Have you entered back into the school scene yet?
Big J started Kindergarten today. Ohmigosh, ‘scuse me while I hyperventilate for a second. I can’t be old enough to have a kindergartener…………. alas, it’s true. We dropped him off with his cute little backpack and matching lunch bag, in a school uniform and handed over a bag of supplies to his teacher this morning. He was so excited. (His momma is a bit nervous… and a little excited too.)
But Big J wasn’t the only one that needed school supplies. Arranging and keeping track of five busy people isn’t an easy task and these are my secret go-to items to make sure our wheels keep on turning around here.
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1. A calendar. I have… ahem, five calendars. And possibly a calendar addiction. There’s a lot going on around here and I HAVE to write everything down, some times more than once. I have our lives recorded on paper and digitally.
There are lots of calendar apps out there, but I just use the stock Google Calendar app on my Android phone as my digital tracker. I love that I can sync my husband and my accounts and we can keep each other updated on what’s going on in our lives. I am a visual person and being able to see the craziness of our lives hanging on the wall (or in the palm of my hand) is something I need. A reusable monthly Master Calendar is essential to our family.
2. Meal Planner. If dinnertime has ever surprised you, this is the answer you are looking for! Plan out your meals and your shopping list because it’ll help you spend less and be more organized. And dinner will never be a surprise again!
With a meal planner, I have a visual reminder all day long of the prep that needs to be done and I can plan for it. Our meals are healthier, usually taste better and the evening goes more smoothly. The meal planner and shopping list I use are part of the printable pack available in this post.
3. To-Do List. I am a visual gal and need to see my day all laid out. You too? Then this is something you need! I printed the page, laminated it and I use wet erase markers to fill it out. You can divide the blocks up by categories. For example, “Work, Chores, Errands”, “Today, Tomorrow, This Week” or something like that. Check off your to-do list more efficiently. See exactly what needs to be done and when. Grab your free high-resolution copy of my organizer HERE.
KEEP THE LISTS AND PAPERS ORGANIZED
4. Wet or Dry Erase Markers. I love the Vis-a-Vis markers and use them daily. Yes, daily. I use them on all kinds of stuff because they are so versatile. Expo has a bunch of colors too, if you prefer dry erase markers.
I like to laminate my printable organizers because then I can reuse them without having to reprint them. It helps save on ink and furthermore, keeps all that paper out of the trash or even the recycle bin. I have a grocery list one, a to-do list one and a meal planner one that I use these pens on all the time.
5. File Organizer. I have a file organizer that has three slots. Each slot has a label, which include “home from school” slot, a “back to school” slot and a “needs to be filed” slot. This file organizer is for the papers Big J brings home.
Each day, big J empties his backpack and put any papers in the “home from school” slot. I go through them; keep what needs to be kept, throw out the trash and take care of any correspondence that needs to go back to school. Can you guess where those papers go?
In the “back to school” slot. This is also where I put notes to his teacher, absence letter explanations, notes for the office and the like. This way, no matter who helps Big J pack his backpack, we know all things that needed to go back did. We empty this slot into Big J’s backpack each morning before he leaves.
The things I want to keep (art projects, the math test he aced, the spelling test with questionable words on it) go into the “needs to be filed” slot and finally it goes into a bin like you can find on Simply Kierste. She shared a fantastic idea for storing and filing all those art projects and awesome things that come home from school. Seriously, check it out.
6. Re-Usable Water Bottle or To-Go Mug. Life as a mom is hectic and crazy from the moment you roll out of bed in the morning until you climb back in many, many hours later. Between shuttling kids to school, practice, games, and all those other places kids need to be, you’ll be spending a lot of time in your car. It is hard to keep your fluid intake up because you’re busy running around all day long. Something that you can refill, grab and go is essential. I love my water infuser. Make bottle after bottle of water easier to gulp down with a bit of flavor. Lemon is my fave and ginger gives it a nice zing too!
7. Easy to-go snacks. Keep easy, grab and go snacks in the cupboard for the times when you’re herding the little ones out to the car. I have a bag by the door with non-perishables I can grab when we go get big brother from school. While you’re sitting and waiting, pull out the snacks and feed everyone. In our house full of testosterone, angry hunger is no joking matter. I bring a simple snack for Big J to eat on our way home too because he’s usually hungry too. Applesauce pouches, string cheese, trail mix, beef jerky and raisins are just a few ideas to grab when you’re on the go. You can find an extensive list of awesome snack ideas by clicking the link above or the image below.
… AND CUTE
8. A good pair of sunglasses… for all that time you’ll be spending in the car once the kids go back to school. Even in winter, the glare of the sun can be a driving annoyance; furthermore, the UV rays aren’t great for your eye health either. Protect your beautiful peepers with a pair of cute sunglasses. I favor the cheap pairs, due to the sunglass gremlins that seem to steal mine all the time. Whether you prefer high-end or some off-brand, make driving a little more comfortable and safe with a pair of sunglasses. These Kate Spade’s kinda make me drool a little though… how ’bout you?
BE PREPARED IN THE CAR
9. A good book. Maybe it’s an actual book you can stick in the console of your car or in your purse. Or maybe you prefer to have your books digitally in your phone or tablet. Whether way, keep a book on hand so you’ll have something to do in between all that dropping off and picking up you’ll be doing. Check off your to-do list faster! Keep something to do on-hand because you’re limited on what you can do while you’re waiting in the car. Check out New York Times Best Sellers or Amazon’s Best Sellers. Re-read an old favorite or catch up on your book bucket list. I’m making my way through The Girl on The Train right now.
9 1/2. If you have younger kids that will be in the car with you during all this running, you may want to have a small basket of car toys. I made The Car Toy Box up when we went back to school and I started having to wait in the pick up line after school. It is my sanity in a box. Check out the post and see how I set mine up and what I put inside it. Use toys you already have, chances are your kids won’t miss anything you take for the Car Toy Box, and it will be a magical surprise when they get to play with it again. These Water WOW books by Doug & Melissa are some of my favorite travel/car toys right now.
10. A good pair of shoes. If you’ve spent any time chasing after children then you know why. Ballet flats are my go-to shoe once the kids have gone back to school because they are comfy, stay on my feet, and come in tons of styles. These options are cute, simple and easy to style. They go with innumerable fashion options and will help you keep up with your busy life without sacrificing your style.
11. A good bag. All the running around after kiddos once you go back to school is tiring and it requires a surprising amount of stuff to do it easily. We love this Timbuk2 bag because it holds all the things needed to make these busy days run as smoothly as possible. Snacks, toys, an extra blanket, water, a couple books maybe, diapers and extra wipes.
Bring the bag in the car and, as a result, you’ll have the things you need. Don’t scramble around. Make it easy on yourself because running errands with kids is hard enough. It’s up to you if you take it with you while you run errands or if you choose a couple items at each stop and let the kids explore those. Trade items at each errand location and you’ll be able to keep the kids calmer and distracted for a little longer.
What do you need to keep your home running during back to school season? Let us know in the comments!
This post written by Krista and originally appeared on While He Was Napping.