It’s Time to Go…Back to School!

This could have been the fastest summer ever! It’s time to gather some great supplies and pack up your bags for another school year. This year, we’ve found some great products that will make your back to school season just that much better and we’d like to share them with you!

To set the stage and get little ones excited for the first day of school, Simon + Schuster has a plethora of great titles to introduce them to, like Meet Your School! and What’s In Unicorn’s Backpack? I loved spending time prepping my kids with adorable stories when they were younger. Check out all the great titles available for Back to School and upcoming holidays by visiting Simon + Schuster Children’s Publishing.

For younger kids, School Zone packs are great to have at home to enhance learning. Whether it be preschool or kindergarten, these are fun, age-appropriate educational packs that will have kids excited to practice and develop all sorts of new skills. They are awesome packs loaded with all sorts of great activities.

For older kids, Texas Instruments has been a must-have product for years in our house.  They are the best product for what our kids need for math.  I know that the quality of their graphing calculators are exceptional and we love them.  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 Plus 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 comes in lots of different colors.  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!

For me, being organized is key for a seemless school year. Knowing where everything is and being prepared makes it easier on every member of the family. Whether you are just starting school or a college student, keeping your belongings and supplies neat, tidy, and labeled can help tremendously. I love the P-touch Home Label Maker from Brother for just this reason. So incredibly easy to use, I can create labels for every occasion with just a few touches of a button and a wide variety of tapes. It’s capabilities don’t stop with Back to School organization, though, because I can find a million different ways to use this awesome label maker! I highly recommend it!

We’ve found over the last couple of years that screen time at school is inevitable. But, too much blue light can result in undesirable results like eye strain, headaches and insomnia. Zenni Optical is a great solution to an annoying problem. You can customize your very own blue light blocking glasses in just a few minutes. Blokz are Zenni Optical’s very own custom eyewear that can be designed specifically to take the strain off our eyes. They are very fun to design and oh, so effective! In addition to blue light blocking glasses, you can also customize your own pair of sunglasses or prescription glasses, too. I was a little skeptical, at first, but then I realized how simple the process is. Follow the directions on the website and within a couple of minutes, you can upload an image of yourself and virtually try on any pair of glasses and then make them your very own with upgrades and enhancements. Best of all, these high quality glasses turn out great and are extremely affordable! There are selections for men, women, and kids!

For school lunches, we highly recommend zak! designs. Available in a variety of designs, these fun patterned lunch essentials will be exciting to bring out each school day. Stop unnecessary waste by packing a reusable vacuum insulated water bottle and stainless steel vacuum insulated food container. We can’t get enough of this adorable Disney’s Lilo and Stitch print! It’s also super durable to last a school year’s worth of lunches!

Do you ever find a product you love so much that you want to get one in every color they have?  Well, that’s how I feel about FIFTY/FIFTY bottles.  These water bottles are really amazing.  I am loving the 25oz water bottle that comes in the coolest colors ever–mint, coral, royal purple, olive–that’s just some of the sixteen different shades available! These are the perfect container for every member of the family.  Moms on the go, thirsty kids at school and sports, dads commuting.  They are sleek and durable, and while those are great features, the one we have to shout about is that you can put cold water in and it actually keeps it cold for a very long time–we are talking 24 hours later or more.  Or you can choose to put hot drinks in and it keeps them insulated and warm for an extended time, too.  If those features weren’t good enough, they are even more–no condensation on the outside of the bottle, made of recyclable stainless steel, and they come in a variety of styles and shapes.  Coffee bottles, kids cups,wine and beer growlers, and even customization are available from our new favorite water bottle source!

Tired of using plastic bags for packing lunches? Yeah, it gets old! I was recently introduced to a very cool company, Stasher, that solves that problem. These reusable platinum silicone storage bags are perfect for packing lunches, storing leftovers, or stashing stuff, whatever it may be. Using these bags couldn’t be any easier. They are dishwasher and microwave safe, non-toxic, and you can write on them! Use them over and over and over again. They come in a variety of sizes and colors for all your needs. The only thing I would change is I wish I had tried them sooner!

