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Column: Pody's tips for going back to school on a budget

When our children were in school, I liked to think of September as the spring of a new school year. A time for new beginnings: new classrooms, teachers, classes, subjects, books and some years a new school.

It's hard to believe that Tuesday is the start of a new school year already. Where did our summer go?

Parents are out scrambling for those last minute necessities. The doctor, eye and dental appointments are complete. Children are searching their rooms for backpacks, pencil boxes, rulers and pencil sharpeners that can be cleaned and reused. One single mother I talked with said she had the children locating glue that was still good, notebooks and folders that could be reused, pencils and even crayons for the first few weeks of school. She said with high unemployment families are in a crunch in spite of generous donations by charity organizations. Also this summer two of her teenagers had trouble finding part time jobs so her food bill was higher. They had volunteered at a community garden which helped her out and kept the children off the street.

She was grateful because all the children had new outfits for the first day of school but she had gone shopping at sales during the summer and found the rest at the Prince of Peace Mega Sale last weekend.

Sales at used stores are up 26 percent this year and many parents have taken advantage over the past few months. She said each one of her children had new school shoes, socks and undies.

Schools have held their orientation sessions. Parents have met the teachers, received bus schedules, bought lunch tickets, had school pictures taken. After the Labor Day weekend, the spring of a new school year will welcome students to the classrooms.

It will be an adjustment for parents. When they get home from work, children will be ready for dinner, homework, evening activities and a routine of earlier bed times. Once you get in a routine, it gets easier for everyone.

Our days are getting shorter and our evenings cooler. Remember they may need a sweatshirt in the morning and not in the afternoon on the way home but it's best to have one ready. These years are challenging for parents but they go by so fast. Enjoy them while you can.

Zucchini bread

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup Crisco oil

1/2 cup apple sauce

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups shredded zucchini

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Beat sugar, oil, apple sauce, eggs and vanilla. Set aside. Combine flour, salt, soda, baking powder and cinnamon.

Stir in egg mixture. Fold in zucchini, nuts and lemon zest until coated. Don't overmix. Divide between two 8x4 sprayed pans. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.