POSTS WITH TAG: back to school

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    Are you among the many moms who feel that their back-to-school shopping bills rival the cost of a college semester? As if that weren't bothersome enough, what do you do with all those extra supplies that invariably end up where they shouldn't, like tucked behind the couch cushions or under your dining room table? 

    Well, the days of dumping your cast-offs in a basement closet are over! Just because they're meant for school doesn't mean we can't put on our thinking caps and make the most out of those superfluous supplies. 

    The following are some creative ways to repurpose your surplus!

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    My mother used to have a cartoon on the refrigerator that read something like this, “September is when millions of bright, shining, happy, laughing faces turn toward school. They belong to mothers.”

    My mother loved me and my three sisters, but what a relief it must have been for her when summer was over and she had six free hours to clean the house, prepare dinner, and run all of her errands.

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    Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve considered back to school as the REAL New Year. After all, nothing changes on January 1, but when school starts, everything changes. There are new teachers, new classmates, new lessons to learn. To me, it just seems like a much more natural time to clean the slate, make new resolutions, and start all over.

    I was always obsessed with school supplies. I loved getting those brand new notebooks and perfectly pointed pencils and even the plastic protractors that I never used for anything more than making fancy doodles in math class. I’ll never forget that feeling of heading off to my first day of school each year with all my new supplies and feeling like I could change the world and everything in it.

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    It seems like it happened overnight. My little girl went from wearing whatever her practical mother laid out for her to being a major fashion bug. And a fussy one at that! Everything has to match perfectly. Everything has to fit perfectly. And everything has to be the latest fashion.

    But, unfortunately, that very same daughter has the patience of a pea and can’t stand to go clothes shopping!

    Problem solved!

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    I know it’s a cliché, but I don’t know how else to say it. My kids are growing like weeds! I know everyone who has young kids is going through the same thing, but this back-to-school season makes it all too real -- and way too expensive!

    I’m not kidding, I can barely afford to keep my kids clothed. And once you add a fashionable tween to the mix, you’re adding a whole new element!

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    Parents of twins face a tough question at the beginning of school: Would their kids be better off in separate classrooms or together? "In the past, most schools automatically separated twins," says Susan Lipkins, PhD, a child psychologist at But lately many schools have loosened those policies and are allowing parents to decide what to do. Even so, many moms may still wonder what's best.

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    My dread for September starts in early August, right around when the back-to-school ads start cropping up. It's not just that I'm already mourning the near end of summer, it's that I'm loathing the madness of getting the kids geared up. 

    The trouble, I've realized, is that I'm typically in denial right up to bedtime on the Monday of Labor Day. And then, reality (and panic) hits. OMG, school! OMG, forms! OMG, supplies, clothes, backpacks! This year, though, I'm trying some new strategies to spare myself the back-to-school stress.

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    Even if you consider yourself to be a highly organized person, it's way too easy these days to fill your schedule with so many different appointments and activities that you can barely keep track of them anymore. And especially as the kids head back to school, it's like our daily routines go from having nothing at all to do to having so much on our plates that it's impossible to keep anything straight. Oftentimes you might not even realize you've totally overscheduled yourself until it's way too late. Sound familiar?

    On that note, here are 12 signs that you've probably scheduled way more than you can handle while trying to be the best parent you possibly can be.

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    Few days of the year are more momentous for a kid (or their parents!) than the first day back to school. Yet for many moms and dads, this pivotal day can and will go completely wrong -- at least according to a recent poll we did asking for parents' most mortifying back-to-school stories.

    So if your own first day doesn't go quite as well as planned, read these stories, and rest assured, it could have been way worse.

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    The instant I set foot in my daughter's school, WHAM! I was overwhelmed by the scent of Eau de School. It's a heady blend that brings back memories of cafeteria lunches, sweaty locker rooms, musty textbooks, and more. School scents can be powerful memory triggers, so don't be surprised if the smells in your child's school send you on a powerful nostalgia trip. Here are a few to keep an eye (or rather nose) out for this fall.

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