Dienstag, 9. September 2014

10 back-to-school ideas!

Soon it’s back to school for us again!

I am a rather relaxed mother regarding this and I really do understand, if you don’t feel very enthusiastic about sitting through lessons – as I can vividly remember my own school days with incapable teachers and dry, uninteresting subjects that nipped any motivation in the bud. 

(Yes, there were also great teachers, but unfortunately there were rare.)

So when my kids bitch about school I tell them this:
1. "Yes, I understand."
2. "Stop whining, you are only harming yourself.”
3. "Make sure you still get your act together somehow.”

(Jil claims I am way too laissez-faire. Oh, well. Whatever you do, it’s always wrong…)

A thing, however, that I love without reservations is the start of the new school year. That busy energy, the pile of new exercise books and text books, the beginning of fall – I like all of these a lot and try to make it as comfortable as possible for my children.

Yesterday we all brainstormed about what would ease you into going back to school – and it resulted in this list: chockfull of tips and ideas that have been tried and tested in our house for years!
What makes for a nicer start of the school year?

1. A new pencil pouch, if the old one is worn out.
The classic pencil cases are not cool enough anymore for older kids – so here is Noelle’s tip: simply check the beauty department for stylish cosmetic bags. They are big enough for all the stuff, sometimes monochromatic or simply chic: Noelle and her friend found nice ones by Ted Baker in the KaDeWe department store in Berlin.

2. For the desk at home:
find a pretty one-of-a-kind receptacle on the flea market – a crystal votive, a wooden container or a small painted vase, no matter, main thing it can hold pens and you like the shape of it. 
We found a silver vintage cup last week, everything looks twice as nice in it.

3. Wrap all school books in monochromatic paper:
it will look very neat and uniform in your school bag and on the shelf at home!
You can use either monochromatic gift wrapping paper or wallpaper scraps, which are sturdier.
Two matching colors are great, such as black and white.

4. Since this German tradition is too lovely to reserve it only for first-graders, my children get a miniature “cone” every year on the day they go back to school.
It’s not so much about the content, more about the token gesture.
As I don’t like most of the colorful cones you can get in retail stores, I buy unprinted ones made of cardboard (like these ones via Amazon), and wrap them with fabric scraps which I glue down along the edge with hot glue – the finishing touch is a ribbon around the edge (hot glue again) – the whole operation doesn’t take more than 5  minutes.
Pretty idea: decorate the cones with black and white postcards retro style and add paper letters (e.g. by MyCircus).
I fill them with some gum and other candy.

5. My children agreed upon one thing immediately: one thing improving the start of the school year is the prospect of yummy lunches!
You will find recipes and ideas from pretzel balls to healthy breakfast cookies-to-go HERE.
Or how about breakfast muffins?
I enjoy packaging lunches nicely and once again got these new lunch boxes for the coming school year.

6. Reserve a new special T-shirt or sweater for the first day back.
Often one goes shopping for new fall clothes in the days before anyway – you can hold back the prettiest item and wear it on the first day of school – improves your mood instantly and enhances your self-esteem (it’s true!).
Noelle joyfully calls it: "back to school-shopping time!" ;).
Ben chose this Stella McCartney Shirt this year.
(Noelle’s outfit has also been picked out, I will ask her whether I may take pictures of it).

7. Take inventory of other school supplies:
- For all of those in need of a new P.E. bag: isn’t this
 DIY model beautiful?
There is more creative inspiration at Burda.
- For all cycling and longboarding kids: you can buy the prettiest helmet at Smallable

8. Very important:
The switch to “having to get up early again” is not so great.
Best to bake some delicious types of granola at home 1-2 days earlier that you can look forward to!
I already wrote down the recipes for our favorite granola and the world’s best chocolate granola. 
Those who prefer a warm breakfast might love oatmeal?
And for those who hate breakfast there are smoothies made with your favorite fruit.

9. Has the school bag seen better days?
My advice: If they don’t want a classic satchel anymore, have a look in Zara’s men’s department to find backpacks or messenger bags.
They are usually big enough for all the stuff and nicely unadorned, matching everything.

10. Design your own school planner!
This was Jil’s idea:
Every school year she bought a neutral planner/calendar instead of a special homework notebook and spent hours embellishing it scrapbooking-style.
She cut inspiring pictures from fashion magazines, quotes that she found encouraging, etc. and glued everything down (with washi tape, etc.) and thus creatively designed every page according to her personal taste.

Sources of supply:
Star-shaped pillow: HERE
Lunchbox: HERE
Shirt Stella McCartney: HERE
Protective helmet: HERE
Everything by Smallable

Your ideas and advice are most welcome!

And a note to all students:
Get your act together, somehow, without frustration and pressure, OK ;)?


This post was translated by Ginnell Studio.

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