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You are invited to partner with Sacramento Helping Hands Foundation to give back to our local Sacramento public schools.  Help us STUFF THE BUS with school supplies this weekend, August 6-7th!

Our main goal for this event is to collect School Supply Donations which will be distributed to a local community school that has 90% free lunch attendees.  These kids and teachers need your help!

What we need: School Supplies, pencils, crayons, writing paper, construction paper, glue sticks, scissors, binders, folders, rulers, highlighters, dry erase markers, backpacks, the basic school supplies needed to equip students and teachers for a successful school year. 

We will have a collection booth at two local Walmart's, both in Antelope, CA.  The Walmart on Elverta Road and Watt Avenue and the Supercenter Walmart on Antelope Road.

When: Friday, August 6th and Saturday, August 7th AND a 2nd donation drive on
Friday, August 19th and Saturday, August 20th

Time:  11 AM to 5 PM

Where: 7901 Watt Avenue, Antelope, CA 95843 AND
5821 Antelope Road, Antelope, CA 95843


Be sure to follow SacHelpingHands on social media (click images below to follow us on Instagram and Facebook) stay up to date of ways to give back to our local community.  We welcome volunteers to partner with us in making a difference and bridge the gap.  We are enriching the lives of children, youth and seniors in our communities through helping them improve their self image, self confidence, physical health and well being and developing a sense of community and respect for those around them through various programs, events, the arts and education. For more information and to donate visit: SacHelpingHands.org


Stuff the Bus | Sacramento Helping Hands Foundation

You are invited to partner with Sacramento Helping Hands Foundation to give back to our local Sacramento public schools.  Help us STUFF THE BUS with school supplies this weekend, August 6-7th!

Our main goal for this event is to collect School Supply Donations which will be distributed to a local community school that has 90% free lunch attendees.  These kids and teachers need your help!

What we need: School Supplies, pencils, crayons, writing paper, construction paper, glue sticks, scissors, binders, folders, rulers, highlighters, dry erase markers, backpacks, the basic school supplies needed to equip students and teachers for a successful school year. 

We will have a collection booth at two local Walmart's, both in Antelope, CA.  The Walmart on Elverta Road and Watt Avenue and the Supercenter Walmart on Antelope Road.

When: Friday, August 6th and Saturday, August 7th AND a 2nd donation drive on
Friday, August 19th and Saturday, August 20th

Time:  11 AM to 5 PM

Where: 7901 Watt Avenue, Antelope, CA 95843 AND
5821 Antelope Road, Antelope, CA 95843


Be sure to follow SacHelpingHands on social media (click images below to follow us on Instagram and Facebook) stay up to date of ways to give back to our local community.  We welcome volunteers to partner with us in making a difference and bridge the gap.  We are enriching the lives of children, youth and seniors in our communities through helping them improve their self image, self confidence, physical health and well being and developing a sense of community and respect for those around them through various programs, events, the arts and education. For more information and to donate visit: SacHelpingHands.org


August is National Breastfeeding Month and I cannot believe I have not blogged about breastfeeding.  I had no idea how hard breastfeeding would be.  My mom breastfed myself and my siblings and she made it look so easy, as far as I could remember of course I was 7-8 years old. Most all of my friends who had babies, breastfed their babies and I do not remember any of them sharing how difficult it was.

When I had my first child I thought it would just be automatic, no one told me how difficult it would be.  I remember walking up to my friend in utter shock and saying "why didn't you tell me how hard this is?" Which she then went into sharing her breastfeeding story, and yes it took work. I vowed I would share with every new mom to be that I knew. 

No one told me about breaking the babies latch, I was a brand new mom, that had my nails done all the time, I had no idea how that would go out the window, IYKYK.

No one told me about your milk coming in and how painful it would be or tips for when your milk does come in.  I wish women talked about this more and maybe they do now, I know for sure after my breastfeeding experience I try and tell every pregnant lady I meet about breastfeeding.  I don't start with a horror story, I don't think that helps, but I am sure to tell them to do their research, find a La Leche League and buy Lansinoh nipple cream, ahead of time, before you have the baby. 

I remember going to my sons first week check up and they were gravely concerned at how much weight he had lost, which is normal by the way.  Then at the second week check up I was grilled as if I wasn't feeding my child.  I remember leaving the pediatrician's office in tears feeling like the worst mother ever.  But he was sleeping 4-6 hours through the night, he was not crying, he was having bowel movements. They strongly encouraged me to give him formula, they sent me home with a baby scale, I had to weigh him before and after each feeding, they had me writing down every bowel movement to report to my pediatrician.  They had me use a pump in the office to see how much milk I could pump, which pumping has NEVER worked well for me.  I have a friend who would pump for 5-10 minutes and fill an entire 8 ounce bottle. I would pump for 30 minutes and get 2 ounces.  

Because I did not know about breaking the babies latch, I was bleeding and sore and then had Mastitis. It was awful, but I wanted to breastfeed so badly that I continued to try and find what worked for me. 

I found a local La Leche League, and those mommas were my saving grace.  I met with a lactation consultant for an entire two months, she would come to my house, I would go to her house. Who knew you would need a breastfeeding coach? At the time of my firstborn, we had a local La Leche League group that met at our local library, which was amazing.  They shared different holding techniques, they encouraged me not just in breastfeeding but in motherhood in general. 

I am happy to report once we finally got the hang of it, it was smooth sailing, but it took WORK and tears, lots of tears!

