Back-To-School Supplies for Mom

fantabulous women tabitha dumas back to school for mom

Back-to-school supplies for Mom.

This may seem a bit premature for some of you (back to school?!? In July?!?) but my oldest son is on a modified year-round school schedule (two weeks off after each grading period and seven weeks off in summer) and starts 2nd grade on July 22nd.

My baby is starting second grade!! Eeeeeek!!

Back-to-school time is HERE for us and I realized that I—work-at-home mom and home manager—need to get myself ready!

For me, summer has been a mixed bag. Yes, we got to take a road trip to my home state of Florida at the start of summer and, yes, my older son has kept the younger one occupied during the day so I could log some billable hours, but…we’ve been doing the “stay up late and wake up late” routine but when the boys are up late, I can’t get “real work” done (I need total peace and quiet to write) and my mornings when they’re sleeping in are not very productive. I’ve been lax on housework and meal planning (don’t ask me how many pizza boxes were in the recycle bin this week) and I’m low on energy because of the wacky sleep schedule. Plus, I’ve had to postpone my usual meetings because it’s hard to get child care for both boys.

I’m ready to get back into the school routine.

This year will be unique because on August 5, my younger son will begin preschool so I will have nine hours a week to be foot loose and kid-free. I’ll keep the fancy.

So I need to be ready.

Here are a few tools I assembled to help ME prepare! The idea is to keep things running smoothly and to set yourself up for a wonderful school year. For yourself AND the kids!

Cookbooks and meal planning tools.

Pull out your favorite cookbooks, grab a shopping list and map out your meals for the week (I do pizza, taco soup and pasta almost every week). Mine have to be quick, easy, and kid-friendly (and when I say kid, I mean picky-eater-kid).

fantabulous women tabitha dumas back to school mom meal planning shopping list

New office supplies.

Why should the kids be the only ones who get fresh folders, markers and composition books?? Get some cute folders for filing all of the papers that will soon be coming in from school and treat yourself to some pretty pens and highlighters. Have a day planner handy, too, for writing down PTA meeting times and coffee dates. Remember to schedule in “me time,” too!

fantabulous women tabitha dumas back to school mom supplies calendar me time

Beauty time-savers.

I advise my Mary Kay customers to have an everyday makeup look accessible to grab even if they only have five minutes to spend on their face in the morning. All you need is one or two neutral eye colors, a soft blush, mascara and gloss. I highly recommend the Mary Kay 3-in-1 cleanser, too, because it cleanses, exfoliates and freshens in one step. My other favorite multi-tasking product is the Mary Kay Moisture Renewing Gel Mask. It feels almost like aloe and you can use it as a quick mask or wear it overnight if your skin is dry, inflamed or stressed.

fantabulous women tabitha dumas back to school mom beauty time savers

Designate a “mom zone” or “home management zone.”

This is the place to keep paperwork, calendars, to-do lists and things like greeting cards, wrapping supplies and bills all in one spot that is yours alone.

fantabulous women studio home office craft room

As you can see above, I am spoiled—I have a studio/office/craft room (nearly) all to myself but you can use a small desk, a corner of your laundry room or even a closet. For example…

Below is is my “drop and grab zone” between the front door and the garage where I can drop my keys or grab library books on the way in or out, plus a spot for reminders and papers.

fantabulouswomen mom command center

Take a moment to tweak your inspiration board, too, so that the things that inspire you or make you smile are where you can see them regularly.

fantabulous women tabitha dumas back to school mom inspiration board

If you work from home, you may want to reorganize your desk or set up new filing systems–whatever it takes to be efficient and productive.

If you’re a home school mom, now is the time to get your desk and teaching area(s) ready.

There are some fun ideas for work-at-home and home school moms on my Back To School Pinterest board.

And you can’t go back to school without books!

I have found a good many of these at Goodwill.

fantabulous women tabitha dumas back to school mom books

Two of my favorites: “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach and “Organized Simplicity” by Tsh Oxenreider.

fantabulous women tabitha dumas back to school mom books

For those with a business: “Love is the Killer Ap” by Tim Sanders, “Good to Great” by Jim Collins and “The Power of Uniqueness” by Arthur F. Miller, Jr.

fantabulous women tabitha dumas back to school mom books for business

And for personal development: “By Happy Without Being Perfect” by Alice D. Domar, Ph.D, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families” by Stephen R. Covey and “Take Time For Your Life” by Cheryl Richardson.

fantabulous women tabitha dumas back to school mom books for personal development

You may also need a new tote bag to carry your books in or maybe a pretty new purse for fall. You get a backpack for the kids, why not treat yourself?? 

Have some fun before the race to Winter Break begins and set yourself up for a wonderful new school year.

Remember to visit my Back To School Pinterest board board for more ideas, inspiring images and links!

How I Taught My Son to Say Thank You

People often point out to me that my youngest son, Ethan, is really good about saying “thank you,” even for mundane things like helping him put his shoes on or when you say “bless you” when he sneezes. I wish I could take credit for it but he has always been that way, and with very little prompting from us.

thank you baby ethan

On Jacksonville Beach, June 2013.

