Show + Tell Tuesday {Back to School Traditions}

It's August.
That means school starts this month.
  3 weeks from today. 

I have a love/hate relationship with school starting back up.
I love the easy breezy days of summer, but I do crave routine & schedules, so that will be nice to have a good routine going once school starts back up.
I don't love the packing of lunches/waking up early/grading that comes along with school days.

I am looking forward to the fun traditions we have for Back to School! 
I'm linking up with Andrea (who like me, is also a middle school math teacher!)

First things first.
Growing up, one of my favorite parts of going Back to School, was going back to school shopping with my mom & sisters for new school supplies and of course New Clothes! I always loved shopping for my 1st Day of School outfit :)

We pay a supply fee for the girls school, so we don't have to buy any school supplies (besides a backpack & lunchbox) All their school supplies are bought by the teacher & kept in the classroom all year long so that each student has the same thing. You bring your supplies from your desk home on the last day of school. It works out great! I love that they do this! 

For Back to School Clothes Shopping, I am changing a few things up this year.
Last week, I had the girls clean out their dressers & closets so that we could figure out what they needed for Back to School & what clothes they had grown out of. 

Each of my girls filled a huge black trash bag of clothes for giveaway.
 I went through each of their giveaway bags.
There were some clothes that still had tags on them! Some clothes they only wore 1 or 2 times. 
I was totally disgusted...they had so many clothes that they never wore and they were giving away things that still fit them, but they just didn't like anymore. Such a waste of money!

So, this year for Back to School shopping, they will have a budget. 
I will buy each of them 1 pair of shoes (they both chose Converse, which is what they wore pretty much everyday last year, so that works out perfectly)
I am also buying them a new hoodie (we live in California & the weather is so mild, you don't need a winter jacket...a hoodie works just fine!)
I am also buying them each a new 6 pack of socks since they have blown out most of their socks! 

Next week we are going to go clothes shopping at Target & Old Navy. I am giving each of them a $50 Visa Gift Card to go shopping. This is the only money they can spend on clothes for Back to School (besides the shoes, socks & hoodie I am getting them) The girls are almost 7 & 8.5 years old, so it is time that I start teaching them about budgeting/money and picking out practical clothes. 
I just can't believe how many clothes we gave away last week that were brand new or barely worn. (And, they still have SO many clothes in their closets!)
 I hope my $50 Gift Card idea works for helping them make good choices for Back to School Clothes.
I am hoping they can get enough basic items to last them through December.
This is also a good experiment for myself!
I will keep you posted.
What do YOU do for Back to School Clothes Shopping? I would love to hear!

Now, back to other fun things about our Back to School Traditions!
Since Kate started Preschool, the first week of school, I started having a "Back to School Feast"
I would pick a "Theme" for the school year & I decorate according to the theme & make a fun dinner that goes along with our Theme for the school year.
During the Back to School Feast, we talk about the theme & also talk about our hopes & goals for the upcoming school year. It is one of my very favorite traditions that we do & the kids LOVE it!

In 2011, our theme was "GROW"
The table set up:
See the rest of that Back to School Feast {HERE}

In 2012, our theme was "LOVE"
See the rest of that Back to School Feast {HERE}
In 2013, our theme was "Fruit of the Spirit"

 See the rest of the Back to School Feast {HERE}

Last year, our theme was BE BRAVE:
See the rest of the Back to School Feast {HERE}

I usually do our Back to School Feast the 2nd or 3rd night of School. The first day of school is always crazy busy, so we do it the 2nd or 3rd day of school.
This is my favorite Back to School Tradition, I already have some ideas for our theme swirling around in my head :)

Another Back to School Tradition that we do is the first Friday of school, I send my girls with cookies for their teachers. The first week of school is always CRAZY, so when you make it to Friday, it is a huge relief! I make them cookies & put them in mason jars with this tag that says
"In the cookie of life, Teachers are the Chocolate Chips"
You can get the printable {HERE}

I also give them an envelope with my "These are my favorite things Questionnaire"
{Click to download. Right click & then Save.}
This printable is a great way to get to know your teacher & has helped me figure out what gifts to give them throughout the year!

So, there you have it....a few of our Back to School Traditions!
What are some of your favorite back to school traditions? 
Can't wait to read about them!


  1. What a perfect idea to give your girls the gift card. I'm storing that idea for the future! The back to school theme is such a great idea! I may be stealing that idea.

  2. I love the visa gift card idea! I'm def going to try that this year with my 9 year old. Great idea!

  3. Your creativity is off the charts!!! Love it - but mostly love just looking at your ideas....the thought of doing any of that at my house is WAY overwhelming!!

  4. I just love your idea of a back to school feast with a theme for the year. I will definitely give it a try this year. Thanks.

  5. Love it! We just went through clothes this morning to see what my kids had outgrown from last year. We are going shoe shopping this afternoon!

  6. I love the "Get to know the teacher printable." I am room mom for both of my boys and plan on passing these out to parents so when it comes time for gift giving it gives parents some options! Rebekah (streetfam5.blogspot.com)

  7. I LOVE the idea of a theme for the year! So great!

  8. What adorable ideas! I love how special you make the start of school for your family!

  9. Love all your ideas and traditions. Where did you find the cute art that goes with, Fruit of the Spirit and Brave?

  10. What a great idea to give them each a gift card. I am dreading buying back to school clothes because it is so expensive! I'm anxious to see how you think it works... as I may have to try something like this.

  11. I LOVE your gift card idea. I basically do the same thing with my girls--I buy the essentials, they have a small budget and they're responsible for how it's spent.
    We also do back to school dinner and teacher gifts. I taught for 12 years, so I know how the smallest treats can bring the biggest amounts of joy! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Cute! I'm with you on the love hate going back to school, but on a different note. The kids next door go back to school in a week too. Silence for a few hours a day. Need I say more *smiling*.

  13. Oh my goodness - LOVE your idea about back to school shopping. I feel the same way about clothes with my kids - with 3 girls there are so many hand-me-downs. Add in some new things and they have a ridiculous amount of clothes. I look forward to hearing how it goes. Love the back to school themes - what a fun idea!

  14. I love the idea of a back to school feast! We tried so hard to plan a little party this month, but the timing was off for our group of friends. Hopefully next year!

  15. I LOVE the gift card idea to let the girls shop on a budget! We homeschool and I just thought about just starting and not doing anything "special." However, I think starting a back to school tradition sounds like a fun idea. My kids don't need back to school clothes or supplies though. But I like the idea of deciding on a theme and goals and hopes and doing something fun with that. Hmmm... I wonder if I fill out the teacher gift form if I could give it to my husband. :)

  16. Ohmygoodness....I am a teacher and I would be DELIGHTED if a parent gave me a survey like that to fill out. How sweet and thoughtful is that? And the theme every year? What a brilliant idea. So nice to have one big idea for the kids (and adults!) to connect to.

  17. Your ideas are fantastic especially the cookie jar for the teacher! Since you are a teacher, it would great to hear from you what are good/affordable gifts to give to teachers for Christmas etc.
    Thanks! So glad I found your blog!!

  18. This is great! I love the theme idea, and an going to do that this year. We always make our son and daughter a huge chocolate chip cookie when they come home on this first day, it's so simple but they love it.
    Last year we homeschooled and we gave them money for school supplies they wanted to buy. It was great, they only picked a few things and then saved the rest incase they wanted something else for the year. Clothes are different, but I love the idea!! I bet your little ones will rock it and make some great picks. I know mine what everything when I am buying, but when they have a budget it changes things:) Hope you all have a wonderful year!! Thank you for the printable.



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