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Organize Your Home For Back-To-School Success {A Guide}

It’s the start of a new school year in my home and I’m determined to make sure we have a smooth, clutter-free and positive school year.

As an avid believer in  and the positive impact of having a decluttered and organized home, I believe having an organization system and clutter and junk free home are essential for ensuring positive energy flow and clear thought.

I highly recommend that parents use the beginning of a school year as another excuse to get organized, not just for the school routine, but the family home in general.  So even if you did Spring or New Year cleaning, use the late summer/early fall to re-organize your life and priorities as well.

Even if your kids have already gone back, you can still get started. Here are some declutter and home organization tips that I’ve put together that I hope can help get you through the year.

Clean and Declutter the Kids Play, Work Rooms and Nursery.  Limit the number of toys and books in the kids room. Get rid of old broken toys. Give away old books and toys to the Salvation Army, Good Will or another family member with children younger than yours. Keep only a few of the favorite story books and the toys your child or children play with regularly. Don’t let them know you’re getting rid of the stuff they don’t even play with. They likely won’t even know it and you don’t need the headache of having them plea for you to keep it.

Infuse Calming Scents in the Home.  I’m a also a big believer in aromatheraphy and that scents guide the mood. Buy Glade or some other brand’s plugins to keep the air fresh and clean smelling. You can burn candles when you’re home or if you’re an incense type of person, those work too.  Consider using those with essential oils or scents such as chamomile, rose, vanilla and lavender. They are calming scents.

Thoroughly Clean the Room. Wash and Wipe down the walls, baseboards, windows and floors — with natural cleaners. Repair wall holes, cracks, squeaky windows, peeling paint. A clean home is great for fostering clear thoughts and just clarity, in general.

Set up Calendar and Chore Lists. Even if you’re a stay-at-home mom, you shouldn’t be doing all of the cleaning and upkeep. Set up a chore sheet for the refrigerator for after school chores. Also, start a new family calendar for keeping up with back to school nights, upcoming field trips, sports activities and other events so everyone knows what’s going on. If you’re the family manager as mom, you shouldn’t be the only one aware of what days are soccer practice.  Sitters, your spouse and house guests should too. Also, a chore list is great for keeping up the principles of feng shui which are all about clean spaces.

Keep Toys Dedicated to ONE area of the home (or maybe two) Avoid the chaotic mind that comes when you have toys and other things sprinkled in every nook and cranny of the home. Toys should be kept only to the play room, the kids room or one area of the apartment that is quartered off and situated with a toy chest, storage bin or some place where you can quickly toss all the toys hanging out all over the house. The tough part may be to stick to this one simple rule.

When the kids are not playing with a toy, there is really no need for it to be taking up space on the kitchen table or creating a tripping hazard for you or a guest. Either you, your partner or trained kids if they are old enough should make a concerted effort to gather all errant toys and keep them in the designated area.

It seems pretty intuitive, huh?

Over time, it will become a habit or second nature and you will find toys are not strewn about as much anymore. I do this with other areas of my home and life.  All papers, books, newspapers, invoices, magazines are usually put away in our home office.  All clothes go in a hamper, closet or bedroom.  Dishes, cups and silverware discovered anywhere in the house are picked up and taken in the kitchen

Think of this mantra:  “There is a place for Everything and Everything in its place.”

Organize the Paper Trails. Each year, families accumulate reports, information from school, permission slips and the such. It will get mixed in with bills, receipts, warranties and other paper that come into your life.

This Home Organization plan will make it easy for you:  Get a binder or two and dividers or one of those mega accordion file folders with tabs and divide them in the following categories:

School Category

Car maintenance schedule/Receipts

School schedules and holiday list

Lunch menus

School information page

School reading lists

Summer Camp and programs information

Medical information sheet for each family member

Emergency directory

House-sitter information sheet

PTA newsletters and rosters

Health Categories

Prescription drug record

Health insurance information

Home Vacation

Travel packing checklist

Before-we-leave checklist

Vacation idea list

Home Renovation

Home renovation contractor lists

Contracts and Bids

Warranty information

Utilities/services directory

Home decorating ideas

Home Business

Business records

Tax Documents for Business

Consultants and Independent Contractor records

Liability Insurance

Business & Office Equipment registry

Financial

Tax Documents for Personal

Big Ticket Items receipts

Life insurance information

Budget/spending record

Bills to pay

Hope these Declutter and Home Organization Tips are helpful to you as you get yourself and your family organized for the season! Good luck!

Back to School: Bully Manage and Prevention Tips {INFOGRAPHIC}

 

Students in the United States today face numerous challenges on campus among their peers. One of these challenges, unfortunately, is bullying.

