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School’s on the horizon. Well, at least this is the case in the state of New York. On Long Island, which is part of New York, where the November Sunflower family lives, we start school after Labor Day. It seems late, compared to almost all the rest of the country, but we also go until almost the end of June, so it all evens out in the end. However, every kid starts at some point, or another, so I’m sharing my top picks for back-to-school. It’s all the goodies I’ve got loaded into the house, ready to take on the new school year! Let’s dig in, shall we?
Top picks for Back-to-School
Hands up if you aren’t a fan of the school year starting up. Personally, I love summer vacation with the kids. We sleep in, we don’t have to struggle to do homework, there’s no need to stress about packing lunches, or snacks. It’s just peaceful, yet still chaotic because of all their activities. My one rule for summer? Activities must start after 10 in the morning. (Of course, we had a little screw up with lacrosse camp, but I let that one go, since it was just for a week SUPER early in the beginning of summer, so we weren’t out of our waking up early routine just yet.)
In all honesty, I’m a sleep-in kind of gal. My husband is a sleep-in kind of guy. I hate the fact that all of us have to be up, and ready to go for school so dang early. Call me a rotten mom, it is what it is.
What do I despise even more? Packing lunches. It’s always a hassle. My daughter doesn’t eat bread, so sandwiches aren’t an option. My son is beyond picky when it comes to food, and what he likes on one day, he claims he doesn’t like the next day. Snacks are fine, those aren’t an issue. It’s lunches. They both like things that need to be super cold, like yogurt.
I know, my son, the super picky eater, loves his cherry yogurt. Cherry yogurt needs to be kept cold until lunchtime. Lunchtime is a few hours into the school day, so it means we’ve got to have ice packs to keep it cold. Guess what that translates to? Tons of ice packs in my freezer! We have to be sure he doesn’t get sick from food that’s spoiled. Plus, who the heck wants to eat yogurt, let alone warm yogurt? Am I wrong? Doesn’t matter, I’m Mom, so I’m right. So the third thing I don’t look forward to when school starts? Ice packs taking over my freezer. They are everywhere. Now I’ve got a better system! Luckily, I’ve been turned onto PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag with Zip Closure. Can I get a whoop, whoop? Doesn’t matter, I’m giving myself a whoop, whoop.
Our 1st TOP PICK for back-to-school is…..
So what makes the PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag with Zip Closure so fabulous? Besides the fact you can order it Amazon.com, it’s also a FREEZABLE lunch bag. It means I only have to put TWO lunch bags into my freezer, instead of 20 ice packs. The lunch bags fold down so they don’t take up a lot of room in the freezer, they freeze overnight, and when it’s time to pack up lunch in the morning before school, unfold it and VOILA: Lunch is ready for a day at school.
Now, If you’re a parent, and have NOT been living under a rock, you’re well aware of how many kids are head-over-heels in love with Skylanders. It’s everywhere, and it’s been taking over our worlds for a couple of years now. It shows no signs of stopping, either. So, this should be no surprise to anyone who’s a parent.
Our 2nd TOP PICK for back-to-school is…..
Anything, and everything, Skylanders. Yes, I know, there’s another lunch bag in here. Listen, if you’re okay with ice packs in your freezer, or your kids don’t need their lunches chilled to perfection, you’ve got the chance to get them a lunchbox with Skylanders. My oddballs will get the lunch bag I can freeze. Your normal ones can get ones with Skylanders. I’ve made peace with it. Everything Skylanders Walmart, and pretty much all of it is under $30. Deck the kids out in t-shirts, backpack and lunch box. Throw in a thermos in there, and have them carry that Skylanders notebook, too! Forget those horrible marble notebooks, right? Let them have some personality!!!
Once you’ve chosen a backpack, and a lunch box, let’s talk about a snack bag. My kids still get a snack during the day, they’re in elementary school. The little guy will have a designated “snack time” in first grade, where the books are put away and all the kids do is munch away and chat. It’s only 15 minutes at best, so it’s not like they get a whole lot of down time, but it’s a nice “re-boot” for the day. My daughter has to eat her snack while doing work, but at least she gets something. Six hours, with just a 20 minute lunch and 20 minutes of recess, it’s just not enough time. The snack is necessary, even if they have to do it during “silent” work time.
Our issue is always what the heck to pack that’s going to be healthy, and give them some energy and not sugary, so it drains them once the high wears off. A lot of the times it was some kind of bagged snack, and a drink. Well, now with our new with…
Our 3rd TOP PICK for back-to-school!
I can pack much better snacks! It’s the spbang Reusable Bag for Sandwich or Snacks. Plus, it means a lot less garbage! The bags are reusable, dishwasher safe, and don’t have harmful plastic like BPA in them. I can put grapes in them, which my kids love, so I don’t have to send them to school with pre-packaged chips. Plus, I’ll save a ton on plastic baggies! I’m excited, but I’m sure the kids could care less. They do love that we can smack a personalized label on it, which brings me to our next kick-ass back-to-school item!
Our 4th TOP PICK for back-to-school….
Personalized labels for the kids!!!! Little Miss has been using these for a few years, and finally The Boy has gotten his own set of personalized labels. There’s something about having these cute labels on all of their school stuff that makes them so happy. Far be it from me to deny that pleasure, right?!!! Mabel’s Labels is their absolute favorite, because there are so many design choices for the two most popular back-to-school packages. There’s Mabel’s Labels New Stylish Scholars Combo, Just $39 and Mabel’s Labels Ultimate Back-to-School Combo, Just $39. Your kids will have tons of choices with these two packages! The Boy is in love with his blue camouflage personalized labels! They’re durable, they’re dishwasher safe, and they’re on everything for his first day of First Grade: backpack, lunch bag, pencil box, folders, and notebooks! We’ve even got the tags in his shoes, just in case…. when winter comes, we’ll be hitting his tag with an updated Mabel’s Labels tag, for sure, because they can also go through the washing machine and dryer! Perfection!
Now, of course, what would the first day of school be like without a backpack that can take a licking, and keep on ticking? And if it doesn’t take that licking, and keep on ticking, you can head to the store and get a new bag no matter how long you’ve had the backpack? Zipper breaks, a seam bursts, or anything that happens, with our next top pick, you can always be sure of amazing customer service! Without further ado, here’s
Our 5th TOP PICK for back-to-school….
It’s the Land’s End backpack. Doesn’t matter what kind, what color, what shape. Get one! Our kids scored two amazing backpacks for the upcoming school year from KidzVuz over the summer. I went to Blogger Bash, attended Sweet Suite and the kids came to the last event of the week, KidzVuz. Boy did they luck out! Their backpacks are perfect for them, and will probably last for the rest of their elementary school careers! I’m excited. They’re excited. We all screamed and there was no ice cream, so you know those bags are fabulous!
Kids have their gear, now they need to dress the part. Kids have to have killer shoes, and fantastic first day of school outfits, right? Right! It’s all covered with
Our 6th and 7th TOP PICKS for back-to-school!
Kids will be in head-to-legs Carter’s brand outfits for their first days of school. If you’re lucky enough to have kids that fit into clothing up to size 12, Carter’s has you covered. I’m always happy to shop in a store that has age-appropriate clothing for my little girl. Plus, their clothing stands up to the wear and tear my son puts his clothing through. I can’t lose with Carter’s, and now with their sizes going up even higher, I’m as happy as a pig in sh…. wait, this is a family show here for back-to-school. I’m just happy. Yeah, I’m stopping there.
New shoes? Not to worry. Stride Rite has amazing sneakers, as well as boots, and shoes. The kids will be comfortable, plus Stride Rite shoes are made to last. My favorite part about shopping with them online? They have a foot sizing download you can print out, measure your child’s foot, and then buy the right size shoes. No guessing games. No having to head to a shoe store, get them sized, and then make excuses as to why you can’t buy shoes just yet for the kids, but you’ll be back soon. Just download the chart, print it out, size the kids’ feet, and order the perfect pair of shoes!
Returning to school isn’t always about fun, and new stuff. Sometimes there’s a whole lot of “old stuff” lurking around the classrooms at school. There’s no “off-season” for a certain super bug that spreads through schools faster than the flu! It’s the dreaded Head Lice phenomenon. Oh yes, it’s the one thing no one wants to talk about, but it arrives every year like clockwork. It never seems to leave, either. It just moves from one classroom, to the next classroom. I always think it’s because the damn nurses spread it by touching kids’ heads while checking them over. UGH. Don’t be scared though. I’ve got a fantastic little beauty! Get ready for non-toxic solution to head lice.
Our final TOP PICK for back-to-school….
Vamousse Head Lice Prevention Shampoo. Simple, and to the point: it’s what you’ll need in your medicine cabinet WHEN that dreaded lice note comes home in your child’s backpack this year. It’s non-toxic. No chemicals. When that note comes home, you’ll be thanking me for giving you the heads up on this product. IF you’re unlucky enough to get the call telling you “Mrs. So and So, you’re son needs to be picked up from school immediately. He’s got lice,” you’ll want to also stock up on Vamousse Head Lice Treatment. It’s also non-toxic, and the fact that it’s a mousse is beyond helpful. When you purchase the treatment shampoo, it also comes with the steel lice comb to get all those eggs out. I know your skin is crawling right now, and your scratching your head insisting that you’ve got it, but you know you don’t. I understand, but trust me, get the prevention shampoo, and for good measure the lice treatment.
Special note: All photos within this post were taken with the Nikon D3300, using the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5 – 6.3G ED VR lens. Visit Nikon to check out the full line of Nikon Cameras and lenses.