Bacon & Kids

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12+ Back To School Tips and Organization Ideas


Back to School Tips & Organization Ideas

back to school to do list


 Only a few weeks left before our kids start back to school – Our summer days are flying by. And yet, there are still so many more fun summer activities we want to do! The weather in our neighborhood has felt more like fall than summer for weeks now!  😦


 Whether we want to think about it or not, it’s time to start working on our Back to School to do lists. Here are some of my back to school tips and organization ideas:


 Back-To-School Check-list –


Get your paper & pen out and write your back to school checklist, one that includes everything you need to do to be ready for the first day of school. Writing things down on paper helps to purge your brain of all the things you have to do and eliminates the worry that you’re going to forget something. Not only that, it brings me great joy to be able to cross things off of my list.


 It doesn’t need to be perfect –


Remember, we still have a precious few weeks with our kids before school starts…don’t make yourself crazy by foolishly thinking everything in your home has to be perfectly organized. Spend time with your kids having fun – get the necessities ready now but know that there will be time once the kids are back in school to focus on the other things.


What will they wear? –


Before School Starts…


Clean out kids’ closets/drawers. Before you head out to the mall for the dreaded back to school clothes shopping, go through their closets and dresser drawers. Remember to check clothes and shoes for fit, cleanliness and/or any needed alterations or repairs. Donate the clothes/shoes that are too small. Add the items that you need to buy to your to do list.


During the School Year…


Simplify the morning routine by picking out their clothes the night before or I usually pick out their clothes for the week and label them Monday – Friday. This is a huge time saver! Remember to include hair accessories, socks, etc.


School Supplies 


Your child probably received a school supply shopping list at the end of the school year, if not, check the school website for a list of what your child will need. Check for supplies you may already have before you head to the store. Many stores are having Back To School sales so watch out for the deals. Now is a good time to buy extra supplies for later on in the school year.


Lunches/Snacks –


I’ve mentioned before that I hate making lunches every day. So I try to make the process a little easier (I know, I know, how hard is it to make lunch?) Anyway, this is what I do.


* Prepare some school lunch/snack bins for the refrigerator and cupboard.  

Easy lunches and snacks


* Make the lunches/snacks the night before .


* Lunch notes/jokes. Think about adding lunch notes/jokes to their lunch. My kids love reading the notes/jokes at school. You can print out a bunch in advance so you can quickly add a special note with their lunch.


Healthy snacks – Fresh fruit, vegetables and cheese are great choices. Nuts, whole grains and yogurt are also good snack choices.


Avoid fruit juices, energy drinks , sodas, sticky and chewy foods.


Instead of PB & J’s every single day (my sons favorite lunch) , get creative with a variety of lunches. For inspiration check out my Pinterest Board School Lunches & Snacks http://pinterest.com/BettyJHayden/kids-lunches-snacks-lunch-box-notes-and-jokes/


 Start the School Year with a Healthy Smile –


The Surgeon General calls dental problems the “Silent Epidemic” that results in more than 51 million school hours missed each year! Schedule your child’s Back To School Check-up. 


 Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance! 


No one performs well in the morning if you’re stressed and rushed your kids will be too. Avoid chaotic mornings by doing as much as possible the night before to get ready for the next day! Pack lunches/snacks, get homework and backpacks ready, set the table for breakfast, have their clothes picked out (including hair accessories,shoes, etc.


Paper Clutter – 


It amazes me how many school papers come home every day! Plan now to control that paper clutter. To start, every day right after school I go through the kids’ backpacks and check for any papers that need to be returned, homework, upcoming events and so on. I immediately add any important dates (& the details of the school function/field trip to my Gmail calendar as well as any dates where permission slips/money is due and so on. In the kitchen I have folders for each child for the “now” school papers. And for the papers I want to save, at my desk in my filing cabinet I have 2 folders  w/labels for each child and the grade they are in. In my master filing cabinet I have folders labeled K thru grade 12 for each child so at the end of the school year I simply put the finished grade away and pull out the next grade.


Backpacks –


Have a designated home for backpacks –


My kids are to remove their water bottles and lunch boxes from their backpacks as soon as they get home from school.