My second and third born were my easiest breastfed babies, they nursed 5 minutes on each side, no problems gaining weight, no problem latching, it was complete opposite as my first experience.  I was more prepared though and each baby is different, I asked the hospital lactation consultant questions, and had them check how I was holding baby and latch, I probably asked more questions then the normal mom, but because of my first experience I wanted to go home, knowing everything I could.  That is a great tip, utilize the lactation consult at the hospital while you are there, ask for tips, ask about what to do if you have cracks and bleed.  Ask all the questions and ask them for their biggest tips.  I thought okay, maybe it is just because you have never breastfed before, but the truth is, just like each pregnancy is different, so is each breastfeeding experience.  Maybe it will be easy for you, I have friends, who had no issues at all from the get go, so at the same time as I am sharing this, it could be a walk in the park for you.  Forgive the quality of these photos below, they are old, see how far phone cameras have come.  

Nope my fourth baby proved me wrong.  Couldn't get him to latch, wasn't gaining weight, tried tube feeding, went to see the hospital lactation consultant weekly for the first few weeks. They considered clipping his tongue for tongue tie, I didn't do it because I waited too long. Eventually gave in to a little bit of supplementing with formula, for my own sanity. I tried pumping but as I said before, pumping was not easy for me, if anything it was more difficult, because I would have to prepare 30 minutes before, feed the baby, make sure he was changed and all good, as well as my other three little ones, then go to the bathroom to pump for 30-minutes to end up with 2-4 ounces of milk.  I also had a family situation going on that I think the stress was a big contributor to why breastfeeding wasn't working.  Babies are so sensitive to our emotions, you have to relax and not be tense just like in giving birth.  Committed to give my baby breastmilk, I pumped for nine months.  Oh the things we mothers do for our little ones. 

There are so many benefits to breastfeeding.  

1. Lifesaving - according to the journal Pediatrics If 90% of families breastfed exclusively for six months, nearly 1,000 infant deaths could be prevented each year.

2. Infant Health Benefits - Research show breastfed babies have a lower risk of health issues including asthma, ear infections, diabetes, and respiratory problems.

I can attest to this, none of my four boys had ear infections, while it was quite the norm with many people I knew who had babies. 

3. Colostrum - Often referred to as "liquid gold' for its deep yellow color, colostrum's the thick first milk that you make during pregnancy and just after birth. It's quite rich in both nutrients and antibodies to protect your baby from infection.  The human body is quite a miracle, from giving birth to being able to nourish your baby, amazing the way God made us. 

4. Weight loss? Studies say that women who breastfeed lose weight faster.  This was not true for me.  I literally felt famished the entire time I was breastfeeding.  I would eat so much more, to keep my energy levels up.  

Tips to breastfeeding:

1. Research, research, research. Read books, look up sites on-line, there are even support  groups now on-line.  There are things to help.  For instance, one thing that helped my milk supply was a supplement called Fenugreek.  You can find it at your local Walmart or health food store.  I also found a recipe for lactation cookies, but if you look up these things before you have the baby and purchase what you need ahead, I think it helps to be prepared.  Instead of having to send your spouse out to search for these items.  Here are two links to lactation cookie recipes.

HowSweetEats and CountryCleaver


2. Find a lactation consultant or group.

3. Buy Lansinoh Cream and a Boppy or Nursing Pillow. I needed my Boppy to nurse comfortably, I tried a couple other nursing pillows, one that even strapped around you, but the Boppy was my favorite. 

4. Try different breast pumps.  When I had my babies, you had to purchase your own, I loved the Medela brand and the electric double pump.  The hand pumps never worked for me.  Now you can get a free breast pump through your insurance. 

5. Be patient with yourself.  Ask other women for tips and help.  

6. Have your nursing time be a quiet bonding time.  I was grateful I was given this tip.  To not take phone calls and enjoy this one on one time with baby to pray over baby, to mentally recharge myself.  As moms even with just one baby, you go non-stop, from feedings to changing diapers, to calls, cleaning, and so much more that it is nice to carve out your nursing time as one on one time with baby.  Sing to baby, take in the gift and miracle of your new addition and the miracle you are.  

A fed, happy, healthy baby is all that matters, if you end of up supplementing or going to formula that is okay.  Don't be so hard on yourself.  Your baby and family need you to be well too, not stressed and overwhelmed.  

Take pictures of you nursing or have your spouse take a picture, I don't have any photos of me nursing and I wish I did.  It can be of you sitting in a rocking chair, with a blanket over, or however you want, but I wish I had photos of me nursing.  It really is a special bonding time that goes by so fast. 

If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me I would be happy to help, answer questions, share links, etc. you can reach me at theblogaboutitall@gmail.com.  You can also reach out to me on social media Instagram or Facebook.  Thank you for reading if you've enjoyed the content you've read above please share with your friends.

National Breastfeeding Month | 6+ Tips to Prepare for Breastfeeding

August is National Breastfeeding Month and I cannot believe I have not blogged about breastfeeding.  I had no idea how hard breastfeeding would be.  My mom breastfed myself and my siblings and she made it look so easy, as far as I could remember of course I was 7-8 years old. Most all of my friends who had babies, breastfed their babies and I do not remember any of them sharing how difficult it was.

When I had my first child I thought it would just be automatic, no one told me how difficult it would be.  I remember walking up to my friend in utter shock and saying "why didn't you tell me how hard this is?" Which she then went into sharing her breastfeeding story, and yes it took work. I vowed I would share with every new mom to be that I knew. 

No one told me about breaking the babies latch, I was a brand new mom, that had my nails done all the time, I had no idea how that would go out the window, IYKYK.

No one told me about your milk coming in and how painful it would be or tips for when your milk does come in.  I wish women talked about this more and maybe they do now, I know for sure after my breastfeeding experience I try and tell every pregnant lady I meet about breastfeeding.  I don't start with a horror story, I don't think that helps, but I am sure to tell them to do their research, find a La Leche League and buy Lansinoh nipple cream, ahead of time, before you have the baby. 