These studies indicate that 28% of U.S. students from grades 6 to 12 experience bullying.

They also indicate that 20% of U.S. high school students (from grades 9 to 12) experience bullying. On the other end of the spectrum, one in three young people admit in surveys that they have bullied others. These actions don’t necessarily happen in private either. According to various studies that 70.6% of young people state that they’ve seen bullying at school.

Some of this visibility has led to active intervention, which has positive results. Studies show that when bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time.

Cyberbullying is also a problem for U.S. students. Studies indicate 9% of students from grades 6 to 12 have experienced cyberbullying. This number jumps up to 15% amongst U.S. high school students (from grades 9 to 12).

When studies focus on LGBTQ students, the percentage of students cyberbullied dramatically increases to 55.2%.

Types of Bullying and the Percentage of Middle School Students Experiencing Them

Physical

Acts associated with physical bullying include hitting, kicking, spitting, tripping, punching, and pushing. Studies indicate 32.4% of middle school students have experienced bullying via pushing or shoving. The studies also show 29.2% of middle school students have experienced hitting, slapping, or kicking.

Verbal

Acts associated with verbal bullying include name-calling, taunting, threatening or offensive notes, and inappropriate sexual comments. According to studies, 44.2% of middle school children have experienced name-calling. Studies also indicate that 43.3% of middle school kids have experienced teasing, and 23.7% of middle school children have experienced inappropriate sexual comments of gestures.

Relational

Acts associated with relational bullying include spreading false and/or harmful rumors, efforts to isolate the targeted student from peers, publicly writing derogatory comments, or posting embarrassing images in a physical or electronic space without the targeted student’s knowledge or permission. Studies indicate that 36.3% of middle school students have experienced the spreading of rumors or lies at their expense. Studies also show that 28.5% of middle school students have experienced being left out.

Damage to Property

Acts associated with property damage bullying include theft, altering or damaging the targeted student’s property, destroying a student’s property in their presence, or deleting personal electronic information.

The Effects

Kids that experience bullying may exhibit various physical signs that correlate to negative effects, either personally or peripherally. These can include unexplainable injuries, frequent headaches or stomachaches, and lost or destroyed personal property.

Kids may also demonstrate various negative behavioral signs, such as feigning illness or sickness, difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares, changes in eating habits, poor or declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork or not wanting to go to school, feeling helpless or having a low sense of self-esteem. In some cases, the behavioral effects can manifest into self-destructive behaviors, such as self-harm, talking about suicide, or running away from home

Read more and check out this infographic that diagrams the epidemic and offers a few solutions and preventative tips:

Tips On Creating a Lavish Dorm Room

posh dorm room
posh dorm room
posh dorm room

posh dorm room

Trending: The Posh Dorm Room

Things sure have changed since I was younger and in college.

These days, luxe, glammed up dorm rooms are en vogue. Roommates are getting together to coordinate their dorm rooms so they have a more comfy homey feel to them.

And while girls are on this trend more so than boys, the fellas are getting in on it too, decorating their rooms to fit their personalities by adding personal touches beyond just photo collages and posters.

To accomplish a posh dorm room, it’s probably smart to start with the school residential housing policy for what can be in the room and what not. Most schools forbid nailing items to walls, using certain electrical appliances and adding in furniture that the room doesn’t already come with. A quick check will give you a guide.

posh dorm room

Next, start with the essentials and get those from basic box stores like Walmart, Target and Best Buy. Then, determine with the roommate what color palette to go with, Pewter, black, white, pink etc and purchase accessories in the three basic tones or shades of that selected color grouping.

If your kid moves in before getting to talk to the roommate, small accent pillows, frames and lamps can be purchased later during a weekend trip home to bring a color theme together.

posh dorm room

Finally, add the fluff. Go to Discount stores like Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s or Ross and the like which sell a lot of cute, quaint and adorable home items with a lot of personality at a heavily discounted price.

If money is not an object, a lot of the upscale and higher end retailers like Pottery Barn, Elle Decor or Ethan Allen Galleries.

Also, if you do not live near any of these places, check out the website Dormify. It has checklists, you can online chat with one of its home stylists and it has decent competitive prices and they ship your order to your room. There is FREE shipping on orders over $75!

