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Graduation Brunch Ideas

Graduation Brunch Ideas

Graduation Brunch Ideas

Why have a graduation brunch? When we were planning a party for my daughter and her friend we realized the kids literally had parties scheduled all day long and evening for several weekends and days in a row. You need to coordinate all of these events so that they do not overlap (or don’t overlap by much). A graduation brunch is a great idea because there are usually fewer graduates vying for this time. A brunch also gives opportunities for many fun graduation brunch menu ideas!

Read on for Graduation Brunch Ideas!

Graduation Brunch Ideas

Graduation Brunch Ideas 

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive (at no additional cost to you) a small commission, which helps pay for this blog. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

minted graduation party invitation

INVITATIONS

The first thing you will need for a graduation brunch is invitations. These amazing invitations are from Minted. If you are giving a party for more than one graduate, have a picture taken of the honorees before creating the invitations or use a picture of them from their high school years.

 

clear frame with picture of girl on table at graduation brunch

TABLE DECORATIONS

We rented bistro tables for the kids to stand at while they ate their food. Use simple table decorations that do not take up the whole table. We chose pictures of the graduate in acrylic frames surrounded by confetti. Confetti is inexpensive and the frames can be reused. You can get a set of 5 acrylic frames for $39.95 on Amazon.

mother daughter in front of picture backdrop at graduation brunch

FUN PHOTO BACKDROP

One of the best graduation brunch ideas is to have a fun photo backdrop. We ordered this beautiful backdrop on Etsy. You can find any style you would like and have it customized here. And yes, my daughter is really that much taller than I am!

graduation brunch buffet

DONUT BOARD AND VIRGIN MIMOSA BAR

The honorees celebrated their new schools with donuts decorated in the school colors – green and yellow for Baylor and red and white for Oklahoma. These were a HUGE hit. A friend of ours made the donut board, which we have loaned out on several occasions. If you live in Tulsa, feel free to come and borrow it 😉

We also had a virgin mimosa bar. Make cute tags and tie them on with twine. Our bottles came from Target, but you can order these pretty bottles on Amazon.

graduation brunch buffet

BRUNCH FOOD

Fruit, breakfast burritos, pigs in a blanket, and mini yogurt cups and granola and other toppings rounded out the menu. We ordered the cute little yougurt cups from Amazon. 

jar with notes from attendees at a graduation brunch

NOTE JAR

We set out a jar and paper for the kids to write notes to the graduates. Also do not forget a gift table!!

corn hole game

CORN HOLE

Corn hole in the back yard was also a hit. We ordered corn hole bean bags in the girls’ school colors.

A Graduation Brunch can be a wonderful solution to overlapping parties and other graduation festivities. I hope these Graduation Brunch Ideas help you in your planning. Be sure to savor the day and take lots of pictures!!

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Top 5 College Preparation Books

Top 5 College Preparation Books

Top 5 College Preparation Books

Preparing for College is an exciting and sometimes anxiety inducing endeavor. There are tests to take and applications to complete, then there are dorm items to buy and roommates to find. It is comforting to know that others have tread these same paths and have taken the time to write about their experiences. Read my Top 5 College Preparation Books. 

 

For more College Preparation Help:

How to Complete Your FAFSA

College Preparation Checklist for High School Seniors

7 Summer Musts Before Senior Year

College Preparation Checklist for High School Juniors

The Planning for College Planner

10 College Application Tips

Top 5 College Preparation Books

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar. 

College Preparation Planner

THE PLANNING FOR COLLEGE PLANNER

 College Preparation is hard enough without having to keep up with thousands of pieces of paper. The Planning for College Planner gives the rising college student one place to record all of their high school information, research and evaluate colleges, and keep up with deadlines, applications, and letters of recommendation. This is the one book you need to take you from your freshman year of high school to your freshman year of college.

how to win scholarships

HOW TO WIN SCHOLARSHIPS

By: Monica Matthews

When Monica Matthews’s son was a senior in high school, she wondered if she would have to go back to work full time to pay for his college education. But before sending out her resume, she decided she would do everything in her power to help her son win enough scholarship money to pay for college.

