Every year I recommend my family favorites for Back to School shopping, and for the 2012-2013 school year I am honored to offer one lucky reader a Back to School Prize Pack of a brand-new Lands’ End backpack + an exclusive 25% off coupon at The Children’s Place (good to use for any one visit before 1/31/13).

MUST HAVES FOR KIDS

Backpacks from Lands’ End

I love love love sturdy backpacks that kids can use for multiple years. I have learned the hard way that the ones from the kiosk at the mall do not fit the bill; though they were affordable at the time, they were are not as tough or stain-resistant as those that cost a bit more, and they barely make it through just one school year. My children have had great luck with the Trans by Jansport and Pottery Barn Kids backpacks, but our hands-down favs are the back-to-school backpacks by Lands’ End. They look brand-new year-to-year, have practical pocket systems to hold everything and are not too bulky!

The folks at Lands End have generously gave me a brand-new girl-style Kids Lucky Charm ClassMate Medium Backpack in purple and black (pictured at right). One lucky winner reader will win! ($39 at Lands’ End, on sale currently for $26.99) See end of post for giveaway entry details!

Clothes from The Children’s Place

I have loved The Children’s Place since becoming a mom in 2003. Every time I shop there I am completely wowed by the combination of high-quality clothing and super low prices. I was also fortunate to get a sneak peek at the gorgeous holiday and winter collections at a party hosted by The Children’s Place and MomTrends.com‘s Nicole Feliciano. I will definitely be shopping at The Children’s Place for Charlie, Eve and Alice’s Christmas duds.

At the party I was gifted an exclusive 25% off coupon at The Children’s Place (good to use for any one visit before 1/31/13). In addition to the Lands’ End backpack, the Back-to-School Giveaway winner will also win the coupon! See end of post for giveaway entry details!

Check out my latest back-to-school finds from The Children’s Place in the “haul” vlog below — I snagged over 10 pieces of clothing for my kids for less than $50!?!

Discount School Supplies from SmileMakers – Staples School Supplies for Kids

I love shopping online and keeping our errands to a minimum! I found almost every single item on my kids’ class supply lists on for cheap and everything arrived with FREE SHIPPING at our home in no time. Number 2 pencils, glue sticks, spiral wide-ruled notebooks, accordion folders, even thoughtful gifts for the teachers…they have it all and way discounted. If you order at least $29 of supplies, be sure to enter promo code SHIPFREE at checkout and promo code SAVE10 at checkout for free shipping and 10% off your orders.

MUST-HAVES FOR MOM

momAgenda

My old weekly planner company, the BusyBodyBook, went out of business, so I have been searching for a new planner/calendar to manage our family meetings, practices and my own appointments. I was thrilled to meet the creator of the momAgenda system, Nina Restieri, at BlogHer’s Getting Gorgeous event and review her planners.

I have found my new system! Actually, I bought TWO: the momAgenda Mini-Daily for my daily to-do list, and the momAgenda Desktop for the family week at a glance scheduling feature. The momAgenda site also has free organizational printables such as a back-to-school checklist, grocery list, babysitter info and other pre-made essential forms.$41-43 on momAgenda.

 

Moo Cards – Mini Calling Cards to Make Connecting With Other Parents Easy

I am a HUGE fan of carrying a “mom card.” It is the simplest and most effective way to REALLY make that playdate, coffee date, e-mail and phone number swap happen with another parent. When I have placed my card in a friendly mother’s hand and said, “Here’s my number, call me and let’s get the kids together/e-mail me and I’ll send you the info on that yoga class I love/etc.” it shows I really want that connection, and the other mother is usually super relieved that we don’t have to do the cell phone juggle while our hands are full of groceries/pool bags/and in my case, Alice!

I have tried out several different card companies over the years and Moo Cards are by far my favorite. They are affordable — just $19.99 for 100 mini cards — and beautifully designed. They look as if you hired a fancy graphic designer and are strong enough to stand up to a sippy cup spill, as opposed to ones I have made myself or ordered from other sites. $19.99 for 100 minicards on Moo.com.

Wall Pops!

Another organizational item I am trying this year is a big dry erase calendar in our kitchen entryway for the big items everyone needs to remember. You know, “soccer practice,” “bring art smock”, “wear gym shoes”, etc. I love how these from Wall Pops are a dry-erase WALL DECAL that sticks right to the wall, doesn’t mess up the paint job or require a hole in the wall, and can be moved to another location and still stick. I have one and have moved it 5 times and it is still sticky. It comes with a dry-erase marker Velcro-ed to it, too. I am finding that having a dry-erase calendar cuts down on paper clutter in the hub of our home — score!. $10-20 on Amazon, depending on design.

To be entered to win the Lands’ End backpack and coupon for The Children’s Place — you can throw your name in the hat up to FOUR times! — just…

  • Leave a comment on this post stating your own favorite back-to-school products!
  • Like A Parent in America on Facebook! (Leave me a comment stating that you liked.) There are a TON of more cool prize giveaways coming up here that you won’t want to miss, and Facebook will keep you on top of the prizes!
  • Follow me on Twitter (leave a comment with your Twitter handle so I can follow you back.)
  • Sign up for the e-mail notifications of new posts on A Parent in America to hear immediately when there is a new giveaway.

I’ll draw the winner in one week on September 3, 2012 at 3 pm.

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used. Like the giveaway winner, I received a 25% off coupon for a visit to The Children’s Place but all products vlogged were purchased by me. I received a free Wall Pops! calendar in a swag bag at the Social Luxe party at BlogHer, and the Lands’ End backpack was given to me at a Lands’ End party at BlogHer. All other products mentioned in this piece were purchased by me for my/my family’s use. I received a coupon code for my own momAgenda at the Getting Gorgeous event at BlogHer.No monetary compensation or sponsorship was received from any brand mentioned in this piece. All opinions expressed are my own. Facebook is in no way connected with this giveaway.