The Back To School Countdown has Begun!

I know some of your kids have already started school for the 2022-2023 school year, but my kiddos don’t start for another few weeks.

The Back to School countdown has begun, and here is how we are saving money.

School Supplies: Most schools’ public supply lists by class on their website. Once you know who your child’s teacher is going to be, you can purchase supplies. Most teachers like trusted name-brand supplies like Ticonderoga pencils, Crayola crayons, Crayola washable markers, and Expo whiteboard markers.  Here are a few of the stores that have great prices on school supplies!

Target: School supplies starting at $0.25
Walmart: Up to 75% off select school supplies
Office Depot and Office Max: Up to 60% off bestselling school supplies. Save 25% off on backpacks excluding Jansport
Michaels: Teacher Must-Haves, Art Supplies, and more all under $10.00

There will be several backpack giveaways throughout August. There is one tomorrow in Lemon Grove. Information can be found here. 

There will be a backpack and school supply giveaway courtesy of SMOAC on August 20, 2022 at Rio Seco School in Santee. It is a drive-thru event.

Clothing/Shoes: If you are like me, you grab kids’ clothes at swaps all year, but there are some things that you need to buy new. Once you’ve set your budget for clothes/shoes/accessories, keep an eye out for BTS sales (which are in full swing right now).

Because Southern California doesn’t get chilly in the fall, a lot of the standard BTS clothing fare isn’t great for our kids- long pants, turtlenecks, sweaters, jean jackets- I’m sweating just thinking about those! Don’t forget to scope out the sale and clearance racks for shorts and short sleeve shirts!

I love shopping Kohl’s and JCPenney. They frequently have sales, coupon codes, and deals where you can earn Kohl’s Cash/JCP Rewards for future purchases. Earn even more cashback when you shop online and opt for in-store pickup. I like shopping through Mypoints or Ibotta (make sure to check out both of their browser extensions to help you earn points/cashback). This is also a hot tip for Target and Walmart shoppers!

If your budget is a little too tight, check out local clothing swaps! Porchlight is holding one on 8/27/2022 for womens’ and kids’ clothing. More information can be found here.

We also shop a lot at thrift stores- Amvets and DAV are two of my favorites here in San Diego.

Food: I know this might be weird to include, but kiddos have to have healthy food to function and grow. Thanks to the California Universal Meals program, all kids in k-12 education settings will receive free breakfast and lunch if wanted. And I will continue to post about free opportunities for food each month, and more often as they come across my desk. Feeding San Diego Tour is a great resource that has locations all over San Diego County!

 

 

 

 

Managing a Household with Neurodivergencies (ADHD, ASD, etc.)

Earlier this week my friend Sam posted on Facebook, “Neurodivergent Friends what are some tools you use with others that help you with daily life, communication, relationships?”

A few friends posted that they needed help with meal prep, day-to-day stuff, and as y’all know, that’s my bag, baby!

Both my kids are Neurodivergent (ADHD/ASD and ADHD), and their dad has ADHD (combined type/ C) and because of that, we’ve had to make some adjustments to our daily life and how we function. And while our processes and schedules may not work for everyone, hopefully, these tips give you some idea and hope if you need it.

Some of these directly affect/benefit the kids, and some make my life easier, which in turn makes their lives easier.

Having an accurate(ish) pantry, fridge, and freezer inventory. I have made my own sheets in the past (using Canva), but the ones from Organized Home are great.

Meal Prep and meal planning (this includes using Dream Dinners once every few months). This frees up time each night to read, hang out, bathe, and get kids ready for bed.

Meal Prep can be as easy as cut up veggies, fruit, pre-portioned foods, and easy meals or side dishes prepared in advance that only need to be heated up to avoid wasting money eating out because “there is nothing to eat”. Also having one night for take-out. And I have a whiteboard that lists our meal plan for the week- I try and post it weekly on Instagram.

The Snack Box- I also organized our fridge and pantry to be more ND-friendly. Stuff that should be eaten (healthy food like fruit, cheese sticks, yogurt, etc.) is at kid eye level in clear packaging and is labeled (I use expo markers on my Rubbermaid containers), and I have a “Snack box” in the pantry that is available 24/7 for hungry faces. It’s got individually portioned shelf-stable snacks and meal components. And on days when I am too tired/rushed to cook we have “Meal of snacks” where I serve a variety of snacks on old-school sectioned cafeteria trays- fruits, veggies, crackers, cheese, cookies, and a drink (juice or iced tea is a hit).

We have a list of snacks on the fridge so the kids know what there is to snack on. It is a visual list (I drew it), and when we are out of specific items, I cover the picture with a piece of posit note.

Calendars– in the kitchen, and one in each bedroom. I update them weekly, plus the grownups use the calendars on their phones and we have a shared family calendar. Kids get reminders each day in the morning and afternoon of any appointments or events that will take place during the day. The visual and auditory reminders really help cement the appointment in their mind.

Visual reminders– next to the front door at eye level there is a sign that reminds us we need: cellphone, wallet, keys, and garage door opener. It’s laminated.

Visual schedule– this is mainly for the kids. I drew up a daily schedule using words and pictures. I wrote a post about it here.

Lists– Everyone has a “Care tasks” list each week that includes appts, returning borrowed items, and tasks to do throughout the week. You can read about my weekly Care Tasks here. 

Larger font digital clock with day of the week, date, and what part of the day (morning, afternoon, evening, night). The kids can read a clock, but it can take time to engage their brains and count by 5’s, but the “old people clock” as it was marketed on Amazon helps them instantly and helps a lot with the “is it time for xxxxx yet?!?!”

Using your phone to stay on top of details- I saw this on Facebook in a group and I’ve started doing this. If you have an iPhone, there is a notes section in each contact. I’ve seen them used to keep track of favorite fast food at various restaurants, favorite foods/drinks, clothing sizes and brands, favorite colors, birthdays, and anniversaries. It’s such a game changer.

The fidget/stim box– we have a plastic box full of fidget/stim toys for everyone to grab when they need to focus. And everyone has some in their room too. This includes headphones to cut down on loud sounds (I buy the landscapers kind from harbor freight). We have 3 pairs in the house and two pairs in the car. For those not familiar- fidget toys can help calm the body so the mind can focus.

Some favorites include pop-its, hand strengthening eggs, fidget cubes, fidget spinners, stretchy tubes, pop tubes, and stress balls (the kind with Orbeez are super satisfying). Amazon sells really great fidget toys mutli-packs.

Medication Boxes- We refill our medication boxes each week (both AM and PM).  The three of us take our meds together each morning at breakfast time. Our medication boxes live on the kitchen counter, along with our pill minders: Jon Cena and Skeletor.

Stuff has a place– The kid’s shoes and backpacks are always by the door during the school year, ready to be cleaned out and refilled each night. My car keys and purse live in the same spot, the pool key has a special spot. The extra toilet paper and paper towels are always in the same spot (under the front bathroom sink). These are just a few examples of the ways that we remind ourselves and create routines. Creating routines can give us a sense of normalcy and be calming.

The Family Binder– One last thing that doesn’t directly “help” the kids but helps the family, especially in times of emergency is the family binder. I’ve had one since 2010 in various incarnations. I have a really old post about it here.  It’s basically my brain in paper form. It’s got all of our important papers, insurance info, important phone numbers, policy numbers, warranty information, receipts for expensive/valuable stuff, copies of most recent IEPS, copies of diagnosis paperwork, lists of everyone’s meds, doctors info, etc. Think of it as all the info you’d need if you lost power for an extended period, your house burned down, or there was a tornado.

There are a lot of other things that we do in our home to help the kids- keep them safe, regulated, and happy. The stuff listed above is just a small sample. Everyone’s home runs differently. And this was and continues to be a lot of work. The examples above are continually changing, and evolving in our home, and are a combination of 11+ years of hard work, learning, and failing. Some of this stuff I did to try and get organized in my late 20s, even before I was married and had kids.

 

 

Faith Chapel: 7/31/22 Backpack Giveaway!

This popped up in my inbox last night. I know a lot of you are keeping tabs on school supply and backpack giveaways, and Faith Chapel in Spring Valley has got you covered!

For those of us who start back to school early, this backpack giveaway is perfect.

This Sunday, July 31st, Faith Chapel will be giving out 400 FREE stuffed backpacks! Details will be shared during our 10:30am service so plan on attending. Registration begins as early as 9:30am.

Students must be present to receive a backpack.

Come to Faith Chapel’s main campus to register, enjoy the service, then receive the stuffed backpacks with school supplies.

Faith Chapel
9400 Campo Rd.
Spring Valley, CA 91977

And don’t forget that Faith Chapel hosts two Neighborhood Distributions per month! To learn more, check out my post here.