Goodbye Summer, Hello School!
The time has come and the kids are going back to school! I feel like I just wrote my post about 20 Things to Do To Make the Most of Your Summer Vacation and now here we are getting ready to send our little angels off to school. As much as I love having Xander home and the fact that I got to enjoy a good part of the summer home with him, I am ready for the return of school. I am ready for routine again and I’m very much looking forward to not to hear “I’m bored” 500,000 times a day! I am so excited for all the new things Xander will learn, all the new friends he will meet, and all the fun school activities throughout the year. With Xander entering the second grade I now have a couple years of back to school season under my belt. I have learned many do’s and dont’s along the way and would love share some of what I have learned with you to help you survive back to school season. We are in this together!
Back to School Shopping
Growing up my Dad would always get WAY too excited for us to start to school again and I would be so annoyed with his excitement but now I totally get it. He worked from home and there were three of us kids so you can imagine his excitement when the back to school signs went up in the stores. In fact do you remember the Staples commercial where the Christmas song ” It’s the most Wonderful Time of the Year” is playing and the Dad was strolling through Staples back to school shopping as happy as a child on Christmas morning?! Yeah, that was my Dad.
That commercial makes me laugh now but I noticed it is seriously lacking some reality. What store with back to school supplies on planet Earth right now is that empty..seriously?!? It doesn’t matter what time of day it is those aisle’s are PACKED! I went to Target at 10 am thinking I was good…wrong. I then went to Walmart at 7:30 pm thinking “nah people can’t be shopping this late”…wrong , SO wrong again! Seriously y’all it was like the Hunger Games out there! Glue sticks….freaking glue sticks were what at least in my area, was what I heard the most commotion about. “Who the hell needs this many glue sticks?!” I heard one exasperated Mother say. I then check my own list to see they are requesting we buy 12. TWELVE!! Now I know teachers don’t just make up that number for the hell of it and it’s probably because our sweet little angels turn into little monsters when they get those glue sticks in their tiny little hands and destroy those things like we wouldn’t believe! So buy the glue sticks. Moving on from the glue stick fiasco, there are the over crowed aisles where you can’t even get your cart by and lets not mention the aisles looking like it’s black Friday or something. But I digress… you see now matter what time or day you go the stores they are going to be busy. And while I wish I could offer you a tip on how to avoid the chaos, I just can’t. But what I can say is this; grab yourself a cup of your favorite coffee drink and embrace the crazy the Mama!
How to Save on Supplies and Clothing
- Wait to Shop for Clothes– I know it is tempting to jump on all the sales that are currently going on and some are really great but what I have learned is that it is best to wait. Where we live it stays pretty warm till at least October so for the most part Xander is still in his shorts and T-shirts that I bought for the summer. In the past I have gone out shopping as soon as I see back to school sales and I would try to buy all his fall and winter clothes only to have fall and winter come and he has already out grown them! What I typically do Is have Xander pick out a back to school outfit and just get him the essentials he needs and wait till mid-September to buy all his cool weather clothing. I have found that prices are marked down so much during this time and the prices are far better than the back to school sales.
- Apps-Welcome to the wonderful world of technology! Apps are going to be your best friend! There are so many apps out there to help you save money but two of my favorites are the Ibotta app and Target’s Cartwheel App. I used both on my back to school shopping and save $17.00 and I got $5.00 in a Target gift card! #winning
- Price Matching- Like I said before, technology is wonderful! In a world where shopping is now at our finger tips we are now shopping online more than we are shopping in department stores. If you watch the news you will see that department stores are definitely feeling the effect and many are even closing due to the high online market that they can’t compete with. With that said these departments stores are still trying to compete and that’s where price matching comes in to play. Whenever I am shopping at a store and I find something that seems priced too high or not on sale, I will pull out my phone and search the item on google and find where it is cheaper. If you are able to find the item cheaper online all you have to do is bring it to the service desk with the proof of the same item that is cheaper online and they will price match it! This has worked for me every time at many retailers!! We saved $85.00 on Elise’s car seat at Babies R Us using this method!
Establish an Organized Routine
I kinda just chuckled as I wrote that title because that was something I seriously lacked for the most of last school year. With me working full-time our routine was more of a fly by the seat of your pants and hope to survive than an organized and well established routine. When I did have a routine it made the world of a difference! We have started implementing the routine this week to get Xander adjusted to the school routine that he will have this year. I find that having a routine that is consistent makes the school year go much more smoothly for Mom, Dad, and the kids. Below is a list of things we implement into our school routine:
- Consistent bedtime– This is something we do not waiver on. Our kids need sleep in order to be their best at school the next day and so they don’t wake up as tired little monsters! We have had Xander’s bedtime the same since pre-k so it is very well established with him so much so that he will even look at the clock and know that it is bedtime and will say goodnight to us with no problems.
- Have Clothes Picked Out the Night Before – Seriously you guys If you don’t do this already you HAVE to do it! It has saved me so much time in the morning,and we all know how crazy the mornings can be! Honestly I have not been consistent with this and this is something I hope to be more consistent with this year because it really makes such a huge difference in the morning.
- Pack School Lunches the Night Before– This is so helpful for all the same reasons as above. I am all about saving time and making the mornings easier and having lunches ready to go in the morning will accomplish both.
- Set a Time Dedicated to Homework/Reading– Just like bedtime, it is important to have a time set for homework and or reading that you child will know and expect. Whether it right when they get home from school, before dinner, or after dinner, it is whatever works best for you and your schedule. On nights when we have football practice we will do homework when Xander comes home since we have to travel 25 minutes away for practice and on all other nights we will do homework before dinner so that we have the rest of the night to relax together.
- Plan Your Meals– This one is HUGE (said in my Oprah voice)!!! Meal planning will be your lifesaver! Meal planning not only makes school nights flow better but it also saves you time and money. There were way to many times last school year that we failed to plan and we would either get take-out (cha-ching) or one of us would run to the store on our way home to pick something up to cook which would take more time and resulted in us eating super late. Pinterest will be your best friend with this one. Check out my Pinterest board full of lots of quick, easy, and super yummy dinner ideas here.
In the interest of keeping things real here on my blog like I do, I’m going to say this; we all know that these routines go just as planned for a bout a week or two or more if you’re lucky. There will be sports practices and games, PTA meetings, various school functions, illnesses, and whatever else life decides to throw at ya to throw our perfectly planned routine right out the window. We don’t live in the perfect Pinterest world of perfectly planned routines and dinners and that is ok Mama! Having a routine to fall back on is something great to have in your back pocket. I fully expect to have this routine be flip flopped and switched many times throughout the school year but the purpose is to at least have an established routine to bring you back to some kind of normal when the crazy subsides.