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First Day of School 2013

It happened. My kids went back to school. It felt so surreal. Like…I’ve done this a few times before, it never felt so odd. My kids are at an age where we really had a fun summer. I don’t have napping babies or diapers to change, we could do whatever we wanted all day long. AND, I now have a child old enough to be in charge (life changing) when I need to run an errand or exercise, which was amazing, but I stilly tried to drag them along to other places just to get them out of the house some days. We had a good thing going. We didn’t have “electronic time” til 3pm, so they woke up and read….and played games with each other….and mostly got along. We’d take adventures, pools, outings, and part way through the summer we had a family budget constraint that they totally understood and we spent next to nothing on activities. It was a dreamy summer. I have a tendency to block out the bad–it was there–the fighting and my youngest learning she can do the blood curtling screams. But overall–dreamy. I’ve mentioned before that I battle with sending them off, but I know in my heart it’s best for them, and I also know that I wouldn’t like being their school teacher. Scholastic discipline is not in my nature, and there is too much fun to be had at school. Really, my kids will never admit it, but they love school. They love the social, learning, and activities they get to do. But don’t you worry about me….I find things to do with my quiet-er time.  Here is a snippet of my brewd as they headed to school. Back to School first day of school
schoolschool time

I suggested they dance…and they did! Then a few cars drove by, toting kids to school, and they stopped. But I captured some slick moves!

dancing

Then the oldest stayed home while the rest of us walked to the elementary school. I’m pretty pleased with the french braids I’ve been producing on my daughters hair recently. I’d never actually attempted it until a few months ago (though my mom did this many many times on my hair growing up) and happy that I’d envisioned it long enough in my head that it worked out when I went to do it!

french braid
walking to school

These two are good buddies…walking

And BOTH of them get to go upstairs every day for class–big time!

stairs at school

And after we dropped them off, we felt a little hole in our hearts…

school

But I’m pretty sure we will find some fun things to fill our time;)

So tell me, are you like me and have a hard time “cutting the apron strings” as my husband says, or do you celebrate when school starts? I’m a good mix of both.

 

Colored Pencil Necklace Gift

My kids head back to school next week. As with most moms out there, I’ve got mixed emotions. This happens to me every year. I’m grateful for the opportunities to go into the world and learn and grow from others, but I’m sad to let them go. I love having them around.  Once we get into the groove of things, I’ll be much better.

The week before school starts, our area has a fun tradition of a Welcome Walk. We are asked to stay home from 5-8pm on a certain day, awaiting the teachers, and we generally don’t have any idea who they will be.  This year, we greeted the teachers with a little gift I’m so excited to share. I had pinned some fun things on my Back to School Pinterest Board, and went back to look for something fun to do. We decided on the cutest Colored Pencil Necklace, and wanted to make some ourselves.

Colored Pencil Necklace

Check out the tutorial on the link above. It’s a great gift, because it can be done all year. I shared this picture on instagram the night before of me drilling holes into the pencil:

Ryobi Power Tools

It was tricky to sharpen the extra short pencils, but it worked out just fine in the end!

Back to the welcome walk, it’s  a fun tradition our school does, often filled with anxious anticipation. This year, I wasn’t too stressed out, because I knew for sure my sons teacher, and my daughters teacher, I was 95% sure about. You see, my 5th grade son “looped up” with his 4th grade class and teacher. Our school seems to like to shuffle teachers around to different grades, and at the end of last year, his 4th grade teacher was asked to teach 5th, and our class had the opportunity to decide if we wanted to be in the class again–with the same kids. I LOOOOVED his teacher, so jumped at the idea. I had already done this “looping” with my daughter (her kinder class looped to first grade together), and at that time, I had lots of apprehension about the idea. Mostly because I think classmates changing from year to year is a good idea: Get to know different people, don’t get too set in the ways of the classroom. But I’m so glad I did that with her, and I think my son will enjoy it as well.  Here is my son with his awesome 5th grade teacher.

welcome walk

So that one I knew 100%.

With my daughter, I was PRETTY sure that she’d get my older sons third grade teacher. I loved her and she knew it. At the end of last year, I saw her in the hall and said, “I’m crossing my fingers my daughter gets you!” She said to put in a request on my teacher info form, and she will do the same, and it’s pretty likely it will happen. I don’t think requesting a teacher works unless you’ve had another child with that teacher, and you know that teaching style and personality is a match. SOOOOO, I was pretty sure, and VERY happy to see her on my doorstep again! Yipeee!

