Back to School Prep

Here in Atlanta, we have just a few week’s left until the kids head back to school, which brings me a little sadness and a lot of joy!! It also means that it is time to pull out my infamous lists and get ready.  As with anything else Back to School Prep is a process.  Here are  my FAIL PROOF STEPS.

PURGE –

If your kids are anything like mine, they love to hold on to things.  So step one for us is ALWAYS THE PURGE.  This part generally just applies to clothing and where clothes are concerned, a fashion show is in order.  I have the kids pull out all their things and try them on to see what fits and what needs to be sent to Goodwill.  For the most part,  all the short sleeve and warmer weather clothes are generally getting too small but a lot of the fall things can still fit. We normally purchase school clothes twice a year, when school starts and then again before Christmas to take us through the colder months.  You can also use this time to get rid of half used notebooks, old binders, pens and pencils that have seen better days, and ultimately anything that you really don’t need anymore.

MAKE A LIST –

By now, most schools should have provided you with a general list of what your little ones will need for this school year.  Once, you have gotten the Supply List set aside, it’s time to tackle School Clothes. Only you will know just how much your child will need to make it through the year, but as a rule, I always try to do no less than 8 pairs of pants  and 10-12 tops.  My girls haven’t really been interested in dresses or skirts up until now, but this year my middle “schooler” has informed me that she wants to change up her style a little so I will be allotting some money for that, as well as some accessories.  Can I just say that she is growing up .. way too fast?  Speaking of Accessories, I find that it is so easy to forget to add these to the list, but undoubtedly you will need them.  I mean you always need new socks and new under things to start out a new year.. or just always.. am I right?

SHOP –

This year in Georgia, we are not having a Tax Free Weekend, as we have grown accustomed to before the new school year starts.  And, although I am one of the people that found this disappointing, life goes on. Whether you are on a strict budget or not, there is never a good excuse to pass up a good sale.  If you start early enough, you can get pretty much all your School Supplies at severely discounted rates.  Now, keep in mind you may have to hit up a few stores to pull it off.  But, trust me it is worth it.  We always like to buy a little more than is needed to take us through the School Year, and maybe even into the next.   Where clothing is concerned, the hunt maybe a little more intense depending on how picky your little dresser is.  But, generally I have found back to school shopping to be the perfect time to stock up on jeans and tees for great prices.

MENTAL PREP –

My oldest daughter is the most sensitive of my brood.  Transitions tend to be more traumatic for her, even though the older she gets the easier it gets.  But, at my house mental prep starts with readjusting bed times.  Creating new schedules for the upcoming year, discussing expectations and pre-planning as much as we can for the first week.  We also start pulling out our books, going over some of what we learned last year as a refresher and making sure any Summer Projects have been completed.  Don’t be deceived, even though Mommy’s are often the most excited of the bunch, they also need to get their minds right. Especially if you have been at home with the kids all summer , you too have to get used to early drop offs and fitting all that you have to do within that tight time frame, before pick ups occur.  I learned this the hard way, because every year I get so caught up in the joy of my alone time, that I take weeks to get back on track.  This was the first summer that I managed get a lot done, simply because I prepared for what was to come.

What is your process for getting your little one’s ready for the start of a new year?  I would love to hear all about it.  Be sure to share your tips in the comment section below.

Friday Favorites – Week 379 – Summer Fruit Salad

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Sharing the Gift of Faith with my Tween Daughter

Sharing The Gift OF Faith With My Tween Daughter (through Tween Devotionals and Quality Time)

As a Christian, I am always, always, always, reevaluating my walk with Christ.  I mean lets face it to be like Christ, is no easy feat, I often feel like I am not doing enough.  Basically, it is just me acknowledging that I am a work in progress.  I fall down and get up.. like pretty much everyone else.  But, the constant in my life despite has always been my faith.

That being said,  if I were to tell you what my gift is, I probably would not saying preaching or ministry.  But, as a Mom, I feel like it is my responsibility to share my faith with my children. Growing up religion/faith was taught to me in a very totalitarian way.  There were very few gray areas or room for explanation and or deviation.  I’m not condemning this way of thinking, but, it is is not how I wanted to share my faith with my own children.  I wanted us to be able to talk about it and make sense of it together.

This year my oldest daughter started Middle School.  Since, I do morning drop offs, after dropping off my youngest at elementary school , my older daughter and I would get to her school with about 20 minutes to spare before her day began.  I had no idea that this window, which at first seemed like it would be a pocket of wasted time, would turn out to be such a blessing for the both of us.

She was transitioning from Elementary to Middle School, which means that she was already quite nervous about all the change.  So we prayed about the transition, we prayed about her finding her way through this NEW BIG school.  We prayed about her making friends and being happy.  And, when we came up on some rough patches through the year, we prayed about that too.  Then one morning I had a light bulb moment and started to search for Devotions for “Tweens”.  I am not sure I actually expected that to be a thing, or to find one.  But, I did.   When the first book arrived from Amazon, we were both so excited.  Almost every teen girl .. is equally as excited about the “tween” title.  I skimmed through the book before our first reading together.  And, I knew it would be a good fit for us.

So each morning after pulling into our Spot in the School Parking Lot, we took turns reading to each other from these devotionals and discussing it.  Some days the discussions were deep, some days they skimmed the surface.  Some days we didn’t read we just talked about things that were on our minds.  But, I would not have missed this time for anything.  And, at the end of the day.  I feel like I was able to share with her something that could carry her through anything life had to offer, similar to what my Mom in her own way passed down to me.

These are the two books, that took us through this school year, the links below are clickable.  Do you have any Teen/Tween Devotions that you loved and would like to share?  Leave it in the comments below, we would love to check them out.

