Chaos Chronicles: Back-to-School Edition

Aug 26, 2010

This week Pasadena’s own Lian Dolan of the Chaos Chronicles shares her Ten  Things to Like about back-to-school season. Here’s the first five; you can read the rest on her blog.

A Chaotic school drop-off this morning — forgotten books, homework, mandatory shirt and tie! — signaling that school really is back in session. even if my family isn’t really back in session yet! We will get it together by next Monday. How are you managing the transition from summer to school?

Maybe some of the items on this Ten Things to Like: Back-to-School Edition will help you get back in gear….

1. Notes in the Lunchbox A school psychologist once pointed out the positives of a short, sweet note in the lunchbox, especially for middle school kids. Some days, they feel like nobody is on their side: not teachers, not classmates and certainly not that mean kid in the 8th grade. A little positive note from Mom or Dad can really be a boost. I’ve used the occasional note with great success. Last year, I spotted these Itty Bitty Kids Encouragement Cards from Hallmark. They’re sized perfectly for the lunchbox, and my son was really tickled. (I found them all saved in his backpack at the end of the year! Shhhh!) A sweet way to say “Have a great day!”

2. Frozen Juice Boxes I am pretty sure every lunch-packing parent in America knows this trick, but in case you missed the memo: Freeze your juice boxes or juice pouches. Then place them in the lunch bag to keep the sandwich cold. It will slowly melt over time in the morning.

3. A Great Website for Volunteer Activities Attention, Team Moms! Or Room Reps! Or Community Volunteers! Here is the website designed just for you to help coordinate your volunteers, calendar, activities and communication. Check out, which was created by a mother with management consultant experience who had had it with the long chain e-mails and the constant back and forth of trying to schedule snack or drivers or clean-up crews. This mom, Karen Bantuveris, is my hero. You’ll love the free, easy software that will make your job as a volunteer coordinator so much easier. Check out the demo and the super-helpful blog. Karen, now that you’ve conquered volunteer work, could you get cracking on my “School/Camp/Afterschool Program Medical and Emergency Contact Forms all-in-one-place” idea? Thanks, Karen!

4. A Great Website to Connect Families I know many of you are looking forward to a little quiet time once the kids head back to school. If organizing the family photos is on your To Do List, I have a website for you. Or maybe you’ve just had your first baby and want to share every smile, giggle and photo with grandparents across the country — I have a site for you, too. Check out It’s like having your own personal YouTube channel/blog for your friends and family. You can upload photos, movies, audio — almost anything to create an online baby album or family photo hub. Then you can invite family and friends to join so they can see every move Junior makes. Started by an enthusiastic new dad, and also totally free and easy to use, is the digital baby album my poor children will never have.

5. A Great Website for Tons of Back-to-School Information I love the sensibility at It claims to be for a New Generation of Parents, and I guess that includes me, because I find it a fun, readable, well-written resource. The Back to School Guide is a comprehensive resource on everything from healthy school lunches to germ prevention to reading readiness. Then you can scoot over and read all their juicy celeb-mommy news. If I had a staff of eager interns, maybe I could accomplish in a week about half of what does on a daily basis. But it’s just me and the dog, so I read

Read the rest at Lian Dolan is the author of the soon-to-be-published novel Helen of Pasadena.

1 Response for “Chaos Chronicles: Back-to-School Edition”

  1. I love that we have more than 2 weeks before we go back! It just seems too early to start thinking about it yet. Thanks for the websites – I will check them out.



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