She partnered with her son in the research and application process and he was awarded so much scholarship money that she and her husband paid NOTHING for his education. She has compiled her knowledge and experience into her book How to Win College Scholarships: A Guide for Parents in 10 Easy Steps.

 

College Bound by Melanie Studer

COLLEGE BOUND: THE ULTIMATE LIST OF CONVERSATIONS TO HELP YOUR TEEN THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL

By: Melanie Studer

Melanie Studer is a teacher and mom who knows how to talk to teens. She knows that it is tough to get their attention and tough to keep them focused. In her book College Bound she breaks down the difficult topics into easy bite-sized conversations to have with your teen as they are going through high school. These conversations will help you and teen decide how to approach the college search and application process, as well as decide if college is the best option.

 

THE NAKED ROOMMATE AND 107 OTHER ISSUES YOU MIGHT RUN INTO IN COLLEGE

By Harlan Cohen

This book and it’s companion, “For Parent’s Only,” was first recommended to me by the Assistant Dean of my son’s college. It is a hilarious and realistic look at college life. According to Amazon, it has been the #1 go-to guide for college life for over 10 years. This book makes a great graduation gift.

fiske guide to colleges

FISKE GUIDE TO COLLEGES

While there is no shortage of online college search possibilities, sometimes there is no substitue for a book with the information all in one place. A College guide book gives you a place to highlight and put sticky tabs and easily compare information. The Fiske Guide to Colleges is another dog-eared, underlined, and highlighted book at our house. A new addition is released every July.

I now have two sons in college and my daughter is a junior in high school. These Top 5 College Preparation Books are the books we have used to help us navigate through the choppy waters of college prep.

PLANNING FOR COLLEGE CHECKLISTS

Get your FREE copy of the Planning for College Checklists - Junior Year, Summer Before Senior Year, Senior Year, FAFSA, CSS-Profile, Scholarships, Dorm Shopping, Packing for the Move, and the Parent Survival Kit for College Drop Off and the Glossary of College Admissions Terms.

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Tax Credits and Deductions for Parents of College Students

Tax Credits and Deductions for Parents of College Students

Tax Deductions for Parents of College Students

 

No one likes paying for college and no one likes doing their taxes. Fortunately there are a few ways to make the process more pleasant during tax time with tax deductions for parents of college students. These college student tax credits can give you a few of your tuition dollars back from the government when you file your taxes each year.

For more posts about Paying for College:

How to Complete Your FAFSA

The Complete Guide to Paying for College

 

tax credits and deductions for parents of college students

Tax Deductions for Parents of College Students

 

There are 2 tax credits and one tax deduction available to parents of college students. They are the American Opportunity Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the Student Loan Interest Deduction.

 

The American Opportunity Credit

The American Opportunity Credit is a credit available to parents of college students who claim their student as a dependent on their taxes. College students who are not dependents on anyone else’s return may also claim the credit.

If your adjusted gross income is below $90,000 for single filers and $180,000 for joint filers, you can take up to a $2500 credit per eligible student on your return. The cool thing about credits (as opposed to deductions) is that they come straight off your tax bill.

Your college student must be pursuing a degree or other recognized credential, be at least a half-time student, and have a social security number to claim this credit.

The other cool thing about this credit is that you could potentially receive CASH BACK. 40% of the credit is refundable for most taxpayers.

 

Lifetime Learning Credit

The Lifetime Learning Credit is another credit available to parents of college students. You cannot take both the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit on the same return. Usually the AOC is better, but you can only take the AOC for 4 years per eligible student. The Lifetime Learning Credit can be taken for an unlimited number of years. So, if you are still paying for expenses after 4 years, you can switch to the LLC.

