Easy-breezy, Eco-friendly Back to School

It’s that time of year again where kids are dreading going back to school, while parents are eagerly pushing them out the door. As parents we do what we can to help our children have a successful and valuable school life experience. Helping our kids make healthy life choices early on ensures they’ll take those important lessons with them into adulthood.

My son is starting high school and it’s bittersweet for me because soon we’ll be thinking about college applications. But I still try to teach him to make healthy habits that I hope he’ll carry into adulthood. I try to instill values of the importance of a healthy school life balance. That includes eating well, getting enough sleep, and doing things that limits stress. But admittedly, school has become extremely stressful for children over the years. Too much competition within schools, peers, and even homelife. When I’m too stressed, I harken back to my younger years living at home with my folks and remember the balance that my own mom tried to teach me.

I’m going to list some of my tried and true, and favorite back to school tips and hacks. I wish I had more time during the day to make lavish breakfasts and lunches for my teenager, but most days that just won’t work out. Being a parent is one of the toughest jobs in the Universe, and we can all pretty much agree that we want the best for our kids, no matter their ages.


  • To save time and money, try to reuse what you have. If their backpacks are still in great working order, doesn’t have ripped seams, and still have all the zippers and pockets in tack, then clean up the backpack and reuse it. Unless your child has really outgrown their backpack, reusing them from year to year is a great way to save money, time, and produce less waste in the landfill. If unable to reuse, you can always donate the backpack or do a trade with a friend.

  • To keep school work separate, give your kids their own work station. Create a box, crate, or cabinet just for their school work. This will help you and your child find things a lot easier. Rotate throughout the years with things you want to keep and toss.

  • Create a lunch station. This can easily be done in any household and will save you a lot of time in the morning. Depending on the ages of your children, gather snacks that are healthy, delicious, and easy to eat. See below for easy lunch station snacks and ideas.

  • Buy bulk when possible. Buying bulk helps reduce extra waste and saves time. But, buy only bulk items your family constantly uses. Separate the items into the lunch station and school work station.

  • Healthy school lunches is crucial for maintaining your child’s energy throughout the day. Depending on their ages, children’s lunches should include a balanced meal, especially if they don’t eat breakfast. Some schools throughout the US offers free lunch but not all of them offer a healthy lunch. See below for healthy and delicious lunch ideas.

  • Create a winding down time before bedtime. The first couple of weeks of school can be exciting and stressful so setting a bedtime routine early will help your child get back on track. Turn off electronics at least one hour before bedtime, try not to drink any beverages at least one hour before bedtime, and take a soothing shower or bath before going to bed.

  • Have some wholesome and delicious afterschool snack. Kids are tired, grumpy, and most likely hungry after school, so having some snacks at home ensures they’re eating healthy while relaxing. See below for yummy afterschool snack ideas.


Lunch from home should be quick, delicious, and healthy. Most students don’t have a lot of time to eat during lunch and recess because of the limited time for eating and playing. While you might be tempted (or insisted by your child) to pack conveniently bagged snacks you’d find in the supermarkets, they’re not all that healthy. It’s okay to include them once in awhile or limit to just one item in their lunch bag.

  • Yogurt squeeze – these yogurt squeezers or tubes are convenient and pack some needed nutrition and energy. They might not always be easy to open, so younger kids would need help opening them at school. Try to purchase yogurt squeezes that are low in sugar and fat as some brands hide the true value of nutrition by adding tons of sugar and artificial flavors and colors.

  • Cut or sliced fruits – fruits are nature’s best sugar so pack easy to eat ones such as grapes, sliced apples, sliced oranges, and berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Kids love to hold things in their hands so berries and sliced fruit are fun, delicious, and healthy!

  • Crackers and cheese snacks – choose whole wheat crackers and low sodium cheese. Cut cheese into cubes or thin slices so kids can make them into finger sandwiches if they want.

  • Yogurt Parfaits – a delicious, fun, and cute way of serving yogurt with fruit. Make it extra fancy by layering the yogurt, fruit, and any other toppings you have at home. Try these as a delicious after school snack for your kids.

  • Hummus and vegetables – these are great for school lunches or afterschool snacks. You can make homemade hummus or buy them at stores. Sliced vegetables such as carrots, radishes, and cucumbers pair well with hummus. Add fancier vegetables such as Haricot Verts, red and white carrots, asparagus, and endive for a special treat.

  • Hard-boiled eggs – most kids enjoy eggs whether they’re scrambled, fried, or hard boiled. Plus, they’re fun to peel and easy to eat. If you’re adding them to a school lunch, make sure you peel them first if your kids are little. This will save them time and frustration if they’re not used to peeling eggshells.

Try to avoid overly sugared lunch food. Kids will get that “sugar high” which isn’t beneficial to them or their teachers. Pack lunches that don’t spoil or keep an ice pack with their lunch containers. Be sure to pack them a reusable water bottle as schools should have a water refill station. Reusable utensils, and a sturdy lunch bag are necessary to create a safe and friendly environment for your child and everyone around them.

Best of luck for your school-aged children!

*photos courtesy of Martha Stewart Living

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.







An Eco-Friendly Back-to-School


The first week of September was when my son started 100% online learning and I returned to work at my elementary school. I have to admit that, back in March when school campuses were closed and we went to distance learning, those months were a lot easier. There were hardly any homework and grading changed to credit or no credit. Now, with 2020-2021 school year starting off with online learning and grading is back to normal, it is becoming a huge learning curve for the both of us. But, just like life, we all have to learn to adjust. And I honestly believe that kids having to adjust to something this new and unusual will be a great learning lesson for them.

However, as the pandemic is still going around the US and other countries, convenience has also become the new norm. That is, the convenience of plastic bags, store bought chips and cookies in bulk, and dumping masks and gloves all over the streets, beaches, and parks. We still have to be responsible for the environment because we still need to be responsible adults (and children).

So how do we continue to care for the planet? I could give you tons of data and research on how oceans and landfills are overflowed with trash. But I think we all know that there are already tons of trash in our oceans and landfills. But if you do want to know the shocking and sad data, here are some very interesting info:

More than 8 MILLION TONS of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year! This number continues to grow because of how many single use plastic items are used in the US every year. Here are some of the top contributors:

500 Million
40 Billion
100 Billion
 100 Billion

Those are catastrophic numbers! And it’s no wonder that diseases and illnesses run rampant in certain areas of the world where trash is more prominent. But we can do something about it! And this year’s back to school is the perfect time to start if you haven’t already started to reduce your single-use plastic dependency. With most schools going online, you can still perform the following steps to live a life less plastic. There is really not much to lose when you reduce the intake of single-use plastics. Single-use plastics are plastic products that you use only once and throw away. Most of the times, these plastic entities end up in the landfill instead of properly recycled or sorted. We might even have high hopes that our careful recycling efforts are being met appropriately. But when our landfills are already filled up, we can see that our recycling efforts aren’t really being met. 

If you consider that in the US alone, every American sends 1,646.15 pounds of solid waste to landfills annually, that’s astronimically higher than the data from 20 years ago. Or even 5 years ago. It seems the trend to creating more waste only gets higher with big oil companies and the plastic industry making false claims to consumers. According to Scrap Metal, a materials collecting platform, the US generates nearly 7.3 billion pounds of PET containers and packaging every year, out of which only around 1.9 billion pounds are recovered for reclamation. And considering we live in a wasteful society, we must really do better for now and for the future.

I always say let’s start in our own homes and let’s teach our children, who are the future generations, to care more about what we buy, what we use, and what we support as a community. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to what we don’t see or hear about. It’s easy to just say,”well, that’s someone else’s problem.” And it’s easy to ignore the scientific data that is carefully researched and compiled every year. Consider that what we buy affects everything in our lives. Consider that what we eat affects our own health. And consider that what we do now will greatly affect our future generations. 

This year, let’s take some extra steps for back to school learning. The tips below can be beneficial for remote learning (online learning), on campus learning, and a hybrid learning sytem.

Tips for back-to-school eco-friendly style:

  • Make a list of school supplies that you need. Check off what you already have saved over from the previous year. There are many supplies you can reuse.

  • Buy quality supplies. Even if you’re trying to save money on supplies, buying generic, cheaper quality products will result in them breaking sooner and end up in the trash. Check out these wonderful companies that makes high quality products and gives back to the planet: www.plaineproducts.com, www.mermaidstraw.com, www.lunchskins.com

  • Buy a few high quality back to school clothes. Better materials and construction results in longer lasting wear.

  • Choose companies that give back to the planet. Look for labels such as: 1% for the PlanetBeauty without bunnies, Leaping Bunny, Plastic Pollution Coalition, and Certified B Corporation

  • Choose organically grown and made products. Certified organic ensures that the raw ingredients and materials are not treated with toxic chemicals or pesticides.

  • Buy locally whenever possible. This reduces your carbon footprint and helps with the circular economy.

  • Look to support environmentally and socially responsible companies. 

  • Don’t buy bulk when you don’t need to. We all want to save money and reduce waste, but unless you plan on using these bulk products right away or are donating them, they will likely end up forgotten or wasted.

