Tuesday, August 15, 2017

12 Back to School Picture Books

Psst...I know it's Tuesday but I am coming to you today and Friday this week in an effort to enjoy our last full week of Summer.  Linking up With Erika and Becky for Tuesday Talk today as well as Crystal for her back to school linkup.  Check out their blogs for more fun today.  Love you sweet KOKO's!

If you are like us, we are in the home stretch before school starts next week.  EEK!  We are all anticipating the start of another school year and with that comes both enthusiasm and a few nerves at what the year will hold.  Most of the nerves around here are reserved for momma ;).

A great way to start a conversation with your kids about school is to read books about going back to school.  Today I am sharing 12 books that will enable you to to educate them on what school is like and what they can expect.    As you read, start a conversation with them and ask them what they are excited about, what they want to see when you go to back to school night and what they might be nervous about.  

Do you have a case of the worries?  Wemberly does!

Grab your tissue as you read this sweet book about feeling your love with a kiss kept in the palm of your child's hand.

This is a great book as he explores all the different places in a school.

Follows the theme of The  Night Before Christmas.  It makes a cute read the night before your child goes to Kindergarten.  We plan to read it at our house!

This book has a cute twist, you might not see coming!

A sweet tale about loving the name you have been given and the special person you are.

What are you reading to get ready to go back to school?  

Are you all excitement or are there a few nerves too?  

Make sure to check out these posts--

For more inspiration, check out my Back to School Pinterest Board...

Until next time, keep on keeping on (koko) with a joyful, faith-filled life! #tribekoko

Let's Connect | Pinterest | Instagram | Facebook 

This post contains affiliate links meaning if you click and buy, I receive a small commission.  Thanks for supporting this blog!


Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Favorites...

Happy Friday!  I can't believe another week has passed us right by.  Today I am helping my cousin move into her dorm room at my alma mater.  A lot has changed in post-secondary education since I was in school but dorm life has not!  We can't wait to help her get all situated and then she will go through sorority recruitment this weekend.  My grandma is a Delta Gamma and my sister and I are Gamma Phi Beta SO we shall see what she ends up deciding :)!   Were any of you in a sorority?

So I am going to just tell you right now this week is full of random but full of fun so let's get the party started, shall we?

{one -- Target tees}

If you watched my Back 2 School FB live the other night, you know that I went through my kids clothes and inventoried what exactly they needed for fall/winter.  All Solon really needed was a couple pairs of athletic pants and some more long sleeve tees.  

So when I was at Target and saw the great deal on long sleeve Cat and Jack baseball tees and the dry fit C9 plain colored tees, I picked up a couple for Solon!  The baseball tees will be great for church with jeans or cute for school with athletic pants.  I chose Seahawks colors because we have a super fan here!  I am not sure how long the sale runs but they have some good deals on girls shirts as well.  I linked a few of my favorites below!  

Psst...My friend Allie (check her blog out here) mentioned in the comments that these would make great tees to personalize with heat transfer vinyl.  I have made myself some graphic tees but not the kids.  Now I need to think What I want them to say.  What a great idea Allie!

 {two -- biking to dinner}

We have been having some beautiful weather (like turn off the AC and open the windows weather) which is super unusual for Iowa in the summer.  Normally its VERY humid and hot.  So we took full advantage and biked to Panera for dinner and then to a new park afterward.  It was a fun way to spend the evening and enjoy the weather.  There are a few other close restaurants, we need to bike to them too!  Do you ever bike to dinner?

{three - zoo day}

Solon turned 8 on Monday, so we decided to use our library reading program free passes to go to the zoo with our friends on Monday.  We packed a lunch and enjoyed the day.  It was fairly busy since the weather was so beautiful but we managed to see everything.  The highlights were the new baby giraffe, baby rhino, train ride and carousel of course.  

The only casualty was Vera got her first bee sting. Thankfully the seal show was about to start so she got distracted from the sting.

{four -- dairy farm tour}

Our neighbors invited us to go on a local dairy farm and creamery tour last week.  We got to meet some calves, learn about how they pump, pasteurize and bottle milk as well as how they make cream, ice cream and butter.  We got to sample the ice cream and chocolate milk and bought some fresh goodies from the creamery store to take home with us.  The bacon cheddar cheese ball was my favorite! 