I check backpacks for any school papers, homework, etc. Rather than have the kids remove these items I ensure that I don’t miss any notes and that their homework sheets are posted on the refrigerator.


Homework Station / Homework Totes –


I put together homework totes for each child that holds their scissors, glue, pens, pencils, crayons, sharpeners, etc. This has been a huge time saver and has lessened the homework headaches! 

Homework totes school supplies


 School Money Jar –


I keep a jar in the kitchen that holds money for school lunches, donations, popcorn sales, etc.


 Recyclables –


If your school collects Box Tops, Labels for Education, Coke Points, etc.


Keep these things organized to avoid clutter. I have little hanging buckets labeled Box Tops, Labels for Education, Old Batteries, Can Tabs & Coke Points

organizing box tops and recyclables


For your Sanity


Wake up 20 minutes before it’s time to wake up the kids . Use this time to read, take your shower & get dressed or enjoy a cup of coffee/tea in peace & quiet.. Avoid checking your social media pages and emails – time will slip away and before you know it you’re running behind in the morning, or you read a negative email or post that put you in a bad mood, save that for after you drop the kids off to school.  


What are you doing to prepare for the school year or if school already started in your neck of the woods, please comment to share what is working for you.  


 I wish you all a very Happy, Healthy & Stress-Free School Year!


 ~Betty


 

 
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Organize Under The Bathroom Sink in 15 Minutes!

Organize Under The Bathroom Sink in 15 Minutes!

My basement is a disaster! We are in the middle of some big time remodeling and reorganization down there.   I’ll share the details on that project another time. So what am I doing organizing the bathroom upstairs when I clearly should be focusing on the basement??

I don’t know!  My hubby thinks I’m crazy.  I guess my OADD (organizing attention deficit disorder) is in full force.

So I decide now is a good time to organize under the bathroom sink.  It really needed it…

Organize your bathroom in 15 minutes

Yuck!

See what I mean?  Now, I need to move fast so my husband doesn’t catch me working in the wrong room.

First step, Empty out the cabinet.

Quick & Easy bathroom Organization

Love empty spaces 😉

After I cleaned the cabinet, I put down some black & white paper to line the bottom.

I then decided what really needed to go back, what could be tossed and what could go in the linen closet.

This is what it looks like now.  Not perfect by any means but I only had 15 minutes to spare.  So good enough for now, plus it looks much prettier.   What do you think?

bathroom organization

All my curling irons and hair dryer are in the magazine holder.  Any little miscellaneous items (toilet bowl cleaner, extra candles, etc) went in the black & white box.

15 minutes!  That’s all it took to organize under the bathroom sink. Easy!

And now I’m off to my next project…

Happy Bathroom Organizing to you!

~ Betty

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A Good Mom with a Clean House AND Happy Kids? Is that even possible?

It’s been said:

Good Moms Have Sticky Floors,

Messy Kitchens,

Laundry Piles,

Dirty Oven,

and Happy Kids.

Wonderful Crafty Mess

Wonderful Crafty Mess

Good moms, clean homes and happy kids

Happy & Creative Child

Really? Is that what makes a good mom and happy kids?  WOW!  It’s that easy to be a good mom and be guaranteed happy kids?  Just stop cleaning? I’m sorry, but sadly there are not so good moms and miserable kids with dirty homes out there.

Those “cute” little sayings that dirty homes make good moms and happy kids drive me crazy!  Parenting is so much more.

My home is not perfect… not at all. In fact, I wouldn’t want you to go snooping through all the closets and drawers to see that chaos does exist in this home.  However, I do believe in keeping a tidy home.  I do keep a few rooms in my house that I consider “sacred”.  No, I do not let our kids eat in their bedrooms or the living room.  I ask that they keep their toys out of the living room too.   Is that so bad? Are my kids missing out? Do they lack creativity? Will they grow up without happy memories? Am I a BAD mom??

Absolutely not, we have happy, very creative children, full of wonderful memories. In fact, it warms my heart that when they walk in the door they’ll say “Home Sweet Home”.

