Back to School, Back to Fitness

Although my son is only 7 months old (soon to be 8 months!), I have helped several mothers find ways to score short workouts throughout their busy days. With school being back in session for most moms, I wanted to offer a few workout tips that will help you achieve a burn in and out of the gym with a little bit more time on your hands.

Express Workout Classes

Nowadays, finding an express workout is not too hard!  Most gyms and boutique studios offer anything ranging from yoga to a cardio HIIT classes that you can squeeze in a 30 minute workout session with ease. These classes are usually offered midday when most people are on their lunch break. Plan ahead and sign-up in advance, you don’t want to waste any time!

Streaming Workouts

I am a sucker for a great barre workout, the SBF Streaming by Suzanne Bowen Fitness (SBF) is a balanced, full body workout. On the SBF website, you can create your own workout plan ranging in intensity. The site also offers Prenatal Barre, shopping list and much more.  If you are looking for a Yoga practice midday, try YogaGlo, that offers classes from beginner to advanced. For an affordable monthly subscription fee, viewers can experience classes designed to give an in studio feeling in the comfort of their own home.

Below are mini workouts you can do anywhere!

Calf Raises

All you need is stairs or a curb to increase the intensity of the workout. If you are looking to do this exercise more discreetly you can do this move with no elevated surface at all. Standing on a stair or curb, place the sole of your feet on the surface having your heels hang off. Slowly raise your feet coming on top of the soles of your feet and gently lower. If your balance is a bit wobbly rest your hand on a stable surface nearby.

Upgrade your errands!  

Keeping ankle weights in your car is a great way to make grocery shopping and picking up dry cleaning a little bit more challenging.  Other options include a weighted vest that you can increase and decrease the weight from day to day.  Feeling bashful? Camouflage these fit essentials with a stylish zip up hoodie or a pair of slouchy activewear bottoms.

Reverse Leg Lunges with a Scarf

This move can be done at home or while out and about. While holding a scarf firmly in both hands, shoulder width apart aligned with your shoulders, raise your arms overhead without locking your elbows.  Keeping your arms straight and holding the scarf with tension, step back on your right leg for a reverse lunge. Make sure your legs are at a 90-degree angle and your knees are not surpassing your toes. Step back in and repeat on the other side.  Do this for 10 reps (5 on each side).

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Author Spotlight: Class Mom: A Novel by Laurie Gelman

Class Mom

What inspired you to write Class Mom: A Novel?

I knew I wanted to write a book but I wasn’t sure what to write about. They say write what you know, but I wanted to go beyond that and write what I was passionate about. At the time it was the ups and downs (mostly downs) of being a mom who volunteers in the class room.

How is Jen Dixon different than your typical class mom?

Jen has already been through the school process with her two older daughters. So when she comes back to be the class mom fifteen years later, she brings a more worldly attitude to it. She has decided her mission this coming school year is to get parents to participate without having to beg them. Jen does it by sending very sassy emails in the hopes that parents will actually read them. She doesn’t seem to worry about offending people – only making them laugh.

Let’s talk about the parents of the kindergarten class. How does Jen’s interaction with them influence her relationship with the teacher as well as the school?

Jen’s snarky emails are thoroughly enjoyed by most of the parent body but there are a few who don’t appreciate her umm…humor. That creates a friction that Jen has to deal with on a daily basis. The teacher seems oblivious but the principal steps in at one point and makes it worse for Jen.

As part of the storyline, Jen is reacquainted with an old high school flame. How does this innocent encounter affect Jen?

Jen is at a point in her life where she feels her best years just may be behind her. So her flirtation with her high school crush is just the thing she needs to cheer her up and make her feel young again. The flirty texting is harmless and fun…until it isn’t.

What advice are you able to share with first-time moms about facing the many challenges of motherhood?

Try to enjoy every part of it – even the sleepless nights and vomit in your hair. It’s all part of a journey that goes by way too fast.

Momtrends was not paid for this post. We were given samples for review. This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking and shopping, you help support Momtrends and allow us to keep reporting on trends.

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Welcome Back to School Party Ideas

This Deliciously Fun Party Idea is Brought to you by Mini Babybel®.

Ask any mom and she’ll tell you what the most wonderful time of the year is with, little more than a moment’s thought. It’s back to school time of course. Haha! As much as we love the magic of summer, when it nears its end, we’re pretty darn pumped to send our little ones off to school again. Just think about all that quiet. I don’t know how it is in your house these days, but my kiddos are LOUD. I can’t wait for that first morning when I can sit down after dropping them off at school and simply enjoy a side of silence with my cuppa Joe. That being said, I doubt they’re as jazzed about a new school year as I am, so I thought it would be fun to do something special and fun to help build some excitement around the coming first day.

Back to School Party Ideas

back to school

Enter my welcome back to school party ideas. What’s more fun than a party? With just a little effort you can make a party out of almost any occasion including back to school. I decided to go old school with my back to school party lunch and stick to classics like an apple theme and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for my party fare. A big bowl of fresh apples was the perfect centerpiece and Mini Babybel cheese made for the sweetest little “apples.”


mini apples

All I had to do was unwrap the cello from our Mini Babybel and pop in a pretzel stick to serve as the apple stem. On a side note, make sure you remove the wax before your little one starts noshing on all that cheesy goodness! Haha!

Mini Babybel is always a hit at our house. They both regularly ask for them in their lunches, so they obviously had to be a part of our party. The creamy taste is hard to beat and they make lunch deliciously fun. Just look at some of the tasty flavors this 100% real cheese comes in Original, always a solid choice, Light and, my personal favorite, White Cheddar Variety. And there’s more where that comes from. Mozzarella Style, Sharp Original and Gouda are available too, but I digress…

back to school party

cut out sandwiches

Since neither of my precious cherubs are into crust, I decided to cut their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches into cute, crustless shapes with cookie cutters. All I had to do to finish off our little welcome back to school party was pour some milk and pop in a bendy straw…because everyone loves a bendy straw…Am I right?!

welcome back to school party

cheese snack

back to school snack

party time

As you can see, my impromptu back to school celebration put a smile (with a smidge of peanut butter, bwah) on my baby girl’s face and helped ease her nerves. She’s starting kindergarten this year you see. And while I am really looking forward to getting back into our school routine, I can’t promise I won’t shed any tears at watching my youngest start her career as a student. So, maybe mama needed this welcome back to school party as much as the kids did. Just sayin’!

Check out more fun lunch ideas in time for back-to-school with Mini Babybel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

This is a sponsored post.

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A Back-to-School Plan for Head Lice

Binders. Backpacks. Pencils. Glue. The kids are ready for that first day of school! Woohoo! But between the lunch snacks and school supplies, there’s one more important item to make sure to throw into your back-to-school shopping basket: lice prevention.

Every year more than 12 million kids get lice with preschool and school-aged children the most at risk. Luckily, parents don’t have to sit around, waiting and worrying about that lice letter coming home. There are easy steps parents can take to both decrease a child’s risk of lice AND a simple, one-step solution if lice does make its way into your house. Here’s how…

Here’s my back-to-school plan for preventing and dealing with head lice this school year.

Defense is the best offense

I cringe whenever I find that dreaded half-sheet note from the nurse’s office in my son’s backpack revealing that someone in the class has lice. This year, instead of waiting for the bad news to arrive, I’m starting my defense early by having my boys use Vamousse Lice Repellent and Nit Defense. While the boys brush their teeth in the morning, I’ll give their hair a quick couple of spritzes. The spray dries quickly, doesn’t smell gross, and is made with essential oils that work to repel lice for up to 8 hours (!) without any synthetic pesticides. To my kids, it’s just one more step in the morning routine. To me, it’s a superpower lice defense system that keeps my kids protected all day long and helps me rest easy – even when that lice letter does come home.

Be on the lookout

I admit that the only time I check my kids’ heads for lice is a) when I hear someone at school has it and b) when one of my boys says his head is itchy. But the “itchy head” test is not an effective method. First, not all kids get an itchy head from lice, and second, the itching can take up to 4 to 6 weeks to show up – which gives lice lots of time to spread to other family members. So this school year, once or twice a week when I’m cuddling with my boys in the morning, or watching a movie with them Friday night, I’m just going to take a quick little peek at their scalp and look for lice. About the size of a poppy seed, lice eggs are often located on the hair shaft next to the scalp and can look like dandruff that doesn’t brush away. Be sure to pay particular attention to the nape of the neck, behind the ears, and on bangs – places lice love to hide.

And – sigh – if lice do arrive….

A one-and-done solution

I’m keeping my fingers crossed my boys don’t get lice this school year, but if they do, I’m reaching for a clinically proven treatment solution like Vamousse Lice Treatment. Pesticide-free and made with safe, non-toxic ingredients, I’ll rest easy knowing that with just one 15-minute treatment, the lice and their eggs will be history and my boys and I can get back to daily life. Make sure you grab a bottle of Vamousse’s Lice Elimination Powder too. While lice can only live one or two days without a host, those few days are still enough time for lice to spread to friends, siblings, and, gulp, even parents. After you use the Lice Treatment on your child’s hair, get rid of lice on bedding, clothes, and stuffed animals by washing, soaking, or drying on high heat (at least 130°F). For non-washable household items like couches, carpet, or car headrests, sprinkle on Lice Elimination Powder, let it sit for 60 minutes, and then vacuum it up. A simple, fast, and easy way to prevent lice from spreading. Click here for even more household cleaning tips to prevent lice reinfestation.

Now if only there was a product to prevent homework complaining….

Find Vamousse products without a prescription nationwide at Walmart, CVS, Walgreens and online at

This is a sponsored post.

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#VamousseToLice TWITTER PARTY ON 8/15

Come chat with us!

Date: Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. PST / 9:00 p.m. EST

Hashtag: #VamousseToLice

Hosts: @momtrends @theshoppingmama

Sponsored by: Vamousse (@Vamousselice)

Lice…ewwww. It makes most of us shudder with dread. Am I right? And while many of us parents have had to deal with that dreaded call from the school clinic or camp counselor at least once by now, that doesn’t mean we’re exactly anxious to see it happen again. AND we live in constant fear that our kids are going to bring home another case of it. It’s totally normal to feel that way, however, there are a lot of myths flying around out there about lice, so we’ve partnered with Vamousse to help dispel some of them!

Our goal with our #VamousseToLice Twitter chat is take the fear out of dealing with lice and teach you how to best prevent the spread of them. Because, while head lice may be gross, their stories can definitely be funny, and after listening to Vamousse lice expert and entomologist, Jason, I bet you won’t find those creepy crawly little bugs to be as scary as you used to!


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 #VamousseToLice. Winners will be contacted via DM after the Twitter party.

Prizes include:

(3) $100 Amazon gift cards, plus 1 bottle of Vamousse shampoo and repellent with each gift card
(1) $200 Amazon gift card, plus 1 bottle of Vamousse shampoo and repellent

This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are our own.


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Back to School Shopping Trends at Rack Room Shoes

Growing up I didn’t dread going back to school like some kids. That was because I knew I would get to pick out some special new pieces for my back to school wardrobe! Nothing delighted me more than carefully selecting a new backpack or a fabulous pair of shoes. In fact, shoe shopping has always been a favorite of mine from very early on and my baby girl is no different. At five years old and about to start kindergarten, my daughter has definite opinions about her wardrobe, so involving her in the back to school shopping process is a real thrill for her! And while my son isn’t as into the shopping process, he does know what he likes and usually weighs in on color choices etc.

back to school shopping


Suffice to say back to school shopping is a big deal in our house and one of our favorite shopping haunts for footwear is Rack Room Shoes. It’s basically our one stop shop for many of our back to school needs! Because not only can you find the latest and greatest in athletic shoes from your favorite brands such as Nike, Adidas, Puma and more, but now you can also snag cool gear like backpacks and lunchboxes there too! In fact, we picked up all three of those back to school must haves recently and I thought you might like to see some of the trends my kids are loving this season.

pom backpack

patches backpack

emoji lunch bag

light up shoes


rainbow shoes

First up, let’s talk emojis. My kids can’t get enough of them…especially my soon to be kindergartner. She’s all about the smiley faces, so this Global Patches Backpack and emjoi bedecked lunch bag are right up her alley. They’re both so cheerful, just like my kiddo. That little lady always has a grin on her face! And nothing makes her smile more than light up shoes. These Skechers Light Beams do just that and come complete with all the colors of the rainbow. Yeah, rainbows are hot with the kindergarten set too. Just sayin’.

nike sneakers

nike kids' shoes

back to school wardrobe

neon backpack

nike backpack for kids

nike lunch bag

Next we have neon. I’ve always been drawn to bold, bright colors and so is my son. If it’s not blue, he wants it to be bright. Bwah! You definitely wouldn’t call this Nike Mesh Backpack and lunchbox anything but BRIGHT. Am I right? And while I wanted to stick with a nice neutral athletic shoe that he could wear with most of his wardrobe, this Nike Flex style in black/yellow also features a neon swoosh, so mama and kiddo are pleased as punch with them.

back to school shopping trends

playground fun for kids

Now, as you can see, my kids have some freedom with their school style, but I know that not every school has the same rules. So, it’s important to note that Rack Room Shoes also has plenty of options that are compliant with school uniform requirements for boys AND girls. Personally, I have plenty of friends who have kids who wear uniforms and it can be hard to track down those approved pieces, but I digress…

back to school sibling style

If you too are embarking on your back to school shopping journey soon, check out Rack Room Shoes for the hottest back to school trends! You’ll be checking everything off your list in no time!

Get Back to School ready with Double Rewards Points on Kids’ Shoe purchases from 7/21 to 8/14!

This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are our own.

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Kindergarten-Bound: 4 Tips to Prepare for the New School Year

And just like that… I have a Kindergartner.

My little guy turned five last week, and I can hardly stand it! Where has the time gone? I can’t believe that in just about a month we’ll be walking into that big elementary school for the very first time—where he’ll be surrounded by friends in a classroom from 8:30 AM to 2:45 PM… Monday through Friday… Through the end of June… Where he’ll eat lunch at a long table in a huge cafeteria with all the big kids… Where he’ll play sports in that massive gymnasium and wear those communal sweaty pinny-vests… Where he’ll climb the rainbow monkey bars and check out books at the library.

WHERE’D MY BABY GO? ‘Scuse me while I grab a tissue—and indulge in a mommy moment.

It’s a bittersweet time for me. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m a total mess prepping and purchasing and stocking up on everything he needs, I need, and WE need to make it a great first day and a successful school year.

We’ve read the books, we’ve talked about it, and we’ve purchased the backpack and the lunchbox, and checked off every item on the mandated supply list… I guess we’re as ready as we’ll ever be. Time to let my baby bird fly…

If you, too, have a big (little) kid going to Kindergarten, moving to a new school district, or even graduating a grade, you know it isn’t always easy getting into the swing of things after a long summer. That’s why I’m sharing four simple tips to help you AND your “baby” prepare for success!

Get the Essentials—NOW!

Don’t wait until the last minute to do your back-to-school shopping. Get it out of the way fast and early, and make it fun experience for the kids! Take them out to lunch, go for ice-cream, and reward them (and yourself!) for a job well done.

TIP: Many school districts and PTAs have partnerships that allow you to easily order your child’s supplies online, in one fell swoop. Then, you can just get some fun stickers and accessories to customize and personalize your kids’ generic gear!

Keep the Germs at Bay

Indeed, back-to-school season coincides with germ season—and this is no coincidence, my friends! Common colds and viruses and bacteria are ripe for the picking in that big elementary school, in that classroom, on that long table in that huge cafeteria, inside that massive gymnasium, on those sweaty communal pinnes, all over those monkey bars, and on the sleeves of those must-borrow library books. Blech!

My boy knows from our half-day preschool routine, that as soon as we get home, we take off the shoes, wash our hands, and change our clothes—it’s an easy way to avoid the spread of germs!

But despite our best efforts, germs and bugs are colds (oh my!) are an inevitable part of childhood. And that’s why I couldn’t survive the school year without my trusty Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes. You better believe that I wipe down every counter top, every doorknob, every sink, and surface in our home to prevent the spread of infection! Eeks.

Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes help kill germs and bacteria, and remove grease, dirt, and other nastiness you can find lurking in your home (and school!). They help kill 99.9% of germs that can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours, as well as 99.9% of viruses* and bacteria – plus Staph, E. Coli, salmonella and strep.

I keep to-go packs of Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes in my diaper bag, purse, and car—because, with kids, mess and spills and germs and general grossness tend to go with the territory. Heck, I even plan on giving the teacher a welcome basked filled with Clorox® Disinfecting wipes and tissues—a helpful hint and subtle reminder to keep the classroom as clean and germ-free as possible.

Best of all, you can feel great knowing your Clorox® purchase is doing its job and doing some good. This year, the brand has extended its partnership with, the leading platform for giving to public schools. Last year, together, they funded almost 800 projects and reached more than 57,300 students; and Clorox® donated $150,000 via a dollar-for-dollar match offer on Donors Choose.

TIP: You, too, can get involved simply by shopping for school supplies. For every $5 worth of qualifying Clorox® and Glad® products purchased, you will save $1 and the Clorox Company will donate $1 to classrooms in need through Donors Choose (up to $5, delivered via PayPal credit). Go to to find out more and get started.

Open the Lines of Communication

There are a lot of pressures on kids these days! And going back to the classroom—or heading to Kindergarten for your first day of big-kid school can be intimidating and anxiety-producing. Talk it out, ask lots of questions, and help work through those worries.

TIP: If your child is nervous or disinterested in starting a new grade, head to your local library or book store and pick out a few new bedtime reads. There are lots amazing kid-lit picks to help inspire budding scholars and get them excited about learning.

Set Up Play Dates and Make Plans

Set up some play dates and group plans for your kids leading up to the first day of school to get them back in the social groove.

Tip: New to your community or school district? Head to the local playground, and chat up the other mamas! It’s a great way for you and your kids to make new friends!

Instill Healthy Habits

I’ve been very lax about bedtime this summer, but now that the school year is approaching, I’m starting to instill those important sleep habits once again. We’re gradually creeping bedtime back to its regular time slot and trying to return to the comfort of a routine.

Likewise, we’re getting back into the swing of things in the morning—kicking off the day with a healthy fruit smoothie and nutrition-packed breakfast. Full tummy for a full day!

And he’s ready for it!…. As for me? A pack of tissues for those first-day tears (mine, not his!) and some Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes and, Kindergarten here we come!

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

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A Lesson in Back-to-School Must-Haves at #MomtrendsSchool

Okay, guys. Imma get real and raw here for a minute (wouldn’t the first time… probably won’t the be the last). Truth is: I’m having a really hard time swallowing the fact that my first baby, my big boy, the little dude that made me a mama is going to be in Kindergarten come September.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that I dropped him off in his two-and-a-half hour Pre-K program for that much-anticipated first day? Now, in just a little over a month, I’m going to send him to elementary school until almost 3 PM every day, Monday through Friday. I could cry just thinking about it. But I know he’s going to be great and do great and enjoy every educational moment… And I might get more consecutive hours of work done than I have in years – ha!

Still, I have a lot to learn about sending a big kid off to Kindergarten, and that’s why I was so excited to go back to #MomtrendsSchool earlier this week.

Momtrends invited a few of our favorite brands and some VIP NYC bloggers and influencers to be schooled in the latest and greatest must-haves for the back-to-school season.

Better yet, we’re going to send YOU to virtual Momtrends School and give you a freebie lesson, via this blog post, in everything you and your kiddos will want and need to go to the head of the class. So without further adieu…

Ozery Bakery: My early-morning weekday breakfast woes have been solved, thanks to Ozery Bakery’s “Morning Rounds.” These delicious, wholesome breakfast breads are baked with hearty whole grains, fruits, and seeds for a satisfying, flavorful start to the day. Their “One Buns” are pre-sliced for your lunch-packing convenience, and, better yet, chock-full of fiber and protein. The “Snack Rounds” and “Brioche Bites” are the perfect after school snacks for hungry kiddos and moms alike.

Luv 2 Nosh: So you know those cracker-cookies you give your baby? This is that, but better–because they’re organic and available in so many unique and delicious flavors. Nosh has munchables, melties, and individual serving puff packets. My babe loves all of their “goodies” and even my soon-to-be Kindergartener asks for a “Nosh” cookie. Since there’s practically nothing in them, it’s a “treat” we can both feel good about.

Kite Hill: I have to admit, as a regular milk and cheese eater, I was skeptical of trying a dairy-alternative product. But Kite Hill’s artisanal delicacies are made with the simplest ingredients, and their best selling nut milk yogurts, and awarding winning cream cheese style spreads are actually insanely good. I’m sold, and I’ll definitely be packing these delights in my big boy’s lunchbox.

Name Bubbles: I would lose my head if it wasn’t attached to my body… and I’m starting to recognize that my son may have inherited my knack for, well, misplacing personal items. We have already had to buy multiple thermoses and backpacks and sneaker sets. Ugh. Well, Name Bubbles to the rescue. Their goal is to keep your kids’ items OUT of the lost & found with customizable, colorful, and cute name labels that withstand the test of time.

We had our own version of a Lost & Found box at our own Momtrends School event, where bloggers had to find and fish their own “name bubbled” item. It took me back to my childhood. Except this time, there was no question which item was mine!

Raisels: My guy loves sour candy. But I don’t particularly like how it’s loaded with all sorts of mystery ingredients and food dyes. But Raisels are a great alternative I can feel good about. Their golden raisins are sprinkled with sour fruity flavoring so they taste like candy, but they’re really just fruit! I can’t wait to break these out for our next movie night.

Hasbro: We love to play board games in our home. Pizza, some games, and quality time together is how I plan to spend our first Friday night of the school year! These Hasbro games (which we all went home with!) are going to be such a bit, and I’m looking forward to surprising my little guy and rewarding him for a successful first week of school.

Staples: Staples is our one-stop-shop for all the functional and fashionable school supplies a budding scholar could ever ask for. With emoji-inspired essentials, fun flamingo backpacks, and even donut and macaron mini erasers, Staples once again brings the cool back to school… as always!

Twelve Little: I’ve been a fan of Twelve Little’s incredibly chic and practical diaper bags for some time now; and I couldn’t be more excited about their totally awesome backpacks and lunch bags. The comfortable and clean designs look good and the functionality can’t be beat. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Momtrends event without a fun activation; so we customized lunch bags with iron-on patches and then challenged our bloggers to pack them with all the good foods they collected throughout the night.

Orchestra: We had a few of our bloggers’ kids on hand to model some of the super-charming styles from Orchestra, a European brand making its way to the United States. With wardrobe staples for kids from ages newborn to 14, it’s got a classic vibe with a bit of edge.

American Girl: Growing up isn’t easy. Kids and tweens these days have a lot to deal with on a daily basis. And they don’t always want to listen to mom and dad’s words of wisdom. That’s why we adore the advice series from American Girl. These books offer practical, useful, and digestible nugget for girls about everything from bullying to digital overload. (I think I might even need that one.)

Bath and Body Works: These luxurious lotions, potions, creams, and soaps from Bath  and Body Works are amazing for the home, for dorm rooms, guest bathrooms, and everything in between. And that hooray candle is necessary – along with a bubble bath and a glass of vino – after  a long hard work and school week. (Fri-Yay!)


JC’s Pie Bites: We love treating the kids (and ourselves) after a long hard day hitting the books–and JC’s Pie Bites are creamy and lush on the inside with a punch of crunch on the outside. Perfect for an end of day goodie.

As always, our #MomtrendsSchool students left with some hefty homework… in the form of three amazing gift bags, including an adorable backpack courtesy of Staples and lots of swag! School isn’t easy, but it sure is rewarding.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

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Why You Should Have Back to School Wardrobe Backups

Your kids have probably been back at school for at least a couple months now and you’ve most likely finished up the bulk of your back to school shopping right? But do you have back ups? I learned that back ups needed to be a part of my back to school planning the hard way thanks to some errant markers that wreaked havoc all over my kiddo’s backpack.. Have you ever had your child lose or accidentally ruin something they love? I’ve been there, and let me tell you, it wasn’t a pretty picture. My kids seem to become particularly attached to their backpacks and favorite pairs of sneakers. It took me a while, but I finally realized that it was probably a good idea to have backups for the clothing, shoes, accessories etc. that they wear to school regularly.






Let’s start with backpacks…Pottery Barn Kids has been our go-to backpack destination since day one. While the prints may change each year, they always head off to that first day of school with a PBK backpack on their backs. And while it could get pricey doubling up on backpack purchases, I suggest picking an extra one up when you can. Take advantage of the awesome sales they so often run! Plus, the extra backpack does double duty as a weekend bag. I send my kiddos off to my mom’s with them when it’s time for some grandparent quality time This year they chose Happy Horses and the ever popular Spiderman. Because they chose them, I know there won’t be any meltdowns if something happens to their other backpacks and the backups need to move to the starting lineup!




Next let’s talk shoes…Despite having several different footwear options, my precious cherubs always seem to turn to the same pair of sneakers when it comes time to get ready to go to school. So, I try to make sure I have at least two pairs on hand that they both love, otherwise they wear out SO fast with daily wear. New Balance, for instance, is a family favorite all around. Not only have the hubs and I exercised in them for years, but our kids love them as well! And let’s face it…Does it get any cuter than a teeny tiny pair of New Balance kicks? Methinks not!

So, if you can pick up a couple spare back to school wardrobe necessities, I highly suggest you do so.

We were not paid for this post. It does contain affiliate links.

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5 Apps to Help With Back-to-School

How have your kids transitioned back to school? How have you? The early morning wake-ups, the suddenly-filled afternoons, the busyness of balancing homework and sports and activities – getting back to school can be hard on the whole family. Today, we’re sharing five apps that can help with the transition. Oh, and coffee. You’ll need these apps and lots and lots of coffee.


Here are five apps that we are loving this fall. Have a favorite? Leave it in the comments below.

Help kids (and mom) manage stress – OMG I Can Meditate


By now, you’ve probably heard of the mind and body benefits that can come from meditation, and I’ve even shared some of my favorite “learn to meditate” apps for moms. But I hadn’t found a great one to use with my kids – until now. The OMG I Can Meditate app is geared to help the whole family de-stress and breathe deep. The app has over 100 different mediation with series like Better Sleep or Stress Less, individual meditation to start your day, focus on your health or relationships, and over 20 meditations specifically geared for kids at different age groups.

I’m currently reading UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World (highly recommended!) which talks about how mindfulness can help our kids become kinder, happier and more successful. Whether your kids are stressed out from a busy schedule, dealing with difficult teachers or classmates, or need help developing coping techniques and self-control skills, mindfulness meditations can help provide lifelong tools. Download the free app for access to the 20 Kids & Family meditations or buy a monthly or annual membership for complete access to all the meditations.

Track reading minutes – You-Log Reading


Do you have a budding reader in your house? Or maybe a voracious book devourer? Does your school require students to read a certain number of minutes a day? We have reading charts all over the fridge and counter for my three boys to keep track of the books and minutes they complete each week, but I’ve been eying the You-Log Reading app that not only keep track of your weekly minutes, but also what titles you’ve already read, wishlists for books to read next, set reading goals, even see genre pie charts and write book reports! For a simpler, no-frills reading tracker that’s also free, try L9Lab Timer Log app which just lets you track and save your minutes for reading (and other activities like music practice, time outside, etc.)

No-battle teeth brushing – Philips Sonicare for Kids


You never know what will motivate your kids. In this case, a furry little round character named Sparkles who only “speaks” in gibberish has successfully motivated my three kids to spend the full two minutes brushing their teeth morning and night. While the Philips Sonicare for Kids app will pair with one of their rechargeable toothbrushes, it can also be used with any old manual tooth brush too. The app models good brushing skills and gives them a visual for effectively brushing all four quadrants of the mouth. Kids earn snacks, fun accessories, and new backgrounds for Sparkles when they brush. I wouldn’t have guessed that my kids would have been motivated by this (even my 10 year old!), but I haven’t had a toothbrush battle since we got this app. It does mean the iPad makes its way into the bathroom, but if that leads to no cavities, I’m game. See more of our review here.

Figure out tonight’s math homework – Photomath


Quadratic equation anyone? Maybe file this under “Apps You Don’t Want You Kids To Find” but if the night’s math homework is leaving you just as confused as your kid, it might be time to call in the reinforcements. The Photomath app lets you take a picture of a math problem (handwritten or from the book) and it will a) not only tell you the answer, but more importantly b) provide a detailed step-by-step instruction of how to solve the problem. The app works on a variety of math problems from arithmetic and fractions to algebraic expressions, trigonometry, and derivatives. Just maybe only download this app on your personal phone. That has a passcode. That your child hopefully doesn’t know.

Keep your tween or teen organized – myHomework


Have you heard the concept of executive functions? These are higher order skills that are often key for success but are often not taught directly – skills like problem solving, self-control and planning. While many schools aim to help students develop planning and organizational skills, you can help your tween, teen or college student stay organized with assignment due dates, class schedules, upcoming tests, and project reminders with the myHomework app. Winning organizational awards since 2009, the myHomework app helps students track classes, homework, tests and assignments on iPhones, iPads, Kindles, Androids, Macs or PCs. While I still have a soft spot in my heart for paper calendars and to-do lists, we are living in a digital world and giving your child the tools to practice planning and organizational skills with an app can help them develop a lifelong skill.

What are your favorite apps helping your family transition to back to school?

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