Back to School Action Plan

If your summer is anything like ours, (late nights, slow mornings, unscheduled days), then the thought of school starting again is probably exciting, but might stress you out a bit. Going from no schedule to a structured day can be tough at the beginning.

Because I find the adjustment tough myself, I have come up with a Back to School Action Plan that I hope you will find useful as well! The plan covers three areas: shopping, meals and organization. By tackling these three things I know our mornings are going to run smoother and we’re going to save quite a bit of money!

Let’s get started, shall we?

The Back to School Action Plan! Full of tips and tricks for the best school year ever! It doesn't hurt to have a few life hacks up your sleeve to simplify back to school, make the morning rush a little smoother, get the most out of school and feel more organized!

Back to School Shopping Tips:

Since the first year my oldest started going to school, we have implemented a tradition of going on a date together to get her school items. We both really look forward to spending some quality time together and I think the one on one dates we do is an investment into our future relationship. That being said, we don’t start our date day without a plan.

It can be so easy to walk into a store and buy whatever is on sale or super cute. But lets avoid that this year because quite frankly, it will be overwhelming to know how much money you actually spent on clothing that wasn’t actually needed and now has to be laundered. Ugh.

So, this is what we do here:

Inventory Clothes: This may sound overwhelming, but it literally took us less than 10 minutes. I simply pulled out every single item of clothing (including socks and underwear!) and asked her to say Yes or No to each item. If she said No, that item either got donated or put into the bin for her younger sister one day. With everything that was a Yes, I took a mental inventory of what she needed. I discovered that all she needs is a pair of indoor shoes and a sweater. That’s it! I also purchase one (on sale) outfit for her first day of school and a “special” accessory.

School Supplies: This is the first year that we have to purchase school supplies since previously everything was included in the school fees for kindergarten and grade 1. Cost is more of a concern for me so, my thoughts for this is to shop the dollar store, home and maybe even Staples when they have a good sale going.

If time is more of a concern for you, try doing all your school supply shopping online at Walmart, Staples or even Amazon. Pick it up in store when your order is ready or have it shipped to your door!

Back to School Meal Planning Tips:

Meals can be a big stress inducer for me so that why this year I have a plan for school day breakfasts, lunches and dinners. I even made some printables for you to use!

Breakfast: My kids never know what they want to eat each morning so this year I will decide for them by creating a menu. Every day of the week will be the same thing all year long. For example, Mondays I will serve muffins and fruit. Tuesdays will be pancakes or waffles. Wednesdays will be toast and fruit. And so on.

Lunch: This year, my oldest and I are going to sit down to brainstorm all the items that she would like eating in her school lunch. I’m going to divide it up into categories:

  • Main dishes
  • Veggies
  • Fruit
  • Snacks/Treats

Dinner: If I don’t have a dinner plan, dinner will either be take out or grilled cheese and tomato soup! 😛 And neither of those are healthy or good for the budget on a regular basis.

Back to School Organization

Morning Routines: Rushed, hectic mornings with short tempers are not my favourite. Admittedly, they happen way more often then I would like. Both of my kids (ages 3 and 7) still need help with their morning routines but my oldest is definitely more capable at being self directed. However, to help her along, I’ve made up a list of steps I need her to follow.

  1. Get Up
  2. Get Dressed
  3. Eat Breakfast
  4. Pack lunch (I like to do this while she is eating, but she can put it in her backpack)
  5. Brush teeth & hair
  6. Backpack & Shoes on
  7. Out the door

Set out outfits for the week: One thing I found super helpful last year was putting aside 7 outfits for each day of the week. This made getting dressed every morning so easy. My oldest tends to shut down when she has to decide so this has helped her tons.

Labels: With all the money that is spent on school items, it’s not a good feeling when something goes missing! Make it easier to find important and favourite items with labels. We love the labels from Mabel’s Labels so that where I ordered ours from.

I’d love to know your back to school tips and tricks. Leave them below in the comments!

Road Trip Snacks You’re Going to Love

Our family is about to head out on, what we hope will be an epic road trip, to Winnipeg. We are all so excited to see family, play with cousins, see new sights and make memories!

But, I’m not going to lie and say that I’m not anxious at all. Haha no. This will be our very first major trip since our youngest daughter was born. That was more than three years ago! She was a terrible sleeper for the first 3 years of her life so the thought of sleeping anywhere but home would practically make me sweat.

But here we are, just days away from our road trip and I have been in planner mode all week trying to calm my nerves. I have multiple lists going on for car activities, packing essentials and, my favourite, snacks. No road trip is complete without snacks!

Thanks to FreshCo, our snacking has been taken care of. I popped in the other day and grabbed our must-haves as well as some fun new things to try. Because the in-season produce selection at FreshCo is amazing, we will have a great selection of fresh fruit added to our dry goods. Not only is the quality of products noteworthy, the prices are the best in town – you can’t beat that!

