Balloon School Send-Off

First Day (4)

Help your kids soar up, up, and away into the new school year with this picture-perfect backdrop for first day of school pix. I spotted the idea in Parents magazine, and instantly knew we needed balloons in green (the school color!) to start the year off on a high note.

Bonus points: if you start the day blowing up balloons, it means that any back-to-school grumbles will instantly turn to glee! I then arranged the balloons in an arc against our garage door, attaching with painter’s tape.

Balloon School (5)

All your kids need to do is stand under the arch and smile big. Wishing all families out there a safe, healthy, and fantastic school year ahead.

First Day (3)

Dessert Map

Cookie Map (5)

Maps were a big topic in Travis’s First Grade classroom last year, so as he transitions off to Second Grade, we decided to put a delicious endnote on the curriculum. This cookie dough map not only offered a little late summer learning, but made for a delicious dessert, too!

To start, prepare the dough from two boxes of chocolate chip cookie mix. You can also use refrigerated dough from the store or your favorite homemade recipe. Either way, it’s a great excuse to bake together!

Travis helped press the first batch of dough down onto the a baking sheet as a giant island.

Cookie Map (1)

He then used the second batch of dough to make topographical features, constructing mounds that could be mountains or hills and adding smaller cookie “islands” along the rim of the sheet. Bake according to package directions.

Cookie Map (2)

Once the cookie cooled, it was time to add a few more geographical features. Chocolate sauce was perfect for oceans, rivers, and mountain lakes. Travis got a bit impish with this step, drowning his land in goopy syrup.

Cookie Map (3)

He wanted to add chocolate sprinkles, too, which were more for fun than a specific geographical element. Perhaps they were plants or people on his island! Either way, it was time to dig in for the delicious result.

Cookie Map (4)

Note: Because this cookie is likely to be much thicker than a standard cookie (thanks to all those mountains!), you may find that it doesn’t bake all the way through. You can also expect the mountains to spread down and out as the cookie bakes. As a result, we found that the most delicious part was our edges and low-lying islands, while the rest was really more for fun than for eating.

Cookie Map (6)