If feels like we’ve already had 4 back to schools this year alone. Homeschooling during pandemics is tough, and trying to keep the kids on track is almost impossible. (Never thought I’d write that sentence!!) Here are some back to school (again) iPad apps for grade school kids can help get organized. Breathe…. With lessons becoming more fun and interactive, kids may find them easier and more organized than the traditional modes of learning.
I’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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. We know that UrbanMommies is a big fan of manners for kids. Let’s not stop at school. Funkins are colourful, fun napkins made just for our little robot lovers and fishermen.
5. As you register the kids for extra-curricular activities, don’t forget to include down time. The Babba Box is a subscription service that provides hours of after-school and weekend creativity. Combine it with Disney’s new Story app and we’re willing to bet you double their fun.
6. I always went to school with personalized pencils from Lillian Vernon. You despise me now don’t you? And now they are in pink.
7. WoolFelt iPad sleeve on etsy. Stunning.
8. Fancy patterned binders help our kids feel like individuals. Leave it to Martha Stewart to come up with epic patterns. Available at Staples.
9. Boys: In the summer I can’t get my boys to wear pants. In the fall I can’t get them to wear pants without holes in the knees. Good news: Iron Knee pants from Land’s End. The revolutionary interior knee patch will allow them to fall on their knees all the time without you having to deal with seeing their kneecaps at the end of the day. Now we just need to stock up on Tide Pods how to deal with the grass stains.
10. Girls: The new Binksy & Bobo reversible tie dress. Spills can be instantly hidden with a flip. And it’s Canadian. I need one in my size please.
11. Picmonkey. It’s all about picmonkey. They’ve just released some back to school themes, overlays and nostalgic school effects.
12. Zoo Lunches from Skip Hop acts as a lunch bag and doubles as a little friend. Available at Snuggle Bugz.
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!
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
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
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.
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.
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.
It’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.