Leading up to fall and the back-to-school season, I maintained a mental countdown at all times. I wasn’t the only one in my house anxious for school to start.

We were all ready to say goodbye to what had deteriorated into a free-for-all season and ready to say hello to a calm, routine-following one.

Um, what? What was I thinking? Had I never before experienced a back-to-school season?

Of course the transition from summer to fall has been just as chaotic—though in a different way—as the three months that came before it. When my parents came for dinner shortly after school started, I think every other sentence out of my mouth was, “We’re just not into our routine yet . . .”

Finally my mom told me to chill out, that school had just started, and that we’d get there eventually.

We will. I know that. We’ll get into a new routine at some point, but in the meantime I’m grateful for a few things that are saving my life.

Grocery Pickup

I shop at Walmart, but I know several grocery chains offer this service, too. Every week, I log on to the store’s website or app, order our groceries, select a pickup time, and just like that, I’m set for the week.

I park in one of the special parking spaces during my window of time, check in, and wait for someone to bring my groceries to me.

I don’t get stressed out hauling my kids into the store, I don’t have to stand in line, and I don’t spend extra money on impulse buys such as decorative pumpkins. (Because I am convinced a person cannot possibly have too many.)

Plus, ordering groceries forces me to meal plan, so we eat out less and eat together as a family more.

Chore Lists

My family might not be following every one of our routines and habits perfectly (and, let’s be real, we probably never will), but we’re working on it. One of the biggest ways we’re getting our act—and our house—together is with chore lists I made for my daughters.

They’re four-and-a-half and almost eleven (I’d say four and ten, but they’re real particular about including all the months they’ve been alive), so it’s a little tricky dividing up housework fairly. Obviously, my oldest can do a lot more than my youngest.

The flip side of that age-gap equation is that the youngest is the one who loves doing chores while the oldest practically belts out, “It’s the Hard-Knock Life,” when I remind her to make her bed.

Still, having clear and consistent expectations is a big deal for my kids, and it’s working wonders around our house. Plus, with the kids covering the basics, I have time to tackle larger chores. (Cluttered closets, I’m looking at you!)

Feel-Good Television

According to entertainment experts, we’re living in a golden age of TV (which should be great for a pop-culture lover like me). Yet, it seems like more often than not, TV shows are getting darker and grittier and scarier.

I like a good action show as much as the next person, but there are times I just want to relax.

Sometimes I want to forget how hard life is and how dark the world is for a little while. I want to sit folding a mountain of laundry, laughing at my TV friends.

Sometimes I need feel-good television.

I must not be the only one looking for lighthearted entertainment, because lately I’ve noticed warm, lovely, delightful shows popping up everywhere.

My recent favorite has been Making It, a crafting competition hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman.

The contestants are creative and sweet, the contest is barely more important than collaboration, and the hosts? Well, as a gigantic fan of Parks & Recreation (another feel-good favorite starring both hosts), I adore them.