Happy birthday America!

May you and your family have a fun-filled day of fireworks, barbecued and togetherness as we celebrate our nation’s birth.

We will resume regular schedule next week.

What to pack in your toddler’s pool bag

What to pack in your toddler’s pool bag

Summer is quickly approaching, and for most of us, summer means pool and beach trips. Those of us with more than one child have a pretty good idea about what your tiny tot will need for a trip to the pool, but if you aren’t sure, I decided to share what’s in our pool bag.

We are a family of four, so our pool bag is this giant monogrammed Land’s End tote with a zipper top. It holds everything we need for some fun in the sun and I love it!

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For our toddler, we always pack the following items:

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  1. A snack (not pictured). We try to always bring a healthy snack for both kids no matter where we go. Dry cereal works well, as do small fruits (grapes) or veggies (carrot sticks), and things like granola bars or Belvita biscuits.
  2. A swimsuit, a cover up (a hooded towel will work well for a small child), and sunglasses
  3. A sunscreen for sensitive skin
  4. Swim diapers and wipes (if your toddler isn’t quite potty trained. Ours is not).
  5. Diaper ointment and lotion. Some kids’ skin is sensitive to chlorine, so it’s a good idea to have some lotion on hand to replenish their skin’s moisture
  6. Pool shoes and goggles
  7. Something to drink in a plastic, lidded cup
  8. Detangler and a hairbrush (not pictured)

I always feel the most organized and prepared for anything when I create a checklist beforehand, run down my list, and physically check it off. I decided to share that list with you as well. To download it, simply right click on the picture below, save it to your device, and then print it. For best results, do not print larger than 8X10 inches.

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Enjoy your pool and beach trips this summer!

 

Favorite things Friday: Ways to Observe Memorial Day

 

flag of u s a standing near tomb
Photo by Sharefaith on Pexels.com

For many people, Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. While many of us use the three day weekend to go on vacation, have cookouts, and visit family members, this is not the true reason for the holiday.

Memorial Day is a day to observe the fallen military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. While all of those things are nice, we need to make sure that we and our children understand why we celebrate Memorial Day. There are many ways we can do this.

white and red flag
Photo by Aaron Schwartz on Pexels.com

1. Put out flags at Veteran’s cemeteries

I used to live near a huge military cemetery. Every Veteran’s and Memorial Day, the local chapters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion would put flags in front of the graves of each veteran. They also did this at the graves of veterans in other cemeteries. You can imagine this is quite a time consuming task, and occasionally they look for volunteers to help with this. What better way to observe our country’s fallen soldiers than displaying flags at their graves?

belief bible book business
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

2. By visiting religious services of your choosing

Many churches across the country will observe Memorial Day with a special service or special music. Many towns and local governments also conduct interfaith services for the holiday.

men standing near flags
Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

3. Flying the flag half-staff until noon

If you have a flag pole, it is customary to fly your flag at half-staff until noon. If you do not have a flag pole, you may choose to fly a banner or flag simply in support of our military.

Another way to observe Memorial Day is to simply stop what youre doing at 3 P.M. local time and pause to reflect upon Memorial Day and what it means.

man in black coat carrying a rifle walking in straight line during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

May we never forget the sacrifices these brave men and women made so that we could continue to live free.

Lumber in My Minivan will resume regular schedule next Tuesday. Have a safe, wonderful and reflective Memorial weekend.

Summer 2018: a recap

Goodness gracious, what a short summer! While our summer wasn’t super busy, we did do a lot and we made some pretty awesome memories to show for it.

Our summer got off to a late start, due to all the snow days and having to add teacher workdays to the end of our school year.

We went on vacation to the mountains…twice.

We visited my grandmother and rode the train at the park.

We enjoyed my aunt and uncle’s fire pit and roasted some marshmallows.

Both girls enrolled in a six week gymnastics class…Emorie began her fourth year of gymnastics, and Aubrey began her first.

Both girls went to Vacation Bible School at our church and loved it!!

Emorie celebrated her seventh birthday and went to cheer camp at our local high school.

We spent tons of time at the playground.

And even more time in the pool.

We spent time at the local YMCA splash pad, too

Emorie began to learn to play the piano, prompting us to add a piano to our home.

Our garden flourished for most of the summer, and we enjoyed many delicious veggies from it.

We traveled to WV for the day to celebrate my grandpa’s cousin’s 90th birthday AND 70th wedding anniversary.

Aubrey engaged in a lot of mischief…

We remodeled one of our bathrooms.

And lastly, we sent this newly minted second grader off to school, and I took some of my favorite pictures EVER of my girls.

I will be returning to school next week. Stay tuned: changes are on the horizon for Organized and Simplified.

Have a wonderful,blessed school year.

Back to school: 5 ways to be more organized this year

Back to school: 5 ways to be more organized this year

I blinked in June and suddenly, it was August. I’m not sure where summer went, but wherever it went, it left quickly. My oldest daughter starts school next week. The school supplies have been purchased and the school clothes have already been washed and put away. But what else can we busy Mamas do to ensure we are all better organized for the coming school year?

1. Plan ahead

Plan out outfits, meals, and even lunches. Prepare ahead of time as much as possible. Make lists of everything you need to do and buy in the coming week and review it often. The better prepared you are, the better you will handle those unforeseen circumstances that pop up and stress us out.

2. Write everything down

You can’t remember everything and you don’t have to try. The minute you hear about a meeting or event, write it down. Don’t give yourself the opportunity to forget it. The other step is to refer back to your calendar at least weekly to see what’s coming up.

3. Do a “back to school” dry run

Wake up early one morning before school starts and drive to the school at regular time. This will help you become familiar with the traffic patterns, the route, and will help you anticipate any hazards or obstacles that may make you late. Of course, there will still be unforeseen things from time to time, but having driven the route once before helps put your mind at ease.

4. Set up a logical routine and stick to it

Does homework come with tears and tantrums in your house? Having a set “after school routine” can take some of the fuss away. Set the expectation early in the school year that homework is done as soon as you walk in the door and stick to it. I always tell my daughter that it I better to get homework out of the way first thing and then you no longer have to worry about it. Having set morning routines can also eliminate some of the morning rush as well.

5. Wake up earlier than you think you need to

Who likes being in a hurry? Not I. When I’m hurried, I get stressed and I end up forgetting things. Which stresses me out even more. Waking up earlier allows you more time but also allows you time to eat breakfast. Studies have shown eating breakfast improves brain function and helps sharpen your focus. It’s hard to concentrate on anything when your stomach is growling!!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a fabulous first day of school.