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Beat Manic Mornings

Some have already gone back to school or will be in the next week or so.  While the kids on the Jersey shore know the new school year is just around the corner.  Today’s post was inspired by thepeacefulmom.com. It has been a long time since I had anyone going back to school but I do remember some of the tricks which helped this crazy busy single mom stay sane (okay, maybe only a little).

Transitioning from summer days to the schedule of the school year can be rough.  Belinda always had a schedule even in the summer because of sports (gymnastics, field hockey and cheering) but she was definitely NOT a morning person.  So the first step was adjusting from the late nights and late mornings to early to bed, early to rise.  When she was younger, we started about 2 weeks before school started with moving bedtime up about a 1/2 hour every few days until the time school started, she was going to be at her required bedtime.  No it wasn’t easy and many days it was a fight BUT when the school year started it was a little bit easier.

Here are some tips to to help you send your kids back to school and make mornings a little less crazy at your house.  You can take a few pro-active steps to reduce the stress and chaos.

Prepare the Night Before

Generally anything you can do the night before will help to relieve stress in the morning. Kids should pack backpacks, make lunch, choose clothing and pick up after themselves. Mom can make sure all permission slips and forms are signed and all homework makes it back into the backpack, then set the table for breakfast (or at least think about what the kids will eat the next morning).  I know this sounds like a lot of work after a long day especially for the single mommas BUT it does help.  I know breakfast is the most important part of the day but it was not Belinda’s favorite meal and she hated eating in the morning.  The key was to have some grab and go things she could eat while getting ready or on the way to the bus stop.

Gather Your Gear

Having one central spot for everything is key.  It makes heading out the door a snap. Place backpacks, shoes, library books, lunch money, permission slips, etc. on and around an entry way table or in bins or baskets inside your entryway closet. No more searching for lost keys or forms you need to sign.  Ours was the counter in between the kitchen and the living room.  This way we could see everything on the way out either the front or the back door.

Create a Morning Routine for the Kids

Routines are the key to making your mornings run smoothly. It started with a routine for me.  Up early to get ready for work then get Belinda up.  Probably making a list of everything your kids need to do, creating a checklist they can mark as they accomplish each task would work for some but we weren’t list makers.  If you have kids who are too young to ready, use pictures.  If we had multiple kids, this would have been a definite to do.  A chart inside a plastic page protector so your child can use a dry erase marker then erase the marks each day. A great way to teach kids responsibility while ensuring you are not running around like a crazy women trying to get everything done in the morning.

Use Rewards

Use whatever your kid loves (watching TV, playing on the computer, playing video games) as a reward for when he gets ready ahead of schedule. In other words, no playtime until he’s done what he needs to.  

Get Ready First

This was always huge for me.  The fact I was a morning person made the difference.  It was easy for me to be up at 5AM to get what I wanted done before I woke up Belinda.  If you aren’t a morning person, you need at least a few minutes before the kids wake up to gather your thoughts and start your day well. Creating a routine for yourself is imperative for sane mornings.  Believe me the 10 minutes or so of quiet time to drink your coffee will make a big difference in the way your day goes.

What is your best tips for a sane morning when school starts?  Share your ideas with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Hope Wissel

Lunch Box 101

Happy Tuesday!  Here in the Northeast, the kids start back to school this week.  Many have started thinking about their fall season routines. One of  the most popular question at party or a vendor event this time of year is about our thermal totes.  Okay, so I may be late on the draw but trust me the conversation will come up again.  How much do they hold?  Which one is best for me?  Is there one for my hubby?  Just by chance there was an article in the paper about how to buy and how to fill them (probably needs a whole blog just for that).

I usually ask people what they typically take for lunch because the type of lunch box depends on the type of foods you pack, how you pack them as well as when and where you eat them.  J.M. Hirch who wrote “Beating the Lunch Box Blues” says that soft sided cooler bags are the way to go!  YEAH!  Thirty One actually has 11 different types of thermals.

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There are four main options for lunches – Around the Clock thermal, the lunch break thermal, the picnic thermal (those long shifts) and the thermal tote. He even recommends an insulated drink bottle – add a Thirty One Bring-a-Bottle thermal and you are ready to go.

4cc7a030791ea679f11be8b33dfb7525 The lunch box thermal is my go-to lunch bag.  It holds ALOT and has an outside pocket for utensils or items that you want to keep dry. The longer strap makes it easy to carry for the professional who is headed to work too.

Picnic Thermal Tote (1)  The Picnic Thermal is for those LONG days when you will leave the house early in the morning and work right through dinner.  It is a GREAT way to show your team or school spirit since it comes in only solid colors.

picnic thermalA double feature – it will hold two 6-packs of soda or 4 bottles of wine on the weekend.  This is my go to vendor event bag – it not only keeps my food cold but I can pack those tall bottles of water and know that everything I need will be right there.

party to go Talk about multiple uses for our thermal totes.  A local Scentsy rep found that this was a great way to store her “party 2 go”.  The thermal helps to keep her product safe during the hot summer months.  The thermal tote has been a staple in Thirty One‘s line for many years.  It is the perfect size for toddlers to take to pre-school with their snacks and have plenty of room for a few extras.  This works well for school-age children up to high school (just my opinion).  Once the kids get older, they start to carry larger bottles of water, more containers as well as more options.

11826023_10205027214303199_210412022777242574_nThe Around the Clock Thermal is the one that my hubby takes to work.  Working 2nd shift he has his dinner and snacks plus a few extras with him.

bottle bag The Bring-A-Bottle Thermal is the perfect size for sports bottles.  Place a cold or even a frozen bottle in the thermal and you are ready for a long day.  The clip allows you to fasten it on any of our thermals or bags.  Another use is to keep those bottle beers cold as you are tailgating this football season OR for that bottle of wine.  We do have a NEW tall bottle thermal but that is for another day.

Time to wrap things up…I know you thought lunch boxes were a basic decision but if you want one to last and meet your needs, it takes some thought.  While you are at it, why not have it serve several purposes to save some money in your budget for other things.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!