Showing posts with label Back to School. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Back to School. Show all posts

Back to School Celebration!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. 
All opinions are mine alone. #Mygoodlife #CollectiveBias

It's a good life here and we love celebrating fun traditions in our home.  One of our favorite traditions is our annual Back to School Celebration.  We have it every year the night before school starts, and the boys look forward to it every year.  This year we were really on top of things- school supplies, clothes, backpacks, and all of that fun stuff was purchased weeks ago so we got to truly enjoy a relaxing evening the night before school started.  So relaxing in fact that we celebrated Back to School with pizza, popsicles, and a Family Movie Night (something we normally only get a chance to do on the weekend).  It was so much fun! 

Our oldest son (he's nine years old and loves everything about helping these days... it's AWESOME!) helped me decorate the dining room table with a school theme.  
We mostly used items that we had around the house, and even some of their new school supplies for decorations. 

I bought each of them a little school gift- flashcards and crayons from the dollar section at the store with a paper apple tied on with a ribbon.

And we enjoyed a School theme too... 

We loved the Tombstone Pizza because it was quick, easy, delicious, and stress-free... we were able to eat quickly, celebrate our last night of summer and clean up was a breeze too! 

For a delicious frozen snack that required NO prep on my part {How often do I get to say that? Never!} we headed outside for Dreyer's Outshine Fruit Bars.

We had Pineapple Fruit Bars and Strawberry Fruit Bars.  Both were a hit, but I think the boys really loved the strawberry bars the best.  I love them all because they are made with real, honest ingredients.

Click here to learn more about Dreyer's Outshine Bars {and the Tombstone pizza} 

After eating as part of our Back to School Celebration, we had enough time to settle in for a Family Movie Night.  Family Movie Night is definitely one of our favorite family activities because it's just fun to get cozy at home together, especially on the night before sending our precious boys off to school for another year.

For more great ideas from bloggers on how to enjoy Back to School time with easy ideas for you, click here.  Both the Tombstone Pizza and the Dreyer's Outshine Fruit Bars are available at Walmart, so they are definitely convenient to pick up for your own Family Movie Night soon! 

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Happy Kids, Healthy Lunches

Monday, August 25, 2014

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Del Monte, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #DelMonteBTS
Call me crazy, but I love having my boys home for a looooong summer.  Sending them Back to School fills me with nerves and excitement, and while my boys are away at school all day, I want them to know that I'm thinking of them, that I love them, and that I can't wait for them to come home.  Seriously.  I miss them like crazy.
One way that I can show love to my boys while they are away for the school day is to pack them a healthy lunch that will keep them full and focused.  We are a High Fructose Corn Syrup-free home, so I pack healthy lunches while still trying to have our boys lunches "fit in" with the crowd.
I try to make packing lunches easy to prep, healthy to eat, and fun to look at (because that makes it exciting to eat, even though it's healthy, right?)

Here are 5 easy things I do to make school lunches healthy and fun.

