come up!  The children are trying to understand why we are planting right before winter.  We will watch our gardens over the winter and see the effects of weather on our planted seeds. On the green scene we tried an experiment on the affects of pollution on plants.  You can try this at...
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