Back To School Tips & Tricks I’ve Learned To Keep Us Organized

Back To School Tips & Tricks I’ve Learned

If you know me personally then you would know the following things about me: everything in my house has a label, my meals are planned by the month, I’m extremely structured, and I live by my to-do list daily. I will even go as far as to write an extra to-do down that I accomplish just so that I can check it off. Anyone else like me?

Anyway, a few weeks ago – I posted about how everything is ready for back to school at my house. That post ended up having quite a big reach on Facebook and Instagram, so I figured maybe I should share my tips. Maybe just maybe my tips will help you make things easier this school-year for you! So today i’m opening up my brain and pouring all my info out to you! This post is going to be long, so I apologize for that in advance. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me anytime. I’m always happy to help.

Please note: These ways of living work best for me and my family. All of them won’t work exactly the same for you. But please take these tips & tricks and implement them in your home the way that’s best for you and your family! Also, I don’t want you to read this article and think that I have a perfectly run household. Because that is NOT true! I just have these items set in place to keep us running more efficiently. 

Meals

  • Breakfast: As far as breakfast goes, I believe it depends on your family’s preference. We are breakfast lovers in this house. I usually cook up a batch of bacon or sausage on Sunday for the week. Then every morning I make either egg sandwiches or scrambled eggs and warm up the meat I made on Sunday. I will also sometimes make a casserole or muffins on Sunday and we will eat off that during the week. If you’d really like to prepare, you can cook breakfast and store it in your freezer. Click here for some ideas on breakfast freezer meals. 
  • Lunch & Snacks: This year for lunches and snacks I’m doing things a little simpler. I got two bins. One bin went in the fridge and other one went in the pantry. I’ve encouraged my kids (ages 5 & 7) to pack their own lunch every night. They are to pull 2 items from fridge bin and 2 from the pantry bin. For the first month of school, I help them to pack a healthy and complete lunch. The bins are filled with items like: fruit cups, sliced fruit, apple sauce, hummus, guacamole, cheese slices, pepperoni, deli meat, yogurt, crackers, pretzel, peanut butter, chips, trail mix, etc. (See picture below)

  • Dinner: I like to plan a month at a time so my month has balanced meals. I always grocery shop on Fridays using Kroger ClickList. And I make a monthly trip to Costco to load up on staple, snack, and bulk items. Disclaimer – As a family we eat mostly paleo style so I plan dinners that way. I use a combo of cookbooks (Danielle Walker) and Pinterest to create our monthly meal plan. I love to meal plan & cook so this works for me. If you don’t like to plan, check out either Eat at Home (provides weekly meal plans and a color-coded grocery list) or Dream Dinners (local company that works as your prep kitchen and fills your freezer with meals that just need to be cooked).
{This is my August meal plan}

House Preparation

  • All the Incoming “Stuff”: In the area between my kitchen and living room, we have a dresser with three baskets labeled as Inbox, Supplies, & Greg (see photo below). All incoming “stuff” goes in the inbox and weekly I sort through what is trash, what needs to be filed, what are bills to pay, etc. In this same inbox bin, I have a folder for receipts to go in. Each week I go through and enter them in our budgeting tool. We use You Need a Budget (YNAB) because it syncs with your phone and/or web. The second bin labeled “supplies” is for post-its, morning devotion books, pencils, markers, etc. This bin also contains a homework folder where I place activities for homework. My kids will typically do their homework at the kitchen table while I prep dinner. The third bin is for my husband. In it, he  puts whatever he needs to. He needed a place so I gave him one!

  • Communication: Above the dresser mentioned above, I have a chalkboard that I created (See image below). It’s simply a window that I painted the glass with chalkboard paint. I update this board every Saturday evening. It keeps everyone in the “know” as to what’s going on during the week and what we are having for dinner each night. On Sunday, we do a family meeting during dinner. During that meeting we all share compliments about one another and then I tell everyone what we have coming up the upcoming week.
  • Laundry: Laundry has always been my nemesis. I have tried doing it daily and also doing it once a week. After some trial and error, I’ve found for me it’s works best to do laundry every other day. On a laundry day, I try to see it all the way through. That means that I wash, dry, fold, and put away. I loathe ironing. Like seriously loathe! I only iron every other week on Saturdays. And I took the summer off from ironing. It was glorious!

  • House Cleaning: Because I work full time now I have a house cleaner that comes every other week. 😊 The only cleaning that gets done is on Sunday evenings, we all pick up our areas to make sure everything is tidy. I also always clean up the kitchen and living area most evenings so we start the day with a clean living space. Before the house cleaner, I used Clean Mama’s method of cleaning 15-20 minutes a day so your house stays clean and a once a month deep cleaning.

Family Schedule

  • Abide by Boundaries: It’s important to set boundaries with your family’s time. If not, you will be a frantic family all over the place. I know because I’ve been there and done that! For us, we only allow one extracurricular activity per kid. For the fall season, Finn chose West Forsyth lacrosse and Selah chose ballet. We will discuss spring as we get closer. As for us (the parents), we’re in small group through Browns Bridge Church and like to go to the gym. So between all that we stay pretty busy.
  • Family/Rest Time: “The days are long, but the years are short.” I know there will be a season where we won’t be able to do this. But for now, we try to eat dinner together every night. Some of the best conversations we’ve had have been around the kitchen table. We also incorporated a weekly game night into our schedule a few years ago. The kids love it! During that time, we play board games, cards, hide and seek, etc. We just rotate between each of us to be the one that makes the decision on what we do. Recently, we found a locally made box (PLAtime) that provides the activities and supplies. You can read more about that here. This year we decided to implement a rest day each week. It usually falls on Sundays, but the day fluctuates each week. During the rest day, we just chill at home. By chill I mean we relax – that means no work is done on these days.
  • No Technology: Last but not least, we put all devices away around 5pm and it stays that way for the remainder of the evening. This is a hard one – especially for me. But I’m really committed this year! Family conversations are much richer when technology isn’t in the mix. We keep a copy of Here’s a Question around dinner time if we need help stirring up conversation.

And that’s all my back to school tips in a nutshell. Now I need to have a glass of wine after all that typing!  Hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. I hope this post was helpful to you! Cheers to being more organized this year, Rachael


Rachael Walkup is a wife, mother of two, and owner of CummingLocal.com – a website dedicated to promoting events & small businesses in Forsyth County. Coffee, good food, and wine are the way to her heart. She’s a lover of comfy clothes and deep conversation.

Cumming Recreation & Parks: Fall/Winter Program Registration {2017-2018}

Cumming Recreation & Parks

Cumming Recreation & Parks:  Fall/Winter Program Registration {2017-2018}

The new Fall/ Winter Registration guide for the Cumming Recreation & Parks 2017-2018 Year is currently available.

Please Note: registration opens August 21st!

This guide is filled with opportunities for youth & adults to participate in activities such as:

  • Aerobics & Fitness
  • Art
  • Youth Basketball
  • Self-Defense
  • Tennis
  • Guitar
  • Gymnastics & Tumbling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • & SO MUCH MORE!

You can register by mail, online, or walk-in at the Pilgrim Mill location for any of the Cumming Recreation & Parks activities.

Birthday Parties

Cumming Recreation & Parks

*Also, did you know that you can have a birthday party at many of the City of Cumming Recreation & Parks locations. We recently attended a gymnastic themed birthday party at Dobbs Creek. It was super cute, easy for the parents hosting, and fun for the kids!*

Find out more about birthday party places by clicking here

Cumming Recreation & Parks

Multipurpose Room

Meeting Rooms are available in to rent in 2-hour blocks for 1- and 2-room reservations; 3- and 4-room reservations are available in half-day (4 hours) and full-day (8 hours) blocks only; Pavilions are available in 2-hour blocks; maximum booking of 8 hours daily. The meeting rooms can be opened up to provide one 70’x70’ room or divided by partitions into 4 35’x35’ rooms. The price ranges from $175 and up depending on size and the time needed.

