Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Back to School Favorites

Somehow it became August when I wasn’t looking. I’m certain it is still 80s and humid and summer camp and swimming pools and watermelon season. It seems that the second the calendar changes, I notice more that those long summer nights seem to be getting shorter and shorter. I know fall must be far away, but common sense and my mailbox tell me otherwise. It is coming sooner than I’m ready to admit.

Usually my strategy for this sort of thing is to just be in denial about everything and then right before school starts (like 1-2 days before) panic and go on a mad shopping spree where I try to piece together everything everyone needs in a 12 hour period. This is a fascinating snapshot of my general life and organizational skills: rushed, messy.

This year I am pledging to be different. Whether I’m ready or not, the school year is coming and I’ve already done some shopping to stock up. Not that any of you asked, but I thought I’d take a minute to share some of my favorite back to school items/websites. Please note that no one paid me to promote any of these products. I just hoped this might spark your own thinking on back to school preparations.

In general I’m not a terribly paranoid person (actually a little bit I am) but recently I read some stuff about plastic that made me feel uneasy. If I can sum up the crux of what I think the issue is here, it’s that BPA, phthalates and other dicey plastic components are fairly hazardous to your health. When you heat this stuff up in microwaves or dishwashers at high heat, the chemicals will end up leaching on to the food and drink you put in these cups/dishes/containers. Because of this, I’m slowly weaning myself off of plastic. I know what you’re saying: I’m BPA free! Which is maybe true but for some reason I still don’t trust the general concept of what plastic is: a hodgepodge of synthetic stuff. That just can’t be good. But you could hand wash! Also true. But the reality is I’m lazy and so are my kids and they use 45 different shitty plastic cups and bottles every single day and I just don’t want to hand wash all of this stuff so I stuff it all in my dishwasher and tell myself it’s okay because it’s on the top rack!

But lately my paranoia on all of this has gotten the better of me. I actually threw away all of my plastic kids silverware and cups. I replaced the kids’ cups and water bottles with stainless steel products from Kleen Kanteen. I’ve ordered them both on Amazon and A Mighty Nest. While they are a bit pricey, here are some great facts about them: they are stainless steel which makes them indestructible, dishwasher safe, come in various sizes with sport and twist tops, and seem to just generally last. One little tidbit here: the painted ones come in pretty colors but you have to hand wash them. Don’t be fooled: if you are lazy like me go with the boring old stainless steel variety.

If you are a plastic cup addict as I once was, I have mad respect. But if you are considering maybe making a change, check these out.

In addition to being a plastic cup whore, historically I’ve also been a plastic bag whore. One for the sandwich, one for the snack, two kids, another for that stray leftover hot dog at night! We were burning through those suckers! Frankly it was an expensive habit. More than that, I have been having this recurring nightmare about my family’s role in the generation of trash and what I’m leaving behind for my kids to inherit. I keep picturing this post-apocalyptic world that is dark and sad where the angry man from The Lorax movie manufactures smog for a living. Everything is sad. And all because of my addiction to plastic sandwich bags. So I’ve made the switch. I ordered a bunch of cloth reusable snack and sandwich bags – enough for both kids for every day of the week which seemed like a lot up front but I actually think will save me money down the road. They make a lot of cute cloth bags now and most can just be tossed in the washing machine to clean up. Snack Taxi is just one great site. Try also LunchSkins and Itzy Ritzy.

Every year I stumble into those classic New England mornings that start cold and end hot or start hot and end cold and either way you just know that at some point during the day your kid is going to need something. Not quite a jacket, more than their shirt. They need the hooded sweatshirt. I am partial to the Hanna Andersson hoodies for a couple of reasons: they don’t have random crap or pictures or cartoons that will go out of style or favor with your kids in two weeks and, they last. I have sweatshirts from these guys that are now living their second life with Ruby. They are at least 4 years old and are still going strong, getting better with age. They call them survivor jackets on their website which sounds way more fancy then hooded sweatshirt but that is what they are. By them big. Let em grow with your kid. The best.

Did you know that you need to label every single thing that you send your child with to school? And did you also know that sharpies on masking tape just don’t hold up that well over time? Honestly, most normal human parents with a brain already know this. Unfortunately I needed to learn this the hard way. Enter Mabel’s Labels. On the one hand part of me is thinking, “Why the hell am I spending so much on labels?” but the rest of me is thinking make this investment now so that your kid isn’t drinking out of someone else’s water bottle and catching mono or you are rummaging around the house looking for a sharpie while you chase the school bus. Order em, stick em on now, and live your life worry/label free.

There it is. Your back to school list of must haves. Also pencils, folders, excessive amounts of glue sticks (why so much gluing?) and wine. What’s on your must-have list?

Happy almost fall!

 

 

7 comments:

  1. I honestly can't believe how quickly the summer flew by. I am not ready for back-to-school yet but I realize we have to get prepared. Some great product suggestions here.

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  2. You 100% sold me on the klean kanteen bottles. I've long felt uneasy about the plastic bottles (contigo) that have been sitting in my car hot on summer days. Yuck. I wish that was an affiliate link for you because I bought 6 bottles!

    ReplyDelete
  3. We use HydroFlask water bottles and a similar kind of snack bag. I had strayed from Hanna but you brought back the memory of the first 4 years of parenting and the vibrant colors and indestructability of those clothes. Back to it!

    I have never labeled. Scares me.

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