5 Tips to Help With Anti-Bullying Efforts

October is National Bully Prevention Month. It is a time for us to wear blue in solidarity and to set aside time to really work on strategies and focus on tips to help our children ward off bullies whether it be in school, on the playground, sports field or school bus. We partnered with body language expert, Yana German and are sharing 5 tips to help with anti-bullying.

These strategies will empower your children to know that they can change the course and deal with potential bullying situations just by changing their body language. We need to give them more than the old “sticks and stones may break my bones…” adage.

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5  Tips To Help with Anti-Bullying

  1. Posture: One of the most important tips is to keep an open posture. “Parents should always encourage their kids to stand up straight with their head and chin up,” says Yana. “Having great posture will instantly boost your confidence. Pulling your shoulders back and opening your chest is one quick fix that works wonders. Not only does it make you taller it boosts your inner confidence,” explains German.
  2. Eye Contact: When a student is talking to another child he/she should always look them in the eye. Maintaining good eye contact relays your confidence in a non-verbal manner. This is a strategy that can easily be practiced over the dinner table, while discussing your day or during the bedtime routine.
  3. Smile: Bullies tend to target those with low self-esteem, or children that seem shy or vulnerable. “Smiling serves as your barrier towards any negativity, and bullies rarely target children who seem to be happy, calm and radiate good energy,” adds German.
  4. Be Larger Than Life: use your body to take up as much physical space around you as you are able. Spread your arms, open your hips, widen your stance. Taking up more physical space than usual makes you feel more powerful and increases confidence.
  5. Arms Down: Crossing your arms is a big sign that you are on the defensive. To appear open, ready to make new friends and ready to join a group, remind your children to keep his/her arms down by his side. (Resting hands in his pockets is always an alternative.) This sends a message that their heart is open and ready to receive

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This is not a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are our own.

 

 

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Healthy and Simple Sandwiches, Salads and Snacks

Preparing and packing school lunches is a pain point for most moms. I know I’m not particularly keen on this monotonous Monday through Friday to do. Alas, it comes with the territory; and my son has adamantly sworn off cafeteria lunches “foreverrrrr—so I don’t really have a choice in the matter.

Then there are my own brown-bag lunches I should be packing for office days. They’re getting pretty predictable too. Soooo predictable and boring and, well, blah. In fact, I often find myself running out to the corner deli for something more interesting… leaving my drab turkey on whole wheat to face the fate of my desk’s designated disposal bin. What a waste.

Fortunately, I’m getting some serious lunchtime inspiration from chef/nutritionist Patricia Greenberg’s new book “Scrumptious Sandwiches, Salads, and Snacks.” Created in collaboration with her teen daughter, Gabriella Grunfeld, this collection features easy, delicious, and healthy lunch and snack recipes for kids and adults alike.

With 30 years of experience, Chef Greenberg has a greater goal of enhancing the public’s education about nutrition with her site, TheFitnessGourmet.com, and I’m loving her unique take on healthy eating.

I’m sharing a few standout recipes from Greenberg’s book, below… Because, it’s only Monday—and we have four more days of lunches to pack, Mamas!

P.S. Most of the ones featured are more suited to you, Mom, unless you have an adventurous eater at home!

Sautéed Corn and Blueberry Salad (Serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 15-ounce can corn kernels
1 pint blueberries
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil

Directions:

  1. Drain water from corn, rinse blueberries, set aside in separate bowls.
  2. In a sauce pan on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté corn until lightly browned. Cool completely.
  3. Add the corn to the blueberries, lightly toss with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and top with basil just before serving.

Cooking Note: Keep frozen corn and blueberries in the freezer, and this quintessential summer salad can be enjoyed in the winter as well.

Hummus, Pickles, & Red Peppers on Olive Bread (Serves 4)

Ingredients:
2 pickles
1/2 red bell pepper
8 slices olive bread (best to use a small oblong loaf) 1/2 cup hummus
4 ounces shaved parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Slice pickles lengthwise and thinly slice red bell pepper.
  2. Spread hummus on each of the olive bread slices.
    Top with pickles and peppers and cover with parmesan cheese. Serve open faced or as sandwiches.

Rainbow Bell Peppers Stuffed With Tuna Salad (Serves 4-6)

Ingredients:
3 6-ounce cans of chunk white tuna
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup corn, canned or fresh
6 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 cups baby spinach leaves
3 bell peppers, 1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 green
1 medium cucumber
12 cherry tomatoes

Directions:

  1. Slice cucumbers, cut cherry tomatoes in half and cut bell peppers in half crosswise and remove seeds.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine tuna, carrots and corn, and toss in the mayonnaise.
  3. Spread the spinach leaves evenly on 4-6 small salad plates. Place the bell pepper half on top of the spinach and fill it up with the tuna and vegetable mixture, top with the cucumber and cherry tomato halves.

Chocolate Carrot Truffles (Serves 12)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup shredded carrots, set some aside for garnish
1/2 cup shredded coconut, set some aside for garnish
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted almonds
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
1 tablespoon peanut butter, or nut butter of choice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
ground ginger
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
salt

Directions:

  1. Line a standard size sheet pan with parchment and set aside.
  2. In a food processor fitted with the S blade, pulse shredded carrots until fine. Add coconut and nuts and pulse until combined and finely chopped.
  3. Add nut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, cocoa powder, spices, and salt one ingredient at a time while pulsing. Blend until smooth, and the dough comes together, nearly forming a ball. 2-3 minutes.
  4. Scoop chunks of dough with a tablespoon and roll into balls. Sprinkle the tops with a mixture of remaining coconut and shredded carrot, and place on parchment lined sheet tray.
  5. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

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Five Tips to Help With Homework

Going back to school means getting back to a more structured day. While I hate to see the summer officially end, I thrive on organization and a schedule. Back to school can be the ultimate time of transition.

Before I had my children, I taught elementary school for nearly 11 years. I work really hard to share strategies with my children that will enable them to be successful each and every school year. One of the biggest caveats parents used to share with me (and still do!) is how challenging homework time can be. Well, I am sharing my five tips to help with homework!

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  1. The first and most important tip is that you need to establish a working atmosphere. For some children this means complete silence. For others it means quiet, classical music brimming in the background. It is essential to have your child work in a suitable environment that he/she deems conducive to learning, thinking, and creating.
  2. Once you establish a working atmosphere, you should ensure that the space is organized, clear of clutter and chaos, and out-of-the-way of distractions.
  3. Setting your children up for homework success means providing them with all the essential school supplies and tools. You want your kids to be independent (or work toward that if they are just starting their school years) and feel empowered. Include them in the shopping to gather the supplies they need for their homework workspace. (HINT: encourage lots of fun erasers, life is about learning from our mistakes and homework can help ease us into that discovery.)
  4. It is never too early to establish homework buddies. This can be as simple as a partner with whom to read and exchange book recommendations, or as organized as a full-out calculus study group. Giving support only enhances and elevates your understanding of concepts, and receiving support helps you to overcome struggles in an intimate and trusting manner.
  5. Routine, routine, routine. I find it best to find the ideal time for your child to tackle the homework and stick with it. For us, (elementary school aged children) we come home, wash up, eat our healthy snack, and get straight to the homework. This way, if we have appointments, sports, lessons, etc., they can finish their homework before the busy schedule ensues, instead of having to handle it at the very end of the day. Also, this helps if you find that they need more homework support. They’ll be more likely to be able to work through it before they (and you!) are all out of patience.

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Acknowledging that homework can be used as a vehicle toward a greater learning experience underscores that you feel that homework is valuable.

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How do you tackle homework? Do you have a tip to share? We’d love to hear from you, please leave us a comment below.

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are our own.

 

 

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A Safer, Quieter School Bus—Why Propane Could Be the Answer

We live four blocks from my son’s elementary school, so I’m happy to say that we get to walk to the drop-off line together every morning. It’s become our own relaxing little ritual, and a calming way to start our day. Of course, when my big boy first learned that he wouldn’t be taking the long yellow bus, he was disappointed. As a new Kindergartener, this was a rite of passage he didn’t want to be denied.

I can’t say that I felt the same way… I have some not-so-fond memories of riding the bus as a kid. That horrendous diesel exhaust smell resulted in regular, recurring headaches and the overall volume level was anything but peaceful.

Worst of all, though, I remember the bullying. There was an overweight girl on our bus, and she was teased endlessly, mercilessly—it was awful. Unfortunately, the bus driver wasn’t able to help. How could she? It had to have been impossible for her to hear anything happening in the rear of that big roaring vehicle.

These are just a few of the reasons why propane-fueled school buses are a better alternative, on the rise. Today, there are nearly 13,000 propane school buses in operation—serving 800,000 students in 750 districts, nationwide. School districts in 47 states use propane buses—so it’s certainly a trend that’s on the uptick, but we do have a ways to go to make this the norm.

Truth is: Despite those aforementioned headaches, the noise, and the bullying, I never would have given the issue a second thought—diesel vs. propane. Potatoes, pot-ah-toes, right? But now that I’ve been educated on the topic, it’s something I want to push for in my own district.

The Top 3 Benefits of Propane School Buses

  1. Propane school buses are, not only, more efficient they’re also more economical. That means they can help districts save money over time that can be put back into the classroom to be used for academic purposes. (As a bonus, the Propane Education & Research Council has, once again, teamed up with AdoptaClassroom.org to donate funds to teachers, in recognition of their district’s adoption of propane buses.)
  2. A reduction in harmful emissions, like diesel exhaust—results in a safer, healthier ride for everyone.
  3. A quieter propane bus means a calmer and safer ride. Propane school buses are significantly quieter than diesel buses, allowing drivers to focus more on the road and happenings both inside and outside the bus. With less distraction all around, drivers can also more easily identify and prevent bullying on buses.

These are just three reasons why public figure, mom to two, morning talk-show correspondent, and former teacher, Jenna Bush Hager is so emphatic in her support and work for PERC.

Earlier this month, I joined Hager at an intimate brunch in New York City to learn more about her role for the organization and her passion for the cause.

She shared her personal experiences, both from the perspective of a kid and an educator, and she brought up an additional point that hadn’t been previously presented. A quieter bus also means a “calmer arrival.” As a teacher, she knows that children can benefit tremendously from a little less chaos and a little more zen in the morning—to catch up with a friend, to finish homework, to just enjoy a moment of peace before the busy go-go-go of the school day commences.

“The school day begins and ends on the bus for many children,” Hager said. “When we give our kids a safe, quiet and healthy start to the day, it can improve their entire experience in the classroom and at home, too.”

This really resonated with me—it circles back to those early AM walks to school with my little guy. I get to see him off with a content and eager smile on his sweet face. No bullying, no headache, no frenetic energy… Just a calm moment between the two of us. It’s something that all kids deserve—whether they car pool, walk, or take the bus every day. Who knew that propane could by the simple solution.

If you want to inquire about school bus safety propane-fueled buses in your community, visit BetterOurBuses.com.

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Comfy Kids Fall Fashion

If I’ve learned anything as the parent of elementary school aged kids, it’s that anything I buy to add to their fall wardrobes has to be comfortable. And that goes for gear too. If it’s not comfy, they aren’t going to wear it and they aren’t going to use it. So, it’s been this mama’s mission, especially since I have two in school this year, to stock their closets with fall finds that they’ll actually get use out of. Luckily, I’ve come across some new brands that have really hit the mark and I have, of course, turned to my tried and true brands too! So, let’s talk comfy kids fall fashion.

First up, we have the gear. Kids these days need headphones not only for school, but they seem to have them permanently attached to their ears. Bwah! That being said, my kiddos’ ears are still too tiny for ear buds and traditional headphones aren’t always the comfiest. Thank goodness for CozyPhones. These wrap around headphones are not only super comfy on tiny ears, but they come in the cutest designs! Hello…UNICORNS! Made from uber soft fleece headbands, they’re SO comfy, in fact, you could sleep in them. Mama just may need a pair now. Bwah!

Next up, let’s talk shoes, kicks specifically. My baby girl needs closed toed shoes that work for school AND her sense of style. These uber bright Saucony Ride Pro sneakers are comfy, and totally statement making. And while my little guy isn’t concerned with fancy anything he does dig the cool, light up vibe of these Stride Rite Leepz high top sneakers. Both pairs of kicks are, you guessed it, COMFY by the way! Plus, they go perfectly with some new back to school looks that we snagged from Gap! Spiderman anything is a big hit with my first child and my daughter lives for a jacket moment has much as her mama. Bwah! Denim jackets make for the perfect comfy kids fall fashion transitional piece. Just sayin’.

So, there you have it…Our take on comfy kids fall fashion For more mini me fashion, check out some more of our favorite kids’ shoes and gear!

Momtrends was not paid for this post. We did receive samples and it does contain affiliate links.

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Heading Back to School with Cool Sneakers

Heading Back to School with Cool Sneakers from Rack Room Shoes

There are two things you need to know about the girls in our family. We are incredibly active and we love shoes. For us Rack Room Shoes is a one-stop-shop for Back To School season. This year we are heading back to school with cool sneakers.

Going the Distance

Each day my girls walk 3/4 mile each way to school. On top of that, they’ve got gym and after school activities. They play a lot of sports and just love to move. We need shoes that can keep up with them. Of course to the girls, style matters a ton. They will be in 4th and 7th grade this year. They care about brands and how their shoes look.

Staying on Trend

What’s cool this year? Athletic shoes. For the girls, Nike and Adidas are all the kids are wearing. They both dress in a sporty, urban way for school and I love how each girl is developing a style all of her own.

sporty nike for girls

My 4th grader is keen on blue sneakers. She picked the Tanjun GS girls’ running shoe by Nike. Last year she joined her school’s running club and completed (and won her age group) in her first 5K. The training continues. I love this featherweight show that looks good and has enough support for my little athlete.

Sporty adidas

My 7th grader opted for the track inspired, Adidas CF Lite Racer. Middle schoolers are all over Adidas right now. I’m thrilled to be able to get her the brand she wants for under $60. This has the iconic 3-Stripe design (just like mom’s) and she adores the color.

Price and assortment are important to me. The girls will likely outgrow these before the year is out. Rack Room Shoes will be there when we need to update these shoes, and I know they will always have great stock on hand. They do middle school and grade school shoes better than any one else.

new sneakers for the family

I’m in on this trend too! I love my new Adidas sneakers, the Neo Cloudfoam Advantage. The sneaker trend is all over the streets of NYC. They even have a soft Cloudfoam Memory Foam insole for me, so I can attempt to keep up with these girls and not wear myself out.

Heading Back to School with Cool Sneakers

When I shop Rack Room Shoes I get to pick from all the brands we love at great prices. Rack Room Shoes is the go-to destination for everything related to Back To School season – to include on trend athletic brands for school-age children, as well as backpacks and lunch boxes.

Great prices, awesome selection, and the brands we love…Rack Room Shoes makes mom life easier!

Heading Back to School with Cool Sneakers

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We’re Feeling the Flower Power This Back-to-School Season

Let’s talk about a pattern that never goes out of style: florals! Bright, feminine, playful, and vivacious, flower-embellished designs are all the rage right now. You could call it a trend, but since it’s so timeless and classic, we’re just gonna go ahead and deem it a fool-proof, fail-free, evergreen standby!

This back to school season, we’re seeing flower power in an even bigger, better, and bolder way. Floral dresses, tops, and accessories are must haves for the tween and teen set, offering an easy way to express personal style without looking too cutesy or cloyingly sweet. It’s a bit more mature, but still has a youthful, fun edge.

And lucky for bloom-loving beauties, floral patterns have extended far beyond wearable pieces. Staples has all the flower-power you could ever want with backpacks, notebooks, folders, planners, and pencil cases for your back-to-school shopping pleasure.

We recently took a trip to my local Staples to stock up on floral-inspired school supplies and found a plethora of pretty goodies. Add a few shimmering, shining, pastel accessories, a metallic ruler, glitter pens, and some markers, of course, and this lovely JanSport backpack will be fully stocked and primed for the picking on the first day of school.

Speaking of that always-exciting first day, we’ve got the perfect outfit to help your little lady make her new-grade debut: a floral romper. It’s an easy, effortless, comfortable, and totally stylish option. A one-piece is an instant outfit. It’s an adorable option paired with some simple slip-on sneakers, flip-flops, or flat espadrilles. Add a floral backpack, and it’s an A+ outfit…. Now all you need is a fresh bouquet to make her first day even sweeter!

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Back-To-School Trends & a Giveaway

We are enjoying the last days of summer and although we are packing as much as humanly possible into our downtime, we are all pumped up for to go back to school. We spotted three new back-to-school trends to get your kiddos’ year started off on the right track.

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To get the year started and continued on the right foot (pun intended), we are counting on pediped for, not only, the latest in on-trend footwear, but for their quality and durability. It’s just what us savvy mamas are counting on.  Our kids need shoes that can stand up to lots of time on the playground, and pediped is always up for the challenge. I love that many styles are machine-washable. Moms know that pediped footwear is a smart choice for parents concerned with the long-term development of their children’s feet, and has been awarded the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance for creating shoes that promote healthy foot development. Styles that fit my kids well, are good for their feet, and that they want to wear? Yes, pediped gets an A+ from this mama.

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One thing that I stress about the most as a mama is how to feed my kids well so that they are getting what they need to keep up their energy level, especially while on-the-go. My children (like most!) are involved in a myriad of after-school activities, and I am always searching for a quick snack that is made well, tasty and convenient.

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I hit the trifecta with MadeGood® tasty snacks. Not only does MadeGood® offer four varieties of granola bars, they have crispy squares (a healthier treat) and granola minis which are great for my youngest (or to place on top on yogurt). All MadeGood® snacks are made in a dedicated peanut and tree nut free facility, (making them great for back to school), allergy friendly, gluten-free, organic, non-GMO verified, vegan and even contain nutrients found in one serving of vegetables. If that doesn’t make them live up to their MadeGood® name, I don’t what would. Delicious, nutritious and convenient–a happy trio to satisfy my family, whether it be for a quick and easy breakfast, part of a healthier lunch or a convenient, yummy snack on-the-go.

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One of the biggest trends, and something constantly on the minds of moms, is whether or not our children are properly hydrated. It has been proven time and time again that the only thing children need to stay hydrated is water.

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Sounds easy enough, right? But, how much water do they need per day? How do we get them to drink it? Well, Gululu has the answer. Gululu is the world’s first interactive water bottle that keeps kids hydrated. Gululu helps children stay hydrated by caring for a virtual pet (my son picked a ninja turtle). As kids drink more water from Gululu, their chosen virtual pets grow and make friends. Parents stay informed of their children’s progress through a connected app. Not only does Gululu help kids stay hydrated but they’ve partnered with Generosity.org, and for every Gululu bottle purchased, a child in a developing country will be provided with clean drinking water for life. All Momtrends’ readers can save 15% on their Gululu purchase from now until the end of September, by using code : IUSC5YM9 

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Not only are we bringing you the hottest trends, but we are giving away a bundle of back to school prizes including:

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  • $75 gift certificate to pediped
  • MadeGood® prize pack including a variety of snacks, a t-shirt and a MadeGood backpack
  • 3 Interactive water bottles from Gululu

Enter via rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are our own. Featuring denim floral dress from Levi’s, athletic wear from Nike, T-shirt from Converse as well as the lemon-printed dress from TheHappyBabies.com.

 

 

 

 

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Back-to-(School) Bedtime Routine

We’ve been lax about bedtime this summer… to say the least. With a focus on carefree fun and sun, our usual routine has gone out the window, and our turndown time has gotten way, waaaaaaaaay later than intended.

With school starting in just one week, I’m committed to getting my little people back on a bedtime schedule sooner than later. They need rest, relaxation, and plenty of zzz’s. And, equally important, I DO TOO! Of course, it’s not like flipping a switch. Getting back to a regular routine is a gradual process. For the kids… and for Mom!

We’re sharing a few ways to get those booties back in bed at a more reasonable hour–so that they’re refreshed and ready for successful days at school and nights at home.

Bump Up Bedtime–Slowly But Surely

You can’t expect your kids to dutifully report to their beds at 7:30 PM sharp after two months of begrudgingly going to sleep at 9, 10, or, gulp, even 11 PM. Bump bedtime up by just 15 minutes every night, and your kids won’t feel a big difference; and in just a few nights they’ll be back to their regularly scheduled bedtime hour. Easy-breezy.

We also introduced the Sam the Lamb Sleeptrainer. Erratic bedtimes in our home have led to unpredictable mornings. This ingenious “clock” helps teach kids when it’s time to sleep, when they need to say in bed (I’m looking at you, early risers!), and when it’s okay to get up. When it’s time to sleep, Sam automatically closes his eyes and the clock display changes to red. Thirty minutes before wakeup time, the display turns green, and twelve stars count down the end of bedtime. Finally, Sam’s eyes open and the display turns green when it’s okay to get up.

Turn Off the Gadgets

We’ve been guilty of watching movies every night before bed this summer–so instilling a no-screen policy for an hour before bed hasn’t been the easiest adjustment, but studies show that kids get more and better sleep with limited access to technology leading up to bedtime. Our nightly Moana viewing happens just a little bit earlier, followed by some wind-down coloring and Play-Doh time.

Get Some New Bedtime Books

Add a few new relevant reads to your routine. As you and your kids gear up to go back to school, consider some books about returning to the classroom. Graduating a grade or beginning school for the first time can be a source of worry for some, so find books to put their minds at ease. I just got “The Night Before Kindergarten”and “The Night Before Preschool” (among other thematic picks) for my twosome. They’re excited about the new books–and I love how it eases their anxiety about starting at a new school.

Put on New Jammies

Nothing gets us ready for rest, relaxation, and cuddles like a cozy-cute new pair of PJs. Bonus points if they’re coordinating sibling styles! This pair says it all “Past My Bedtime”… “Still Awake.” Well, hopefully not for long! This set from Burts Bees Baby is perfect for the night before the first day of school.

Update Their Bedrooms

Creature comforts go a long way. We recently updated my kiddo’s bedroom to reflect his current interests. He’s a big boy going into Kindergarten and he deserves a big boy bedroom that he WANTS to spent time in.

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

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#StaplesBTS Twitter party on 8/24 at 7pm ET

#StaplesBTS TWITTER PARTY ON 8/24

Come chat with us!

Date: Thursday, August 24th, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. EST

Hashtag: #StaplesBTS

Hosts: @momtrends @theshoppingmama

Sponsored by: Staples (@Staples)

#StaplesBTS Twitter party

The kids have headed back to school, or they’re about to, and you’re preparing for another oh so busy year full of projects, activities, team practices and the million other things us ‘rents are responsible for during the school year …Am I right? Well, let us make things a bit easier for you! We know how it feels to be a harried mama, so we’ve partnered with Staples to bring you some sure fire back to school tips, tricks AND killer deals to help you get prepared for the year ahead. Yes, that’s right. I said deals!

Staples, which happens to be a huge supporter of education, is THE place to go for your back to school needs, not only because they have everything on your shopping list, but you can expect to save while you’re there too! Get ready to take advantage of special back to school offers and even EXTREME deals! Does that sound exciting or what?! So, make sure mark your calendar and join us for all the back to school fun we’ll surely be having during our #StaplesBTS chat!

RSVP to WIN:

Please RSVP below to be eligible to win one of the prizes as you chat. All participants must be at least 18 years of age to join us and win. Only US residents are eligible. Tweets must include #StaplesBTS. Winners will be contacted via DM after the Twitter party.

Prizes include:

(3) $50 Staples gift cards
(1) $150 Staples gift card

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