Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall-Time Favorites

Everyday as we walk to and from the bus stop my daughter points out the changing colors of the leaves. A few red and gold ones sprinkle the ground and she gasps in awe that fall is finally here. She's not alone because as autumn gains momentum I feel myself coming alive.  I'm not upset over shorter days and cooler temperatures. No, that's my hubby. For me fall is a favorite because of the beautiful scenery, fuzzy sweaters, comfort food and county fairs/festivals (with more yummy food)! On top of that my birthday comes and I get to bless the Lord for giving me another year of happiness and health. It's that perfect balance of not too hot and not too cold and the promise of pumpkins then soon, Thanksgiving turkey.  There's apple picking (I've already had my share of Honeycrisp this season) and plenty of cider and pie to go around. Sweet potato prices are dropping and the evenings get lovelier as the sun lowers in the sky. I breath a sigh of relief at the whole predictable order of nature and just relax into the lazy days of fall.

What are some of your favorite fall activities? Post a comment to share.



Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Parent's Helper: Tips for Getting Out the Door On Time

So school's back in session and it's time to whip the household into shape. Try these tips to get off to a good start:

1. Use an alarm clock- Everyone including our 4-year-old has one. It helps if you put it across the room so they have to walk to turn it off. But make sure they get enough sleep regularly. Even the buzzer gets ignored if they are overly tired.

2. Pre-made breakfast - I love this! On the weekends I double up on batches of pancakes, waffles, french toast, biscuits and bacon. The result is a frig full of homemade food I can pop in the toaster or oven and heat quickly while I do something else. Bacon goes in the microwave and wa-lah! I also keep instant grits, oatmeal and cereal on hand.

3. Nighttime Prep- Teach kids to choose their clothes before bedtime. Make sure shoes, jackets, etc are where they can grab them quickly the next morning. Backpacks should be set and lunches already made. If you're sending a hot lunch like soup, then pack all the other items the night before.

4. Carefree hair - Brushing hair is a lot easier than combing at our house. On the weekend I do hairstyles that will last for about 1 week. My hubby keeps the boy's hair cut low. Each morning I just brush over all their heads, add accessories to the girls and go. 5 minutes tops! I redo it on the weekend. Even if you shoot for 2-3 days free from styling you'll save precious time. Just restyle in the evening, not the morning.

5. Set a reminder - My smartphone starts chiming when we have 5 minutes before departure time. Sometimes it's annoying but at least we have a warning bell to help us wrap it up. The kids know what to do when they hear the bell.

6. Check in- Sometimes kids need encouragement to get going in the mornings. I check on my 3 every ten minutes or so to make sure they are on task and not goofing off when they should be brushing, getting dressed or eating.

7. Turn off the TV - Television turns my children into zombies. They can't hear or function when it's on. If I need to check the weather I do it at night or turn it on briefly then right off again, keeping it as low as possible so they don't hear it. Instead, each day I play upbeat music to get them moving.

If you have more tips, then please share! A pleasant start vs. a hurried one can make a huge difference in how the day unfolds --for everyone.