4 Steps to Creating a Back to School Routine

It’s that time of year again. School supplies, new clothes, new backpacks, sports tryouts, after-school clubs, and everything else that comes with the beginning of a new school year. It’s also an opportunity to begin a brand new routine that will help your family have a well-prepared and chaotic free (as much as possible) school year.

Routines and schedules are just one tool that can help make this happen. The following steps are what we use in our home to help make the days as stress-free as we can.

Back to School Routine

Step #1 – Divide the day into 2 categories: Morning & Evening

Step #2 – Make a list of everything that needs to get done during a school day, from the moment the children wake up, until they go to bed. Place each task under one category. Some tasks may have more than 1 category, for example ‘brush teeth’ may fall under both morning and evening.

Our list looks like this:  Read More

Caring & Practical Support for You & Your Family

Caring and practical support for you and your familyI sent a newsletter to my subscribers the other day, letting them know I would like to offer more helpful resources and products for you and your family. I can’t do any of this unless I know what YOU are looking for and what would be most helpful for YOUR FAMILY.

Do you use printables to help organize your family?

Would you like to read e-books or watch videos that explain how to keep the peace and prevent (as much as possible) chaos in your home?

What issues and topics deeply affect you and your family?

Basically, how can I help you manage your home, take care of yourself, raise your children, support your marriage, and encourage you in the life-journey God has blessed you with?

For this reason I’ve set up a simple and quick 10 question survey so I can learn more about the struggles your family faces everyday, and how I can support and encourage you through those challenges. By completing this multiple choice questionnaire you will help me discover the best ways to serve YOU.

Feel free to answer as many or as few questions as you’d like. There are also spaces for you to leave comments if you wish to do so. The survey is also completely anonymous.

THANK YOU in advance for helping me to help you. As always if you’d like to speak with me directly, you may email me at samantha@livingwithrealjoy.com.

Click HERE to begin your survey.

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My "Personal Stress Reducers" printable hanging on my fridge

My “Personal Stress Reducers” printable hanging on my fridge

Click on the button below for access to your FREE “My Personal Stress Reducers” printable, a simple tool developed to help you (and me) manage your stress.

Free Stress Reducer Printable button


Autism in Our Home: Emotional Reactivity

Emotional Reactivity.

Emotional Reactivity

I saw this phrase when our son and I were at one of his occupational therapy appointments. It’s a pretty big word, but basically means, “Freak-outs that result in huge meltdowns!”

Well, at least that is my unprofessional, “mother of a special-needs child” opinion.

When our Little Man was first having these meltdowns, I thought were just really bad temper tantrums. Something that boys do. We have 2 daughters who are older than our son, and I have one sister. So I have no idea what it’s like to have a little boy in the house.

Obviously, this is not a normal way for little boys, or girls, to behave.

Yes there is always the occasional tantrum. Some kids have temper tantrums more than others. But here, I’m talking major meltdowns. It may be hard to know the difference between the two. I found this amazing infographic on Pinterest that helps explain how tantrums and meltdowns are 2 very different issues. Read More

One Unexpected (and Fun!) Way to De-Stress

Happy Monday!!

Last week, I opened up about a few things in my life that are causing me stress. And I asked you, my readers, about the different things that stress you out too. I have to say I have some great friends, who after learning about what’s currently taking place here at the McDonald home, have been so encouraging, just by letting me know they are here. Isn’t it wonderful to know you’re not alone?

I also said that I was going to try a few stress-reducing techniques to help create a bit more calm in my life, or at least calm in the middle of the chaos. Almost everything I listed had to do with being alone or being quiet.

Well, let me tell you I surprised myself with what I discovered this past weekend. And I have my Ladybug to thank for it!

One Unexpected (and Fun!) Way to De-Stress

My girl came home from a sleepover and told me all about how her and her friends had found Just Dance videos on YouTube and had a blast dancing to these songs. We no longer have a Wii and we only have an XBOX 360 so we’ve never had any kind of games like that. When she came, home her and my other daughter, the Goosey Girl, started dancing and having all sorts of fun with these videos.

It looked like it could be fun, so I joined them. Read More