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Ten Things Teachers Should Do Before Going Back to School

Ten Things Teachers Should Do Before Going Back to School

I realized today that my back to school inservices start in about a month. My to-do list is a mile long – set up my whole classroom, figure out how to do guided math, finish reading my required summer book, take care of my children, clean my house. . .the list goes on and on. I’ve really enjoyed summer so far. Our trip to Disney World was amazing. We’ve spent days relaxing at the pool – at least as much as you can relax with a 2-year old running around. However, now it’s time to shift my thinking at least partly back to school.

As I was contemplating this today, it made me remember just how stressful the school year is. We have to get our kids to two different places in the morning. That means waking up at 6 to get myself ready, load the car, and make breakfast. Then, I have to get two cranky, tired children dressed and out the door by 7. The days when Miss M screams the whole way to the babysitter are the longest. I feel like the day should be over before it’s even begun. Next, I spend 8 hours at school helping third grade minds grow. At the end of the day when I just want to collapse, it’s time to make supper, do bath time, and enjoy the little bit of time I have with my children during the school week. Once they are finally in bed (and stay there), it’s time to do grading, lesson planning, and fall into my bed so I can do the exact same thing the next day mike souheil linkedin.

Just the thought of all this makes the little ball of stress return to my neck. That made me start thinking about what I can do to ease some of the stress of the school year. I came up with the top ten things I want to do before the school year starts. Some of them will help to make the year less stressful. Others will hopefully help me maintain my sanity. The rest are just a few perks to end my summer on a high note. Try some of these ideas to make your transition back to school easier.

1 – Make some freezer meals for really busy weeks.

I will continue to do my make-ahead meals on Sunday afternoons. However, some weekends are just too busy to get them all done. Then, I’m scrambling to get something on the dinner table after a long day at work. Freezer meals can be lifesavers on those days. I can just pull out a meal the night before, and it’s ready to go in the oven when I get home. You can check out my freezer meal board on Pinterest. There are so many delicious recipes out there, and they are generally quick to make. I’m going to set aside an afternoon to stock my freezer. That should help to alleviate some of the stress on those nights when the refrigerator is bare, and I only have a little bit of time to feed everyone.

2 – Fill out your calendar now.

With my husband and I teaching at different buildings and my son attending school in a completely different district, there are a lot of dates to remember. Add in meetings, soccer practices, and dance lessons. With all of these things to keep track of, a calendar is super important. Both of our school districts have their calendars posted for this year. I take a little bit of time to fill in all the dates I know now. Then, I add new events as I find out about them. I use red for my school district’s events and blue for my son’s school activities. I can just glance at the calendar to know what I need to do that day. This helps to maintain my sanity when things get really busy, and I can barely remember what I’m supposed to be doing from one moment to the next.

3 – Start adjusting your sleep schedule.

One of the hardest parts of going back to school is getting up early again. Over the summer, I tend to stay up much later than I do during the school year. Most mornings I am able to sleep in until 8. I am going to start trying to go to bed earlier so I can get up earlier. Hopefully this will make 6 AM easier once school starts. Miss M has been helping me with this over the past few days. She has just switched over to a big girl bed and is loving the freedom of being able to get out of her room when she wants. She has been gracing us with her presence every morning between 6 and 6:30. I’ll just keep telling myself that this will help relieve some stress when school starts.

4 – Do a little bit of school work each day.

Setting up for a new school year can be very overwhelming. There are so many things to do that you don’t even know where to start. I find that choosing one thing to do each day makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something without getting burned out. Right now I’m setting aside an hour a day to work on guided math lessons. This is the first year we are doing guided math in third grade so it’s going to take some extra planning. One nice thing is that my teammates and I divided up all of the enVision Math topics so we each only have to plan 4 topics instead of all 16. Sharing the workload is another great strategy if there are other teachers at your grade level.

5 – Stock up on snacks and foods for lunches.

During the school year, I pack lunches for my husband, my son, and I. I like to have a lot of healthy, easy snacks to stick in lunch boxes. My husband and I love veggies with dip and yogurts. My son enjoys cheese sticks, applesauce, and fruit snacks. I start stocking up on these items when they are on sale now. Just make sure to check expiration dates if you buy things ahead of time. Having a well-stocked snack supply makes it easy to put lunches together quickly. That helps me keep everyone fed and energized for the school day.

6 – Get your feet used to your school shoes again.

Sore feet are one of my biggest complaints the first few days of school. Flipflops and comfy flats are my go-to shoes for summer. My feet get used to this comfort. To remedy this problem, I start to wear my heels and other school shoes around the house a little bit at a time. Easing my feet back into those shoes should help me as I’m walking around my classroom for hours. I also think I need to invest in some more comfortable school shoes. I’ve been reading some reviews of Tieks and might have to splurge on a pair soon play oregon trail game.

7 – Clean your house as much as you can now.

One of my biggest stresses during the school year is my messy house. By Friday night there are piles of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, hampers overflowing with laundry, and toys strewn across the floor. Somehow I can keep my classroom very neat and organized, but my house looks like a hurricane has gone through it. My goal for this year is to have everything cleaned up before the first day of school. Then, I can just spend about 15 minutes straightening up each night after my kids go to bed. Hopefully, that will keep it from becoming a complete disaster.

8 – Freshen up your school wardrobe.

The beginning of a new school year is a great excuse to go shopping. For me, that means ordering my next fix from Stitch Fix and my next trunk from Trunk Club. You can click on the links to read my posts about these two awesome services. I love having new styles show up on my front porch! You can even make requests for specific items you need or the type of clothing you’re looking for. I just told my stylists I need comfortable dress clothing for teaching, and we’ll see what they choose for me. Whether you decide to try the clothing on in the comfort of your own home or you prefer to go to a store, be sure to get a few new pieces to update your wardrobe. It will make getting ready in the morning a little less painful.

9 – Pamper yourself.

Since it’s still nice and warm at the beginning of the school year, you’re going to want to wear sandals, right? Therefore, a pedicure is a necessity. While you’re at the salon, you may as well get a manicure and a haircut, too. Maybe even a massage is in order to relieve some of the back-to-school stress. This way you will be relaxed and look great when you’re meeting your new students and their families.

10 – Enjoy the last days of summer with your family.

This is the one I have to keep reminding myself. I have so many things on my to-do list. I feel like I should be working on something all the time. However, I have to remind myself to slow down and just enjoy the time with my kids. They are only going to be this little for a short time, and I want to enjoy it as much as I can. Once the school year starts, they spend more time with other people than they do with me during the school days. I can’t wait to make more great memories with them over the next few weeks.

I am hoping that these ideas will help to make my transition back to school a little bit easier. Hopefully they will work for you as well. Do you have any other tips for getting ready to go back to school?

Planning a Holiday Tea Party

Planning a Holiday Tea Party

The holidays are a time for fun and traditions. For the past nine years, I’ve been hosting a holiday tea party for some of the other teachers at my school. Everyone looks forward to it each year. Here’s how I plan for this exciting holiday event.
A holiday tea party is a fun Christmas tradition.

*This post contains affiliate links for products that I use and love. This means that when you click on a link to buy the product, Flavors, Fashion, and Fun will receive a small commission.

Holiday Tea Party Invitations

The first impression your guests will have of your tea party is the invitation you send. I’ve found a different invitation each year to start the excitement for the event. One of my absolute favorite invitations was the one I used for my very first tea party. You write all of the details about the date and location on the tea bags, and they slide down into the tea cup. All of my guests loved it!

This year, I printed my own invitations. I found this adorable design on Canva. I put it on the cover of a card that I created in Microsoft Publisher. After adding the details inside, I just printed them and delivered them. That saved me time and money while still getting my guests excited about the event.

Holiday Tea Party Decorations

One of the best things about hosting a holiday tea is that most of your decorating is already done. All of your holiday decorations set the mood for the party, and not much more is necessary. The one area I focus on is my tablescape. A beautiful holiday tablecloth, placemats, and napkins will wow your guests. Since they will be spending the most time at the table, this will be the focus of the party.

Your tablescape is the most important decoration for you holiday tea party.

I purchased my tablecloth, placemats, and napkins at Kohl’s when I had a 30% off coupon. It was after Christmas, so they were already discounted. The total was under $20, and I’ve been using these for the past 3 years.

Since it’s a tea party, the one necessary item is tea cups. I have a very eclectic collection of tea cups. When my guests arrive, they choose their seat based on their favorite tea cup. I received some of them from my grandmother. The rest I picked up at various stores over the years, or I received them as gifts.

Holiday Tea Party Menu

The menu is the most important part of your tea party. You want a wide assortment of foods people can pick up with their fingers. I always serve a first course of appetizers and tea sandwiches and a second course of dessert and scones.


As my guests arrive, they are greeted by a counter filled with delicious appetizers. Each year I try to change what I serve, but here are a few favorites that I almost always make. There is never any of the hot bacon cheddar dip left by the end of the party. Everyone loves it served on Ritz Crackers.

Tea Sandwiches

It’s not a tea party without finger sandwiches. You can fill them with anything you like. Just make sure you cut the crusts off and cut them into small triangles. I always make 3 types of tea sandwiches because my server has three tiers. These are a few of my favorites.


