Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back to School: Traditions & A Giveaway!

As we were preparing to begin school, I was thinking back to what our traditions were growing up. My Dad almost always took us out for breakfast on the first day - which was a very special treat!

For a while, I thought about continuing that tradition and taking my littles out for breakfast - but since we home school, getting out of the house really breaks the rhythm sometimes. I went around and around trying to come up with some great ideas and eventually settled happily on simple homey ideas that will be a joy to continue!

1. Set the scene. I wanted to make things look special and pretty - a pleasure and a treat to the eye. This is the stuff memories are made of! Think texture, layers, things that add meaning and enjoyment!

2. Eat somewhere different. My children always think it is so special to eat breakfast outside! Because it is so out of the ordinary. I had planned to set up our breakfast outside - but the rain prevented us from this! Instead, I set everything up in our Living Room.

3. Center it around God. Worship Him, thank Him, learn more of His ways. Focus on the things that please Him! Wisdom and giving thanks were at the top of our list this year. I have a set of alphabet cards that can be strung on a garland - this time, I spelled wisdom to tie with our theme of pursuing wisdom. You can make your own by using this idea. (Plus, look at this cute idea!)

4. Have fun! Measure everyone! Laugh together!

5. Remember - create a time capsule for next year. We used this page and had fun noting special likes and thoughts for enjoyment in the future.

6. Fix a special treat! In our case, I made cupcakes for an after-lunch-tea-party. I received this cupcake set to do a review for you here and they were very tasty! I only used half of what they sent me - so now it is your turn to win!

Mine don't look as fancy as theirs because I didn't want to give the pearly decorations to my young children - plus, I wanted to send them to one of you!

The cupcakes were tasty and I was impressed at how everything except the liquid ingredients was included! We're talking muffin papers, generous helpings of all sprinkles and a whole bottle of yellow food coloring! But, to be honest, I would never spend $30 for a cupcake kit - so these were a fun item to review!


To enter the giveaway, tell me about your first day of school growing up - did you have any special traditions? Or, tell me about what you do for the first day of school with your children! Or, just leave a comment :)

No post tomorrow, so this giveaway will be open until 10pm EST Friday, August 27, 2010. Winner will be chosen at random and will receive a Deluscious Daisies cupcake kit which makes 12 cupcakes!

61 comments:

Katy~The Country Blossom said...

What sweet traditions you have started! :)

My mother always took a picture of us, on the first day of school...till we were old enough to insist that she didn't. I wish we would have kept that up though...it would be fun to look back!

Merry Jo said...

My girls and I would love to win this! Thanks for the chance!

Bryssy said...

We always had the "first day of school picture" in our new school clothes. That was our BIG tradition. I'd love to have some back to school traditions for my own kids!

Michele said...

The only thing special that we did was get some new school supplies. We didn't have the income necessary for back to school clothing like I hear people talk of today.

Anonymous said...

Your cupcakes are beautiful, I love cupcakes! I would love to be entered. Thanks Monica. tammyp

Wendi said...

I have been trying to think if there was a tradition growing up. All I remember about the first day of school was new clothes, lots of excitement and mom walking with us to the bus stop.

botaitai said...

My mom always took a picture of us as we were getting ready to go out the door.

Mom said...

Great photos and great ideas! I love how intentional you are about things like this -- thanks for sharing. :) Love you, Mom

Christy said...

My single mom was just trying to make it on her own with three little kids so we didn't have many traditions like we are able to do now with our own kids. I loved school but that first day back always put a nervous lump in my stomach. Thanks for the giveaway!

Karen said...

I love the cherriness of your pictures! Especially those balls in the glass!
We homeschool, also, but participate in a coop during the week. We always go to Chick-Fil-A for breakfast on the first day of coop. I posted a picture about it yesterday.
Have a great school week!

fixedonHIM said...

I love your cupcakes! We would have fun making those. :)

So far, we have taken a picture on the first day of school. In addition to that, I would like to start a time capsule this year.

What a beautiful room you created for your girls to school in!

Jeremy and Cortney Jenkins said...

We didn't really have any special traditions for back to school but I have read about a cute idea that I might try once I have children. Check out this post here: http://whittakerwoman.typepad.com/whittaker_woman/2008/08/family-night-16-back-to-school-night.html

They have themed family nights and did one for back to school. Super cute! Check out her other great post of family nights!

Amy Sue said...

Thank you for the reminder to be purposeful in my memory making. I would love to be entered for the cupcake drawing. My mom has a cupcake ministry of sorts, so cupcakes hold a special place in my heart. As always, thank you for all of your hard work on this blog.