{five - cleaning the dishwasher}

Last week, I asked my Instagram tribe to help me with a major problem, my dishwasher stunk (like rotten eggs) every time I ran it and I had cleaned the surfaces and even the gunk around the bottom but it still smelled.  Well they answered and told me to check the filters in my dishwasher.  I didn't know it had a filter, let alone 2.  Our old one did not and I have never cleaned the filter in 4 years.  It was gross.  

The first filter was on the door and was a fairly easy clean and that's the little round, grey filter pictured above.  The 2nd larger filter was found in the base of my dishwasher and when turned, pulled out, and cleaned it looks like the larger filter above.  I used vinegar and baking soda first, followed up with some dish soap.  I had to soak the bigger filter for a while.  I regularly spray my dishwasher with vinegar but now I will check the filters too!

Did you know your dishwasher or washer had a filter?  If you didn't, it's okay you aren't alone!

{Before You Go}

In case you missed it, I did a Back 2 School FB Live, make sure to check it out!

Blog Posts This Week -- 

for my 10 on the 10th linkup on Wednesday

Have a fantastic weekend!  We are headed to the Iowa State Fair with Scott's family and his Dad is celebrating his 70th birthday!  As well as hosting a going away party for dear friends so it will be a full but fun summer weekend.  We will see you back here on Monday!

Until next time, keep on keeping on (koko) with a joyful, faith-filled life! #tribekoko

Let's Connect | Pinterest | Instagram | Facebook 

Linking up with Erika and Andrea for Friday Favorites, BYBMG for High Five for Friday and Five on Friday with Smidge of This.  Make sure to check out their blogs for more Friday fun!

This post contains affiliate links meaning if you click and buy, I receive a small commission.  Thanks for supporting this blog!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

10 Back to School Essentials

Psst....I know I am a day early BUT I normally post on Wednesdays so I just kept it the same and I am linking up with Shay today for their back to school linkup.  Link up anytime!, I can't wait.  xoxo ERIN  

We are in the final countdown around here!  I am not going to lie that that music is now running through my head...It's time to head back to school.

If you are like me you feel the need to do all things, prepare, plan and still squeeze every last ounce of summer fun out that you can!  Today I am so excited for the 10 on the 10th linkup so that we can all learn from one another what our 10 back to school essentials are.  Make sure you link up and then visit a few other new friends and leave them a note to say hello.

Here are 10 tips and essentials that will not only prepare you for the first day but get you excited too.  Enthusiasm is contagious so the more excited we are, the more our kids will be.  We want our kids excited for learning, growing and school in general! 

1.  Backpacks

Every kid needs a backpack.  When I went to school I had the most darling Esprit tote, anyone else have one?  We invested in a Pottery Barn Kids backpack for our daughter  and a Herschel backpack for our son when they went to preschool.  Both are still working great.   I just spot treat the backpacks with oxi-clean and then wash on a gentle cycle in the washing machine and hang dry.  They look brand new for another year of use.   A fun way to give new life to a backpack is adding new accessories like hand sanitizer or a key chain.  It's a fun way to make it new without spending as much.

2.  Clothes

Before we head back to school, I take a rainy or lazy afternoon to go through their closets and drawers to assess what still fits, what needs to be donated and what they need for the upcoming season.  I don't always buy those items right away but keep the list on my phone so when I see a good deal or something they might like I can remember exactly what they need.  

3.  Shoes

Most schools require kids to wear tennis shoes for gym class.  Before I go out and buy new shoes, I always go through my kids shoe bin to assess what they really need.  Both kids needed new tennis shoes.  My son wears tennis shoes every single day and Vera has these, these and these that she will wear.

4.  Lunches

My kids generally take hot lunch about once a week or 4-5 times a month.  They each circle in a colored marker (blue for Solon and pink for Vera) which days they want hot lunch.  Then the rest of the month they take a cold lunch.  If we are really organized, we prepare sandwiches and baggies of fruit and veggies over the weekend so that we can grab and go the night before to make lunches.  

Generally in my kids lunch boxes, they take a side (goldfish, pretzels, crackers), a fruit (grapes, strawberries, fruit leather, applesauce, apple slices), a veggie (carrots, celery), a sandwich or protein (cheese/meat, peanut butter), and a dessert (granola bar, trail mix or a cookie).   I sometimes send them with a thermos with macaroni and cheese, pizza rolls or leftovers that can be reheated.  Then, I just pack them a water bottle as well.

5.  Ease the Jitters

If you are like me, maybe you have the jitters or maybe your kids do too.  Here are two great blog posts to help you.   Jitters are natural but they don't have to steal the excitement of the moment!

6.  Traditions

We love to take first day of school photos, wear a special first day of school outfit and walk to school as a family.  Then I always ask my kids if there is a special afternoon snack they want and what they would like for their dinner that evening.  Chances are it will include chocolate chip cookies and walking tacos but I haven't officially asked yet.  What traditions do you incorporate? 

7.  Bedtime / Morning Routine

Re-establishing a normal bedtime routine at least a week before school starts has helped around our house.  Those first few weeks are exhausting so having a bedtime routine pre-established is super helpful. 

 It might be helpful to lay out clothes the night before so they know what they are wearing the next morning and prepare lunches the night before so they simply have to pop them in their backpacks.  

8.  Create a Homework Drawer

Create a dedicated space for sharpened pencils, erasers and some essential school supplies that your kids and you can easily access during homework time.  Invest in an electric pencil sharpener for those back to school pencil sharpening needs as well as those daily homework sessions.  You will thank me!

9.  Communicate and Plan

As you go back to school, you also go back to kid and family weekly activities. It's important to sit down with your spouse and kids and talk through what the week is going to look like and who is responsible to get who where.  It might also help to have a meal plan and groceries ready so that you don't have to think about what to make those first few nights back.  You might pick fan favorites so you know everyone will eat well. 

We found it helpful to have a family calendar and command center inside our pantry for important school papers and other things so that we can all easily what is going on.  

10. Pray as a family for the School Year

It might just be during your evening prayer time as a family or a special time before they head off in the morning. We hope to do this as a family this year as we pray about school, relationships, protection, learning, growing and being a light for Jesus.  Sending your kids off with a prayer and a blessing will be so fruitful for your heart and theirs.

Remember of all, grace.  The first year my son went to school, I pictured him coming home from school, us enjoying a snack and a lovely conversation about his day.  That didn't happen.  He was tired and was ready for a little time to decompress alone.  It worked best for him to have some iPad time and a snack for about 30 minutes and then he was ready to talk and play outside.  You know your child and your family best, give yourself grace as you transition.

What are you doing to get excited and ready for the school year ahead?  

What's still on your to do list?  

Until next time, keep on keeping on with a joyful, faith-filled life.  Wishing you a great back to school season! #tribekoko

Hop on over to Facebook to watch my Back to School Bootcamp Video & Follow me on Instagram tonight for our monthly #Kokomotherhood chat all about going back to school.

If you blogged, make sure to link up.  Make sure to follow your host on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram and visit at least 2 other blogs linking up.  Thank you!

An InLinkz Link-up

Linking up with Erika and Shay for Workin' It Wednesday and Hall Around Texas for Back To School Link-Up

Affiliate links used, if you click and buy I may receive a small commission.  Thanks for supporting this blog.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Solon is 8...

My sweet  first born baby boy is 8 today.  How?  On this day you were born at 5:02pm and it was love at first sight!   You are a true treasure!  God knew I needed you.  You have taught me SO much and I am so thankful for that.  You have a tender heart for others, love your family, are respectful and a loyal and kind friend.  We are so proud of the man God is molding you to be and are so thankful to God we get a front row seat to shepherd you and love you as you grow up.  

We spent the weekend celebrating you with friends at your basketball clinic birthday party and then we are off to the zoo with your best bud Max followed up with a playdate all afternoon with him which is the perfect way to celebrate according to you.  My guess is you will pick Mexican for dinner tonight!

You love sports especially whatever is in season and you and your dad talk about it all during your evening snuggle time.  You love to learn how and why everything works and you love to tell us what you learn.  You love iPad time and watching lego videos on youtube and playing super mario brothers and temple run 2.

You are always up for an adventure and willing to try anything once especially when it comes to food.  You don't like learning new skills.  You want to master them immediately but you learn quickly.  

Your favorite sports teams are the Seattle Seahawks,  Pittsburgh Penguins and the Iowa State Cyclones.  You have yet to name a favorite NBA team.  You and dad prefer to watch college basketball!

