Back-to-School Hacks!

In just two weeks when St. Vrain Valley schools start up again, it’ll be the end of summertime follies and the beginning of back-to-school frenzies! Knowing every home with kids in school has its share of excitement, dread and chaos to contend with – we looked for – and found – plenty of online advice to help make things run more smoothly! 

Family Calendar

For a place to put schedules and all the information and paperwork/forms that must not get lost, Katie from Care.Com has a nifty tutorial for creating a family calendar. It’s a simple project using corkboard, canvases, blackboard spray paint and adhesive-backed magnet tape. It may take an afternoon put together, but could save your sanity during the school year!

School Supplies

schoolMelissa at A Bowlful of Lemons has been through it all, judging from her tips for grade school through college-age kids. She takes an inventory of leftover school supplies before she buys more and then organizes all the pens, pencils, markers, highlighters, paper clips, staples and paper, in an over-the-door organizer. You can get one from Home Depot, Amazon.com or the Container Store for between $9 and $15.

Melissa also has tips on budgeting, college dorm organization and how to save money on school supplies! For more money savings, check out Passion for Savings back-to-school deals, and for high school and college student discounts, AOL’s latest Cheapism™ column has some leads.

Clothes Time

Shopping for new school clothes? Think mix and match: fewer pieces, more outfits, less money. And don’t skip thrift stores, garage sales and local online buy/sell/trade groups for great-looking, gently-used items!

The Stir’s Café Mom says forget picking out kids outfits the night before, do it Sunday for the entire week! These cubbies labeled with days of the week are compartmentalized with cardboard dividers and will hold socks, belts, hair accessories, etc., so kids can ready themselves almost all by themselves!

A.M. Savings Time

Looking for a couple of no-fail ways to save time on school mornings? It’s possible to take control of getting-ready time with breakfasts-to-go and a last-stop “station” so no one’s a hot mess by the time everybody walks out the door.

schoolMomtastic offers hacks like picking out clothes the night before, getting up an hour earlier and making healthy breakfasts ahead of time. Here are a few breakfast shortcuts from the Daily Meal, Super Healthy Kids and Stockpiling Moms (like apple sandwiches with almond-buttered granola and quinoa and carrot cake cookies)!

Grab-and-Go Station

Create a station near the exit door to deposit grab-and-go items. Drop phones, keys, ID tags, headphones, wallets, and even a tape roller or stain remover stick there. Adults and kids can pick up or use on their way out to avoid a last-minute scramble to find things.

Lunchbox Hacks

schoolFor healthy lunch box ideas check out Parenting Magazine’s 20 ideas beyond PB&J.

And to keep things cool in that lunch box, Amanda Mushro of Questionable Choices in Parenting uses kitchen sponges from the dollar store as ice packs. Just soak them in water, place in zippered bags and freeze.

Another tip: keep everything for lunches in one cabinet – containers, chips, granola bars, fruit pouches. That take the guesswork out of what to pack, and kids can help with their own lunches with a little direction (one protein, one fruit, one grain, one dairy).

Homework Help

There are a couple of apps you might want to check out for help with homework: iHomework, myHomework and iStudiezpro.

Schools Near Colliers Hill

Schools in Erie near the master-planned community of Colliers Hill consistently receive great reviews and ratings, and they’re incredibly close by! Erie High School is just across County Road 5 from the community, and future plans call for a new elementary school within Colliers Hill. Explore our 10 beautiful model homes – from three different collections – built by Richmond American Homes and  Shea Homes. With new ranch and two-story designs, new homes in Colliers Hill are priced from the upper $300s to the $600s.