Personal Stuff

Keeping Your Sanity in the Back-to-School Madness

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How to keep your back-to-school sanity

Recently I was perusing this post on 31 Writing Prompts for August to get my creative juices flowing and #5 hit me before I could even read on, it asked, “How do you respond to change?”

My immediate thought?

Not well.

And, this is the time of year my response to change stares me right in my anxiety-ridden face: back-to-school.

The anxiety starts to kick in a couple weeks before school starts and culminates with me feeling like I am losing my sanity come the second week of school.

BUT, I want to try to do things differently this year. Handle the school year transition with a little more ease, which inspired this post on how to keep your back-to-school sanity.

Please chime in with your own thoughts and tips below!

Summer Lovin’

familypic This back-to-school transition is going to be a big one for our family.

First off, I loved this summer. My girls and their ages (5 and 8) made it the most fun and relaxing summer ever.

No naps to work around, no 5pm meltdowns, more hours where they played so contentedly together and the ability to sit in a lounge chair and watch them swim or play on the beach.  Heaven.

My “summer is ending sadness” coupled with the fact my youngest starts kindergarten and my 3rd grader moves to a new campus make this back-to-school transition even that much more monumental.

When I start thinking of the drop off and pick up schedules, paperwork, homework, projects, what teachers they are going to have, etc.  I get anxious. Very anxious.

Mommy needs to get a grip.

Hindsight is a beautiful thing, so I thought of some ways years past have been stressful, and ways I can try to go into this school year with more ease.

How to Keep Your Back-to-School Sanity 

Here are some ideas on how to keep your back-to-school sanity. If you have your own tips, please share in the comments below.

Be Patient Finding Your School Year Groove 

Every year I get frustrated a couple weeks in when I feel like we SHOULD be into a groove, and we’re not. Whether it’s kids acting out, exhaustion with the new morning schedule or homework battles, it always takes longer than I feel it should to find a groove.

6 weeks is the magic number for me.

By mid-October, I am usually finding the groove and have things running smoothly. If you are the same, just remember to be patient, you will get there. Be patient.

Resist the Urge to Over-Commit 

At the start of the school year, I usually feel pretty hyped up. But sometimes that gung-ho energy can cause me to over-commit because start of the year means sign-ups.

Last year I volunteered to be room mom for both my daughter’s classrooms. Sure, I can do it, no problem! Right? Wrong. Well yes, I did do it, but by holiday time I realized I took on TOO much while also trying to run my blog.

Volunteering is an amazing gift if you have some time available to dedicate to it. Just look at your schedule and obligations before jumping to “yes!”

Practice Your Response When Asked 

This post on Momastery was one of the most powerful posts I read this year. Take a few minutes to read it. It’s not just about tweens, it applies to kids of all ages (and their moms)!

Her opening struck a chord in me because I am a people-pleaser and always want to say “yes” when asked to do something.

Therefore, practice your response NOW, before asked to do things, so you have a response.

These are the ones I came up with.

If it’s a “hell no”

“Thanks so much for thinking of me! I would love to be able to, but I am expanding my business this year, and I am afraid I have too much on my plate to take on anything extra.” 

If it’s a “I’m not sure”

“Thanks so much for thinking of me! I have a lot on my plate right now, but let me think about whether I could fit it in, and I will get back to you.”

At least this buys you time to think through your obligations and if you are able to do it or not.

Come up with your responses now and practice them.

Take Time for Yourself 

When things get particularly busy and hectic, the first thing that gets neglected is time to take care of ourselves. Stay tuned for a fun challenge I have for all of us this September to make sure in that crazy first month we are also taking the time to find balance for ourselves, and our sanity…

Who has ways to share how to keep your back-to-school sanity? Please comment!

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We have a fresh new look…

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In honor of Tiny Oranges’ SIXTH birthday this month, I thought it was a great time to freshen up the site with a juicy new look and tag line,

“inspiring moms with juicy ideas for sweeter family living”

…what do you think?!

Bear with us as we inevitably have to work out some kinks in the next day or so (and if you find some, please comment on this post and let us know!)

Thank you to everyone taking the time to read this post.

I am anxious to hear your thoughts!

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“I love my body.”

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Ha! Made you look. Right?

Just typing that title made me think how incredibly rare it is to hear a woman say those four simple words, “I love my body.”

Compliment a woman on her body and she will likely point out her flaws, sheepishly, instead of owning it.

We are so accustomed to trying to live up to certain unattainable societal images that it becomes second nature to look at our bodies and focus on the negative.

When will we learn to look at our bodies and embrace the positive?

I saw this clip shared on Facebook via Upworthy featuring a model on Ellen responding to people who called her “fat” and her response is revolutionary.


End applause.

Say It With Me, “I Love My Body!!” 

I have started saying those words to myself when a self-criticism of my body creeps into my head, and like Robyn Lawley says, it really does work.

The more you say it, the more you start to believe it. When you believe it, your whole attitude and outlook will change.

Try it.

My body is not perfect, but it is healthy and strong and allows me to do awesome things, so yes, I DO love my body.

It is a much better use of energy to focus on this realization vs. the 5 pounds I want to get off.


Do It For Our Daughters

Moms, don’t you want your daughters to grow up with a positive body image versus the alternative? I sure do.

