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Summer has actually come to an end. Can you believe it? One of my favorite ways to get back into the hang of things is to go shopping. Some fresh new items for the family can make everyone more excited and ready to take on the fall. Earlier in the summer, I shared some back to school shopping ideas. Now, I’m revisiting the concept of stocking up on everything you need before the first day of school.
Back to School Clothing and Accessories
Since my daughter Samantha will be going to her first all day program this fall, I want her to have clothes that are comfortable and practical. The best thing about Myself Belts is that they attach to the belt strap with Velcro. Kids can easily take the belts off and put them on, which gives them more confidence. You can buy the belts in a variety of fun patterns, and you can get different styles of belt buckles. Although the belts are designed to fit in pants that have belt loops, they fit well on top of dresses too. My daughter has worn her belt on several occasions, and she adores the design.
Joah Love sells cool, comfortable kids clothing. Both of my girls have adored the dresses they received from the company. Earlier in the summer, I wrote a full review of two outfits from the company. My younger daughter has adored wearing her pink racerback dress. When Samantha had the opportunity to try out another outfit from the company, she was excited about getting a dress similar to her sister’s dress because the fabric was so lightweight and comfortable. With short sleeves, the new dress will work great for playing on the playground.
Samantha has worn her Chaco Outcross shoes since early in the summer. She wears them on bike rides as well as walks to the pool, and she took them on our summer beach trip. You can read more about our experience with the shoes in my full review. The shoes look nice with socks, so they can work well into the chillier fall months. Plus, the shoes are great for keeping kids active. Kids can easily slip the shoes on without cumbersome shoe laces. Want to win a free pair? Check out my giveaway at the end of the article to win a $110 Chaco cash card, good for any style shoes you want from Chaco.
Trying out a Biscotti and Kate Mack outfit, my daughter adored the color and sparkles. Samantha’s eyes shone when she opened the box and found the entire outfit, laid out on hangers and in plastic bags. Everything arrived in pristine condition. Each piece separately looks adorable, but together, the items really pop and create a statement look. The leggings have cute, sparkly, silver stars. While the soft pink skirt looked nice over the leggings for school, it dressed the outfit up enough for church too.
New socks are a staple for the beginning of the school year. With Foot Cardigan Whippersnappers sock subscription, you can get new socks sent to your home regularly. Sometimes socks are the last thing you think to buy when you’re juggling a school supply list and your child’s wishes too. Socks were the last thing on my mind on my trip to the store, but when Samantha and I got home and found these fun, colorful, patterned socks, she was so happy. She and her sister immediately put the socks on and pretended to ice skate on our wood floor, then pretended the socks were gloves. Who knew socks could be so fun? Check out the full review to see more photos.
Last year, I featured a brand Chooze that specialized in shoes that had different styles. The idea of embracing mismatched styles is cool. Even adults have those mornings when they wake up and slip on shoes they thought were identical, but that end up being different colors or a slightly different style. Why not make the most of that uncomfortable, mismatched moment? With Chooze branching out into creating leggings, kids are embracing their individuality and making a cool, as well as comfortable, fashion statement. My daughters received this pair, and it looks adorable.
Transform a messy area of a room into the ideal study area, where kids can focus. With the Birdie Clock from Olive Kids, my daughter is learning how to tell time with an analog clock, which helps reinforce math content she will study up to second grade. Since the clock hangs on the wall, it doesn’t take up precious study space on the desk. The color and design is simple and fun, while the item helps brighten up the room. My daughter adores this clock. Now until January 31, 2017, you can save $20 on all orders more than $100.
Available at Target, Blue Sky Planners create the items you need to stay organized. To keep my entire family’s schedule organized this year, I received the Day Designer Rugby Stripe Monthly 22 X 17 Desk Calendar. Because the desk calendar was so large, it was the right place to put the dates that would involve everyone. Holidays, school closings, acting classes, and doctors appointments will be easy for people to find. For planning my own schedule, I received the Senn and Sons Casebound Triangles Weekly/Monthly 5 X 8 Planner. Since the planner has weeks and months, it can hold more specific information. Another advantage of the planner is that because it’s small, it can easily fit in my purse. I also received the Egg Press Tiny Calico Journal, which will be the perfect place for jotting notes during an unexpected meeting. The journal keeps me always prepared with a spot to write information. With all three Blue Sky Planner items, I am the most prepared and organized I could be for the upcoming school year.
Another item in the ideal study space is a fan to keep cool on warm days. Cool air can aid studying and keep kids alert as they read. With a trendy drum kit fan, your kids will actually want to spend time in the study area. The fan is easy to use. You plug it into an outlet, and there’s an on/off switch on the back of it. Since the item doesn’t oscillate and isn’t remote controlled, it is simple for kids to use. This was another item that my kids were excited to get. Since my kids enjoy playing music, the drum fan was a nice looking addition to our music room.
Author Kathy Walsh writes books that focus on self-improvement, both for children and parents. In the children’s book Life is a Rainbow, children learn to think of each day as a color of the rainbow. Children become more in tune with their feelings and focus on positive thinking. Another children’s book, The Bright Blue Balloon, addresses negative emotions. The reader visualizes all of the negative emotions in a blue balloon that drifts to the sky. The Bright Blue Balloon is a timely choice because when children head back to school, they are frequently nervous about how the year will go. For parents, another choice is the short book, Raising Peaceful Kids that can easily read in an afternoon. Raising Peaceful Children will help parents make mindful parenting choices as their children grow and develop over the year.
With a magnetic schedule, kids can get the structure they need to be successful. Repeatedly going over a procedure helps kids understand the expectations. Hang the schedule in an accessible spot where kids can see it. My daughter was tempted to play with it, so I ended up moving it higher on the wall. To make the schedule most effective, we used all of the magnets to determine how an entire day should go when school starts. Analyzing when to add chores required a lot of thought, but eventually resulted in concrete decisions, led by my daughter. Going over the schedule was a good opportunity to discuss how TV time should come after chores. The experience was also the right time to discuss why we might brush our teeth before getting dressed, and why doing chores in the morning before leaving for school might not be as practical as later in the day. Since Samantha helped create the schedule, she has more initiative in following it. For teachers, the product also comes in a classroom version. You can contact the company on Facebook and Pinterest.
Every work space needs an incentive for kids to work towards so they stay motivated. With the popularity of all minion-made items (even bulletin boards), kids will adore the characters they can become in this modern edition of Monopoly. Instead of Monopoly money, you play to earn the most banana bucks. The key concept is still the same, so the players are still learning about economics with play money. In the game, you play to create cupcakes and ice cream sundaes as well as to buy properties and charge rent. Spaces on the board game show scenes from the movie. With so many movie references to a popular film, the game is sure to interest kids.
School Supplies and Backpacks
Attend school during the day and hike on your evenings and weekends? This is the bag for you. A Granite Gear Jackfish backpack is the right size for all of your school items, including a laptop, while it can also work for so many more occasions. The length of the backpack makes it suitable to double as a weekender bag. When you go out hiking, the bag can fit everything you need for a long day in the sun. Most importantly, the item is ideal for school. In each pouch, you can fit the essentials you need to get through your day and stay organized.
To create a feminine accent to your wardrobe, purchase a Hedgren Maj backpack. The coloring is appealing for any season. In the fall, the blue is an excellent accent for neutral colors. In the winter, the brightness of the color will contrast your blacks and grays. When spring comes, you’ll be thrilled to already own a colorful accessory to help welcome in the sunny weather. Because the backpack is smaller than the Granite Gear Jackfish, it’s better for small books, organizers, pens, and other items that aren’t bulky. I own this backpack, and I’ve found that it also looks excellent for occasions outside of school. Since the color and style is so hip, the item looks great anywhere.
One of the best things about the Mermaid backpack is that my kids adore it. With fun colors and an adorable mermaid character, the backpack is a fun way to transition from the summer into the school year. Imagination Lane NYC is a New York City-based company that carries the backpack in its online store. As an online retailer, the company also carries a wide range of school supplies, craft supplies, and some clothes. Check out this cool Doodle by Stitch Pencil Case with pens (ARV $19.99) that Imagination Lane NYC will give to the giveaway winner. You can enter at the end of this article.
The Monster Factory VW Pink Pencil Case and VW Pink Lunchbox
To create a hip retro look with your kid’s gear, buy matching VW lunch boxes and pencil cases from the Monster Factory. The lunch box is big enough to fit sandwiches, chips, an apple and a water bottle. Since my daughter is only five years old, I’ve been concerned about how to pack a drink with her lunch. Many other lunch boxes only have space for the food. When you’re in your first year of school, you don’t want to forget your water at home and go thirsty during lunch. With the large size of the lunch box, it fits plenty.
Waterfield Designs pouches are chic and bohemian to create a natural look in your school gear. Unlike many other school item organizers, the bags look fine for an adult going to college. It’s hard to find a pouch that can fit all the items you need, such as smart phones, pens, highlighters, and even a tablet. With the wide range of sizes that the bags come in, there’s one to fit any situation. I use the smallest pouch, which fits the writing utensils I need as well as my cell phone. Using the item keeps my purse more organized. Plus, I have a set place where I know I can always find my phone and pens.
Kids heading into preschool will need to keep a change of clothes in their bag at all times. Free Like Birdie simplifies getting your child ready for the day. Simply double check the chart on the clean side of the bag to make sure that you put in all the items. When a teacher in your daycare needs to use the change of clothes, she can put the soiled clothes in the dirty section. Even if your kids are just going for a trip to grandma’s house for the day or a ride in the car, it is useful to keep the extra clothes in one spot.
BIC came out with some really neat items this year. I received the Xtra-Fun #2 Pencils, Xtra-Craze™ Mechanical Pencils, Brite Liner® Erasable Highlighters, Cristal® Stylus, and the Atlantis® Ultra Comfort Pen. School supply shopping is totally different from when I was a kid, when sparkly gel pens were innovative. Now, you can buy erasable highlighters, which are useful for me. I always like the security of being able to erase a mistake. With a stylus + pen, you can use one end to flip through your smart phone, and the other end to write notes. BIC also has mechanical pencils and sharpened pencils that are colorful, bright, and patterned. With such bright styles, the items make working in pencil more fun for students. Encouraging kids to erase small mistakes and redo excessively sloppy work is a good way to help keep them organized.
Dexas school supplies produces clipboards in an array of sizes and styles, all made in the USA. The simplest version is the Slimcase, which has one compartment to hold notepads, pens, and more. To try an item that offers more organization, get the Clipcase 1 or 2. Both can hold the same size paper. With the Clipcase 1, you get organizational space for your pens as well as smaller spaces to hold paper clips and erasers. For kids’ art projects and art supplies, purchase the E-Clips or the Loom Case Lapcase. My kids have art supplies and old art projects scattered all over the house. With their new Lapcase and E-Clips clipboards, they can keep the art project they are currently creating on the outside and their old projects and supplies on the inside of the clipboard. Organizing the home is a great step towards getting kids geared up for homework this fall.
Back to School Food
Tony Roma’s is a classic when it comes to ribs, especially baby back ribs. Not only are Tony Roma’s ribs and pulled pork easy to make, they also taste amazing and are kid friendly. My kids devoured this food. My husband was excited about the food too. The flavor was delicious, especially for a quick, easy to make meal. On nights when play practice runs late or the basketball game goes into overtime, having these meals will help you make a delicious dinner without the prep time.
Revolution Foods simplifies packing lunches. In the Jet Packs, you can get turkey and cheese, ham and cheddar, cheese pizza, and popcorn chicken as a main dish. Each Jet Pack comes with sides to make it a complete meal. Another item the company offers are the Dynamos protein power bites. With flavors that include triple berry, peanut butter, and chocolate chip, the taste is delicious. Interested in trying the items out for your kids? You can enter my giveaway below to win five free coupons for Revolution Foods items.
Start the morning off right with a delicious, organic juice. Lumi Juice doesn’t just taste great; it’s great for you. The ingredients are real, organic fruit, and no added sugars. Created with a cold-pressed process, the juice also offers the maximum amount of nutrients. My kids tried out the orange juice with their breakfast, and they were delighted with the fresh taste. My husband and I adored the taste too. Samantha asked where the fruit came from, and she said that it must have come from Florida because it was so good. The single serving, 10 ounce juices fit well in kids’ lunch boxes. For moms and dads rushing out of the house in the morning, you can also buy the 2 ounce nutrition shots. You get the nutrients, without spending all morning sipping a cup of juice.
Another item that’s good to have in the pantry for busy nights is Uncle Ben’s rice. Previously, I’ve tried Uncle Ben’s ready rice, and I’ve always found it to be convenient because the cook time was about a minute and a half. Now, the company sent me their flavored grain rice that come in a box. Making the flavored grain rice required cooking it in a pot, but the end result was delicious. My favorite was the Brown Rice & Quinoa Roasted Red Pepper. While the total cook time was about 25 minutes, the flavor was incredible and well worth the extra work.
Back to School Beauty Supplies
Pick up beauty supplies so you can start off the school day on a positive note. Illuminate an otherwise simple pony tail with sparkly hair ties. Get your part right with the Let’s Work It Out detangling comb. Hair that stays in its place can give you more confidence so you can focus on studying. Also, double check the age of your old makeup brushes. If your makeup brushes are looking cracked and dirty, now is a good time to replace them. You can buy a complete set of six makeup brushes from Phuse Beauty. Purchase the items from your local Glam Consultant. Check out items from the company’s catalogue to get the beauty supplies you’ll need this year.
Another fun minion-made item is the 3-in-1 banana scented body wash. My kids have tried out so many bath products, several of which have hurt their eyes and made them cry. With the gentle formula, my kids don’t cry at all. Plus, the fun banana smell is appealing. The minion container is fun addition to bath time play too.
Enter to win big for back to school! One winner will receive:
- Chaco cash card worth $110
- Coupons for five free Revolution Foods items, either the Jet Packs or the Dynamos ($24.95)
- From Imagination Lane NYC, the Doodle by Stitch Pencil Case ($19.99)
- Olive Kids clock, winner’s choice ($24.99)
- A pair of Chooze leggings, winner’s choice ($34)
- Hedgren Maj backpack in blue ($68.99)
- WaterField Designs Medium Gear Pouch ($45)
- Tony Roma’s Original Baby Back Pork Ribs and Kansas City Style Kickin’ Sweet & Spicy Pulled Pork ($20)
- Granite Gear Echo backpack ($34.99)
- Blue Sky Planners, Senn and Sons Casebound “Triangles” Weekly/Monthly 5 x 8 Planner ($15.99)
- Minions Arch Carry-All Lunchbox ($7.99)
- BIC Xtra-Fun #2 Pencils, Xtra-Craze™ Mechanical Pencils, Brite Liner® Erasable Highlighters, Cristal® Stylus, and Atlantis® Ultra Comfort Pen ($21.55)
- Easy Daysies Starter Kit ($19.99)
Total approximate prize value – $448.43