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.

Dance Recital Organization Hacks

We are a dance family. Both of our daughters take numerous dance classes and are competitive dancers. As a result, their recent recital consisted of 12 costume changes…eight for Emorie and four for Aubrey. To keep them all straight and minimize time between numbers, I chose to purchase a rolling rack.

1. Rolling garment rack

At rehearsal, we tried to keep all the costumes and shoes in a large rolling duffle. It worked to an extent, but it did get difficult at times. So instead, I bought a $10 rolling rack at Walmart and hung the costumes in the order of the dances. I hung a ziplock bag with shoes and accessories on each hanger. This made costume changes so much easier!

2. Cosmetic bag

Amazon.com, $14

We have a large cosmetic case similar to this one. It’s huge and it holds their hairspray, hairbrush, hair ties, mirror and their makeup. We use the smaller one to hold the hair pins, safety pins and the smaller items.

3. Multipurpose closet hooks

Walmart, $7

We use these hooks to hang our mirror and cosmetic bags onto the closet rod so we will have them close at hand.

4. Small handheld mirror

Amazon, $9

This mirror is magnifying and lighted…and you can fold it up! It travels easily and is very handy. Get you one!

I highly recommend you get all of these things to make your recital run more smoothly. They made our experience so much more organized and less stressful.

Life as a Lumber: What We’ve Been Up To

Boy, was THIS school year one for the books. It wasn’t necessarily a bad year, however it was completely different from what we are used to. I did have a wonderful group of boys and girls in my class this year and that made it easier.

In fact, this is why my posts have been few and far between. This school year has been draining and I really didn’t have any extra energy to spend on the blog. Now that summer is here, I’m looking forward to returning to blogging.

Here’s what we have been up to lately.

Our sweet girls enjoyed Vacation Bible School at our church. They had a blast and they learned so much.
Our dance season ended with an amazing recital- the girls have had a wonderful season despite the Covid challenges and they’ve learned so much.
Our garden is doing well. It would do better if the deer would stop eating it. We are putting up a new fence today.
These things are growing up. We should have eggs before the end of summer.

Join us this week for some super awesome blog posts!! It’s good to be back.

Clean routines and parenting: keeping a weekly cleaning schedule

Trying to keep a tidy house is hard when you have small children. It’s even harder when you’re at home all the time with those small children, due to the coronavirus pandemic. We have always had a weekly cleaning schedule that worked pretty well for us, but now I’m making it a point to incorporate a little extra deep cleaning, in honor of the current pandemic.

Our weekly cleaning schedule is laminated, framed, and hanging in our laundry room.

This definitely doesn’t mean that we are perfect. Not even close. Even though this schedule is hanging on our wall in a frame, there are days when our stuff doesn’t get done and when we let messes linger for too long. And while the Friday chores are typically deep cleaning tasks, I’d gotten a little creative in how we deep clean these days.

Typically we spend two weekends a month deep cleaning. While we are at home self quarantining, we are choosing to vigilantly follow a deep cleaning schedule. We are following our daily task schedule, but we are mopping and cleaning bathrooms twice a week. We are also making it a point to remove shoes at the door and do a deep cleaning task every weekend instead of every other weekend. The kids and I are trying to work together to make the chore of the day happen.

We are also currently homeschooling and I’m teaching from home too. We are struggling to find the balance but we are OK. We are getting there and we are making it work.

And while we are on the subject of house cleaning to combat the germs, have you considered incorporating a little self care into your day? Staying home is not easy for some of us, and as a result, your mental state can suffer. Remember to do something that lifts you up each day- it could be something as simple as taking a walk or Facetime calling people you miss, to gardening, to reading a book, or taking a hot bath. Either way- don’t neglect YOU!

We will see you soon with our spring home tour! Until then, stay safe and stay healthy. Thanks for reading!

Lumber in my Minivan: What we’ve been up to!

We meant to post some really neat things this week- we really did. But life has been crazy lately with work, school and dance, and we also were hit with a stomach virus.

Everything seems to be back to normal and we have some really neat things to share with you this week. Just as things are starting to return to normal in our house, we have decided to update you on some recent happenings in our humble abode.

We are in the midst of competition season and the girls are on their way to their first dance competition of the year!
We recently bought four little bantam chicks and the girls are enjoying raising them.

Our littlest lumber is headed to kindergarten this fall! She recently went to her kindergarten registration and her screening.

So many plants are currently coming up in our greenhouse and we are so excited!

Join us later this week for some chicken projects and some garden goodness! Have a wonderful week!