Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Time for Back-To-School Shopping

"Exploring at Sea," the outfit I plan to get for my six year old's first day of First grade

It's time to get the kids ready to start school again! I suspect your kids, like mine, will miss summer's freedom, but secretly anticipate their return to routine and friends.


  • Make time this week for a quiet evening at home; or if you ALWAYS have quiet evenings at home, try to plan one fun evening out this week. Maybe go out to dinner after back-to-school shopping?

  • Do you have any fruit or veggies in the house that will be going bad soon? Slice up the fruit and eat it today, and plan to use the veggies at your next at-home meal. Check your bread to see if it's moldy (we can't eat a whole loaf fast enough in this house, sadly). While you're at it, do you need to check the expiration dates on the milk and eggs in your fridge?

  • Have some cranberry juice - it's good for preventing uncomfortable bladder situations.

  • Need to bathe or groom any pets this week?

  • If your kid takes a lunch to school, have you planned out their lunch menus? Grocery shopped for after-school snack items?


Owl Lunch Bag, at Paper-Source

This time of year makes me quite nostalgic for my school and college years. Now that I have four foster children, I can indulge in back-to-school shopping again. Though I'm on a tighter budget than I'd like, it's still fun. So many cute clothes, adorable lunchboxes, colorful pens and inviting notebooks!

Scented Highlighters, at Paper Source

The only thing I don't like about back-to-school shopping is that I'm not ready to think about fall yet. All the back-to-school ads I see in magazines and on TV make me start thinking about autumn and all the lovely things that come with it.

I adore fall, but right now I am so enjoying the warmth and sunlight of summer. I feel privileged when I can leave my windows and screen doors open to let fresh air in all day long. I love running out of the house in sandals, not worrying about grabbing a coat on the way out. I'm entertaining outdoors, and walking my dogs without freezing or getting rained on.

If you haven't done your school shopping yet, it's time to get started. Target, K-Mart, Fred Meyer, Wal-Mart, Office Depot, Staples and other stores with office supplies are having amazing sales right now. Just about every department store has huge clothing sales, too.

It's very crowded in the school supply aisles of all the stores right now. You might want to try going in the morning, rather than the afternoon if possible; or later at night after dinner.

Don't have any kids of your own, but havee a tiny bit of room in your budget? Buy fun little gifts for your nieces and nephews, who are probably eagerly anticipating their return to school. Pick up little glittery pencils, tiny sets of markers at the Dollar Spot at Target, or an inexpensive set of stickers. Mail them as a surprise. It's a little way you can be supportive of their educational efforts, from afar.

If you have a close friend or relative who has more than one school-age child, you can offer to babysit one of the children while the parent takes the other out shopping. I know I would have loved not having to have my little brother tag along while my mom took me back-to-school bra and panty shopping!

The Prismacolor pencils I'm coveting, on Amazon

I usually also go "school supply" shopping for myself a little bit - I stock up my home office with fun colored papers, glittery notebooks, and pretty pink portfolios to keep my torn-out recipes in. Hopefully I can encourage myself to use my supplies to write letters and to organize my office better. I no longer buy colored pens, Sharpies or gel pens - I have more than enough to last me several years, due to past pen shopaholic problems!

Owl Outfit, from Oshkosh B'Gosh

You might not particularly have time to shop today, but make a plan, get organized, take inventory of your children's clothing and existing school supplies, and check everything against the teacher's supply list.

Remember that you aren't just shopping for clothing, crayons and pencils. Your child will need a backpack if last year's is worn out or filthy; lunch box or lunch sacks if they don't eat at a school cafeteria; snacks for their lunches and afternoons; and breakfast cereal for the mornings.

Your child may have some sports-related clothing and equipment they will need for their extracurricular activities, too. Your older children may need to purchase software or a memory stick for their computer. Your teenagers may need a gas card, a lube job for their car, and other travel-related expenses. Your college student will need their dorm room furnished or updated.

Does your child need a haircut before school starts? Enough days ahead so that the "new haircut" look has time to go away? What other appointments do you need to make while it's still summer and your child's time is more flexible. Doctor appointments? Vaccinations? Dentist visits?

If you don't have children, use today's project time to organize your home office or computer area.

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