Archive | BACK TO SCHOOL

5 MOM HACKS FOR WINNING BACK TO SCHOOL MORNINGS

My kids are heading back to school TODAY (ahhhh!) and while there is so much to love about summer break, one of the things I’m really going to miss is our slow mornings. Not sure we left the house or had to be ready before 10am more than half a dozen times all summer long and with 6am wake up call happening this morning, I’m realizing just how spoiled we were, LOL. Because my kids have varied sleep and waking habits and because this isn’t our first back to school experience, I’ve been prepping myself for some challenging mornings and thought I’d share a few things that have worked for us in the past in case you have a non-morning person or just want to have a little more fun in the mornings. I tried to keep them all really simple too since the last thing anyone needs in the morning is a longer to do list!

5 TIPS FOR A HAPPIER (BACK TO) SCHOOL MORNING

  1. For a special treat, add sprinkles to (almost) everything. Waffles, pancakes, cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, etc. It’s the perfect pick-me-up on the first day or  after a long week of early mornings!
  2. Outfits they can easily layer and that are comfortable too. Like these dresses from plain jane for the girls (BONUS: we’re teaming up with them for a giveaway today on Instagram!) and these joggers and tees for the boys.
  3. Share morning affirmations! We started doing this last spring randomly in an effort to calm some anxiety one of the kids was dealing with and it was so helpful for all of us. Planning to do it more consistently this year.
  4. Put a little surprise in their backpacks or lunch boxes… a piece of gum, a little note, or an activity for the bus ride will do the trick and is a great motivator for getting out the door so they can take a peek :)
  5. Make sure to add enough time in your morning routine to include a snuggle sesh, dance party, chit-chat or anything else that de-stresses and reconnects you… it has after all (God willing) been a lot of hours since you’ve been together so kids often need their buckets filled once they wake up!

  

The girls are wearing the sweetest, comfiest and most versatile play and sleep dresses by Plain Jane… giving away shop credit to on Instagram today! See details below!

  

Music is also usually on in the mornings and is also one of my favorite parts of starting the day (other than coffee of course!) — sometimes we blast worship music and other times rap, hip-hop or country!

What’s your favorite part of early mornings?

Let me know in the comments and then head to my instagram account, click on the pic that looks most like an image from above, follow the directions in the caption (promise it’s easy) and be entered to win shop credit to Plain Jane for you and one of your friends!!!!

XO, Rae

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FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PRINTABLE SIGNS + PHOTOGRAPHY TIP (A FREEBIE)

There are two things that get me through the back to school season 1. all the fun prep, shopping and planning that goes into starting a new school year (read: I love new clothes, lunch food and planners) and 2. football season. So I merged the two and made some festive but simple pennant flags for all the first day of school pics or daytime celebrations! There’s a link to download below along with the DIY and a BIG tip for taking first day pics too!!!!

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL FLAGS, DIY

You’ll Need:

  • THIS PRINTABLE TEMPLATE
  • dowels from the craft store or man store (they’ll cut them for ya!), ours are  18-inches
  • tape
  • OPTIONAL: tassels or other decorations (found some in a party bin I keep attached to a confetti balloon I bought from target :)

Here’s How:

Download, print onto card stock and cut the template along dashed lines. Tape to dowel and decorate. That’s it!

In my experience fanfare and celebration makes transition easier so whether you’re dreading BTS or ready for a little more structure, but aren’t sure how to get everyone up and moving in the morning, my best piece of advice is to make it fun and playful — blast the music, put sprinkles in their cereal, make time for extra snuggles, shake off the little setbacks (i.e. tantrums or missing shoes) and overflow with encouragement and no matter what, the morning will be a win — even if you’re late. Ha!

I find it’s best to let the kids’ teachers know what to expect every once in awhile anyways. (Love you so much teachers!!!)

MY BEST FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PHOTO TIP: I rarely get a good first day pic with all the kids in it. There’s just so much going on and everyone is going at their own pace and feeling differently about starting a new year (some excited, some grumpy/anxious… so many feelings!) and the light isn’t very good by our front door in the morning either. Sooooo I usually find another time during the week to snap a few pics — maybe outside of the school or at the bus stop — I think sometimes when we see alllll the BTS pics and they allllllll mostly look the same we create a weird rule for ourself that our pics need to also look a certain way, so I just want to remind you that there is no perfect BTS pic! Use what you have, do what’s easy, wait for the dust to settle, take the pressure off to get it at a certain time or even a certain day :) and have fun!

Remember these snapshots are not just for Instagram or facebook even though you might be posting there, they are for you and your family to enjoy, keep and cherish and maybe even add to your chatbooks!!!!

Speaking of chatbooks, are you guys avid fans of the little photo albums or new to the club?

XO, Rae

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MADE YOU SMILE WITH THE ALL NEW GYMBOREE!

Having my kids home all summer gives me all the smiles for all the days (even the longer summer days that almost feel like 2 days… wait, did that happen yesterday or this morning? lol). So once we get to that part of summer when back to school becomes part of the conversation, it always bums me out. The silver lining of course is all the back to school shopping that we get to do in preparation, which is why I’m so excited to be partnering with Gymboree. They’ve reimagined their brand and we’re in love with their fresh take on style and kid friendly clothing!!! Since we’ve been shopping at Gymboree since Ozzie was little, seeing all the younger kids in their outfits made me sentimental too.

You really can’t beat a shop that makes it easy to find clothes the kids love and that are also cute, mix and matchable, super comfy and soft and also durable. It definitely makes me smile. Thought it would also be fun to ask the kids what makes them smile too. Here are their answers and a bunch more pics of them breaking in their new Gymboree digs around town!

TILLY | my friends, candy, polka-dots, + you know… funny stuff. like dad jokes.

ESPEN | my bed. (spoken like a true tween)

GRIFFIN | hugging my mom, lemon muffins (lol, if you saw his bday interview), movie night, getting gifts.

POPPY | going on an airplane. my heart blankey.

Can I get everything in my size too, please!? I especially love Griffin’s top, Tilly’s jeans, Poppy’s dress and jacket, and Espen’s sweatshirt.

Poppy didn’t want to take off her headband at the end of the night either which is rare for her and hair accessories so it must have been comfy :)

The bottom pic — when Johan told them to look serious — Griffin’s expression cracks me up!

I so wish scooters could be our main source of transportation. It’s my favorite!

All the best – go with anything – footwear. And no one complained about their feet being sore!

Thank you kids and summer for all the smiles!!! And a big thanks to Gymboree for sponsoring this post and putting together such a fun #madeyousmile campaign!

Hope this post and all the cute new back to school styles made you smile too!

XO, Rae

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THE BEST BACK TO SCHOOL POSTS

If you need me this week, I’ll be soaking up the last full week of summer vacay with my babes. We don’t have any major plans but will be trying to get back into a normal bedtime routine, stocking the pantry for lunch packing and after school snacking, enjoying the first of many Friday night football games, and hitting the road for one last weekend getaway before soccer games begin.

As much as I don’t want summer to end, I absolutely love back to school season — the clothes shopping, project making, food prepping, and to do list writing makes me happy. So thought I would roundup some of my favorite BTS posts from years past… scroll through for images and links!

BACKPACK FLARE :)

Will be making more of these this year!

FREEZER FRIENDLY BREAKKIE BURRITOS

Yes please! You can download and personalize labels too so you know who’s is who’s when grabbing out of the freezer.

LUNCHBOX EMOJI STICKER FREEBIES

Can’t go wrong with emojis and kids or adding a little extra love to their lunch.

HOW TO ORGANIZE A KID’S CLOSET

Doing this ^ makes everything about getting ready in the morning or packing for overnights easier.

PEANUT BUTTER BREAKKIE COOKIES

Haven’t met a person that didn’t love these cookies. Make extra to bring to a play date, drop off at a friends front door (with coffee) or for an after school snacks!

ILLUSTRATED BACK TO SCHOOL CHECKLIST

A cute way to keep track of BTS to-do’s and also remind myself that there is a reason I’m feeling a little tired and scattered this time of year… between finishing summer strong and school prep, there is so much going on!

Happy Monday Friends!

How is back to school stuff going for you?

xo, Rae

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5 MORNING HACKS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL

Whether you’re sending kids back to school or just ready to transition from lazy summer mornings to more structured fall days (hello earlier bedtimes!), getting everyone back onto the same morning routine is key. With 5 kids that have very different morning tendencies I’ve put together a list of tips and tricks that make it easier to get out of the house on time(-ish).

1 | STOCK THE DOWNSTAIRS BATHROOM WITH TOOTHBRUSHES + HAIR SUPPLIES — Unless we have a good 10 minute cushion before heading to school or the bus, sending my kids back upstairs to brush their teeth and style their hair (if they haven’t already) is a terrible decision, because the distraction struggle is real. They find a million other things to do like rough house, find that toy they haven’t seen for a couple weeks, or count the money in their piggy bank. It’s a serious talent and maybe it’s just my kids but storing tooth brushes and hair supplies downstairs keeps everyone moving in the right direction.

2 |ONE + DONE OUTFITS FOR MAMA — It takes me way too long to get ready once the kids get up and I try to use as much of the hour or two before they do so to get some work done so having cute dresses and jumpsuits to throw on is everything. Add a hat or sunnies and some lipstick and 15 minutes is all it takes to be ready for the day! Unless of course it’s a hair washing day :)

At least until the weather starts to freeze in which case I stay in my sweats or jammies as long as possible, and opt for driving the kids instead of walking, LOL.

3 | CONTINENTAL BREAKKIE TO SIT AND EAT OR TAKE + GO — this is key for Tilly who would prefer not to eat breakfast until 10am. She just isn’t hungry, but not eating before going to school is not an option for many reasons but especially because she goes from hungry to hangry in a few short minutes. To make it easy on all of us we’ll be setting up a continental breakfast for the first couple weeks so there will be lots of choices and easy options to grab and go or throw in their bags for snack time later. A few things on our continental breakfast menu: no-bake energy bites, cereal, yogurt, granola, bananas, apples, peanut butter, hardboiled eggs and muffins.