I remember going to my sons first week check up and they were gravely concerned at how much weight he had lost, which is normal by the way.  Then at the second week check up I was grilled as if I wasn't feeding my child.  I remember leaving the pediatrician's office in tears feeling like the worst mother ever.  But he was sleeping 4-6 hours through the night, he was not crying, he was having bowel movements. They strongly encouraged me to give him formula, they sent me home with a baby scale, I had to weigh him before and after each feeding, they had me writing down every bowel movement to report to my pediatrician.  They had me use a pump in the office to see how much milk I could pump, which pumping has NEVER worked well for me.  I have a friend who would pump for 5-10 minutes and fill an entire 8 ounce bottle. I would pump for 30 minutes and get 2 ounces.  

Because I did not know about breaking the babies latch, I was bleeding and sore and then had Mastitis. It was awful, but I wanted to breastfeed so badly that I continued to try and find what worked for me. 

I found a local La Leche League, and those mommas were my saving grace.  I met with a lactation consultant for an entire two months, she would come to my house, I would go to her house. Who knew you would need a breastfeeding coach? At the time of my firstborn, we had a local La Leche League group that met at our local library, which was amazing.  They shared different holding techniques, they encouraged me not just in breastfeeding but in motherhood in general. 

I am happy to report once we finally got the hang of it, it was smooth sailing, but it took WORK and tears, lots of tears!

My second and third born were my easiest breastfed babies, they nursed 5 minutes on each side, no problems gaining weight, no problem latching, it was complete opposite as my first experience.  I was more prepared though and each baby is different, I asked the hospital lactation consultant questions, and had them check how I was holding baby and latch, I probably asked more questions then the normal mom, but because of my first experience I wanted to go home, knowing everything I could.  That is a great tip, utilize the lactation consult at the hospital while you are there, ask for tips, ask about what to do if you have cracks and bleed.  Ask all the questions and ask them for their biggest tips.  I thought okay, maybe it is just because you have never breastfed before, but the truth is, just like each pregnancy is different, so is each breastfeeding experience.  Maybe it will be easy for you, I have friends, who had no issues at all from the get go, so at the same time as I am sharing this, it could be a walk in the park for you.  Forgive the quality of these photos below, they are old, see how far phone cameras have come.  

Nope my fourth baby proved me wrong.  Couldn't get him to latch, wasn't gaining weight, tried tube feeding, went to see the hospital lactation consultant weekly for the first few weeks. They considered clipping his tongue for tongue tie, I didn't do it because I waited too long. Eventually gave in to a little bit of supplementing with formula, for my own sanity. I tried pumping but as I said before, pumping was not easy for me, if anything it was more difficult, because I would have to prepare 30 minutes before, feed the baby, make sure he was changed and all good, as well as my other three little ones, then go to the bathroom to pump for 30-minutes to end up with 2-4 ounces of milk.  I also had a family situation going on that I think the stress was a big contributor to why breastfeeding wasn't working.  Babies are so sensitive to our emotions, you have to relax and not be tense just like in giving birth.  Committed to give my baby breastmilk, I pumped for nine months.  Oh the things we mothers do for our little ones. 

There are so many benefits to breastfeeding.  

1. Lifesaving - according to the journal Pediatrics If 90% of families breastfed exclusively for six months, nearly 1,000 infant deaths could be prevented each year.

2. Infant Health Benefits - Research show breastfed babies have a lower risk of health issues including asthma, ear infections, diabetes, and respiratory problems.

I can attest to this, none of my four boys had ear infections, while it was quite the norm with many people I knew who had babies. 

3. Colostrum - Often referred to as "liquid gold' for its deep yellow color, colostrum's the thick first milk that you make during pregnancy and just after birth. It's quite rich in both nutrients and antibodies to protect your baby from infection.  The human body is quite a miracle, from giving birth to being able to nourish your baby, amazing the way God made us. 

4. Weight loss? Studies say that women who breastfeed lose weight faster.  This was not true for me.  I literally felt famished the entire time I was breastfeeding.  I would eat so much more, to keep my energy levels up.  

Tips to breastfeeding:

1. Research, research, research. Read books, look up sites on-line, there are even support  groups now on-line.  There are things to help.  For instance, one thing that helped my milk supply was a supplement called Fenugreek.  You can find it at your local Walmart or health food store.  I also found a recipe for lactation cookies, but if you look up these things before you have the baby and purchase what you need ahead, I think it helps to be prepared.  Instead of having to send your spouse out to search for these items.  Here are two links to lactation cookie recipes.

HowSweetEats and CountryCleaver


2. Find a lactation consultant or group.

3. Buy Lansinoh Cream and a Boppy or Nursing Pillow. I needed my Boppy to nurse comfortably, I tried a couple other nursing pillows, one that even strapped around you, but the Boppy was my favorite. 

4. Try different breast pumps.  When I had my babies, you had to purchase your own, I loved the Medela brand and the electric double pump.  The hand pumps never worked for me.  Now you can get a free breast pump through your insurance. 

5. Be patient with yourself.  Ask other women for tips and help.  

6. Have your nursing time be a quiet bonding time.  I was grateful I was given this tip.  To not take phone calls and enjoy this one on one time with baby to pray over baby, to mentally recharge myself.  As moms even with just one baby, you go non-stop, from feedings to changing diapers, to calls, cleaning, and so much more that it is nice to carve out your nursing time as one on one time with baby.  Sing to baby, take in the gift and miracle of your new addition and the miracle you are.  

A fed, happy, healthy baby is all that matters, if you end of up supplementing or going to formula that is okay.  Don't be so hard on yourself.  Your baby and family need you to be well too, not stressed and overwhelmed.  

Take pictures of you nursing or have your spouse take a picture, I don't have any photos of me nursing and I wish I did.  It can be of you sitting in a rocking chair, with a blanket over, or however you want, but I wish I had photos of me nursing.  It really is a special bonding time that goes by so fast. 

