Getting a healthy, delicious dinner
on the table each night is the Holy Grail of working parents. Our four simple
tips help answer the nightly "what's for dinner?" question.
Greatest Hits: Do yourself a favor and commit to a weeknight
rotation of four to six basic recipes that can be easily assembled and altered
for variety. Roast chicken is simple; dress it up with an array of sides. Ditto
grilled lean meats and fish. Chopped salads are also easy; just vary the
ingredients for a fresh take. Shop on Saturday, prep foods Sunday (chopping
veggies for the week or roasting a chicken for use in weeknight meals) and keep
a running grocery list during the week so you can fill pantry holes during next
Chefs: Turn meal-planning
over to your teens once a week. In My
Sons, The Sous-Chefs, NYT reporter Leslie Kaufman recounts how
with some prep work (i.e. providing basic kitchen training and guidance on
recipe selection) she was able to outsource two meals a week to her teen sons.
Even tweens can help pitch in; have them assemble ingredients, defrost meats
and prepared foods, make a simple salad and set the table so you save time each
Prep Work: Who has time to plan in advance? You do that's who. Take
an hour each week to plan meals, grocery shop online and prep the basics (chopping,
roasting) over the weekend. An ounce of preparation
is worth a pound of take-out. You will be amazed at how small investments of
pre-planning yield delicious meals. For menu ideas read, Easy Weeknight Dinners.
Fake It: Who says dinner needs to be made from scratch? Savvy
weeknight chefs rely on pre-made and store-bought ingredients to get dinner
from to-do to done. Read Fake-It, Don't Make it: 25 Recipes to see how simple short-cuts can put dishes
like chicken tostadas and fish tacos on your dinner table quickly and easily.
Remember that awkward birds-and-the-bees chat with your
parents about a zillion years ago? Now, as your parents approach retirement,
it's time for another slightly uncomfortable talk: this time about finances and
legal paperwork. Even if your parents are still active and healthy, the day will
come when they need assistance. Make sure to prepare five key documents to protect
their finances and health. And if you have children of your own, do them a
favor by getting these documents for yourself.
needs a will, regardless of age and assets. Without a will, the courts will follow
state law to distribute your assets. A will makes clear how you wish your
personal effects to be distributed and helps avoid disagreements over the
estate after death.
Revocable Living Trust
If you die with only a will in place, the courts need to
undergo a process known as probate, a legal stamp of approval, which can cost
as much as five percent of an estate and take up to a year. Talk about
inheriting a legal tangle! Spare your heirs this process by setting up a
revocable living trust, which allows you to retain control over your estate
while making transfers to beneficiaries. Upon death, the trust protects the
estate from probate.
known as a medical or health directive, a living will allows your parent to
spell out what type of care your loved one wishes to receive if they become terminally
ill and incapacitated.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health-Care
Ask your parent to designate a trusted person with a
durable power of attorney to make healthcare decisions in case of
incapacitation. Make sure it has a HIPPA release that allows access to health
records and physicians.
Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
managing your loved one's bills possible with this document which allows you to
administer your loved one's financial affairs, pay their bills, dispose of
is Women's History Month and this March comes on the heels of the 50th
anniversary of the publication of what is widely considered a seminal work of
American feminism, Betty Friedan's "The Feminine
Mystique." Much has changed since Friedan first wrote
her book in the 1960's and much has not. To wit: the New York Times recently
ran a fascinating opinion piece titled, "Why Gender
Equality Stalled." Has gender equality stalled? Read the piece
and draw your own conclusions. But no matter your viewpoint, what is without
dispute is that women make up nearly half of the American workforce and are on
track to be an even larger percentage in coming years.
to the U.S. Department of Labor, women in the workforce in 2010:
Here's to the women
who make work work, both at home and in the workforce.
What would happen if you unexpectedly needed to take over your aging
parents' finances? With people living longer, adult children are increasingly
tasked with caring for aging parents. Are you prepared? If the answer is no, do
yourself a favor and get a handle on the paperwork before an emergency strikes.