 

meet the teacher

{my son with the same teacher at the welcome walk 2 years ago}

pencil vase

It’s so nice for me that I already have a repoir with both of them, too. I was on several group texts with my friends during the Welcome Walk to see who others got, and happily my daughter in in class with a few of her friends, yay! That was my big uncertainty. My kids are both pretty easy going and flexible, so I don’t worry about them too much.

My oldest hits 7th grade–his second year of middle school–and I’m not too worried about that, either. He did great last year, and we found out that he’s in the Honor Band with his tuba, which he is VERY excited about (there are 4 levels and that’s the highest)! I am surprised being that both 7th and 8th graders are together in that band and they  only take 4 tuba players (out of the 16 or so), which blows me away. I am not a great enforcer of home practice, I think piano background helped a lot for him. He will also run cross country and track, excited to cheer him on there, he’s a great runner (after his dad).

middle school locker

My baby has one more year with me, I’ll do a co-op preschool like last year.

We are as ready as we are going to be for school to start on Monday!!!

If you’d like any back to school ideas, I’ve got a few (click on the image for the posts):

Printable Kids Lunch Jokes and Brain Teasers

Lots and Lots of lunch jokes!!

Back to School Ideas Our Back to school dinner, photo shoot, and a few crafts.

 

Printable Kids Lunch Jokes and Brain Teasers

I’m so excited to share another batch of kids lunch jokes, plus a new set of brain teasers for the older kid crowd!  2 years ago I introduced the first set of lunch jokes, and they were so popular with readers as well as my kids,  so I made many more sets. I even mades sets with holiday themes throughout the year!  It was something that I wanted to do for my kids that I though others might enjoy, too. My fabulous friend Kim at 733 Blog whipped these up this new batch for me to share with all of you!  At the bottom of the post,  you’ll find the link for these, and to my past post with over 100 printables of more lunch jokes to last you throughout the year!

Printable Kids Lunch Jokes and Brain Teasers

It all started when I wanted to do more than just put a little note in my kids school lunches….

I wanted them to:

a) know I love them and was thinking of them (just putting anything in there does that)

b) put a smile on their face from mom

c) share something fun with their friends at the lunch table

This first set I’m sharing today can really be for any age, but geared towards the younger elementary school crowd. I’ll still cut them up for my middle schooler, though. Click on the jokes to download, or there are links at the bottom.
lunch_jokes

 

The second set is a bit trickier, I call them brain teasers. They are aimed for the middle school (or even high school) age group, but it would still be a fun challenge for the younger crowd (and the answer IS on the back).

lunch_brain_teasersI simply print, cut, and each morning when I place them in their lunches, I sign, “love, mom.” If I need to add something specific that day, I’ll do it then.

 

lunch jokes

For each set, there are two pages, one for the front and one for the back. You would ideally print on front and back from your printer.  They are lined up so that the answers are on the back of the question. If you don’t have a duplex option to flip the print and the printer feeds it through, you just have to line up the paper so it prints the right!  When I couldn’t figure out my printer to do duplex printing, I have printed them before not double sided and just cut ‘em and taped ‘em together. No biggie!  I personally will print 3 copies of each page (for my 3 kids), cut them up and put them in the drawer in the kitchen with the ziploc bags that I use for school lunch making. That way, they are all ready to go each morning. I’ve actually gone to visit them at lunch and get to see them pull out their joke, and share it with their friends. It’s fun. Their friends start to look forward to it, too!

brain teasersHope you and your kids love them as much as we do!  Click on the links below to download the printables.

 10 New Lunch Jokes

10 Brain Teasers

Old post with over 100 lunch jokes

including holidays throughout the year

HalloweenThanksgivingChristmasValentines DaySpring & Easter

 

So are you going to do it? Print out some jokes for your kids lunches? I’d love if you Pin It so others can benefit, too!

Back to School Shopping Style with Target

It was so fun to be a part of the Target #kidsgotstyle campaign for back to school, and do a little shopping! If you missed last weeks post, I shared a picture of my daughter on Instagram, and Target made a fun little Stylagram of her with suggestions on items she might enjoy.  We took our stylagram straight to Target to do a little school shopping, and it was fun to find some of the products they suggested she might enjoy! Here is a hint…

Back to School Shopping with Target www.KristenDuke.com #kidsgotstyle #style


Below is the stylagram that was on my phone in my hand as we perused the kids section.

target-style-gram

We first were looking for the hat and jacket, and we found them pretty quickly!  Then we found the neon supplies such as highlighters and tape…we do love some neon (phone pics below).… Continue Reading