My house gets dirty!  My oven needs cleaning, laundry does pile up, my daughter LOVES putting her adorable fingerprints on her clothes, my windows and walls, sometimes I even go to bed with dishes in the sink, and I have many times stepped on legos and picked up naked Barbie dolls strewn around the house!   However, none of those chaotic, dirty things make for happy kids and good moms.

Our kids make messes & get dirty, in fact, we make messes & get dirty too.  And guess what? We clean it up too.  No, I’m not a fanatical cleaning and organizing freak, I’m not going to lose it because my child wants to dump every storage bin of toys out all over the floor while they play. My daughter loves to make crafts and being a craft lover myself with that love comes crafty messes. We entertain and throw lots of parties and with that hospitality comes messes.  And guess what?  I haven’t “missed out” on being in the moment with my kids, snuggling with them, creating memories with them just because we clean up the messes we make.

Our kids love to play, create, laugh and have fun.  My husband and I love to play, create, laugh and have fun with them too.

I do take pride in having a tidy home, I love that my husband truly appreciates coming home to a clean house, and that on “most” days I wouldn’t panic if someone knocked on my door. And yet,  I don’t expect anyone to have my same thoughts or push my reality of  how to manage a  home and raise  kids on them.  I’m not expecting some Mom of the Year certificate or prize.  I do what works for my family. And we believe in teaching our children to clean up after themselves and be respectful of our property and belongings. It’s my way of showing my incredible thankfulness for the things in my life, my thankfulness for our children, these precious gifts that we’ve been entrusted with.   I’m well aware that as long as we have children living in this home, my house will not be perfectly clean and that is not my aim. I will only make myself crazy (learned that the hard way)  if I try to keep everything just so, perfectly organized and clean… perfection isn’t even possible from this imperfect mom living in an imperfect world.

Have I ever felt like a bad mom because of unintentional, thoughtless comments from some of my friends? You bet I have.  I shouldn’t have though, I know who/what I am.

I’m not a snob because I like a clean house and clean kids.  There’s a time and a place for everything.  So I don’t think the couch cushion is a place for juice spills, cracker crumbs, and chocolate hand prints.  There’s plenty of room for that in the kitchen.  So instead of cleaning up food spills in every room of my house, I get to clean them up in the kitchen only – is that so bad?  Is my child deprived of happiness and beautiful childhood memories… I don’t think so.

Bottom line you can be a fantastic mom with a dirty house and you can be a fantastic mom with a clean house too.  A dirty or clean home is a choice and to be a good mom or bad mom is a choice.  How you keep your home isn’t going to determine your success as a mom, unless it keeps you from what matters most.

What matters most, spend quality time with your children, set a good example for them, teach & show them how to grow up to be respectful, helpful, kind, loving and God-fearing adults. Make sure they know of and can feel your unconditional love.  And that they have a home that they feel safe in.  Pray with them. Hug and kiss them every day!

A good mom with a clean house

And now, I’m off to clean up my house – even if it will only be clean for a few hours before the kids (& hubby) come home.  And that is just fine with me. 😀

Happy kids & good parenting to you!…. (dirty or clean house.)

~Betty

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Is it time to break up with your toothbrush? How long should the toothbrush relationship last?

How many toothbrushes do you see here in this photo?

replace your toothbrush

We have exactly two kids and here in this picture are 5 toothbrushes for 2 kids.  It appears that breaking up with a  toothbrush is not easy for my precious little ones.  In fact, I believe that to be true for many adults as well.  Is that true with you?

So how long should you keep your toothbrush anyway?  How long should the relationship last?

It is recommended that you replace your toothbrush every 3 months or sooner if the bristles have started to fray. (Children’s toothbrush bristles tend to fray faster because of their brushing technique so keep an eye on them.) Replacement every 3 months is recommended because with normal wear and tear your toothbrush loses its effectiveness and efficiency to clean your teeth. Not only that but toothbrushes can be breeding grounds for germs, fungus and bacteria, which after a while can build up to significant levels. GROSS!