GET 15% OFF your FIRST ORDER

Photos from Lure and Lace

How to Get Your Child Socially and Emotionally Ready for the New School Year

Reena B. Patel, a licensed educational psychologist and author, offers tips on helping to prepare kids for the start of a new school year

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of the summer, and the start of a new school year for most people. Many children experience anxiety at this time, being filled with the stress of what starting school again will entail. From bullying and being nervous about making friends and having a new teacher, there’s a lot that can weigh on a child. This stress can continue throughout the school year and have devastating consequences. According to the American Psychological Association, when children experience chronic stress it can contribute to psychological problems, as well as physical conditions. The good news is that there are plenty of things parents can do to help their child prepare.

“Kids don’t know just know how to handle their emotions, so it’s important for parents to take steps to help address them,” explains Reena B. Patel, a parenting expert, licensed educational psychologist, and author, who offer virtual workshops. “Parents who make emotional and social health a priority will help raise children who are more successful, stable, and experience less stress in life.”

There are many things parents can do to help prepare their children emotionally and socially for taking on a new school year. These include tips:

  • Teaching kids to embrace progress, rather than perfection. If they feel they have to get perfect grades, for example, they will have a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety.
  • Setting your expectations for them based on your values. It’s important to let kids know what you expect for the school year from them, but that you realize there is room for error, too.
  • Taking the time to talk to your children about your own social mistakes, so they can learn from them. Let them know what mistakes you made and how you would have handled it differently if you could go back in time now.
  • Remembering that winning isn’t everything. Kids need to learn how to be a team member, and how to lose gracefully. Play games with them where they will lose at times, so they can learn good sportsmanship and resilience.
  • Discussing with them what “success” means. Teach them that we all learn through our mistakes on our way to success.
  • Kids need to know how to make friends, so discuss with them how to do that. Have your child pick five qualities you would want in a friend and then discuss the list with them. As social issues arise, refer back to that list of core values to see if the relationship is a good fit.
  • Having a family discussion about finding balance and discussing how much can be fit into one schedule. This is especially important when it comes to the number of extracurricular activities that can be taken on.
  • Making sure your kids know that it’s okay to ask for help. 
  • Making a social media discussion a priority if your child uses it, ensuring that they use the T.H.I.N.K. acronym regarding what they post online. T (is it truthful), H (is it helpful), I (is it inspiring), N (is it necessary), and K (is it kind).
  • Having a discussion about bullying. Remind them that bullying is never okay and that they need to speak up if it happens. Discuss having boundaries, speaking up, being a good role model, and getting help when needed.
  • Teaching your child coping skills, which will help them be better prepared to handle stress and anxiety.
  • Letting kids know the importance of focusing on the positives in life. They can do this by keeping a gratitude journal, and having a positive affirmation that they repeat each day.

“Most parents are focused on the supplies that kids need for school, but those pale in comparison to the emotional tools they need,” added Patel. “By making sure kids have the emotional and social tools and skills they need, they will be more likely to enjoy the school year, get better grades, and be happier, all of which are good.”

Study: You Can’t Be a Good Mom Unless You Take ‘Momcations’

 A recent study revealed that the average mom works 98 hours every week, the equivalent to not one, but two full-time jobs and working overtime.

Therefore, health and wellness experts are saying that self-care for moms is not an option but a requirement for being a good mother.

Alone time even in the form of a mini vacation alone is needed to feel refreshed, and it can make a big difference in a mom’s ability to cope, focus and do her mom duties.

They also say momcations can improve a woman’s relationship with her partner and can relay an important lesson about the value of balance to her children.

So there you go!

Science says take that vacation or go on that Girls’ Trip and quit feeling guilty about it!

5 Ways To Get Your Stuff Together For Back-to-School

tiles back to school on yellow notebook

Summer is flying by and pretty soon school will be back in session. Is your child ready to get back into the daily scholastic routine?  Mine are…kinda…barely…not really! ha!

The folks at Brainly — the world’s largest peer-to-peer learning community of students, parents, and teachers— asked 600 American parents whether they feel their children are ready to jump back into the daily grind of school. Nationwide 56% of parents say they think they’re children are prepared to go back to school.

Missouri parents led the pack with 85% saying that they thought their kids were ready to head back to school. Virginia followed with 80% saying the same and the top three was rounded out by Arizona at 69%. 

Brainly has put together a list of 5 tips for parents to help their children prepare to head back to school. 

1. DEVELOP A SLEEP ROUTINE NOW

Getting up early for school can be jarring for middle and high school students who have been used to sleeping in all summer. 62% of parents said they are worried their kids will have a hard time adjusting their snooze schedules during their first week back to school.

Brainly’s tip? Start a routine a few weeks before term begins so that your kids can get used to their new schedule. 

2. ESTABLISH SCHOOL ROUTINES

In a similar vein, students should get used to the hours of work (and homework) they will be expected to do during the school year. 92% of parents said homework is the biggest school-related stressor for their families. 

Brainly recommends developing a routine to help them manage their time and setting up a dedicated homework space so they aren’t caught flat footed in September. 

3. AVOID THE SUMMER SLUMP

School-aged kids can revert by nearly a month’s worth of instruction over the summer. In fact, 82% of American parents believe their kiddos experienced at least a mild to moderate amount of summer learning loss.

The best way to circumvent this issue is to keep their skillsets fresh and mind’s sharp over the summer. Consider doing this through platforms like Brainly where a community of students can help other students and users earn points for answering questions. 

4. GET YOUR SCHOOL SUPPLIES

This may seem obvious but students gonna need pens, pencils, and a handy dandy new Trapper Keeper (kids still use those right?) if they’re going to succeed this semester.

Pro tip: get those things early while they are on sale. 

5. GET YOUR KIDS (AND YOURSELF) ORGANIZED

Nothing adds heaps of unneeded stress to and an already stressful time than not being organized. Only 22% of U.S. parents said they currently feel organized for the start of the new school year, and a mere 10% of parents said they remain organized throughout the entire school year.

Brainly advises creating a plan for before and after school for your kids and yourself and sticking to it. Routines are important for everyone. 

Adulting Burnout And How to Deal Life Overwhelm

Photo by Claudia Barbosa from Pexels

Burnout is increasing. Some say it is even a global epidemic. Feelings of futility, lack of interest in the people we work with, lack of energy at work and at home and physical symptoms like headaches, stomaches and more are all signals that something is very wrong.

When we try to put a positive spin on our increasing dissatisfaction, we are denying our true feelings. When that happens, our bodies take over, trying desperately to signal us with a red flag to pay attention.

If this sounds like you, it’s time to make a change. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Take small steps toward a better, more fulfilling life for the sake of yourself and your loved ones. Don’t let excuses derail you, like, “What about my insurance?” There are medicare-for-all options with gaps in coverage until you land the next job or decide to get private insurance.

Decide What Makes You Feel Happy

We all have something that, no matter how bad our day is, puts a smile on our face. It could be a child’s laughter or a pet’s excited dance when you come home. It could be the satisfaction and serenity you feel when you look around your freshly cleaned home. It may be the smell of spices from cooking a meal. Maybe your zencomes from tending to plants. Whatever it is, think of that and how you can get more of it in your life. 

Pick Something You Would Do if You Could Do Anything

What was it that you secretly always wanted to do? Did you want to be a photographer or an interior decorator? When trying to remember back to your younger self and your desires at the time, don’t focus on practicality. Just remember what used to get you excited when you thought about doing that for a living. Now ask yourself if there is a job for what you identified that makes you happy. If your bliss is cooking, can you turn that into a business opportunity?

Make a Plan

Here is where the fun begins: ask yourself, “What Would It Take?” This could as simple as taking some classes or applying for a job in your dream industry. If your plan is to quit your job, don’t forget to take a look at your finances to see what you need to do in order to pay the basic living expenses in the interim. Want to travel the world? Consider putting your place on a short term rental site while you are gone in order to help finance your dream. 

Put It Into Motion

Now that you know what to do, go do it. Live your best life. 

4 Reasons Why Most Food Pouches Aren’t Good For Your Baby

A World Health Study just found that half of baby foods analyzed obtained more than 30% of calories from sugar, concentrated fruit juice or other sweetener. This habit of feeding baby sugar essentially trains kids to crave sweet foods, leading to childhood obesity, adult diabetes and heart disease.

But the problem is much deeper: those food pouches our kids love have been linked to childhood obesity, speech delays and problems with motor skills development.

Here’s why you should avoid giving your kid any food squeezed from a pouch, compliments of the folks at baby and child food company Fresh Bellies,

#1 THEY DON’T LEARN FOOD TEXTURES

According to expert Amy Shapiro of Real Nutrition NYC, pouches don’t include spoons, tools which actually help introduce your baby to see and try new textures without scaring them (for example, potatoes). Without a spoon, your little one is just drinking food.

#2 PROMOTES DELAYS IN MOTOR SKILLS

Pouches have been linked to speech delays and issues with motor skills, because kids are squeezing food in their mouth instead of practicing hand/eye coordination to put food in their mouth, which is an important developmental milestones. The prolonged sucking motion of a pouch, beyond the bottle phase, also impacts speech development.

#3 UNDERMINES SOCIAL EATING

When a child is munching on a pouch in the car for lunch or on the couch, they’re not learning to appreciate food as nourishment, understanding their body cues, or really experiencing a meal as “social time” around a table with the entire family.

