Friday, July 20, 2018

Five on Friday - Back-to-School Favorites

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We officially have eight weeks of summer under our belts which means we only have two weeks left before the kids go back to school.  How that happened, I do not know!    Earlier this week we got phone calls from both of the kids’ new teachers, and when those phone calls came it made me realize just how close we are to going back.  Needless to say, I went into full productivity mode this week.  Jacob finished his summer homework, we did some back-to-school shopping, and I started making a list of everything else that needs to be accomplished before the big day.

Today I’m going to share a few of our favorite back-to-school items with you because I know a lot of you are in the same boat.  With only a few weeks to go, it’s time to get motivated, mommas!! 

O N E – These Book Bags/Lunch Boxes

When Jacob started Pre-K 4 three years ago we splurged and bought a Pottery Barn book bag for him.  They are not cheap by any means, but friends, they hold up like nothing I’ve ever seen!  Jacob has used this book bag every single day for Pre-K4, Kindergarten, and First Grade, and he will now be taking the same exact bag to second grade. 

This bag has been taken on vacations, it’s been taken to sleepovers with the grandparents, it was taken to school every single day for three years, it has been kicked around, thrown, punched on, and left in the middle of the floor in the hallway at school… and it still looks brand spanking new.  BRAND NEW.  And I have never so much as washed it.  Come to think of it, that’s probably pretty gross.  Lol.



Anywaaaayyyy…

If you are looking for a quality bag that will last for years, go ahead and grab one of these.  We loved Jacob’s so much that we bought one for Olivia a couple of years ago as well.  They come in so many colors and patterns (Disney Princesses, Hot Wheels, Mermaids, and Ballerinas) and and they have matching lunch bags, too… and the lunch bags attach right to the book bags, which we love!  :o) 



The only thing I would suggest is to order darker colored bags because I’ve heard that the lighter bags start showing dirt and stains faster.  Jacob has this Justice League one and, I swear, I do not see a stain on it anywhere.  Olivia’s pattern has been discontinued, but hers is a dark green with light pink flowers and trim and hers still looks brand new as well.  She hasn’t used hers as much as Jacob has used his yet, though, so the true test will be this year. 

In addition to these book bags and lunch bags, we also use these containers to put in the lunch bags.  They fit perfectly in this style of lunch bag and I can comfortably fit a sandwich, fruit, and a couple of other sides in there without wasting a bunch of plastic baggies.  They are dishwasher safe, and they’re so affordable that it won’t break the bank to keep several on hand.  We keep three on hand for each child so there is always a clean one… that way we don’t ever have to worry about washing anything by hand.  We send the kids to school with those along with one of these thermoses filled with water.  The thermoses are awesome because they keep cold stuff cold for 12 hours and they fit right in the cup holders on the sides of the book bags or the lunch boxes.  They come in tons of colors and patterns and characters so just search Thermos Funtainer on Amazon to see what all they have!







Right now all of Pottery Barn's back-to-school gear is 20-60% off with free shipping, so now is your chance to get them on sale!!!!  

School lunches made easy, y’all! 


T W O – These Polos

Our kids are required to wear uniforms since they go to a private school.  We have two choices when buying the uniforms – a) purchase them from the uniform company that the school uses, or b) buy shirts from wherever we’d like and have the school seamstress add the school crest to them.  Well, since our kids are so rough on shirts – dirt, spills, stains, paint, glue, etc. – we opt to buy shirts on our own and have the seamstress add the school crest to them.  She only charges $6 per shirt, so when we go that route, it always comes out cheaper.  In the past, we have bought polos from Old Navy, but they honestly seem to wear out pretty quickly around the collar area, so this year we ran to Target and loaded up on the Cat & Jack uniform stuff.  I can already tell that the polos are better quality than the ones at Old Navy, and they were only $2 more apiece. 

We still love Old Navy for Jacob’s navy shorts and pants, but we have so much trouble finding them there in his size.  That said, this year we’re trying out these from the Cat & Jack brand because our store had loads of his size in stock when we went this past weekend!  They are sturdy and good looking, so I have a feeling they will hold up just as well as the ones from Old Navy. 

If you’re looking for uniform choices (or just polos in general) check these out from Target!!  They are much better quality than Old Navy, but they are every bit as affordable!  Target is also offering 20% off of all Cat & Jack uniform stuff for a limited time online with the code UNIFORMS so go buy them now!





