Trendy Mom's Back-to-School Guide ~ Dallas Mom Blog and Fort Worth Mom Blogger: Trendy Mom Reviews
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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Trendy Mom's Back-to-School Guide

The new school year is here! In today's post, I'll share several products that we recommend for a trendy school year. We include our personal favorites that make our lives easier throughout the hectic school year, mainly focusing on items that we use on a daily basis. Let's get started.

Our first recommendation includes trendy Bombas socks for the entire family. As a mom, you'll appreciate that Bombas Toddler socks look good, have a nice gripper design on the bottoms, and are excellent quality. As a Boy Mom, my children stress test everything and I'm glad to report that their Bombas socks have always held up. Plus, every mom needs to know about this bonus - if your child outgrows their Bombas socks within a year of purchase, they have a unique Growth Guarantee:

"If your little one outgrows or wears through his or her Bombas Kids socks within a year of purchase, we’ll send you a new pair the next size up free of charge. Just pay $4.95 shipping total for as many pairs as you want to exchange. We know kids grow fast. And we want Bombas to grow right alongside them."

As you may have guessed, we are a Bombas family.  Not only do I love this brand for my toddler, but I also love it for our entire family.  They have a nice variety of styles and colors. Of course, the biggest reason that I love their socks is that they have lasted for entire school years. My children seem to wear everything out, but their Bombas socks are an exception as they actually hold up to their high energy levels!

The last group of Bombas socks below are extra special to me because I have spent years searching for the perfect no-show socks. Many brands of no-show socks are described as "Fits Sizes 5 to 10" or "One Size". It is a huge range. As someone on the upper side of that size range, I've never found a brand that actually fit comfortably. They have always been too large. I felt like I won the lottery when I tried no-show socks from  Bombas because they actually fit!  I think that the big difference here is that Bombas focuses on quality and realizes that trying to cram every woman into a "Fits Sizes 5 to 10" does not work well.  Instead of one size for everyone, they break their no-show socks into three ranges - large  (4 - 6.5), large (7 - 9), and Large (9.5 - 12.5). As a size 9.5, I wear the large no-show socks and they are amazing! I've tried over a dozen brands of no-show socks and this is the first brand that is actually comfortable for me.  Visit Bombas here.

Next on our list is shoes. I never want to skimp on shoes. I want my children to naturally run, play, and grow!  See Kai Run shoes have been great for my boys. Their shoes are adorable for photos and have a great track record in our family for holding up.  Personally, I also like this brand because they are flexible, lightweight, and are developed with extra room in the toe area. This is important because it gives toes room to wiggle and grip which helps to build the muscles of their feet. They also are designed with wide openings to make them super easy to get on and are approved by the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association). Stock up now while they have a great back-to-school sale here.

In addition to products that children take to school with them, I wanted to feature safety products this year since it's a good idea to remember to review safety issues around your your home. Let me tell you why these safety issues are particularly on my mind. First, my son asked me if he could look at our fire extinguisher. When we were looking at it, we realized that it expired many years ago!  I guess that the years went by and we never thought about the expiration date. It was a wakeup call to order a new fire extinguisher.  I thought that I should share because many of you may have overlooked the fact that fire extinguishers expire too.  Please, check your fire extinguisher's expiration date!  It's very easy to order a new one online. We have the First Alert Home Fire Extinguisher shown below and keep it easily accessible in our kitchen.  This one is particularly nice because it's rechargeable and our local fire station will recharge it when we need it.

After realizing that our fire extinguisher had expired, we reviewed other safet
y issues in our home. We had one smoke detector that went bad in our home and then realized that the builder of our home never put one in our son's bedroom.  When we moved into our home, there was so much going on that we overlooked this detail in our son's bedroom and I feel bad about the critical oversight.  It was an easy fix to install two of the FirstAlert Battery-Operated Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms with Voice and Location. They are battery powered and you don't need an electrician I also like that these alarms feature exclusive voice and location technology by First Alert to detect two threats - smoke or CO -  and even alert users of the specific threats and the location within the home. While this obviously seems like a fantastic idea, what's even more interesting is that studies show that children ages 6 to 10 are awakened more readily by voice. This technology provides an increased level of security for all families, especially those like mine that have young children ages 6 to 10. 

Now that I've featured the safety products that we stocked up on, let me also share some additional tips:

  • The National Fire Protection Association recommends that smoke alarms be installed on every level of the home, including the basement, inside each bedroom and in the main corridors, and carbon monoxide alarms should be installed on each level of the home and in a central location outside each bedroom.
  • Once alarms are installed, be sure to properly maintain them.
  • Test your alarms at least once each month. First Alert alarms are equipped with a test button to make this easy.
  • Replace batteries every six months. A nice reminder is to do this twice a year – at the start and end of Daylight Saving Time. This year we “fall back” on November 4.
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years and carbon monoxide alarms every five to ten years.
  • If you can’t remember or don’t know how old the alarm is, it is best to replace the unit completely.
Visit First Alert here.

In addition to safety, we know that shortly after our children return to school, that they may have a rough sports practice or catch germs that make them want to rest.  We love having a hot water bottle from Warm Traditions to help ease their aches and pains on rough days.  Nothing is cozier than Warm Traditions' hot water bottles because they wrap them in soft fabrics.  We even use the Warm Traditions hot water bottles in the winter time to warm their beds as part of their bedtime routine. I think that it's a special touch that they will always remember from their childhood. My husband and I will fill the hot water bottles with hot water and put one under each of their blankets before bedtime to make them extra cozy. Visit Warm Traditions here.

The next topic on my list is skincare. My entire family uses CeraVe skincare products. I've used this brand for several years after my dermatologist recommended it to me.  Let's start with our favorite product - the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser. Several years ago, I visited my dermatologist because I felt like I was having a skincare crisis. My skin had always been dry and sensitive, but I was suddenly experiencing acne as an adult. I was sincerely devastated.  In my initial frustration, I turned to harsh products that I hoped would destroy the acne.  However, it seemed like I was just making things worse! My dermatologist suggested that I scale back on the harsh products and try CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser.  I gave this facial cleanser a chance and my skin improved in the following weeks. My dermatologist was worth every penny for advising me to try the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser!  Since then, my husband adopted this facial cleanser too.  Of course, when my oldest son started to experience breakouts, I had him try this facial cleanser.  So far, it has worked well for him. We have even recommended it to a few of his friends that use it too.  

There are two other CeraVe products that we use on our dry skin. My favorite moisturizers are some of the newer CeraVe products from their Renewing Line. The CeraVe Renewing Line was developed with dermatologists.  The products contain a special combination of ceramides 1, 6, 6-11 to help restore the skins natural protective barrier and help to visibly smooth fine lines and restore radiance.  There are four products in this line, including two that we use:

  • CeraVe Skin Renewing Day Cream (SRP of $24.99): We use this product daily because it features SPF30 broad spectrum sun protection which is essential in Texas. In addition the encapsulated retinol releases gradually to help visibly smooth fine lines.
  • CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream (SRP of $18.49): This night cream features a peptide and ceramide complex that seriously hydrates, softens, and renews tired skin.
Visit CeraVe here.

As a Mom and an Engineer, I think that STEM products are important for all of our future tech moguls out there! Even if your child isn't interested in a STEM career, technology is pervasive nowadays, so I think that basic STEM skills are important to everyone. Let me share two that stand out for offering practical functionality, but with special twists that stand out from the crowd.

As a Mom and an Engineer, I love when STEM products are both functional and stylish. The TI-84 Plus CE calculator is a must-have for middle school, high school, and college students. I used a predecessor of this trendy calculator when I was younger and feel like it is a product that transcends generations. However, the TI-84 Plus CE calculator is trendier than ever as it is 30% thinner, incredibly light, offers 6 times the memory of the TI-84 Plus, has an amazing resolution for a calculator, and lasts up to a month on a single charge. This calculator has been evolving for decades and continues to remain at the top when it comes to functionality, including everything needed for Chemistry to Calculus. It even allows student to learn to code.  (I remember coding a little game on mine when I was in 11th grade!)  Of course, it's important to know that this calculator is approved for use during important college entrance exams such as the SAT or ACT.  While this calculator is clearly a foundational tool for students, I also want to add that this trendy calculator comes in stylish colors such as Rose Curve Gold, Measure Mint, and Count on Coral.  When I was a college student, everyone's calculator was blue. I love that TI now offers pops of color, especially since I feel like the new design is so appealing to girls.  Thank goodness for 2018 when Rose Curve Gold finally worked it's way into STEM classrooms around the world!  Visit the TI website here to learn more about the TI-84 Plus CE calculator with all of the foundational functionality that students need, but in colors that reflect their personalities!

As Mom and an Engineer, this next product rocked my world because the clever design made STEM exciting to my son.  BOSEbuild is a fantastic new product line from BOSE that incorporates cutting edge technology with an educational experience to help children to explore the world of sound and hearing while building their own products. Specifically, we love the BOSEbuild Headphones because most schools now require students to bring headphones to school with them. Of course, BOSE is the premier brand for headphones. However, these Bluetooth headphones are actually beyond what you would expect.  Children (ages 8 to 18) build these headphones and even customize them with colored lights and design inserts.  BOSEbuild provides an amazing opportunity for children to not only learn how to build their own headphones, but also provides lessons on sound related concepts such as sound waves, microphones, hearing and sound perception, and healthy listening. I'm impressed with this product because the design team did an amazing job and I'm convinced that they must be perfectionists because every last detail of this product and educational experience is amazing. Visit BOSEbuild here to learn more. 

Younger children will love the Despicable Me Minions and DreamWorks Trolls school supplies from Avery. These lines include many basics for younger children, but with fun twists thanks to the colorful characters. For instance, they offer Fashionable 1" Binders, Big Tab Fashion Dividers, Two Pocket Folders (with 100-sheet capacity), and Glue Stics. The photo below shows samples of some of these trendy school supplies.  

The next photo shows Minions supplies. Visit here to learn more about the Avery DreamWorks Trolls Collection. Visit here to learn more about the Avery Despicable Me Minions Collection.

Another one of our family traditions is to stock our kitchen with special meals and snacks that work with our busy schedules.  My boys seem to have endless appetites, so stocking our kitchen with healthy meals and snacks at the beginning of the semester makes my life easier and keeps everyone happy. In today's post, I'll invite you into my kitchen to learn about several trendy meal and snack ideas from some of our favorite brands.

The first is Pizzeria Uno's Original '43 Deep Dish Pizzas. These were always a part of my childhood memories, so it's nice that even though we moved away, we are able to order their trendy pizzas online.  (They ship them on dry ice and you may cook them when they arrive or store them in the freezer.) We stock up just before the school year starts and enjoy the first pizza on the first day of school. We then use the others as we celebrate accomplishments during the school year such as a good test grades, winning games, and more.  Visit Uno Pizzeria here to order Pizzeria Uno's Original '43 Deep Dish Pizzas to celebrate the first day of school and other memories throughout the school year.

We also stock up on Farm Rich appetizers and snacks that are made with wholesome ingredients.  My kids work and play hard at school, so I love having Farm Rich appetizers and snacks in our freezer.  As a Boy Mom, it's nice to pour half of a bag of Farm Rich appetizers or snacks onto a cookie sheet and then quickly bake them. Plus, if they have friends over, it's easy to adjust and pour an entire bag onto a cookie sheet to bag. (Many varieties may also be conveniently prepared in the microwave!) It takes such little effort on my end and it makes them so happy.  Farm Rich has a large variety of products, but our favorites are the Mozzarella Sticks, Mozzarella Bites, and Avocado Slices.  Visit Farm Rich and use the Farm Rich store locator to find a location near you.

My children's schools require us to send healthy snacks.  I am not quite sure about their definition of healthy, but my son once overhead a teacher lecture someone's parent for sending an unhealthy snack.  So, let's just say that I never want to push the limit and risk being pulled aside for pushing the limits on snack time. In all seriousness though, I feel like I've been a pro at finding the best snacks for snack time.

My first recommendation is Nearly Naked Popcorn from Popcornopolis. You may have noticed this brand a while back when the giant bags were on sale at Costco.  They also offer cases of individual size bags on the Popcornopolis website here.  In case you were wondering, the bags are generously portioned for "individual size".  A case of 48 individual bags is $29.99+tax and they offer free shipping on your first order here. I have two children, so this covers a full month of snack time for us!

SunRype offers fantastic snacks that are made with 100% pure ingredients. They are vegan, kosher, and made from gluten-free and peanut-free ingredients. I send these to school with my children and also keep them in my purse since they are so convenient.  If you follow regularly, you know that I have a child with food allergies and these SunRype snacks have been a great way to make him feel included in many situations. For instance, he isn't able to have foods from the movie theater concession stand, so we take SunRype Fruit Source Bars and SunRype Fruit to Go Bars to theaters. I am also able to leave a box of them with his teacher so that he has a snack during birthday parties and other events.  I should also add that I have son without food allergies. He loves SunRype snacks too!  They are all fantastic, but our favorite flavors are the SunRype Apple Mango Mangsteen Fruitsource 100% Natural Fruit Bars, SunRype Apple Wildberry Fruit to Go 100% Fruit Strip Snacks, and  SunRype Apple Mango Strawberry Carrot Fruitsource 100% Natural Fruit Bars.  Visit SunRype here.

We love Slammers pouches because they offer healthy snacks that our children love to eat without making a mess. They have delicious varieties that are made with organic fruits and vegetables. They even have varieties that are packed with protein. Slammers pouches are portable and easy to serve frozen, cold, or at room temperature. I love that my boys are happy and that they don't make a mess.  My oldest son is very active, so the varieties with 7 grams of protein help him throughout the day.   These are a staple for us to send to school with them for healthy and low-mess snacking. 

In addition to snacks at school, my children love to snack at home too.  Let me share some trendy Zak Design products that are easy to mix-and-match for use at home and/or school.  The Zak Designs brand is one of my favorites because they are true to their mission of making mealtime fun. My oldest is obsessed with Minions, so he naturally loved the Minion line of products at Zak Designs.  They cover the basics such as plates, bowls, cups, and lunch/snack containers. They even offer fun products to let kids play in the kitchen. For instance, the little Minion baking set below with a rolling pin, cookie cutter, and pastry bag with tips is a great example of how they make mealtime fun!  Making your own food is always fun for kids.

Plus, I need to highlight the unique Minions Zak!Snak Tumbler shown below. It's such a creative solution for after school snacks in the car. It's not only a cup with straw on the bottom, but the top provides an area for snacks.  I've found it to be a low-mess solution for snack/drink combos in the car!  (My husband is keeping his fingers crossed that they will create an adult version and that I'll pack a good drink/snack combo for him too.)

Of course, I have to highlight the Paw Patrol items from Zak Designs!  My youngest is a big fan of Paw Patrol, so these items rocked his world!  I love that zak has such great products and that they have our favorite characters.  Visit Zak Designs here!

Now, let's talk about staying organized and minimizing the items that we lose. A trendy mom hack that you will probably thank me for at some point during this school year is to put a Cube Tracker on everyone's key rings.  I think that we have all had our moments when we were on our way out, but couldn't find our keys. The Cube Tracker offers a trendy solution as you put the tracker on your key ring and then use their app to ping it when your keys are missing.  My husband and I both use it. I timed how long it took us to each install and configure the app and put the Cube Tracker on our key rings. My husband took 4 minutes and I took 5 minutes.  We weren't racing, but that's just how simple it was.  Visit the Cube Tracker website here.  

Finally, label your school supplies with Mabel's Labels.  Their labels are easy to customize online and are quite durable. We've been using them for years, but recently restocked our supply.  We've used them on clothing, lunch containers, shoes, nap mats, and more.  Personally, the investment in labels has been worthwhile for us because other moms have found and returned lost items to us, including items that were mistakenly put in another child's bag or left at the playground. Visit Mabel's Labels here.

Thanks for taking a glimpse into our Back-to-School preparation.  We hope that these products help you to enjoy a trendy new school year too!

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