Posted in Monthly Musings

Monthly Musings

Hello and Happy Thursday! Have I ever told you that Thursdays are my favorite day of the week? I’m still very productive on a Thursday, but then I also know that the weekend is almost here as well!

Today, I’m linking up with Patty and Holly for Monthly Musings.

This month’s topic is Back to School/Fall Planning. We are on week three of the school year and I’m always ready to think about fall, so I’m excited for today’s post!

1. Do you meal plan/prep? Favorite back to school recipe?

I meal plan more than I meal prep. I always plan our meals for the week on Saturday, so I can place my Kroger pickup order on Sunday. Sometimes Saturdays are too busy for meal planning and things get bumped a day, but I try my best to get organized before the week starts.

Actually, once Hayden is finished with baseball, my Saturdays will be more predictable. There are stretches of the school year where I do grocery pickup on Saturday which is my preference.

As far as my favorite back to school recipe, I’ve done muffins, fruit and yogurt for the kids on the first day of school. This year I started a new tradition with Back to School Brinner. This breakfast casserole was a hit.

I still had the muffins (made from a mix as well as some store bought ones), yogurt and fruit as well.

2. How do you buy and organize school supplies?

When the kids were in elementary school, we would take the school supply list and head to Walmart in early August. We’d actually make a day of it and get school supplies, back to school haircuts, and go out for lunch or ice cream.

This year I bought the supplies from their middle school. I figured with eight classes (and eight different teachers), I’d purchased the package deal, so we’d get exactly what the kids need.

After the first few days of school, Hadley had to help Hayden get all his supplies organized! haha

3. Any back to school traditions?

We have a few back to school traditions. Like I said, I used to have a Back to School Breakfast for the kids on the first day of school.

Now, it’s a Back to School Brinner.

Also, every year, I buy them a book for the grade their are in. It’s been surprisingly easy to find books for each grade. I haven’t looked for 7th or 8th grade books yet, but the elementary years were definitely easy to find.

Of course, there are back to school pictures before they leave for school.

4. Bring lunch? Buy lunch? Favorite lunchbox item?

Through they years, the kids have only bought school lunch to both of them bring a lunch and then even a mix in between. I’m always encouraging them to buy lunch because our district has free lunch for everyone…and it’s one less thing to do to pack lunches! The past couple of years they’ve mainly packed their lunch on their own if they didn’t want to buy.

This year, Hayden buys his lunch because middle school has a few more options. Hadley brings her lunch from home. She loves the Uncrustables (PBJ or Nutella) and usually brings fruit snacks, chips and either a fruit (She is very into raspberries right now) or a vegetable (like cucumbers!)

They don’t eat lunch until 1:00, so their teachers encourage them to bring a snack. Hayden loves Chomps, Hadley loves Cliff bars, and they both will bring snack packages of goldfish or Cheezits.

I always bring my lunch. Seriously, in twenty years of teaching, I’ve only bought school lunch on they day they serve their Thanksgiving meal!

5. Favorite thing about back to school then and now?

Even though I’m always sad to see summer go, it’s always good to get back on a schedule and get in a routine. I love the traditions we’ve started with breakfast/brinner, back to school photos, and more. In elementary school, I loved walking the kids to school on the first day.

6. Pumpkin spice – Hate or Love?

I used to love a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, but I don’t get those very often anymore. From September – November, I get by with a splash of creamer and pumpkin spice.

I love pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread.

Last fall, I made these pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies, and I can’t wait to make them again.

7. Do you decorate for fall?

I will let you be the judge of that…

Yes! Haha! I love decorating for fall…maybe even more than when I decorate for Christmas. Of course, my fall decorations are up for a couple of months, so I get to enjoy them longer.

8. How do you transition your fall wardrobe?

I wear summer dresses with a cardigan almost daily. My classroom is pretty chilly, so I like to have the cardigan layer if needed.

These are some of my favorite cardigans:

The navy one I got last fall, and I love it. It’s a bit heavier, but super soft.

The green one is one that I got a few weeks ago. It’s lightweight, so it’s perfect for the transition from summer to fall.

The pink one is one that’s in my Amazon cart right now.

All of these come in a variety of colors. So many great options!

9. Favorite fall fashion staples:

See # 8 ๐Ÿ˜‰

I also mix like to mix in lightweight short sleeve sweaters. They are a great transition piece.

I purchased these two at the end of summer before my trip to California. They are both perfect to wear with shorts, denim, or pants.

Tan sweater // Short sleeve sweatshirt

10. When does school start where you live?

We always start the second Wednesday in August. We start with a three day week, then have a four day week with no school on Friday, followed by a full week and then Labor Day. It’s nice to ease into the school year.

When I was a kid, we seemed to go Labor Day to Memorial Day. While we are usually out around Memorial Day, we are sometimes still in school until the very end of May.

So, that’s how we do back to school and plan for fall. What about you? What’s your favorite thing about fall?

I hope you are having a great week! Make sure to check out the other ladies’ posts as well!

{this post contains Amazon affiliate linksโ€ฆ}

Posted in School

All the First Day of 6th Grade Things:

Happy Wednesday! Well, the 2021-22 school year is officially underway. We all had a great first day of school yesterday. While I always am sad to see summer wrap up, it’s always good for us to get back into a routine. Also, I was kind of ready to get the kids off to school just because this is a new phase for us with a new routine and a few nerves! I knew we’d all feel better after getting the first day under our belts.

Today, I’m sharing all the back to school things: our traditional brinner, first day of school photos, and a back to school interview with the kids.

Back to School Brinner:

Since Kindergarten, I’ve always set up the Back to School Breakfast for the kids.

With the transition to middle school, I thought I’d change things up a bit and have a Back to School Brinner. We had the brinner on Tuesday night to kick off the first day of school on Wednesday. Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?

I used all my usual supplies that I keep organized in a bin.

Per tradition, I ordered a book for each of them and then picked up a mini bundt cake for dessert. (Red velvet for Hadley and lemon for Hayden.)

I kept it simple for mine and Trav’s place setting just using the napkins I already had and writing our names on a name tag.

I baked the same muffins from a mix that I typically make, put out yogurt and fruit and baked one of my favorite breakfast casseroles.

Hadley helped me roll out the parchment paper that I use to wrap presents, and it can also double as a runner for the kitchen table. I meant to write a few quotes, sayings, and other school related ideas, but I forgot!

We all love breakfast for dinner, and I don’t make it enough! It’s so easy, and we had the leftover casserole for dinner last night!

First Day of School Photos:

Middle school starts way later than elementary school in our district, so it’s going to take us a few days to get the hang of “how late can we actually sleep in?” On the first day, we definitely didn’t want to run late, so the kids were up and at ’em and ready to start the day.

They had breakfast, got dressed, did their hair, (and Hayden officially has the hang of putting in his contacts on his own…just in time!), and then obliged me with a few photos.

I can’t get over how much older they look!

They both were really excited and didn’t seem nervous at all. (Also, I almost mentioned that they were unknowingly #twinning with their outfits, but I knew Hayden would change if I did mention it!)

After the photos, they grabbed their backpacks and masks, and they were ready to start the day!

I thought about them all day long. Hadley sent me an email when she was in math class. I love my emails from Hadley! For them, I was the most nervous for lunch. I remember that feeling of looking around the cafeteria and wanting to find someone you know to sit with at lunch. Obviously, they know many kids from elementary school, but a lot of their friends are on the other 6th grade team. They reported back that they have to sit with their class at lunch (for Covid tracing), and that it worked out okay.

Back to School Interview:

Hayden’s Thoughts:

  • This year, I’m excited about: having in person school.
  • By the end of the year, I want to: earn straight A’s.
  • My favorite subject is: social studies.
  • I love learning about: history.
  • I’m great at: reading.
  • My favorite school cafeteria food is: nachos.
  • If I was the principal for the day, I would: let kids do whatever they want.
  • When I grow up, I want to be: undecided.
  • The best thing about school is: lunch.
  • My first day of school was: good.

Bonus: One thing I’m looking forward to in middle school is: sports.

Hadley’s Thoughts:

  • This year, I’m excited about: changing classes during the day.
  • By the end of the year, I want to: have good grades and know my way around the school.
  • My favorite subject is: Language Arts.
  • I love learning about: foods from different cultures.
  • I’m great at: being organized.
  • My favorite school cafeteria food is: spaghetti and nachos.
  • If I was the principal for the day, I would: let the students be in charge.
  • When I grow up, I want to be: an elementary teacher.
  • The best thing about school is: meeting new friends.
  • My first day of school was: awesome.

Bonus: One thing I’m looking forward to in middle school is: having more freedom than I did in elementary school

I’m so pleased that they had a great first day, and I hope it continues for the entire year. I know middle school can provide some tough years, and I’m thankful they have each other…even if they don’t realize how lucky they are!

See you back here tomorrow for this week’s Friday Favorites.

