Posted in Traditions

Pumpkin Patch

Happy Wednesday! I touched on it a bit in Monday’s post, but going to the pumpkin patch in the fall is hands down my most favorite family tradition.

Through the years, we’ve gone with family, with friends, and with just the four of us. We were limited on time on Sunday before Hayden’s soccer game, but we made it to Evans Orchard for about an hour and a half on Sunday. Rather than wait in the long line to buy tickets for the activity area, we just took our time looking at pumpkins, getting our hot apple cider and apple cider donuts, and enjoying the nice weather.

I love that Evans Orchard changes the picture backdrop each year, and I’m even happier that my kids know the way to my heart is a good family photo. #hushupandsmile!

Trips to the orchard used to just be Travis and myself, and we haven’t missed a year at an orchard since the kids were born…and here’s the collage to prove it! 2010 – 2018.

2010 to 2018

2019 pic!

The weather was perfect on Sunday. Some years it’s soooo hot and last year was freeeeeezing…I couldn’t believe it. The weather was so cold that I almost broke tradition, but of course, I’m glad I didn’t.

Trav and the kids
Hadley always asks me to take the photo in portrait mode #diva

My favorite part is seeing the pumpkins in various sizes, shapes, and colors. I swear when I was a kid these kinds of pumpkins didn’t exist.

We learned a long time ago that one 6 pack of donuts isn’t enough, so we at least buy two!

I don’t remember this photo op last year at Evans Orchard, but I loved it. And, what I loved more was Hadley said, “Mom, take our picture by the truck!” #girlaftermyownheart

Hot apple cider and pumpkins…what more could you ask for?

And, lastly, a pic with my two pumpkins. They sure are getting big! They each chose a great pumpkin to carve, and we will do that closer to Halloween…Don’t get me started with pumpkin carving…someone always ends up crying. haha. Why do my kids overestimate their parents’ pumpkin carving skills?!

That’s a wrap on our traditional pumpkin patch visit. What are your favorite fall traditions and activities?

I hope you are having a great week,

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweetea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in School, Traditions

Back to School (Breakfast!)

We started back to school this week…and the go to bed at a decent time / wake up early struggle is real (for the adults as well as the kids!) Once the kids started kindergarten, I decided I better go all in to get them excited about going back to school. To be honest, my goal with sending them off to school to have the best day ever is also for myself. Each year, I’m a little sad when I realize how quickly time is passing. Also, each year, it’s hard for me to get in my own back to school groove. While I’m always happy to get back in my classroom and meet new students, it’s not as simple as that. As a teacher, with the return to school, it also means: meetings, organizing my classroom, planning lessons, making copies, learning 150 new names, writing a professional growth plan, evaluations, waking up early…the list goes on and on…as well as juggling life and activities at home.

One of my favorite blogs to read is Momfessionals. She is a teacher as well and does a Back to School Brinner (breakfast for dinner) the night before school starts. http://www.momfessionals.com/2019/08/back-to-school-brinner.html#more

After reading about her brinner a few years ago, I thought it would be fun to start the Back to School Breakfast tradition at my house.

It may look like a lot of effort goes into kicking the school year off right for my family, but I have it down to a science now, and I keep all my props in a tub with lid that I just pull out when it’s time for our Back to School Breakfast.

I set up the night before school starts. I’m always afraid I will forget something in the morning if I wait until then.

I bake the muffins a day or two before. Usually, I ‘m throwing a PopTart at them to eat in the morning, so I’m always happy to start the school year with muffins, yogurt, and strawberries. The muffins are just made from a Betty Crocker mix. Easy peasy.

I printed the “Back to School Breakfast” page off of the internet back when the kids were in kindergarten and have kept it in a folder for safe keeping.

Like most of my back to school books, I found This School Year Will Be the Best Yet on Amazon a few years ago. When the kids were younger, we usually read it after the first day of school, but now that doesn’t seem to always happen.

I always just pull a few apples from the fridge to add as decoration, and the kids snack on them later, of course.

I’ve had this chalkboard for years. I actually have a couple of them, and sometimes I use them around the house. After using it for a breakfast decoration, the kids use it for the back to school pictures I make them take 😉

I believe this is the third year that I’ve purchased back to school cookies for the kids. I’ve had such great luck buying cookies from some local ladies to support their small businesses. These cookies are from Maddie’s Cookie Company here in Lexington,and I’ve even taken a couple of decorating classes from her. I always have so much fun and dream of doing this one day on the side…but it takes so much time and effort. I certainly understand the price point after seeing what goes in to making these cookies.

The black plates, book, napkins and paper apples all came from Amazon. Honestly, it was a 20 pack of napkins, but I use the same folded one every year. The apples came in a pack as well, and I just use a new one each year and write their new grade level on it. I think this is the second year I’ve use the folder as a placemat with the same sticky note with their name on it. The placemat idea came from the Momfessionals blog. Lastly, I’m always surprised with what books I find on Amazon after searching for whatever grade the kids are starting. Thankfully, both my kids like to read, so it’s a way to keep them reading and give them something to start the year.

Luckily, the kids oblige with my back to school pictures, and I appreciate it. Time is flying by, and it’s nice to have the pictures to compare each year. (while I’m curled up in the corner crying 😉 Hadley’s shirt is the best: More Summer Please!

It’s such a blessing to live so close to our kids’ elementary school. We always walk the first day (and I snap a backpack picture). We usually walk 2-3 days a week until November and then again in the spring when it warms up after spring break. We’d walk every day, but I have to hustle to school, so dropping off some days does provide for a quicker turn around time for me. I really enjoy walking with them, and Travis joins us on the walk as well (and this year, Homer too!)…thus giving the two of us 1:1 time when we walk home to get a plan for whatever activities we have going on after school or that week.

This year, their school really welcomed the students with cute and colorful yard signs!

Lastly, here’s my classroom as I start my 18th year of teaching. I’m hoping all three of us have a great year!

It’s hard to believe that I only have one more back to school breakfast for the kids before they start middle school. Middle school has a later start time, so I may have to use the Back to School Brinner idea because who knows what our mornings will look like once the kids are in 6th grade?! It may sound cheesy, but I always want all three of us to start the year putting our best feet forward, and I think the breakfast tradition is a great way to set the tone for the year.

I hope everyone has had a great first week of school. I’ve taken a nap every afternoon this week as the back to school transition is always the hardest on me! I’m planning on resting up this weekend before all of our activities start up next week!

Take care,

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea