Go Back to School in Style

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By Cindy Edwards

This is the first year that I have not watched a child walk out of my door on the first day of school. As I transition to this new phase of my life, I will miss being involved in my sons’ school activities. It can definitely be a challenge to juggle all of the responsibilities of parenting and still participate in the children’s school events. There are new teachers to meet, supplies to buy, carpools to schedule and many new chances to get involved at school.  Parents may find it hard to help or volunteer in the classroom; however, there are opportunities for everyone and helping at your child’s school can be very rewarding.

A good friend of mine in Savannah, Donna Stafford, happens to be a veteran teacher. She says that children want their moms and dads to be involved at some level.  “Children need to see that their parents are interested in school,” she explains, “and that it is a priority.” 

When children are young, parents can offer to read in class, assist with projects or chaperone a field trip.  Even as children get older, schools still need parental support. From serving on the local PTA to helping set up the science fair, your child will notice anything that you do—and so will the teachers.

Just remember to communicate with your teacher or school about opportunities.
School days are busy and tightly scheduled, so calling or emailing is the best way to communicate.  Stopping by the classroom to talk with the teacher when you drop off your child is not a good idea.  Mornings are typically the busiest and most hectic part of the day. 

Just for fun, I want to share a few after-school snacks that you can make and enjoy with your child.

Fruit Kabobs with Simple Chocolate Sauce


For 6 kabobs you will need:

Six 6-inch bamboo skewers
Assorted fruit, cleaned and prepped for assembly
Marshmallows or maraschino cherries for a sweet addition
Your favorite chocolate sauce

You and your child will enjoy placing each piece of fruit on the skewer. Adding an occasional marshmallow or cherry makes eating the fruit even more fun. Offer the chocolate sauce as a special dip or drizzle over the kabobs. This activity is a great (and delicious) way to get your kids interested in eating a healthy snack.

Quick and Easy Pasta Salad


For older children, a pasta salad is the perfect snack to get their brains and bodies ready for after-school activities and homework. 

1 pound of pasta (I use bowtie)
1 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing (your family favorite)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup cubed salami
1/2 cup diced green, red or yellow peppers
1/2 cup sliced olives
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Grated Parmesan cheese to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and mix with other ingredients.  This is a great recipe to prepare on a Sunday evening because it will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Enjoy the excitement of a new school year with your children.  As I learned this year, these fun days pass way too quickly.
As always, thanks for reading.

Properly yours,

Cindy Edwards embodies everything pretty, perky and proper about the South. She's a wife, mother, volunteer and freelance writer. Cindy volunteers enough hours to exhaust most by serving on the Board of Trustees for the Telfair Museums, the Savannah Book Festival Board of Directors and the University of Georgia Honors Advisory Board. She has also served on the Boards of the March of Dimes and Young Life Savannah. Cindy has been married to her college sweetheart, Dr. Joe Edwards III, for 25 years and is the proud mother of two sons: Joe IV, a senior at the University of Georgia, and Jack, a freshman at Ole Miss. No matter how busy, Cindy always makes time for a competitive game of bridge.
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Reader Comments:


Looking for a recipe. It's a dessert it had rice krispies, marshmellows, nuts, and peanut butter in it. I'm not sure what it was called. Paula made it on one of her shows with her son. You put it in a little cupcake paper. Can anyone help me out with this??? Thank you!!!

By Diana on October 03, 2012


Love all the Deen Family Shows. So entertaining! Love the Cookbooks too! I like trying new recipes for Family Dinners, Picnics and Tea Parties.

By Carolyn Dreibelbis on September 13, 2012


Cindy, Thank you for helping us to remember the important things in our lives-our children! These years do pass very quickly, and it is nice for both parent and child to have fold memories of parental involvement and support. Time is precious, and NOW is the time to spend with those you love. Kay

By kay on September 13, 2012


Starting school in a transition time for everyone, thanks for reminding us. Even grandparents can volunteer to be involved & stay in touch with young people & the teachers appreciate the perspective & help of others.

By Henri Etta Tharpe on September 13, 2012


excellent advice for school children any age. Love the pasta recipe!

By Linda on September 13, 2012


As a retired teacher, I completely agree with your thoughts. Children need their parents to be involved in the school activities. Nothing takes the place of that. Thanks for a timely, thoughtful blog.

By Sandra on September 12, 2012


I am amazed on how fast they grow up, but as a parent of a 14 year old and an a 11 year old, keeping up with school work, dance, football, birthday parties... and the list seems to get longer by the day, can be a challenge! As we begin the new school year, I get so anxious about scheduling all the events, but it is so important to stay involved in your children's lives. There is no substitution for a parent's love and support. Thanks for reminding us of that.

By Michelle on September 10, 2012


This blog contains good ideas for helping with shool activities. A teacher friend of mine says that student achievement improves when parents are interested, and are willing to help with school work and school activities. Thanks, Cindy, for another great blog!! I will be making the nutritious snacks very soon. The boys look very happy and ready for a wonderful school year!!

By Ann on September 10, 2012


Wonderful article ! Parents need to be concerned about their children and be interested in helping at their school Love your articles. Keep them coming

By 41sweetie on September 08, 2012


Great picture of boys schooldays. Good advice for parents. Too bad you cannot bottle Father Time.. Keep the articles coming.

By L. Lanier on September 08, 2012

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm