Good morning and Happy Friday, to you! I hope the rest of your week was a pleasant one and that you’ll be having a fun/relaxing weekend! I don’t know about you, but lately, when I’ve been walking into stores, in particular Target, Kohl’s, and most recently, Office Max, I’ve been distracted by the “Back to School” signs and sales. No longer though, does my stomach start to ache with fear and worry, in that, school is not in the cards for me (hopefully graduate school someday, but that’s another story). Rather, when I see the back to school signs, now memories and thoughts of the past come flooding back, so I thought to myself, what better than to take a step back and reminisce as a post about things (i.e. foods, books, stores, etc) I associate with school from my past? Perhaps you’ll be able to relate, or if you can’t, maybe it will remind of you of your own experiences! Before we get to that, let’s chat about breakfast this morning:
1 container Yoplait Blended Greek Strawberry Raspberry Yogurt: (This is the newest variety of Yoplait Greek yogurt which just hit shelves about two weeks ago. Oh, goodness, I had such high hopes for this yogurt, right down to the container, which is colorful and eye-catching. However, upon first tasting this particular flavor, which was unique in itself, as it is two flavors not typically found mixed together as a yogurt flavor, I realized it was not going to be one my favorites. Still, I’m glad I tried it, because if not, I would be left wondering and contemplating whether or not it was good. Needless to say, I will not be purchasing it again, as I found it to be oddly sweet, too much of a raspberry flavor, and overall, not at all pleasing to my taste buds. On a positive note, the consistency was decent though and while thick, still easily combined with cereal.)
1 cup Giant-brand Puffed Rice Cereal: (Tasted fine today, but I was a bit annoyed with the yogurt, so I probably would have preferred a more flavorful cereal today.)
1 cup Special K Red Berries Cereal: (A good cereal choice today, with abundant strawberry pieces! They sure were generous in this particular box!)
1 Banana (Yay! This banana was probably the star of the morning, as the flavor was optimal! P.S. Stay tuned for a very exciting and fun post regarding bananas… it might just involve a GIVEAWAY!)
Now, back to today’s musing! So, as I mentioned above, this time of year has me reflecting back on school experiences, back to school shopping I completed in the past, in addition to specific books and foods I associate with school from childhood and my teenage years. Typically, towards the middle of August, I would create an in-depth list of what needed to purchased, from school supplies, clothing, etc, and then I would create labels which I would type up and tape onto all of my folders, notebooks, binders. Needless to say, I was a bit of a perfectionist when it came to school. It became a tradition for my dad and I to head to either Staples or Office Max, with my list in hand, scurrying around the store, grabbing excessive amounts of pens, mechanical pencils, glue sticks, and anything else that just so happened to catch my eye. A significant amount of money later, we headed home and quickly, I would spread all of my purchases on the kitchen table and sit there for hours, instructing my dad on how he could help the process go by quicker, handing him hole punchers, scissors, and whatever else I thought might be handy. Though at times it could be stressful trying to prepare for the new school year, it gave me a means to bond with my dad and allow myself time to physically and mentally prepare for what the year might bring.
Another favorite aspect of my mine when it came to the back to school season, was back to school CLOTHES/ACCESSORIES shopping! In both my middle and high school years, back to school clothes/accessories shopping became an exciting tradition for my friends and I, as we spent hours scouring the stores and using it as an excuse to wander the mall, gossiping, giggling and enjoying each others’ company, probably more so than actually making any purchases.
Here are some of my favorite childhood school memories I’d like to share with you:
- The Arthur Series: Remember him? To me, he was the friendly aardvark I came to be quite fond of, with his sister D.W., and other friends. I remember when I was in elementary school, a teacher once told my class that the author of the Arthur series would always find a way to put his two sons in there. I always found it to be interesting and would look for them in the books. Sure enough, they were always there!
- The Berenstain Bears: Ahh, what a wonderful series! Fun fact: the authors of this book series are actually from the very same county as me and a town about 25 minutes away! Always a fun book series to read, because there were underlying life lessons in all of them.
- Little Bear: Some of you might not recall Little Bear, but he is one of my favorites. In later years, they actually had a television series, based directly off of some of the themed books. One of my favorite episodes/books involves, Little Bear, a toad, and “hot applesauce!” Another favorite is Little Bear’s birthday, which teaches a lesson about friendship.
- Corduroy series: This beloved book series always seemed to be checked out of the library and whenever I would finally get my hands on it, I loved it. Corduroy the bear, always seemed like such a lovable character to me.
- Kid’s Kitchen: Created by the brand Hormel, it was one of my favorite foods to bring for lunch. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it was a small container, which could be heated that way, or taken out and heated in a bowl, etc. My mom would typically place it in a thermos for me to enjoy as lunch. I would look forward to it all morning until the afternoon, when it was finally time to eat! As a child, I was never really a big sandwich eater (with the exception of grilled cheese, of course!)
- Chef Boyardee Mac ‘ N Cheese: I think I may have enjoyed Chef Boyardee even more so than Kid’s Kitchen, but probably because I had it less often, in that it was typically more expensive than the Kid’s Kitchen counterpart).
- Cream of Wheat with a Pat of Butter: As a very young child, my mom would always make this for me and serve it with a pat of butter mixed it. It was warm and comforting and the addition of butter enhanced the savory flavor. I know it’s the tagline of Campbell’s Soup that claims of “warming the heart,” but in my opinion, it was Cream of Wheat that warmed mine!
- Eggo Frozen Waffles topped with butter: Oh goodness, I recall kindergarten through first grade, the only time my sister, Hope and I were in the same school, when we would both eat frozen waffles spread with butter. Thinking about it still churns my stomach – I was never quite fond of the waffles with butter, meal. When eating waffles, pancakes or french toast, syrup is typically what I turn to.
- Einstein Brothers Bagels & Cream Cheese: Specifically when I was in high school, after spending a long day in classes and at various after school activities, I would arrive home ravenous. My mom always made sure to supply me with my favorite Einstein Bros Bagel, topped with their cream cheese. It became somewhat of a tradition, because other store-brought bagels, such as Thomas’ just wasn’t the same. There’s something about bagels from restaurants which evokes an allure unlike grocery-store bought bagels.
- Denny’s: Most of my fond memories of Denny’s are tagged to my kindergarten years. I would attend the morning session and on Wednesdays, when my dad was off from work, he would drive me and I’d be desperate for the morning to end, because it meant he, my mom and I would be visiting Denny’s for lunch, as it was the day they served my favorite soup – Cream of Broccoli. Happily, I’d sit there in the booth, slurping my soup, my mouth watering while dreaming of the dessert I would soon share with my dad: cherry cheesecake.
I could probably continue on with all of my memories in relation to school, but for now, I’ll leave you with this brief sampling!
QUESTION: So, tell me, what reminds you of your school years? Did you enjoy back-to-school shopping?