Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Show & Tell: Back to School Traditions

Here in New York, we don't actually go back to school until September - though we are going back before Labor Day this year which feels very strange to me - but as a teacher, my prep for back to school normally starts about two weeks after school ends :) What can I say? I just can't help myself... so even though I have a few weeks, I thought I'd link up with Andrea to share my back to school traditions.

1 - Pin Like a Crazy Person

Pinning for the new school year usually starts... oh during finals week when I finally start to have some down time. It's amazing how a teacher's mind works, you wish & wish for summer vacation, but then when you actually have downtime you suddenly have all of this energy to invest in prep for the next year! 

Some of my favorite ideas for this year... 
  • Loving these editable binder covers from Happily Hope for the upcoming school year. They're perfect for both students & teachers to stay organized... and bonus: they're free! 
  • This ah-mazing exit ticket bulletin board
  • I'm toying with creating a missing homework log, so that I have an easily accessible paper copy for parent teacher conferences. Sometimes paper is just more effective in proving a point than a computer screen! "Yes, your son does have three pages worth of missing homework in this log. Yes, that is why he is failing my class." 
  • I already have a bulletin board similar to this, but I want to jazz it up & add to it with some ideas from this post too!
2 - Clean My Closet

Every year I try to purge my closet & make room for some new purchases. (We're pretty limited on space at our house, so I try to do this once a season anyways, and back to school seems like as good a time as any.) I usually go through & pull out anything that I haven't worn in ages or that doesn't fit, then decide if I want to consign it or donate it. Then, I take stock of what I "need" to purchase for fall. This year, I'll be doing this for Ella's closet/dresser as well, since she's had a serious growth spurt & I'm quite positive her jeans from spring aren't going to fit her at all come September! 

3 - Purchase School Supplies

I love school supplies! My school purchases the basics for me, but I also take advantage of the serious sales to stock up on my favorites like Sharpie pens and essentials like loose leaf paper. My favorite places to stock up are normally Target & Staples, but now that we have a Costco in town, I'll be scoping out their deals too! 

4 - Set Up My Classroom

Setting up my classroom is a serious labor of love. Since I just had Olivia, I'll be keeping a lot of things the same, I just don't have the same amount of time to dedicate to it that I normally do in a summer. However, I have a lot of plans for small projects to jazz up my bulletin boards & organize my space little by little! 

5 - Plan, Plan, Plan

Since back to school is also back to cheer for me, I don't have a ton of extra time to plan. Thus, I spend a lot of time in August planning ahead for September & October. To be honest, I actually started planning for the first week of school back in June, just so I'd have things sent to print shop & ready for my arrival. I know it might seem crazy, but the more that I can do ahead, the less hectic the first few weeks are! 

6 - Take First & Last Day of School Photos

I just love having a comparison of how much my kids have grown throughout the year! These photos of Ella are some of my favorites & I can't wait to add Olivia to them this year too. 

Less Than a Month of Summer Left! 

Monday, August 3, 2015

#LiveBrighter This Summer!

With newborn at home& temperatures in the high 80's every day, I've been really tempted to curl up on the couch, crank the AC & binge watch Netflix. But summer only lasts a short while in Upstate NY, so I'm fighting my urges & spending as much time outside this summer in an effort to have fun, reduce my energy consumption & #LiveBrighter!

Want to do the same? Here are four of my family's favorite ways to #LiveBrighter this summer!

1 - Snack on a Cool Treat

Popsicles & frozen yogurt are absolute musts in our house as soon as the temperature starts to rise. I wish I could say that I've been making gourmet popsicles from recipes I've found on Pinterest, but alas with a newborn, we're eating the classic store bought version & still loving every second of it!

2 - Take a Field Trip 

When it gets really warm, we like to take field trips to places that we know will have the AC cranking. My thought is, if they're already blasting theirs, why should I pay to blast mine too? So, we spend a lot of time at our local trampoline park & browsing at the mall!

3 - Visit All the Spray Parks!

Spray parks are a recent discovery in Ella's world & she absolutely loves them! We've been teaming up with her besties on hot days to get out & have some fun!

4 - Turn Your Back Yard into a Kid Friendly Oasis

On days that it's just too much for me to get everyone packed up & out the door, we turn our yard into our own personal fun zone! Ella has quite the set up with a pool, trampoline, water table, & play house - and sometimes we get really crazy & turn the sprinkler on too! I swear, these might be her favorite days because she can just run & be free - and they might be my favorite days, just because it's a lot of work to pack up a newborn!

How are you living brighter this summer? 

Sign up to save on your energy costs with Direct Energy & you will receive a $75 pre-paid gift card! Just use the promo code LIVEBRIGHTER75 – this offer is valid until August 15th, so get going! 

Direct Energy is also the only energy provider to be a part of Plenti, which lets you earn points at one place and use them at another, all within a single rewards program so that keeping track of your rewards is simple. I don't know about you, but that sounds awesome to me - mainly because I feel like I already belong to a million different rewards programs, so I'm always looking to simplify when possible!

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Friday, July 31, 2015

August Goals

Well, I don't know about you, but my July flew by. Actually, the beginning dragged as I woke up every day wondering if I'd go into labor, but once Olivia arrived, things went into fast forward mode! Despite being busier than ever, I still managed to work towards my July goals & I have some August goals set for myself too! I mean, I can't just sit around in my PJs all day every day - though it is tempting with a newborn! 

August Goals: 
  • Clean my closet. 
    • I really need to pack up all of my maternity clothes, list what I'm going to sell on Tradesy, and send the rest over to my sister's house. No more babies for me, she can store them until she decides to have the next one! I also need to get my closet organized for back to school - I'm going to try a new organizational strategy & have a lot of sorting/folding/donating to do! 
  • Get my classroom set up. 
    • My classroom is all cleaned & ready to go thanks to our custodial staff! Now it's my turn to go in, spruce up the bulletin boards, make copies, and prep for opening day! This is especially important because I get back from vacation on Sunday, August 30th & go back to work on Tuesday, September 1st! No time to waste! 
  • Stockpile Breastmilk 
    • I've been exclusively breastfeeding since Olivia has been born, but I know it's time to bust out my pump & start stockpiling for the school year. I'd like to have as much on hand as possible before I go back to work in September & delay the introduction of formula for as long as possible. I'm still not sure how my schedule at work is going to work out for pumping, so I figure the more proactive I am, the better. 
  • Design & Order Olivia's Birth Announcements
    • This is going to require me to decide on a picture to use & to address a ton of envelopes... both seemingly menial tasks that will probably take me forever to accomplish. I just loved Ella's birth announcements though & definitely want to send them out for Olivia as well. Mama just needs to get her act together! 
And how did I do on my July goals? Let's recap...
  • Have a baby! 
    • Done! I think I did a pretty good job too :) 
  • Plan Ella's birthday party! 
    • Done! You can read all about Ella's Flamingo Fiesta here! 
  • Check off 5 items from Ella's Summer Bucket List
    • We did great with this one! So far we've... 
      • Had a playdate with Ethan. 
      • Went to the zoo. 
      • Had a playdate with Addy. 
      • Went to story time at the library. 
      • Got tacos. 
      • Turned 3. 
      • Became a big sister! 
  • Maintain exercise & healthy eating habits.
    • I would say that I fell off the wagon for approximately one week of July & that was the week leading up to Olivia's birth. I wasn't out of control, but I didn't have the willpower to resist ice cream or other treats. I did keep up all of my exercising habits though, and despite not wearing my FitBit at all the week after Olivia's birth, I've worked my way back up to 10,000 steps & am hitting my step goal consistently again! 
  • Get car maintenanced & detailed. 
    • 50% on this one. The car got maintenanced, but didn't get detailed. We've been debating trading it in for a mini-van, so I didn't want to spend a ton of money getting it cleaned just to turn it over the next week. If we don't make a decision/purchase before we go on vacation at the end of this month, it will definitely be getting detailed! 
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