  • Buy a few daily use resuable products. These include a glass or stainless steel resuable bottle, glass or stainless steel lunch container, reusable straws in glass, stainless steel, or bamboo, and reusable lunch bags.

  • Reduce your intake of conveniently made food. While at home, we can actually be more conscious of what we eat. Make fresh food and snacks to munch on throughout the day rather than depend on convenient snacks packaged in single-use plastics. Try fresh fruit, fresh sanwiches, and fresh veggies with healthier dips.

For more in-depth resources on the environment, data collecting, and everyday eco-living tips, be sure to check out Earth911.com’s website: https://earth911.com/

Hope you all have a very successful school year!

The New Norm of School – How We Adjust Helps Us Overcome the Difficulties


There once was a time when school-aged children would wake up groggily in the early morning only to get excited at the prospect of seeing their friends on their school’s playground. Even the knowledge of after school homework didn’t deter children from wanting to go to school. Now, with the global pandemic leaving all of us virtually defenseless, our children are left with very little options in the fall: return to school with the possibility of contracting the virus, 100% online learning, or a hybrid learning curriculum.

Gone are the days of sitting with their friends at lunch time or skipping on the blacktop while playing made-up games with their buddies. Now, with the fear of COVID-19 spreading to children, their families, and school staff, going back to school can look quite different this year. And depending on which state or country you live in, varying styles of back to school leaves us all scratching our heads on what is the best way to send our kids back. If you’re in one of the higher cases states, forget about going back to public school in person. These states just don’t want to risk anyone’s health.

So what can a family do at a time of crisis? Back in March, when we were all deciding on what to do with school admist the rising cases throughout the US, most school districts adopted a “crisis” learning where districts did not punish those who were having a hard time adjusting to suddenly learning everything online, instead of in a traditional classroom. As a mom, I have to tell you that the “crisis” learning was a huge adjustment. But now, just a couple weeks until school resumes, I find that crisis learning was probably a lot easier. Because now with the start of the new school year, our kids have to actually learn while staring at a computer all day and virtually interact with their teachers. This is going to be extremely difficult for those who have learning difficulties and those with several siblings near the same age. We as parents (and if you’re not already a teacher) have to basically monitor our children in front of their computers making sure they are actually paying attention and not falling off the grid. But what other choices do you have, really?

Like most parents, we all want our children to succeed in school and life in general. We want them to learn all that they can while at school and enrich themselves with new and interesting ideas and prospects. But when you’re stuck at home learning via a computer, kids just don’t get the same kind of excitement as they would on campus. It’s just how most kids are hardwired and how they’ve come to recognize as how a school environment should be. But, as a parent, the best we can do at the moment is to teach our kids to believe in themselves and that perhaps the hardest lesson in life is to… adjust. Yes, because while our kids are going to school at home, we also have to adjust to this new norm of school.

There are a couple of bright sides to this new norm of school. For one, you don’t have to worry about buying any new back-to-school clothes and supplies for awhile. And second, if you’re able to stay at home with your kids all day or work from home, you can visit your kids any time throughout the day. However you look upon to this new style of school, there are bound to be more positive aspects to staying at home. Rather than look for the downfalls or hindrances, we can find alternatives and make new strategies.

Below I’ve listed some easy transitions for back to school this school year. If your school district is waiting on the go-ahead for on campus learning, then you need to be extraordinarily prepared for when and if that happens. We know that eventually schools will resume on campus, but meanwhile, let’s make some positive steps to “home” schooling.


– Recognize the language. Oftentimes when asked how we are feeling, we might be inclined to answer simply with “fine” or “I’m okay.” But there could be underlying emotions and issues that we don’t know how to properly express or say out loud. Recognize that simple “I’m fine” answers could really mean:

  • I don’t know

  • Not fine

  • I don’t want to tell you

  • You don’t really want to listen

  • Leave me alone

  • Please ask me more

Just like we might check our temperatures to see our physical health, we also need to check our emotional health. Emotions can be so personal that we often do not wish to share them for fear that others don’t understand. Try some of these ideas when you are going through emotional stress:

  • Take a short walk and appreciate all around you

  • Step outside for a few moments where you can just be by yourself. Recognize that this is okay and you need a few moments to just regroup.

  • Close your eyes and take deep breaths. Breathe in and out slowly until you can calm yourself.

  • Speak to someone you can trust and let them know how you are feeling at the moment or have continuously felt.

  • If it’s difficult to speak to a loved one, then find professional resources such as your hospital, local clinic, or a school’s outreach center. Check with your school to see what they offer.


If you’re in a state or district where on-campus learning is allowed, then you’ll need to take further precautions.

