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?
Follow me on Facebook & Twitter.

Shoes Before Bros……..

First and foremost, thank you for indulging me yesterday.  I loved getting the emails, comments and feedback from everyone — please keep it up!  I really was not kidding when I said, your comments feed my soul.  It’s what nourishes me …makes me whole….gives me reason and purpose.  Okay, that was laying it on thick but honestly, it is greatly appreciated and not lost on me that you took a moment out of your day to say hello, write a comment or silently curse me and my pathetic need for attention.

Now on to the post at hand.  So did I ever tell you that I like shoes?  Like Imelda Marcos level of liking.  One day when I am not embarrassed by the situation, I will post a picture of my shoe closet.  Yes, I have a shoe closet which in theory should be the closet for the guest bedroom.  However, I feel that if you are a guest in my house, I don’t want you to get too comfortable, so you get a luggage rack, 6 hangers and two drawers.  If you need more room, clearly you planned to stay too long.  And for the record, I am the perfect host for exactly 6 days; home cooked meals, sight-seeing, witty conversation and dinner parties galore.  On the 7th day, you get cold cereal, a map to the airport and the hard realization that I wasn’t kidding when I said 7 days.  Deuces. Peace.  Starting a steppin’.  Kick rocks. Word.

So let’s recap:

1) I love shoes.

2) I love guests for 6 days exactly.

I share this information for no particular reason aside from the fact that all my guests this Summer will be staring at least 2 new pairs of shoes as they try to cram their stuff into the closet:

The Air Colby from Cole Haan is the perfect Summer shoe in my opinion.  I wear alot of jeans and khakis in the Summer.  Sans socks.  I hate socks – they make me sweat.  Plus I have really cute ankles and for anyone who has ever seen a man with “cankles” you will understand the importance of a man with cute ankles.  At $200, they are not a cheap shoe but the colors and style are perfect for me.  Hello rolled up jeans with cute saddle shoes!


This lovely is the Boat Oxford by Sperry Top-Sider in Olive.  The shoe is washed canvas and retails for the fantastically reasonable price of $80.  I envision these with a pair of shorts, a short sleeve shirt and a straw fedora as I sip a mojito and watch all the hot ladies go by.  Okay that was a lie.  I would be watching the hot hunks go by.  I seriously need to stop lying……..

In any case, let’s recap what we learned today:

1) I love shoes.

2) I have a closet dedicated to shoes.

3) Guests at Casa Courtney should only stay for 6 days.

4) I don’t like wearing socks.

5) I have a tendency to lie.

So now you know a little more about me and in turn I feel it’s only polite that you return the favor.  So what one piece are you itching to add to your Summer closet?  Leave a comment and share your next clothing splurge.  Don’t worry, it’s just me and you on here…no one else has to know.

Okay that was a lie….a crap load of people read my blog, so alot of people will know.  Damn.  I REALLY need to work on this lying thing…….