More Information on Renting the Multipurpose Room by Clicking Here

Cumming Recreation And Parks Department

Address: P.O. Box 34 (mail) or 410 Pilgrim Mill Road Cumming, GA 30028
Phone (770) 781-2030
Connect Online: Website | Facebook

Monday through Friday (Hours: 8:30am — 4:30pm)

Cumming Recreation & Parks

High School Football in Forsyth County

High School Football in Forsyth County 2017

High School Football in Forsyth County {2017}

We love taking our kids to High School Football games. They really love it!  There is just something about the Friday night lights, popcorn, and football that makes for a fun family night out. If you are looking for plans on a Friday night, this is a great way to spend it. Especially as the temperatures get cooler.

All the schools have their schedules up, so i’ve linked to them to make things easier. The ticket prices are anywhere from $5 to $10 depending on the High School. And you can purchase tickets when you arrive. They also have a concession stand with different types of food and drinks.

Any of these links will take you directly to the High School Football schedules:

Forsyth Central Bulldogs

Lambert Football

North Forsyth Football

South Forsyth War Eagles

West Forsyth Wolverines

Pinecrest Academy Paladin 

Tips When Attending a High School Football Game:

  • Bring cash for the tickets & the concession stand.
  • Wear school colors for the team you are cheering for!
  • Make sure you are sitting on the correct side. I know that seems like silly advice but believe me, it comes in handy.
  • Grab some snacks before it’s half-time. That’s when most people will head to the concession stand.
  • Be sure to watch the halftime show. This was my daughters favorite part of the game because she loves music so much.
  • Bring something comfortable to sit on. Otherwise, you will be sitting on hard concrete the whole time.
  • You will want to make sure you get there before the game starts to get a good seat.

So now the big question … who are you cheering for?

Back to School in Forsyth County 2017-2018

Back to School Round-UP

Back to School in Forsyth County 2017-2018

Whether you’re in the “boo-hoo” club or the “woo-hoo” club, there’s no denying it … it’s almost back to school time in Forsyth County!  The school bell will ring in just a matter of DAYS now, so it’s time to get ready for all things back to school.

Here’s our run-down:

forsyth county schools

  • Shop for School Supplies: We have some tips for you to make shopping easier as well as back to school drives at local organizations. Click here to read more.

back to school traditions

  • Get Ready for Some Back to School Traditions – make back to school fun with these ideas to capture the moments!

Back to school tips for kindergarten moms

  • Read Up – if you’re sending off a kindergartner this year (like me), be sure to check out this article.  It’s an oldie but a goodie!

  • Enroll Today at the NEW Kiddie Academy of Cumming: Enroll before 9/30/17 and receive 3 weeks of free tuition! Connect online with them: Facebook | Website

  • Schedule a Back to School Adjustment – Be sure to keep the kiddos backs aligned and ready for a great school year!  I’ll be doing that with our friend and website sponsor Dr. Marchman at Essential Wellness.  Give her a call and let her know Cumming Local sent you!

  • Register for Fall Sports – It may be 90+ degrees outside but it’s also the time to plan ahead and get the kids signed up for Fall Sports!  Our website sponsor, i9 Sports has a full line up to take advantage of!  Click here to get started. If you want to get a peek into what it is like doing sports with i9 Sports, read this article from one of our contributing writers.

Fall Dance Programs at Footprints

  • Register for Fall Dance programs – Footprints Dance Alliance has some great offerings for the fall. You can even attend a freebie class to see how you like the studio before classes start. For more information on their programs, click here.

Dream Dinners Cumming GA

  • Fill your Freezer with Meals – Let’s face it fall nights are super busy. So why not make dinner easier by filling your freezer with Dream Dinner meals! Click here to read about the Dream Dinner experience.

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  • Enjoy just a little more fun – On of our favorite deal sites is stocked full of great savings right now!  So squeeze in one more night of fun before school starts and go ahead and plan for some fall fun as well!  Click here for the latest deals.

Auto Insurance Premium

  • Lower Your Auto Insurance – Find out how to lower your auto insurance premium with these tips from Craig at Southern Way Insurance Agency.

  • Sell Your Home or Buy a New Home – The Cole Team would love an opportunity to help you sell or buy a home. Read a recent article they did about how to get your home ready to sell – click here. Call Stephanie or Meriellen at 770-316-3110 for more information about selling or buying!

Lawn Care Myths

  • Hire a New Lawn Care Company – USA Land Care has debunked five common lawn care myths. They also share how they can help you manage weeds, disease and more! Click here to read their article.