Keeping your kids lunches, or your own work lunches, free of waste is good for the environment and for your wallet. I love these colorful utensil sets from Etsy shop ECO & Paradise Goods. These reusable cutlery sets are easy to store, easy to clean and easy to pack. Take them everywhere you go–school or work lunches, travel, camping, whatever! I love the gorgeous colors you can choose from and it has everything you need (even chopsticks!) for your on-the-go meals.

Now there is the dilemma of what to pack in your child’s lunch. They can change from kid to kid, to be sure. Also how much time you have comes into play. When in a rush, the perfect solution to packing a healthy sandwich for a picky eater is Chubby Snacks. These oh-so-convenient spin on traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can be frozen until you pack lunches, ready to be eaten at lunchtime. Rest assured that these healthy superfood sandwiches will be a hit with your kids (they are delicious!) and a hit with you because they have whole wheat bread and creamy butters, 75% less sugar, 30% less calories, and 8 grams of fiber. You won’t need to worry about your kids filling up on junk.

Once kids have made it through a school day full of activity and learning, coming home and enjoying a family dinner is key to getting a new school year off to a great start. I love coming together with my family and hearing all about everything that happened for my kids. I also like to make sure my kids are getting a good home cooked meal. I, however, don’t love spending hours in the kitchen, especially when busy schedules make it difficult to pull off. Bertolli has a brand new line of delicious products, Bertolli d’Italia, that make weeknight family meals a breeze, though! These sauces are loaded with flavor and premium ingredients and can help create a variety of quick and easy dinners your family will love in less than 30 mintues. Check out these scrumptious recipes like Fresh Tomato Bruschetta Chicken and Roasted Vegetables Primavera.

After homework, activities, and dinner, it’s important to get a bit of downtime, too. Whether you are a young family or a college student, we recommend the super fun 4-Player All-in-One Portable Table Tennis Set from Pro Sping. This set is a must have! Don’t have the space for a full size ping pong table in your house? No worries! This set has everything you need to convert a regular table into a fun rec room ping pong table. We’ve used it over and over again. Clear off the dishes from dinner and pop the net onto any table up to two inches thick. The retractable net can expand to up to 72 inches, so it will work just about anywhere. In about 30 seconds, you have the perfect ping pong table! I can’t emphasize enough how fun and how much of a stress relief it can be to drop everything and engage in a game or two of ping pong. It’s great for up to four players and will be something you look forward to playing with your family (or room mates at college!). When you are done, it takes less than a minute to put it all away for another day.

A good night’s sleep is essential to a successful school year. If you aren’t getting proper sleep, it makes it impossible to concentrate the next day. To help in in that, we recommend these great products.

Take a relaxing bath with Sleep Well Magnesium Bath Flakes from Seven Minerals to literally wash away stress and relieve sore muscles after sports. Perfect for athletes, college students and moms or anyone that wants to relax and unwind. They are heavenly! You’ll be prepped for an incredible night’s sleep.

When it’s time to lay your head down on your pillow, having an ultra comfy bed is what you want. You want to have a good foundation and My Green Mattress definitely knows how to achieve that. We love the products from this small family-owned and operated business from Chicago! All organic sleep options from mattresses to accessories can be found here, created by a father who knows the importance of every member of the family getting some rest. I love and highly recommend their mattress toppers that can turn an existing mattress into a heavenly retreat, making you feel as if you were floating on clouds. It’s amazing! Be sure to check out their site and pick one up for someone you love–and yourself while you are at it!

Once you’ve tucked yourself in, I highly recommend tuning out all outside noises and distractions by using a sound machine from Yogasleep. Seriously, I couldn’t imagine not sleeping with one of these amazing machines. Available in multiple variations, Yoga Sleep has sound machines with fans, nightlights, travel sound machines, portable white noise machines for babies, and more!

Here’s wishing you and your family an amazing new school year!

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

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