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Back To School

With mixed emotions, we send our kids off to school for another year of learning and making new friends. Parents know that they will be kicking into high gear very soon with after-school sports, scouting activities, PTA, classroom parties, and fundraisers. We have a few ideas to help Mom and Dad feel well-prepared for any activity.

Making Your Event Special

Activities

Make the first day of school special by starting with their favorite breakfast. They are so anxious they won't be able to eat much, so make something they like.

During the week before school starts, create a checklist of things your child will need to take with them on their first day. Preparing a list in advance can help you avoid forgetting things on an already hectic day.

On the first day, take a camera to the bus stop and gather all the kids into the shot. Make it a tradition they'll look forward to year after year. Put these in a special album that you bring to the stop next year. It makes a great icebreaker.

When your child comes home, have a refreshing Creamy Strawberry Shake waiting for them. It's a great opportunity to hear about their day while you spend some time together.

Study time usually requires some coaxing. A promise of a family activity like a bike ride, or helping them practice baseball or soccer, or just playing a board game after finishing homework is a great motivator—and they will look forward to trying to beat Mom or Dad.

Don't forget to plan an occasional night out for just Mom and Dad. Get a babysitter with a referral from school or neighbors. The babysitter will appreciate you providing something to help keep the kids occupied. Make sure you have plenty on hand to choose from.

Food Ideas

A well-stocked pantry and freezer will reduce the stress of weekday meals with mix and match quick prep dinners. Make sure you have plenty of the basics like pasta, canned vegetables, sauces and mixes.

Need some quick treats for a troup meeting or a team get-together? Whip up a batch of Chocolate Chip Treasure Cookies or Make-Ahead S'Mores. You can make them in under an hour!

Potluck sports banquets have changed over time. Many things are just "picked up on the way". A tray of assorted homemade desserts can easily be baked in no time the night before with Decadent Brownies or Magic Cookie Bars. You'll be the hit of the night! Be prepared to be asked for the recipe.

Gift Ideas

Add a twist to the traditional teacher gift and give your child's teacher a plate of Apple Walnut Bars. It's a small token of gratitude that shows how much you appreciate them.

Coaches score big with kids and parents! Thank them with a tin of assorted treats.

Holiday time is a busy time for teachers, too. But you can help out by giving them a gift that will save them time. Pick up a decorative tray at a local card shop, food service, or party store. Make an assortment of delicious fudge that your child's teacher would be proud to serve to her own guests.

A good babysitter is hard to find, so make sure they know they're appreciated. For a teenage babysitter, movie tickets are a great choice. And for an older babysitter, a gift certificate for a dinner for two is extra special.