Although the Lifetime Learning Credit has a lower income threshold ($68,000 for single filers and $136,000 for joint filers), its eligibility requirements are not as strict. It does not require that the student be pursuing a degree and includes courses to acquire or improve job skills and it can be claimed for one or more courses.

The LLC will not result in a refund on your return. It can only reduce the amount you owe.

 

Student Loan Interest Deduction

The student loan interest deduction is not a credit. It is a deduction, meaning it reduces your income, not your tax liability. The maximum deduction is $2,500.

This deduction can be taken by the person who is claiming the student as a dependent AND is legally obligated to pay the student loan interest.

The person who is legally obligated on the loan will receive a 1098-E from each institution to whom $600 or more in interest was paid during the tax year.

The income threshold for this deduction is $85,000 for single taxpayers and $170,000 for joint taxpayers.

 

Tax Credits and Deductions for Parents of College Students Cheat Sheet

I created a cheat sheet to summarize the information in this post. It is available in The Printables Library. You can access it below. These college student tax credits and student loan interest deduction are complicated in their eligibility, so I encourage you to consult a tax professional. I have done my best to report accurate information, which I obtained from IRS Publication 970.  

tax credits and deductions for college students

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Join the Almost Empty Nest Community and receive FREE ACCESS to the Almost Empty Nest Printables Library. The Printables Library includes every printable on Almost Empty Nest - A Year of Care Package Printables, Gift Tags, College Preparation Checklists, Additional Care Package Printables (Birthday, March Madness, the Super Bowl, additional Halloween and finals), Bible Verse printables and more.

 

 

If your prefer not to join, you may purchase the printables HERE.

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Small Coffee Bar Ideas

Small Coffee Bar Ideas

Small Coffee Bar Ideas on a Budget

Looking to create a small coffee bar? Here are some small coffee bar ideas that you can create on a budget.

For more apartment ideas:

College Apartment Kitchen Idea

New Apartment Checklist

New Apartment Care Package

College Apartment Recipes

small coffee bar ideas

Small Coffee Bar Ideas on a Budget

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

THE PROBLEM

One of the problems with an apartment is a small kitchen with a small amount of counter space. This picture shows my daughter’s apartment kitchen counters on move in day – not much there!

small coffee bar ideas

So what is a little apartment kitchen with no counter space to do? Add some with a bar cart. You can use a bar cart for a lot of things – for drinks, to serve food to a gathering, or as a coffee bar. These girls start their days with coffee so we chose to make a small coffee bar.

And if you are in college or just starting out, you need small coffee bar ideas on a budget!

FIRST THINGS FIRST

The first step to creating a small coffee bar on a budget is to find a reasonably priced bar cart. Many affordable carts in all finishes are available on websites like Amazon and Zulily. This iDesign bar cart cart came from Zulily.

idesign bar cart

ASSEMBLE THE CART

A budget bar cart will come in a box and will need to be put together. Don’t let that scare you. Assembling a bar cart is super simple. My daughter and I were able to easily put it together  in about 15 minutes. The only tool we needed was a phillips head screwdriver. I even forgot to take my Covid mask off. (I was wearing it because the other girls and some of their parents were in the apartment.)

college apartment kitchen ideas

One of the best things about a bar cart is that they almost always have casters. Being able to move the cart around is handy in a small space if you want to rearrange.

coffee bar

SMALL COFFEE BAR IDEAS

Your coffee bar will need several items:

The first is a coffee maker. A Keurig is easy to use and the pods are inexpensive compared to other types of single serve coffee makers. You can save money by buying refillable pods and putting your own ground coffee in the pods. If you use refillable pods, I recommend filters. I make a pot of coffee every morning in my Keurig caraffe. Using filters in the refillable pods is the only way to go to avoid the mess of cleaning the pod all the time.

A fun addition to the coffee bar are coffee flavoring syrups. Don’t forget to get the pumps as well.

Add a plant or other decorations to add personality to your cart.