  • Follow school guidelines for safety – both personal and physical

  • Schools should follow their state’s guidelines for physical distance learning. For example, desks are spaced accordingly apart, Personal Protection Equipments for staff and students, hand washing stations in designated areas, hand sanitizers when hand washing is unattainable, and temperature checks if necessary.

  • Remind children not to share food and school supplies with others.

  • Lunch and breaks are limited to grade level and whether indoors or outside.

  • Masks or face shields for students when necessary.


If you’re in a state or district where 100% online learning is necessary, then the following are some suggestions for learning at home.

  • Follow school guidelines for online learning. Your school should have already sent you a schedule for 100% online learning.

  • Get your technology equipment ASAP! The sooner you get a laptop or desktop, the better you can to familiarize yourself with your new equipment. If your school offers a rental, be sure to get it as soon as they are offering it.

  • Set aside a specific area for your home learners. Depending on the age and grade, students learn best when they are away from distractions such as TV, video games, and toys.

  • Take frequent breaks. Most schools would have a schedule that includes frequent breaks and at least half hour lunches.

  • Get your supplies ready. If your student requires textbooks, be sure to pick them up at your school when ready. You can always reuse your supplies from last school year such as pencils, coloring markers, erasers, notebooks, etc. For older students, their lessons will most likely occur to be completed online rather than on paper. But keep paper handy for taking notes, etc.

  • Get to know your teachers and school administrators (if possible). Your teachers are your number one source when it comes to getting answers to your questions. Get their contact info and be sure to keep their info ready.

  • Update your child’s data on your school’s website. The more info you input, including health info, the more you can help your school to provide and give pertinent information.

Regardless of where you’re at this school year, school will eventually resume to its normal routine. While 100% online learning can be a tremendous learning curve for both your child and yourself, know that teachers are going through similar feelings and emotions. Most teachers also have children in school, so while they have to teach your child, they still have to find ways for their own children to learn.

Let’s try to keep everything in perspective and not overact. It is easy to feel distressed or worried about how the new school season will be. Most school activities are on hold such as school sports as well as popular school programs. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do something at home or online. Check with your schools in regards to the school programs and if they are on hold, then find out when they will resume.

Take deep breaths, be kind to yourself, and know that it’s absolutely okay to feel frustrated at the beginning.

Hope you all have a great new school year!

*Resources taken from PYLUSD, Edmentum, and Parents magazine.


Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.



Detoxing Kids For Back-to-School Success!

School season is upon us and for some of us around the country, school has already started! Whether or not your kids are ready to get back to school, there are some important things to remember before the school year starts, and that’s detoxing our kids.

What do you think about when you hear the word, “detox”? Alcohol? Late night snacking? Or video gaming? If you have school-aged kids, you probably wholeheartedly agree with me about the video game part. Kids need as much “detoxing” as adults do when they’ve been immersed into activities and situations that can harm them later. While not as extreme as it can be for a grownup, kids need downtime to get back to a regular routine for school.

Back to school can be a stressful time for kids, no matter the age. Their sense of freedom and self-reliance that they experienced during summer may seem to suddenly disappear once school starts. But school time is actually the best time to teach children about independence and self assurance. We all want our kids to succeed so getting them prepped ahead of time for a big event such as the start of school, is important in preventing meltdowns and arguments. One of the best ways of getting kids ready for the school year is helping them detox from all the non-stop action during summer. Though summer can be a fun time for kids, it could also be stressful for parents who worry what to do with their kids while they’re at work. Therefore, summer detoxing can help both parents and children.

  • Reduce Anxiety – school anxiety might be one of the biggest concerns for children. Depending on the age, children worry about all sorts of things before school starts. In this day and age, society expects a lot more from children than years before. This transfers to parents expecting more as well as school administrators. Help reduce school anxiety by following these steps at Parents.com.

  • Have a Morning Routine – getting your kids ready for school in the morning can be easy or herculean. But setting a routine for school days is important for both kids and parents. Just as adults have their own routine set for going to work or going about their day, kids need the same set of routine so that they have one less thing to worry about. Parents.com provides some great tips here.

  • Have a Nighttime Routine – just as important as a morning routine, so is a nighttime routine. Kids of any age would love to challenge you in how long they get to stay up at night. But studies show that school-aged children need the proper amount of sleep for proper brain and body growth. Plus, who wants a groggy and tired kid in the morning when you’re trying to hustle them out the front door?

  • Set Up a Homework Station – students as young as kindergarten are starting to get homework. Yeah, crazy right? We are in a society where success is highly measured and the education system is pushing students to learn as much as they can and teachers to cram as much info as they’re told to do. So help prevent homework anxiety by setting up a homework station for your kids. The station helps keep school supplies organized and easy to reach. Keep the station at a visible area so kids can go to it easily. Rotate the supplies throughout the year based on needs and desires by the kids and teachers.

