Thursday, August 5, 2010

Let’s Spice it up!


****Edited to add a deadline for the giveaway... duh!****

In college I dated a guy whose mantra was "variety is the spice of life." For the record, that is not a good philosophy for your significant other to have.

But that's beside the point. Really, I wanted to spice things up by talking about some fun stuff. Let's proceed.

Fun stuff #1 – MY BABY IS STARTING KINDERGARTEN THIS MONTH!!!! Is it really THAT TIME? I am not old enough for this…! Anyway, I need some creative help here, friends. I need ideas for lunches and after-school snacks. I could also use some tips on how you keep all of the papers, homework, etc, organized. And in order to motivate you all, one lucky tipster will be rewarded with a $10 $25 Target gift card to help with all of your back-to-school shopping! Does it get any better than this? So come on, let's hear it! (Hint: You will get one entry for each comment that you leave, so you may want to put just one tip per comment… Just a thought…)  For an additional entry, share this blog or this post and leave a comment here when you do.  (You can share using a variety of media--Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc, etc.  To share this post, use the buttons at the bottom of the post; to share the blog, use the buttons on the right-hand side of the page.)  The deadline to enter this contest is Thursday, August 12 at 8 PM.  Why?  Because tomorrow seems too soon, I don't want to do it over the weekend, and then we're going to Niagara Falls.  By then we'll be home from the Falls, home from a day out with friends, and the kids will be in bed.  :-)  The winner will be chosen at random--again, likely a number chosen by Lamb.

Fun stuff #2 – Speaking of giveaways, I'm trying to win one myself. AkronOhioMoms is a fabulous blog full of great information and lots of free stuff. J I found it on Facebook (of course!) and it has quickly become one of my favorite blogs. Currently, there is one giveaway that I really want to win—4 lawn tickets to see "Disney in Concert – Magic Music from the Movies" at Blossom on August 21. My kids (and us grown-ups too!) would absolutely love this show!!! Go here to see how you can enter to win tickets, as well as get more information on how to buy tickets for this or other Blossom shows this summer. But if one of you wins, you owe me big-time. Ha ha, just kidding. Kind of. ;-)

Fun stuff #3 – We're going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship! Actually, we're going in the van, but Monkey is a big fan of Little Einsteins, so that's what I thought of… Anyway, we leave Sunday for a getaway to Niagara Falls. YAY! I am super super super excited, both for the destination and just for the chance to get away from everything with my family for a few days. And since my time will be spent relaxing, enjoying, not thinking about Down syndrome or kindergarten or anything like that, you probably won't hear from me while we're gone, but rest assured that I will be back! Not sure if that's a promise or a threat…

Fun stuff #4 – Get a load of these cuties! J


OK, time to stop ignoring those cute little faces. Have a great day! Don't forget to visit AkronOhioMoms to enter the Disney in Concert giveaway (and maybe a few others while you're there!), and leave your comments here for my own much smaller but still fun back-to-school giveaway. J

22 comments:

Jan said...

Love your pictures! The only tip I have is take digital photos of all your kiddos school art work- then at the end of the year make a photo book and you can throw the orginals away- (or most of them- I can never throw stuff like that away LOL!)

Cathy said...

OK the thing I am going to do so I can keep track of John's stuff is have a file folder for each day of the week and put anything that needs to be turned back into school in one of the folders. Hope it works for me.

Donegan Family said...

Hello! I wish I had some helpful tips, but I did want to pass along Maisy's thoughts when she saw pictures of the kiddos. She said, "I want to see them! Can we go to see them tomorrow?" Wish we could, kiddo. Wish we could :) Kristen

Lynn said...

Amongst teaching, going to school full time, and expecting our own new little boy soon... I am trying hard to think of ways to keep things straight. Last year while Bro was in pre-school I took pictures of significant projects. I have those forever, even if they tear or anything in the midst of our chaotic home. Also, I plan on sitting down each evening before dinner and going over his homework. (I have been warned by his teacher that they will actually have a lot.) This seemed to work last year as well.

Miranda said...

when you make sandwiches use cookie cutters to make them in fun shapes. Do a different shape each time you make a sandwich to make it fun and surprising.. this site has a lot of neat lunch ideas! http://www.laptoplunches.com/LaptopLunchPhotos.html

Maryn said...

Best wishes for a great kindergarten year! For lunches, remember that with a thermos bottle or jar, anything that your kiddo likes can become a lunch food - just be sure when you purchase the thermos that her little hands can turn the lid to open it & to close it tightly so any leftovers don't spill in her lunch box. Our Kroger store had really cool thermos jars this year that have a clear lid that holds a collapsible utensil that's a fork on one side & a spoon on the other. For cold foods we have a container that holds a square ice pack securely in the lid - the name has long since washed off, it was Fresh something or other.

For papers: We used an expandable file folder with a pocket for each month during kindergarten. Favorite projects and weekly (and quarterly) behavior reward certificates went on the refrigerator.

We used art projects as greeting cards to keep in touch with far away family members. At the end of the year Kiddo came home with a portfolio of her best work and we were able to go through the expandable file and select what she wanted to keep. That worked great in 1st grade as well. 2nd & 3rd grade didn't have nearly as much paper coming home. So far 4th grade hasn't had anything come home that didn't have to go right back the next day with parent signatures on it. Of course we managed to send Kiddo to school today with her swim suit, towel & sunscreen - a week early for swim gym! OOPS! LOL

Again, best wishes for a great school year!
- Mar & Kiddo

Jennie H said...

We set up a homework station in the dining room with the typical supplies (pencil, crayons, etc) so that the kids have what they need, and a quiet place to do their work.

jennie H said...

Ooh, and to help keep their artwork neatly displayed, Bryan installed cork pieces in the dining room (it looks really cool) so that they can display their work that comes home. I also got an under the bed bin for storing the pieces that we want to keep (like all the stuff with their handprints on them, I can't bare to part with them :o)

Erin S. said...

Ideas for lunch:
Sandwiches in fun shapes, use different cookie cutters, and let Miss Lamb choose which ones she wants for the week, that way she's involved.

Erin S. said...

As for organization, unless the school has specified certain colored folders for take home folders, let Lamb choose which folders she would like. One should be a "Go to school" folder and one should be a "Homework" folder, that way, you get in the routine early of what needs to come home and what needs to go back to school.

Erin S. said...

Annnd, the dollar store has WONDERFUL plastic pencil containers that I use in my classroom for colored pencils and regular pencils too. You can use a sharpie on them and write initials or names on them and put pictures on them!

Jennifer Godale said...

I set up a "Locker" in the front hall closet. I took a tall narrow closet organizer, bought hooks for the inside of it and placed the shelf part high like in a locker. When Chase gets home, she hangs her coat/bookbag in the locker and puts her shoes away. Puts gloves, etc on the shelf. All at her level. And there when we need it in the morning.

Stephanie said...

Ok, here you go:
1. I write a note and put it in Laura's lunch box everyday. Simple at first like "I love you". "Don't forget to smile." Simple things they can read. As Laura is older now I write more stuff and even reminders of what we have to do that evening.

2. Always put a special snack in the lunchbox. (simple like 1 tootsie roll, or fruit snacks.) The kids love to compare and trade.

3. I try to alternate what I pack every other day. Sometimes I also throw in no sandwich. Instead I will pack crackers and cheese.
You can do this at times to. Make your own peanut butter crackers on Ritz. But I will sometimes cut the lunch meat in circles to fit the crackers. It just gives some variety.
**OH freeze the gogurts if you child likes them. My girls love them. This keeps them cold and they are unfrozen by lunch.

3. Do NOT throw away art projects. I got a box that fits under the bed and put all the projects in there. I saw someone else say stuff stops coming in 4th grade. Try 2nd grade. Laura just finished and only brought home 2 things from class and a few pictures from art class. So "K" and 1st grade are the times they make all the cute stuff you will want to hang on to. I did do the pictures of the art too. I have been putting those in my scrapbooks.

4. I have a magazine box in my living room near the front door. I have different color folders in it.
One is papers I need to keep that includes information from the school, like codes for lunch or PTA stuff. This also has awards they get at school.
One is for homework I want to keep to go over, spelling lists or instruction sheets (we have this horrible everyday math and explanation sheets come home every new unit.)
One is for the art projects, when that gets full I move them to the box under my bed.
One is for A+ papers I want to keep. I will keep spelling tests they did great on or other papers similar. Then I go through this folder every so often and keep a few in the art box. The rest I give away to grandparents.

5. If a paper needs returned I do it that instant and put it back in their bag. Don't wait or lay it down to do later, that's how I forget.

6. We lay out clothes for the whole week. So they pick out on Sunday night what they want to wear each day (keeping gym days in mind). Then I make a pile with those clothes (mines in the closet) and they just have to get the outfit right off the top each morning. It saves headaches of what to wear and what is not ok for school.

Hope this helps! :)

Rebecca said...

I haven't tried any of this yet since my little one has not yet arrived, but the Babycheapskate blog had a whole bunch of ideas for creative lunches today. Just thought I'd share! http://www.babycheapskate.com/2010/08/09/lunch-bpx-idea-roundup-11-tasty-links/

Anonymous said...

Our kids all have the same style backpack but in different colors. We go through the bags at the end of each day to clean out accumulated junk, read teacher notes, and do homework. The bags hang on a kiddie coat rack near the front door for organization.

Torrance

Weed said...

To help ensure that she eats what you pack, have her help you pack it. Have her choose one "main" dish, one fruit, one treat, etc.

Weed said...

Make a week's worth of lunches at once and just have them in the fridge, ready to go.

Jennifer Godale said...

A big master calendar is must. This year I think we are going to go with a dry erase one. Chase can put all of her activities on it(school and after), plans for lunches (buying/packing), spirit days, gym, music, assignments due etc. If we didn't have the calendar and it wasn't big and easy for us all to look at-- we'd be lost for sure. Last year we just had a paper one on the side of the fridge where I had to walk by every morning. That way I could verbally run down the day with her as we walked out the door and had one last chance to grab a library book, gym shoes or whatever.

Elizabeth said...

When the girls started school I found these cute little contraptions that hang in the closet. They have a cubbie for each day of the week and on Sunday the girls can choose what they want to wear each day and that way there are no issues in the morning. I sure helps to move things along. Also helps when you have "pajama day" or "wear yellow day"!

Elizabeth said...

I also have 2 bins in the dining room area. Inside each bin is any and all materials needed for homework...crayons, scissors, glue, pencils etc. That way the girls can go to the bins and get whatever they need and it makes homework time much smoother (they each have their own since a 3 year difference in age means different supplies required). The bins have been there for years now....they work great. ONLY school stuff goes in there.

Elizabeth said...

One other thing...I'm sure I got the idea from a book or something but...if your child is feeling unsure about going to school draw a little heart on the palm of their hand and they can look at it anytime during the day and remember that you love them. I have done this on many occasions and I imagine I will do it on the first day of (gulp) middle school for Heather! (or maybe I will need to have Heather draw a heart on my hand!) For some reason I think this came from a book that was read to me at the kindergarted parent orientation day. I think it was racoons maybe called "The Kissing Hand"...oh, that was forever ago it seams!

Emily B said...

My tip is simple...throw stuff away! You will get lots of newsletters and updates from the office and teacher with duplicate info each week. Read it write the important stuff on the calendar, then pitch it. You will also get lots of special papers and projects Grace is proud of. Find a display space for some, pitch the rest...there will be more next week :)

Hope she loves it!