Garilyn said...

I don't remember any traditions from when I was younger. Perhaps that's why I haven't really done any with my kids either. I like your ideas and homeschool. I may use some of them for when we start back up next week.
blessed.mama4 at yahoo dot com

Agnes said...

for our back to school, I make the lunch boxes with special notes and special treats.
we took pictures.
I love all your ideas, I wish I had them when my oldest was young!
love the daisy cup cakes!

brooke said...

Like many others we did a first day of school picture...I think we have one from each year until we all had graduated! Always taken in front of our front dor (maybe to see how much we'd grown, maybe because we would be headed out the door and my mom would remember we needed our pictured still!)

Sheila said...

I don't remember any traditions from growing up, but I do have a photo tradition with my kids. I take their picture on the first morning of school with a sign showing the year (an envelope I write on with Sharpie) and their backback (sitting at their feet so you can see it). I always take the picture in the same place, too, so you can see changes to the surroundings, but we've moved several times, so that part isn't quite as meaningful. What is meaningful is to see my older daughter when she went to pre-school with her pony tail and scooby-doo backpback and then all the progression up until now, as a 5' 5" 13 year old wearing (some) makeup and the plain backpack that is now her choice. I'm so glad that I've done this! I take individual pictures and I also always take some with them together.

Annie said...

Great ideas, Monica! I used your time capsule sheet with both of mine this year. I also make sure to take a full-length picutre on the front porch - that way we can see how much they've grown. We also make each one a special "first day of school" cake of their choosing. This year my son chose cupcakes (banana sour cream muffins) with whipped cream on top. YUM!

As a kid, it was always a picture for my parents... Not much else. Later in the year, we would go out to eat on report card days... Luckily, we usually did well. This is something we've continued with our kids, too.

Thanks for the giveaway entry!
reynoldsfour at aol dot com

Anonymous said...

Oh I love how you make your kids such special memories and the cupcakes are beautiful:)
Shelby

Proverbs30one said...

I am looking forward to reading the comments. We start homeschool on Tuesday and I am racking my brain to think of some fun traditions. Either for the last day of summer or the first day of school. I love the idea of the time capsule and we will be using that. Other than that I am stuck. My girls are 15, 11, and 6 months and we would love the cupcake kit!

Shiloh said...

On my twins' first day of school, I used window markers on our porch window to wish them a happy first day. Then we took lots and lots of pictures and went out for a special celebratory dinner that evening and they got to choose where we went.

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

My family didn't have any particular traditions for the first day of school...but they would always buy me an extra nice outfit for the first day. The first day was fun at school too...because back then the teachers gave us all our school supplies, the parents never had to buy them...and for me, anyway, it was fun...the pencil box, pencils, crayons, chalk, glue etc...I loved that stuff...maybe that's why I love office supplies to this day :) :) :)
For me personally as a kid, the first day of school was very special because I was able to see all of my friends that I haven't seen all summer!!!
I love what you did for your children!!! I think celebrating with breakfast is a great idea!!! Have a great time. Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

Proverbs30one said...

I have a question about the time capsule. When will you open it? Will you just keep adding to it every year and open them years from now? I just printed mine up and will be using them next week - thank you! ...off to make the time capsule container!

angie said...

I love how you displayed the cupcakes by turning a parfait dish upside down. How clever!
We take a pictue on the front porch of everyone ready to go to the bus stop, wearing an outfit that was decided upon weeks before.

Davonne said...

I don't remember any traditions other than wearing a dress my first day each year. I still have the dress I wore my first day of kindergarten, and reading this post inspired me to allow the two girls (my daughter and a family friend friend) that I'll have for kindergarten this year to try it on for a picture! Thanks for the giveaway :)

Shannon Miller said...

I love the decorations you made and that growth chart! My mom always took our picture (usually in front of a new school - I was an army brat) and we usually went out to eat that night.
Since we homeschool, we do things a little different. I take their picture in the same corner of the kitchen every year and their daddy brings home Krispy Kreme doughnuts for breakfast (not the most nutrious start for the first day, but yummy!). We spend a lot of time playing with our new school supplies and exploring our new books - just an easy fun day!
I'd love to win the cupcake kit - too cute!

mrsuribe said...

We always take a picture of the kids and ask them what they want to be when they grow up. It's fun to see the changes over the years.

Katie said...

Your special touches and efforts will be such a blessing for your children to look back on. This blog is such a testament to your purposeful planning as a mother who loves the Lord and trains Her children in His ways!!

