School is in session, how are you coping?

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     I don't know about you, but I always greet the new school year with mixed feelings. On one hand, hooray for the return of schedules, regular bedtimes and structure after our wild and free summer lifestyle. On the other, boo to routines, schedules and early bedtimes after nights of watching the stars come out, sleeping in, and not having to be anywhere at a particular time.
     It takes me a few weeks to really get in the school groove. So, in the vein of hoping I'm not alone in that area I ask, "How are you coping with the new school year?"
Are you buried under mountains of dirty laundry? Have you given up on homemade lunches and resorted to Lunchables or hot lunch at school? Are you still signing those reading logs and assignment notebooks each night? Getting back in to the school year groove can be a challenge.
     I did pretty well the first 2-3 weeks and then I fell off the wagon (and subsequently was run over by the wagon, LOL) and now I'm dusting myself off and beginning again. Here are a few tips to keep your household running smoothly all year long.
   *When life gets overwhelming, pare your To Do list down to just a few small things. My favorite tiny list is just 3 items: A load of laundry all the way to away, a load of dishes, and spend 10 minutes tidying up to keep the clutter from overwhelming the house.
   *For the school year, I teach my child to bring me anything that needs to be signed/put on the calendar/seen by a parent. I can usually spend less than 5 minutes on sorting through those school papers and viola, I'm current on the happenings at school, which as we all know makes EVERYTHING better. I generally take a peek through the school bags while they are enjoying their after school snack and that way, if I don't understand something, they are on hand to answer my questions before things fade from their memory.
   *MEAL PLANNING: in my life, this can not be stressed enough. Planning and preparing for meals ahead of time saves me time, money, energy and from the hysterical cries of "I'm HUNGRY" every evening. I spend one afternoon over the weekend grocery shopping and prepping ingredients so that each meal for the week can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. Saves my life. Promise. If you don't know how to meal plan or prep, I suggest the Life As Mom website where she offers 40+ free meals plans that come complete with meal plans, a grocery list, and ways to prep ahead to save time later in the week. https://lifeasmom.com/free-printable-meal-plans-grocery-lists/

     There you go! My three best tips to keep your head above water this school year.
1. Tiny To Do List
2. Go through the paper work EVERY SINGLE DAY so it doesn't sneak up on you.
3. Plan your meals to prevent the 5 O'Clock meltdown.
Have a great school year!