T H R E E – Footwear

Since our kids wear uniforms, they also have a dress code for shoes.  They are not allowed to wear sandals or any other type of open-toe shoe or any shoes without socks.  They can, however, wear any type of tennis shoe that they want, so we let them pick theirs out this year.  Jacob has this pair of navy ones, but we already have our eye on this pair of red ones when his wear out. 




Olivia opted for these Nikes in white with a gold swoosh (she is her mother’s daughter!) and then we also bought a pair of Mary Janes for her to wear on church days.  I just ordered this pair and this pair from Amazon earlier this week and we will decide which ones are our favorites and send the other pair back.  Free shipping and free returns… can’t go wrong with that!!


If your child doesn’t have restrictions on shoes, though, I am going to say yet another time that Natives are AWESOME!  They are lightweight and cushioned, they’re water-proof, they are breathable, they don’t rub blisters on the kids’ feet, and they don’t make their feet stink either.  Both of our kids have these – Jacob has these red ones and Olivia has them in milk pink – and they love them!!  If they get dirty, all you have to do is hose them off!  Our kids have worn theirs nonstop this summer, and I SO wish they could wear these to school with their uniforms!




F O U R – Amazon for School Supplies

Our school does the most amazing thing with regard to school supplies… they offer school supply bundles through a company so we do zero school supply shopping.  ZERO.  All I have to do is go to the company’s website, put in our school’s code, click the grades that my kids’ are going into, give them my kids’ names, and pay right there online with my credit card.  The company then creates a box for each child containing every single item on the school supply list for their grade and then they ship it straight to the school. 

Do you know how wonderful this is?!  This means that I don’t have to set foot in a store, I don’t have to hunt around looking for extremely specific things that I can’t find, I don’t have to fight with the back-to-school crowds, and to top it all off – it saves us money!!  And we don’t even have to carry giant boxes or bags to school on the first day… it’s already there waiting for them!  I mean, I will never shop for school supplies again!  Well, until the kids are old enough to decide that they actually want to pick out their own stuff.  Haha.  I know that was always my favorite thing, but until that day comes for them, momma is taking the easy way out!

Anyway, we have utilized this service for the last two years, but the first year that Jacob was in Pre-K 4 I got flat-out tired driving all over creation to find nit-picky specific stuff, so I took all of my searching to Amazon – BOOM, DONE!  They have great options and, of course, free two-day shipping for Prime members.  I cannot even tell you how much I love being a Prime member… that membership is worth every single penny.  

If you don't want to search 18 different stores for an "oxford pink pocket & brad folder" <insert eye roll here> just head straight to Amazon and search comfortably from your couch.  :o)

F I V E – Gifts for Birthday Parties

With back-to-school season comes… loads of birthday parties as well!  I recently came across this game and it would make the perfect give for girls or boys of many different ages.  Jacob has played it at school and he said all of the kids thought it was so much fun.  It’s basically beer pong for kids... without the beer, so I’m sure this would be fun for adults, too.  Lol.   

I always try to keep a few gifts on hand for birthday parties, and this one is perfect for that.  At less than $10 per game it’s easy to load up! 



Well, that about does it, y’all!  What are some your back-to-school favorites?

And just quick reminder before I go – my friend, Brandi, released her new novel today!  I just received my copy yesterday and I can’t wait to read it.  You can purchase it here.    

Happy Friday, y’all!


*Linking up with A Liz Adventures and Carolina Charm for Five on Friday, A Little Bit of Everything for Friday FavoritesMeet @ the Barre for Friday Favorites, and Cup of Tea for High Five for Friday.



25 comments:

  1. Summer goes too darn fast!! But your precious kiddos will be styling for school days for for sure! happy weekend babe!

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  2. I've pretty much completely stopped shopping at Old Navy for my son because of Cat & Jack! The price points are usually the same or very close and the quality is SO MUCH better. I can't believe school starts that soon! I guess I need to pull that pre-school packet out and look at it this weekend, lol!

