back to school with walmart

Bear started school last Wednesday and Boone starts Mother’s Day Out this Tuesday, so we’re heavy in the throws of all things “back to school”. Y’all know how much I love Walmart and take advantage of their free 2 day shipping on order over $35 any chance I get. The boys needed new school clothes and I was SO excited to find them some matching sets! Comfort/cute is our jam when it comes to their clothes since these little boys like to play but Mommy still wants them looking presentable, and Walmart has so many affordable sets for boys of all ages.
I also wanted to really get organized since organization went out the window all summer, and want Bear to have a great workspace to do his homework. He prefers to work at our kitchen bar, but I don’t like leaving out a mess of markers, crayons, and paper every evening. We found a great solution of a “homework bin” (this $3 basket is perfect for holding all his supplies) that we’ll store in the pantry whenever it’s not in use. Boonester also got a Baby Shark Color Wonder pack that’s perfect for toddlers! Safe to say these boys are set for school.

Bear’s outfit set ($11 for both!)
Boone’s outfit set ($8 for both!)
Crayon box | dry erase board | gold magazine holder | gold baskets | grey basket | Crayola Baby Shark Set | desk calendar

I also picked up a few office supplies for myself because I knew these baskets would be perfect for my office. Something about school starting makes me crave organization around the house…anyone else?! I’ve been meaning to get a dry erase board for our fridge for months now; I wanted to keep track of lists in a central place we all could utilize. We ordered this dry erase board and are loving it! Such a simple way to keep track of things.
I’m a big believer that kids’ success in school starts at home. We need to build them up, prepare our kids mentally and emotionally in order for them to have a great year. On the first day of school, our normal 5 minute drive to Bear’s school took around 40 minutes with traffic. During those long 40 minutes, I told Bear what a great year he’s going to have. How smart he is and how easily he’ll make friends, in attempt to build his confidence. Because if our kids don’t hear it from us, where will they hear it? Success in school goes beyond homework and reading at home (while those things are very important!). Behind every happy little kid is a parent cheering them on from the sidelines, letting them know they’re loved and supported every step of the way. I hope Bear and Boone always know that.
Sending all of you mamas and your littles a big hug as you start a new and exciting school year. You got this!
xo, Britt

*Thank you to Walmart for sponsoring this post. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own.

5 ways to get back into a school routine

It’s almost here- Bear starts first grade in one week and my mama heart can hardly take it. Where did the summer go? It’s absolutely flown by and while I’m ready to get back in a routine, I’m going to miss having Bear at home sleeping in till 10am every day. We’ve traveled a lot this summer and that will slow down once school starts. But I also know he’s going to have a big year full of fun and learning, which requires some new back to school items. Boone is also going to start Mother’s Day Out sometime this year (probably closer to age 2) so we went ahead and ordered both boys their their picks from Pottery Barn Kids and it’s safe to say we have 2 happy little boys! Boonester’s not sure what he’s excited about; he’s just happy to be doing the same as big brother :).

photos by Ban Avenue Photography

Bear’s backpack | lunch box | pencil pouch | water bottle
Boone’s backpack | lunch box | water bottle
food storage containers

Since we just got home from vacation, we have some serious adjusting to do before school starts. As I stated above, we’ve been staying up late and sleeping in pretty much every day. Bear has kept up with his Summer Learning Packet his kindergarten teacher gave and he’s been reading, but next week will hit us hard if we don’t go ahead and make some changes now. Growing up with two parents as teachers, summer coming to a close was a big change for all of us. Here are some practices below that should help get back into the swing of things when school starts:

1. Set a sleep schedule. This is a hard one for me, because I am NOT a morning person at all and I’d love to keep staying up late and sleeping in until the last possible day. However, this is not a great choice for Bear since studies show that loss of sleep for kids can negatively impact not only their performance in school, but also their physical and mental health. We’ve set the following sleep schedule up for the next week in order to adjust (we also adjust bedtime a little earlier each night!):
Day 1 – 9:30 am wake-up
Day 2 – 9:00 am wake-up
Day 3 – 8:30 am wake-up
Day 4 – 8:30 am wake-up
Day 5 – 8:00 am wake-up
Day 6 – 7:30 am wake-up
Day 7 – 7:00 am wake-up
2. Plan out lunches ahead of time. Are your kids going to eat in the lunch line everyday? Or do they prefer to pack a lunch? For Bear, it’s the latter, which is why we chose some food storage containers from Pottery Barn Kids. They fit perfectly in the boys’ lunch boxes and are so handy no matter what they I pack. At the beginning of every school year, I hop on Pinterest and try to come up with new ideas for Bear’s lunch. I always try and incorporate:
Fruit and veggie
Drink (water or Capri Sun for special occasions)
Small dessert
Whatever else rounds out the meal
3. Order/buy school supplies. We had the option to order a pack of school supplies online which was waaaaay easier than last year when we went to 5 different stores trying to find everything on the list. If your school offers this, definitely take advantage! Either way, this is a must-do but also lets your child know that it’s time to pick back up on school work again soon. Ordering backpacks and lunch boxes tends to be way more fun; Bear loves picking his out every year and PBK always has the best quality/cutest designs.
4. Get organized. Set up a work space for your child to do their homework. If you have a designated area and start making a habit of your child doing their homework there, they’re more likely to thrive with work at home. For us, this is the bar in the kitchen because Bear likes to do school work while I cook or do dishes.
I also have a basket for all of his important papers that need attention (letters from the teacher, PTO flyers, etc.), and another container for all of his school work we keep. It’s hard to limit this because I want to keep everything he brings home, but staying organized with it from the start helps to weed out papers later.
5. Encourage your child. No-one is super excited about the school year starting (well, I actually always was but more to see my friends than anything) and most kids need some encouragement. All kids (and adults!) have a hard time getting back in the routine of school and letting your child know they’re not alone in this experience makes he or she feel like they’re being heard and understood. This is so important when they’re starting a new school year with a new teacher and so many new classmates. Amongst all that new, it’s our job as parents to make our children feel safe and supported.

