Before your kids strike a pose and say “Cheeeeeese” for their school pictures, here’s a few hacks to make sure everyone rocks school picture day! Here’s my latest from TLC!
It’s officially back to school time! So before your kids hit the books, check out my latest segment on HLN’s Weekend Express where I am sharing my favorite hacks that will keep everyone organized, create the perfect place for your kid’s art, and how to make a to-go homework space.
It’s back to school time and this year we are starting the school year with a few hacks that will make life a little easier, more organized, and letting our kiddos personal style shine. Here’s my latest segment from Good Morning Washington!
Sometimes I lie in bed in the morning and calmly think “It might not seem like it now, but we’re already late.” And within twenty minutes, I’m throwing shoes and socks at kids while I bark orders like “Did you brush your teeth? Come breathe on me so I can check.” But not this year, friends. This year this mom is embracing all the sanity savers and parenting hacks to protect my precious sanity and shave a few minutes off our hectic day. Back to school is serious stuff. Just ask these two.
Here’s a few parenting hacks to make the school year start a little smoother.
Easily cook a dozen eggs for breakfast sandwiches by baking eggs in a muffin tin. Using a lightly greased muffin tin, crack one egg into each cup and bake for 15 minutes on 350 degrees. Build your sandwich with English muffins, cheese and ham. Freeze the sandwiches and wrap in foil for later or heat and enjoy.
Cut down on breakfast mess by mixing pancake mix for the week and putting it into several freezer bags and store in the fridge. Be sure to leave room for the batter to expand. When ready to make, cut a bottom corner of the freezer bag and squeeze the mix into a hot pan.
Have a breakfast smoothie any morning by chopping up and freezing all the ingredients for a smoothie in a individual sandwich bags. When you’re ready, grab a bag and throw the ingredients into a blender and enjoy!
Serve yummy oats and not cook a thing! Mix equal parts milk, yogurt and rolled oats with a banana and some cinnamon. Place in the fridge overnight and in the morning, add fruit or nuts and serve.
Never run out of ice packs for lunch boxes again! Grab kitchen sponges from the dollar store, soak in water, place in sandwich bag, and freeze for effective and cheap ice packs.
Never worry food in a thermos isn’t still hot at lunchtime. Fill the thermos or can with almost boiling water and put the lid on. Let it sit while you pack lunches or serve breakfast. Heat the food hotter than you would normally serve it. Dump out the hot water and add the food. Now you have hot food stored in a warm thermos. Perfect for a hot lunch!
Use that thermos for food other than soup. Heat chicken nuggets in the microwave and store in a hot thermos. They will be warm and yummy when your kids are ready for lunch. Just don’t forget the ketchup.
Keep apples from turning brown by using a knife or apple corer/slicer to cut around the core. Put the apple back together and wrap a rubberband around the apple. The apple will still be fresh at lunch.
Choose outfits for the entire week and store each outfit in a section of a hanging sweater organizer. Be sure to include socks, underwear, and hair accessories to make the morning even easier. Write out the days of the week and post on each section for extra site word practice!
Loop a soda can tab on a hanger and attach another hanger to the other side of the tab to create a double hanger. For after-school activities, hang all uniforms pieces and practice clothes on these hangers to save closet space and stay organized.
Cut an over the door shoe organizer to fit inside a door of a bathroom cabinet. Give each child a row on the organizer to store all their hair brushes, hair products, hair accessories, tooth brushes,tooth paste, or anything else they use to get ready in the morning.
Affix a magnetic strip to the inside of the cupboard door and attach bobby pins and hair bows to the strip to save space and help with organization.
Never lose a hair elastic again by using a caribbeaner clips to store hair elastics and ribbons.
At the Door Hacks
A decorative silverware organizer is perfect to leave by the door so each family member can always grab what they need before heading out the door: phone, keys, ID tags, headphones, wallet, and even a stain remover stick
Change the locked picture on your phone to a written note with your kid’s schedules, pickup times, and drop-off times for a quick reference at the beginning of the year.
Use command hooks or decorative towel hooks inside a closet or on a wall to create a backpack nook. This gives kids the perfect place to hang their backpacks
Create a “last minute” station using milk crates near the door. Using shoeboxes or plastic containers, store socks, hair accessories, change, and quick grab snacks like applesauce pouches or granola bars for those last minute needs.
Create a portable homework station for each kid by filling binders or shower caddy with with everything they need to complete homework: pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, and paper. This is great for younger siblings that want “homework” too.
If you don’t have a desk for homework time, use an inexpensive shoe rack to create shelf space on a table
Create a “Mom Command Center” in your kitchen so everything you need to stay organized is in one place: start with a large dry erase board or chalk board paint to create a calendar, folders for all school forms going in and out, places to store kid’s art work, a place to menu plan, and a docking station for your phones, tablets and computers.
Cover all your bases by setting the bookmark on your phone or tablet to all those important sites you’ll visit every day like the school website, Today Show for news and Wake Up with Al for weather.
So here’s to a new school year, never missing the bus, and not having to ask your kids to brush their teeth five times!
