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School’s Out for the Summer!

I am always extremely sentimental (in other words, an emotional wreck) this time of year.  Maybe it’s due to the fact that I met my husband/best friend on the last day of school…or maybe it’s simply because my babes continue to grow much quicker than I would like.

Traditional First Day//Last Day Pic:

(we had a good laugh at the fact that Macie either didn’t grow at all, or possibly shrunk)Whatever the reason, the end of another school year is always a little bittersweet.  Despite being sad to say goodbye to favorite teachers and classmates, we are all more than ready for Summer break!  We have a few traditions in our household I thought I’d share for any mamas just starting out, or anyone looking for some new ideas.

Every year on the last day of school, I clean my kids rooms for them (what?!) and leave them a little congrats-you-survived-another-year gift on their bed.  Now, let me explain why in the world I would do such a thing.

First off, the cleaning…we make our kids clean their rooms every Saturday morning, I mean if you can even call what they do cleaning.  However, a few times each year, MAMA cleans their rooms and I mean CLEAN.  This includes wiping down the burger-y walls and all the furniture, vacuuming under their beds and in their drawers, throwing out/donating bags and bags of broken or unused toys…you get the idea.  I also use this time to sort through and discard/donate any old or out grown clothing and shoes, put winter clothes or handy-me-downs away, etc.  It’s just kinda the thing I do.  The kids are very happy to come home to their clean bedrooms and I feel somewhat better about the level of sanitation my children live in.

Why the gift? Because I am such a horrible mom, I always get my kids Summer workbooks.  I’m not sure why I started, but I always have and always will.  I think it has been a great thing for my kiddos, despite the complaining.  Because they were always so ornery when I presented them with their new Summer workbook, I started to make it a bit more fun by throwing in a few other items each year…Now before you start thinking I’m some kind of super nice mom, keep a few things in mind.  Every Summer my kids are in need of a new swimming suit, a new pair of sandals, googles, maybe some new shorts and tanks, etc.  I also buy a few new pool and summer toys each year as well.  So other than a special note from mom, their favorite candy, and their workbook, everything else is stuff I would be buying anyway.

They feel special, I feel special, we all feel special.This year I left them their Summer goodie-bags on their bench for a surprise when they walked in the door… They all gasped and then groaned, as I knew they would.  They like to pretend they hate the Summer workbooks, but really I don’t think they mind too much.  Each day we do a few pages first thing in the morning, along with 30 minutes of reading, practicing lessons, and their chores…yep, we work ’em real hard.  After that, the rest of the day is theirs.  We also come up with a fun family activity (amusement park, water park, etc) for a reward when everyone completes their workbooks.  Of course, my two youngest are heartbroken if they aren’t included in EVERYTHING the big kids do and frequently do their own “homework” during the school year.  I got Tess a pre-k book and Jean a coloring book, along with some other goodies, of course.

This year I found these awesome rubber totes that I thought would make the perfect Summertime bag for trips to the pool or holding all their snacks, toys, and electronics during our upcoming road trip.As far as the workbooks go, in the past I’ve always picked up the Summer Activities Workbooks from Costco.  To be honest, it hasn’t been my favorite, so this year I decided to try the Brain Quest Workbooks.  They look a lot more up to date and my kids were excited to see a brand they know and love.  I will give you an updated review once we delve into them a bit.

We are headed to Utah bright and early tomorrow morning to spend some time with our families!  I hope you all have a wonderful, fun-filled Summer!  Also, let me know if you have any fun (or not so fun!) Summer tradition, I’d love to hear them!

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