As you can see, there's quite a theme developing on my blog this week and it's called ORGANIZATION!!
I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I have been a hot mess lately. Too much going on at once and my tired mommy brain just can't process everything that needs to be processed each day. But I have to get my act together because summer isn't going to be any less busy for us around here.
So first things first.
It's time to plan our calendar. Eric and I already have our calendars synced through iCloud (which is amazing and has totally changed our relationship), but this doesn't really help the kids. I want them to know what's coming up each month too so I decided to put together a cute little calendar just for them that I can hang on the fridge.
As you can see, I've customized this for my own kiddies, but if you like the calendar, I've put together a blank one that only includes Father's Day and the First Day of Summer. You can download it here.
Once you have your calendars filled for the summer, it's time to set some goals. Knowing ahead of time what you hope to accomplish over the summer will help you stay on track and budget for it if necessary. Our summer goals and projects are:
1. Freshen up some paint in the kitchen and family room.
2. Potty Train Blake
3. Finish basement clean-out & organization
I will be a REALLY happy camper if we can make all 3 of these things happen :-) This is the first summer since we moved into this house that our summer goals/projects don't cost thousands of dollars. Feels kinda nice :-)
Making life simple at home during the summer is easy if you put in the work ahead of time. Filling calendars, setting routines, and meal planning all at once may seem like a lot, but when you already have shopping lists in order and meals ready to go...you will save a TON of time at night. I am definitely going to work harder at meal planning this summer to save time and money. Plus, summer eating is the best! Hello watermelon with every meal. Mmmmm...
So you've got your home all organized and ready to go for the summer...now what?
What I always like to do after I get my home in order is think about where we are going to be spending the most time this summer. Because I have young kids, I will be heading to the beach a LOT, as well as the park, splash pad, campground, zoo, etc. At all of these places, there are certain essentials you want to have on hand.
Okay...I know what you all are thinking.
"That's a lot of shit, Jen!"
And you're right. BUT...at one point or another,we have needed each and every one of these items and I was always so happy I had them with me. So what's in my stash?
I have sunscreen for the kids, Eric and myself (we all like different brands), germ wipes (a MUST), minor first-aid supplies (like Cars and Tinkerbell Band-Aids, Neosporin, and itch gel), bug spray (GOTTA have it at the campground), some Advil (cause you never know), my Evian mist to freshen up when I'm gross and a Gal Pal icepack for any boo-boos.
And I carry all these goodies in a toiletry case so that everything is in plastic (in case of leaks) and it's organized so I can find it quickly instead of digging to the bottom of a huge bag.
Make sure that when you fill your little on-the-go kit, you don't take items out and forget to put them back. It totally defeats the purpose my friends and I use to do it EVERY SINGLE TIME I left the house. I would take the sunscreen out to use in the backyard, forget to put it back, head to the beach and realize I had no sunscreen!! So buy extras of these things to just keep in your kit. That way you know you will never for get them.
I keep this kit packed all the time and I store it in my beach bag. My beach bag is also always packed, aside from a few last minute things like my phone and sunglasses.
After almost ruining my beautiful Marc Jacobs bag (due to a sunscreen incident) and my Coach summer tote (due to a sippy cup and sand incident), I decided to find great, inexpensive beach tote with LOTS of pockets. I found this one at Target 3 years ago and I love it. It's PERFECT for holding everything I need, like:
* Dry Clothes
* Suncreen & First Aid kit
* A zipper wallet of some sort to keep my money from falling into the sand
* Snacks (especially for the kids)
* A Reusable bottle of water
* Sunglasses and my phone.
Having this bag packed and ready to go saves me SO much time and keeps me from forgetting the important stuff...like Real Simple magazine.
The other thing I suggest keeping "packed" this summer, especially if you have kids, is a beach toy basket. I bought this cheap blue laundry basket at Target last year and filled it with all the kids beach stuff. This basket easily transports from my car, to the beach, to the campground and back. It's also super easy to clean out.
It's one thing to be prepared for a day trip to the beach or the zoo, but it's another thing to be prepared for summer travel. Whether you are flying, driving or cruising in an RV...there is a LOT to remember and a LOT to pack. You also need to take into consideration who will be traveling with you. If you have kids coming along for the ride, you've got some work to do my friends.
Not too long ago I made these really handy printables for my Camping Binder (go ahead and laugh) but I had several friends tell me they used the packing lists for their non-camping trips and found them really helpful.
Even if you are away from home, you still have all the same tasks to think about. Schedules, activities, meal planning, etc. Planning out your travel ahead of time and making lists will save you a LOT of stress and mommy-panic-moments.
And speaking of mommy-panic-moments...nothing scares me more than being trapped in the car with my kids on a road trip. We've never driven long distance with the two kids and frankly I'm not looking forward to it. BUT...I like to think that if I am prepared with PLENTY of fun and entertainment for them...we will survive.
While searching for road trip activities, I came across this fabulous blog called Prepared Not Scared. She wrote a great post on her Road Trip Bag and offered up lots of great printable games like I Spy...
I have a feeling I am going to be downloading EVERYTHING she has to offer :-)
And if you would like to download my printables and read more about our camping binder, click here. You can also follow my Crusin in the RV Pinterest board for a BUNCH of other road trip organizational tips and tricks.
So...what are some of the great things you all do to stay organized over the summer? Do you have a beach bag ready to go at all times? Do you swear by lists and activities calendars?I would love for you to share your tips and tricks with all of us!!