As always on the last Thursday of the month I'm linking up with Holly at Pink Lady and Patty at Good, Better, Best for one of my favourite posts of the month, Monthly Musings. This is one of the kindest group of women on the internet and I feel like everyone who links up is so encouraging.
1) Where do you typically shop for back to school? Any tips?
Well, this year we shopped "back to school" for Rachel in New York City! But that's rather unusual :) Usually, we just find one nice "back to school" outfit (or shirt) at a place like Old Navy or Joe Fresh. Sam has made a few halfhearted attempts to find a new shirt but we haven't put a serious effort into it and I don't know if he really wants something new or not.
I guess my main tip would be not to stress about it. Especially as the kids have gotten older, it really doesn't matter all that much. (It probably didn't matter all that much when they were younger either -- hahaha!)
2) How do you organize for back to school?
I don't know that I really organize all that much anymore. We don't have school supplies to buy and we reuse the kids' lunch bags and back packs year after year. I try to make sure they have a couple of pairs of shoes which fit but, other than that, there's not much to do.
I do try to stay on top of all the emails coming in this time of year though. I try to respond to the emails (register kids for things as necessary, pay for school products, sign permission forms, etc) right as they come in rather than putting it all off until later.
3) Do you meal prep? Any fall recipes to share?
I do meal plan. I don't necessarily meal prep ahead of time but I try to menu plan a month in advance. I've fallen out of that habit this summer but I need to get back into it because, while it's a lot of work at one time, it makes the rest of the month smooth sailing.
Once we get our CSA fall veggies, I like making the stuffed squash recipe you can find here.
4) Any back to school traditions?
I always do a "first day of" sign for every year and we take a picture on the morning of the first day. I love that the kids made me a "first day" sign when I started working for the school board almost four years ago :)
I also start baking more muffins as we head to "back to school." They're so easy to grab for a quick breakfast or as a snack after school or to pack for lunch.
5) How long does it take you to get into a new fall routine?
Ummmm... I don't know. Ask me in a month -- hahaha! Fall is always a little crazy for routine around here because, not only is the school year starting up, but so is the Jewish year and a few of the major Jewish holidays (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur) happen in September and/or October. So that always adds to the mix as well.
And this year I don't know how Sam and Rachel being at different stages of school (high school for Sam and middle school for Rachel) will impact our routine as well. Sam didn't get involved in much in middle school (thanks to Covid and his personality) but I don't think Rachel will be as uninvolved, so we'll see what sparks their interest at school.
6) Best lunchbox packing tip?
My best tip would be to let the kids do it but, since Dave is the main parent responsible for the kids getting out the door in the morning, he helps them more than I would. I try to get the kids motivated to pack some of their lunches the night before but that has varied success depending on our evening activities.
7) Best tips for getting out the door in the morning?
Have your spouse be responsible for this part! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Seriously, one of the best things about working outside the house is that I'm the first one out the door so, other than trying to ensure the kids are somewhat awake before I leave, I don't do anything with their morning routine! And I pretty much love it that way :)
8) Slow cooker? Instant pot? Both? Neither?
Neither. We eat mostly vegetarian and I have just never figured out recipes which work for either of these appliances. We eat a lot of one dish, oven baked, dinners in fall and winter and that works well for our family's diet.
9) School bus? Carpool? Walk to school?
The kids could walk to our elementary school in ten minutes and Sam can walk to high school in fifteen minutes. There is a bus available to the middle school as it's about a 35 minute walk. Sam would walk home from middle school about once a week with friends and I hope Rachel might as well. And I love that I can walk to the school where I work in twenty minutes as well. We live so centrally and I love it!
10) Start school before or after Labour Day?
Well except for the fall of 2020, when the back to school startup was messed up by Covid, this is the latest start I can remember in a long time. Normally, our first day back is the Tuesday after Labour Day but our board decided to make that a PD (Professional Development) Day this year, so the kids don't start back until the Wednesday after Labour Day. That feels so late to me.
I have to say by this point in the summer, I'm ready for "back to school." Especially this year, as both kids are transitioning to new schools, the waiting is just bringing a little anxiety at this point (mostly for the kids) so let's just get it over with and get into it. We're ready for this new year and excited about the adventures ahead!