If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me I would be happy to help, answer questions, share links, etc. you can reach me at theblogaboutitall@gmail.com.  You can also reach out to me on social media Instagram or Facebook.  Thank you for reading if you've enjoyed the content you've read above please share with your friends.

It's that time of year again, Back to School!  Our kiddos go back to school the second week in August.  This year we will have a 9th, 7th, 5th and 1st grader, here are some tips that have been helpful for our family to gear up for Back to School.

This past weekend we finished our Back to School Shopping and made sure everyone has their back to school supplies, backpacks and lunchboxes ready.  I will encourage you to get ahead start, don't wait until the last minute.  Not only will the selection be better, the stores less crowded but I have also heard quite a bit, how there are some shortages and back orders due to shipping challenges, so shop early. 

A money saving tip especially since we all had a different kind of school year last year with many distance learning from home.  Before you head to the store for Back to School shopping, look at what you may already have.  We had many of the Back to School Supplies in our stock pile, I only needed to pick up a few things.  My older boys did not even use their school lunch boxes so I do need to buy a brand new one for them, my kindergartner did use his throughout the year and is in need of new one.  The same goes with clothes, I feel my boys did not need as much this year, because we spent a lot of time home, there was less wear and tear on many of the back to school necessities.  Of course they all needed shoes, that is a must, so before you go shopping go through your closets and clothing drawers and make a list of what really needs to be replenished. 

10 Back to School Preparation Tips
Be sure to pin these tips for later https://pin.it/56iAyo1
1. Start bedtime and wake up routine 2 weeks before school starts. 
 
It is important to practice your school bedtime and wake up routine before the first day of school, not only for the kids to get back in the habit but also for you the parent getting them ready.  This will make the transition back to school smoother for everyone. 


2. Clean out and prepare your pantry for lunch and snack packing.  Prepare for packing lunches and snacks by stocking your cupboards and make sure you have the necessary supplies, Ziploc bags, or reusable containers.  If you have a kindergartner, practice with them opening their lunch containers and back packs, especially if they have never taken lunch before. Start searching for lunch box ideas, I find it helpful to make a list and keep it on the refrigerator of lunch food items and then I have a rotating variety to go through.  
3. Printable Lunch Box Notes. Do you like to include lunch box notes for your kiddos?  Save some time and print ahead, cut and have them ready to make mornings easier.  Here are some FREE printables I made and have used throughout the school year http://bit.ly/37V4j9x and http://bit.ly/2T9Lsk4

4. Get in the mindset of school.  Spend some time writing and reading, practicing those math facts. Even spending some quiet time at the table coloring helps the kids get back in school mode.  Set a timer for 30 minutes and have everyone read.

5. Have a spot where you set out school clothes the night before.  Having a specific spot where you lay out the next days outfit, helps both you and the kids stay organized and prepared.  Also have a designated area where backpacks will go, so they don’t have to search in the morning for their backpack. 
6. Prepare a homework station.  If you have all the tools in a central location it makes homework easier so you do not have to search for a pencil, glue, scissors or any other items.  You can find colorful containers at the dollar store and many times right in the back to school section of your local retailer.  
7. Get a head start on back to school shopping, don’t wait until the last minute.  Shop as soon as you see those back to school sales hit the stores.  Not only will you get first pick of the supplies, I find this is especially important when it comes to backpacks and lunch boxes. You can also cash in on all the Back to School SALES and avoid the crowds!

8. Print out or order those “First Day of” Signs for first day pictures.  If you like to take those memorable first day of school pictures, prepare ahead of time, you can take pictures the day before, make sure you have your camera ready, batteries charged, and if you want a sign that says the grade and date have it printed out ahead of time, or you can order signs on Etsy Shops and many blog sites, Pinterest is a great place to search for ideas. Something I did last year, was I pulled up the graphic full screen on a chrome book and took pictures with the boys holding the chrome book, I didn't even have to print them out and I thought it was perfect since we started the year out on-line distance learning. 
Here are some FREE Printables I made you can click the link or image of printable type you like for a PDF free download https://bit.ly/2VafF6a 
Here is another option for K-6th grade https://bit.ly/3BPbJZu
Here is a version for 5th-12th graders I-pad style https://bit.ly/3f2SSjD
Here is a basic version K-12th grade https://bit.ly/2UTpRAd
9. Do something fun the weekend before as a family.  With going back to school and getting back to earlier bed times and homework, plan some fun family things the week before or at least the weekend before back to school.  Visit your local swimming pool, go out for pizza, camp out in the backyard or in the front living room.  Enjoy the extra non-structured time you have now with your children.  I know once school starts, the evenings seem shorter and a little more hectic with homework, and after school activities, so enjoy and savor the moments where you have extra time to spend together without feeling rushed by schedules and to do lists.

10. Save Money!  Back to School shopping can be expensive, shop those weekly sales at stores like Office Depot and Staples where they offer penny deals, and low priced items.  If you go each week and get the deals you can save a lot of money, it all adds up.  Sign up for their store rewards, many times they have special rebate offers, where you can get printer paper and other items for FREE after rebate.

Use coupons!  You can find coupons on-line and in the local newspaper.  Let the coupon websites do the work for you, my favorite coupon sites to help save money on Back to School are Hip2Save and TheKrazyCouponLady.com.

Download my favorite money saving App IBOTTA.  The easiest money saving digital coupon App, download right on your phone https://ibotta.com/r/qygfhq.  You will love this app, you shop buying items listed in the App, take a picture of your receipt sometimes you can scan the QR code on Walmart receipts and hit submit.  You receive money back within 48 hours.  It is easy to use and there are everyday items you can get money back for, like produce, milk, and back to school supplies!
Thank you for reading if you've enjoyed the content you've read above please share with your friends.

10 Back to School Tips

It's that time of year again, Back to School!  Our kiddos go back to school the second week in August.  This year we will have a 9th, 7th, 5th and 1st grader, here are some tips that have been helpful for our family to gear up for Back to School.

This past weekend we finished our Back to School Shopping and made sure everyone has their back to school supplies, backpacks and lunchboxes ready.  I will encourage you to get ahead start, don't wait until the last minute.  Not only will the selection be better, the stores less crowded but I have also heard quite a bit, how there are some shortages and back orders due to shipping challenges, so shop early. 

A money saving tip especially since we all had a different kind of school year last year with many distance learning from home.  Before you head to the store for Back to School shopping, look at what you may already have.  We had many of the Back to School Supplies in our stock pile, I only needed to pick up a few things.  My older boys did not even use their school lunch boxes so I do need to buy a brand new one for them, my kindergartner did use his throughout the year and is in need of new one.  The same goes with clothes, I feel my boys did not need as much this year, because we spent a lot of time home, there was less wear and tear on many of the back to school necessities.  Of course they all needed shoes, that is a must, so before you go shopping go through your closets and clothing drawers and make a list of what really needs to be replenished. 

10 Back to School Preparation Tips
Be sure to pin these tips for later https://pin.it/56iAyo1
1. Start bedtime and wake up routine 2 weeks before school starts. 
 
It is important to practice your school bedtime and wake up routine before the first day of school, not only for the kids to get back in the habit but also for you the parent getting them ready.  This will make the transition back to school smoother for everyone. 


2. Clean out and prepare your pantry for lunch and snack packing.  Prepare for packing lunches and snacks by stocking your cupboards and make sure you have the necessary supplies, Ziploc bags, or reusable containers.  If you have a kindergartner, practice with them opening their lunch containers and back packs, especially if they have never taken lunch before. Start searching for lunch box ideas, I find it helpful to make a list and keep it on the refrigerator of lunch food items and then I have a rotating variety to go through.  
3. Printable Lunch Box Notes. Do you like to include lunch box notes for your kiddos?  Save some time and print ahead, cut and have them ready to make mornings easier.  Here are some FREE printables I made and have used throughout the school year http://bit.ly/37V4j9x and http://bit.ly/2T9Lsk4

4. Get in the mindset of school.  Spend some time writing and reading, practicing those math facts. Even spending some quiet time at the table coloring helps the kids get back in school mode.  Set a timer for 30 minutes and have everyone read.

5. Have a spot where you set out school clothes the night before.  Having a specific spot where you lay out the next days outfit, helps both you and the kids stay organized and prepared.  Also have a designated area where backpacks will go, so they don’t have to search in the morning for their backpack. 
6. Prepare a homework station.  If you have all the tools in a central location it makes homework easier so you do not have to search for a pencil, glue, scissors or any other items.  You can find colorful containers at the dollar store and many times right in the back to school section of your local retailer.  
7. Get a head start on back to school shopping, don’t wait until the last minute.  Shop as soon as you see those back to school sales hit the stores.  Not only will you get first pick of the supplies, I find this is especially important when it comes to backpacks and lunch boxes. You can also cash in on all the Back to School SALES and avoid the crowds!

8. Print out or order those “First Day of” Signs for first day pictures.  If you like to take those memorable first day of school pictures, prepare ahead of time, you can take pictures the day before, make sure you have your camera ready, batteries charged, and if you want a sign that says the grade and date have it printed out ahead of time, or you can order signs on Etsy Shops and many blog sites, Pinterest is a great place to search for ideas. Something I did last year, was I pulled up the graphic full screen on a chrome book and took pictures with the boys holding the chrome book, I didn't even have to print them out and I thought it was perfect since we started the year out on-line distance learning. 
Here are some FREE Printables I made you can click the link or image of printable type you like for a PDF free download https://bit.ly/2VafF6a 
Here is another option for K-6th grade https://bit.ly/3BPbJZu
Here is a version for 5th-12th graders I-pad style https://bit.ly/3f2SSjD
Here is a basic version K-12th grade https://bit.ly/2UTpRAd
9. Do something fun the weekend before as a family.  With going back to school and getting back to earlier bed times and homework, plan some fun family things the week before or at least the weekend before back to school.  Visit your local swimming pool, go out for pizza, camp out in the backyard or in the front living room.  Enjoy the extra non-structured time you have now with your children.  I know once school starts, the evenings seem shorter and a little more hectic with homework, and after school activities, so enjoy and savor the moments where you have extra time to spend together without feeling rushed by schedules and to do lists.

10. Save Money!  Back to School shopping can be expensive, shop those weekly sales at stores like Office Depot and Staples where they offer penny deals, and low priced items.  If you go each week and get the deals you can save a lot of money, it all adds up.  Sign up for their store rewards, many times they have special rebate offers, where you can get printer paper and other items for FREE after rebate.

Use coupons!  You can find coupons on-line and in the local newspaper.  Let the coupon websites do the work for you, my favorite coupon sites to help save money on Back to School are Hip2Save and TheKrazyCouponLady.com.

Download my favorite money saving App IBOTTA.  The easiest money saving digital coupon App, download right on your phone https://ibotta.com/r/qygfhq.  You will love this app, you shop buying items listed in the App, take a picture of your receipt sometimes you can scan the QR code on Walmart receipts and hit submit.  You receive money back within 48 hours.  It is easy to use and there are everyday items you can get money back for, like produce, milk, and back to school supplies!
Thank you for reading if you've enjoyed the content you've read above please share with your friends.

Disclosure: #Sponsored This post is a sponsored post in collaboration with Tower Park Resort. While our family receives these special benefits to share our experiences on our blog, all reviews and opinions expressed here are my own.

Have you been glamping?  Our family loves all kinds of camping, from tent camping to cabin glamping.  We recently stayed at the Tower Park Resort in Lodi, California for the very first time and we LOVED it.  This location has spots for tent camping, RV hookups and cabin glamping. 

We stayed in a Boo Boo Bungalow, which sleeps 6.  It had two bedrooms, and a main room which included the living room, with a futon and kitchen area.  One bedroom had cozy bunkbeds, this is perfect for families with children, the other room had a queen bed.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the kitchen had a full size refrigerator, it had a cook top, microwave, coffee pot and toaster everything you need to cook and prepare meals. From the pictures we looked at we thought, there was only a mini fridge, so we did not take a ton of food to cook, now that I know it has a full size refrigerator, we will definitely bring more food on our next stay.  We brought with us cereal and a small milk, hot dogs, watermelon and snacks.  







There are nearby grocery stores, as well as a General Store on the campgrounds, once we saw the fully equipped kitchen, we made a trip to the store and picked up some eggs, bacon and cheese to make English muffins for breakfast.  

The campgrounds at Tower Park Resort are much larger than I thought they would be, there are so many actives for the entire family to enjoy.  When we have taken our boys camping before, we often hear those dreaded words "I'm bored", not at Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park.  We never once heard the boys complain about boredom.  There is plenty of fun to be had at Tower Park.  

Activities

When you check in you will receive wrist bands to wear your entire stay, the wrist band gives you access to the water park and other activities.  They have a water park, mini golf, park playground area, volleyball sand area, horse shoe area, gaga ball area, a bouncing pillow that the kids loved jumping on, gem mining, and outdoor laser tag. 

Character Meet and Greet

In the Pavilion area, they have daily crafts, and activities like morning Yoga, some are free and some have a fee, for example to tie-dye a t-shirt there is a small fee.  Daily at the Pavilion you can have your photo taken with your favorite bears Yogi Bear, Boo Boo Bear and/or Cindy Bear.  There are two times daily for character meet and greets. 


Water Park & Lazy River

Our boys favorite spots were the water park and mini golf area.  The waterpark has a lazy river, water squirting toys, slides and a tower that dumps water every so often as the horn sounds.  Everyone would race toward the tower when the horn sounded, our boys loved this. There were also two other smaller swimming pools and a hot tub area.  My husband and I loved floating in the Lazy River, we could stay in there all day.  The water park does close for a brief time throughout the day for cleaning, this worked perfect to go enjoy lunch and then return back to swim. The water park is open 11 AM to 7 PM.





Mini Golf

Mini golf is unlimited, this is great place to perfect your golf swing.  There were 18 holes, you select your putter and golf ball as you enter.  We golfed on mornings and evenings and it was never packed.  The Mini Golf is open daily 9 AM to 9 PM. 


Movies Under the Stars

They have movie nights under the stars on some of the evenings, during our stay they showed the Emperor's New Groove.  They have some benches and they show it on the side of the Pavilion with a projector, you can also bring your camping chairs to watch.  

Foam Party Fun

I wish I would have captured some video and pictures of the Foam Party, it is like a giant bubble party.  Your little ones will have so much fun being covered in bubbles.  I didn't have my phone or camera with me, but my little guy loved this.  

Park Playground & Jumping Pillow

You will find a great park and playground area, as well as a large jumping pillow, to help tucker out the kiddos, they will sleep well at night. 




Laser Tag

Laser Tag is available for a small fee. To play during the day it is ONLY $5 per person, what a steal.  They have two night play options, that cost a little more. Advanced reservations are required, you sign up in the Pavilion. 



They have boat rentals and more activities available, for a full list of attractions visit TowerParkResort/Attractions.

Food

There were two food trucks, one that served desserts Hawaiian shaved ice, ice cream, and cookies. We loved the Hawaiian Shaved Ice, you can top it off with sweetened condensed milk for fifty cents more, YUM! My boys wanted to enjoy these delicious treats everyday. 



The Pic-A-Nic-Basket food truck served hamburgers, chicken tenders and more.  We had planned to eat at the Food Truck one of the evenings, but we went too late, they stop taking orders at 5:45 PM.  Thankfully there is a NEW Restaurant on the campgrounds Waterfront Grille that just opened in July so we headed to Waterfront Grille for a quick bite before our scheduled laser tag time.  At Waterfront Grille they have both outdoor and indoor seating areas.




At Waterfront Grille our kids ordered from the kids menu, each meal came with a side (fruit, fries or salad) and a drink.  Our boys ordered the baby burgers, and chicken tenders.  They all enjoyed their food, the serving size is perfect for younger children, but a little small for our older boys.  They saw another table order pizza, and they want to try the pizza on our next visit.  


We were kind of in a hurry because we had a scheduled time slot for laser tag so while the menu had some delicious menu items, my husband and I went with appetizers to keep it quick.  We ordered the Million Dollar Wings and the Garlic Parmesan Fries.  The wings were yummy, they had a unique smoky flavor, that reminded me of Adobo seasoning in Mexican dishes. The Garlic Parmesan Fries were big waffle cut fries covered in cheese, garlic and a sauce that tasted like Alfredo sauce, these were a hit with our entire family.  


Golf Cart Rentals

One of the cool add on options is a golf cart rental.  Having a golf cart was a fun way to get around the campgrounds without driving our vehicle everywhere. We could have walked to the water park area, in fact one of the mornings I enjoyed a walk to the water park, but it is a nice amenity to drive the golf cart around. The mini golf area and restaurant are the farthest things from the actual camping and cabin sites.  We thoroughly enjoyed the fun of driving around in the golf cart.  I do recommend you reserve a golf cart at the same time you reserve your camping stay, because while on our stay when we were checking in, we heard them tell other families they were sold out of golf carts. Depending on the day of your stay, Golf Cart Rentals start at $56/day.



10 Tips for your stay!

Arrive ready to swim! Check in for the cabins is at 4 PM and for the tent sites is 3 PM, but you can enjoy the campground activities the day of your check in so come dressed in your swim wear!  They do have restrooms with showers near the pool area so you do have a place to change. Next time though, we will arrive ready to swim. 


Have your swim bag ready.  Bring sunscreen and your swimming towels.  If you have a little one bring along their life jacket for the swimming pools and lazy river.  


Add on the Linens - There is a Linen package ($20), that provides you pillow, sheets, blanket, bath towels and hand towels, go for it and add it on.  It is one less thing you have to pack and one less thing you have to take home to wash.  

Bring S'more Ingredients - each cabin and campsite has a firepit and BBQ grill.  Camping is all about the s'mores right! This was one of our favorite evening routines, hanging out near the fire pit and making s'mores.  



Bring your camping chairs! Each Cabin has a table and chairs on the patio area. I was grateful we brought along our camping chairs and mini camping table.  The chairs came in handy at the movie night and around the fire pit. You can purchase fire wood at the General Store located near the restaurant.  In fact you can find just about anything you may have forgotten at the General Store, along with cute Yogi Bear themed souvenirs.  

Bring cash! The food truck that sells Hawaiian Shaved Ice only accepts cash, so be sure and bring cash. 

Bring cards and board games.  One of my favorite parts about camping is unplugging.  Unplugging from TV and electronics.  Be sure to bring along a deck of cards and/or your favorite board game to enjoy in the evening hours when the water park is closed. 

Bring a basketball or volleyball or bouncy ball for gaga ball. There is a basketball court, volleyball sandpit, and gaga ball pits.  You can also bring bikes and scooters.

Bring a sweater - While during the day it was nice and warm in the 80's the perfect weather for swimming, in the evenings it did get a little chilly.  I was grateful we took sweaters for everyone, to sit outside during the evening hours.  

Bring Glow in the Dark Bracelets/Necklaces

Stop at the Dollar Store before your trip and buy glow in the dark bracelets and necklaces.  We saw kids on bikes and Golf Carts decorated with fun glow in the dark lights.  We also saw decorated Golf Carts with fun themes. 

We really enjoyed glamping at Tower Park Resort, we can't wait until we can visit again.  Another bonus is Tower Park is pet friendly. They have a dog park area and select cabins allow pets for a fee. 

I have so many fond memories from my childhood from camping, with the help of Tower Park Resort, I know my children will have fond camping memories as well.  We have so many great photo memories, check out this capture of the splash tower in action.



You can find more details and reserve your stay at Tower Park Resort here.  You can find current deals and discount codes here

I shared videos from our fun at Tower Park including a peek inside the Boo Boo Bungalow on my Instagram stories go check it out they are saved in my highlights section @BlogAboutItAll.

Jellystone Tower Park Resort | Lodi, CA

Disclosure: #Sponsored This post is a sponsored post in collaboration with Tower Park Resort. While our family receives these special benefits to share our experiences on our blog, all reviews and opinions expressed here are my own.

Have you been glamping?  Our family loves all kinds of camping, from tent camping to cabin glamping.  We recently stayed at the Tower Park Resort in Lodi, California for the very first time and we LOVED it.  This location has spots for tent camping, RV hookups and cabin glamping. 

We stayed in a Boo Boo Bungalow, which sleeps 6.  It had two bedrooms, and a main room which included the living room, with a futon and kitchen area.  One bedroom had cozy bunkbeds, this is perfect for families with children, the other room had a queen bed.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the kitchen had a full size refrigerator, it had a cook top, microwave, coffee pot and toaster everything you need to cook and prepare meals. From the pictures we looked at we thought, there was only a mini fridge, so we did not take a ton of food to cook, now that I know it has a full size refrigerator, we will definitely bring more food on our next stay.  We brought with us cereal and a small milk, hot dogs, watermelon and snacks.  







There are nearby grocery stores, as well as a General Store on the campgrounds, once we saw the fully equipped kitchen, we made a trip to the store and picked up some eggs, bacon and cheese to make English muffins for breakfast.  

The campgrounds at Tower Park Resort are much larger than I thought they would be, there are so many actives for the entire family to enjoy.  When we have taken our boys camping before, we often hear those dreaded words "I'm bored", not at Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park.  We never once heard the boys complain about boredom.  There is plenty of fun to be had at Tower Park.  

Activities

When you check in you will receive wrist bands to wear your entire stay, the wrist band gives you access to the water park and other activities.  They have a water park, mini golf, park playground area, volleyball sand area, horse shoe area, gaga ball area, a bouncing pillow that the kids loved jumping on, gem mining, and outdoor laser tag. 

Character Meet and Greet

In the Pavilion area, they have daily crafts, and activities like morning Yoga, some are free and some have a fee, for example to tie-dye a t-shirt there is a small fee.  Daily at the Pavilion you can have your photo taken with your favorite bears Yogi Bear, Boo Boo Bear and/or Cindy Bear.  There are two times daily for character meet and greets. 


Water Park & Lazy River

Our boys favorite spots were the water park and mini golf area.  The waterpark has a lazy river, water squirting toys, slides and a tower that dumps water every so often as the horn sounds.  Everyone would race toward the tower when the horn sounded, our boys loved this. There were also two other smaller swimming pools and a hot tub area.  My husband and I loved floating in the Lazy River, we could stay in there all day.  The water park does close for a brief time throughout the day for cleaning, this worked perfect to go enjoy lunch and then return back to swim. The water park is open 11 AM to 7 PM.





Mini Golf

Mini golf is unlimited, this is great place to perfect your golf swing.  There were 18 holes, you select your putter and golf ball as you enter.  We golfed on mornings and evenings and it was never packed.  The Mini Golf is open daily 9 AM to 9 PM. 