  • Set Playtime Limits – play time is just as important for children as school. We live in a world where we can play with practically anything. And depending on the household, technology seems to be a major playtime factor for children. But too much screen time can actually harm children. Set time limits on your child’s screen time but be sure to include extra time for schools that require computer access. Get your rules set early and way before school starts so they know what to expect and can transition to optimal learning opportunities. For some great tips, read the article here at Greatschools.org.

  • Early Learning – if you gave your child tasks to read or learn math during the summer, than kudos to you! Kids can have anxiety about their teachers and what they’re learning in their class(es). If you want to prevent the “summer gap”, then get your kids some reading material and help them study up on what they’re going to learn in their new grade. Being prepared is never a bad thing and the more your students know what to expect in their new grade, the more confident they will be during the first few weeks of school.

  • Healthy Food – if summer time was meant for snacking throughout the day or having carefree meal times, then now is the best time to get your kids back to a healthier eating routine. Healthy food such as fruits and vegetables gives kids the best opportunity for learning. Their brains are fueled with the proper nutrition so that they can pay attention in class and won’t get overly tired by the time they get back home. Pack healthy snacks and lunches during school days and eat a healthy dinner as well. For some great lunch and snack ideas, check out Greatschools.org here.

It’s important to remember that every family situation is different but we all want our children to have a fun, safe, and successful school year. Getting kids ready for back to school shouldn’t be a hurdle that causes more stress. But it’s equally important to acknowledge that once school starts, it’s not too late to start a routine in your household. Use the tips from above and seek online help from experts. Talk to your kids about what you expect throughout the school year. Talk to their teachers and school administrators. And most importantly, set a guideline and routines that ease their minds knowing that you are there to love and support them no matter what.

For more info about getting ready for back to school, check out articles from:

Martha Stewart


Red Tricycle


Parents magazine

Happy back to school and best of luck for the school year!

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.



Beat the Back to School Blues

Summer vacation is quickly coming to an end and while kids throughout the world are screaming, “Noooooooo!”, their dramatic display of dismay and disappointment evident on their sad little faces. Perhaps it’s the realization that they could no longer stay up to whatever time they want or the trepidation of a new teacher and new classmates. Regardless of their sheer terror, there is hope for a fearless and fun new school year.

Okay, maybe not so dramatically played out, but all the kids my son knows are trying to soak up as much of the lasting rays of the sun as they could. I, myself, hanker to stay outside as late as possible for once school starts, it’s back to bustling morning to night until we count down the days till the next vacation break.

As we prepare for getting back to school – from shopping for supplies and food to getting our bedtime schedule back on routine – there are ways to make this transition smoother and healthier. Below are some ideas and tips for a healthy and happy new school year, for both kids and parents.

Smart foods = Smart students:

Food is one of the most important aspect in being healthy and staying healthy. For kids especially, eating the right kinds of food is essential to a healthy mind and body. While a majority of whole foods are important for a developing mind and body, there are specific types that are extra helpful for children. Here are the following types:

Berries – Berries are full of healthy antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are essential for a growing body and mind. Plus, most of them are super sweet (naturally of course!) so they are an easy snack for kids to choose and eat. Best berries include blueberry, blackberry, goji berry, and raspberry. Try berries as toppings for yogurt, ice cream, waffles/pancakes, blended into smoothies, and just by themselves. When possible, buy berries organically as their tender fruit and skin are susceptible to insects and might be sprayed with toxic pesticides.

Eggs – Eggs don’t get as much accolade as they should. But eggs are full of healthy and yummy benefits that anyone can enjoy. Plus, eggs are considered one of the most nutritious and cleanest form of protein available. Top health benefits for eggs include Vitamins A&B, Folate, and Selenium, as well as other important vitamins such as D,E, and K, and a good amount of Calcium. Eggs can be eaten and prepared in many ways such as fried, hard-boiled, in salads, scrambled, and any way your child would eat them.

Nuts – Nuts contain a good amount of healthy fats that are essential for the heart, blood, and brains of a growing child. Certain types of nuts are easier for kids to eat so keep in mind which ones they like and give them tons of them! Almonds are popular and very versatile and contain calcium and Vitamin E so they’re great for kids who don’t eat a lot of milk dairy. Try almond milk or crushed almonds sprinkled over food. Other nuts that are fun to eat are walnuts and pecans as they are great in baking recipes.

Rest is Best:

My child hates to sleep. Or rather, he loves to stay up as late as possible, smashing our buttons until we finally have to “threaten” him to go to sleep. If your kid is adamant about staying up instead of going to bed, then know that school-age children need at least 9-11 hours of sleep each day. Proper sleep is needed for a child’s mind to grow properly and to prevent sicknesses and irritability. Consider that having less than 9 hours of sleep for a 9-year old can make him extra cranky as his body is still adjusting to time changes, shift in moods, and growing hormones. Stick to the bedtime routine so that kids can learn the importance of a good nights rest. For an updated recommended sleep chart, check out the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html

Healthy Play:

We all know that playtime is important for kids. It gives them a chance to grow their brains and their bodies. And it gives parents a much needed breather. But sometimes having too much of one activity can overwhelm a child’s brain, sort of like eating only one type of food or liking only one movie and nothing else. It’s good for kids to expand their horizons a bit and depending on the age, find activities that suit their growing needs and interests. Plus, extra curricular activities help boost a child’s confidence as it teaches them control and self-awareness. For children ages 3-5, try enrolling them in a fun dance or gym class; for ages 6-8, sports for both individual or groups help define their motor skills; for ages 9-12, music, science, engineering, art, and any other activity that can increase their interests and challenges them to learn more than what’s taught in school; ages 13-16, after school neighborhood jobs such as yardwork for a neighbor or dog-sitting involves the kids to learn about human interaction and giving their time and attention to others.

If you don’t want your child to be stuck behind a screen right after school however (unless it’s part of their school work), then involve their help in prepping and making dinner. If they have a lot of free time, set time limits on screen time, as electronic activities do not generally have their own time stamp. You can literally be on the internet for hours or play video games without knowing how much time has passed.

De-cluttering for You and Me:

A very wise teacher of my son’s once told me that the minute school ends, go through all of the leftover papers that your child brings home and start clearing away the clutter. If you hold onto all the homework, artwork, and anything else they bring home thinking it’s nostalgic, then consider that by the time your child reaches high school, you’d have collected hundreds of paper from school.

Schoolwork – Keep last year’s school work organized by categories. Keep awards and certificates as they are memorabilia of their personal achievement and determine whether 100% test scores and A+ papers are necessary. If you do need to keep them, then take photographs of these excellent papers and store them on a Cloud or a flash drive. Artwork can get overwhelming depending on the age and grade, so keep only a few that have special meaning to your child (and you) and photograph the others. Or, you can turn them into photo journal books from sites such as Shutterfly.

Toys – Kids will inevitably tell you that no, they do not want any of their toys thrown away! But as children grow older, so do their interests. Before school starts, go through all the toys that your child doesn’t want or need and either donate them, sell them, or throw them away (depending on the condition). Or, you can pull off the old trick that most (moms) do, and that’s throw away the “forgotten” toys while the kids are at school. Believe it or not, your child probably won’t even remember that old stuffed animal that’s buried underneath her toy chest or the missing pieces of a puzzle.

Clothing – My most favorite thing before school starts is to shop for clothes. Mostly for my son of course, but heck, I like to shop for back to school mommy clothes too! The fun part of back to school clothes shopping is seeing all the new styles and excited (yet melancholy) that your child is growing up. But what about all the clothes that no longer fit? Sort through ones that don’t fit but are still in good condition to donate away. If there are pieces that still fit and just missing buttons or so, fix them right away so they don’t become an eye sore or a chore. Throw away clothes that have holes or have been washed too many times and lost their color and fit.

Lunch Sanity:

If your kids are still at the age where they can’t pack their own lunch, then making lunches every day can be quite daunting. Red Tricycle has some great tips on lunch hacks that I’m going to be using this school year: http://redtri.com/lunchbox-hacks-to-help-parents-survive-the-school-year. And check out Weelicious: https://weelicious.com/

If your child is tired of the same go-to lunches (like mine is), then change it up every week. If you simply don’t have the time/money/resources, then have your child buy school lunches now and then, or bring them a special lunch from their favorite restaurant.

Keep in mind that for the sake of the environment, the school, and health safety, pack your child’s lunch in reusable lunch containers (such as glass or stainless steel, or even BPA-free plastic) and buy various sizes and shapes for different types of food.

If lunch food is a constant battle then bring your kids grocery shopping where they can choose what they’d like to eat for lunch. Lunch at school doesn’t have to be a struggle or daily argument or even wasted. If your child eats a big breakfast or dinner then most likely he doesn’t need as big a lunch. Pack some lighter snacks to keep his energy up until pick up time. Just remember to pack healthier snacks so that unnecessary sugar and sodium don’t give them false energy.


Some schools in certain countries have integrated the no-homework policy. While I have mixed feelings about that, it’s still important that children grasp what they are learning at school. You could be the parent that insists their child have extra tutoring after school to help them exceed in class, or you could simply just let them do what they brought home from school so they can play until bedtime. Depending on your own child of course, homework can either be a battle or a joyous event. I’ve listed a few tips that teachers have told me throughout the years that hopefully you can incorporate:

– Create a homework station for your child. This would be somewhere quiet but not too far away from the main hub of the house that you don’t know if they’re goofing off or truly studying. The station should include a desk (or enough desk space if you’re using your dining table), extra pencils, pens, and erasers. Blank pieces of paper or notebook, and enough lighting so they don’t strain their eyes.

– Sometimes a healthy and delicious snack could be the motivation to get them started on their homework. This could be sliced fruit, yogurt, or granola bars. Just be sure to keep it simple and not too filling so they aren’t tired from too much food before dinnertime.

– Whatever works best in your household is fine for your child, but some teachers suggest starting homework before dinnertime. This gives them time to relax after school or if they have an after school activity and leaves them enough time for play and relaxation before bedtime and after dinnertime. When kids start their homework after dinnertime, they can be too tired or high strung and wishes to push off their homework.

Going back to school should be an exciting adventure for your child. It can be hard to get back to the flow of things of course, but when you have a plan and set a routine, then the transition from summer time to school time will be a lot easier for you and your child.


Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.



Back To School The Healthy Way – Year Round Health


For many of us, back to school starts today and depending on your school, some of you may have kids already in school. So whether you’ve already finished with your back-to-school shopping or you’re just hitting that dreaded list, keep in mind some important thoughts for the entire school year. A healthy and safe school year is our top priority along with good grades and good behavior of course, but all those must start off from somewhere and a healthy and delicious nutrition plan is the foundation.

As my son and I went through his first grade supply list, I had to think about his lunch and snacks as well. Although it would be easier to buy school lunches throughout the year, it really isn’t feasible as we all know they aren’t always very nutritious. Even if schools are trying to initiate healthier lunch choices, I still see schools that offer cheeseburgers, sodas, and hot dogs as part of their lunch plans. While those may be fine once or twice, if your kids are eating them every day know that school budgets rarely allow these meals to include organically-grown foods. And foods laden with artificial ingredients and preservatives are bound to lead an unpleasant toll on your child’s health in the future. Parents who have children with severe allergies also know the dangers of buying school lunches as the schools are not always diligent in weeding out allergen foods.

So how can we ensure a healthy school year for our kids? While there are no surefire way in preventing the occasional cold or flu, we all know how they can affect their health and well being. Probably the best way in thwarting a cold is to keep up your immune system. Eating nutritional foods that include tons of vitamins and antioxidants are key as well as getting plenty of rest and exercise. Children should also limit as much stress as possible and stay away from those with colds and flu around them.

Below I’ve compiled a list of suggestions and products to help ensure a healthy school year for children and adults alike. While it would be nice if we could keep our kids safe from everything, in reality, we all have to scrape a few knees to earn the bigger reward – and that is the infinite knowledge to help our bodies be the best it can be.

Supplements and Vitamins:

Calcium – this is an important nutrient for growing bodies. Calcium along with enough Vitamin D, can help build strong muscles and bones in a growing child’s body. Start them early on this and they’ll develop strong bones and muscles into their adult years. Once adult’s reach a certain age, the calcium in their bones start to deplete regularly, so it’s also crucial for adults to take Calcium and Vitamin D together for absolute absorption. Foods that are rich in calcium and that kids will enjoy are: Milk, Cheese, Yogurt, Fortified foods, Kale, Spinach, Soymilk (make sure soymilk are fortified), and Ice Cream (as long as they are made with whole milk).

Vitamin D – this vitamin is essential for growing bones and muscles. During a child’s formulative years it’s important to provide them with enough Vitamin D whether it’s through fortified milk or sun exposure, be sure your kids get plenty of this vitamin to prevent bone depletion later on. Foods rich in Vitamin D are: Fortified foods such as milk and yogurt, eggs, and some fatty meat (but do limit this as there could be problems consuming too much fatty meat).

Iron – Iron is essential for red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body and for important brain health. When kids are low in iron, they are sluggish and tired and can’t concentrate. Babies get iron from their mother’s breast milk, but after they’ve stopped drinking breast milk, it’s important to include this vital vitamin in their diet. Although I don’t recommend young kids to be vegetarians, vegetarians can get their intake of iron from soy, lentils, nuts, dark greens, and iron-fortified grains. Just remember to eat Vitamin C- rich foods along with Iron-rich foods for better absorbtion. Foods that are rich in Iron are: Beef, Poultry, Beans, Nuts, Mollusks, Lentils, Chickpeas, Soybeans, Egg Yolks, Dark Leafy Greens, Raisins, and Iron-enriched Cereals.

Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a powerhouse and pretty much most of the vegetables and fruits available contain this important vitamin. It helps with proper absorbtion of most other foods because it is easily digestible and your body knows how to filter it throughout. Vitamin C is also great for building your immunity and is essential in the maintenance of bones, muscles, and blood vessels. Although it hasn’t been proven to truly prevent colds in kids and adults, eating enough of this important vitamin along with other nutrient-rich foods will help build a foundation of good health . Foods that are rich in Vitamin C are: Oranges, Tangerines ( or any citrus fruits), Guavas, Strawberries, Papayas, Kiwi, Dark Leafy Greens, Tomatoes, and Broccoli.

Potassium – This important nutrient helps with normal heart and muscle function, maintains proper fluid balance, and builds energy. It also helps promote strong bones. It will also help kids keep a normal blood pressure which can carry on into adulthood. Foods that are rich in Potassium are: Vegetables and Fruits that are “orange-colored” such as oranges, tangerines, bananas, apricots, and cantalope, Tomatoes, Milk, Yogurt, and Fish.

Fiber – Fiber is such an essential nutrient because kids and adults need it on a daily basis. Fiber helps regulate the stomach and the intestinal tract so that kids will feel regular. Fiber helps with digestion so that important nutrients can properly pass through their system for proper assimilation. Fiber is also great at keeping kids full, especially when kids run around all day depleting a lot of energy. Foods that are rich in Fiber are: Legumes, Lentils, Berries, Nuts, Chickpeas, Oranges, Apples, and Cereal that contain high fiber content.

Omega Fatty Acids – one of the most important nutrient are omega fatty acids (3,6,9). Omega 3 is the most beneficial as it helps with many functions including inflammation, cognitive, and the heart. Omega 3 seems to be prime for almost any age and is one the crucial developing nutrient for fetuses and infants. Foods that are rich in Omega 3’s (DHA, EPA, and DPA) are: Salmon, Anchovies, Walnuts, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Flax Oil and Fish Oil.

Probiotics – Kids with a good digestive system build up stronger immunity and may get fewer colds. A healthy digestive system supplies the body with the ability to get rid of toxin and germs. Our body already contains a good amount of probiotics but when we get sick, they get depleted easily. Foods that are rich in Probiotics are: Yogurt, Fermented foods, Miso, Kefir, and Sauerkrauts. 

Healthy products:

Stonyfield Organic (www.stonyfield.com) – Organic and natural dairy products including milk, yogurt, and ice cream. Can be found in most natural grocery stores as well as major supermarkets. They have products specifically formulated for children and comes in exceptional flavors.

Happy Family Brands (http://happyfamilybrands.com) – Organic and natural foods for kids starting at infantry. They have an assortment of products ranging from cereal to puffs to yogurt.

Envirokidz/Natures Path (http://us.naturespath.com/) – Organic and natural foods ranging from cereal to granola bars to toaster pastries. I love the fact that they have a line dedicated to kids only (Envirokidz) with adorable packaging that also benefits the environment.

Lunchskins (http://www.lunchskins.com/) – Truly unique sandwich bags made without BPA and phthalates and easily washable. They come in an assortment of fun colors and designs and sizes suitable for snacks, sandwiches, and larger totes. I use them all the time to put my son’s snacks in them and when we’re traveling and because they are easy to wipe clean, you don’t have to worry about storing bags with leftover food smells either.

Boiron (http://www.boiron.com/) – Homeopathic medication for kids and adults. They use safe, herbal ingredients that are formulated to be used everyday, several times a day.

Nordic Naturals (http://www.nordicnaturals.com/) – A wonderful assortment of supplements and vitamins for kids and adults. Their products range from kids multivitamins to DHA products to specialized supplements such as Vitamins D, vitamins for skin, hair, and eyes. They also make natural vitamins for pets.

Barleans (http://www.barleans.com/) – Made with the best organic and natural oils, Barleans makes a great assortment of supplements for kids and adults. We love their Omega Swirl as it is truly the one product that kids will want to happily drink.

Yummi Bears (http://www.heronutritionals.com/) – Part of the Hero Nutritionals company, Yummi Bears vitamins and supplements are specifically formulated for kids. My son loves their Yummi Bear Sugar-Free Multivitamin as they are naturally sweetened with Lohan fruit instead of sugar.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.


*Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart Back to School.