How do you feel about school starting soon? Are you hanging onto the last days of summer or ready for routine?
xo, Britt

Back to School at River Oaks Shopping Center

Cue the waterworks for this mama because Bear starts kindergarten on Wednesday! I can't even believe it- my firstborn is officially headed off to school and while he's totally ready, his mama is definitely not. We've been soaking up the end of summer as much as we possibly can before it's all about early morning carpool lines and field trips to the zoo. Last week I wanted to have a special Mommy & Me day for Bear and also tackle a few things on our back-to-school To Do list, and knew quickly there was really only one good place in Houston to make that happen. We headed to River Oaks Shopping Center for a day full of pottery painting fun, shopping, good eats, and lots in between! Bear had the best time and I'm so thankful we were able to make these memories that he will hopefully always remember and cherish, because I know I will. 


Our first stop at River Oaks Shopping Center was Kroger for several reasons- Mommy wanted (*needed) Starbucks and Bear needed school supplies. We hadn't been in this location much before and were pleasantly surprised at how well organized everything was- we were in and out in under 20 minutes which has to be some kind of school supply record! I also love that Kroger is doing a Backpack Buddies program where you can buy a school supply kit for $7 that goes directly into the hands of underprivileged kids in Houston. It's such an amazing way to give back and a great way to teach our kids to do so, as well.

From Kroger, we headed across the street to The Mad Potter for some fun pottery painting. Bear had been requesting this for awhile and I was so happy with how much he enjoyed it- he had the best time! He painted a shark and was so proud of it by the end; he especially loved when the manager took us to the back and showed him how the kilns work and get over a thousand degrees. Basically the temperature outside in Houston right now ;). All the more reason to find fun indoor activities like The Mad Potter! Several friends have also told me it's a great place to host birthday parties- kids of all ages love it and their creation doubles as a party favor. 

All that pottery painting worked up quite an appetite so we walked over to Epicure Cafe for a yummy lunch- they have a huge menu with everything from chicken salad sandwiches to smoked salmon. Their desserts are also to die for and I always have to get one of their homemade blueberry muffins! 

I can't go to River Oaks Shopping Center and not shop, naturally, so we ran in GAP Kids to get Bear a few new shirts to spruce up his fall wardrobe (they were having BOGO 1/2 off!) and into LensCrafters to check out some specs. Bear doesn't need them but I'm in need of some new glasses and they're running some great sales right now for back-to-school. 

Some of you may remember that Bear got a new puppy, Dasher, for Christmas and both Bear and Dash are in for quite a change once Bear starts kindergarten. They are going to miss each other so much during the day! Bear has been concerned about this and when we saw Natural Pawz, he wanted to get his pup a toy to cheer him up this week. Natural Pawz in River Oaks Shopping Center has a huge selection of everything from pet food to toys, and even doggie ice cream! We wished we'd had Dasher with us because he would've been living his best life for sure.

We finished off our day out with Sweet Cream ice cream at Marble Slab (Bear's favorite) and a walk along the beautiful flower lined W. Gray Street. Bear loves hanging out under the palm trees- we feel like we're in Southern California!

If we make it back to River Oaks Shopping Center before school starts, I'd love to take Bear to C2 Education Center to brush up on his sight words and help him with his reading- C2 is known for having amazing teachers and being one of the best tutoring centers in Houston. Both of my parents are retired teachers so I put a lot of importance on tutoring and one-on-one help with education. 
I also hope to make it to RYDE for regular classes now that I will have more time on my hands! Bear starting kindergarten is bittersweet- I don't want my baby boy to grow up but I also will enjoy having one on one time with Boone and some more time for things like working out, getting the house in order, and of course shopping.

Have you been to River Oaks Shopping Center yet? If not, now is the perfect time to go. So much fun, food, shopping, and lots more await!
xo, Britt

*This post is sponsored by River Oaks Shopping Center, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.