That's the title of today's article from OrganizedHome.com and it caught my eye right away!!! They have some wonderful tips to help busy mom's stay organized (and some-what stress free) this summer and I love how the author keeps it real. For most moms, summer doesn't look like a Kool-Aid commercial. That mom is dressed in a cute summer outfit and has her hair curled. Those kids have on clean, matching clothes and their hair is brushed. No one is fighting. Or hitting. Or whining. Or screaming. Or crying. Or bleeding.
What the Kool-Aid marketing team should do to show a REAL summer moment is throw that mom in some dirty Target running shorts, wrap her hair up in a ponytail and remove all make-up. Then just throw on a pair of sunglasses to hide the bags. The kids...well...they shouldn't be playing outside in perfectly pressed khakis. Odds are one or both of my kids won't even have clothes on outside and if they do, they certainly don't match (because we dress ourselves around here these days) and they are mostly likely covered in chocolate milk from breakfast. Oh, and scrape the hell out of their knees and rub some dirt on their face. And instead of having the mom say, "Kids...come have some delicious Kool-Aid!" She should say,
"HEY!!! Get your hands off your sister. And put your pants back on, the neighbors can see you. NO!!! Please don't pee in the grass!! I'll give you some Kool-Aid if you come in the house and give mommy a damn break!"
Okay...so maybe I am being a little dramatic. But doesn't summer feel like that some days? We aren't even a week into our summer break yet and things already feel out of whack and a little chaotic. And man I HATE that feeling!!!
So when I read this article today, I thought it might be helpful to list some things that I hope to do this summer to make things run a little smoother around here. I've already shared some in this post, but there are a few other tips I've found on blogs or Pinterest that I think are GENIUS!
1. Save Time in the Kitchen
Good Lord do I hate meal planning and cooking. I am not kidding...I absolutely LOATHE being in the kitchen, unless I am baking or making a special meal. But for the every day breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack routine I hate it. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I have no creativity in the kitchen and I have a hard time whipping up meal ideas out of random ingredients. But I do find that when I sit down each week and PLAN what we will eat and SHOP for those items...things run a little smoother. And snack time is no different. My kids live for snacks and when you are in a pinch, it's a lot easier to grab a bag of mini M&Ms than something a little more filling and healthy. BUT...if you take the time to prepackage and portion out some snacks, kids can have a choice of what they want and you will know that they are making a healthy one.
Real Simple suggests having a Refrigerator Snack Station with portioned out fruits and veggies, lunch meat roll-ups, cheese sticks, yogurt, etc.
And Jen, from one of my favorite blogs iHeartOrganizing, suggests having a pantry snack station as well. She also includes some cute printables for you :-)
2. Prepare & Pack Ahead of Time
Whether you are going on a family trip or just heading to the beach for the day, being prepared by having bags packed ahead to time can save you a lot of time and stress. For the past few summers, I have packed a Beach/Park Bag that is stocked with all the essentials I need like Sunscreen, diapers, bug spray, snacks, dry clothes, etc. All of these items pretty much stay in the bag (unless they are used and then switched out) so that if we wake up and decide to head to the beach, I am already one step ahead.
And speaking of being one step ahead...I also found this great blog that my SIL pinned on Pinterest, called All Things Simple, and she had a great idea for organizing and packing kids clothes. I know we all try to plan our kids outfits ahead of time, especially when we are traveling, but what about taking it one step further and actually putting outfits into separate plastic baggies. She even includes undies and accessories to make it that much easier for her kids.
And when she's not traveling, she uses a similar system in their closets.
Pretty smart thinkin huh? After the past two camping trips, I can honestly say this technique will help us SO MUCH! And then when the clothes are covered in sand, you can just put them back in the baggie to get back home. Now more sand in the bottom of your laundry basket :-)
OrganizedHome also has a great article specifically on planning for family travel and they have some awesome tips too.
I hate to say it friends, but de-cluttering is a year round process that never really ends. BUT...the better you are about keeping up with this task, the less time it will take you each season. Summer really is a great time to de-clutter and spring clean your house when windows can be open and the kids are too busy playing outside to notice that you are donating their bin of Happy Meal toys and old stuffed animals. Even after all the de-cluttering I did before our garage sale and through my 40 Bags/40 Days challenge, I still feel like there is more to get rid of.
So in my search of new de-cluttering tips, I found this cute blog called Somewhat Simple and she did a 4-week summer declutter challenge last year that would be awesome to do! She also had a lot of great free lists and printables to share.
Well I hope these little tips give you some motivation today! I am most excited about setting up our snack stations because I know that is going to save a TON of time.
So...how is everyone else making the most of their time this summer? Any tips to share?