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Back to School

Back to School Shopping Made Simple

Contests, Featured, GEAR, kids, play, style, tech, toys By August 12, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , 88 Comments

Those who know me realize that I search ebay almost as often as I scan Instagram. My searches generally involve antique china, rockabilly dresses and steamer trunks, but as autumn approaches I must be responsible and get the kids ready to go back to school.

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Best Back To School ipad Apps For Grade School Kids

apps, GEAR By August 11, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Back to School AppsSome back to school iPad apps for grade school kids can help children get organized and help parents save money. Breathe…. With lessons becoming more fun and interactive, kids may find them easier and more organized than the traditional modes of learning. Some of the back to school iPad Apps for grade school kids that make school a happier place are listed below. They can help parents and children eliminate that dreadfully long listed of items required to be purchased before school starts every year, saving you not only money but your time.  Feel free to add your own!

Google Drive: This is a good app for students to learn how to archive their work while also collaborating with other students on documents and spreadsheets on different school projects and notes.  They can access their work in multiple places from any computer and also learn how to use the cloud.

ShowMe: A free and dynamic creation and presentation application providing an iPad app to access the ShowMe database. It allows teachers to create lessons, provide remedial assistance and references for review by students and other teachers, allowing its use across different classes and subject areas.

iHomework: Getting organized before school begins by keeping tabs on your courses, assignments, information on teachers, and preparing your to-do list. This app consists of Questia, an online library providing you with lots of readings and references. All you have to do is sync your iPad with this app.

Kno Textbooks: A great app to make your kid’s backpack lighter with more than 200,000 books to browse through at very at reasonable prices. With one click your kids can have access to flashcards and journals and get the benefit of browsing through interactive 3D models, importing PDFs, accessing email, search engines, dropbox and videos.

Evernote: This is an amazing iPad app with a free notes service with loads of features such as text recognition.  We love it for organizing all forms of notes.

World Atlas 2013: This one puts the whole world in your kid’s hands, with geographical information including time zone, satellite, physical, and political maps with a zoom option, compass and country-related details.

Now we just need an app that makes their lunch every day.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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15 Back to School Essentials

books, GEAR, style, tech, toys By August 6, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Back to School EssentialsI’m one of those parents that can’t stand the end of summer.  The thought of school lunches and early wake-ups makes me want to cry.  Even the notion of some alone time while the kids are in school doesn’t make me want to celebrate.  But back to school shopping?  Now you’re talking.  I love the new beginnings – a change to streamline routines and try to finally nail the healthy littler-less lunch.  We can always dream.  Here are our 15 back to school essentials for this year.

PlanetBox1.  Reminiscent of old-school TV dinner trays or modern Bento boxes, the PlanetBox ensures food doesn’t get all mixed up and helps you include healthier options for the pickiest eater.  The magnets add a personal flair.  Also available at Pottery Barn Kids with personalized carry bags.

mabels labels2.  Microwave, dishwasher safe and waterproof.  Music to a parents’ ears!  Not having to raid the lost and found box at school every week?  Even better.  I just ordered Mabels Labels‘ Ultimate Back to School Pack. The kids got to choose their own personal designs and even prompted them to clean out their closet.

Sigg Hello Kitty3.  Sanrio.  It’s all about Sanrio.  I just got 2 new Sigg Hello Kitty water bottles.  Always BPA-free, these designs also allow you to write a note to your kids in the thought bubble.  My preference is to have the kids write a note to me, as I won’t give these bottles up.  Sorry, boys.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Healthy School Lunch Ideas

EAT, lunches By August 28, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

This year we have illustrious plans.  Lunches will be made the night before, they will include fun, healthy options, and ‘litterless‘ will be a huge goal.  Ok, even if we only bat one for three, here are a few tips that may make coming up with healthy school lunch ideas a bit easier.

1.    Substitute avocado or hummus for mayo – avocado serves as a healthy fat source plus provides a creamy spread for sandwiches.

2.  Use your slow cooker overnight to have healthy hot thermos food ready and waiting in the morning.  Hot lunches are a treat in the winter.  (Or you could just reheat leftovers).  Our Slow Cooker Pinterest Board is a great source for recipes.

3.    Pep up your plain old PB&J with almond butter and fresh fruit slices –fresh fruit means natural sugars.  Check with the school if ‘peanut-free’ also means ‘almond-free’.  Stores like Whole Foods have great peanut butter alternatives.

4.    Margaret Ng, Health and Wellness Manager, at Pacific Blue Cross recommends always using whole grain breads or tortillas – wraps are a fun change of pace especially when they are packed with veggies.  And when you’re not around to hear the kids complain, we bet they’ll forgo the white bread – especially after a busy morning of school.

5.    Swap processed chips and snacks for healthier homemade options like trail mix with dried fruits and nuts, homemade fruit roll-ups or granola balls.

6.  Keep it petite: Little people enjoy little portions so they can snack through the day.  Out: the double-decker hero sandwich.  In: A stylish Bento box filled with flavours and colours.

7. Play with their food.  It needn’t take a ton of extra time to cut their sandwiches with cookie cutters or insert raisin eyes into a celery/cream cheese caterpillar.  If you want more fun ideas we are always updating our school lunch Pinterest board.

8.  Add fun with finger foods: Experiment with nutritious dips and spreads for veggies and crackers. Alternatively, boil an egg they can peel themselves.

9.  Consult your kid: There is no better way to ensure they eat their lunch than by getting their buy-in. Find out what their favourite snacks are and shop accordingly.  If they are older, give them an assignment at the grocery store to find 5 healthy options they will want to take in their lunch and send them down the aisles.  (Make sure you get veto-power though).

Good Luck and Happy Lunch-making!

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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The Back to School Shopping Guide

GEAR, style, tech By August 20, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 5 Comments

We all know that the end of August brings an obsession with things ‘wooly’ and the exciting task of acquiring school supplies and clothing for the kids.  Parents scour busy stores overflowing with pencils in order to outfit their children for back to school.  Not to worry!  The back to school shopping guide features lots of stylish goodies that can be found online.  In hopes you used a bit of the summer to de-clutter and inventory what you already have, you can fill the holes in your kids’ back to school shopping list with a few of our picks.  We’ve shopped around to find the best supplies, gadgets and funky fashions for your little collegiates.

Back to School Supplies

1.  The Spencer Stainless Steel Bento Box Container: Crafted of stainless steel with a spacious bottom compartment, an interior tray for separating snacks and a snug plastic lid, this is sure to be a winner.  Just make sure you check our our healthy snack ideas when you fill it!  $59   Available at www.potterybarnkids.com

2. Text Bands.  Now kids only have to bump fists in order to pass notes.  The text bands allow the message to appear on a friend’s wrist with a light bump.  You can type up to 10 characters and each band can hold up to 24 messages at once. (Turning the band off will delete all messages).  Now that’s a heck of an improvement from note passing.  Hallmark.com

3.  ABC Sigg Water Bottles are BPA and phthalate free. You can recyclable them at the end of their lifetime, and the nonporous interior lining in the bottles ensures that it remains taste and odor neutral.  Know what that means?  You can put grape juice in it (or something stronger for Mom) on the weekend and send it to school with milk on Monday. www.mysigg.com

4.  Fun, Fictional Flash Drives –  From The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Looney Tunes to skateboard USBs, students can transport files with their favourite characters.  Unfortunately, they do not come with your very own Princess Leah hologram.  You’ll have to hit the rides at Disneyland for that. www.staples.ca

5.  The Madbox from Land’s End is the coolest lunchbox we’ve seen in a while.  Five kids from Madison, WI set out to build a better lunchbox and Land’s End liked their idea so much – they produced it!  It comes with an adjustable ice pack that focuses the cold to the food that needs to stay cold and leaves room temperature food alone.  No more soggy crackers.  www.landsend.com

6.  Who doesn’t love labels?   Mabels Labels has a cool new Tween pack that is sure to delight your kids.  They’ve also got a rock-sold back-to-school pack and even preschool shoe labels.  www.mabelslabels.com

7.  New for the fall, the Native ‘Jimmy’.  From the makes of our favourite summer show comes the Jimmy, just in time for fall.  These durable and funky boots will look great with this season’s signature trench for kids.  www.shop.nativeshoes.com

8.  The Lunchkin reusable sandwich bag.  In Hermes orange, or course.  Wait.  That’s for me.  Well, if you want uber-cute, they’re available in crabs, sailboats, soccer balls and school apples too.  And they’re great for the environment.  And cool.  Need we say more?  www.raspberrykids.com

9.  Any flower-lover would eat every bite out out of this adorable PVC-free grab-and-go lunch purse.  But be careful.  Unless you snag a couple you may have a fight on your hands, as we guarantee you’ll want one too!  I think I may grab one and use it for a funky back tie clutch…  www.lavishandlime.com

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Back to School Picks for Mom

GEAR, style, tech By August 20, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

The end of August marks a special time.  (And not only because the fall fashion issues are so thick).  With the little ones returning back to school for a new year and a fresh start, Moms can’t forget that they deserve a bit of a refresher too.  You get them to school.  You’re the activity chauffeur and playdate secretary.  School lunch chef, homework enforcer.  We know that’s just a few of your duties.  Here are a few of our Back to School Picks for the moms out there.

Back to School Picks for Mom

1.  Shoes: Gentle Souls, (a Kenneth Cole brand) are comfortable, practical and stylish.  And if you like science, their technology is based on displaceable solids comprised of – deerskin lining, NASA developed memory foam called PORON, flax seeds pillows &  rubber soles. Bottom line, they are so comfortable!  www.gentlesouls.com

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Our (Unsponsored) Back to School Picks

apps, books, GEAR, tech By August 29, 2011 Tags: , , , , 4 Comments

Now that it’s almost September we will succumb to the inevitible.  Admitting the summer is over is hard, but we have thick fall fashion mags to thumb and wool sweaters to cuddle in.  So here are our back to school picks – both practical and not very.

Kids:
1.  The Labels.  We like the funky designs from Emily Press.
2.  The Playdate cards from Minted.
3.  The Cool graphic T. from  Mini Mioche.
4.  The Fab Hat.  ChillMonkeys is the place.
5.  The Recycled Newspaper Pencils from Lavish and Lime.
6.  The Funky Backpack from Raspberry Kids.
7. The ID Bracelet from Vital IDs.
8. The Personalized Retro Lunchbox from Name your Design.
9.  The Reflective Vest from Ikea.
10.  The Custom Binder from Zazzle.

Moms:
1.  The Car Organizer from Leaps and Bounds.
2. The Mad Men collection from Banana Republic.
3.  The Home Meal Delivery Service from Luscious Living.
4. The planner – chalkboard, calendar, white board.  Whatever floats your boat (or your family at least).  We like the printables from Mommy Tracked.
5.  Reusable fridge stickies for artwork.
6.  The Emergency Contact Form.  And while you’re at it – check the kiddo’s passport expiry dates, make sure immunizations are up-to-date, and think seriously about investing in Nexus cards if you travel.
7. The cereal dispenser from the Container Store.
8. The Mophie Juice Pack Boost for when your texting lasts longer than your battery.
9.  The Missoni Collection from Target – we really like the rubber boots and the bike.  Available Sept. 13th
10.  The box of Greeting cards for the whole year from Crane.

– JA

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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ABC But Please No PVCs!

books, GEAR, home, toys By August 24, 2009 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

school suppliesIt’s time for back-to-school scrambling which usually includes shopping for brand new school supplies. But which school supplies are safe for your kids?  Last year, a report was released by Environmental Defense and the US-Based Center for Health, Environment and Justice outlining guidelines for purchasing safe back-to-school products. Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC is found in many common school supplies and other children’s products and is of key concern in the report.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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