Back to School Everything!

Back to School Everything

It’s my annual BACK TO SCHOOL EVERYTHING post!!!

Friends, this is our last “non-school night” of the year!

It’s happening.

It’s here.

It’s school time!

In today’s post, I’m going to share everything from where I bought their back to school clothes to backpacks, traditions, recipes and more.  It’s just a whole big bunch of back to school fun…in one post 🙂 .

You should probably settle in with coffee…there’s a lot in here.

Ready, set, here we go!

On Thursday, this sweet girl right here…


Oh my gosh!  Someone hold me.


How many of you remember her first day of kindergarten?!  Wasn’t it just last year????  And now, she’ll be the oldest one in her school…a fifth grader!!!

I heard this a million times from older moms when Kensington was younger…to enjoy every single day because it goes by quickly, so please hear back there you young moms when I say this…ENJOY EVERY SINGLE DAY BECAUSE IT GOES BY TOO QUICKLY!!!

Here they all are on the first day of school last year

…and now this year, they’re going into 5th grade, 4th grade, 1st grade and Pre-K!

Over the years, we have developed a few back to school traditions and routines (you know how much I love a tradition AND a routine!).  These are things my kiddos look forward to all year long!  I’m going to share ours and then I hope you comment and share yours too!  Here we go…


Ah!  First day of kindergarten and first grade in August 2015.

Every year, we have this for breakfast on the first day of school…
I make them for St. Paddy’s Day and my kids love them so much that they request them for other special days (always green mind you).  So, it has become a first day of school tradition for us.  Over the last few years, we have added some savory to go with them.  We’ll either have pigs in a blanket or…
Sausage, Jack & Green Chile Balls
a sausage ball.  Sausage balls are probably one of my very favorite things to eat for breakfast, so I’m always super, super pumped when my kids ask for them too!  I always wake up earlier than usual on the first day of school (I totally skip the gym!), so that I have time to get myself dressed and make breakfast before waking them up.  I also try and make extra so that we can enjoy it a few days in a row.
Another tradition we have on the first day of school is our annual…
…front door pic! (This sign came off of Etsy a few years ago.  There are a wide variety of them on there now!)
You can even create your own “first day” sign and print it out on regular paper.  Either way you do it, it’s a fun little tradition.
We also take a picture of their big kid back packs…
Is that a backpack picture or are they being arrested?  I can’t decide. 😉
For backpacks, we’re still getting Ashby and Madeley ones from Pottery Barn in a “small”, Kensington this year, bought one from PB Teen and Smith has got another one from Under Armour this year.  Do you see the cups on the sides of their backpacks?  I always buy those from my super talented friend Amanda as a teacher gift for the first day.  They’re each monogrammed with their new teacher’s name.
And then…we drop off as a family…
…group pic before we headed to school!  And then…
…here they were heading in last year!!
I also asked them these questions on their first day…
1. How old are you?
2. What is your favorite color?
3. What is your favorite food?
4. What is your favorite TV show?
5. What is your favorite holiday?
6. What is your favorite thing to do with Mom?
7. What is your favorite thing to do with Dad?
8. What is your favorite thing to do with Kensington/Smith?
9. What is your favorite thing to do with Ashby?
10. What are you most excited about this year in school?
11. What are you most nervous about this year in school?
12. What do you want to be when you grow up?
13. What is your favorite movie?
14. What is your favorite toy/stuffed animal?
15. What is your favorite thing to wear?
16. Who are you going to marry when you grow up?
17. What are you going to name your kids when you grow up?

After school, we always have their favorite cookies…

Butterscotch Maple No Bake Cookies

…waiting and we sit at the bar and talk about their first day.

Also on the first day of school, after drop off, many of the moms and younger siblings meet up for breakfast at our favorite local diner…

…because coffee and pancakes helps us get out of that melancholy first day of school mood 🙂 .

After our diner breakfast?  Madeley (or whoever is the youngest at the time) and I always go straight to…

…Hobby Lobby because pumpkins make us HAPPY!  ‘Tis the time for fall, y’all!  (Yes, even though it’s only mid-August.)

So, those are our traditions.  Now, back to school shopping.

I had several of you ask me what we got for back to school shopping this year, so I thought I’d share.  Since we live in North Texas and the weather doesn’t really change until October, our goal was to pick some “light” fabrics in fall colors that we could layer when the weather gets cooler.  That being said, for his second year in a row, Smith has opted out of “back to school shopping” right now and would like to do it later in the fall when the weather actually changes.  In the meantime, he will keep on wearing his summer clothes.  #whatevermakesthemhappy  When the weather does change, these are his favorite jeans and these are his favorite hoodies.  He typically wears a t-shirt underneath.

This year, Kensington found things she loved at three different places.  I asked her to pick three outfits to share with you and this is what she chose (and laid out herself!)…

…she is pretty confident that this is her first day of school outfit 🙂 .  The dress is a very pretty rust/fall color but the fabric is nice and light.  She wanted to pair it with maroon (they’re more maroon, less purple in real life) Converse and a pretty green bow 🙂 .

Kensington was super happy to find this long-sleeved romper at Gap for this year that she paired with her navy Toms.

After Gap, we went to our local Old Navy who I think ALWAYS does a great job on kids’ fall clothes!  I’m always so pleased with what they have this time of year (into the Christmas season)…

Isn’t that cute?  It’s a combo of Gap and Old Navy.   Is it insane to wear this in September in North Texas?  Yes.  Will Kensington?  Yes. 😉


Now, for the littles, I do apologize in advance because I went up to their closet (which you know is on the third floor) to get some outfits to bring downstairs and photograph and then realized that the last thing I wanted to do was walk down three flights, photograph and then walk back up (#lazy), so I just took pics on their closet floor.  The lighting isn’t great…and there’s a leopard carpet background, but…it saved me a trip 😉 .

These are the little girls back to school stuff.  They both still love dressing alike.  We always send them upstairs to get their own pjs/swimsuits/etc and 9 times out of 10, they giggle and come back matching.  It’s their thing…and I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts 🙂 .

How cute is this little dress from Old Navy?!  The mustard screams fall but it’s light enough to wear now (and could be layered later!).

There are apples on this tunic.  Enough said?  With those striped leggings…I’m like so super happy!

A pink and army green leopard print dress?  Yes, please!

This is what Ashby says she’s wearing on the first day.  A chambray dress with APPLE LEGGINGS!  #happyseptember

One more cute little fall-colored dress with those striped leggings 🙂 .

One more fun “back to school” thing for you guys this month.  You know how my cousin Casey owns One Stop Bow Shop?  We’re all about the bows over here…

…and she makes THE BEST ONES!  Ladies, you can wash them in your washing machine!  They are so durable and last forever!!  She is offering my sweet readers a promo code right now through the end of the month.  You guys get 20% off your order plus a free shake your tail feathers bow (pictured below) with promo code: Shay Isn’t that so fun?!  If you’ve never ordered before, trust me, you will not be disappointed!!!  My girlies wear the size xlarge jumbo!
So cute, right?  Hurry before the offer expires!
Alrighty, last but not least today, I’m sharing our FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL SUPPER!  This is exactly what my kiddos wanted me to make for dinner on Thursday night…
First Day of School Menu
…click HERE  to see the full menu!
Now, don’t forget, if you missed this…
…my BACK TO SCHOOL Q&A, click HERE.  I answered so many school related questions in this post!!
So, what are your back to school/first day of school traditions?  I know you ladies have some!!  Please comment and share!   
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  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog August 13, 2019 at 4:47 am

    The kids sure look excited for school! Love their door pictures, so fun to see how much everyone has grown over the years! 💕✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Erika Slaughter August 13, 2019 at 4:49 am

    This post just put me in the back to school spirit!

  • Sherry Thomas August 13, 2019 at 5:00 am

    Hi Shay! Please delete this if you don’t want it in your comments. I have been reading your blog for many years, since way before Ashby, I think close to the beginning. I love seeing your sweet family grow and change, thank you for sharing them! I have also read several of your friends’ blogs for nearly as long (Erika, Andrea, and Narci). I am a single mom to 2 girls and take inspiration from you, I love your recipes, seeing your travels, and your love for Jesus! I am asking to share my wish list for school. I teach 4th grade at a Title 1 school in The Colony, just down the road from McKinney. My classroom Is an inclusion class for students with learning disabilities, dyslexia, and ESL. I spend so much money on supplies each year! I would love to be able to make a cozy little reading nook for them, anything to get them reading. If you don’t mind sharing, this is the link to my list.

    Thank you so much!

    • Mix and Match Mama August 13, 2019 at 6:32 am

      I would love to share your list today, Sherry! I hope you have a truly successful year in the classroom. Sending you so much love this morning!

    • Teresa King August 13, 2019 at 6:58 am

      I would like to send you something, Sherry, but I can’t figure out how to send it to you from the Amazon page!!! It’s probably simple but I’m not seeing it!!

    • Shawnee Peacock August 13, 2019 at 9:35 am

      Sherry, I do not see an address to ship to? I would love to help you out.

    • D Caddell August 13, 2019 at 10:10 am

      I’d like to help, but the only shipping option I see is to ship to my addresses. That is not going to help your classroom at all!! Lol What am I doing wrong?

    • Laura Fuller August 13, 2019 at 11:24 am

      Sherry! Please add your address to your list. I tried to order but your address isn’t in there…???

    • Cherise August 13, 2019 at 11:43 am

      Sherry, your Amazon wish list isn’t letting me ship it to you (typically when you’re checking out a shipping option titled “Sherry’s wish list address” would pop up. Can you check and see it you’ve set it up correctly? I’d love to help you out.

  • Ahna @ Hammers N Hugs August 13, 2019 at 5:02 am

    To jump up and down and spin around because I can hear myself think again during the day!! Is that bad?! #reality Haha. This is the first year my kiddos will all be gone for a couple hours each day – 1st grade, pre-k and “toddler school” (glorified daycare) – so I am excited to read everyone’s traditions and ideas!

  • Narci August 13, 2019 at 5:19 am

    Why are back to school posts so fun? Kindergarten Kensington is enough to make me tear up though. They are growing up!! ❤️

  • Eileen August 13, 2019 at 5:34 am

    We have a lot of the same traditions . . . backpacks (we get new ones on even school years), lunch boxes, first day signs, interviews, and some new outfits. One other tradition we have is our back to school cake. Every year it’s a hot topic of discussion about what our cake will be this year – we’ve had a bus, a box of crayons, a pencil, a math book, a ruler, and one with all the specials (art, P.E., music, and library).

  • Jamie August 13, 2019 at 5:45 am

    When I first started reading your blog my youngest was in 4th grade…now she’s going into high school. It goes by in a blink!

  • Elizabeth August 13, 2019 at 6:20 am

    I want Kensington’s dress for myself! So cute!

  • Melissa Terry August 13, 2019 at 6:29 am

    I just ordered a custom school colors bow from your cousin for our baby girl. We are hoping she’s home this fall in time to see her biggest brother play high school football for the first time!!! Makes this mama’s heart want to burst xo

  • Katie August 13, 2019 at 6:38 am

    I started reading your blog when my daughter was a newborn and I’d be up with her in the middle of the night! I remember when K was going to kindergarten- and now my once newborn babe is going to kindergarten next week! The days are long but the years are short! 😭💓☺️

    • Mix and Match Mama August 13, 2019 at 6:39 am

      They are!!!!!

    • Crystal McDonald August 13, 2019 at 8:17 am

      Katie same here! When Kensington was heading to Kinder I had a newborn and it felt so far away. Yet here we are!!! 😭😭😭 It flies!

  • Shelly August 13, 2019 at 6:52 am

    I cannot even with Kensington and how much she has grown this past year!! All beautiful babies. Hope y’all have a super year.

  • Sheaffer Sims August 13, 2019 at 7:21 am

    Kensington’s outfits are adorable! I can’t believe it’s here.
    And let’s not even mention that next year we’ll be talking middle school.

  • Kara August 13, 2019 at 7:28 am

    Here in Minnesota we need to buy legs size backpacks since starting at pre-k! They need to stuff their boots, snow pants, lunch, books and all in the backpack!

  • Elspeth August 13, 2019 at 7:43 am

    I love all the back to school posts, especially the traditions, we always read The Kissing Hand the night before, I’m in college, I have a brother in college, one in high school, and middle school and we still enjoy it.

  • Katie August 13, 2019 at 8:04 am

    Just wondering if anyone has been able to find a similar “First Day of Sign” on Etsy. I LOVE the simplicity Shay’s signs but all the versions on Etsy right now are super colorful and have so much info. Which is great, but I just want something super simple to say “First Day of Kindergarten” for my twins 🙂 . Thank you!

    • Mix and Match Mama August 13, 2019 at 1:29 pm

      I wish I could link to that exact one but it’s old. I’m pretty sure they had it in preschool!

  • Lisa D August 13, 2019 at 8:16 am

    What wonderful traditions/routines for your children. Back to school is “bittersweet” for me since my three are all adults and working…. but my youngest is a 2nd grade teacher so I still do some back to school supply shopping to help supply her classroom. So true “…the years are short” (credit Gretchen Rubin — if you don’t read her books or blog, well you should! She is amazing and ‘right on’!)

  • August 13, 2019 at 8:18 am

    I LOVE all of this! My sweet girl isn’t in school yet so I’m thinking about all of you with your back-to-school kiddos! Shay, I need to remember to ask my daughter all the questions you ask your kids on the first day because I think this is one of the sweetest traditions you have! And the cookies too! BTW please tell Kensignton she did a great job laying out her clothes! She is following in her mommy’s footsteps so closely and I LOVE it!

  • August 13, 2019 at 8:27 am

    One more thing, even though my little is not in school yet I was looking on Etsy to find the sign that you have. I love all the cute signs that people create on Etsy but I love the simplicity of yours. Do you by chance know who the creator/seller of your sign was? I’d love to know! Thanks!

  • Cindi August 13, 2019 at 8:36 am

    My 4th grade son has a HUGE binder with a strap this year, and it won’t fit in his current backpack with anything else in there. Would the Under Armour backpack Smith has fit something like that? Thanks!

    • Mix and Match Mama August 13, 2019 at 1:28 pm

      I think it would!! It’s really deep and I feel like wide as well.

  • Debbie August 13, 2019 at 8:47 am

    I love the apple apparel! Great find Shay! 🍏🍎🍏🍎🍏🍎🍏🍎🍏🍎

  • Kristy August 13, 2019 at 9:51 am

    Smith just cracks me up- I can just hear him when you asked about back to school shopping; “no thanks, I’m good.” 😂 enjoy your first day back. A couple more weeks of summer break for us Canadians.

  • Melanie August 13, 2019 at 10:06 am

    I love looking at all the pictures of your kids throughout the years. I had to laugh at the last picture of the kids that you posted. It looks like Smith is wearing Ashby’s bow as a bowtie!

  • Jessica C. August 13, 2019 at 10:19 am

    I take pictures of my kids in a class of___ T-shirt that’s an adult size. It’s so fun to see how much they have grown. Especially my 4th grade son who is tall and will be in adult sizes before I know it! Eventually it will be a collage.

  • Marcela August 13, 2019 at 10:21 am

    My goodness, your kids are so BIG! Is it just me or did they all grow like crazy over the summer?! Also, do you have a recipe for your pigs in the blanket or do you just keep it simple?

  • Amanda @ That Inspired Chick August 13, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Aw thanks for the shoutout, friend! And Kensington in her curlers at the kitchen counter…so sweet!! I can’t believe how much older she looks every time I see her! She was just that shy little 4-year-old yesterday, wasn’t she?!
    That Inspired Chick

  • Sharon August 13, 2019 at 10:34 am

    We plan to eat lunch in McKinney in a few weeks on our way to Waco. What is the name of your favorite diner in the picture with all the moms?

  • Karen Ward August 13, 2019 at 10:52 am

    I don’t have any kids in school anymore but this was fun to read! By the way, Kensington is great at flat lays!

  • Belle August 13, 2019 at 11:37 am

    Shay, you are the ultimate mom goal! Love to read about your routines and the special things you do with your kiddos! I hope to be just like you when it’s my turn to be a mama!

  • Kimberly August 13, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    I am glad you are in the present, enjoying your kids at these ages because, like you said, they really do grow so fast. Next week we are dropping our son off for his sophomore year at University at Albany and our baby girl for her freshman year at Providence College in R.I. I will be an official empty nester! I’m having so many emotions right now but I mostly I am so very excited for both of them! But what to do with all my free time?! LOL Hope your 4 have great school years!

  • Stefany August 13, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    We have the same traditions…front door pictures, big cookie cake after school…one fun thing I did when my son graduated was take all 13 (preschool – senior year) front door pictures…printed them, matted them on black card stock and hung them on the wall for his graduation party. Then since I had them all rounded up anyways, I had them made into a book along with the graduation ceremony. I got smart for my daughter, I started a folder when I was working on my son’s…so now I won’t have to search for all of her pictures. 😃. Have a great school year. Shull crew!!! 📚

  • Tarah Sanford August 13, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    My oldest started PreK this year, and we decided to have a steak dinner the night before his first day of school. It was so fun! We grilled steaks, roasted potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and had fresh tomatoes with mozzarella. Yum!

  • Kasie Miller August 13, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    This post was so fun to read—especially since I sent my littles off to school today! And I could just hug you for posting that bow link and promo code since I was just realizing this morning how much we need to step up our bow game! Happy Last Day of Summer Break tomorrow!!

  • Kacy m August 14, 2019 at 5:28 am

    Summer flew by so fast! I feel like I just read your first day of summer post haha. I’m a preschool teacher and counting down til school starts. That kinder pic of Kensington had me bawling.

  • Tamra N Walker August 14, 2019 at 10:09 am

    Shay, our first day of school tradition included videoing our girls when they got home in the afternoon. We would interview them and ask many of the questions you mentioned in your post. Our oldest daughter is getting married in January and we pulled out the old videos for her fiance to watch and we had the best time seeing how very established their personalities were at such early ages, and how different each daughter is!!!! These days are treasures that will bless you forever. Enjoy getting the kids off to school and your momma time at Spoons!

  • Kim C August 14, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    Oh Shay, I think this is one of my favorite posts of yours I’ve ever read!!
    To be honest, I’m dreading this school year. It’ll be great for them I know it, but this year will be the first time in 10 years that none of my kids will be home with me for the majority of the day, everyday. Next week is going to be a culture shock. But then I’ll find my self at Hobby Lobby, Home Goods, or Costco all by myself and think of how glorious it is to have no fighting.
    We do pictures of the kids outside – sometimes in front of the door, sometimes just in the middle of the yard. Normally our oldest son picks out dinner the first day back to school, but this year with all 3 boys in school I think we’ll have to do a majority rules kinda menu.
    Hope the kids have a great, short first week back!

  • Erin September 5, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    What do you do with their nice backpacks at the end of the year?? My kids’ usually last a couple of years.

    • Mix and Match Mama September 6, 2019 at 5:23 am

      We use them for various other things (travel, sports, sleepovers, etc).