Monday, August 31, 2015

august monthly must haves: back to school

school is officially in session. can i get a high five from moms everywhere? as the school year has begun, i have found items that i use again and again. i truly cannot live without them. with five kids to get out the door each morning, i’ll take all the help i can get!

august monthly must-haves: back to school

smartypants gummy vitamins

i have a personal addiction to these gummies. they are so good i eat them like candy. they are non-gmo, clean eating, delicious and they help to keep my kiddos healthy. it’s a win all around. with five kids in our house as well as a host of neighborhood friends, cousins and other people popping by, my house can feel like a petri dish for viruses all school year long. it is work to keep my kids healthy during their school days and i truly do not want them to miss even one day of school. they hate having to make up the work and i hate seeing them sick (i also hate giving up my alone time...#reallife). these vitamins have made a difference for my family. they have been sick fewer days, have felt better all around, and i like knowing they are getting the nutrition help they need from the vitamins when i'm throwing them yet another peanut butter and jelly sandwich while we are running around like crazy people during the school year. smartypants also has travel packages of their vitamins to grab and go on those mornings (or, let's be real, afternoons) when i don't quite have myself together. they are a life saver.

beyond just being fantastic for the health of my kids and convenient, smartypants vitamins gives back. with each purchase of their vitamins, they donate a bottle of vitamins to vitamin angels. if you haven't heard of this company, look for it! it provides vitamins to children in need around the world, improving their health in ways that would be impossible in their impoverished situations. they really do live up to their angelic name. i love that i can take care of my family and know that i'm also making a difference in the lives of someone in need. that's a great way to start off the school year!

zazzle lunch box

my kids both bring and buy their lunches depending on the day (and how motivated i am to pack a lunch in the morning.) when they do take their lunches to school, they have these adorable lunch boxes to tote. i love that my daughter has one that has her name on the front (no lost lunches here!) and that she was able to pick out a style and color that she will love the entire year through. these lunch boxes come with three plastic washable and reusable containers inside for packing as well as an ice pack that fits perfectly inside. it has been a fantastic addition to our weekly lunch packing and my daughter loves it so much she has even started packing it on her own (score!). there are dozens of designs to choose from for each child in your life and they are sturdy enough they will last for a really long time. 

case-it binders

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i am going to be really honest with you and tell you this was the last purchase in the world i felt like making. these suckers are expensive when compared with the countless other three ring binders out there. i didn't want to drop $20+ on something for the classroom but my middle school son, who rarely asks for special things, asked specifically for this binder...and i'm so glad i purchased it for him. starting in middle school the kids have various classes to head to with a barrage of information and papers to organize. in elementary school, my son used a regular three ring binder and it never lasted an entire year. in middle school with even more papers going in and out, i knew the normal three ring binders would never work. these are the solution. they zip up completely and store all writing utensils, notebooks, dividers, etc. that a teacher can throw your child's way. they are more expensive but they last the entire year through. it is worth every penny.

zazzle water bottle

my kids all bring water bottles to school. august is still hot in the south and they are playing games during p.e., running outside at recess, and generally working hard enough that they are extremely thirsty throughout the day. each of their teachers allows them to bring in water bottles to keep by their desks. this water bottle is my favorite by far. i have it for my youngest but i want to order one for myself! it is insulated and has a piece in the lid that allows you to put fruit, tea, or anything else you want infused into the liquid. i love that! it is also extremely easy to clean and allows you to personalize it for your kiddos so there are no lost water bottles on school grounds. my little guy loves the dog that he sees on one of his favorite apps, peekaboo barn, so we just had to add that to his personal bottle. it is truly adorable and sturdy enough to last him a very long time.


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i don't know what other moms call these little life savers, but in my house, they are shorties. my daughter loves to wear dresses and skirts. she loves to twirl. she also loves to do cartwheels and handstands. those two things do not go well together and i've had to tell her before, "no one needs to see all of that." we are working on trying to sit like a lady when she is wearing a skirt or a dress and she is getting better but she still wants to play and have a great time. shorties are the answer. she wears shorties (bike shorts, short leggings) under every dress or skirt. without question. in my opinion, no little girl should wear a dress or skirt without them. it protects my daughter from showing anyone parts of her anatomy (or even her underwear) that she should not be showing. you can find them many places but i've had great luck at target, gymboree, and children's place.

reusable snack bags

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i have five kids needing lunches during the week. that's a lot of plastic bags. in an attempt to be more eco-friendly, we are trying these out this year. wish me luck!

mabel’s labels

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i have a kindergartener this year. that kid would lose his head if it wasn't attached to him. my only hope for getting things home after they leave the house is to label everything. i totally understand the pleas of the kindergarten teachers when they beg for a name on every child's item. i can only imagine the work they have to do to sift through all the forgotten things in the classroom. mabel's labels are my absolute favorite. they are easy to use and so mom-friendly it's ridiculous.

dohm sound machine

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i have a middle schooler, three kids in elementary school, and a pre-schooler. they are all going to bed at similar times but wake up in shifts and not one of them is good at staying quiet for their siblings. we have used sound machines since our children were babies and they all have used them since then. they sleep more soundly and they don't wake up at each and every sound in our busy house. i don't know what we would do without them. this one is my absolute favorite. you can find yours at

alarm clock

photo credit: amazon

my middle school son is finally at the place where he can wake himself up, dress himself, feed himself and get himself to the bus in the morning (can i get a "hallelujah!"?) it's about freaking time. he now has his own alarm clock in his room that wakes him and gets him moving each morning. when i hear him getting up on his own each morning, all i can think is, "one small step for man, one giant leap for mom-kind."

school lunch clipboard

my kids are responsible for their lunches each day. ain't nobody got time to be making five lunches each day. they have to clean out their lunch boxes after school each day, look to see if they would like to bring or buy the next day, and, if needed, pack up their lunch for the following day. the key to all this organization has been our school lunch clipboard. we have the menu for the month printed out and each child has to initial what they want to buy or if they want to bring. they check the clipboard each afternoon and we prepare for the next day. it's an afternoon changer and has revolutionized our stressful mornings.

what about you? what are your back to school must-haves? share them with us, please. we definitely need all the help we can get!

we do occasionally receive promotional items for these posts. as always, the opinions are all our own.

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