4 | INCENTIVES! — Who doesn’t love a good incentive!? At the top of my kids’ wish list is Starbucks, a special after school snack, family bike rides to school, or “parent pick-up” instead of taking the bus.

5 | CUE THE MUSIC, DANCING + LAUGHTER — There is nothing worse than sending the kids off to school when one or more of us is frustrated or upset. Luckily — joy, cool dance moves and laughter are contagious. It’s also not a bad way to start the day!

I absolutely loved and appreciated all the comments regarding my thoughts on homeschooling. You guys are the best and seriously know how to encourage a girl!!! Instead of rushing into things this year, Johan and I have decided to spend more time thinking about the logistics and looking into co-ops, programs, and other resources that are out there. In the meantime the kids will be going to their usual school (that we love!) down the street and I’ll be scheduling one day a week to volunteer… something I’m sure Poppy will look forward to just as much as me!

Now back to morning routine hacks. Please share any tips you might have in the comments!

xo, Rae

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A HOMESCHOOLING CONUNDRUM

For my own kids and family, when it comes to the topic of traditional vs. alternative schooling I’ve always leaned towards the side of public school. But as I walked through target the other day and casually grabbed the new school supply list a spontaneous thought crossed my mind…

Maybe we should homeschool?

Aside from not being ready to say goodbye to my kids’ cute faces (Poppy not included) for 7-ish hours a day, something about this summer has made me incredibly aware of how little quality-time we spend together during the school year and how much closer and in sync I feel with them during summer break. I’m more tuned into their heart, desires, needs and hangups than I could ever be during the crazy train that we all board between the hours of 3:30 and bedtime during the school year.

So here’s the conundrum. After hours of thinking, praying and making a pros and cons list a mile long, there doesn’t seem to be a “best” or “perfect” choice. Maybe it’s just not time or maybe God has something else in mind…  like a part-time co-op school program where the kids go to school from 8 to 12pm or 3 days a week from 8 to 2? That would honestly solve all of my problems and probably zero for anyone else’s (LOL) but it sounds pretty amazing!

I know this is a bit deep for a Monday, but do you guys struggle with picking the best kinda schooling for your kids?

And how do you make big decisions when there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer?!!!!

Always love hearing your input so please dish in the comments :)

xo, Rae

ESPEN | top sold-out from j.crew (but this ones cute!), shorts from gap, glasses are nike

POPPY | hoodie and glasses from target, shorts from childhoods, scooter from amazon

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BACK TO SCHOOL HAIRCUT INSPIRATION

I’m really good at avoiding all things back to school and in theory, I guess it makes sense. I mean, who wants to think about going back to school when there’s still summer to soak up!? The only problem is that once the last week or two of summer rolls around we’re too busy scrambling to buy school supplies, picking out backpacks, running around to appointments, and crossing our fingers that all the first day of school outfits arrive on time, to actually enjoy it.

This year, with 40 something days left of summer, I’m doing my best to spread out the back to school preparations. A box of stylish clothes from Rockets of Awesome  should be arriving in the mail next week, I grabbed school supply sheets from Target last week, and today I plan on booking everyone a haircut. Last night I went a little crazy on Pinterest and pinned a ton of hairstyle inspirations (HERE) for the little and big kids and thought I would share along with a reminder to schedule haircut appointments… if you haven’t already :)

Here’s what I’m hoping my kids pick…!

ESPEN | His hair isn’t quite this long, but it does have that beachy look to it that I love! Definitely a good candidate for long boy hair which I can’t seem to get enough of lately.

TILLY | Last week Tilly was in a hurry to get a bob, but since our usual hairstylist was booked, I took her to someone new and while her freshly cut locks look really cute it’s not quite what she wanted. Wondering if she might like this version of a bob?

GRIFFIN | We usually do an undercut on him (checkout the DIY here!) but his hair has a mind of it’s own and that mind really likes to lay flat on his forehead. LOL. Thinking this cut would look cute and be easy to keep styled!

POPPY | she has a natural layer of bangs that have been growing out lately and I miss them! So thought we’d try and give her official bangs that are a bit thicker. Hoping they won’t be too hard to maintain… anyone have experience with their kids!?

OZZIE | Don’t want to leave out our oldest, but searched high and low for a good inspo pic for him and all I found was little kids or grown men with facial hair and that smoldering look. Neither really seemed appropriate. Luckily he has the most amazing curls and a trim is usually all he needs!

You can find all of the pics and more on my BACK TO SCHOOL Pinterest board. There’s never a shortage of fun ideas and inspiration (hashtag always pinning) so you should also follow me while your over there! ;)

Despite my aversion to starting the back to school prep, I actually love EVERYTHING about it (new clothes, school supplies and hair? Sign me up!) except sending the kids back to school.UGH. Regardless, it does feel good to get started on the checklist… What’s left on your back to school checklist?

xo, Rae

P.S. — A few posts that might make all the prep work easier and/or more fun: BTS checklist, DIY backpack charms, teacher gift, + emoji lunch box stickers

P.P.S. — The last 4 images are from old Zara lookbooks.

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