life Planners

5 on a Friday: TGIF Edition

May 13, 2022

1- This felt like one of the longest weeks of my life. Lots of emotion. Lots of crying. Lots of change in progress. At some point I will elaborate on all of that, but needless to say — I am ready for the weekend. I just have to survive today first.

2- I am now a Hemlock & Oak affiliate! I didn’t realize they even had a program, but the owners reached out after my episode aired and invited me to join.

If you are considering a H&O planner, using my link + code gets you 10% off and me a small commission for the referral.

Link: Hemlock & Oak

Code: BLP


3- Random question for those who have sent kids to sleepaway camp: do the kids come back tired? Overstimulated? Both? Trying to decide whether to put A&C in day camp for 2 weeks after sleepaway, as there is a 2 week gap between their 4-week sleepaway experience and our now-traditional family vac to Amelia Island. I’d rather save the $ and let them have down time at home honestly (G will be in day camp) and thought they would probably need some extra rest. BUT I don’t want them on screens 24/7 either . . .

4- Monthly goals. I’m leaning in HARD to my PowerSheets this month as a reminder of my monthly goals, and it’s really helping. I used to just keep the list in Notes, but found I didn’t see it enough. This month, I’ve kept this out on my desk and it’s a great reminder of what I set out to do this month.

5- Something I bought . . .

I’m REALLY trying to be mindful of not buying too many things. I feel like I’m still decluttering and just do not want our house to fill up with stuff, to the extent that I can help it.

But. Every day, I like to listen to Up First in the shower. On 1.5 speed, it’s about 8 minutes and prevents me from taking a super long shower, so there are strategic elements to this ritual. But also, I just like it.

In our old house, the shower layout and acoustics were such that I could just put my phone on a ledge and hear just fine. Not here. So, I broke down and got this (ANKER products never seem to let me down). I will report back.


  • Reply Chelsea May 13, 2022 at 6:51 am

    I can’t comment on the sleep-away camp aspect, but won’t you still have your nanny for those two weeks of the summer? Seems like it might be fun for her to have special time with the two big kids while G is in summer camp. They could do fun (but low key) activities each day – library, science center, movie, etc. etc. – so they are getting out and off screens but – even if you paid for some additional special stuff – it would be cheaper than two kids at camp.

  • Reply Seppie May 13, 2022 at 7:10 am

    We love our shower speaker! I would go for the 2 weeks of down time at home, with some very clear expectations about when and how screen time happens, and a plan for the rhythm of the day that includes what we always called “quiet time” – at least an hour in the afternoon where the kids were all in their own rooms. No screens – they could read, sleep, or just play alone quietly. Quiet time kept so many fights and injuries from happening. After a long morning of all 4 kids being together, everyone needed a break – especially the adult in charge!

  • Reply Gillian May 13, 2022 at 7:15 am

    So my kids come back TIRED from sleepaway camp. They tend to stay up late and they are up at 7 am everyday. I don’t think they sleep super well either. My 14 yo has slept for like 3 days straight when he gets home. It is also a LOT of time with other people and even my extroverted daughter is ready for some alone time when she gets home.

    What we have done is 4 weeks of sleepaway camp and then our martial arts gives them a week long half-day seminar for each month they are away in the summer. They do that one week. Plus they need time to do their summer reading and math assignments. We still have no screen time on weekdays during this time. Our au pair usually plans on some lunch out or trips to local parks/attractions. We take our family vacation about 3 weeks after they get back from camp then they have about a week and half between vacation and school.

  • Reply Ames May 13, 2022 at 7:35 am

    My experience with sending kids coming home after a 2 or 3 week stay at summer camp: it partially depends on their personality. I have one who is pretty introverted and *needed* some time alone in her room. I have another who is pretty extroverted and missed that there was *always* a peer or two around for conversation or an activity.

    I do think that it’s hard to go from 100 miles an hour to 0. The camp they went to (this is the first year neither is going, wahhh!) kept them so active during the day that the mid-afternoon rest break was something they enjoyed. They were able to go to camp during the summer of 2020, then had very few opportunities for socializing (pandemic) once they got home, which resulted in some understandably mopey days.

    Sending good thoughts for a rejuvenating weekend.

    • Reply Ames May 13, 2022 at 7:41 am

      And adding in another nice change I observed: they come home much more mature and self sufficient. Whether it’s remembering to clean up after themselves or volunteering to do a chore or extra empathy for others, it’s a wonderful change!

  • Reply Rebecca Hindin May 13, 2022 at 7:49 am

    My kids come home SO exhausted from SACamp that I don’t think they would be able to function if I put them right into day Camp. That quiet, restful and unstructured time– even with screens!– is valuable in helping them feel restored and ready to face another school year. We create a few “anchor” events like playdates or shopping trips to prep for school or even an appointment or two. Our kids are typically so overprogrammed that this time feels like a gift.

  • Reply Wendy May 13, 2022 at 8:19 am

    My children attend a one-week sleep away camp in the summers and they come back exhausted. They are constantly on the go at camp, stay up later than usual, are awake earlier than usual, and they get very little downtime. I would highly recommend at least a week of rest and taking it easy after camp, especially since this is their first sleep away experience.

  • Reply Allison Cunningham May 13, 2022 at 10:08 am

    I think they made you an affiliate because we all went and purchased one. I got the most beautiful green one, it arrives today 🙂

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns May 13, 2022 at 10:09 am

    I know that I came back from sleep away camps exhausted and ready to not be on a strict schedule! So I’d err on the side of caution and give them at least a week of low key time at home!

    I am sorry this was such a hard week for you. I hope you have a good weekend ahead of you and that Josh isn’t on call this weekend so you aren’t going from an intense week to a weekend of solo parenting! Hang in there! It was a rough week in our house for different reason – I tested positive for covid. My case has been pretty mild overall – like a bad cold/sinus infection with extra exhaustion. So not all that different from the 80 other colds I feel like I’ve had this winter/spring. We’ve tested my husband and kids twice and they’ve been negative both times so maybe they will avoid it? I’m glad I got the Evusheld injections in April so I have extra protection.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 13, 2022 at 10:13 am

      Awwwww Lisa! I hope you feel better soon!!!

  • Reply Amanda May 13, 2022 at 10:10 am

    Wishing you some time to rest & recover this weekend!

    Do you (or other readers) have resources or more information on PowerSheets? Let me know if there’s an ep where you reviewed. I’ve heard a lot about the goal planning questions they use, but do not easily see which product this is included in on their site. TY to anyone who can provide insight!

  • Reply Grateful Kae May 13, 2022 at 10:35 am

    Another vote for just letting them chill at home after camp!! They won’t have been on screens for 4 weeks while at camp. Even if the couple weeks after are a little screen heavy, so what? It will all balance out. And, if I were already paying for a nanny, I think I’d definitely prefer to just have the nanny plan some little daytrip/ fun outings, go to the pool, a museum, etc. I wouldn’t want to pay for more camps right away on top of the 4 week camp + nanny salary, personally. Especially if you have vacation coming up shortly after, too. Won’t the older kids want to see and hang out with their friends, too, after being away for 4 weeks?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 13, 2022 at 11:02 am

      All good points!

  • Reply Alyssa May 13, 2022 at 10:55 am

    Hope the speaker is super useful! I got my husband a waterproof speaker recently and he carries it around the house like it’s an old school boom box (but a much smaller version). Needless to say, he loves it.

  • Reply Irene May 13, 2022 at 1:38 pm

    I’m sorry it’s such a hard week. I’m thinking of you and hoping things get better regardless of how much you are able to share.

    It’s been a hard week here too, lots of non-COVID illnesses and I have not been a good parent. Anxious child is struggling and probably not helped by my illness and associated crankiness and yelling (I’m generally not a yeller). I keep trying to do better and failing. Will keep trying.

  • Reply omdg May 13, 2022 at 2:37 pm

    No idea about what C would be like, but D is very independent and self sufficient and I would be 100% ok with having her home to relax with no formal activities planned, kind of like what I’d expect A would be like. And this is true, even if I don’t allow screens.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 13, 2022 at 7:47 pm

      yeah, i think they would be okay. esp if tired from camp. and i’ll probably allow screens in a time dependent manner (like, after 1p or something)

  • Reply DVStudent May 13, 2022 at 2:48 pm

    I’m sorry you’ve had a Week :(. I hope you have the weekend and time to recharge and reflect

    I thought about your blog today! I’m on Endocrine outpatient and 1) Endocrine is SO COOL and 2) The fellow had this amazingly organized notebook with helpful tips and facts and charts and it made my organizational heart sing. 3) Fellow, unsurprisingly, had strong opinions on planners and pens and layouts

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 13, 2022 at 3:21 pm

      Somehow I suspect a lot of endos love planning and planners 🙂 though definitely not all!!!

      • Reply Gillian May 13, 2022 at 4:00 pm

        I think there must be something in how we think about data (all those feedback loops) that must attract the planners of the world.

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 13, 2022 at 7:43 pm

          It’s also a specialty without a lot of emergencies . . . for those of us that like to follow a schedule and not have too many surprises 🙂

          but yes, maybe the feedback loops too!

  • Reply Rinna May 13, 2022 at 8:09 pm

    I caught up on the last few days of posts and have a bunch of thoughts:

    (1) Camp – they will be zonked for a few days after they return. If you have childcare through your nanny and can arrange some playdates, I’d go that route rather than another 2 weeks camp (Also, PSA: They are often VERY cranky the first day or two back.)

    (2) Unpacking – Without sounding too spoiled, I’d highly recommend hiring some unpacking/organizing assistance, including hanging up the dang shelves. You’ll likely be helping out a small business owner and, really, you can afford it, even if you are frugal (and that’s a good thing). My grandmother used to say: “sometimes, money is the cheapest way to pay”

    (3) Perseverating – I could probably win a gold medal at this sometimes (okay, at least a bronze), so I feel you. I have tried a lot of things to cope with it (therapy, mindfulness, etc), but what honestly works the best for me is tapping. Yes, I know it sounds totally hokey, but it’s like a miracle drug for me. Check out this website. I ended up gettting their app. When my mind is racing, nothing calms it down better. Hope you can find some relief as well.

  • Reply coco May 13, 2022 at 8:17 pm

    I only have one experience with sleep away camp for 8 years old. She came back happy but I can see she was tired and the downtime with the family was what she needed. day camps are great thought, keep them active and come back tired but happy.

    sorry to hear you are going through a tough month. hope you get to relax over the weekend.

  • Reply reallifeinutopia May 14, 2022 at 2:15 am

    Sorry to hear about your work troubles this week. I hope it gets resolved soon. Another one chiming in that my extroverted 9-year old kid came home physically exhausted from sleepaway camp.

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