Movies Under the Stars

They have movie nights under the stars on some of the evenings, during our stay they showed the Emperor's New Groove.  They have some benches and they show it on the side of the Pavilion with a projector, you can also bring your camping chairs to watch.  

Foam Party Fun

I wish I would have captured some video and pictures of the Foam Party, it is like a giant bubble party.  Your little ones will have so much fun being covered in bubbles.  I didn't have my phone or camera with me, but my little guy loved this.  

Park Playground & Jumping Pillow

You will find a great park and playground area, as well as a large jumping pillow, to help tucker out the kiddos, they will sleep well at night. 




Laser Tag

Laser Tag is available for a small fee. To play during the day it is ONLY $5 per person, what a steal.  They have two night play options, that cost a little more. Advanced reservations are required, you sign up in the Pavilion. 



They have boat rentals and more activities available, for a full list of attractions visit TowerParkResort/Attractions.

Food

There were two food trucks, one that served desserts Hawaiian shaved ice, ice cream, and cookies. We loved the Hawaiian Shaved Ice, you can top it off with sweetened condensed milk for fifty cents more, YUM! My boys wanted to enjoy these delicious treats everyday. 



The Pic-A-Nic-Basket food truck served hamburgers, chicken tenders and more.  We had planned to eat at the Food Truck one of the evenings, but we went too late, they stop taking orders at 5:45 PM.  Thankfully there is a NEW Restaurant on the campgrounds Waterfront Grille that just opened in July so we headed to Waterfront Grille for a quick bite before our scheduled laser tag time.  At Waterfront Grille they have both outdoor and indoor seating areas.




At Waterfront Grille our kids ordered from the kids menu, each meal came with a side (fruit, fries or salad) and a drink.  Our boys ordered the baby burgers, and chicken tenders.  They all enjoyed their food, the serving size is perfect for younger children, but a little small for our older boys.  They saw another table order pizza, and they want to try the pizza on our next visit.  


We were kind of in a hurry because we had a scheduled time slot for laser tag so while the menu had some delicious menu items, my husband and I went with appetizers to keep it quick.  We ordered the Million Dollar Wings and the Garlic Parmesan Fries.  The wings were yummy, they had a unique smoky flavor, that reminded me of Adobo seasoning in Mexican dishes. The Garlic Parmesan Fries were big waffle cut fries covered in cheese, garlic and a sauce that tasted like Alfredo sauce, these were a hit with our entire family.  


Golf Cart Rentals

One of the cool add on options is a golf cart rental.  Having a golf cart was a fun way to get around the campgrounds without driving our vehicle everywhere. We could have walked to the water park area, in fact one of the mornings I enjoyed a walk to the water park, but it is a nice amenity to drive the golf cart around. The mini golf area and restaurant are the farthest things from the actual camping and cabin sites.  We thoroughly enjoyed the fun of driving around in the golf cart.  I do recommend you reserve a golf cart at the same time you reserve your camping stay, because while on our stay when we were checking in, we heard them tell other families they were sold out of golf carts. Depending on the day of your stay, Golf Cart Rentals start at $56/day.



10 Tips for your stay!

Arrive ready to swim! Check in for the cabins is at 4 PM and for the tent sites is 3 PM, but you can enjoy the campground activities the day of your check in so come dressed in your swim wear!  They do have restrooms with showers near the pool area so you do have a place to change. Next time though, we will arrive ready to swim. 


Have your swim bag ready.  Bring sunscreen and your swimming towels.  If you have a little one bring along their life jacket for the swimming pools and lazy river.  


Add on the Linens - There is a Linen package ($20), that provides you pillow, sheets, blanket, bath towels and hand towels, go for it and add it on.  It is one less thing you have to pack and one less thing you have to take home to wash.  

Bring S'more Ingredients - each cabin and campsite has a firepit and BBQ grill.  Camping is all about the s'mores right! This was one of our favorite evening routines, hanging out near the fire pit and making s'mores.  



Bring your camping chairs! Each Cabin has a table and chairs on the patio area. I was grateful we brought along our camping chairs and mini camping table.  The chairs came in handy at the movie night and around the fire pit. You can purchase fire wood at the General Store located near the restaurant.  In fact you can find just about anything you may have forgotten at the General Store, along with cute Yogi Bear themed souvenirs.  

Bring cash! The food truck that sells Hawaiian Shaved Ice only accepts cash, so be sure and bring cash. 

Bring cards and board games.  One of my favorite parts about camping is unplugging.  Unplugging from TV and electronics.  Be sure to bring along a deck of cards and/or your favorite board game to enjoy in the evening hours when the water park is closed. 

Bring a basketball or volleyball or bouncy ball for gaga ball. There is a basketball court, volleyball sandpit, and gaga ball pits.  You can also bring bikes and scooters.

Bring a sweater - While during the day it was nice and warm in the 80's the perfect weather for swimming, in the evenings it did get a little chilly.  I was grateful we took sweaters for everyone, to sit outside during the evening hours.  

Bring Glow in the Dark Bracelets/Necklaces

Stop at the Dollar Store before your trip and buy glow in the dark bracelets and necklaces.  We saw kids on bikes and Golf Carts decorated with fun glow in the dark lights.  We also saw decorated Golf Carts with fun themes. 

We really enjoyed glamping at Tower Park Resort, we can't wait until we can visit again.  Another bonus is Tower Park is pet friendly. They have a dog park area and select cabins allow pets for a fee. 

I have so many fond memories from my childhood from camping, with the help of Tower Park Resort, I know my children will have fond camping memories as well.  We have so many great photo memories, check out this capture of the splash tower in action.



You can find more details and reserve your stay at Tower Park Resort here.  You can find current deals and discount codes here

I shared videos from our fun at Tower Park including a peek inside the Boo Boo Bungalow on my Instagram stories go check it out they are saved in my highlights section @BlogAboutItAll.

Latest Videos

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