It’s right around the corner… back to school time! And even though my boys are two years old, as a former teacher, September is always a time for organizing and a fresh start for me!
That’s why I want to share with you my favourite tools for organizing snack centres, activities for when you need to keep the kids busy, and how to cook a 30-minute meal even if you forgot to thaw the meat in the freezer!
Let’s start with the snacks. Here is my first tip:
Keep snacks together!
Seems obvious, but keeping everything you want your kids to have easy access to together makes life so much simpler! We have a snack drawer for the boys and it’s low enough for them to reach in and grab things when we let them. There’s still a child lock on this drawer, but eventually they’ll be able to open it themselves.
We also keep their to-go containers in this drawer so packing snacks on the go is easy-peasy! They are also easy accessible for meal times and clean-up just involves putting their plates and bowls back in here.
To organize everything, I use these KSP Fridge Stor bins everywhere because they’re nice and deep, plus, they’re stackable!
Prep, prep, prep! When I get home from the grocery store, I immediately take everything out of packaging, bags, or whatever they come in. I wash the fruits and veggies and separate them into containers that make grabbing the kids (or myself) a snack nice and easy.
For starters, these Sistema containers are amazing with built-in dividers and sections to separate things! I keep one of these packed in the fridge ready with snacks for when we run out to the grocery store, or for when the kids come home starving (which is always).
I also love the KSP Clip-It series for keeping things like cut-up fruit in. But my favourite discovery? The Hutzler Berries Food Saver. I can wash and store berries in here, which are like candy to my boys, and they’re always easy to access.
An electric pressure cooker is a lifesaver (especially on school nights)!
No, seriously! I never thought I would be THIS impressed with anything in my kitchen, but upon realizing you can plop frozen meat into this thing (whaaaaat?!), I was sold. It’s a necessity on days when thawing meat first thing in the morning is just not a thought that enters my mind amidst tantrums and arguments over who gets to play with the red car.
And in case you’re wondering what to try first, here’s a SUPER easy recipe that’s officially a staple in our house:
- 3 chicken breasts (mine were thawed, so increase time if frozen)
- taco seasoning
- 1/2 cup of salsa
Add all the ingredients into your pressure cooker and cook for 20 minutes. Pull apart chicken and voila! You have yourself chicken taco filling, which is great on a salad, in a sandwich, with a side of rice…the possibilities are endless. And in that 20 minutes you can get the rest of the dinner prepped while the kids play, because you can!
Have activities ready to go
What I mean by this are things that kids can do with little to no supervision. This keeps them busy, away from TVs and iPads, and close enough to me that I can participate in the fun inbetween meal prep.
As you can see, I keep these things close to the kitchen. In fact, this is all in my pantry so that I can pull out a bin and hand it to the kids, or easily grab the crayons when they ask to colour. Everything in here is neatly labelled with these removable labels, and I used stackable Sterilite containers that are easy to grab and filled them with stickers, seasonal sensory materials, craft supplies, etc.
The larger container has removable compartments inside, which I also love because I can take out only what they’ll use.
And there you have it. A few ways to simplify and organize your life as you get back into the back-to-school and fall routine with your little ones!
Looking for more ways to get organized for back-to-school?
Want more hacks? Check out these 7 Hacks To Make The MOST Out Of Your Small Space!