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Making the home matter
Columnist whips up book on mothering
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The Robinson family includes, from left, Sydney, Paul, Chandler, Adlen, Walker and Mason. - photo by Emily Saunders
Take a look in Adlen Robinson’s kitchen cabinets and it’s easy to see the role organization plays in the busy mother of four’s life.

The multitasking maven has figured out, through trial and error, how to keep it together when it comes to her marriage, motherhood, work and other activities.

Robinson has whipped up all that hard-earned wisdom into a book she hopes will help others keep it together too.

Complete with tips, strategies and planning suggestions, “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home” offers a variety of ways to keep life in order.

The book covers everything from meal planning to summer survival to marriage advice.

For example, Robinson suggests storing herbs and spices in neatly labeled tins on a tiered shelf in a cabinet. Add to that a Lazy Susan for other ingredients and cooking charts taped inside the cabinet and you’ve got a recipe for organized cooking.

Robinson said her life wasn’t always so orderly.

She married her husband, Paul, in 1990. Almost a year to the day later, their first child, Mason, was born.

Fast-forward two-and-a-half years and they had two more bundles of joy, daughters Sydney and Chandler. A few years after that, their fourth child, Walker, came along.

“Within just a very short time I found myself thrust into matrimony and parenting,” Robinson said. “When you go to college you don’t learn that.

“You don’t know what you’re doing basically and I think the first few years of our marriage, because we had three kids in such a short time, the word that describes those years to me is chaos.”

Robinson figured out it was time to get organized. Lucky for her readers, she took notes.

“Through many errors, many tribulations I started finding tools that worked to help our family and I would, being a writer, write them down,” she said. “I journal and I always said one day I’m going to put these in a book.”

About seven years ago, Robinson started writing her weekly food column for the Forsyth County News. Not long after that, she started her Home Matters column. She also writes feature articles.

Though her first three children are in their teens and her fourth is nearly there, Robinson said they keep her just as busy as she was when they were little.

Mason, 17, is a senior at South Forsyth High School and an avid kayaker. Sydney, 16, also attends South and loves playing acoustic guitar and writing her own music. She plays in the band in her church as well.

Chandler, 14, is an athlete. She’s on the Piney Grove Middle School basketball team and also plays piano and enjoys writing.

Robinson said Walker, 11, is the most social of her bustling brood and eats, sleeps and breathes football.

“None of them seem to care about the cooking thing,” Robinson said. “I was hoping to get a chef out of one of them, but that’s not going to happen.”

When she’s not writing or taking care of her family, Robinson uses her organization and cooking skills to help others.

A couple of years ago, a member of the board of directors from Jessie’s House sought help finding someone to get their kitchen in order. The local nonprofit is a shelter for girls ages 7 to 17.

Robinson said she offered to organize their pantry and set up a meal system, but she was only going to do it once.
Two years later, she is still doing their grocery shopping, planning their weekly menus and cooking for them two or three times a week.

“Now I can’t imagine not doing it,” she said. “I love it. I love the girls.”

Christianity plays a large role in Robinson’s life as well and her book includes a chapter on the importance of staying spiritually balanced.

An active member of her church, Robinson conducts a weekly Bible study group that has grown from five to 41 women. She told participants to invite a friend.

“I didn’t think everybody would take me up on it,” she laughed. “But it’s all a good thing. I love that. It’s really huge for us.”

Robinson’s book also includes advice for busy moms about taking care of themselves.

“We cannot afford to get run down, get sick ... you do have to take care of you,” she said. “When my kids were little, that would happen when my husband would come home from work and dinner was done.

“I would go in my bedroom, lock the door and take a bath, read a book, write in my journal ... there are plenty of nights when you need a good cry after taking care of little kids all day.”

She said she couldn’t do it all without her husband.

“He is my best friend, but he’s also just such a great dad,” she said. “He’s such a caring, funny, great guy and that’s what got me through.”

E-mail Julie Arrington at