Here’s the background story: Ethan is our redemption baby because he came home from the hospital a year to the day after I suffered a miscarriage. It felt like God, in His great mercy and grace, gave us our Ethan to somehow ‘make up for’ the baby we lost. The date—May 13th—was at first a very sad day and is now forever a very happy day.

Ethan is a constant reminder of God’s redemption and the way that God can take something heinous and turn it into something glorious.

Just looking at my Ethan makes my heart feel like it’s going to fall out of my chest. From the moment he was born, we have clung to each other.

When a miscarriage rips a baby away from you, there is something deep and satisfying on an almost primal level about holding a flesh-and-bones child in your arms, especially when he’s rock solid, smells like the sky and giggles like a chipmunk when you kiss his ears.

I do not take his presence here with us for granted for one second.

fantabulouswomen redemption baby

From his first day, I have said, “Thank You, Lord, for this baby.”

In fact, just last week, we were hugging (like we do) and out of the blue Ethan said, “Thank You, Lord, for this mommy!” with a big grin on his face and I about melted into the ground.

I hug and kiss him every chance I get. People must think I’m crazy because I love on him all the time.

When I’m pushing him around in the cart at Target, I lean in and snuggle his neck and kiss his cheeks and we giggle together.

When we’re at the park, I grab him off the end of the slide and just squeeze him against me until he squirms to get away.

When I take him out of the car, I take a moment to just hold him and thank God for him and soak in his presence.

When he asks for a hug or a kiss (which is often), I give it to him every time.

And all the while, I say “thank you:” sometimes out loud and sometimes in my heart.

My husband and I marvel at him because he is so precious and angelic and fills our lives with so much joy. “He’s so alive,” I will point out. “He’s human and he’s perfect and he’s here.” We just can’t get over it.

He is our angel baby, our miracle, our gift from God.

And he has heard “thank you” time and time again for his entire life. The “thank you” of a mother who appreciates every strand of blond hair, every eyelash, every speck of dirt under his fingernails…who appreciates the chance to give him a bath, buy him an ice cream cone, push him on the swing, tuck him into bed and hold his precious little chubby hand as we walk through this Earthly life together…who feels the love of her heavenly Father every time she looks at her baby boy who’s quickly turning into a full-fledged big boy all too fast.

fantabulouswomen ethan tabitha

Then it hit me this week when, for the gazillionth time, I hugged my Ethan tight and whispered “thank you.”

He has learned to say “thank you” because he has heard us say it over and over and over again.

We didn’t teach him to say “thank you”—we modeled it to him.

It reminds me of the importance of what words we speak over people, especially the people we love the most. Of all the things for him to have absorbed, I’m glad it was “thank you.”

My Ethan knows what gratitude is all about. He is the embodiment of my “thank you” to God and now he is dispensing it to the people around him.

And I am grateful.

Oh, yes, she did ask The Question!

I was feeling pretty sassy on Saturday wearing a new top in my “pop color,” a colorful scarf as a belt, my key necklace and cute shoes.


fantabulous women dressing for your body type

I don’t THINK I look pregnant…??

Until the bagger at my local grocery store (a teenage girl, maybe 16) asked The Question:

“Are you having a baby?”

I felt like I melted into a puddle right there in the check-out lane. I felt my face flush and my blood pressure rise.

Partly because we’d recently tried to have a baby with no luck. Partly because I realized that I LOOKED pregnant (no one wants that unless they are) and partly because I knew she’d be embarrassed to find out that I’m not.

“Nope. I am sure not.”

The cashier asked, “WHAT did she say??”

I replied, “She said I was fat.”

I admit, that comment was meant to teach the bagger a lesson. Did I interpret her question that way? No. But many women would. Unless a woman is VERY CLEARLY pregnant, it’s better to not comment.

The bagger was aghast.

I smiled and told her, “I’m giving you a hard time. It’s an honest question. We were trying but, no, I’m not pregnant.”

I could tell she felt terrible.

“Why did you think so?” I asked.

I often wonder if I sometimes still let my hand linger over my belly like I did for those 18+ months I’ve been pregnant. Or if it was just the lower belly pooch left over from carrying two eight-plus pound babies to 40 weeks gestation combined with poor posture resulting from too much time hunched over a laptop.

“Do I LOOK pregnant?” I asked.

She shrugged sheepishly. “Only from the side.”

Ah, yes.

According to Shari Braendel’s book “Good Girls Don’t Have To Dress Bad,” I have an ‘x’ body type–proportionate over all (as far as hips to shoulders).

But I tend to also be a ‘b’, meaning I gain weight in my belly and hips. Shari cautions ‘b’ types from tucking their shirts in or wearing belts around the waist. Why? Because you get this:

dress your body type fantabulous women

Ugh-oh. A belt just accentuates my post-baby belly.

Notice what happens when I untuck my shirt and put the belt OVER the top.

hide trouble spots dress for your body

Hide your trouble spots!

dress body type fantabulous women

The one to blame for the belly pooch. But who cares?? It’s disguised now!

Note to self: Don’t accentuate the belly area–camouflage it!

Do you dress for your body type? What can you not wear?

For more about dressing for your body type, stay tuned to the blog or find FanTABulous Women on Pinterest!

Copyright Tabitha Dumas, online and in-persona image consultant Gilbert Chandler, Arizona. All right reserved.