We added a mug tree. The gold looks modern and sets off nicely against the black cart. The gold mug tree came from Amazon.

You need mugs for your coffee and you cannot go wrong with white mugs. They also set off well against the black cart. The white mugs came from Target. Here is a similar white mug set from Amazon.

coffee bar

If you have room, you can add water bottles or a container for your coffee pods. These green Perrier water bottles add more personality and color to this small coffee bar.

college apartment kitchen ideas

DOESN’T IT LOOK AMAZING!

This small coffee bar is so cute. What fun to grab coffee from this coffee bar every morning on their way to class. (Or to their desks in their rooms. It is 2020 after all.) You can use these small coffee bar ideas to make a coffee bar of your own.

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College Apartment Kitchen Ideas

College Apartment Kitchen Ideas

College Apartment Kitchen Ideas 

 

My daughter and her friends moved into their first college apartment last week. I was overjoyed to help them with some college apartment kitchen ideas. We worked to set up and organize their pantry and their refrigerator. We also styled a bar cart as an adorable coffee bar.

You can find all of the details, cool things for a college apartment, and the steps we took to organize their college apartment kitchen.

 

For more college apartment ideas:

New Apartment Checklist

New Apartment Care Package

College Apartment Recipes

college apartment kitchen ideas

College Apartment Kitchen Ideas

This post is sponsored by Zulily. All opinions are my own. For more information see my disclosure page.

 

COLLEGE APARTMENT KITCHEN IDEAS TO ORGANIZE YOUR REFRIGERATOR

A shared refrigerator can turn into a big jumbled mess pretty quickly, so we worked to give each girl a spot to store their food. We started with 4 – 8″ Fridge Binz Caddies from Zulily – one for each girl. I made labels for each bin with their names. It is nice for each person to have their own space in the refrigerator in a shared college apartment kitchen.

college apartment kitchen
The girls selected mostly grab and go items like cuties, yogurt, and individual snacks as well other refrigerated foods they wanted to have at home.
college apartment kitchen

Their refrigerator is organized and super functional thanks to these bins from Zulily. They have now spent 8 months in their apartment and my daughter told me they LOVE the bins and do use them to keep their food separated.

 

college apartment kitchen
COLLEGE APARTMENT KITCHEN IDEAS FOR THE PANTRY

They decided they wanted to organize the pantry by category. We used food storage bins from Zulily. I made labels for categories like pasta, breakfast, baking, and snacks.

college apartment kitchen
college apartment kitchen
college apartment kitchen
Organizing their pantry from the beginning will keep them from having to conduct a major cleanout later. The bins give them a place for each type of food and they will be able to put groceries away right into their proper spot.
college apartment kitchen

We had an extra bin and decided to use it for cleaning supplies under the sink. Creating a spot for dishwashing and other cleaning supplies is a necessity in any apartment kitchen.

COLLEGE APARTMENT KITCHEN IDEAS: HOW TO MAKE A COFFEE BAR

College apartments often have very little counter space. A bar cart is the perfect solution. It can be added to the living area of the apartment and set up as a coffee bar.

idesign bar cart
This iDesign bar cart from Zulily was easy to transport from home in its box. My daughter and I were able to easily assemble it in about 15 minutes.
college apartment kitchen ideas
The casters on the bottom are a great addition. They will be able to move the cart around anytime they wish.
coffee bar

We had the best time styling the cart with their coffee maker, syrups, Perrier, and some mugs.

coffee bar
college apartment kitchen ideas

By the end of the day four college students with the help of their parents had moved into the apartment. They are all set to go for the year with these college apartment kitchen ideas and items from Zulily. I found the cute mug rack on Amazon and the white mugs at Target.

college apartment kitchen ideas

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Join the Almost Empty Nest Community and receive FREE ACCESS to the Almost Empty Nest Printables Library. The Printables Library includes every printable on Almost Empty Nest - A Year of Care Package Printables, Gift Tags, College Preparation Checklists, Additional Care Package Printables (Birthday, March Madness, the Super Bowl, additional Halloween and finals), Bible Verse printables and more.

