“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.”
~ Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting
A friend of mine shared this quote with me the other day and I thought it was the most fantastic way to describe the month of August. Although, judging by our filled calendar, I feel like the drop to autumn is less like a ferris wheel and more like a roller coaster. Those beautiful blank calendar squares just waiting to be filled with lazy days at the beach are now behind us. So as we reach the top of this crazy ride, I realize it is time to start preparing us for the drop :)
We have a lot of changes going on in our house this year! My son will be starting his second year of preschool (which will be 5 mornings a week) and my daughter will be starting First Grade! This means busier mornings, packed lunches every day and a list of things to do each evening. So over the next two weeks, I want to start preparing for the craziness by getting my planners updated, getting my house and our routines back on track, work on meal planning and lunch duty and of course, get ready for our FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!! Below you will find a bunch of FREE PRINTABLES and other resources from our shop that will hopefully help you all along the way too :)
Judging by the traffic in our shop the last few weeks, it's obvious that teachers, parents and students are all eager to start planning for the school year. If you don't already have a planner started for the 2014 - 2015 school year, we have several fun options available. In the last two weeks, we've launched our Teacher & Homeschool Planners, our new Student Planners and for those of you that want a more basic home planner to use for multi-tasking, our Signature Undated Planner set is incredibly flexible (and cost effective because you can use it year after year).
This set is also to great to use for a Home Management Binder or Household Planner. We have recently updated all of our FREE Home Management Planner Printables and extras to coordinate with this set!
This set has a TON of great freebies for your planners, including:
Updated 2014 - 2016 Holiday List
It also has a bunch of great list pages, including:
To Do checklist
Books to Read
Movies to See
Things to Make
Recipes to Try
Blank List page that you can use for whatever you want!
A lot of people ask what the difference is between a daily planner and a Home Management or Household planner, and this answer can be different for everyone. For me, the difference is that my daily planner is something only I look at. It's where I keep my schedule, notes and other important info.
Our Household Planner is something that sits in our office for my husband and I to both access when we need to see the kid's school paperwork and calendars, their activities schedules (for dance, library, etc.), our menu planning (NEW SET COMING SOON!) cleaning schedule, important contacts and notes. I always use 8.5 x 11 binders or notebooks for this planner because it is so easy to punch and file the things the kids bring home from school. I hope to do a special post this on this planner sometime in September :)
GET YOUR HOUSE & ROUTINE IN ORDER
I have a love/hate relationship with the word "Routine." By the end of the school year, I am so ready for carefree days and blank spaces on the calendar. But by the end of summer, I am craving it. This summer, all of our routines went out the window, including my cleaning schedule. One of the most important lessons that Martha Stewart ever taught me was that if everything in your home has a space, then everything can easily find it's way back to that space before the day is over. If your closets are so packed you can't squeeze in another folded pair of jeans, or if your kid's toy bins have no rhyme or reason, the likelihood of either of you putting things back where they go is slim.
So I am taking her advice and making "space" for everything we need for school. That means spending a little time reorganizing:
* Bedroom closets and hall closet.
* Coat racks and hooks
* Kitchen cabinets (make room for lunch supplies)
* Office and homework station
I am also going to try and nail down a new weekly cleaning schedule. I have updated the one that is part of our FREE printables and I am excited to start using it!
And speaking of cleaning schedules and household responsibilities, make sure you don't forget about the kids!! Although mine both love their chore charts, we have really let them slide this summer. This week we are going to assign our new chores for the school year and fill up our "reward" bin. Right now, we have several cute designs in our shop and will hopefully be adding more this fall! Check them all out HERE.
MEAL PLANNING & LUNCH DUTY
There was a time when I was SO good at meal planning. That time was definitely not this summer. Ha! But this school year is going to be twice as busy as last year so I MUST get back on my game. Luckily, most of our planners come with a meal planning option built right into your weekly schedule. We also have some fun daily and weekly dockets that also have space for planning dinners throughout the week. Perhaps my favorite docket for back-to-school is the Workin' Mom Daily Docket. But please don't let the name mislead you. This docket isn't just for Moms who work outside the home. This docket is for ALL moms who have work to do during the day. Many stay-at-home-moms like myself have small direct sales businesses, online shops, blogs and more to keep track of, so this page is a great way to balance all that on one page.
For those of you that want to spend more time with meal planning, we have a fabulous new Recipe & Meal Planning set coming out this month that will have everything you need for planning, grocery shopping and putting together an awesome, personalized recipe planner. So stay tuned for that :)
Planning dinner is a big enough challenge some days, but what about during the school year when you need to be thinking about lunches too? I have a whole Pinterest board filled with cute lunch ideas and when I show these to moms who have been packing lunches for years…they just laugh at me. Apparently most moms don't have time to make ham sandwiches that look like sailboats every day :)
But one thing that these experienced moms have told me is that cute little lunch notes go a long way. I used to LOVE when my mom would slip little notes into my lunches as a kid, especially when I was younger and missing her at school :) There are a million options for free lunch notes online, but I went ahead and made a cute set anyway. My goal for this school year is to share a free sheet of lunch notes every month. But to get you all started for the school year, you can download this set HERE.
These lunch notes can either be printed on card stock and slipped into your child's lunch tote, or you can print them on Full Sheet labels, cut them out and stick them to our child's lunch bag.
I also got a little excited and thought it would be fun to do a printable treat box for special days too :)
These little boxes are so easy to print and assemble at home and you can fill them with anything. They would also work for teachers who would like to give a special treat to their students (or parents…hint hint…you could use them to give your teacher a special treat one day too :)
PREPARE FOR THE FIRST DAY
My daughter has had her "First Day of School" outfit planned for a while, but my son will leave that part to me :) I get so excited planning the kids outfits for school and I love seeing their fresh new backpacks hanging by the door, ready to go. I know "First Day" and "Last Day" pictures are all the rage now, but having these memories of my kids each year is priceless! But don't wait till the last minute (like I did) to print your signs and get them ready for pictures. Nothing like realizing your printer is out of ink 20 minutes before leaving the house on the first day. YIKES! So now you can plan ahead and download our new Chalkboard First Day of School signs!!
I am so in love with these. Maybe it has to do with my obsession with chalkboards and bunting banners this year…but they look so darn cute framed. I hope you enjoy using them :)
Now…in addition to all the great FREEBIES we are sharing in this post, I also want to do another GIVEAWAY!!!! I get a LOT of custom requests in my shop, but perhaps the most common request is for customized daily and weekly dockets. Some people like posting them on their fridge or family bulletin board, while others use them in their planners and home management binders. Many people like to customize the colors or the headings of the different sections to meet their needs. And since I understand how valuable these one-page dockets can be…I thought this would be a PERFECT back-to-school giveaway!!
So here's the deal…
THREE lucky people will win their very own
Winners will choose:
Colors & Patterns
Your View (daily or weekly)
You will have one week to enter and we will announce all winners on Monday, August 11th! We hope that this will get all of you excited for back to school and give you the motivation you need to say goodbye to summer and hello to another fabulous school year!