#4 KIDS DON’T LEARN TUMMY CUES

Kids are squeezing food in their mouths in large gulps instead of savoring each spoonful. The “one spoonful at a time” approach gives babies the space to learn to eat when they’re hungry and to stop eating when they’re full.

With Fresh Bellies baby food (), kids learn to eat how they should – from a cup with a spoon – and without masking vegetables with things like sweet fruit. When ever possible, go with fresh.

That’s the lesson here.

 

Back to School: Homework Will Never Be the Same

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

Once upon a time (not that long ago, it seems), helping kids with homework was all about textbooks at the kitchen table. The chances are that your parents did this with you, and you may well have imagined doing the same with your youngsters. But it’s 2019, and technology is changing even the face of these tried and tested learning methods.

The majority of schools are now turning to online platforms to monitor and manage homework instead. This allows teachers to allocate work straight to home computers. Instead of bending over a textbook, then, your children are more likely to tap away every evening. This has definite benefits, including environmental improvements and an easier homework transaction. Not to mention that completing homework this way can help our kids to develop their tech knowledge. 

But, where does that leave us? We still want to help our children with their homework but, for many of us, this modern stuff is too much. Luckily, helping your children with their online homework needn’t be as complicated as you might think. All you need to do is take care of the more technical aspects of the process, such as –

The tools they need

Supplying homework tools has always been important, but a ruler and pencil are no longer enough. Now, you need to provide a computer which can manage their workload. You should also consider antivirus software to keep things running as fast as possible. Depending on which platform their school uses, you may even need to download specific software.

If you use a Mac but the school relies on Windows Edge, for instance, you may need to download Microsoft Edge for Mac so your children can send assignments with ease. You may even need to download individual apps to ensure they have access to all necessary tools. Only once you’ve taken care of these factors can you rest easy that their technological pencil case is full.

A block to online distractions

Blocking homework distractions is nothing new. Many parents will have children work in the kitchen or dining room for this exact reason. Now, though, you’ll need to think even harder to stop your children falling down the homework hole. That’s because, when they’re working online, they have an entire internet of distraction at their fingertips. Make sure that isn’t the case by seeking programs like Cold Turkey. This free program allows you to block certain websites or the entire internet for set periods, meaning your kids will have no choice but to buckle down. 

Can’t forget to connect

You may also want to connect their devices so that they can access homework from different locations if they so desire. That way, they can complete work even at a friend’s house or when they stay behind at school. The best option here would be to hook them up to the Cloud. That way, they can store their work and access it from any device later on. Homework really doesn’t get easier than that.

VIRAL: Moms’ First Day of School/ Freedom Photos

Another set of moms celebrating the start of the school year went viral recently.

This time, it was four Florida moms who posted a series of funny pics of themselves set up in a driveway in their lounge gear and cocktails hooping and hollering the start of the year.

Professional photographer Shawna Genua arranged an impromptu shoot with neighbors and friends Bridgett Brown, Jennifer Patterson and Robin Kelly.

“First day of school,” Genue, owner of Wee Winks Photography, wrote in a Facebook post. “Some of you are sad. This is me and my girls. We will be juuuuuust fine.”

They caught plenty of media attention including from TODAY Parent which covered the group this week.

It’s part of a recent trend. Last year, we did a roundup of similar photos, reposted below:

After a Summer of an empty refrigerator, a 24-hour messy house, being responsible for keeping the kids entertained, engaged or active, a lot of moms (and dads) look forward to sending their kids back to school. It’s a running joke among many parents to rejoice and joke about their glee over sending their children back to school.

I always poke fun at my Millennial mom friends and followers over the very creative ways they use social media to show off their milestones, extravagant themed kid’s first birthday or chic and stylish coordinated holiday cards and videos.

Add to that the relatively new trend of sharing the “Mom’s First Day of Freedom” on Instagram. Some moms go as far as hire professional photographers and coordinating a photo shoot to mark the occasion.

Some Etsy shops sell “Mom’s First Day of Freedom” Boards like the ones below:

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYvv7bEg_7_/?tagged=momsfirstdayoffreedom

View this post on Instagram

#momsfirstdayoffreedom #fireballthruastraw

A post shared by Whitney Hammonds (@whittykay30) on

 

What do you think? Would you get something like this and share on social media? Do you think it is mean-spirited or just a joke?

IF YOU’RE SO INCLINED, HEAD OVER TO ETSY AND PICK UP ONE FOR YOUR KIDS’ DAY BACK! LOL! WORKS FOR AFTER HOLIDAYS TOO!