Posted in Kids, School, Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts

Hello and Happy Thursday. How is your week going?! We are in that transition to back to school (yay!) which means earlier wake up calls, the hustle and bustle of making lunches and packing backpacks, and the rush of getting out the door. While that all can be exhausting, I’m here for it!

Today, I’m reflecting on the last 355 days at home for virtual learning as I know it’s a time the kids and I will always remember, and this post will be perfect to have those thoughts all in one place.

Virtual Learning:

  • March – May 2020: We all mastered Google Meet and Google Classroom. We lived in two weeks chunks of time while decisions were made at the state and district level about in person learning. Most days, the kids could sleep in before joining their class Google Meet at 10:00. They were on with their teachers for about an hour before completing their work for the day. Even a field trip and field day took place virtually. We missed out on fun events like the school carnival. I heard the sadness in their teachers’ voices as they said goodbye for the summer. None of us realized how long we’d be out of school.
  • August 2020: Back to school was delayed a few weeks, and we started school on August 26 rather than August 12th. Leading up to the first day of school, we drove through the car line at school to pick up materials and meet the teachers from our car while wearing masks. We decided to send the kids to a pod (at my friend Amy’s with their school friends…mostly girls, much to Hayden’s chagrin!) two days a week. “Back to School Night” was held via Zoom.
  • August 2020-March 2021: Synchronous and Asynchronous instruction were the new “buzz words” for the year. We mastered Zoom, Canvas, and Google Classroom. The kids’ school day was much more structured, and they spent most of the morning on Zoom. They had a 1.5 hour chunk of time for lunch and would often play with their friends in the neighborhood or at the school play ground. They would get back on Zoom in the afternoon for the last hour of the school day. Parent/teacher conferences we held via telephone. We lived in bigger chunks of time while waiting for decisions on return to in person learning. The number of school activities the kids missed out on is endless: field trips, lunch bunch, spaghetti/puzzle night, chorus concerts, academic team, clubs, the books fair, and more. January 2021: Their school schedule basically remained the same, but with an earlier start time and a bit more structure with the goal of prepping for a return to in person learning. Late February 2021: We learned that K-2 would begin on February 22 and 3rd-5th grades would start on March 3.

What we thought would be a few weeks in March and April of 2020 turned into months…and almost of a year of learning at home.

Real talk: I actually teared up typing this time line…I can’t believe we’ve made it through this time. There have certainly been ups, downs, learning curves, tears, frustration, and more.

Thankfully, they have amazing teachers who have hosted virtual lunch bunch, dropped off gifts on front porches, met with students individually who were struggling academically, made phone calls home with words of encouragement, waved as we drove through the car line, and so much more.

At the pod, the kids were able to read in groups, play games, bake, have holiday parties, learn about the election process, go roller skating, and experience many more fun activities.

Memories at home learning provided us…

and some things I will miss about at home learning...

  • The kids showing me what they are working on and asking for help.
  • Meals: enjoying leisurely breakfasts and lunches. (Bonus: Hadley now can make a quesadilla and soup on her own. Hayden has mastered heating Spaghetti O’s on the stove and can make a mean grilled cheese!)
  • Hearing their awesome teachers and the sweet replies of their classmates.
  • (also) Hearing Hayden and Hadley’s thoughtful responses when sharing answers with their classes.
  • Friday Chick-fil-A lunch
  • Time outside with them during “recess” and going for walks
  • Flexibility and maximizing our time: I’ve been able to start dinner in the slow cooker at 10:00 am vs 7:00 am, they’ve completed chores on a break, and we’ve been able to schedule ortho appointments during lunch break.
  • Extra Homer snuggles
  • Impromptu play dates during recess or learning at home with friends
  • Pajama pants as suitable school attire!

That being said, it’s time. It’s been 355 days since they’ve walked into their school building. They only have nine weeks left in the elementary school building they’ve attended since kindergarten.

Real talk (again!): I’ve also said that their age during this time has been a blessing. They are old enough to work pretty independently, but are young enough to still need me. I will treasure this experience forever, but I’m also happy to release them to the elementary educational professionals ๐Ÿ˜‰

I asked them both what they will miss about at home learning and why they are excited to return to the building. Here are their responses:

Hayden:

I will miss being at home with Homer all day.

I’m excited to actually be in the school building to learn with my teachers and friends.

Hadley:

I will miss being able to stay in my pjs while learning at home.

I’m excited to see my friends and my teacher in person.

A few photos:

First day at the pod: August 26, 2020

Last day at the pod: March 2, 2021

First day of 5th grade: August 26, 2020

First day of in person learning, 5th grade: March 3, 2021

Back to School Breakfast (again!)