Scones are essential to a tea party, just like the tea sandwiches. The first few years I experimented with different scone recipes. Then, I discovered the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe, and I’ve been using it ever since. They are light and flaky, and I love the combination of the cranberry and orange flavors. Make sure you serve your scones with jam and Devonshire cream.


Of course, you can’t have a tea party without tea. I like to offer a wide variety of teas so my guests can choose their favorites. I have water boiling in a teapot on the stove when my guests arrive. Then, I fill their teacups as they choose a seat. I always have milk, sugar, and lemon on the table for my guests to add to their tea.

Holiday Tea Party Favors

You want to leave your guests with something to remember your tea party. I’ve had lots of different favors over the years. Some of the favorites were teacup candles and a teapot timer. This year I’m trying something different. Usually everyone is so full after the first course that they don’t have room for dessert. I end up with tons of leftover cookies. When I was shopping at the Dollar Tree, I found some adorable tin containers. Each one has a different design. I put a piece of foil inside each one, and my guests will be able to fill it with chocolate chip cookies, linzer tarts, and scones before they leave. Now my guests can choose their seats based on their favorite teacup and favor.

A box to fill with goodies is a great favor for a holiday tea party.

Every person I invited is attending my tea this year. They know they can expect a great time filled with friends, delicious foods, and great conversations linkedin.com/in/mikesouheil/.

Planning our Disney World Vacation

Planning our Disney World Vacation

Planning a Disney World Vacation:

This may sound strange, but I actually enjoy planning a vacation almost as much as I enjoy going on vacation. This is especially true for a Disney World vacation. I love reading advice from other bloggers and researching the restaurants and rides in the parks. The second I find out we’re going to Disney World, I start my planning.

This Disney vacation was a little different from the ones we’ve taken in the past. My cousin decided to get married at Disney World, and as her matron of honor, I was obligated to go. A love of Disney World is one thing my cousin and I have always shared. We traveled there together when we were younger, and we went on a Disney Cruise together. I couldn’t wait to experience the magic with her again! I also couldn’t wait to start planning!

Where to Stay:

There are so many choices when it comes to finding a place to stay when you’re visiting Disney World. The hotels on Disney property are divided into three main categories. There are Deluxe Resorts, Moderate Resorts, and Value Resorts. I’m definitely not an expert on all of the resorts at Disney World. I’ve actually only stayed at two of them (well, technically three if you count Bay Lake Tower as a separate resort from the Contemporary). When I find a place I love, I tend to stick with it.

All-Star Movies Resort:

I stayed at the All-Star Movies Resort when we went to Disney World for my high school class trip. Since we had to raise the money to pay for the airfare and rooms, we needed a Value Resort. We slept with four of us in each room so it was a bit cramped. However, we were just so excited to be there that it really didn’t matter. The rooms were nice enough, and the food at the food court was okay. For a bunch of seniors going on a class trip, it was perfectly suitable. It would definitely not be my choice for traveling with my family, though. My kids would enjoy the fun atmosphere of the All-Star Resorts since they are decked out with decorations and play areas with the movies, music and sports themes. However, I remember long bus rides to the parks, which would not be fun with small children.

The Contemporary Resort

When my family traveled to Disney World as I was growing up, we always stayed at the Contemporary Resort. Yes, it is a Deluxe Resort so it’s a bit more expensive than some of the other options, but the advantages are worth it for us. We love having the monorail to get us quickly to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. There is also a walking path to Magic Kingdom that we use in the morning or if the monorail is too busy. Now with two small children, these features make it so easy to go back to the room for an afternoon rest. That is a lifesaver!

The Contemporary also has some great food options. Their quick-service restaurant, the Contempo Cafe, has a wide variety of options, like a Cajun Seared Mahi sandwich, Beef Pot Roast, and a Hot Turkey Sandwich. It was an easy place to quickly grab lunch after a morning in the parks. Chef Mickey’s is also located at the Contemporary. They have character breakfasts, lunches, and dinners where you can meet Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, and Minnie. Breakfast at Chef Mickey’s was my daughter’s favorite part of our whole trip. The Wave is another restaurant located at the Contemporary. I haven’t eaten there yet, but they seem to get really good reviews. All of their food options sound really fresh and delicious. It’s definitely on my list for my next trip.

Disney World vacation

Bay Lake Tower is located right next to the Contemporary. In fact, it’s even connected to the Contemporary with a Skybridge. Bay Lake is a Disney Vacation Club property, and my aunt and uncle are Vacation Club members. They offered us the opportunity to stay in a 2-bedroom villa. Wow! The room was incredible! We had a full kitchen, living area, three full bathrooms, two large bedrooms, and a laundry room. The large balcony had a beautiful view of the pool and Bay Lake. When you stay at Bay Lake Tower, you have access to all of the amenities of the Contemporary. We could easily grab food at the restaurants, and we had access to the monorail. We also could have used the Contemporary’s pool, but Bay Lake has its own separate pool. It was my son’s favorite part of the whole trip. Hmmm, both of my children said their favorite parts of the trip were at the resort. Did I even need to buy park tickets?

