Back to School 2016

This summer has flown by!  We packed it with so much fun, we almost forgot  it’s time to buckle down and get ready for the inevitable….back to school shopping! Here’s some of our favorites* for the new school year.

With kids going into high school, it’s so important to get the right equipment for learning.  The must have on every high schooler’s back to school list is the dreaded graphing calculator.  It’s actually an investment to pick one of these babies up, so you want to make sure that you have a good quality one, one that will last all four years, as they will be using them for everything, including SATs.  We love the new calculator from Texas Instruments, the TI-84 CE. This is a high-tech, high-style calculator.  Why high-style?  They come in lots of bright colors, one to fit every personality.  Easy to set your calculator apart from the rest and make it your own.  It even comes in a Golden Ratio (it’s metallic!) and bright white.  No longer just black, it’s fun to add some personality to the must-have classroom essential.  Not only does it come in really cool colors on the outside, but the screen is now full color, too! One of my very favorite features? It also is rechargeable.  Yup, that’s right!  Such a great feature, we love it!

TI-84 ce

School days bring lots of activity to our house and the best way to deal with that is to be really organized. With four boys, you can imagine what mornings look like for us. It is crucial for us to plan ahead. This means packing lunches the night before and packing sports bags so they, too, are ready to go when the morning arrives. L.L. Bean sent us some great items to check out that I am loving already. Growing boys need healthy lunches and plenty of space to pack them in. I love this great lunch box, as there is tons of room to pack a water bottle, a container to keep things warm (check out their vacuum sealed stainless steel container, it’s awesome!), ice pack, fruit, snacks, sandwich, and chips. Not all lunch boxes are created equal, to be sure. Many times, I can barely close bags when I add water bottles and ice packs! This is not the case this year. They come in a variety of bright colors, we choose a great looking navy blue one.




Of course, when sending the kids to school, you have to have a great, sturdy backpack. One that fits all the binders, notebooks, lunches, and gear.  Those needs vary from elementary school all the way to high school, but L.L. Bean has great options for all ages and work loads. L.L. Bean’s are my favorite, as they last. This year, I picked the  transit pack, perfect for older students.  Even if there is a problem, they are guaranteed, so you can exchange it for one of equal value.  I’ve tried other backpacks in the past, and I keep going back to these, as they have proven to be the most durable, all while looking great.

To fill those backpacks, we rely heavily on Mead Five Star to have high quality products to make organization and learning as easy as can be.  Many years of sending kids to school has taught me the absolute essentials to send with my kiddos.  Five Star products are at the top of that list, especially their pocket folders.  Gone are the days where I would even consider a regular laminated card stock folder for the school year.  Instead, I always opt for the durable plastic two pocket folders instead.  These heavy duty pocket folders can withstand the wear and tear of a regular school day and live to tell about it.  This year, however, Five Star has made some cool advances on those products and now they offer some variations, including the stay put pockets and even four pocket folders.  All great products that will be filling up our packs this year!


I also am loving the new durable Five Star Flex Hybrid NoteBinder!  A combination notebook and binder, it makes keeping your favorite student organized and ready for class a breeze.

In addition to regular binders and folders, you can also find great backpacks,notebooks, locker organizers and so much more.  Everything you could possibly need to get the school year off to a fantastic start.



We are a family on the go.  School, clubs, sports, music happen every day for one of our kids.  In order to have our family be involved in so many things, we have to be organized.  When three kids play the same sport and we need to keep their items organized so that they have the right equipment, we have to label items.  Let’s face it–school supplies, sports equipment, water bottles, backpacks, hoodies–these items all add up and we don’t want to have to keep replacing them because someone grabbed them by mistake or they were left behind and no one knows who they belong to. If we want everything to make it back home, we have to label, but Mabel’s Labels has made this super easy for us to do now.

I am a huge fan of Mabel’s Labels–such a great idea and this mom can use all the help she can get!   Mabel’s Labels has a Back to School pack of awesome labels to make this job much easier for you.

  • Sticky Labels are dishwasher and microwave safe
  • Iron-Ons and Tag Mates are washer and dryer safe
  • Shoe Labels and Bag Tags are waterproof and UV resistant
  • Satisfaction guaranteed

This means that you can put your own personalized labels on EVERYTHING and they will stay put.  On top of being super functional, they are really great looking.  You can pick different colors and icons and personalize up to 20 characters.  Some different labels include allergy notifications, backpack tags, water bottle and lunchbox labels and so much more.

I absolutely love Mabel’s Labels and I know you will, too! I recommend the ultimate back to school combo. See all the fantastic choices they offer at their site.

learning game.jpg

From the high schoolers to those just getting started on the journey, Gimbal’s Fine Candies offers some sweet incentives to learn.  Check out their delicious jelly beans loaded with flavor, you won’t want to stop with just one!  But what does this have to do with school supplies?  Not really a supply, per se, but a great tool to help your little ones learn some hands-on concepts like colors, counting, and sorting.  I can’t think of a more fun way to teach those lessons to little ones!  Great news especially for those that have food allergies, as these candies are made with real fruit juice and are free of gluten and allergens, so it’s safe for everyone! Try out some fun activities with Gimbal’s to play with your little ones to get the learning started!


Once the school days have started, it’s imperative to get a good night’s sleep, to keep those bodies and brains healthy and active.  That means setting up the perfect sleeping environment is key, right?  Outfit your child’s bed with new bedding from The Northwest!  They can pick their favorite college and decorate their bed with soft, comfy sheets!  We love these Florida State University Anthem sheets perfect for a twin sized bed.  They wash up so well and your kiddos will definitely have some sweet dreams falling to sleep on them!  Check out the other great character, college, and team selections available online, as well as other accessories.


*products were received to facilitate a review, all opinions are my own.

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