It may not be popular to say this, especially in late August, but I actually love getting my kids ready for back to school. New backpacks, fresh markers, sharp pencils, all of it! I also enjoy sending little care packages to people, especially to mom friends. Recently, I combined these two things and made a couple of fun, inexpensive care packages for mothers who are looking forward to the start of the school year.
Check out the great little things I found:
One package included a rejuvenating face mask, jelly beans, nail polish, tea, mints, Advil and a mini picture frame.
The other included mints, a mini-picture frame, an emergency sewing kit, Advil, M&Ms, tea and a Sharpie. Maybe more practical!
I also had fun thinking of a back-to-school tie in for the container. Here’s what I came up with:
Lunch boxes in bright colors from the dollar store.
These fit into a standard padded mailer with a little room to spare.
So, for less than $10, I think these are pretty great. I’m already thinking about some happy mail ideas for fall, too!
If you give a kid a party…
If you give a kid a party, you’ll want to clean the house.
If you want to clean the house, you’ll need to steam-clean the carpets.
If you want to steam the carpets, you’ll need to get the machine from the garage.
When you go in the garage, you’ll find a bag of trash to go outside.
When you take the trash outside, you’ll notice some shrubs need to be trimmed.
While trimming the shrubs, you’ll remember that you should be cleaning the carpets.
If you go back inside to clean the carpets, you’ll see that they need to be vacuumed first.
When you get the vacuum from the bathroom closet, you’ll see your glasses.
If you see your glasses, you’ll remember that you need to take out your contacts.
When you take out your contacts, you might as well remove your makeup.
When you remove your makeup, you’ll see the vacuum again.
If you use the vacuum, you’ll finally be ready to clean the carpets.
And if you clean the carpets, you might as well give the kid a party.
Charlotte dressed up as Wonder Woman for Halloween last year, and she has been fascinated by superheroes ever since. For her seventh birthday, we celebrated with a superhero bash in the back yard. It was freezing here in upstate New York, but that didn’t stop these first-graders from having a good time.
One of the coolest things we did was to set up a photo booth so the kids could have their picture taken while “flying.” We put up two pieces of this cool paper (intended for school bulletin boards, I think) on the wall, plugged in a fan and let the kids strike a pose. Dollar store capes and make-your-own masks (thanks, Oriental Trading!) completed the look.
For games, I turned to Pinterest for some inspiration. We ended up doing Pass the Kryptonite (based on hot potato, always a classic). Then the kids practiced using the Lasso of Truth (a yellow hula hoop) to capture Spiderman (silly, I know, but we couldn’t find a punching bag with a bad guy on it!). After that, they rescued some superheroes who had been captured by Mr. Freeze (this involved warm water in water guns). Finally, they had a chance to practice shooting their webs (silly string; I wish I had bought a can per kid because they went through it so quickly).
Here’s the silly string in action!
Mr. Freeze didn’t stand a chance!
There goes the Lasso of Truth!
I didn’t photograph the food or party favors, but I will say I was pleased with this great set of paper products from Birthday Express. It allowed us to include a variety of superheroes while still expressing the party theme nicely. A roll of matching stickers let me dress up the favor bags and doubled as seals for the invitation and thank you notes.
Things they don’t warn you about when you become a parent, No. 863: Under the right circumstances, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” could make you weepy.
Sophie and her fourth-grade classmates at Tioga Hills Elementary School gave their very first concert tonight. And the first time I heard their bows hit the strings, I really did tear up. It’s so great to see your kid take on a new challenge. We’re so proud of our girl!
Here’s a less than two-minute recap of their performance:
Well, 2013 has flown by at record speed. Our Year in Review is live, just in time for Thanksgivukkah. Enjoy!
Sophie has made huge progress as a swimmer this year. After a busy summer in the pool at Camp Sertoma, she has been taking lessons at our local JCC. Here you can see her diving for a 10-pound brick in the deep end!
This year has been a challenging, busy and rewarding one, professionally speaking. I’m in my fifth year as director of research advancement at Binghamton University. My main work involves communicating about research in subjects ranging from physics to neuroscience to economics. I edit a website and twice-yearly magazine focused on research news from Binghamton.
Rachel with one of her writing heroes, Jonathan Weiner
In the spring, our campus played host to the annual meeting of the University Research Magazine Association, which gave me a chance to meet one of my writing heroes, Pulitzer winner Jonathan Weiner. We had about 40 colleagues from around the country and as far away as London at the conference.
Many of the stories I work on these days are highly technical in nature, but I do get to do some writing about our scholars in the humanities, too. And once in a while, I have a chance to take on a project that’s way outside the normal boundaries of research communications. In March, I heard from one of our librarians in Special Collections who had discovered a connection between one of our archives and the TV drama Downton Abbey. The resulting story, titled A Countess on Campus, was published over the summer in the university magazine. I had such fun with it that I am dreaming of ways to write a book about Tilly Losch or in some way inspired by her life story.