Back to School Shopping – The Struggle is Real

Remind me next year to just sign up for the school supply kit that they sell!

After four trips to stores and one final online transaction today, I am happy to report that I am done with back to school shopping for my two kids.

At first glance, the lists look so easy, right?! I combined the lists for 4K and first grade and thought it didn’t look too bad! Right?! Hmm…let me tell you how it went.

I took a first attempt on my own at Target and crossed a few of the easier items off my list. I decided to use the huge supply of pencils we had at home and buy an electric pencil sharpener to pre-sharpen 24 pencils. This IS straying from the list, but I’ll see if the 1st grade teacher will accept it. We honestly will have these pencils for YEARS if I can’t let my kids use them at school. So anyway…first attempt on my own was relatively okay, but I couldn’t finish it all in one swipe because the items on the list didn’t seem like a good price or weren’t matching up as listed.

I made the mistake of taking my kids along for my second attempt at back to school shopping at Target, and it was stressful. I have to read and re-read the list to make sure I’m buying the right thing in between shouts of, “Mom, mom! Come here! I want this!” I kept shutting that down, and after an hour in the store (we had a few other things to buy) I was D-O-N-E!

It’s so frustrating matching up what you need with what the list says. For example, here’s what I was trying to buy:

  • Two highlighter markers – chisel tip, yellow & blue
  • 2 – Clorox Disinfectant Wipes – Fresh Scent, bleach free, 35 ct.
  •  5 – black chisel-tip dry erase markers (low odor)
  • 15 large Elmer’s Glue Sticks (purple, washable, dries clear)
Back to School display Sharpie

Look at this colorful display, looking all cute. If only back to school shopping were easy & fun!

This display attracted my attention, but upon closer inspection, did it have what I needed? No! Well, unless I wanted to buy a pack of ten highlighters for the two colors that I really needed.I looked at the pretty colored ten pack of highlighters and thought, “No, I’m not wasting my money on that!” I even vented to a random woman shopping near me, and she shared that she was a teacher:

“I get it, and I appreciate the detailed list, but it also drives me a bit crazy finding the exact match!”

I ended up finding highlighters in a two-pack in yellow and blue at the Dollar Store on a shopping trip sans kids.

I moved onto the chisel tip dry erase markers. My daughter needed 4 and my son needed one. Ugh…I ended up buying two packs, so we have some extra that maybe we’ll need for next year.

When with my kids, I saw a three pack of Clorox wipes. Upon closer inspection, I needed the Fresh Scent, NOT the Citrus Scent. The pack included two of the citrus scent – NOT what I needed! Ugh…again! I had to bail after that annoying realization. Another trip to Walgreens helped me find the Fresh Scent Clorox Wipes in 35 ct. Whew!

And don’t get me started on the glue sticks – my 1st grader needs 6 and my 4 year old kindergartner needs 9, making it 15 glue sticks.  Apparently they must eat the glue for snack time.  Seriously, how is it possible to make that many projects that require so much adhesive in one school year?!

One final trip to helped me find the remaining Ziploc bags, including one size 4XL bag and a few boxes of Kleenex. It was so nice to just do my shopping online to get those last few things.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am happy  and grateful that I can afford to buy my kids school supplies – crazy as the lists may be, and I will be the first to admit that this is such a #firstworldproblem / mom struggle. I know that teachers need these supplies for their students and sometimes pool them all together for the entire class to use (not sure if this still happens in 1st grade). Teachers know what supplies hold up and work best, which is why the list is so detailed.  As a type A mom, it IS really annoying, trying to get it all right. Next year I should simply do one of the following:

  • build a stock pile of school supplies to avoid minimize the annoyance of this shopping in future years
  • do all of my shopping online
  • buy the school pack of supplies offered by a 3rd party

Next year if you hear me start to complain about back to school shopping, just shut me down and tell me to listen to my own advice on my blog!

Fly on the Wall: Back to School Edition

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 16 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

Fly on the Wall PostCamping in the Rain

We went tent camping one last time in August, and to my dismay, it rained and was just damp and overcast for much of the weekend.  My mantra that I was repeating was, “Embrace the rain.” After all, camping is part of being outside and enjoying nature in whatever state. Fortunately, we camped with family who own a towable camper, so we could retreat there during our stay.

Knowing that it would be a cooler weekend, we packed pants and sweatshirts. I encouraged little brother to pack jeans, but he explained, “No, I don’t want to wear jeans. They’re my work pants.”  No wonder why he doesn’t wear jeans much!

Along the drive in the rain, we passed a car with Illinois license plates. Daddy O. remarked, “Wow, it’s a car from Illinois actually driving the speed limit.”  This is quite rare, like seeing a unicorn! ha ha.

Apparently the trail mix that I brought along camping was NOT a hit with my son. He said, “These are poisonous!” I think he was referring to the raisins and preferred to only eat the chocolate candy instead.

Back to School

Before school we had a chance to meet big sister’s 5K teacher. My daughter is a bit cautious when it comes to meeting new people, so I was so surprised when she gave her teacher a big hug right away! We were talking about the school year, and I expressed that big sister had said she was nervous – mostly about meeting friends. Her teacher replied,

“Want to know a secret? I get nervous for school too!”

It was so sweet, and I know she’s in great hands!

Here was big sister on her first day with me & Daddy O.

Mama O., big sister, and Daddy O. on the first day of Kindergarten.

Mama O., big sister, and Daddy O. – all excited for her big day!

In getting dressed the first day, big sister asked:

“What if I wore leopard print everyday?”

I replied, “Well, I think you could if you split up your leopard print things.”

She initially had wanted to wear pink & purple leopard print with her tan / black leopard print, but my opinion must have encouraged her to use leopard print sparingly. I have a dear friend, who I met in elementary school, who LOVES some animal print. I shared a pic of my big girl to which she texted back, “There’s NEVER too much leopard.” I think she made it for three days straight with leopard print with one of those days just being a hair-tie. Ha ha!

I’ve been packing lunches for big sister, and it’s been interesting to see what comes back home un-eaten.  I asked:

“Do you want tomatoes in your lunch?”

“No, they’re too delicious,” she said.

Okay….not sure I understand that, but I have stopped packing them.

Pinterest Pain

I do enjoy searching Pinterest and pinning various recipes and random things. You can find my Pinterest page HERE. I tried using apple cider vinegar as a wart remover (sorry TMI, I know, but we’re among friends here!), and it HURT. I made it 4 night using this cure and was lamenting to Daddy O. about it.  His feedback:

Did you baste too much? If you mix it with balsamic vinegar, you’d make a good pot roast.

Wise guy…I replied, “or with olive oil for a salad dressing.”

Now click on these links for a peek into some other homes:                          Baking In A Tornado                          Spatulas on Parade                          Follow me home                          Menopausal Mother                                   Never Ever Give Up Hope                                  Just A Little Nutty                                        The Momisodes                            Someone Else’s Genius                                      Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                     The Angrivated Mom                           Nichole Mom of 8                          Searching for Sanity                                    Cluttered Genius                 Eileen’s Perpetually Busy                          Southern Belle Charm

WANTED: A Better #BackToSchool Routine

Ugh. It’s the morning rush of Back to School.

At the end of two weeks we are adjusting to a new routine. Today we were even early. Hooray!!

But….I can’t help but feel that we could do better…that I could do better with our mornings.

We have goals set, meaning that big sister should eat breakfast by 7:30 and then be upstairs to get dressed. And then the indecision takes place every morning.

“What do you want to eat?” I ask.

“I’m still thinking,” is her reply. Eventually a decision is made, and before I know it, 30 – 40 minutes are gone JUST during breakfast. YIKES! It’s stressful!

Onto getting dressed….I hear questions like, “Do I have to change underwear?”  Yes, honey, yes, please do!  Or even at 5 years old, “I don’t know what to wear!” Okay, let me help you.

It is a process!!

And I should be happy because today we did it, and we have done it for two weeks: got ready & out the door to make the bus pick-up, which always seems to be late.

Maybe I need to change MY morning routine and mindset, so I don’t feel like I’m always nagging.  Maybe we need to have easier breakfasts ready to go (eg. making hard-boiled eggs the night before instead of in the morning).  Maybe I just need to calm down and go with it!

After big sister leaves, it’s just me an little brother, who will start 4K next year. This is also a new change, as my part-time work ended September 1st, so I’m adjusting to being a full-time stay at home mom. We have some structure and some free time, but our days feel LONG without big sister there, especially after all of the together-time that summer provided. I’m trying to find that balance between scheduled and free time right now.

Our after school time is similar and in need of some adjustments – big sister gets home and just attacks her brother, fortunately with a lot of hugs.  It’s sweet, but he HATES it!  I need to focus their attention on something else instead of hugging that turns into wrestling. Crazy kids!

This is NOT a unique problem by any means!  I came across some other fellow bloggers who are also adjusting to back to school and having a new routine.

I love these Tips for an Organized School Year from the Lieber Family. It inspired me to create my own accordion style folder for all of the paperwork from kindergarten, and her morning routine has some awesome ideas too!

I can definitely relate to the sentiments expressed by Mom Turned Mum in her post here on Change.

How’s your Back to School Routine going? TGIF!!

“Own Every Second” Kids – a Wish from your Parents at Back to School

This song has been stuck in my head for some time, and it’s so appropriate for the emotional, reflective time that back to school season brings.

My sister first introduced me to this song and this video, and it brought tears to my eyes when I watched it. Check it out below.

My favorite line is:

I owned every second that this world could give

Love it! Don’t we all want our kids and ourselves to live life this way?

While my kindergartener can’t really comprehend what this line means, it IS my wish for her to “own” and embrace this beautiful life and many opportunities that she has been given.

The marking of a new school year is always a celebration and time to reflect on how far your kids have come since last year. It’s a time to be proud and hope for the best experience possible, as kids spread their wings a bit more and broaden their world beyond the comfort zone of home.  Enjoy, love much, and simply “live” in the moment!

Cheers to all parents & kids!

One Beautiful Back to School Book

We love reading together as a family! It’s my go-to activity to calm the kids (and myself). We are in the library’s 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, and are approaching 700 books read! Whoohoo! To read 1000 books in 1 year, you need to read 3 kids books a day – easy, right?

With my daughter in 4k, we started receiving those awesome Scholastic flyers with good deals on books. Being a book-lover and frugal gal, I couldn’t resist buying a few books by Mo Willems (for less than the bookstore’s price) and this gem of a book for $1!


The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn is such a beautiful story about a mom sending her little racoon off to school. She’s a clever mom (like we all try to be) who comes up with a way to help her son feel loved when he’s away at school. It’s so sweet and one of those books that makes me get a little choked up at the end! 

If you or your child is having separation anxiety, this is a wonderful book for you!

Happy Reading!