1- I buy BPA-free reusable containers from Walmart that fit perfectly into my boys lunch boxes.  It saves on having to use so many toss-away plastic bags, and it helps keep their lunches from getting smashed.  Here's what they look like...
2- My boys like peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, so I make them fresh every morning and cut them into fun shapes.  Or even just little squares with the crust cut off because they're easier for little hands to pick up and eat this way.  Even though these look like ordinary PB & J, I make sure to buy all of my ingredients without High Fructose Corn Syrup.  Plus I use natural organic peanut butter and organic jelly.
3- Pack in the fruit any way I can!  Usually my boys complain that they don't have enough time to eat a whole apple or other whole fruit, but they always have time for a quick pouch of Del Monte Fruit Burst Squeezers.  With 1 1/2 servings of fruit per container, these squeezable pouches are a great way for kids to get their daily fruit servings in while at school.
4- Quick to grab "side dishes" of pretzels and baby carrots {or crackers and grapes, or celery and peanut butter} are great alternatives to a bag of greasy chips and cookies. 
5- Cute containers!  When I put food for the boys in fun little containers like these {cupcake liners, little baking cups, little drinking cups, etc.} the boys gobble it all up.  Kids like "kid-size" packaging, but that doesn't mean that I have to buy into buying "kid" food that is generally made with poor ingredients.
Ahhh, I'm sending my boys Back to School next week and they are SO excited to meet their new teachers, and reconnect with friends.  And I'm so happy to see them growing and developing their own personalities and their own wings to fly with... but I'll miss them!  I printed out this photo of them that I took on the last day of school in June with a fun border at Walmart last week for FREE to hang on the fridge.  And when I picked up my FREE photo, it came with a coupon for $1 off 2 Del Monte Fruit Burst Squeezers... a win-win for me! 
Right now until September 13th in select Walmart Super Centers and while supplies last, you can print your own photo of your kids for FREE and get your $1 off 2 packages of either Del Monte Fruit Burst Squeezers or Del Monte Fruit Cups too!  Just bring in your phone with the picture you would like printed, or send your picture to Walmart to get printed as a 5x7 with a Back to School border.  When you pick up your picture, you should see the Del Monte coupon enclosed. 
For more information about Del Monte, visit their website here.  Happy Back to School Time!  

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5 Tips to Get Your Kids to School On Time with Homemade Lemon Tea Breakfast Cake Recipe!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
#AmericasTea #CollectiveBias

Whether your kids are back in school already, or whether you're savoring those last few lazy days of summer {that's us!}, if you're a parent then you know how difficult it can be to get out the door and to school on time.  With 4 little ones, believe me I know all about that struggle!  I'm totally proud of our boys ZERO tardies last year though, so today I'm sharing my 5 Tips to Get Your Kids to School On Time EVERY DAY with you.  And if you're just here for this delicious Lemon Tea Breakfast Cake recipe, scroll down to find it in this post. 

#AmericasTea #CollectiveBias

Here's how we get to school on time every day...

1) Organize Your Space.  
Have a designated place for backpacks, lunch bags, homework, important school papers, and SHOES.  We seemed to have it all down to a science last year except for the shoes.  We were scrambling around searching for shoes too often.  This year, each boy now has their own wooden crate just below their backpack hook.  Every night BEFORE BED their shoes have to be in their crate.  It really does make for smoother mornings.  Each boy has their backpack hanging on a hook on the wall next to the door we walk out of each morning.  Every night before bed, all homework and papers returning to school are in the backpack= NO scrambling for papers in the morning.

#AmericasTea #CollectiveBias

2)  Plan Clothing Choices The Night Before
Our two older boys pick out their own clothes to wear to school, and I still choose outfits for our younger two.  Regardless of that though, I make sure that we all have something clean and ready to wear the night before.  Just a quick peek in the older boys' drawers & closets to make sure they have something available to choose from the next morning helps us avoid the "I don't have anything to wear!" issue in the morning.  Yes, that can happen even in a house full of boys.

#AmericasTea #CollectiveBias

3)  Have An Organized Lunch Drawer.
#AmericasTea #CollectiveBias

This "Lunch Drawer" helps me out so much in the mornings because it holds everything that I need to pack lunches in the morning {besides the food} all in one place- disposable plasticware, containers (I LOVE these IKEA containers because different sized containers use the same size lid so there is a lot less scrambling around for lids, lunch bags, insulated containers, etc.  I used to scramble around in different drawers and cupboards for all of these things until one day I decided to organize the drawer like this, and it helped our mornings go much smoother.

4)  Make a Morning To-Do List for Kids to Follow.

#AmericasTea #CollectiveBias

I made these quick lists for our boys to follow during the school year last year.  It was amazing to me how something SO simple made such a big difference in how quickly they got ready.  They just went down the list and were ready in record time day after day.

5)  Eat a Healthy Breakfast... and make it easy with a Make Ahead recipe.

#AmericasTea #CollectiveBias

I love a good "Make Ahead" recipe like my Lemon Tea Breakfast Cake because I can make it the night before, it's homemade so I know exactly what ingredients are in it, and my kids love that I make them special breakfast treats occasionally.  It also saves us time in the morning because everyone loves it and gobbles it down so quickly!  I especially love it because after we've brought the big boys to school, I get to come home and enjoy a second slice of it and it looks so fancy my pretty cake stand. Even a busy Monday morning can be fancy :) 

I make my Lemon Tea Breakfast Cake with Bigelow Tea because it's the best!  You can find it in the Coffee/Tea aisle at Walmart.  See how fun it is shopping with my boys during summer break?! 

#AmericasTea #CollectiveBias

Bigelow is a 100% American owned company and it's tea plantation in Charlestown, SC is the nation's largest operating tea garden.  Guests are invited to the Charlestown Tea Plantation for weddings, tours, and more.  Sounds SO dreamy to me... I would LOVE to visit it.  It's a tea-riffic way to experience historic Southern culture and a living piece of American history!  Another reason I love buying Bigelow Tea at Walmart is because they support our troops.  Almost 4 million bags of tea have been sent to our overseas troops as part of Bigelow's Tea for Troops program

#AmericasTea #CollectiveBias

Lemon Tea Breakfast Cake Recipe

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk made with lemon
(squeeze 1/2 tablespoon of fresh lemon into a 1/2 measuring cup, fill the rest of the measuring cup with milk, wait 5 minutes before adding to recipe)
4 tablespoons lemon rind, divided
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons freshly brewed Bigelow Green Tea with Lemon, divided
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Make your "buttermilk" with milk & lemon- set aside (as described above). Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly mixed.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Alternately add in buttermilk and flour to butter/sugar/eggs until combined.  Fold in 2 tablespoons fresh lemon rind and stir in 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.  Pour into greased bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, and top of cake bounces back when lightly touched.  Invert and cool on a wire rack.  

Stir together powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon Bigelow Green Tea with Lemon, and 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.  Gently brush cake with 2 tablespoons of Bigelow Green Tea with Lemon, then drizzle glaze over the top letting it drip down the sides.

Combine 1 tablespoon sugar with remaining lemon rind until combined well.  Sprinkle over your Lemon Tea Breakfast Cake.  

#AmericasTea #CollectiveBias

Store cake in a cool, dry place.  Best if eaten within a day or two, and SO good if heated in the microwave for about 20 seconds.  Enjoy! xoxo 

For more great recipes and tips using Bigelow Tea, visit the Pinterest Board here:

And to learn more about Bigelow Tea, visit them 
online/ Facebook/ Twitter

It does take a little bit of time to organize ourselves in the evenings, but I promise that it is well worth it for smoother, less stressful school mornings for myself and for my boys.  What tips do you have to get out the door to school on time?

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Five Tips for Stress-Free Back to School Drop Offs & Pick Ups

Monday, August 26, 2013

It's that time of year... either your kids have already gone Back to School, or if they're like mine, they're getting ready to head back in just a matter of days.  Either way, these Five Tips for Stress-free Back to School Drop Offs & Pick Ups will have you riding in style while dropping off and picking up your cuties without stressing out yourself out.

1- Drive a car that works for your family.  I have resisted being a "Minivan Mom" for years, but I am ready to upgrade from our gas-guzzling SUV to a Kia Sedona Minivan.  More than ready... I'm excited!  Why?  The Kia Sedona will work great for our family because of its affordable price that is lower than its competitors {to fit within our stretched budget, as a family of 6 living on one income in pricey San Diego, CA}, a roomy interior {for our four cute kiddos and all of my "projects" that I'm constantly finding at thrift stores/yard sales/side of the road and dragging home} and because of its superior warranty coverage {always a plus, just in case it's ever needed}.

Photo Source
2-  Have easy entry and exit doors for all of the kids!  The Kia Sedona has automatic sliding doors on each side so that your kids can get in and out easily.  And believe me, as a Mom who has her behind sticking up in the air trying to buckle my little guys in and out of their car seats multiple time a day in our big SUV, this is KEY in not embarrassing your kiddos and stressing yourself out in the carpool line at school!

3-  Keep it clean!   Recently I've started spending about 30 minutes on Saturday mornings cleaning out the inside & washing the outside of our car.  It's amazing how dedicating just that little amount of time can make all the difference in enjoying a smooth, comfortable ride for my kids and me.  And not having crackers spill out of the car when dropping off the kiddos at school is a definite plus too! 

4- Keep it organized!  I have a small organization bin that each boy keeps in the car with stuff that they need/like.  The little guys have diapers and wipes in theirs too, so we're never caught without the necessities.  I also keep a bin with sweatshirts, a First Aid Kit, and water, just in case we ever need any of that.  Other than those necessities that you NEED for your family, clear out the rest of the "stuff" so that you aren't bothered by it.

5- Enjoy the ride! Having those precious minutes in the car each day with our kids as you drive them to or from school is a moment to grab onto- connect with them, ask them what their favorite thing about their school day was, and prepare them for what's on the agenda for the afternoon/evening.  

Driving your kids to school doesn't have to be stressful for you or your kids with these 5 easy tips.  And with a roomy, comfortable, stylish Kia Sedona minivan, you're well on your way to a HAPPY drive with your family! 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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Goodbye Summer, Hola School!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

These boys soaked in every last second that they could of this summer before starting school on Tuesday! 

Even though we miss Jake's preschool {it truly was a special place} I am soooo very happy that both of these sweeties are at the same school and on the same schedule.  They have been so excited to be at the same school.  We walk to school everyday, so I hardly even have to get in my car anymore  {yay for saving $ on gas... geesh!}

On Tuesday morning, our Kindergartener Jake was the 1st one up and out of bed, ready for his 1st day.  He wore his backpack around the house for half an hour before it was time to leave... so cute! 

 But when we got to school, my boys stilled seemed calm & relaxed, while I tried my best to hide it that I was a ball of nerves.  Our oldest started in a Multi-Age Technology Classroom, and our Kindergartener started in Spanish Immersion.  I was SO nervous for him.  We've practiced some Spanish over the summer, and have talked so much about what to expect and how it's okay that he won't understand at first.  But still... I imagined that tears would flow and I'd be stuck wondering if I made the right choice or not.  


Have you ever been so incredibly pleased and proud of your kids that you just can't stop thinking about it?  Of course, there are plenty of "toys all over the floor" and "please stop whining" and "don't forget your manners" moments with kids, but forget all that for a minute.  

I'm talking about those beautiful, rare, amazing moments where you are so impressed that you can't even imagine why these amazing little people are entrusted to you?   

I have been amazed and humbled so far with my boys' attitudes in their new classrooms.  No tears, all smiles, and plenty of new knowledge shared with us at home.  

I mean, look at this little guy.  He went from two half-days at preschool to full-day total Spanish Immersion and he walks in for Day 2 like it's just no biggie.  

My heart is happy beyond words.

The night before school started, we read special books, including our favorite Back to School book, The Kissing Hand.  Have you read it?  I totally cry every time!  And I made these little Rice Krispie treat "kissing hands" for their after school snack on their 1st day.  I have a million and one cookie cutters, but I can't find my hand cookie cutter, so those were cut freehand... don't judge, I tried :))

The boys each brought their new teacher a cute little container from Target filled with lots of supplies and a little questionnaire from one of my favorite blogs, Thirty Handmade Days. It's super helpful to learn more about their favorite stuff now so we have ideas of what to get them for holidays, birthdays, and Teacher Appreciation Days! 

{sorry about that horrible lighting... I got to bed sooo late the night before school started!}

And, please no one tell Luke's big brothers that he really likes to "take care" of their fish while they're at school... yesterday I found his pacifier floating in their tank.  Oops!

Are your kids enjoying the new school year?  

Do you have any fun Back to School traditions 
that you look forward to each year?

Feel free to share your stories & 
traditions in the comments!! 

And I'd love to have you follow along here via Google Friend Connect or email {on my right sidebar}, or on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter!  xoxo
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First Day of School!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I can't believe it... 
after a long, fun summer my boys are off to school today!

Two new schools and...

-first time in a public school
-first time being at separate schools
-first time Sam's staying all day loooong
-first time packing a lunch... I feel like I packed enough for a week, but I'm still worried he'll be hungry
-first time dropping them off and not knowing a SINGLE person there

The pictures don't show it {except it was the most HUMID morning ever, excuse my shine!}
These adorable signs are by Lauren McKinsey... she made Luke's special for him :)

But this morning was a rough Mama morning to say the least.

 I'm sure my dreams last night didn't help...

I dreamed that our neighbors came over with a rowboat to get the boys to school down the walking path {yes, we're lucky enough to walk out our back gate and be AT Sam's school!}

I dreamed that I saw the elementary school mascot and it was a humungous overgrown creepy gopher peeking over our back fence.

I dreamed that my car broke down on the way to drop off Jake at preschool {that's before we come home and then walk Sam to school}

I dreamed that it was raining and we had to walk. Oh wait, that REALLY did happen! It never rains in San Diego... never, never, never. Except yesterday and today. I had to change out of my cute shoes into my rain shoes {flip flops} so I wouldn't slip on our row-boating, gopher-spying route to school.

But this is fun... Ben chopped down about 10 years of overgrown plants and weeds in this walkway to school, the same walkway I walked down to get to school many years ago, but he left this little tree tunnel for the boys.  
{oops... my umbrella is hanging down into the picture!  I had Luke strapped on me in the Ergo while walking in the rain... fun times here.}

But my boys, oh my boys, they were amazing! 

 All smiles, 
all excitement, 
no tears, 
no whining... 
just handsome, confident, sweet boys ready for a new adventure.

Strapped in the car 
{that thankfully did not break down like in my dreams}

Since finding out on Friday that Sam got a MAN teacher {read here if you want to know what kind of teacher I requested}, I had to go to Plan B for teacher treats and  decided to bake cookies instead of bringing flowers.  So, the boys brought freshly baked cookies for their teachers, 
kind of...

By the time Jake's made it in the preschool door, the ribbon and tag were no longer attached.  But Sam's, in our efforts to get out the door on this rainy morning, 

his cookies were forgotten at home {my fault}.  Good thing Sam had written this sweet letter to his teacher and remembered it so he didn't walk in empty handed :)

All the kids at Jake's preschool gather in one room for the first hour {not his room} and his teacher gets there a little after he does, so I don't have any pictures of them together yet.  Here he is, all smiles and ready to play with new friends.

And Sam... oh wow, am I proud of him!  Going from a small private school {since he was just 2 years old!} so a HUGE public school and he didn't even blink an eye, unlike his mama...

Sam's so excited to have "A Mister Teacher!"  

I have to say, the verdict is still out because I don't know anything about this teacher.  Today I already saw that he is NOT a cutesy 1st grade teacher and he expects the kids to be independent, which are good things... I mean, the boys DO get enough "cutesy" at home, right?! :)  

Last night we read The Kissing Hand, and today in their lunch they have special kissing hand cookies {I couldn't find my hand cookie cutter so I traced Jake's hand... it's so cute!}

I'm off to prep their special dinner now... and cry a little.  Because I'm really so sad that they're gone.  And Luke's napping.  I NEVER have a quiet house like this.  Target was going to save me, but it's really raining so I'm staying in.  That is until I have to hop in the rowboat and row past the wild gopher to get my boys :)  

Hope your kids had a GREAT 1st Day of School too!  I cannot wait to see these two and hear all about their days.  

This was yesterday morning... after the summer of the ZOO, it was only fitting that we spent our last day of summer there too {Jake's pretending to be a lion}.  

And this picture holds special meaning to me...
since I too was a Roadrunner all those years ago!  
Luke's waving to you :)
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