Reading with others especially to Lucy or with mom or dad is much preferred to reading by yourself. Recess, music and gym are your favorite things to do at school and you are really bummed your favorite music teacher moved away.  You are a homebody and love to just hang out at home so you aren't ready to go back to school quite yet but you are a great and respectful student.

You love to be with your cousins and Max (your best bud).  You often ask us when the next time you will see them is.  Your laugh is infectious and your smile melts our hearts.  You only broke your glasses twice this year (and neither time was your fault).

All you wanted for your birthday was a pet fish and a day off from school.  You love Bubbles the fish and are taking such great care of him.  You consistently ask us for a dog and we have yet to comply!

Your favorite sports to play are basketball and baseball.  You love the song Despacito (I love listening to you sing and dance to it) and the band Imagine Dragons.  You don't love to be in front of large crowds and are shy at first.    Your favorite foods are tacos and you have been known lately to eat 4 or 5 in one sitting.  You are a growing boy full of energy and live life to the fullest!  

You love to play with legos, your hot wheel tracks, wooden roads and your magna tiles when you are home and sometimes like to go to your room to play alone ;).  You always make us laugh with your latest joke or quip.  

Happy 8th Birthday my first born, the one that made me a mother, we love you more than you will ever know.  Thanks for the joy you bring to our lives!  May you follow hard after God always!

Looking back in time gets me every.single.time -- 

Linking up with Johannah and Heather for Oh Hey Monday! and Tuesday Talk with BYBMG

Friday, August 4, 2017

5 Friday Favorites...

Happy Friday!  As we roll into August, I plan to do Friday favorites every Friday.  #crazylikethat  We are in full on birthday mode over here with a certain little guy's birthday party tomorrow and more festivities and celebrations on his actual birthday on Monday!  Here are my 5 Friday favorites this week...what was the your favorite part of the week?

{one - ig giveaway}

Instagram Giveaway!  If you don't follow me over on Instagram, stop right now and click here.  Go to my giveaway post (that looks just like the above photo) and ENTER.  Who doesn't love some #tribekoko swag and a $50 Target Gift Card?  

Speaking of Target selling Keep on, Keeping ON items...my son shouted in the dollar spot, "Mom they have your blog saying here!"  That right there is a sweet boy who loves his momma!

{two - back to school fb live}

I know some of you are already headed back to school next week but most of us have just a few weeks left.  I am hosting my monthly FB live series and this month its all about getting us mommas ready to send our kids back to school.  I can't wait to learn and share with you!  Make sure to set a reminder in your phone and join me :)!

{three - monthly linkups}

In August, I will now be doing TWO Link-ups.  When I posted by monthly recap in pictures on Monday, many of you said you would like to do it too SO I am giving you the opportunity to do that!  

Also, don't forget to link up next Thursday for my monthly 10 on the 10th series.  Next week we are talking all about 10 back to school essentials.  I can't wait to see what you all share.  

Clearly I love linkups.  It's how I have met so many of you!  Linkups work best when you visit others so don't be shy and pop over to a blogger you don't know and leave them a note.  I always post who I am linking up to at the bottom of my posts so make sure to show those blogs love too!  Bloggers love comments, amen?

{four - adoption tee}

Adoption is near and dear to our family's heart.  My nephew was adopted from China in November 2015 and soon we will be meeting our newest niece or nephew by adoption.  So if you are selling a t-shirt especially the comfy, soft kind I will buy it.  

I am so excited for Megan and her family to bring Collins home.  You can find out more about their adoption here.  I love when people ask about the shirt too!  Such a great way to share the gospel and the love of Jesus.  Just as we were adopted into Christ's family by the cross, we can model that by adopting orphans into our families.  

{five - guest post}

This week I guest posted on my friend's blog and she guest posted on mine.  If you are gearing up for back to school for the first time and have the jitters or doing it for the first time.  These posts should leave you encouraged.  Make sure to check them out :).

I hope you have a fabulous first weekend in August.  We will be celebrating a birthday, singing on praise team and I am sharing a marriage devotion at a wedding shower (pray for me).  It will be a full, fun weekend!  See you back here Monday! 

Let's Connect | Pinterest | Instagram | Facebook 

Until next time - keep on, keeping on! #tribekoko 

Linking up with Erika and Andrea for Friday Favorites, BYBMG for High Five for Friday and Five on Friday with Smidge of This.  Make sure to check out their blogs for more Friday fun!

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