It’s almost that time of year again. It seems like the summer goes by so fast and before you know it you’re out shopping for back to school supplies. Aside from the standard list of products you are required to pick up for your children’s every day use, you also have to pick up lunch boxes that will be cool enough to fit in, snacks for lunches that will remind your little ones of the snacks that mom makes at home (Just in case they miss you just a little bit!) and bags to help carry around all the artwork, projects and clothes that get transported back and forth each week. Luckily a lot of shopping can be done from the comfort of your own home on your computer and you can often find a great deal of products that are new and innovative and far better than the generic ones you’ll find in stores.
One of the most important purchases for the school year is a lunchbox. It has to be cool enough that your child likes it but you also want to make sure it’s practical enough to keep food warm or cold and protected. There’s a lot of different lunch bag option available on the internet. Built makes a variety of bags that can be used for lunches, but can also be used to tote around anything else your child may need. A multipurpose bag is always a good thing. They come in really great colors and prints and wash well. Prices for a standard lunch bag are extremely affordable based on the quality. You can easily buy a nice bag from Built for $30. Visit www.builtny.com for more information. If you need containers to use inside any of the Built bags you can head over the Snapware’s website to purchase great glass containers that are safer than standard plastic, they are airtight and leakproof with their silicone seal. You can microwave them, and they’re stainproof so leftover spaghetti won’t ruin the container.
A great lunchbox to pick up is the MilkDot stoh bag. It’s insulated, has a great carrying handle, wipes clean easily and is a perfect size for an entire lunch. It’s waterproof and when it’s empty it compacts down so your child can be sure to throw it back in their backpack and it will make it home each day. It’s cute enough that Moms and Dads will carry this one around for themselves too.
Place snacks in reusable bags to help save money, the environment and time. SnackTaxi makes great reusable snack bags that Velcro shut. They can be washed in the machine, dried (Many cannot) and still look great many uses later. They can even be soaked in the sink to get rid of any stickiness or stains. These can also be used for sandwiches to refrain from using bulky sandwich containers that take up a whole lunch box.
To throw a piece of home into your child’s lunch each day place a Happikin into their lunchbox. Happikins are kid friendly cloth napkins that are made of 100% cotton. A 4 pack of napkins costs $19.95, can be washed many times and dried, and you’ll save money in the long run with not needing to put paper napkins in your children’s lunch boxes. Great kid friendly prints are available at www.happikins.com. Mika and Bu also makes really wonderful cloth napkins that wash well and they also sell a variety of reusable bags that can be used for lunches, supplies, or even Mom can use them to grocery shop.
New Wave Enviro makes litter free lunch systems that not only come with insulated bags but have BPA free containers for sandwiches, snacks, desserts that are microwave and dishwasher safe. A drink bottle is even included. They also sell stainless steel containers, and bamboo lunch bags. If you need an extra bottle for beverages you can get really cute stainless steel bottles from Earthlust. They can get banged around in a bag without getting ruined, they’re very affordable (About $18 for a 20 oz bottle) and they have tight tops that won’t leak.
Traditional plastic containers have been under scrutiny lately and parents are now paying attention to whether BPA is included in the product. The best route to go if you don’t want to worry is completely stray away from plastic. Stainless steel is a great alternative that you might not consider. LunchBots makes great stainless steel containers that come in a variety of sizes and they are lead free. They’re colorful, the lids snap on nicely and they can be reused many times. They will easily make it through an entire school year and then some. Moms and Dads will be stealing these as well to transport their lunches around they’re so great.
Aside from the traditional backpack your child will use daily he or she may also need a separate bag for gym clothes, field trips, or party snacks. The Kidzsack is a great idea. It’s a canvas bag with straps that fits like a backpack (Or can be carried by hand). Best part is, you pick the design and your child gets to color in the bag with washable markers (Some included but you can use any washable Crayola). When the bag gets dirty you can machine wash it and color all over again! You can add the child’s name, phone number or classroom number and not have to worry about a tag falling off and getting lost.
It’s tough to come up with different lunch and snack ideas that will keep kids interested. Cook in the Kitchen is a family operated business in Vermont that makes great mixes that will keep for a good amount of time in your pantry and you can just add a few ingredients you already have in the house to make a wholesome and tasty treat for your little ones. You can start the day off right with their Buttermilk Pancake and Waffle mix. There are different varieties including apple, blueberry and maple whole wheat. All you have to do is add water. Scone and muffin mixes are available, and you can make a warm treat for breakfast or a snack by cutting up an apple or other piece of fresh fruit and topping with their Apple Crisp and Fruit Topping Mix. A variety of healthy soup mixes are available that can be poured into a thermos for lunches (gluten free versions are available). Add a sandwich and a piece of fruit and your child has a great lunch that the other kids will envy.
For a quick snack that is healthier than greasy chips or cookies, try Corazona’s delicious chips and oatmeal squares. Unique flavors like squeeze of lime, black bean and cheese, parmesean peppercorn and cranberry flax won’t last long in your pantry since everyone in the house will be fighting over them. Plant sterols help keep these snacks healthy, keep your cholesterol low and they are extremely safe.
If you have younger siblings that need to come along for a walk to the bus stop or in the car to drop the older ones off, you can use the No Squeeze Juice Box Holder to keep your backseat clean. A covered cup holds a regular juice box and prevents your child from squeezing the juice all over the place. It’s easy to take apart and clean, and fits into most cup holders! You don’t have to eliminate the convenience of a boxed drink anymore thanks to this company (www.nosqueeze.com). Keep sippy cups, bottles and snack cups attached to the carseat or stroller by using the pbnj baby SippyPal strap to secure them. Even during a tantrum if the cup or bottle gets thrown, it won’t end up under a seat or across the store. A variety of colors are available and you’ll surely find other uses for these straps as well so make sure to pick up a few.
If you need shelf paper to line your child’s locker with, re-do their drawers this fall when they’re away at school, or to line crayon boxes or lunch boxes with, head to ChicShelfPaper.com for the coolest designs on the market. A variety of textures are available, and the quality is great.
Back to school means your fridge doors get covered in your children’s artwork, schedules, and lists. Keep it all organized with Mayfair Lane. They have a variety of products that grip to stainless steel refrigerators, regular refrigerators, mirrors, etc. There’s a huge selection of magnets available, dry erase boards, lists, notepads and more. The clips are a great thing to have around. You can stick a recipe card to your cupboard, stick a note on your front door for the mailman, remind your husband of something before he leaves the house by sticking a note on the inside of the door and these are even great for your kid’s lockers at school if they’re not allowed to use tape. Frames are even available.
To keep your little ones warm and dry at the bus stop you can turn to Kushies for the cutest outdoor wear. Their rain jackets are superior quality, adorable and wear extremely well. Pair these jackets with Soft Star shoes for you and your whole family. They have different widths available, come in great styles, and are pretty affordable for a shoe that will hold up all year. You can buy some great back to school clothes from Snorgtees.com that will make everyone laugh and your child will look great wearing something that not many other kids will have, if any at all. Shirts are very affordable from this site. Don’t forget to check of Prefresh.com as well from some really cool, retro designs. This site sells not only tshirts but great hoodies and onesies so you can dress your whole clan!