Posts Tagged ‘summer’

3 Ways to Make ‘Back to School’ Smooth Sailing

by

Beat the(2)

You may not remember, but heading back to school at the end of two carefree, fun-filled, unscheduled months can be a bit stressful on a kid (and a parent!). Even if they are excited to get back the school, there can still be some apprehension that goes along with the first week of school. And if they happen to be changing schools, it can be even more stressful.

Here are 3 ways to help ease the stress and ramp up the fun for back to school:

Routines

Routines. We all love to hate them. But having a routine can be very calming and reassuring for most children. When they know what to expect, what is coming next, they can relax and let the worries go. So, start with some routines a few weeks before the first day back to the classroom.

If you are like me, then you probably let the bed time routines slide a bit during the summer (I mean, who can go to sleep while the sun is till pouring into your window!). Start easing back on the later bed times incrementally, maybe 15 minutes every few nights. This will make the transition from late nights to school nights much easier on everyone.

If your child is visual, you can create fun school day schedule on the fridge, a white board, or even a stylish chalkboard (make one together as a fun get ready for school activity). Make them out of construction paper AND put them on the fridge. Yes, that is a real thing! Click here for the details. Make a check list of what they need to do in the morning, what to bring to school, what to do after school.

Along with the bedtime routine, you might have let the morning routine slide a bit as well. Depending on how they have been spending their days, they may need to adjust to getting up earlier and having a meal right away. Start a week or two ahead and it will be smooth sailing in September.

Get Organized

I swear, focusing on routines and now, getting organized, may seem dry and boring, these will set the stage to back to school success. I promise.

Getting organized includes things like shopping early for supplies, replace or repair clothing, check on things like backpacks, lunch bags and runners (they will need replacing more often than you like, at least til they are older and not growing as much each school year.) Also, make sure you have a fresh cheque book ready – I seem to ONLY use cheques at the start of a new school year! The first day of school seems to always be homework day for ME (all the paperwork they bring home that day is crazy!)

Also it is good to make a plan for the dreaded school breakfast time AND packed lunches. These always take up a lot of time and are often stressful, so make a plan while it’s still summer. Consulting your child on their likes and dislikes is also a good idea. NO, they can’t request chips and soda. But if they prefer chicken to roast, hummus to cream cheese, bananas to apples, you can save a lot of waste and a lot of whining by getting their input (and by whining I mean YOU whining about the waste!)

Here are a few ideas for back to school breakfasts and lunches (no Pinterest or Martha worthy skills required!). Try some of the make-ahead ideas, especially for breakfast. A favourite in my house is our home made egg “mcmuffins”. We make a huge batch, assembly line style, and freeze them wrapped in paper towels in a GIANT ziploc bag.  They just need a few minutes in the microwave to have a healthy on the go breakfast. No fuss.

Get your calendar in order – mark off the known factors now. Appointments, after school activities, PD days, etc. Then you are ready when school actually starts to get where you need to be and when.

Designate some areas in your home for homework and for storing backpacks, etc. When everyone knows where things are supposed to go, it will make it easier for you to nag them to actually put things there (no guarantees it will work though!)

Keep your own schedule light for the first week back to school if you can. Your child will want to talk to you about school. They might also be grumpier and misbehaved because they are tired and/or anxious, especially the younger children. It’s tiring to go from summer to school. If you can, make time to help ease anxiety and fatigue around the change in routines.

Fun Traditions

If your child is feeling a bit unsure about school or they just like to have some FUN with you, they may find having some back to school traditions help to ease the way and give them something to look forward too. Here are a few ideas for you:

  • First day of school photo. The partner to this idea is also the LAST day of school photo, so you can compare them. Put that task on your calendar the MINUTE you take the first day photo.
  • Notes in their lunch – maybe you can’t muster up enough ideas or energy for a note everyday, but how about one AWESOME note for their first day. Make it something silly and fun, so they will have a smile when they read it.
  • Last summer meal – make the evening meal the night before school starts one last awesome summer meal. Maybe it’s a bonfire, or BBQ or a picnic somewhere in your community.
  • First night of school celebration meal. Make that first dinner as a family a special one, a chance to talk out all the news of the first day of school and look forward to a special dinner.
  • Dress up in a different costume everyday and greet them when they get home…ha! Okay, I am not ACTUALLY suggesting this one, but this guy did it and it was awesome! My kids would be mortified at this idea! But it sure is fun to think about the possibilities.
  • After school “attack”. Make it something different every year, and make it age appropriate.You can greet your kindergartener with a confetti attack. My son, any age, was SO thrilled had I bombed him with water balloons, or a nerf attack (actually at 18, he still loves stuff like this!) Keep them guessing at what it will be each year, and they can look forward to it all day long. Note to parents: when they become tweens you should no longer do this, or suffer the wrath of a hormonal, eye rolling child.

Back to School time is always one of my personal favourite times of year. It feels like a “new year” and while the carefree feeling of summer is fun, it is also refreshing to start the new year. As long as everyone is positive and supportive of how all family members are feeling, it can be a wonderful time for children.

 

From your Things Engraved Social Team,

Things Engraved Social

 

Beat the “No Summer Vacation” Blues with a Unique Staycation

by

This summer, I have no vacation plans. Zero. Nada.

Why? …. you ask.  Well, it’s a combination of factors (new summer jobs, new pet, changing work schedules, finally disposed of our leaky tent last year, etc.) that have lead our family to a no vacation zone this summer. And here it is, mid-summer, and we are all getting a bit bored with the same four walls. Which has lead me to do some thinking about how we can fit in some summer fun without going too far from home, without spending too much time or cash.

Here is some of what I came up with to finish off the summer in staycation-style.

Enjoy My Backyard “Oasis”

Ok, so, my backyard is NOT an oasis. Having a busy family and active dogs means my lawn is a mess AND I don’t have time to weed what few garden areas we have. A few years ago, we had to cut down the only two full grown trees in the yard because they were diseased and having a dead limb fall on someone’s head was just about the opposite to having a fun time in the back yard as you can get.  You get the picture… Basically my backyard is a “fixer upper.”

hammock

My actual hammock, ugly shed on one side, overgrown raspberry patch on the other.

Until we have more time to change the yard, what we have done is to create a few oasis-like zones. Basically, working with what we have to make some spaces to enjoy the yard. A small seating area with a table and chairs in this corner, a hammock in another corner. With music on a portable device and some patio lanterns strung around the place, we have a nice place to sit for a dinner, read a book, or take a nap.

Another idea is to explore local trails. A few summers ago I discovered some great local trails. They often have lovely quiet areas, perfect to stop for a rest and even a picnic lunch, without all the hubbub of a park. Not sure where your local trails area? Look into local biking clubs or even cross country ski clubs. They often have trails and paths that are accessible to walkers/hikers, so you can enjoy the outdoors while staying close to home.

 

Local Tourist Favourites

Often we take for granted the cool tourist spots we all have close to home. So, think like a visitor. Where do people from out of town go when they visit your community? Museums? Parks? Markets? Shopping areas? Historical sites? Really cool geographical sites? Try to look at YOUR town or city with a fresh eye and visit some places you may never have gone to before because they were just TOO familiar.

Another way to be a tourist in your own city is to think about what YOU like to do when you travel. Do you eat in unfamiliar restaurants, shop in unfamiliar boutiques, eat every meal at some sort of food establishment? Maybe you seek out experiences such as attending a live stage performance? Whatever your usual vacation style, try to bring a little bit of that into your daily routine during your staycation.

Complete the whole tourist experience by taking lots of photos, selfies especially, and posting them on social media so your friends from out of town can enjoy how cool your home town truly is.

Road Tripping

Years ago, when my husband and I were young and on a budget, we plotted out a monthly road trip to somewhere we had never been before. The only criteria we had beyond visiting a new place, was it had to be within two hours of home. Really, think about all the villages, parks, tourist attractions that are within a two hour drive that you have never visited. We realized there were LOTS of places we “knew” but had never actually visited.