I decided to have another back to school breakfast, and was able to put this together pretty quickly thanks to a trip to The Dollar Tree (thanks, Amy, for the idea!) and a few items from my “Back to School Breakfast tub.

I love these little lunch trays from The Dollar Tree, and I assembled an easy breakfast of donuts, yogurts, Cuties, and juice boxes.

I got them each a little notebook and the “Star Student” tags were perfect for the lunch trays.

Other Back to School Breakfast posts:

When they enter the building, they go through a thermal scanner to have their temperatures taken, there are plastic dividers at their desks, they will eat lunch at their desks, they have to stay with their classes at recess, and some of the their specials teachers will come to them.

I received emails from both kids within the first couple hours of school ๐Ÿ˜‚

Hayden was telling me he’d forgotten his watch, and could I bring it to school (the answer was no) ๐Ÿ˜‚, and Hadley’s email brought tears to my eyes. She said she was so happy to be at school and that her teacher cried happy tears!

Their assistant principal sent me pictures of them at their desks. Hadley looks so happy, and I’m proud of Hayden for “going with the flow.” ( I know that’s not easy for him).

Hadleyโ€™s teacher shared this photo with me. So far, Hadley has been pretty consistent with her plans to be an elementary school teacher ๐Ÿ˜Š

I know school will look so different compared to when they were last there on March 13, 2020, but I’m forever grateful for the school administrators, teachers and staff who have made this transition from at home learning to in person learning as smooth as possible. The school sign said, ‘Welcome back,” there were lawn letters greeting them with sweet “back to school” wishes, and so many wonderful teachers were outside waving and opening car doors at car line yesterday morning.

Everyone was smiling: students, teachers, and parents, and even a mask couldn’t hide the enthusiasm that returning to the school building after 355 days has brought to everyone.

My wish for the kids: “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” ~ Dr. Seuss

(read: mom loves you, but bye!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

The weight of the pandemic, as a mom and as a teacher, has been very difficult…probably more difficult than I have realized at times. Getting my kids back to school yesterday was a huge step towards normalcy, and I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. Next week, students start to return to my school building, and Iโ€™m so looking forward to that next step as well!

Thanks so much for reading today’s post. I hope you’re having a great week. I know mine sure has taken a turn for the better!

Posted in Amazon

September Prime Purchases

Happy September 1st! I feel like the month of August flew by….and now I’m ready for September and for it to feel like fall!

I’m linking up with Tanya today for her monthly Prime Purchases post.

Well, the theme of this month’s Prime Purchases appears to be: Back to School, Books & Beauty!

Back to School:

Hadley needed a new backpack, and both kids needed updated headphones. Then, since the kids will take their lunch a couple days a week to the tutor’s house, I picked up a pack of lunchbox notes! Both the backpack and headphones (gray for Hayden and gold for Hadley) come in a variety of color options.

lunchbox notes // headphones // backpack

I started using this brand of desk calendar a few years ago, and love it for my desk at school.

desk calendar

I shared in a previous post about our back to school (virtual!) plans. I thought it would benefit Hayden to have a desk in his room. After reading Amanda’s post, I found a similar 39 inch desk for Hayden, but now I can’t even find it on Amazon. I also purchased the organizer for his desk and the baskets for both Hayden and Hadley’s at home school supplies.

desk organizer // 55 inch desk // colorful baskets

Books:

I’m a big fan of the library, so I don’t buy books very often. That being said, the wait list at the library for 28 Summers and The Giver of the Stars is forever long. I mentioned in yesterday’s post, that 28 Summers seems to be the book of the summer, and I didn’t want to miss out! #fomo I’ve heard great things about The Giver of the Stars, so I went ahead and purchased it too, but haven’t gotten to reading it just yet.

The kids are reading The Indian in the Cupboard at their tutor’s house, so I picked them each up a copy of the book.

28 Summers // The Indian in the Cupboard // The Giver of the Stars

Beauty:

My sinuses are forever acting up typically due to allergies. Also, I tend to wake up with puffy under eyes. My new morning routine while reading emails and scrolling social media, is to use the cool, straight from the fridge, jade roller under my eyes, on my forehead, and on my sinuses. I’ve even rolled it on my temples and on the back of my neck to help alleviate a headache recently!

And…I’ve been using the Seche Vite base and top coat for over a year. They are both essential to making my at home manicures last. The bottles last quite awhile, but my bottles were running low, so I ordered a new set recently.

jade roller // Seche Vite base and top coat polish

So that’s a peek at my Amazon orders for the month of August. After ordering all the back to school stuff, I said to Hadley, “I’m finished ordering from Amazon for a while…” Then, when my books and other few orders started arriving, she said, “Mom, I thought you were finished with Amazon!” I never should have uttered those words! #cantquitamazon #amazonistherealMVP

October 6th is the next Amazon link up. Make sure to check out Tanya’s post! What have you been priming lately?