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  3. I swear summer ends up being shorter and shorter every year - i'm sure you're going to have everything ready to go in 2 weeks! xo, Biana - BlovedBoston

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  4. We've got two weeks until school starts, too, but I'm not mad about it because we've got some great breaks during the school year!! I need to get myself a new lunchbox since the one I've been using for years finally got so gross, I had to throw it away haha!!
    Sarah at MeetTheShaneyfelts

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  5. I loved your description of the ball game- beer pong for kids. That made me LOL! I need to take more advantage of prime especially for things like containers and school supplies. Have a beautiful weekend! - Shannon @slayitagainshan.com

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    1. Haha. It totally is!!!! And yes, girl. You do! Most of the time I find Amazon to be cheaper than Walmart for stuff like that! And you don't have to go out to the store!

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  6. Wow, so much fun stuff here! I use similar containers for Gabbie's lunch and maybe I need some for my boys too. Gabbie also needs a new lunch bag. I think she's too old for Pottery Barn kids though! I love that your school does that with school supplies. I just hit up Walmart for ours but didn't find everything. I am thinking of getting the rest from Amazon!

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  7. I can't believe how quick summer is going! Pottery barn is expensive but there stuff really does last. I love that lunch box and how it has a side compartment for a water bottle or thermos. I hope you all have a great weekend! Sierra Beautifully Candid

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  8. I just ordered Solon's 2nd pottery barn backpack. We had to upgrade to the next size up but he has had the same one since 4 year old preschool so that's 5 years of use and it still looks new with a wash in the washing machine every so often. I got in on the sale so I did a happy dance because I love to save money ;)!

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  9. I was SO torn about whether to get Alice a bag from Pottery Barn or Skip Hop, but I ended up with a llama one from Skip Hop!

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    1. I've never even heard of Skip Hop! I'll have to check that out!

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  10. No! let's not talk school stuff just yet!

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  11. Ack! School season is getting too close! Next year we'll be buying Sylvie her Pottery Barn back pack. Kai's still looks new, and it's two years old. :) Happy back to school shopping!

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  12. Wow summer just flew by! I will have to check out your friend's book. have a great weekend!

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  13. Oh how I loved back to school shopping! And seriously - only 2 more weeks of summer?! How is that possible?

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  14. I LOVE back to school shopping. I am a school supply junkie. I also love your school's dress code policy on shoes. I don't know how many flip flops get broken in my kindergarten classroom but it makes me want to rage. Ha! Those lucky teachers. Summer went by in a blink!

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  15. Ugh I HATED shopping for back to school supplies but it was so much worse trying to figure out how to get the kids to carry all the supplies on the first day (parents aren't allowed in the building in our town)... that is awesome that your school has that feature! When our kids were in private school we could buy our uniforms anywhere as long as they followed the school criteria and I just loved Target's polos. They held up well; even the white ones! Though reading all these back to school posts today makes me doubly glad we homeschool... LOL. I get to skip it all!! :) Plus we get to add extra time onto our summer vacation.

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    1. Girl, that's INSANE. How the heck are they supposed to get all that stuff in there?!

      And LOL. AMEN. That would be amazing to add time to your summer vacay! I'm going to be so sad when they go back... although, maybe also a tiny bit relieved. Haha.

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  16. Kudos for all the prep, it makes the rush at the beginning of the school year so much easier. We are not even at the halfway point, yet, of our summer vacation. But, our "good" weather sometimes takes all of June to get here so that's fine. We are four weeks in and trying to savor what is left of July, I know August will be gone in a flash! Here's to new school beginnings!

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    1. WOW! You're not at the halfway point yet? That's awesome! Y'all must go back really late! We used to go back the day after Labor Day but they changed that sometime in the last decade or so I think.

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  17. We use those lunch boxes and containers as well! My girls have always used Camelbaks at lunch, but I like the idea of a Thermos better because it stays nice and sealed. I need to get a couple of those!

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  18. Love PBK backpacks!! So our school does the school supply thing too but I find it way cheaper to do it myself, I mean for Brayden's box alone they wanted $75! I got both kids' supplies for less than that!!

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  19. Loving your recommendations! We have the same PB lunch box - buying those Tupperware’s for it right now! πŸ‘πŸ»

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  20. Beer Pong for kids. Haha. I love it. I love Natives for my girls too. Such cute backpacks. Love Pottery Barn Kids.

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  21. We are going back to school shopping this weekend! I wish I could online shop for school supplies but Ella HAS TO PICK everything out! HA I think school supply shopping is her favorite day of the year! :)

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