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Why I’m Not Excited About Back to School

The summers seem to pass much quicker as our children grow older. Back to school means we’ll be back to our usual, hectic routines with jam-packed days and evenings and weekends of errands and hockey. And the older your kids get, the busier their days and weekends are with friends and activities.

In past years, I looked forward to the school year because I was exhausted having my boys home all summer. I selfishly wished the time would fast forward to the first day of school so I could have some alone time again. Though I loved having my boys home, keeping them entertained for a part of the day without playing referee constantly became overwhelming. I remember feeling drained by the middle of summer, counting down the days where our regular routine would be restored. I’d have quiet time to focus on work without being interrupted every five minutes, and some “me” time to decompress.

This might be the first summer in years that I wished summer break would last longer so I could spend more time with my boys. I wholeheartedly enjoyed hanging out with them this summer. The usual bickering was bearable, surprisingly. We spent time doing things outdoors. We got our fill of the hot summer sun. We explored parts of Ontario we hadn’t visited before, frolicked on the beach, and circled the grounds of Canada’s Wonderland countless times.

But the difference this summer is that my boys also spent time apart from one another and with their own friends. They’d be out for hours, separately, only calling me to check-in. Instead of the usual questions of summers’ past, “Where are you taking us today?”, they asked, “Mom, I’m going out with my friends now.”

This summer I felt a huge shift and it really hit me – my boys are becoming independent, self-sufficient young men. Gone are the days when I’d have to arrange playdates and meetups. Gone are the days I’d have to plan activities to keep them occupied, and camps to help them burn off their insurmountable energy. Now, they’re scheduling their own plans with friends and don’t need me to organize their social life anymore.

I was their taxi driver, chauffeuring them and their friends to various activities this summer. Some days, they hopped on their bikes and scooters and took off for hours. Other times, the gang would congregate in our garage. My basement turned into the local movie theatre for their friends.

There were days that went by where I hardly saw my boys and needed some extra cuddles by evening because I missed them so. “I haven’t seen you all day!”

That’s the strange dichotomy about parenting – we hang onto every moment we can share with our kids and yet we push them away when we’re overwhelmed.

Time. It’s the only constant in our lives. And the time we have with our children is fleeting.

Balancing that time carefully will allow us to appreciate and fully enjoy the precious time we have together.

 

 

 

 

Back to School Essentials 2014

It’s the back to school rush! For some of you who have already done your back-to-school shopping, kudos to you. I’m usually a procrastinator, waiting for last minute back to school shopping the weekend before school begins. Earlier than that for me and it cuts into my summer time!

Here are my favourite Back to School Essentials 2014.

Back to School Essentials 2014

Backpack

A good, sturdy backpack with plenty of storage options is essential for growing kids. The licensed character backpacks are cute when kids are in kindergarten but they don’t have enough space for books and they aren’t built to last. My favourite is the Dudley Fully Loaded Backpack – my son’s backpack from last year is still holding up! I also like the look of this backpack from Swiss Gear.

Back to School Essentials 2014 Back to School Essentials Swiss Gear Backpack

Lunch Box

There are so many options for lunch boxes out there, especially since many school are litterless. I love the idea of bento-type boxes but they just don’t work for my kids. I like The Fully Loaded Lunch Bag by Dudley. It has a strong durable handle, insulated interior, sturdy base and zipper and mesh pockets – five pockets for added storage capacity and organization.

Back to School Essentials

This Louis Garneau Extreme Rectangular Lunch Box in navy blue and green because it looks like it’s built to last. It has a grey insulated lunch box with front pocket top opening, removable plastic liner for easier cleaning and removable shoulder strap included. This one is available online at Staples.ca.

Back to School Essentials 2014

Pencils and Pens

When my son was learning to write, he had trouble holding the pencil properly and his fingers would slide down the pencil. It was enough of a challenge learning to hold the pencil, let alone learning to print letters! The BIC Kids line helps little fingers learn how to hold a pencil and write properly. The line includes a mechanical pencil, pen and stylus and they offer a unique guiding line to help position fingers correctly. They’re ergonomically designed for kids’ little hands – both left and right-handed.

Back to School Essentials Bic Kids

Binders and Notebooks

Shopping for school supplies like binders, pencil cases and notebooks is always a treat because I end up buying supplies for myself too! School supplies by Hilroy, ave always been my favourite because of their colours and patterns.

Hilroy® Shape It Up™ Binder 1.5", Assorted Designs. Three assorted designs include strips, hearts and circles.

Running shoes

Kids will need a good pair of running shoes AND a clean pair of indoor shoes; velcro will come in handy for little ones while older kids can enjoy runners like these from Skechers.

The Skechers Skech Appeal line of sneakers are made in a smooth trubuck leather, synthetic and mesh fabric upper in a lace up athletic training sneaker with stitching and overlay accents. These shoes have a Memory Foam insole – do you have any idea how comfortable the Memory Foam is?! They’re like wearing your favourite comfy pair of slippers! Girls Skech Appeal – $63.

Back to School Essentials Skechers

 

My boys will look stylin’ in these skater style SKECHERS Vert 2 shoe. Smooth leather and perforated leather upper in a lace up athletic casual skate sneaker with stitching and overlay accents. Boys Vert 2, $56.

Back to School Essentials Skechers Boys 

 

Water Bottle

Every purchase of a Me to We product makes a positive impact on the world by giving a gift in a Free The Children community overseas, like clean water, school supplies and healthy meals. Look for your unique impact code on every product, and enter it online at TrackYourImpact.com to see where in the world your life-changing gift was delivered. Available at Staples.

Back to School Essentials Water Bottle

Pencil Case

Older kids will love this one! The Dudley Load N Lock Pencil Pod is a locking pencil case with resettable combination so you can protect your belongings from disappearing! My 10-year-old will love that his little brother won’t be able to “borrow” pens and markers from his pencil case any more!

Back to School Essentials Dudley Lock and Load Pencil Pod

What is on your back-to-school essentials list?

 

Back to School with H&M!

It’s Back to School time at H&M and we can’t help but be excited about the latest fall fashions for kids!

School is starting soon which means it’s time to go shopping for back to school outfits and fall clothing for kids. It’s always a pleasure to go back to school shopping and H&M has great outfits to choose from.

With H&M Autumn arrivals comes soft basics, casual classics, and exciting everyday dressing.

H&M Fall 2014 boys - enter to win $150 gift card

H&M Fall 2014 boys

H&M Fall 2014 girls

H&M Fall 2014 girls

Right now at H&M, get a combo of selected Tops + Bottoms for only $14.95. Plus from now until September 4, 2014, you can get 20% off your entire purchase in the Kids department! You can either print it or show it on your mobile device. Click the photo below to get your coupon.

H&M Canada Coupon

ENTER TO WIN

One lucky reader will win a $150 gift card to H&M for Back to School shopping!

Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter this giveaway. Open to Canada only. Ends August 31, 2014. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

H&M Back to School at amotherworld.com

 

 

6 Back to School Tips To Prepare Your Child

Going back to school can bring children a wealth of emotions, and no two children respond exactly the same way. Some children are excited, some are nervous, and some don’t care too much either way.

No matter how your child approaches the upcoming school year, you want your child to be well-prepared so he or she can have a fantastic year.

Here are six back to school tips to prepare your child for the new school year.

6 Back to School Tips To Prepare Your Child

1. Talk About School

Spend the summer talking to your child about going to school in the fall. If your child has never gone to school before, talk about all the exciting things he will do and learn there. Ask your child what she is most excited or nervous about, or what she thinks the school year will be like. If you aren’t sure how to start the discussion or if you don’t know what to say, there are tons of great children’s books on going back to school that you can read together and discuss.

2. Visit the School in Advance

If your child will be going to a new school, try to find time before the first day of classes to visit and tour the school. Meet the teacher, find the bathrooms and explore the gym, the cafeteria and the library. Show your child where you will drop him off and pick him up, and let him practice walking from the front door to his classroom all by himself. You may even want to ask the school teachers for any further back to school tips they may have for you.

6 Back to School Tips to Prepare Your Child

3. Get Your Child Ready Academically

Kids lose a lot of information over the school year. Help your child be ready to learn by practicing school concepts over the summer. Check out your local library for a book club or summer reading program, or let your children get on educational websites to practice any skills they have forgotten. Then, when it is time to hit the books again, your child will be ready.

4. Visit the Doctor

Kids can’t learn well if they have underlying medical conditions that no one knows about. WebMD recommends that parents take their children in for vision tests and for shots that they may be behind on. They also recommend updating your child’s medical information card with the school nurse. Parents should also make sure their children wear closed-toed shoes, carry backpacks that are adequately padded and get plenty of sleep.

5. Involve Your Child in School Supply Shopping

Back to school shopping is often one of the most fun parts of going back to school, so let your child get in on the process. Let her pick out the clothes, folders, backpack and lunch box that she likes. Let her pick out her new shoes, and let her decide how many new pairs of underwear she needs (within reason). Letting your children make these sorts of decisions gives them some control over the process as well as a reason to be excited to go back to school.

6. Start Routines Well in Advance

Lastly, make sure you start your school routines before the first day of school. A few weeks before school starts, get your child in the habit of going to bed and waking up early. Get him/her in the habit of waiting until mealtimes instead of snacking all day long. You may even do a practice run the day before school to make sure that everyone can get up and ready in time.

How do your children generally respond to the first day of school? What back to school tips and tricks do you have for getting them ready to go back?

 

BrittanyWife and mom to two very energetic little boys, when Brittany isn’t busy chasing after her kidlets, you can find her reading, writing or sneaking chocolate so she doesn’t have to share–probably all of the above!

Back to School Essentials 2013

It’s back-to-school time! For some of you who have already done your back-to-school shopping, bravo! But for others who like to shop slowly, here are the essentials for back-to-school.

back to school essentials 2013

Lunch Box

There are so many options for lunch boxes out there, especially since many school are litterless. Pottery Barn Kids’ Mackenzie Classic Lunch Bag in the Blue Dino pattern has a BPA-free PEVA insulated interior, is water-repellent and has several pockets and mesh pockets.

pottery barn lunch box

Backback

A good sturdy backpack with plenty of storage space is essential for your growing kids.  The licensed character backpacks are cute when kids are really young but they don’t have enough space for books and the quality is less than stellar.  I love the colour of this DC Wolfbred Pack available at Sport Chek.

DC Backpack

School supplies

Shopping for school supplies like binders, pencil cases and notebooks is always a treat because I end up buying supplies for myself too! Hilroy supplies have always been my favourite; they’re colourful and fun.

school supplies

Running shoes:

Kids will need a good pair of running shoes AND a clean pair of indoor shoes; velcro will come in handy for younger kids while older kids can enjoy runners like these cool and comfortable Reebok ATV19 footwear.

back to school essentials

 

Desk Chair:

I would totally love this Classic BalanceBall Chair – it offers health and fitness benefits while you sit at home! Building core muscles? I need all the help I can get.

back to school essentials

 

Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery

The Martha Stewart Avery line at Staples are beauuuutiful! I love this cute corkboard which would be perfect for a home office or kitchen.

office supplies

 

Lunch Box Love Notes

Lunchbox Love has the cutest notes for kids that you can easily slip into their lunch boxes. Each Lunchbox Love note has a happy, positive message on one side, and a joke or a fact on the other side, perfect for tucking into a lunchbox, binder or backpack.

lunch box notes for kids

 What is on your back-to-school essentials list?

 

Back to School Supplies and Giveaway!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Back to school… moms will be doing the happy dance in just a few days!

I probably enjoy back-to-school shopping much more than my kids do (insert evil laugh). And with fabulous products like these, both kids and mom and dad can get super organized.

school supplies

The lovely folks over at Hilroy Canada sent me some fabulous school supplies from ACCO Brands Canada to help get me organized for back to school. Not only have they created fun supplies to help my kids get organized, they’ve come up with some super cool ideas for mom too.

back to school suppliesI particularly love the Mead Organizher line of products, sold exclusively in Target Canada stores, like the Loyalty Card Organizer (for all of my shopping/rewards cards), Password Keeper (because I can never keep track of all of them) and the Expense Tracker (bills, bills and more bills). I also am a big fan of Motherworld Family Fridge calendars; I keep mine on the side of my fridge where everyone can see it and easy for everyone to write on. Plus it’s super-sized!

The kids will like the Zwipes Zipper Binders (available at Walmart, Target and Staples) and the Five Star Binders (available at Walmart) – they are extra padded and have interior pockets for extra storage.

I’m happy to give amotherworld readers and opportunity to win $75 worth of products to help moms stay organized throughout the school year! The Hilroy supplies are great for  also serve “double duty” for mom or tweens/teens.

back to school giveaway

ENTER TO WIN!

A fabulous prize pack for YOU, to help you get organized! Caution: your tween or teen may try to swipe some of the items from you.

Motherword Daily Agenda (various retailers)
Motherword Memo Book (various retailers)
Motherword Family Fridge Calendar (various retailers)
Mead for Home Loyalty Card Holder (Walmart)
Mead for Home Shopping Assistant (Walmart)
Hilroy Safari Pencil Pouch (Staples)
Hilroy Safari Notebook (Staples)
Hilroy Print Binder (chevrons) (Target)
Hilroy Print Notebook (chevrons) (Target)

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter this giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

 

Back to School Giveaway

Back to School Lunch Box Love Notes (Giveaway)

Back to school is just around the corner! Can you believe it’s mid-August?

I’m a member of  the Lunchbox Love Mom Panel, a group of 10 influential women to spread the word about a new and innovative product, Lunchbox Love – The Original Lunch Box Notes – follow the hashtag #LBLmoms!

Lunchbox Love has the cutest notes for kids that you can easily slip into their lunch boxes. Each Lunchbox Love note has a happy, positive message on one side, and a joke or a fact on the other side, perfect for tucking into a lunchbox, binder or backpack.

lunch box notes

I often am not caffeinated enough to think of something witty to write in a note to put into my boys’ lunchboxes, so I rarely do. But these Lunchbox Love notes are ready to slip into your kids’ school stuff.

I can imagine the kids sharing the fun trivia with their friends at the lunch table. The flip side with warming messages like, “I love the person you’ve become” and “Do something nice for someone today” which will surely put a smile on their face.

lunch box love notes

lunch box notes for kids

Each 12 pack of cards come in a cute hard case too so you can also carry some in your bag. Lunchbox Love also has a line for teens and tweens too.

Be sure to like Lunchbox Love on Facebook and follow them on Twitter!

Enter to win!

To celebrate back-to-school season,  I’m giving away a 4-pack of Lunchbox Love Notes! Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 MomPanel_Ad

As a member of the Lunchbox Love Moms Panel, I have received compensation for this post, as well as sets of Lunchbox Love notes to help facilitate the review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Back to School Shopping and Old Navy Giveaway

Back to school shopping can be a pain but with Old Navy, you can really get a bang for your buck.

I recently bought a few pairs of jeans for the boys at only $10 each.  What a steal!  So many styles to choose from – relaxed, boot cut and even skinny jeans. Pair them with sneakers and a hoodie and your kid will be stylin’.

 I also like some of the pieces for women, like this jacket and denim legging.  In all fairness, this jegging is falling off this skinny model – I’d easily fill these in.

Hunting Jacket $44.50, Cable Scoop Sweater $29.50, Rockstar Denim Legging $39

AMotherWorld and Old Navy are teaming up to get you ready for fall.  Enter to win 1 of 2 giftcards to Old Navy!  ($50 and $25.  Canada only.)

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For an additional entry, you may enter via Twitter by following amotherworld and Tweet the following:

I want to win an Old Navy gift card from @amotherworld 

Contest ends Labour Day, Monday September 7th.  Good luck!

Motherload: Watch a Webisode and Join a “Mom Open Mic”

Motherload is a fictional show about a fictional Mom based on a very real life. In the show, Erin is a former song and dance gal turned Mom who shares the humor and experiences – big and little – that all mothers deal with. In real life, Erin, is also former song and dance gal. But more importantly, she is a storyteller with a rare talent to share the humor, love and sensitivity that are part of the daily adventures of being a Mom.

Erin Keaney is appearing at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto next week!  Why? She explains in a  perky message:

“Hey Moms, come join me at Indigo Books at Yorkdale mall on Wednesday, August 25th at 11:00-12:00 for a mom open mic!   We’ll share our funny stories about motherhood. The theme is “going back to school”.

There will also be swag bag give aways and you’ll learn that your kid isn’t really as bad as the woman’s sitting next you. See you there and bring your funny!!!  ~ Erin”

Watch one of Erin’s funny episodes… on sleep, or lack of: