Creating Peace at Home – Hopefully!

The holidays seem to amplify the hustle, bustle, and chaos of our overfilled lives.   I may have a few tips to create a little peace this holiday season. If you aren’t into organizing, stick with me one more minute – pretty please.

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1. The Binder.  The goal is to make things move decisively and quickly.   Inside I filled my binder with tabs (what can I say…even ex-teachers still love binders with tabs).

  •  Meal Planning – menu planning templates, the freezer and pantry inventories, go to recipes for quick meals (I also keep all the ingredients on hand)
  • Kids – school calendars, handwriting template, our I’m Bored sheet
  • Shopping Lists – I use this awesome app for my weekly grocery shopping, so this tab is to keep a long running list of household items, upcoming family/friends’ gifts, school items for class parties or teacher appreciation – the app can do all that, but I prefer old school pen & paper lists for some stuff
  • Miscellaneous –  we have a running family bucket/wish list,
  • Pockets – urgent items I need to take care of (like signed papers for school, recipes in progress, in the works projects, etc.)
  • Holidays –  I added in a tab for the holidays based loosely off of the Planning for a Peaceful Christmas suggestions on Raising Arrows.
  • all encompassing holiday shopping list
  • holiday menus
  • holiday shopping lists
  • holiday craft list
  • decorating shopping list

If you see a lady with three kids and a binder in Hobby Lobby, that’s most likely me.  If I’m out, I can glance at my lists and see what I’m forgetting.

2. Bored Boxes  These are clear plastic shoebox containers filled with toys and books that have worn out their admiration at home, but if we are waiting on a sibling in the carpool line, shopping at the mall, or sitting at practice become fun and fascinating again.  We have several stacked by the door, and as we head out, we grab one.

3. Dinner Bins  If you think of a fancy or cute name, let me know and I will change it.  I took large clear organizing tubs and packed up quiet toys to hide inside.  These are things the kids unfailingly hold their attention, but we don’t play with every day.  There are three, with different items to appeal to each child, and I rotate them week to week (or when I remember).

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These are nice because the activities don’t require me to supervise, are quickly picked up, and I can make dinner in peace.

Need a little more joy?

Try my Fill Your Freezer Plan, Dinner Advent Calendar or Elf on the Shelf Calendar.  Sometimes taking the guess work out of what to cook is half the battle. I LOVE this Random Acts of Kindness chain from Coffee Cups and Crayons.

Back to the Bell Schedule

I was in school for over 25 years.  I lived my life semester to semester, holiday to holiday, and bell to bell.  It’s routine.  It’s living life in abbreviated chunks of time.  It keeps the day moving, and hopefully running on schedule.

It has taken some time now that I stay home full-time to realize relying on the bell schedule might not be as bad as you would think.  Sometimes everything on our grand to-do list keeps us from enjoying the segments of time we have with our kids.  We instead become grumpy, stressed, and overworked just trying to keep the home fires burning and all the kids breathing.

How have you passed these last few days with your soon to be back at school babies?

Me? Well, I made a bell schedule.

I wanted a visual reminder in our home of the daily routine.

Then, I made a daily chore board for the kids so they can start to take some ownership over their routine.

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For weeks I have hustled to get school supply shopping, back to school clothes, and an idea list for lunchbox meals all neatly compiled.  The fridge is ready for lunch box assembly, freezer stocked for drive-thru avoidance, and laundry mounded waiting patiently to be folded.

We’ve met the teacher, slept in late, and now it’s time to make the kids a giant stack of pancakes, run the slip-and-slide in the yard, bake some s’mores cookie bars, and soak up the last rays of summer.

How you gear up for back to school?