Thanks so much for reading.

Posted in School, Traditions

Not Just a Mom: Back to School Freedom

Hello and Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Ours was actually pretty laid back with only a baseball game on Saturday. We started our weekend early on Friday by going for a family hike (more about that tomorrow!). Saturday afternoon, Hayden had a baseball game, and Saturday night we had a patio get together with neighbors. Sunday had me soaking in my final day of summer.

Speaking of which, today is my first day of school as far as teacher responsibilities go. For now, I’m working from home as much as I can until we get in a groove with the kids once they start back virtually.

I’m linking up with Lauren, Ashley, and others for their Not Just a Mom series.

This month’s topic is “Back to School Freedom.”

Well, I donโ€™t usually gain any freedom when school starts back as I swap my two kids for about 150 high schoolers ๐Ÿ˜‰

This year, those two kids are starting the 5th grade virtually as I work mostly from home as well. So, understand these pandemic circumstances I donโ€™t think I will have much freedom.

That being said, since we are talking about back to school, I thought Iโ€™d share a few more in-depth details about our traditional Back to School Breakfast on the first day of school.

Iโ€™ve mentioned this tradition a couple times recently, and I know it may seem like a lot of work, but I wanted to take a minute to share the methods behind my madness, and that really the cute breakfast set up only takes a few minutes.

Back 2 School Breakfast 2019 (4th grade)

Decorations:

Hayden’s breakfast place setting:

Hadley’s breakfast place setting:

I have a couple of these chalkboards from Hobby Lobby that I use for their first day of school photos.

The kids have had these clipboards since preschool, so I use one to display the Back to School Breakfast sign which is glued on to wide lined writing paper. We had pads of that paper when the kids were learning to write.

I have this basket as a decoration on our built ins, so I just borrow it and add a few apples for decoration. I put the muffins on a cake plate for decoration but also for them to grab and eat before getting ready.

Specifics on a few decorations:

A: Years ago, I printed the Back to School Breakfast page from Pinterest. (And, as I mentioned above, I just glued it on a piece of wide lined paper.)

B: I purchased the paper apples from Amazon. There are quite a few in the pack, so I just use one each year to write their grade.

C: I also got the This School Year Will Be the Best! book from Amazon years ago. When the kids were little, we’d read it together the evening of the first day of school.

D: Again, another Amazon purchase with the red and white checkered napkins. There are many in the pack, and I just fold one in half to sit on their plate each year.

E: The best pencils around. Dixon Ticonderoga! I just keep this same pack of pencils to use as a decoration in a mason jar for the breakfast.

F: I think last year was the first year I started using a folder and sticky note for a placemat after getting that idea from Andrea (which is where I also got the Back to School Breakfast idea. She does a “brinner” the night before school starts.) I had the sticky notes on hand and picked up the folders while back to school supply shopping with the kids.

G: The black plates and colorful cups I picked up a Target a couple of years ago.

Food:

My kids like these Betty Crocker chocolate chip muffins. I make them occasionally, and when I do, I usually make two packs and freeze some.

So, I make these the night before and serve with strawberries and yogurt. So, nothing fancy, but different than their typical waffle or cereal bar.

Goodies:

I’ve lucked out the past couple of years with these cute cookies from Maddie’s Cookie Co. here in Lexington. The mini cookies are perfect for a decoration on their placemat, and the perfect lunch or after school treat.

Amazon always comes in clutch with a book with the kids’ grade. This year, I found Tales of the Fifth-Grade Knight for Hayden, and President of the Whole Fifth Grade for Hadley.

Then, everything goes in this storage tub until the next school year! I truly am able to decorate in ten minutes because I just store everything in this tub.

So, those are just a few details of our traditional Back to School Breakfast. Do you have any back to school traditions? I shared how we prep for back to school in a post last week.

Enjoy these last few days of summer! I know we’ll make the best of this school year no matter if it’s in person, virtually, or a hybrid schedule.

Also, moms of little ones…don’t blink. I clearly remember taking this first day of kindergarten picture five years ago. (and wiping away tears as I dropped them off in their classrooms.) ๐Ÿ˜ญ

Now, my kids are on their last year of elementary school. How is that even possible?

Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts and link up next month to talk about your skin care and make up routine.

Thanks so much for reading, and have a great week.

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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