We are in a pretty powerful and somewhat frighteningly influential position.

I think if we as moms can get to a place where we can say, “I love my body”, that attitude can’t help but rub off on our daughters as they learn, like mom, to LOVE their bodies. I think Robyn Lawley could change the world.

What is your reaction to this video? Please share your comments below.

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Let’s Talk About Sex

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 This is a compensated post written by me on behalf of Sony Pictures. 


Let’s talk about sex.

This is not a topic I normally talk about on my blog, but after seeing the trailer for a hilarious movie called Sex Tape coming to theaters this month, I had to write about it because most of us married with children people will be able to relate. Big time.

The movie is about a couple, Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) who have been married for ten years, two kids, are still very much in love, but well, the passion of the early days has cooled off. In an attempt to bring back the heat to their marriage, they decide to make a sex tape, and the private video is accidentally, shared. Oh, the horror!

You just have to watch the trailer, you will laugh out loud.

Keeping the Passion Alive After Children 

The moment you have children, or actually, the moment you find out you are pregnant, your sex life changes. Dramatically.

I love it in the movie when Annie says, “How the hell do you get it back?” Because I am sure most moms have wondered that exact same thing.

But you can, I am telling you, you can, it just takes a little work.

Now, my husband and I would never be so brave as to make a sex tape like Annie and Jay. Mostly because I would be paranoid about the possibility of it getting viewed by the wrong people (which is why this movie is so funny to me).  But there are some simple ways you can spice things up in your own love life and bring back some of the heat to your marriage.

My Top 5 Tips to Gettin’ It On, Parent Style

In the movie Annie is a successful mommy blogger (LOVE IT) and I felt very honored to be invited to write a guest post on this very topic on Annie’s blog, Who’s Yo Mommy.

Click here to visit Annie’s blog, and look for my guest post on my top 5 Tips to Gettin’ It On, Parent Style.

What do you think?

Do you have any tips on keeping the passion alive after children? Please share in the comments below!

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My Summer Incentive System

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My Summer Incentive System for Kids

I just finished the first full week of summer with both girls home and out of school, and we had a really pleasant week. In summer’s past, this has not always been the case, which is why I am thrilled to pieces at the splendor of what some rainbow popsicle sticks can do.

I attribute the first week success to my new summer incentive system to inspire behaviors that make them nice humans to be around.

And it worked! Well. Which is why I am sharing with you today.

Over the years I have done a variety of things to try to achieve the same result, but nothing has ever worked quite as well as this system. Here’s how it goes…

Supplies needed: 

~ Two vases or clear bowls or really anything that kids can put stuff in.

~ Something to put in them as a token of a good behavior : in my case, rainbow popsicle sticks. You can also use coins, marbles, beads, anything.  But they really like the popsicle sticks.

~ Display in an area of the house where they spend the most time.

Our Summer Incentive System:

1. Each child starts with the same number of sticks.

I started with 20, which I placed in a pile in front of the vases. To keep them separate, I put an orange or white rubber band around them, one color for each girl.

2. A child earns a stick when they exhibit positive behaviors.

Things like playing nicely together, sharing, cleaning up without complaining, helping, generally those sweet behaviors I want to reward.

3. Popsicle sticks can also be lost (or taken out).

If it is an egregious behavior, they will lose a stick immediately. Like my oldest talked to me in a sassy, disrespectful voice and lost a stick immediately. No warning. NOT okay.

But for most everything else, they will be given a warning before losing it. For example, say a bickering episode starts within a game of Barbies, they both want the same Barbie and keep on whining and fighting over it. I could say, “You both have a warning. There are two choices. You can chose to work it out or separate and play something on your own.” Hopefully they work it out, but if they fighting continues, they both lose a stick.

4. When they earn all 20 of their sticks in the vase, they are given a small reward.  I am going to increase the number of sticks each time we start over because it only took 5 days to earn the reward. That’s a lot of rewards.

For the reward, we are talking small things they helped me come up with. My little one wants a frozen yogurt trip (don’t tell her we would have gone anyway), and my oldest wants an hour with me playing Barbies with them (sad!! Note to self…)

I think I will come up with a bigger reward for the last week of summer to celebrate all the sticks they earned over the past couple months.

Random Rules:

1. They may not take a stick without a parent telling them to do so.

2. There is one way to earn an automatic stick: making their beds when they get up. So they can get up, make their bed, and come out and get the stick on their own.

3. If you ask for a stick, you automatically don’t get it. “Mom! I cleaned up my clothes on the floor! Can I get a stick?” NO! I don’t want them to get used to just doing things they normally should just to earn a stick.

4. I told them I am keeping track, and counting them (I’m not), and if I notice there are extra sticks that they did not earn in there, they will lose all the sticks and start over (serious!!)


The Beauty of It All

They are competitive with each other, so if one makes their bed, you better bet the other one will too, lest they have one less stick. They have been tied neck in neck the entire week. Or, for one to lose a stick is a big deal because again, that means the other one will be ahead.

Love This 

Emma said, “Morgan you can play Barbies with us when I win my reward.” And then Morgan said, “Emma you can go to frozen yogurt with us when I win.”

I gave them both a stick.

Do you have a system that works for you? Please share!

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