So here’s to a great 2016-2017 School Year … Enjoy the last few days of summer and enjoy those first few days of school too!

Random Acts of Kindness for Forsyth County – Week Four

RandomActsOfKindness

 Random Acts of Kindness for Forsyth County – Week Four

Can you believe we have already three weeks of Random Acts of Kindness for Forsyth County? I hope that it was as successful for you as it was around here. We loved doing all the Random Acts of Kindness! There is one week left of this challenge and we would love for you to partner with us. Our hope is that we spread a wave of kindness throughout our county.

What are Random Acts of Kindness?

A Random Act of Kindness has been described on wikipedia as “a selfless act performed by a person or people wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual person or people.” Random Acts of Kindness are also known as RAKs.

How will this work?

We have put together a weekly list of Random Acts of Kindness for Forsyth County that we will post every Monday until the end of November. You can either do the 7 items on our list or make up your own.

What do we want to accomplish?

That’s simple – here at Cumming Local we just want to make a difference in the community. So lets band together and do some selfless acts for other people in Forsyth County!

Here is our list for week four:

Random Acts of Kindness for Forsyth County

We are pulling some Random Acts of Kindness for Forsyth County ideas from this website. You can go there for more ideas as well. And if you decide to tweet or share on Facebook about it, use the hashtag #LocalRAK and #ForsythCo

Will you join us?

Make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter so you don’t miss any of these updates! Click here to sign up to get our updates

Random Acts of Kindness for Forsyth County – Week Three

RandomActsOfKindness

 Random Acts of Kindness for Forsyth County – Week Three

We’re in week THREE of our mission to spread some kindness and love throughout Forsyth County.  If you’ve missed them, click here for Week 1 and Week 2 ideas.  Are you joining us?  We’d love to hear about it!!  Spread some kindness and love throughout Forsyth … we could all use a little unexpected happiness in our lives, right?

As a reminder, each week in November, we’ll put together a new list of some ideas.  Use these or come up with your own and help spread some kindness each day.   

Ideas for Week Three:  

1.  Deliver a batch of warm cookies to a neighbor.

2.  Surprise your son or daughter by doing one of THEIR chores!!

3.  Take doughnuts to the custodians at your child’s school – the overlooked hard workers!

4.  Take coloring books & crayons to the CHOA Forsyth waiting room – there’s bound to be a little kiddo there could use a “cheer me up”.

5.  Offer to babysit a family or friend’s kiddo for a night – FOR FREE!

6.  SMILE a lot.

7.  Send a hand-written thank you note to a mentor, old teacher or old boss that taught you a lot!

Spread the love:

Feel free to tweet or share on Facebook with the hashtag #LocalRAK or #ForsythCO so we can follow along!

Will you join us?

Make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter so you don’t miss any of these updates! Click here to sign up to get our updates

Random Acts of Kindness for Forsyth County – Week Two

RandomActsOfKindness

 Random Acts of Kindness for Forsyth County – Week Two

Last week we kicked off our 3rd year of “Kindness in Forsyth” – spreading random (or semi-random in some cases) acts of kindness throughout Forsyth.

Are you joining us?  We’d love to hear about it!!  Spread some kindness and love throughout Forsyth … we could all use a little unexpected happiness in our lives, right?

Each week, we’ll put together a new list of some ideas.  Use these or come up with your own and help spread some kindness each day.   

Ideas for Week Two:  

1.  Write a note or draw a picture and mail to surprise someone.  It will be fun for someone to receive it unexpectedly!

2.  Surprise someone at a vending machine – leave enough money with a small note for the next person to buy a drink or snack.

3.  With sidewalk chalk, draw a cheerful picture or not on an un-expecting neighbor’s driveway.  (Maybe don’t pick the mean, grumpy neighbor just in case they don’t appreciate the gesture – boo!).

4.  Think of a Veteran or someone actively serving that you can bless this week – maybe a hand written thank you note, a gift card, or a meal.

5.  Surprise a construction worker with a thermos of hot chocolate on a cold morning or bottled water in the afternoon.

6.  Check out our “Volunteer Opportunities in Forsyth County” list – call one of these organizations and say YES to one of their opportunities / needs.

7.  Bake a Treat & surprise someone.

Spread the love:

Feel free to tweet or share on Facebook with the hashtag #LocalRAK or #ForsythCO so we can follow along!

Will you join us?

Make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter so you don’t miss any of these updates! Click here to sign up to get our updates

Turkey Day Tales: A Thanksgiving Storytime at the Forsyth County Libraries

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Turkey Day Tales: A Thanksgiving Storytime at the Forsyth County Libraries

The Forsyth County Libraries are celebrating Thanksgiving with special stories, songs, and a puppet show. If you are in town, this would be a fun activity for the kiddos! Come join the fun at the Thanksgiving storytime!

Below are the story times at the different Forsyth County libraries:

Cumming Library
Monday, November 21 11:15am (Sharon Forks program)
Tuesday, November 22 at 10:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m., and 3:15 p.m.
Hampton Park Library
Wednesday, November 23 at 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.
Post Road Library
Monday, November 21 at 10:15 and 11:15 a.m.
Sharon Forks Library 
Please note, due to construction the Sharon Forks. Their program will be held at the Cumming Library, located at 585 Dahlonega Road, Cumming, GA 30040. Join your Sharon Forks librarians there for this special program.
If you are still looking for activities to do during Thanksgiving week, visit our round-up here.

Random Acts of Kindness for Forsyth County – Week One

RandomActsOfKindness

 

Random Acts of Kindness for Forsyth County – Week One

We have just a few weeks until Thanksgiving. So what better way to spend the days leading up to Thanksgiving than doing some random acts of kindness all over Forsyth County. We would love for you to partner with us and spread a wave of kindness throughout our county.

What are Random Acts of Kindness?

A Random Act of Kindness has been described on wikipedia as “a selfless act performed by a person or people wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual person or people.” Random Acts of Kindness are also known as RAKs.

How will this work?

We have put together a weekly list of Random Acts of Kindness for Forsyth County that we will post every Sunday until the end of November. You can either do the 7 items on our list or make up your own.

What do we want to accomplish?

That’s simple – here at Cumming Local we just want to make a difference in the community. So lets band together and do some selfless acts for other people in Forsyth County!

Here is our list for week one…

RandomActsOfKindness-WeekOne

We are pulling some Random Acts of Kindness for Forsyth County ideas from this website. You can go there for more ideas as well. And if you decide to tweet or share on Facebook about it, use the hashtag #LocalRAK and #ForsythCO

Will you join us?

Make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter so you don’t miss any of these updates! Click here to sign up to get our updates

2016 Haunted Houses Near Cumming GA

Haunted Houses In Cumming GA

It’s that time of year again – when some of you (not me!) are looking for Haunted Houses in Cumming GA and near. We’ve got you covered with our list this year.

Haunted Houses Near Cumming GA:

  • Hell’s Gates in Dawsonville (a haunted house alternative). Located at 329 Harmony Church Road Dawsonville, GA 30534. This is an outdoor reality drama based off events in the Bible found in Revelations.
  • Netherworld Haunted House: Netherworld Haunted House is a walk-through dark attraction filled with terrifying live actors, amazing special effects, and incredible monsters. Located at 6624 Dawson Blvd, Norcross, GA.
  • Buford Corn Maze: Visit the haunted forest at Buford Corn Maze every weekend night until November 8th. Located at 4470 Bennett Road,
    Buford, GA 30519.
  • The Haunted Maze (part of Uncle Shuck’s) Located at 4520 Highway 53 E Dawsonville, GA 30534. This is a dark walk through the corn mazes without a flashlight! Click here for more information.
  • Warbington Farm’s Spooky Maze: On October 29th, Warbington Farms is having a spooky night in the hotel by transforming their maze! Click here for more information. Located at 5555 Crow Road,  Cumming, Georgia 30041.

For the TOP Haunted Houses in Atlanta, click here to see our friend 365 Atlanta Family’s round-up.

Disclosure We do our best to provide accurate details; however, it is possible that details change, we are given inaccurate information, or we simply make an error. Whenever possible we link our articles to the source or information provided and strongly urge you to confirm details before you go.