Today my Facebook newsfeed was filled with “First Day of School” pictures and I loved it. With brand new shoes, a snazzy new outfit, and a bookbag filled with shiny new school supplies, these tiny tykes were ready to take on the world, or at least a new classroom. While so many of my friends were shedding a few tears at the bus stop and encouraging their little ones to hold up their “First Day of Kindergarten” signs a little higher, other friends were looking quite cheerful at the thought of their older kids filling their days with school books. But not me. Today I got a short reprieve.
At 9:00 in the morning the kids and I were still sitting in our PJs watching TV, but I had that pressure building in my chest of impending sadness. While I’ve dodged the kindergarten bullet this year because of my boy being a summer baby, there are still big changes around here. In one week, my five-year-old will be in school five days and my three-year-old will be at school two days. And while I’m so excited for them to explore, learn, create, and play at their new school, I am also a weepy mess at the thought of them being away from me.
I don’t do well with change, and this is a big change. It’s also the start of a new normal.
Rather than filling our days with playgrounds, adventures in the backyard, and maybe too many hours in front of the TV, we’ll be on school schedules. We’ll take vacations when school is out. We will set our clocks to school time. And I will miss them when they are gone. I will MISS them every day.
Of course I’ll love the small chunks of free time and it will become the new way we function, but I will truly miss this part of our life, when it was just the three of us all day. And that is so terrifying to me. Since I signed on as a stay-at-home-mom, acting as cruise director every day has been my task. Now that’s all changing.
I have this sense of dread that’s gnawing away that I haven’t done enough for them. Enough to prepare them. Crazy, I know. These two are headed to preschool and not a cross-country journey; however, it’s all relative and I’m really struggling here.
Have I read to them enough? Does that little one even know her letters? Will they remember to wash their hands? What if someone is mean to them? Dear Lord, I CANNOT handle someone being mean to them. How early can I hope for a snow day?
What is it about school that brings about these irrational fears in mothers? It’s as if our deepest darkest fears will be recognized when we send our kids off to school because someone will realize we haven’t been doing our job and we’ve really just screwed up our kids.
Am I crazy? YES! I know my kids will be fine. They love school, they love making new friends, and they are so smart, but dang, the guilt and fear is weighing me down.
Yes they will be fine. But will I?
Maybe I just need to get through the first day or the first week before I can breathe a bit. I have an entire year before I have to put my son on a bus for kindergarten and few years before my gal follows behind. I know when they step on that bus for the first time, they will be golden and so ready for the big world of elementary school. Me, not so much.
But for now I have a little more time. A little reprieve before our new normal.
It's time to head back to school, and I'm teaming up with Boogie Wipes to offer an awesome Back-to-School Giveaway for kids and moms!
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Giveaway is live Tuesday, August 5, 2014 until midnight on August 22, 2014. US and Canada residents only (excluding Quebec). Three winners will be randomly chosen and notified via email. YOUR BLOG NAME received no compensation for sponsoring this event, and is not responsible for the delivery of the prize. Prize delivery is the sole responsibility of Boogie Wipes.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
Friends, I’m not doing so well. I’m preparing myself for an empty nest. OK, that’s a bit dramatic. I’m not really going to have an empty nest, but I’m going to have two kids in preschool this fall. So while they aren’t really flying the nest, it feels like an empty nest to me. With my son headed off for five day Pre-K and my daughter two days for preschool, I’ll miss them like crazy, but I’ve been assured I’ll find plenty to do while they’re at school (the piles of laundry that have overtaken our house, perhaps). But to be honest with you, I’m a bit nervous and I’ve started to panic a bit with the idea of my daughter heading off to preschool. Is she ready? Does she know all of her colors? What about her shapes? Oh no, does she even know her letters? Yikes! You know, the whole second kid thing where we just hope they learn from osmosis from the first kid? So when I came across the Disney Junior preschool learning activities at Walmart’s Back to School aisle, I knew I could make sure my gal was up on her preschool basics with a little help from her Disney Junior favorites.
This week we’ve been at the beach with my family and I brought the Disney Junior Preschool Learning Activities along. I used some of our down time to try out the Learning Schoolhouse Activity with my gal and my niece, who is also making the leap into preschool in the fall.
They loved playing school and they got LOTS and LOTS of practice sharing while taking turns putting up the magnets and using the dry erase markers. Sharing, now I know that’s a skill she needs at preschool.
The smaller learning activity packs were actually perfect for travel because they come in a resealable bag. These are definitely going into our car for long commutes. Since you can write and wipe off your answers, both kids will get a lot of use out of these activity packs
Since my son is a typical boy, he likes to be on the go ALL THE TIME. Getting him to sit still long enough to write his letters is torture for him. So we’ve learned to be creative, and I was thrilled to see he really liked the First Words Learning Activity packet. He picked out site words and copied the letters with dry erase markers, and I liked how everything could go right back into the packet until we were ready to play with it again.
We found our Disney Junior learning activities in the Back to School aisle at Walmart. Not only do they feature some of our Disney Junior favorites like Jake, Sofia, Mickey and Doc, some of the learning activities were under $5! Mamma really likes that!
- Learning Schoolhouse Activity
- Counting Learning Activity
- First Words Learning Activity
- Rhyming Learning Activity
- Alphabet Learning Activity
- Numbers Learning Activity
- Colors & Shapes Learning Activity