 

 

If your prefer not to join, you may purchase the printables HERE.

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College Survival Kit

College Survival Kit

College Survival Kit

 

A College Survival Kit is a perfect gift or DIY project for a soon-to-be college student. Some kits are cute with puns and tags. Others are a collection of items for a dorm room. This college survival kit is meant to go in the bottom of a backpack or in the car of a college student to have on the run when emergencies arise.

Whether they are in desperate need of a snack or cup of coffee, have unexpectantly started their period, or have a splitting headache, this college survival kit will be there for them when they need it.

For more DIY Going Away to College Gift Ideas: DIY Graduation Gifts

For fun care package ideas for an entire year: Care Package Ideas

college survival k

College Survival Kit

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar. 

 

HOW TO MAKE A COLLEGE SURVIVAL KIT

started with this clear bag I found on Amazon. They came in a set of three, which is handy if you are making gifts for several people. I was looking for something small enough for a backpack or car console. I also liked that I could easily apply the labels to a clear bag as opposed to a fabric bag. The clear bags can also be taken into an NCAA sporting event that requires clear bags.

Packed Party has some absolutely adorable and superb quality bags that could also be used. I carry one of their bags in my purse for my lipglosses, hand sanitizer, hand lotion, etc. It is such a good bag because it has a vinyl liner.

Your college survival kit does not have to have a label, but when it is given as a gift, it dresses it up. I made the label with my Cricut machine.

You may purchase labels from the Almost Empty Nest Store.

 

 

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN A COLLEGE SURVIVAL KIT

Tylenol or other pain reliever: In case of the sudden onset of a headache or other pain.

Hair Ties: Sometimes a hair tie breaks or it is windy outside or a college girl just decides she wants to pull her hair up.

Tissues: Tissues can be used in an emergency to wipe up a small spill, help fix smeared makeup, or for their original purpose, to wipe a nose.

Feminine Products: No explanation needed. Periods come sometimes at very inconvenient times!

A Small Healthy Snack: A college girl may find herself in need of a snack between classes or when she absolutely cannot break away from studying or a group project.

Lip Balm: Chapped lips are no fun.

Nail File: Nails break and start snagging on everything. A nail file can be a really handy item in a pinch.

Safety Pins: Loose hem, button that won’t stay buttoned, blouse that is showing more than you thought when you left the dorm….

Band Aids: For a cut finger or shoes that are blistering a heel.

Starbucks Gift Card: Sometimes a cup of their favorite beverage is an emergency and what is a college student to do if she is out of money. The college survival kit to the rescue!!

Hand Sanitizer: Unfortunately our kids are going back to school during a pandemic. They cannot have too much hand sanitizer.

Mask: They will also need a collection of masks – some for their room, one for their backpack, one for the car. Most schools are not going to allow them in a building or a classroom without a mask. Having an extra one in their college survival kit will be a life saver if they accidentally left theirs somewhere or dropped it outside on the way to class. Good to always have an extra clean one in case theirs is dirty or a strap breaks.

college survival kit
OTHER ITEMS TO THINK ABOUT INCLUDING

Antacid tablets

Small multi-tool

Breath mints

Small sewing kit

Sticky notes

Pen/Pencil/Highlighter

Stain remover pen

college survival kit

A college survival kit makes a great graduation gift or college item to make for your daughter before she heads off to school this fall.

Join the Community

Join the Almost Empty Nest Community and receive FREE ACCESS to the Almost Empty Nest Printables Library. The Printables Library includes every printable on Almost Empty Nest - A Year of Care Package Printables, Gift Tags, College Preparation Checklists, Additional Care Package Printables (Birthday, March Madness, the Super Bowl, additional Halloween and finals), Bible Verse printables and more.

 

 

If your prefer not to join, you may purchase the printables HERE.

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