Ah, yes. The back to school frenzy. Worse than Christmas or Hanukkah but better than living out one more day of trying to entertain the kids over summer vacation.
Luckily I don’t have to endure the madness known as Back to School, yet. Weston is still too young. For now, I get to surf the web and check out all of the cool gear!
Here are some awesome must haves for you and your kiddos as you venture back into the school year.
+ BACKPACKS +
Because Wes is still so little, I look for small bags that won’t make him topple over when full. I tend to gravitate to “boyish” prints but don’t let that stop you from exploring these brands. Colors and prints vary. Here are my favorites:
1. SWANKAROO – For the littlest toddlers, I’m lovin’ the Swankaroo backpacks. They are absolutely adorable for both girls and boys, ages 1-5. They are one of the smallest designs I’ve seen but still offer up enough room to store essentials. Bonus: They have matching mama totes if you feel like coordinating with your LO. ($42)
2. KANKEN – Although pricey, these sturdy and classic packs will last forever, plus they have just about every color you can imagine. ($60)
3. HERSCHEL SUPPLY CO – This was the first backpack I ever bought for Weston and I loved it all the way up until we lost it. Herschel also offers youth sizes and adult sizes (again, for the matchy effect) in addition to various colors and styles, such as this Weather Pack for kids (similar to Swankaroo). ($28)
1. BEST FYOU – If I had a girl, I would be all over this backpack despite the fact that I’m not a cat person. I mean really…how cute is this? Colors vary. ($22)
2. HERSCHEL SUPPLY – I always hated pink growing up. In fact my favorite color was blue. But had you showed me this perfectly paired color combo, I would have rejoiced! ($55)
3. FUNKY BACKPACK – Priced well and offering cute prints for both girls and boys. There isn’t a ton of information on the website about the dimensions of the pack. In fact, the only thing I know about this pack is that it is 100% cotton and 100% cute. ($10)
1. GAP – I’m a sucker for camo, especially when it’s mixed with other colors and prints. Roller version available. ($40)
2. HERSCHEL – Vintage, mountaineering-inspired design. I love the bold stripes and hint of neon green. Colors vary. ($55)
3. STATE – Simple and modern, this is color blocking at its best! Colors vary. ($55)
+ HEALTH +
One of the major downfalls of back to school is the slew of illness your kids are bound to bring home. In an effort to stay healthy this season, I’ve rounded up a few survival suggestions to help rid you of those pesty germs.
1. LICE PREVENTION – LADIBUGS MINT SPRAY – I don’t know about you but I’m pretty grossed out by the thought of Lice and would like to avoid them at all costs. Designed to be used daily, this spray claims to help ward off those disgusting bugs before they infest your home. Can also be used on sports gear and most fabrics. ($10.95-$17.95)
2. VITAMINS – We are HUGE advocates of vitamins and probiotics in our house, which is why I love the Honest company’s Baby & Toddler Multi Powder. 30 individual serving packets are pre-measured and make it easy to mix in food & drinks. ($30)
3. FRESH WIPES & HAND SANITIZER – I personally love Honest company products, especially the travel pack of wipes and hand sanitizer spray. I don’t leave home without them. EVER. Perfect for wiping off grubby hands, dirty faces and combating nasty germs. I am a monthly subscriber so I save on bundles but if you’re not interested in becoming a member, you can find Honest in several retailers such as Whole Foods and Target. ($3.95 – $5.95)
+ LUNCH SUPPLIES +
I can’t claim to be an expert in this category since Weston hasn’t really graduated to full lunch box status yet and daycare still provides his meals (thanks daycare!). I have however, taken tips from all of the lunch box toting mothers I know. Lunch bags, Bento boxes, snack bags and other “no waste” products seem to be all of the rage. Here are my favs:
1. FLUF LUNCH BAG – This preshrunk organic cotton lunch bag is machine washable with a wipeable, water-resistant lining. Original illustrations made with water based paints. Prints vary and come with matching snack bags! ($18)
2. GAP CAMO LUNCHBOX – Here I go again with the Camo. 100% Polyester, wipe clean. ($20)
3. HANNA ANDERSSON – I absolutely love this brand for children’s accessories, like this fold over lunch bag. Bold colors and designs mean your lunch bag won’t go missing! Matching backpacks too. On sale for $6.40.
4. HONEST CO. – The Honest lunch bag is perfect for storing Bento style lunch boxes. As per all Honest products, this leak-proof insulated tote is non-toxic and sturdy. Inside lining can be removed for easy washing although the exterior of the bag itself can only be wiped down (which seems to be fairly standard). Various prints. ($29.95 or $22.46 for members)
5. ITSY RITZY – These reusable snack bags are not only adorable but earth friendly. I use these all the time. Easy to wash, easy to store, these bags serve lots of purposes. I use the bigger sized bags to store wet clothing when we travel to the pool or beach. Options are endless. ($10)
BENTO BOXES + ACCESORIES
Bento boxes are very popular at the moment and I have to admit, when I first saw my friends making their kids’ sandwiches in the shape of cars, I thought it was a little much. But the truth is that bento boxes offer some really great options for food storage and creative ways to get your kids interested in school lunch again.
1. GEL COOL POLOR BEAR BENTO BOX – The cutest bento box that ever lived, this polar bear design is sure to inspire your kids to eat those veggies! This happens to be a family sized box but Gel Cool offers several sizes in this design, including a small one for the kiddies at just $10. Matching ice packs, lunch bags and more! ($40) I think this is a great brand of bento boxes and accessories. Be sure to check them out for more cool stuff!
2. LUNCHBOTS – Another bento box option but this time in stainless steel. Easy to clean, easy to store. ($28)
3. HELLO KITTY COOKIE CUTTER – Cookie cutters and stamps are an easy, quick way to make lunch time more fun for the kids. Choose from literally thousands of different molds and turn any sandwich into a work of art. For bento box lunch ideas, simply google “bento box ideas” and a million suggestions will help you spice up the lunch box!4. SILICONE BAKING CUPS – These baking molds come in handy when you need to separate food in bento boxes that don’t have predetermined food compartments like the Lunchbots above. Don’t want your kids’ spaghetti to mix with their cantaloupe? Use these silicone baking cups to help segregate food. ($10)
5. PANDA RICE MOLD – This is for the black belt bento box mommies. I’m not sure I would have any clue what to do with this but it was too cute to not include.
+ MOMMY SURVIVAL GUIDE +
Happy mama, happy everyone. That’s why I’ve gathered a few small items to help get mommy through the school year.
1. WINE – Vino is always the answer. I stock up when my favorites are on sale…what’s a life worth living without mama juice?
2. AFTERLIGHT – Smartphones have made it so incredibly easy to capture special moments and then spruce them up with photo enhancing features. This is one of my very favorite camera apps not only because it offers great filters and other great editing tools, but it’s very easy to use. Other favorites: Awesome Camera, TextMask, VidStitch and A Beautiful Mess. Visit your app store for more details.
3. TIDE TO GO STICK – Having a toddler means that both his clothes and my clothes often look like napkins. I carry this pocket sized on the go remover to help attack stains before they set in. You can find these almost anywhere.
4. DANSK MUG – Before I became a mom, I hated coffee and only drank tea. Now I can’t imagine starting my day without my beloved jet fuel. I love these gorgeous modern coffee mugs that are both dishwasher and microwave safe…which is important to me because I microwave my coffee about ten times throughout the day and still only manage to drink less than half the cup 😉 ($12)
5. JUSTINS – My days often lead to unplanned outings or last minute errands, which means I spend a lot of time on the go. Finding healthy fast food options is usually difficult so I end up burning through the day on an empty stomach, acting like Joe Pesci in those Snickers commercials. That is why I started carrying these emergency packets of Justin’s Almond Butter. I stash them in my purse, in my car and in Weston’s backpack. Voila. It isn’t a complete meal but usually enough to carry me through until I can find a decent food option. You can find these at Whole Foods or Amazon.
I hope you enjoyed the back to school roundup. What are your favorites or must haves for when the kiddos return to school?
– The Confessioness