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Back to School Round Up

Did I just say “school?”  Yes, I did.  And I know it’s crazy, because I am sure that summer break just began a few days ago.  I was shocked when I moved to Kentucky and found that school began during the first few days of August. So for those of you who are on a similar schedule and for those of you that have more time to prepare… The Creative Mama has gathered some of our very best back-to-school articles:

First up, a few to help you with a mama’s top three school related challenges:

1) Getting out the door on time with as few tears as possible

Make Your Mornings Easier: The Power of Routines for Kids

making mornings easier for kids


2) Making a lunch that you and your child are happy about… again and again and again

Loving the Lunch Box


3) Having the right tools for homework (both writing utensils and encouragement)

Homework Bag


Next up are two traditions that will make that first day extra special: 

Back-to-School Pencil Cake

Happy School Year/ Make Your Own Schultute


For the homeschooling crew:

Our School– Our Way


A Happy Schoolroom


And don’t forget about you!  

Continuing Education

TCM wishes you and your families a great start to a new year of learning and growth!

Doing What is Right for You

About three years ago, I looked in the mirror and realized two things. I was consumed with being a mom, losing my “me” time, and I had become grossly out of shape. I needed to recapture myself – the one pre-children. Do you remember pre-children? It was when you could sleep in, roll out of bed, hop in the car and just head to the gym to work out. Oh, don’t want to head to the gym? Would you rather just head to the boardwalk for a 4 mile run? You could do it. Remember those times when you didn’t have to check yourself and make breakfast for three screaming, hungry kids? Remember when you could just get up and go? I couldn’t, and I realized I needed something that I could just call my own… just an hour a day that I could be just me.

Doing What Is Right For You |The Creative Mama | Courtney Keim

I discovered Crossfit. My husband called it a cult. I called it reclaiming my sanity. For an hour a day, I would push myself to the breaking point. I lifted weights which was unheard of for me. Deadlifting was my favorite. My max was 270 lbs for three reps. (You learn to memorize your maxes.) I was proud.  You remember the girl WODs – the workout of the day for those non-crossfitters.My hands would rip when I would attempt pull-ups. My back would ache. But I would be so proud as I wrote those scores on the whiteboard. I wondered – was it all worth it? I was now more worked up coming home then when I left. I wanted “me” time and it became more of a fierceness. I came home less relaxed then when I left. Then it happened. I started seeing the check-ins in my (Facebook) newsfeed. Yoga… I wondered. Maybe yoga would relax me. Once again, Ken (my ever-loving I-only-love-to-swim husband) was skeptical of my new “sport.” It was hot yoga. Power yoga. 1.5 hours in a room with 20+ women sweating in 90 degree heat. I barely made it through that first day. I was dying. My body ached differently than it did throwing 135 pounds over my head in Crossfit. It was a burning. It was oddly relaxing. I had found a happy medium. I go to Crossfit to push my limits. I compete against myself and others. I push the limits of my body. I go to yoga. I don’t compete. I focus on my mind + body, still pushing its limits. I am now strong. I am relaxed. I am happy. I have reclaimed my “me,” and happy mommy has returned. What is your outlet? How do you get away? Do you feel guilty needing “me” time? This article was written by Courtney Keim.

Do Something


do something | the creative mama | clair dickson

I wouldn’t change a thing.  No regrets!  I would do it all again.

These are all romantic declarations to which I cannot relate.  Sure, I understand the value of being grateful for lessons learned through our mistakes and trials.  But if I could give my new-mother-self of 15 years ago some advice to follow, I sure would.  It would go something like this—

Dear younger me,

You are embarking on the journey of a life-time.  With a new baby girl to care for (and more beautiful bundles to follow,) your busy days will be long and your choppy nights will be short. Most of the time your goals will be survival centered… keeping four children clothed, fed, and feeling loved is no small feat.  

You will be tempted to lay aside the things that make your heart swell, things that are vital to your overall well being.  In your mind, it will make perfect sense to tell yourself that this phase of young motherhood deserves all of your time and attention.  Dear, no one can fault you for devotion to a noble cause.  But… and here’s the thing… if you give up the things that make you tick– the things that make you uniquely you, you will not have your whole person to give to your family.  And you will miss yourself.

So before you give in to that all-or-nothing thinking pattern that so often teases you into nothingness, consider your loves and talents (art, swimming, writing, nature) and know that just because this busy season of life may make the all that you gave in a previous season impossible, nothing is not the only alternative. Do something! You know what feeds your soul. While an elaborate feast may not be possible, don’t starve yourself.  Don’t give up on you!  Doing a little something is a choice you won’t regret.

Much love,


I’ve had times during young motherhood where I unexpectedly recognized myself.  After disgruntingly squeezing myself into a swim dress that couldn’t possibly hide all my extra, I surprisingly found a girl I once knew halfway through a lap of breaststrokes.  There I was… strong and graceful and alive!  And sometimes while helping a little one with a school project that required artistic ability, I’d get this “there you are again!” feeling as I reveled in the cutting, the drawing, the creating.

There you have it. My regrets. I wish I would have better integrated the things that make me tick into my last fifteen years.

So, now what?  As a mother, I’m somewhere in between the wiping-noses-and-cleaning-sippy-cups phase and the incessant “no-texting-while-driving-and-study-for-your-algebra-test” reminding phase.  Here I am with a bit of time and space to reflect on me.  The following quote recently appeared like a massive billboard along my meandering path:  She longed to be that girl she once had been, with unlimited possibilities still ahead of her. And then she realized she still was. She could choose to make any one of those possibilities her next destination. ~ Queenisms™

I may not be able to go back in time and hand my younger self that letter of advice, but I have the gift of today. And today I’m going to rejoice in the possibilities- a weekly date to swim laps, penning my imaginations in a journal, taking a watercolor class, visiting art museums with my children,  painting a mural on our worn kitchen table top.

I’m going to make choices and move forward.  I’m going to do something!

What will you do?

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