word of the day

Back To School…Ready Or Not (and a gift card to help out)

Back To School…Ready Or Not (and a $50 gift card from Wayfair to help you get ready).

The answer in our house is always decidedly not! I love summer (crazy carpool schedules notwithstanding), the slower paced days, the fun activities and the family time and since everyone’s schedule is more relaxed, we get to see more of our cousins and grandparents and that is always good.

But I also love the crisp air of autumn, the spring in your step it gives you and knowing that another year of school (I know my children agree) is around the corner. Plus, it is really, really fun to go Back to School shopping (I know my husband does not agree)!

How do you get it together – exchange sandals for shoes, beach reads for textbooks and beach bags for backpacks? How do you cope with first day excitement/nerves?

Transition can be tough and here are some ways to make it easier.

Visit the school

For the young ones, make the school a familiar place. If possible, visit it several times before school starts – go to the orientation, use the playground, visit an older friend who already goes to the school, even just walking by it and talking about it makes it a more familiar place.

Read all about it

There is no shortage of great books about Back to School for all ages. Pragmatic Mom is my go to for this and she kindly added some books to my Pinterest Board. Personal Fave –

The Kissing Hand

by Audrey Penn

Set expectations

Talk about what a typical day will be like. I still remember being told I could read all day in Kindergarten – I was on board with that! My mom did not tell me that she would be leaving (Lasting visual – looking up to see my pretty pregnant mom sprinting by the window and my sister almost flying out behind her. Seriously Mom, I remember that. You were wearing that lavender maternity dress), and that there would be other activities and, this was another surprise, children I did not know. I’m over it, though. Really.

Go to school with a friend or two, meet them and walk in together. The bustle of the first day can be overwhelming.

Use Props

This is where your back to school shopping pays off. The shiny new lunch box, the pretty pens, the new backpack and you don’t have to spend a lot – and crayons are the best and least expensive back to school item.

Dwell lunch box from wayfair capability mom wants this for herself
Dwell lunch box from Wayfair.com

Most backpacks and lunch boxes are washable (I do it all the time), but check the label first.

Spruce up and personalize a backpack with add on decorations (key chains and buttons are a cute inexpensive way to change up the look).

Let your child help with lunch choices and add when they aren’t looking add a little note and for older kids I add a word of the day – it is a win-win. You get to write a note, they learn a word.

Word of The Day resources

Grades 4-6

Grades 6-9

High School


Make time and traditions

Make it special! Have a family dinner the night before with a reasonably early bedtime – this is admittedly tough to do – everyone is so excited!

A good breakfast is key but it doesn’t have to be fancy or huge or made to order if that is not your thing. Unhurried is best. Cut up fruit, whole wheat toast (peanut butter or avocado for protein) or granola bars and yogurt.

I’m all about the food (yes, healthy food, too). Check out 10 Get Healthy Tips from Massachusetts General Hospital for Children for some great ideas.

Take pictures – You’ll love looking back on all the first days of school memories.

Relax and Have Fun

We had a great Wayfair Back to School Twitter Chat #HomemakerHappyHr – with Wayfair giving away a $25 gift card every ten minutes! Here are some great tips from our super mom friends:

Transition by moving bedtime earlier a few weeks ahead of school start date. Get into a routine to help settle back to school nerves.

Take a picture at the beginning of the first day of school and the end of the day! Expand that to the first and last day of school – really have a record of how they have grown!

Have a special snack together and get the details of the day – Keep communication lines open. (Pizza, anyone?)

Keep their artwork and papers in bins and display them on a pin board or in inexpensive frames. Send “older” works of art to family and friends to make room for the new.

Healthy favorite foods: Peanut butter and jelly, the classic (soy nut butter is a great alternative if you have a nut-free classroom) and hand’s down fave, followed closely by turkey or ham and cheese. For snacks – granola bars, fruit, veggies, yogurt, cheese and crackers.

Set a routine and keep it up – it helps everyone! Set up a quiet place to do homework (I like mine close to the kitchen for those homework questions that inevitably come up while I’m making dinner).

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Twitter Chat – Great suggestions and ideas! Many thanks to Wayfair for making this happen and giving away great gift cards – Time to shop for Back to School!
Wayfair is kindly giving away a $50 gift card as part of this post. Enter by liking Wayfair’s Facebook Page. What is Wayfair? Check out them out (their tagline is a zillion things home), and they do have almost everything you need for back to school (just maybe not the PB & J, but I think you’ve got that).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stuff that I am checking out…

Please Internet, distract me just a little bit more!  Okay, we all know there are some serious time sucks (hmm..should that be hyphenated?) on-line and there just as many worthwhile sites, too. Just found this and about four more fun diversions. Fudge That Sugar a f-ing funny comic by A.K. Tettenborn. Go check it out and all of the names referenced in the comic.

I also added my favorite Word of the Day in the sidebar. It’s not a waste of time if you are learning something.

So I read a lot, maybe all the time? I wish. I still haven’t figured how to be paid to just read. Let me know if you have. So I read my sidebar blog peeps, the New York Times online, The Boston Globe, Slate (love Slate for best ADD news scrolling site) and some stuff that I get in my inbox. In addition, there are some RSS feeds I get on my homepage- when I have time I drop in. I like that I can see a preview on my homepage. How do you have time, Capability? My household standards are lax, our food is all take-out and my personal hygiene is non-existent. Just kidding, Mom! I read fast. Maybe sometimes I skim. My house is spotless (thanks to a very tidy spouse), I cook every day (sometimes not really great dinners and I am showered.

So read on for some fun diversions you might not have found but for me and my scattered exploration of the net.

Crunchy Betty

  • The Best of Crunchy Betty (So Far) – 12 hours agoHi, kids. It’s me again. Maybe you’re new here. Maybe you’ve stopped by a time or two. Or maybe you’ve been with me from the very beginning. (Bless your little pea-pickin’ hearts.) Regardless …

Cookerati Put ‘em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton & Canned Whole Tomatoes – 1 day ago

Mom Spark Dinner Recipes: Lasagna Rolls – 1 day ago

Orangette A quiet soup – 6 days ago

So go learn something, make something or just while away a bit of time. Your call. It’s not my fault if you are not productive…I am busy untangling some plug-ins and reading for book reviews.

A. Word. A. Day – persnickety from Anu Garg

Jun 22, 2010

A.Word.A.Daywith Anu Garg from Wordsmith



1. Fussy about minor details.
2. Snobbish.
3. Requiring keen attention to detail, as a job.

ETYMOLOGY:Variant of pernickety (the spelling still used in the UK). Of unknown origin.

USAGE:”My father and I are both persnickety. We don’t like noise in the kitchen, and a few grains of salt on a tablecloth make us shiver.”
Cedric Vongerichten; Le Fils; New York Magazine; Sep 20, 2009.

“And what will the filmmakers eventually get for more than 12 hours of painstaking persnickety work?”
Tina Maples; “Dillinger: Gangsters Hit the Library For a Long Shoot; Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, Wisconsin); May 28, 1990.

Explore “persnickety” in the Visual Thesaurus.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:Men have slow reflexes. In general it takes several generations later for them to understand. -Stanislaw J. Lec, poet and aphorist (1909-1966)

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