Five things to do for a smoother start to the school year

School is just around the corner. As a teacher, I feel like we only just left school for the summer. As a parent, I am looking forward to the kids getting their routine back. While we are busy squeezing the last little drop out of summer, I have begun to think about what we can do to make our back-to-school transition go more smoothly.

1. Organize your children’s closets

Does your kid’s closet currently resemble an avalanche? If so, that’s really going to stress you out when you’re trying to get everyone dressed but their closets are insane.

Just grab a sheet of plywood, a saw, a drill, and some wood screws and build yourself a closet organizer.

2. Teach your children to prepare the night before

Pack your lunches, lay out your clothes, and get your book bag ready the night before. There’s no point in scrambling to find what you need in the mornings. This will only stress you out and make you feel rushed.

3. Establish bedtime routines and after school routines about three weeks before school starts

Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

Don’t wait until the week before school starts to begin going to bed early. Make sure kids know what you expect them to do when they first get home from school and what times are bath time and bed time. We start working on this a month to three weeks before school starts to get it ingrained. We also use a checklist similar to this one to help:

Source: Pinterest

4. Go back-to-school shopping early!

If you wait until the last minute, items may be sold out. Get your back to school shopping done sooner rather than later and you won’t have to worry. Also, if you forget something, there is plenty of time to get it.

5. Take some time off

Rest. Don’t jam pack your schedule the last few weeks before school. Take one to two weeks to relax and prepare for school to start back. Spend time together and just enjoy one another. For the days are long, but the years are short. Someday, back to school time will be a distant memory.

Have a wonderful weekend.

How to customize a dance costume (and make it look custom)

My two daughters are competitive dancers. While custom costumes are the way to go for competition, it’s also a much more expensive route. Thankfully, there are ways to customize an existing costume and make it seem like a custom.

1. Buy costume separates or a shell

We chose to buy this crop top and bottom from Balera. You can buy sequined separates like we did, or plain. It’s truly up to you.

2. Choose the embellishments you want to use

We chose to use a rhinestone appliqué, clear rhinestones and Maribou feathers. We also used E6000 adhesive and a glue applicator.

3. Add embellishments to the bottom

We chose to add only feathers to the bottom of the costume.

4. Add embellishments to the top

Finished product

The result is a very cute, very sparkly one-of-a-kind costume. This was surprisingly easy and you can do it too!!

More costume customizations to come!!

15 Free Summer Activities For Your Family

I don’t know about you, but we struggle to find fun, free ways to occupy our time toward the end of summer. There are plenty of activities you can pay to do, but that gets expensive. Today, I am going to share 15 awesome ways you and your family can have fun this summer…for free!!

1. Go on a nature walk

You don’t even have to leave your house. Go for a walk around your yard. Check out the trees, the flowers and see if you can spot any small animals or insects. You never know what you may find (but watch out for snakes).

2. Blow bubbles

This one may cost just a little, but it’s a lot of fun for your little people. My girls are now 10 and 5 and they still love blowing bubbles. You can even make your own bubbles from dish soap.

3. Have a Photo shoot

Put on a cute outfit, play dress up or do each other’s hair and snap some pics! The sillier, the better.

4. Bake something from scratch together

You would be surprised what you can make from things you already have in your cabinet. Whip up some delicious treats and enjoy them together.

5. Swing on a swing

This was my absolute favorite thing to do as a kid. I absolutely loved it. So it’s no surprise my kids love it, too.

6. Have a water fight

Use water balloons, water guns, soaking wet sponges, water hoses, or whatever…grab something with water and have an all out battle. It’s a blast!

7. Go on a picnic

Grab a blanket and some snacks and head outside. You don’t even have to leave your yard. Find a shady spot and spread out the blanket, and have a tasty snack.

8. Make a backyard movie theater

Source

String up a white sheet and borrow a projector. Use your smart phone and a DIY projector if you can. This is a low cost way to have some easy family fun.

9. Set up an obstacle course

Use what you have to create a backyard obstacle course- hula hoops, pool noodles, a slide, you name it. Then, pretend you’re a contestant on American Ninja Warrior. It’s a blast- you can even take turns being the announcer.

10. Karaoke or dance party

Put on some costumes, pick up a toy mic, and belt out one of your favorite songs. We have tons of fun with this at our house.

11. Build something

Grab some blocks or LEGO’s and have a contest: let your imagination flow and see what you can come up with.

12. Make a bucket list

What is something you want to do during your life? Where do you want to travel someday? Make a list and share it with one another. You may be surprised at how similar yours and your family members’ lists are.

13. Go to the library

A lot of places will let you get a library card at age five. Most libraries do not charge a fee unless a book is lost or damaged. Check out some books from your local library and enjoy them together. Our local library even offers a summer reading program and story hour each week.

14. Make something fun

Draw or paint something, make a bracelet or sew a pillow. Look at the craft supplies you have and see what you can create.

15. Exercise together

Take a walk together, do yoga together, or try a YouTube exercise video. Find one you all like and give it a try. Exercise has so many benefits- it helps you sleep, it boosts your health and it evens put your mood. Use it as a free, fun way to spend time together too .

I hope you have enjoyed this list! What ways does your family like to spend time together and have fun?

Three creative wood coatracks you can make yourself!!

I don’t know about you all, but I’m so obsessed with the unexpected. When it comes to hanging up coats, I love finding unique and interesting ways to hang up our clothes and coats.

1. Unique door knob coat hanger

Source

This remains one of my favorite projects I’ve ever done and I still use this in my bedroom. You should totally try it! Click the link for the directions.

2. Reclaimed wood coat rack

Source

You can easily make this one with a reclaimed board, some hooks and some paint. Most of us have an old board around. Make this one.

3. Built in coat tree

I wish so much that I had “stages” pictures and directions for this. My dad did this for me shortly before he died. I do know he made it entirely from 1x4s and nails. I love this so much.

I hope these ideas spark your creativity! If you use any of these ideas, please share it with me!

Junk Drawer DIYs: make these crafts from things you already have around your home

I don’t know about you guys, but I am itching for a good project. With the current cost of lumber, I have been struggling to find ways to scratch my creative itch.

I’ve got a few scrap wood projects and pallet projects in mind, but until then, I’m making things from what I already have. I’d love to share some of those things with you.

1. Desk storage boxes

Source: Create Fashionable Storage from Ordinary Shoeboxes

I have two daughters and a love for shoes…so you better believe I have a collection of shoeboxes. Get some paint, some metal bookplates and some glue…and you have yourself some new desk storage boxes.

2. Farmhouse candlesticks

Source: DIY farmhouse candlesticks

If you have some candlesticks, some plant pot saucers, white chalk paint and a drill, you can make these candlesticks.

3. White mason jar succulent planter

Source: mason jar succulent planter

If you’re like me, you have an assortment of mason jars lying around. Take a small one, paint it white and pop a succulent in it.

4. Picture frame tray

Source: make a tray from an old picture frame

All you need for this one is some drawer pulls, a drill, a pretty piece of paper and some chalk paint.

5. Scrap wood shutters

Source: scrap wood shutters

Do you have some scrap wood lying around? Just use it to create some faux shutters!! You will need wood, drawer pulls and hinges, and paint or stain.

I hope these five easy and cheap DIYs inspire you! Maybe you can scratch your creative itches, too.