This round-up of advice will help you, and your aging parents, navigate the
The Talk: The first step in providing
assistance is to get all parties to agree that help is needed. Open,
compassionate communication is essential. Speak candidly, but kindly, to your
parent about why you want to get involved in managing their finances or
paperwork either now or down the road. Listen actively and carefully to their
concerns so you can better assuage any fears. Make clear that you want to work
with them as partners. For more tips on discussing sensitive issues, read the
advice in How
to Talk with Elderly Parents about Tough Family Issues.
Must-Know Facts: Money talk is often considered
an impolite subject but in order to help your parents, candor is required. Plan
for a time when you aren't hurried or distracted to have a frank and thorough
conversation about your parents' finances. For starters, where do your parents
keep their financial records? Are they working with a financial planner? Do
they have a durable power of attorney to manage their finances should they
become incapacitated? Ask for a thorough inventory, or create one of your own,
that identifies crucial financial accounts, insurance and passwords or keys to
access online documents or safety deposit boxes. For more ideas of what you
need to know to be helpful, read 10 Things You Should Know About Your Parents' Finances.
Tax Man: Tax season means paperwork. Help
your parents greet the tax man with the advice in Your Aging Parents and Tax Season: A
Getting-Started Guide. The article has useful advice on determining whether or not your
parents even need to file (many seniors have income that falls below the IRS
threshold) and tips on how to claim your parent as a dependent.
Bill Paying: Keeping up with monthly bills is a big job. Let your parents
know you can help pitch in or take over the job entirely. Get started by
assessing their annual income and monthly expenses. Then, you can help your
parent write the checks, or if you have power of attorney, pay the bills
directly from their accounts. Keep in
mind that unless your parent is totally incapacitated, that it's still their
money and they should choose how and when to spend it. But keep an eye on credit
card statements and the bottom line; the elderly are often scammed by telemarketers
or are taken advantage of by friends, family or caregivers.
Helpful Tools: Taking on your parents' finances and paperwork in addition to
your own can seem daunting. We've rounded up some useful tools to keep all the trains
running on time. For the caregiver who prefers old-fashioned papers to digital,
The Senior Organizer is a handy workbook designed to
assist in gathering crucial personal, medical, legal and financial information.
For smartphone-savvy app lovers, elder-care website AgingCare.com http://bit.ly/49NVi has a useful article on apps to help
with all your elder care needs: 12 Handy Apps for Caregivers.
Hey groundhog, what early spring? Much of the East
Coast is still getting walloped by wintery weather: cold and flu season is
dragging on for the time-being. Read on for tips for dodging winter illnesses while
Rinse, Repeat: Your mother was right. Washing your hands
is the best source of defense against flu and cold germs. Make hand-washing a
regular habit when you first arrive at the office and throughout the day.
Lather up and scrub for at least 20 seconds-sing
the A, B, Cs in your head to gauge proper scrubbing time-and
you are good to go. In a pinch, use a hand sanitizer but make sure it contains
at least 60 percent alcohol for maximum effectiveness.
A good night's sleep is clinically proven to help ward off cold germs so log at
least seven, or better yet eight, hours of shut-eye on a regular basis. A
rested body is a healthier body.
Diet: Add bright berries and colorful veggies to your workday
diet to boost your immune system with powerful antioxidants. For more immune
boosting eats, read 10 Flu Fighting Foods. And maintain optimum energy levels all day long with the ideas from our past
post Healthy Office Eats. Yup, It's Possible.
Stress: Take steps to reduce stress which can undermine your
immune system. Add regular, moderate exercise to your daily routine and
consider relaxation techniques such as mediation or journaling. Even a brisk
15-minute walk midday can be enough to boost your energy levels and
reinvigorate your immune system. For other ideas, read Stress
Less: Seven Simple Ideas to Cut Stress.
Tea, Subtract Wine: Even moderate consumption of alcohol can
compromise immune response, so consider teetotaling during cold and flu season.
Instead, add green or herbal teas to your evening's routine for both their
antioxidant and relaxing properties.
Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates
passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization. Believing in "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.