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Mom Exchange: How We Get Ready For The First Day Of School

"We keep a written log of our summer adventures-everything from whale watching to nasty boo-boos. This gets the kids excited to share the tales (exaggerations included!) with their friends." --Anne Mahon, Belmont, MA

"The boys are too young for school, but my husband's a medical student, so we still celebrate back-to-school. The kids help me color cards to hide in Daddy's book bag and make a special dinner, complete with root-beer floats." --Debbi Christiansen, West Des Moines, IA

"We go out to lunch and talk about the upcoming school year. Every positive comment earns the kids tickets for choosing back-to-school items at the dollar store-plus, shopping there doesn't break my bank!" --Delfina Short, Centerville, PA

"I turn my daughter's breakfast into a funny face on her plate: small pancakes are the eyes, mango for the nose, bananas become the mouth, and bacon is the hair. This way, her first day back to school starts with a full belly and a smile." --Jean Snyder, Coal Valley, IL

"The countdown begins thirty days before school. The kids draw in daily activities like hiking, biking, and visiting museums on a big calendar. We also squeeze in one last mini-vacation for even more exciting stories to share with their classmates." --Deborah Sacoto, Shelton, CT

"Our son, Kai, starts kindergarten this year, so we're beginning a new tradition on the night before the first day. After his favorite dinner, Kai will blow out a candle on a cake to celebrate the new school year!" --JRhea Serran, Elk Grove, CA

"My seven-year-old is homeschooled, so we make picking out supplies extra special by choosing crayons and pencils that are cooler than the ones recommended by the public school." --Sabrina Brown, Conehatta, MS

What are your best money-saving tips? E-mail us your ideas at momexchnge@parenting.com.

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