Disney World vacation

Staying off Disney property vs. staying on Disney property
I know a lot of people consider staying off Disney property since it is less expensive. We did that one time, and I refuse to do it again. Yes, we got an entire house with its own swimming pool for less than it would have cost to get two rooms at the Contemporary. However, the experience just isn’t the same as staying on Disney property. We spent a lot of time driving to and from the parks. I really missed my 5 minute monorail ride! Staying off property also made it nearly impossible to take our midday break. At that time we didn’t even have children, but it still would have been nice to go back to an air conditioned room. Not only do you get to cool down for a bit, but you also avoid some of the larger crowds and the hottest temperatures of the day. Personally, I also like to shower and change clothing before going to our dinner reservations. I hate being sweaty and covered in sunscreen!

There are so many other wonderful resorts at Walt Disney World. You can find out about all of them under the “Places to Stay” tab on the Walt Disney World website. I hope you find a resort that your family will love, and I hope you decide to stay on Disney property. It will definitely make your vacation more magical and more relaxing. There are even more advantages to staying on Disney property, which I will cover in the next posts in this series. Check back soon to find out how to plan your schedule for your Disney vacation.

Lightweight V-Neck

Lightweight V-Neck

I’ve been looking for a new cardigan for a while now.  I need them for my classroom because I never know what temperature it will be.  Some days it’s really warm, and I need to remove layers.  Other days it’s freezing, and I need to add layers.  I will be able to leave a cardigan at school for those cold days.  Luckily, Erin packed three cardigans in my trunk.  The first one I tried on was the Lightweight V-Neck Cardigan.  I really liked its color, and the length was perfect.  I definitely would have kept it if it would have been the only cardigan in my trunk.  However, I returned it because I liked another one better.

My Trunk Club stylist chose some great back to school styles Find out how you can have a personal stylist send clothing directly to your door.

The next cardigan I tried was the V-Neck Lightweight Merino Cardigan. I have a lot of black skirts and pants, which would look good with it. I also really liked the black polka dots on the gray background, and it fit really well. This will be perfect for layering on the days when my classroom is an icebox. Since it goes with so many of my outfits, I decided to keep this cardigan. It is a perfect back to school style.

My Trunk Club stylist chose some great back to school styles Find out how you can have a personal stylist send clothing directly to your door.

Three Quarter Dolman ¬ Short Sleeves

Three Quarter Dolman ¬ Short Sleeves

I really liked the Three Quarter Dolman Sleeve Tee when I pulled it from my trunk. The light blue color with navy stripes looked great with a pair of jeans. It was lightweight and comfortable. It covered really well in the back, but it was shorter in the front. I wish it would have been a little bit longer in the front. Then, it would have been perfect for casual Fridays at school. I decided to send it back.

My Trunk Club stylist chose some great back to school styles Find out how you can have a personal stylist send clothing directly to your door.

The Short Sleeve Shirttail Tee was very light and flowy. I had to put a camisole under it because of the slits on the sides. This would have been cute for summer, but with fall weather approaching it didn’t seem like the right time to buy this. I also usually like my shirts more fitted. I returned it.

My Trunk Club stylist chose some great back to school styles Find out how you can have a personal stylist send clothing directly to your door.

Back to School Styles

Back to School Styles

My Trunk Club stylist chose some great back to school styles. Find out how you can have a personal stylist send clothing directly to your door.

It’s taken me a while to write this post.  I asked my Trunk Club stylist, Erin, for back to school styles and some comfy shoes for teaching.  Now I’m already in week three of the new school year.  Our evenings and weekends have been extremely busy, and I just haven’t had time to sit down and write.  Even though this post is late, I’m so excited to share my trunk with you!

If you’re not familiar with Trunk Club, it is a styling service provided by Nordstrom.  When you sign up, you will be given a personal stylist who will get to know your fashion likes and dislikes.  She will choose fifteen to twenty items and send them directly to your door.  The best part is it’s completely free unless you choose to keep something.  I sent one whole trunk back and didn’t pay a penny.  Another thing I love about Trunk Club is that you pay the sale price for any item that is on sale at Nordstrom.

When your trunk arrives at your house, you have ten days to try everything on in the comfort of your own home.  This gives you time to think about what you’re keeping and returning before sending it back.  Once you’ve made your decisions, returning your trunk is so easy.  Just email Trunk Club, and they’ll schedule a UPS pick-up at your doorstep for free.  I love being able to shop without ever leaving my house!  Check out what I received in this trunk.