And guess what? There are two new FreshCo stores in Winnipeg that opened this spring! I’ll be making a pit stop to restock on food for the car ride back.

Since I always like to see what other families bring along on road trips, I thought you would like that as well. So today I’m excited to share a list of our snacks! I also have a fun way that I have packed some snacks for the girls that I think you might enjoy or find helpful too.

First of all, here’s a list of the fresh produce we will bring along this time:

  • Watermelon (cut up into sticks)
  • Grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Carrot sticks
  • Apples

This will all be kept in a cooler that we will bring out when we make stops to stretch and get gas.

Now for the fun surprise for the girls. I picked up a couple of divided organizers from the dollar store that I filled with a variety of healthy and not so healthy snacks (but always a crowd favourite!) from FreshCo. I think they are going to love the smorgasbord of choices. The organizers aren’t that big so when they finish the tray, I’ll refill them during one of our stops.

Here is a list of what’s in the divided organizers:

  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Chocolate Coconut Chips
  • Dried pineapple
  • Beef jerky
  • Dried mango
  • a Sucker
  • Pretzels
  • Fruit snacks
  • Goldfish crackers

Here is a complete list of our road trip snacks (Find a printable version here):

  • Watermelon
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Carrot sticks
  • Apples
  • Potato chips
  • Juice boxes
  • Water
  • Pretzels
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Chocolate Coconut Chips
  • Dried mango and pineapple
  • Suckers
  • Fruit snacks
  • Seaweed (My girls love seaweed!)
  • Raisins
  • Beef jerky
  • Oreos
  • Apple sauce squeeze pouches
  • Homemade Banana Spelt Muffins

Nuts would also be a great choice, but we’re trying to avoid them with my youngest. However, I think that list above will be plenty to get us there! We’ll stock up again on our way home.

Now I’m wondering. What sort of snacks do you like to bring along on road trips?

Next week, I’m going to have a list of all the car activities I have planned so be sure to watch for that post! #Sponsored

Simply Clutter Free: Day 18

In our home, I have a few cupboards and shelves devoted to pantry stuff. No official pantry, but it works for me! However, after a while, things start to get messy in those places because I tend to get a bit careless when I’m putting things away. (Mainly because I’m trying to hurry since putting things away is not one of my favourite things to do.)

I think I can do so much better with getting like items with like items. So that’s what I’ll be concentrating on today.

In case you’re looking for some inspiration on how to organize your pantry, here’s a post I did that has a bunch of links to pantry organization ideas.

What’s your pantry situation like?

I will be posting random progress reports throughout the week over in the Simply Frugal Facebook group and Instagram! Follow me on Instagram @simplyfrugal and use the hashtag #simplyclutterfree to get updates and see what others are up to during the challenge! If you’re on Pinterest, be sure to follow my organization board for interesting organization links! Also, download and print the organizing calendar here.

Simply Clutter Free: Day 17

Today we tackle the fridge and freezer! Good thing because I’m sure I have some old things that need to be tossed. Plus, I’m sure I’ll probably find a few meal ideas!

Normally I would try to defrost our deep freezer, but it’s actually not too bad at the moment so I’m going to leave it today. 🙂 As for the organization of the freezer, I’m still pretty clueless on how to make it work well. But I can find things so I guess that’s a good thing!

For the rest of my day, I’ll be tackling the fridge and fridge freezer. (Won’t take too long, but the drawers really need a wipe!)

I have a couple of things that may help you today:

How often do you clean out your fridge?  How often do you defrost your deep freezer if you have one?

I will be posting random progress reports throughout the week over in the Simply Frugal Facebook group and Instagram! Follow me on Instagram @simplyfrugal and use the hashtag #simplyclutterfree to get updates and see what others are up to during the challenge! If you’re on Pinterest, be sure to follow my organization board for interesting organization links! Also, download and print the organizing calendar here.

Simply Clutter Free: Day 16

I don’t know what it is, but I often have quite a few empty spice jars in the cupboard. (Actually, it’s called laziness 🙂 ) It’s mostly a simple task refilling the spice jars, but it’s one of my most dreaded things to do. It ranks up there with putting the clean laundry and dishes away.

As I like to do with these Simply Clutter Free posts, I like to provide as much useful information as I can. (Also keep in mind that these activities are just suggestions, but the intent is to help you rid your home of a lot of clutter by the end of January.)  Since today’s activity in my home is refilling the spices I’ve got some links to spice organization ideas and tips regarding the shelf life of spices!

I want to know, how old is your oldest spice that you found lurking in the back? 🙂

I will be posting random progress reports throughout the week over in the Simply Frugal Facebook group and Instagram! Follow me on Instagram @simplyfrugal and use the hashtag #simplyclutterfree to get updates and see what others are up to during the challenge! If you’re on Pinterest, be sure to follow my organization board for interesting organization links! Also, download and print the organizing calendar here.