Typically if you’re seeing your dentist every 6 months they’ll provide you with a new toothbrush at each visit so you’ll need to only buy two a year. Thankfully, toothbrushes are fairly inexpensive.
If the toothbrush aisle at the store is overwhelming,  just ask your dentist what type of toothbrush is best for you and your family.

In addition to replacing your toothbrush every 3 months here are just a few tips to help keep your toothbrush “cleaner”.

  • Wash your hands before handling your toothbrush.
  • Wash your toothbrush before and after each use.
  • Avoid keeping lots of toothbrushes in a cup where they touch and spread germs.
  • Do not cover or store toothbrushes in closed containers
  • Use Toothpaste
  • Don’t share your toothbrush!
  • Replace your toothbrush after a cold or flu. (Some say that germs hiding in the bristles can lead to reinfection while others disagree. Whether that’s true or not, for my family I go ahead and replace the toothbrush…just in case 😉
  • The ADA does not recommend other methods of toothbrush care, such as putting it in the dishwasher or microwave to kill germs. In fact, the high heat may damage the bristles, thus reducing their effectiveness.

I really like this toothbrush storage idea:

Source: IHeart Organizing

Source: IHeart Organizing

Note:  Replacement rules are the same for electric toothbrush heads.

I can see that it’s time to help my kids break up with some (or all) of their current toothbrushes. I’m sure the promise of getting to pick out a new from the store will make them happy.

Until next time, here are a few interesting toothbrush facts for you:

Blue toothbrushes are the most popular color
Americans spend over $850 million a year on toothbrushes
Women brush their teeth more often than men.
The first known toothbrush with bristles originated in China in 1948. The first toothbrush was made of bone or bamboo with hog bristles. (yuck)
The average person only brushes for about 40 seconds a day. It’s suggested you brush 2-3 minutes at least twice a day.

Happy & Healthy Teeth to you!!

~Betty

For tips on how to care for your baby’s smile,  visit an earlier post of ours here.

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I can’t find a pencil! ~ Organizing Homework Supplies with Totes.

Homework Totes

“I can’t find a pencil!”   “This pencil isn’t sharp!”   “Where are my scissors?”   Words I would often hear when it came time for my kids to do their homework.  Drove me crazy!

It was time to find a solution to this homework madness.

So I made these cute little homework totes.

Homework Tote

I bought the totes for only a dollar 🙂

I cut down and glued toilet paper rolls to the inside to hold the pencils, scissors, etc.

Personalized the totes for each child (need to add my daughter’s name to hers)

These totes hold all the homework supplies that they typically need each day.

When it’s time for them to do their homework they simply grab the tote and bring it to the table.

Works like a charm! Best of all, I no longer hear the dreaded words,  “I can’t find a pencil!”

I would love to hear about your homework organization solutions and ideas. Feel free to comment below.

Happy Homework Organization to you!

~Betty

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GLAD Press’ n Seal Clever Uses

GLAD Press’ n Seal Clever Uses & Tips

I remember buying GLAD Press’ n Seal wrap when it first came out and liked it well enough.  I had forgotten about it until the other night when I was reading Family Fun Magazine and they shared a clever use for it – a Press’ n Seal Art Bib:

Source: Press’n Seal Art Bib via Family Chic & Parenthacks.com

Pretty clever, huh?  I prefer that my daughter use a washable apron first but she is so inclined to wipe her little hands on her clothes when working on any project that could even remotely turn into a messy project so having GLAD Press’ n Seal handy appears to be a wise idea for me.

According to the GLAD website, Press‘n Seal® wrap actually seals to a variety of surfaces like paper, plastic and wood.  And it can be used in the microwave with no problem.

So what other clever uses are there for GLAD Press’ n Seal?
Protect your refrigerator shelves:

Source: Offbeat Home

Easy way to protect your refrigerator shelves from messy spills.

Inexpensive way to Transfer Vinyl

Source (& tutorial) : leiradcardmakingcorner.blogspot.com

Real Simple shared this idea:

Press’ n  Seal Wrap as Fixture Protector 

Source: Real Simple

During home repairs and painting, use the wrap to keep dirt and drips away from vents, lamps, and other household items, just tear, press, and seal.

And this one is probably my favorite of them all…

Single serving food storage

Source: The Tiny Twig

The Tiny Twig says: ” Method I use for “single-serve” freezing. You can use this tip for other “liquidy”-ish things, too. I think it would work well for small portions of pesto,  pasta sauce, yogurt for smoothies, single serve applesauce portions.”

This would be great for broth & baby food too!

Have a painting project coming up?  Try this one:

Paint Tray Cover

Source: alejandra.tv/blog

Did you know that GLAD Press’ n Seal has many, many more uses?  Check out their site for more ideas: Glad Press’ n Seal Uses

Here are a few more:

During the winter,  use a sheet to cover the mail slot in the front door.  (Will look much nicer than the duct tape!)

Protect kitchen counters: Cover the counter top to roll out a pie crust.

Have a broken bone?  Use Press’ n Seal to cover a cast in the shower.

Refrigerator note – write a note on Press’ n Seal and stick to the refrigerator.  (My sticky notes always fall off)

I wasn’t asked by the GLAD people to write this nor am I being paid by them, I just thought I would share some of these ideas that I recently discovered for using Press’ n Seal.

I don’t even have any in the house right now, however, it is on my shopping list.

Happy Press’ n Sealing to you!

~Betty 😀

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Organizing Winter Gear ~ Baby, it’s cold outside!

Freezing winter weather is definitely on it’s way. And that means I better have all of our winter gear washed & ready to wear!  Sadly, it also meant it was time to switch out the closet organizer and put away all the sunscreen, bug spray and other fun summertime essentials and get out the hats, scarves, gloves, boots, etc. In all honesty, the whole preparing for winter process isn’t my favorite thing to do, I’m not what you would call a fan of winter! 😦

However, shoe organizers make organizing your winter gear easy…

Bring on the cold weather – we are ready!

I actually keep two organizers one for summer and one for winter, this way I can just switch them out with the seasons.

In addition to your hats, gloves  & scarves, keeping extra packs of tissues, sunglasses, and other winter time necessities at the ready is a smart idea.

I also need to do my coat check list, which includes:

  • Are coats clean and spot free?
  • Any repairs needed? (Zippers, buttons, tears, etc)
  • Can any coats be donated to local charity?

Don’t let the winter cold catch you unprepared!

Stay Warm & Happy Winter to you!

~Betty

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Wrapping Up The School Year

Summer school vacation is here! We’re busy making lists of fun things to do this summer. It’s also the time to clean out backpacks & lunch boxes (or throw them away if they took a beating this year).  And organize all those school papers!

How do you organize all the school papers & report cards you want to save?  I have files marked for each child and the grade they are in.  I’m going to sort through those files and make sure I’m only saving special papers. I also put a school picture on the outside of each file.

I want to take the organization a step further and figure doing it now (like this week) will help prepare us for when the new school year starts.

I found this idea on Pinterest from Living My Life On Purpose:

Image from Living My Life On Purpose

Very organized & colorful, don’t you think?

With this filing/organization method I’m all set until High School Graduation 😀

Oh, and I found all the colored hanging file folders that I need for both kids from a garage sale for only $2! Score!

Just a little variation, because I know that I will be too lazy to go to the filing cabinet in my storage closet where all the files will be hanging.  I will continue to keep just the current grade in my office desk and switch out at the end of each school year. If it’s not convenient I won’t keep things organized.

Another thing I did to help prepare for the next school year is put both kids school supply lists onto one sheet of paper that I’m keeping in my purse so throughout the summer, I can pick up school supplies when I find them on sale.  Plus, the teachers have a wish list of supplies that I want to help with.   I thought that I was getting a head start last school year when I started the shopping in middle August but quickly discerned by the empty shelves and crowded stores that I hadn’t started early enough!

Well, it’s time to take the kids outside to swim because it is day one into summer vacation and you guessed it, they are already bored! 😉

Happy Summer to you!

P.S. Feel free to leave me a comment and let me know how you keep school papers organized.  Stop by and say hello to us on facebook too! Thank you! 😀

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