Back To School (For Me)

I am off to school!  Today is my first day of classes for the new semester.

I am taking two courses this time around — Perspective Drawing II and AutoCAD — classes that will definitely benefit me in the long run but something I can not looking forward to doing to be perfectly honest.  After the struggle I had with Drafting last semester, I am nervous this time around for these two courses.  However, as with anything my attitude is a large part of how I will perceive the challenges that lie ahead.  Fingers crossed that this semester kicks butt!

Well while I am busy toiling away in my AutoCAD class, why don’t you take a gander at the new Projects Gallery I created.  I compiled all my favorite projects on to one page so it’s quick and easy to find them.  Take a look!

Okay I am off to eat breakfast and get centered for my full day ahead!  Have a great one…..

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Blog Series: Back to School Prep with Simplified Bee

I am lucky enough to have Cristin of Simplified Bee to wrap up my week-long series on prepping for the return to school.  Cristin is what I call “the real deal”.  It is always so pleasantly surprising to find someone is as charming and sweet as you imagine them to be – it was like that with Cristin.  If poodles could mate with unicorns and have dolphins as kids that wouldn’t even come close to Miss C — yeah Cristin is THAT nice in person.  So on this final day of the work week, take a minute to find out how Cristin stylishly organizes her family for school.

Last month, I had the pleasure of meeting Courtney at the San Francisco Design Blogger Meet-up. His positive energy is contagious and he has a great sense of humor. I was thrilled when he asked me to write about getting organized for back-to-school!

As millions of children head back-to-school, parents think about how to make the transition easier. The answer is easy: get organized. There is a direct relationship between how organized a child is and how well they do in school. As a parent or guardian, you can help children develop life-long organization skills. Here are a few back-to-school tips for getting organized:

 

{image via The Zhush

Establish a Routine & Plan Ahead. Streamlining the morning routine is essential to get kids out the door and to school on time. It’s easy to get frazzled in the morning, so prepare lunches, book bags, outfits, even the breakfast table the night before. Create a storage area near your most used door and assign each person a bin and/or hook for their gear. 

Using color coded baskets or personalized tins {like the one above from the MacBeth Collection} will help keep items organized and allow for quick identification when leaving the house.

 

Create a Homework Station. Few children enjoy doing homework, but making creating an efficient work environment may make the task more fun. First determine where it’s best to set up the homework station – Near the kitchen where an adult can help? In a quiet room alone? Is a computer needed? Once a location is selected, it is important to have an easy accessible storage bin or drawer with needed school supplies. Based on your child’s age and school needs store items such as writing implements, paper, tape/glue, scissors, ruler, erasers, crayons and markers. When purchasing school supplies, consider eco-friendly and non-toxic items. Visit EWG’s back-to-school guide for a list of greener options. Pottery Barn Kids has a great Mini Lazy Susan perfect for a storing supplies at the homework station {above}.

{image via House of Fifty

Centralize School Communications. Besides your child’s school papers, there will be lots of communication parents will need to take action on or reference throughout the school year. Some of these items include classroom rosters, school handbook, supply list, permission slips and school calendar. Creating a centralized place for all this information is key to knowing where these important papers are when you need them. A binder or file folders are great options for keeping all that paper organized into subcategories.

Getting organized for back-to-school takes a little effort, but it will make the transition smoother!

Cristin from Simplified Bee®

Thank you Cristin!  I think the idea of a “homework space” is fantastic – like a home office for your kids!  Tailoring a spot specific to their needs during the school year is a great way to create a routine in your child’s school year.  I remember as a child, my Grandmother would also clear the coffee table and make me do my homework – after a while, it became second nature and it also helped the rest of the family know what I was doing.  All they had to do was swing by the coffee table!

So tell me — are you ready for school? 

I want to thank my guest bloggers again for participating this week and giving some fantastic ideas and tips!  Big props to Cassie, Courtney, Shannon, Erica & Cristin!

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Blog Series: Back to School Prep with Moth Design

I readily admit to this….I have a crush on my next guest blogger.  Honestly how could you not have a crush on Erica of Moth Design?  She is beautiful, stylish, runs a thriving design business in Canada and is a mother to five boys.  Yup, peeps, she holds it down as a single mom of FIVE hormone-raging boys and has yet to lose her sanity.  How does she do it?  Well I will let her explain….

Hi there! It’s Erica from Moth Design. As a single mother of 5 boys, organization is the key and there are several things I do every August to keep our family afloat when the school year takes off.

Tip 1:
I make my boys help me locate supplies and back packs from the previous year to determine an accurate list of what’s on hand. Usually there’s enough supplies to last for the first days. I then shop directly from the teachers lists to avoid unnecessary purchases or duplication. Something to keep in mind, grocery and drug stores that don’t usually stock an “office” section will often mark down their school supplies to fantastic prices in the weeks after school begins as they need to make room for Halloween candy!

Tip 2:
We  go through the prior year’s clothes and shoes to assess what still fits or can be passed down. This year there are still jeans that fit but the knees are ripped. I’m planning on trying out this clever patch. The great thing is you don’t have to be a master seamstress to do these fun fixes. Instructions (here).

another version (here)

Tip 3: 

Extra socks and underwear. In my family everything is color coded. Boring perhaps, yes, but this was the best thing I could have done for myself. EVER! There has never been a basket of mismatched socks since and it cuts the time spent putting laundry away in half. So here’s the tip… every boy has their own color underwear (ie grey, navy, etc…) and I buy socks with different colored stitching, based on size, at the toe. The same can be done for girls too. Usually I can pick up big packages of both at stores like Walmart or Target in the fall. Given every child knows their color it’s easy for them to put away their laundry and keep organized.

Tip 4:

I remember learning in a psychology class that it takes 21 days to form a habit. I start putting my kids to bed earlier the last two weeks of August in anticipation of the first few days of school. The transition of re-entry can be stressful and a good sleep schedule helps. I also have my boys put the following days clothes at the end of their beds before they go to sleep. This cuts down the rush in the morning and eliminates the pandemonium caused by not being able to find socks or clean pants. ps- do a test run of your child’s alarm clock to confirm it is working too!

Tip 5:

For those of us in colder climates, the one year that I didn’t buy boots and mittens early and when the first snow fell we didn’t have the appropriate snow gear. Man, did I feel like an idiot dropping of my kids in their sneakers. Since then I always set a reminder in my planner to keep my eye out for the arrival of boots and snow wear in stores and I buy promptly.

Tip 6:

I’ve never ordered fancy pre-printed sew in clothing name labels. However, I’ve found a system that works for me. I buy fine tip Sharpies and write our last name in all of the boys clothes. There’s been several occasions when one of my boys has a classmate with the same winter coat or backpack. It’s just easier to write their name in the collar and eliminate confusion. This also helps with laundry sorting. I write every boys name in the back collar of their undershirts and they can put things away themselves.

Hope this helps facilitate a smooth start to the school year! Good luck everyone and thanks so much for having me Courtney!

Thank you Erica!!!!  I love that Erica’s system empowers her sons to help themselves which I think is key.  By creating a system that is color-coded and simple to follow, her sons can now fend for themselves.  I also love her tip regarding non-traditional stores to purchase school supplies!  But now I am thinking about Halloween candy…….

As I ponder if there is any candy in the house, why don’t you all think about how  Cristin of Simplified Bee is going to wrap up the series tomorrow?
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