We have instituted this idea again, and have a few road trips to interesting, off beat places in the works for the next few months – and hey, why limit yourself to just a summer road trip? Autumn is a BEAUTIFUL time to tour around and check out fall colours, fall fairs and fall foods. Take this idea right up to winter (at which time you feel free to road trip all you like. I will be cuddled up at home by my fireplace).

More Ideas

Here are a few MORE ideas you can consider. Depending on the age and interests of your family members, the ideas are endless. It just takes a bit of creativity!

  • camp in the back yard (bonus: bathrooms are very close at hand!)
  • sleep under the stars – similarly, if you are guaranteed a dry night, why not try this one? Fall asleep looking for constellations and the milky way
  • tournaments – you can plan a one day “event” or a summer long competition. Try some vintage games like croquet or badminton. OR maybe classic games like chess or backgammon will suit you better. Have a prize planned for the end of summer (preferably an outing in your community), and you will have a fun activity that takes you right to labour day. Keep it top of mind with a results poster on the fridge.
  • art projects – if you aren’t up for tackling something on your own, many local libraries, art galleries or community centres will offer one day art project classes. Take this to the next level and have a gallery hanging party at home – hang everyone’s projects, cover them with a white cloth, and serve finger foods and sparkly drinks, followed by a “reveal” of the art.
  • film festival – a day where everyone has a chance to introduce and screen a favourite film for the family. Get authentic and use a website like Canva to make a schedule and poster to get everyone in the mood. And, of course, you must serve popcorn!
  • Unplugged – often on vacation, you don’t have cell service or wifi. Try a week disconnected from the digital world and go old school with your activities (okay, or just try a few days, if your family will rebel at the idea of a full unplugged week!).
  • Cooking school – where is your DREAM vacation? Why not dedicate a day or even a weekend to recreating foods you might have eaten from that place. Decorate your table like they would at your dream destination, play the music of that location, and imagine yourself at a great restaurant.
  • Housekeeping – when you are on vacation, the last thing that you want to do is clean. So why not hire someone to clean your home at the start and the end of your staycation. You will love not having to do the work for a change!

We have a few products that can help you with your staycation. Just a few:

Things Engraved

Travel Mug

Things Engraved

Travel Key Chain

Things Engraved

Travel clock (for waking up while you are unplugged!)

 

Hopefully a few of these ideas sound like fun to you, or inspire you to come up with your own list of local staycation ideas.

AND, I can’t recommend a hammock enough! Bliss in a backyard.

 

From your Things Engraved Social Team,

Things Engraved Social

——————————————————————————————————————————————

Summer 2015 Essentials

by

summeressentials

Summer is in full swing and we’ve got your summer essentials!
Summer is BBQ season and every grill-master needs his own set of BBQ tools – We can personalize the carrying case with the chef’s name.

BBQ Set 8pc in Aluminum Carrying Case

BBQ Set 8pc in Aluminum Carrying Case

BBQ Set 25pc Aluminum Carrying Case

BBQ Set 25pc Aluminum Carrying Case

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Something to hold your adult beverage:

26oz Stainless Steel Water Bottle Mug with Straw

26oz Stainless Steel Water Bottle Mug with Straw

Set of 4 Steins with Monogram Included

Set of 4 Steins with Monogram Included

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I’m sure you’ll need a bottle opener.

Bottle Opener Keychain-Why Limit Happy to an Hour?

Bottle Opener Keychain-Why Limit Happy to an Hour?

Silver Bottle Opener

Silver Bottle Opener

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Some things to keep you busy during your summer holidays.

We suggest a game of euchre or “go fish” or reading.  These essentials will help.

Stainless Steel Flask with Playing Card Set

Stainless Steel Flask with Playing Card Set

Butterfly Bookmark

Butterfly Bookmark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Shop for more summer essentials online or in-store.

From your Things Engraved Social Team,

Things Engraved Social

——————————————————————————————————————————————

1 2 3 4