Fall to do list guide

Do you ever get to the end of a season and realize that there were so many things you planned to do but never got to? Us too.
There are so many fall festivals, holidays, and events going on and we've made a to do list of sorts to help get the ball rolling for your harvest plans. We love the idea of having seasonal bucket lists as well; things that aren't necessarily all planned out but a list of ideas for the occasional Saturday when you find yourself with no plans.

We suggest carving out an hour with your calendar ASAP to get things on your schedule.

Festivals: Click on the links for more info


Photo by Sarah Musgrave

Photo by Sarah Musgrave

  • Host a bonfire
  • Take a hike in the Smokies (not sure when trail to choose? Check out the Top 10) If you are looking for a family friendly hike with young kids, "Andrew's Bald" is perfect.
  • Plan and purchase or make Halloween costumes for your kids (Need some ideas? Here are a few)
  • Seasonal decorating (Southern Living's Fall Decorating Ideas)
  • Tailgate with friends before a football game
  • Finalize Thanksgiving plans

What kinds of things are on your to do list for this Fall?

The Quick List for Back-to-School Organization

Here in Knoxville, the start of school is just over a week away for most of us. It's time to plan, shop, and prepare for another year of learning and growing. To start off the school year right, HYD wanted to share a few tips that can help make the transition more simple and efficient.

1. School Supplies

  • Obtain your child's class supply list from his/her school as soon as possible.
  • Take advantage of Tennessee's tax-free weekend August 7-9
  • Wait for discounts on items like clothing, electronics, and shoes that typically drop in price around mid-August
  • For eco-friendly options, check out MightyNest and earn money for your school while you shop.

2. Ease into School Routine

  • These last weekdays before school begins, begin waking late sleepers up a bit earlier and re-introduce school year bedtime.
  • Keep snacks readily available for kids throughout afternoon as meal times during school may differ from summer eating routines. Real Simple has a great list of snack options.
  • Remind your kids what you expect from them in their morning routine and after-school routine so they know what they're responsible for. Here is a checklist HYD likes.

3. Calendar Prep

  • Find your school's or your school system's calendar for the year and place all important dates including holidays, in-services, half-days, and report card days on your personal calendar now.
  • Create a central calendar the whole family can see with school and after school activities using a paper or whiteboard so it's easy to read and adjust like this one.

4. Prepare for Paper Piles

  • Make an effort from day one of school to fill out each form as you get them, place them back in your child's folder, and back to school before it gets lost in a pile.
  • Create a system for keeping art or school work that allows you to discard all other items the day they enter your home. In other words, go through folders each afternoon/evening, look at each piece of work, if it is an original that you would've liked to have seen as you looked back to that age and you have no other like it, keep it. Otherwise, recycle it.

5. Teacher(s) Support

  • Try not to miss any opportunity to meet your child's teacher or teachers. If you're not able to meet in person, reach out with an email to introduce yourself and offer help to make the school year successful. This is invaluable to both your child and his/her teacher. Teachers need our support, encouragement, and helpful knowledge that only we can give them about our child.

Help You Dwell wishes you and your family a safe and successful 2015-2016 school year!



School's Out! Organizing your summer with the kids home


It's been officially one week since my kiddos had their last day of school before summer. So far, they've enjoyed sleeping in, lounging around the house in PJs, some crafts they've been wanting to get to, and taking a road trip to visit old buddies in Asheville. Thankfully, we're off to a pretty good start.

Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.
— George R.R. Martin

With that said, summer with school-age kids home can be a bit overwhelming without a plan. It can also be a wonderful time for kids to explore, relax, create, and enjoy the freedom of days without the time restraints of the school year. All you need is your time, a little rhythm in your day and a brainstorming session with you kids to make the most out your family's summer.
Here are 7 tips to get you started:

1. Make time each day to play or connect with your child.

Take the time to play a board game, make a milkshake or catch fireflies. It doesn't have to be an elaborate project or outing, just a few minutes of your attention can make simple moments last forever.

2. find the balance for structure

After the long school year, kids need time to unwind, relax and let their brains and emotions take it easy. Kids also need a routine so that they know what to expect. Come up with a loose plan for each day, like hang at the house in the morning doing a small job or working in the garden, afternoons are spent running errands, at the pool or splash pad, or visiting a friend. The summer is a great time to teach kids how to do certain chores well so that during the school months, they can continue contributing to helping the house stay in order.

3. help kids develop a healthy relationship with time

"I'm bored" is a phrase we can all remember using at some point and one I'm sure you've heard from your child as well. Use the summer as a time to help your kids be comfortable with themselves, without technology. This may be hard to commit to at first, but don't lose heart. Here is more on why being bored can be a good thing and ideas for kids when they are.

4. Strictly limit screens

Give your kids certain times of the day for technology. Kids are less likely to bug you about it and more inclined to use their imagination if the option of being on a screen is off the table until a certain time.

5. establish daily reading / quiet time

Setting up this time during each day keeps your child's mind engaged and growing as well as gives you time to yourself. Here is a great list of summer reading ideas.

6. plan memory making activities

Get the kids involved in this brainstorming activity. Here's a list to get you started...
- Play an outdoor movie in your backyard
- Have a lemonade stand
- Make a firepit in your yard and enjoy s'mores together
- Have a water party with sprinklers, water balloons, water guns, slip-n-slide, etc
- Plan a bike ride and pack snacks for a picnic along the way
- Go berry picking
- Make your kids breakfast in bed (or encourage siblings to do it for one another)
- Surprise Dad (or Mom) at work with lunch
- Go hiking, camping, kayaking or canoeing
- Plant a small garden or even just a couple of pots of plants
- Host a pot-luck outdoor party, let your kids help with the guest list

7. capture the summer in a photo album

My kids love to look back at photos from previous summers. As you embark on this summer's activities, grab your camera to snap shots along the way. The week before school starts, have your kids help put an album together as a way to celebrate the priceless memories you've made. It will be time very well spent.