I don't remember many real traditions growing up, other than getting our picture taken in front of the bus for the first day. Fun pictures to look back on indeed!

To begin school, we started with prayer and The Pledge of Allegiance, Scripture and songs (we do that daily)...but also for the first day, we photocopied each child's hand for their portfolio, measured/weighed them, took their pictures, talked about our goals, introduced them to their new books!!, and had some fun! When dad came home for the day, we told him all about it and celebrated and went out to eat!

Thanks for the opportunity to enter this giveaway and for sharing your sweet traditions. Blessings upon your whole upcoming schoolyear!

Anonymous said...

First day of school pictures, for me and now for my kids. Always new clothes to wear too. Thanks so much!

tootsweet61@comcast.net

Amy said...

My mom always took a picture of us outside with our backpacks on the first day of school. Now that I'm a homeschool mom I take a picture of the kids by our front door. We can see in the pictures how tall they have grown by comparing where they reached on the door from previous years. Thanks for the giveaway- Those are the same sugared daisies that decorated my wedding cake years ago! brian amy 10 at hotmail dot com (no spaces) :) Thanks!

Marie said...

I really like all you did getting ready for school. The time capsule and growth charts with their pictures is great. I wish you a great school year.
Love,
Marie

Lisa @ Simply Things Family said...

No special traditions. But I do remember how it poured down raining on my first day of Kindergarten. What a mess trying to get outside pictures!

Jolene said...

Never really had anything special for Back to School... other than the necessary school supplies. However, just the excitement of being with friends every day again was good enough for me!

Mrs. Pear said...

we haven't started any traditions for school yet, we did not grow up having any so it did not occur to us! But this does sound like a great idea!

Amy @ A Contented, Common Life said...

We homeschool and make a big deal about Back-to-School traditions at our house. We have a special family back-to-school dinner the nite before with Daddy Blessings and more. I've even started a series of posts about it on my blog.

Mar H said...

Photo tradition on the front steps here too, though I had a hard time today - on their first day -convincing my kindergartners to cooperate for it! My mom shared that she and her siblings had the same tradition growing up, though I don't remember my sister and I doing it when we were growing up!
orangetriangle2 AT yahoo DOT com

Anonymous said...

My mom always baked us cookies on our first day. My daughter had her first day of kindergarten this week so she baked them for her. Thanks for the chance to win.

Erin
erinb1@aol.com

GritsGreensNGrassStains said...

We would always take pictures on the fronch porch the morning school started.

My son isnt old enough for school yet but I look forward to establishing some new tradtions as he grows up.

TeriD said...

The night before the first day of school I always went to bed in those pink foam rollers - so I could have pretty curly hair for the first day. And besides 'picture day' that was the only time all year my hair had any curl! I take a photo of my daughter on the first day - but we never did that when I was little.

No Ordinary Me said...

What a great tradition. It all looks so lovely.

cheryl said...

Love all the fun traditions. Hope you don't mind, but I'm totally planning to copy your "growth chart" idea. ;o) I've been meaning to make one anyway, and this will go perfectly with what we're talking about right now as well. (MFW 1st grade. I hadn't heard of MFW before I went to a local hs book fair last summer and bought the K curriculum to use for pre-K last year, then I came across several people who have/ are using it as well and I love all the fun "extra" ideas I come across.)

Kristi said...

I do not remember the first day of school, per se, just that my mom was always the mom to volunteer for everything (even when she was on chemo)! She was always the best room mom :). For our kids (we also homeschool), we take pictures, try to have a special breakfast, everyone gets something new to wear, even if it is just a new shirt. It is a fun day!

Kristi said...

I do not remember the first day of school, per se, just that my mom was always the mom to volunteer for everything (even when she was on chemo)! She was always the best room mom :). For our kids (we also homeschool), we take pictures, try to have a special breakfast, everyone gets something new to wear, even if it is just a new shirt. It is a fun day!

Crystal said...

We always take pictures on the first day of school. Now with two in college that could not be done. So sad. So my 13 year old had to deal with me snapping lots of pictures. I always make a special dinner and dessert to celebrate the 1st day.

petrii said...

Monica,
You are making the first day of school so special for your littles.

My first day of school was on my fifth birthday. We walked 8 blocks (1 mile) to school, but I didn't seem to mind. I remember my teacher reading the Bible to us and saying a prayer before lunch. Sadly they don't do this in public school anymore, but I still remember that.


My baby is a Senior, and we read Psalm 139 on the first day of school. It is a GREAT reminder of how intricately God made him (us all) and how much He loves and knows us. It's a great way to start the school year.

