I'm sitting here, trying to figure out if I am excited that the kids are going back to school next week, or am I sad that the summer is over??
When I'm at the grocery store and the 2 olders are whining because "she punched me" & "he tripped me", I am most certainly HAPPY that school is about to start.
But when I look back on all the fun things we did this summer together as a family, I long for more time with them......
Knowing that we can't stop time, I have to make the most of what I have in front of me. So, to make the most of this last week of summer, we traditionally do some fun things to celebrate the end of a fun season and the start of a new school year:
1. Make the last week FUN!! Do somethings that you didn't do all summer - take them to their favorite restaurant (my kids love CiCi's - blech - but it's cheap!), to a different swimming pool, to the 99 cent movies - just get out of the house and make it fun.
Last year, every morning of the last week of school, the kids we given an envelop with a clue of what we were doing. For example, "Happy Tuesday! Let's remember what it's like to have recess by playing outside at the Rockin' R Water Park!" We went to Gattiland, had doughnuts at this well-known bakery, and had a family game day. We had an awesome week filled with fun!! I enjoy the time spent with them doing something they loved doing.
This year, I let each one pick an activity with a friend - Sis choose an Mall Scavenger Hunt & Brody choose a trip to the Lego Store.
2. Count it Down. We like to find ways to count down the days of summer - this is great for the younger kids to "see" how long they have until school starts. Last year, we did this with a paper chain.
3. Make a Back-to-School recipe with the kids. There are so many ideas floating around out there for fun cookies, cupcakes, meals, etc. that celebrate school. Some of my favorites come from the Family Fun website. We have made treats for our teachers each year, as the teachers at our school come to each house the week before to introduce themselves to the kids. This is how the kids find out who they have - it is so fun!!!
4. Last Day of Summer?? Make it meaningful. Our school district starts school on a Tuesday and I love that because it gives me a day after the weekend to relax them. Traditionally, we spend that day at home, quietly playing, with no friends over. Sis and I have made a scrapbook of our summer and watched our favorite movie together (the past 3 summers, it has been Hairspray, wonder what it will be this year?). It is a wonderful last day to love on my kiddos before sending them off for the year.
5. Packed & Ready to Go! My kids are not the anxious type and they are used to me making a fuss over the littlest things in life. So I like to make a "last summer vacation" meal that all the family will enjoy - and y'all know my troubles with getting Brody to eat "regular" food - so sometimes this means we mix it up - hamburgers for the normal people and a grilled cheese for him. This saves the fighting at the dinner table, he fills his belly and we all have a nice family meal together.
I also ensure that they are a part of planning lunches & snacks by taking them shopping for what they want (as long as it gets mom's approval) and packing their lunch the night before. When they were little, I made a check list of all the things they needed to do to get ready for school and we walked through it. As we have gotten older, I have given them a lot more independence - this is the first year I have completely let them pick out their own first day of school outfits (and it's not at all what mom would have choose - no more skirts and cute boots for my girl!! sniff sniff).
These are a few of the things we are doing this week - I know there are many more fun traditions out there that all of you amazingly creative moms do - tell me some of them!!
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