 

you-re-god-s-girl-a-devotional-for-tweens-wynter-pitts-paperback You’re God’s Girl – Clickable Link For Girls Like You - A Devotional for Tweens - Wynter Pitts

For Girls Like You – Clickable Link

Friday Favorites Week 373 – Mini Moist Banana Muffins

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5 Ways Being A Mom Has Changed Me

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Being a Mom has changed me, in fact it honestly continues to change me every day.  Before I had kids, I was very confident in the fact that I knew almost everything, but, boy was I wrong.  I am not sure that anything can adequately prepare you for motherhood.

Perspective:  Being a Mom has forever changed my perspective on life.  I no longer believe that things are just black and white.  In fact, the gray areas far surpass any other.  Through the eyes of my children, I have seen things in ways that I don’t think I ever would have otherwise.  Because they are still so young, and tend to see the world without cynicism and fear.  And, because of them I try my hardest to be less judgmental and dogmatic.

Patience:  I am not sure you can successfully parent without some kind of patience.  Yet, I fear this will be a lesson I will continue to learn for my whole life.  There is no way that you can hear your name called over and over again, in various octaves and within 3 minutes, without having to exercise patience.

Understanding:  I think the older we get, the less sympathetic we become. We start to become easily annoyed with things that we feel require simple common sense and effort.  But, after becoming the parent of little people, I find myself being a little more compassionate towards other people’s plights.

Forgiveness:  Crayons on Walls, Vaseline all over faces… General messes… and the older they  get hurt feelings… Motherhood is a daily exercise in forgiveness.  I know I am not alone in feeling this way.  You clean up a room, only to have it destroyed moments later, by the cutest little thing you have ever seen.  Or you drive your teenager all over town, only to have him throw a hissy fit, because you won’t get back in the car to take him somewhere else.

Love:  I know it sounds cliche, but children do teach you the true meaning of unconditional love.  You love your spouse, or your significant other, but… you have very real and very definable expectations where they are concerned. Not that you do not have expectations of your children, but when they fall short you are the one who has to be there to pick them up, dust them off, and give them that needed push to get back on the horse.

I would be remiss if I did not say that being a Mom, is one of the hardest jobs that I have ever had.  It is challenging, it is rewarding, and sometimes it is a thankless job.  There are days when I feel unappreciated and burnt out.  But, the ups far outweigh the downs, and for that I am forever grateful.  God entrusted me with these little souls to love, to cherish and to mold, and even when it’s not easy, I intend to do just that.

How has being a Mom changed you?

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week!!

Teacher Appreciation Week - Free Printable Teacher Gift Tags

It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week!!  A week to celebrate one of the most noble professions out there.  I have always been in awe of teachers.  It truly takes a special kind of person to invest in the lives of  children, who are not their own over and over again.  That is exactly why I always try to make a big deal out of this week.  For their time dedication and devotion to my babies, I am extremely grateful.  There are so many great ideas all over Pinterest for Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas.   If you are looking for some ideas, be sure to check out our Pinterest Board.  No matter what you choose as your gift,  these Super Cute Gift Tags are a sweet addition.  Grab yours today!!

My oldest child is 20 years old, so , I have see my share of teachers over the years, enough to know that having a good teacher in your child’s life is a blessing.  My middle child has some auditory processing challenges and having an amazing team has made all the difference in her progress through out the years.  My baby girl is just in the 1st grade but we’ve been  pretty lucky there, as well.  I tend to hold my little ones a little tight.  So it makes me breathe a little easier just knowing that these kind of teachers still exist.

Teacher Appreciation Week Tag Supplies Free Printable

To Download your Own Copy of the Printable Teacher Gift Tags Click Here.

“IT IS THE SUPREME ART OF THE TEACHER TO AWAKEN JOY IN CREATIVE EXPRESSION AND KNOWLEDGE.” -ALBERT EINSTEIN

Friday Favorites – Week 370 – Mango Salsa

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Friday Favorites – Week 366 – Bunny Butt Cupcakes

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Friday Favorites – Week 363 – Easter Bunny Luncheon for Kids

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Our Visit to the King Center: A Photo Blog

Visit to the King Center : Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

Earlier this month, we loaded the kids up in the car and went to visit the King Center.  My older daughter had been to the King Center before, but unfortunately she was too little to have really understood exactly what the Civil Rights movement or Dr. King’s dream was about.  And so, with  blatant racism, and bigotry being displayed everywhere these days, we thought that it was important for us to remind our children of their significant heritage.

As a parent, I always err on the side of caution when it comes to telling my kids the gruesome and graphic details of life/history.  My philosophy on that is that they have their whole lives to be adults and to deal with such things.  And, I simply don’t want them living in fear.  But, as we were walking through the King Museum and I was trying my best to answer all their questions and explain the things we saw.  I was reminded that the Civil Rights movement was not just for adults.  There were several children on the front lines standing up for what they believed was right.  And, it brought me back to the famous quote by George Santayana, “that those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Surprisingly enough, I do not have too much to say about our trip other than to say that it was a humbling and solemn experience.  It filled me with both great pride and waves of grief.  Pride because of the long journey that our ancestors took on behalf of the very inalienable rights we are supposed to have today.  And, grief for those who lost their loved ones in the struggle and continue to do so in the name of upward mobility and dreams yet to be actualized.

Visit to the King Center - A Day On ... Not A Day Off

A Visit to the King Center : Call To Lead

A Visit to the King Center: Signs from Marches

A Visit to the King Center: Freedom March

I'm Black and Beautiful.

I hope that you enjoyed these pictures that my husband took and, if you are ever in the Atlanta area definitely put this on your list of places to see.  It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.  How do you deal with telling your children about things that are unpleasant?  Do you sugar coat it, or give it to them straight?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, in the comments below.