Have a Blessed weekend,
Dawn

Anonymous said...

Aww, I love your "first day" activities/decor!

We're also a hs family, and usually I plan a First Day scavenger hunt with their books, new school supplies, etc. They LOVE it! :)

~Flower Petal

*carrie* said...

Monica,

Those cupcakes are so cute.

I'm horrified that I don't remember Dad ever taking us out for breakfast, let alone on the first day of school. Yikes!

Anonymous said...

My first day was a good but sad day....my mom wasn't allowed to be off work to see me go. She was recently divorced and was working like crazy to support us. She was in tears.....luckily I had a grandma there for me to get me ready, take pictures and give me kisses! Thanks :) Amber
figandchloe at hotmail dot com

Melissa of Churubusco, IN said...

The first day of school is ALWAYS something I looked forward to as a child. As a homeschooling mama I see it as my duty to make it memorable for my little ladies, 2nd and 7th grade.

This year we moved our "First Day of School Breakfast" outdoors to the front deck. I hauled the parlor table outdoors, covered it with a vintage tablecloth and layed out my miss-matched china teacups, and juice glasses. Our menu consisted of orange juice, peaches and pears, hot cocoa, scrambled eggs and raspberry pound cake with caramel sauce. The ladies wore their robes because there was a bit of a chill in the air. I took several photos and we started our schoolday with reading the Bible and a journal topic question.

Homeschooling is such a blessing for me, I am thankful for a husband who allows it and children who have been so receptive to my creative craziness as I fill their days full of memories and fun learning activities. :)

Valerie said...

Monica,

Your blog is beautiful and such an inspiration.

I actually happened upon this post via your "garlands" post after visiting a "Wise Woman Builds her Home".

I would love to support your cause to raise funds for your conference and order a Christmas set if you are still taking orders. You do such beautiful work.

As far as the first day of school goes, my siblings and I attended Catholic school and so we didn't get to wear fancy "first day of school" clothes, but my mom and dad still took pictures of us and prepared a special breakfast at home. I love that some years my uniform skirt looked shorter than others as my mom instilled in us the necessity to take care of our clothing (even Catholic school uniforms) so that we could get more than one year out of them by dropping the hems! :)

Many blessings to you from your newest follower,

Valerie

mykidzmomnow said...

What fabulous and bright traditions!

Our family starts our school year on July 4 of every year. It is our independence that allows us to learn together as we wish with so little interference. We say the Pledge of Allegiance and talk about the year's past events that remind us of our freedoms.

Stephanie in SC said...

Monica,
Wonderful ideas for the first day of school.
I never had any first day of school traditions that I can think of, other than my mother would take the first day off of work. It was always nice to see her car home in the drive after a long first day!
This year began our 12th year of homeschooling. I pulled out pictures from my oldest child's first day of homeschool in first grade. I am so happy my mother-in-law thought of taking that picture. Usually we journal about what we want to learn about this year. I've had loads of fun going back through those. It seems like only yesterday.

Ashley said...

My ten year old daughter attends a Christian University Model School where she goes two days to school and then schools at home three days during the week. On the first day of her school year since first grade, I have a nice tea party set out for us when she comes home. I have place card holders that stay on top of the pie safe and on this day I change hers to say, "Annie, Sweet Fifth Grader" or whatever grade she is in.
Thank you for the opportunity for the give-away.
ashley

BrendaLou said...

We always started the school year (and ended it too!) with ice cream sundaes at the ice cream parlour. Yum!

Elise said...

No special traditions are coming to mind and I love it that you do such inspiring things. I need to implement more of your ideas and make ordinary things special.
LOVE the quilt and all the other pretty touches you added!!
Elise

The Saunders Family said...

shiny new pencils...still love them to this day!

Rebecca said...

Love your ideas- and inspirational pics -thanks for sharing!

Jaimee @ Craft, Interrupted said...

Your Back to School Time Capsule is such a sweet idea! I'm including it in a Gimme Five for Friday blog post on Back to School Traditions. Thanks for the inspiration!

Thomas Family said...

We always did a back to school picture outside before the school bus came by. Since this is my first year homeschooling my own kids I really appreciated your ideas! The cupcakes looked so cute!

Michal said...

We always took a first day of school picture with our new school clothes on and our new backpacks :)!We would absolutely love to win this...and I love the idea of a special breakfast to begin the new school year.

Michal said...

I love the ideas on how to make the first day of home school special and memorable and also the way you centered it around the Lord.

Back to school traditions for us growing up were the traditional "first day" photo with our new school clothes!