Back-to-School Gear for the BEST School Year Yet!

Recently, I was on WPSD Local 6 Today talking about all the best gear to make this school year great for both kids and parents. From backpacks to organizational gear, I found the best of the best so you don't have to!

The Coolest Backpacks Around!

Lands' End Print FeatherLight™ Medium Backpack

One name I heard over and over again when researching backpacks was Lands' End. They have several different sizes from your littlest one to your biggest kid. The patterns are fun. The personalization is great. More importantly, every Lands' End product is GUARANTEED. PERIOD.® So, you know that whatever abuse comes this little bag's way Lands' End is there with a simple promise. "If you're not satisfied with any item, simply return it to us at any time for an exchange or refund of its purchase price." 

Pottery Barn Kids My First Backpack

Pottery Barn Kids came highly recommended in a wonderful post by the Harvard Homemaker called 10 Things to Think About Before Your Child Starts Kindergarten (That Have Nothing to Do With Academics). High quality products are not a surprise with Pottery Barn but I was pleasantly surprised by the choice of patterns and size. I fell in love with their My First Backpack which falls in the just big enough but not too big range for any preschoolers starting in the fall. 

Pottery Barn offers personalization and free shipping on all their products as well!

MadPax Full Packs, Half Packs, and Nibblers

Chances are if you've seen a MadPax in person you've never forgotten it. MadPax is leading the way in cool innovative designs that make the word backpack seem a little bit irrelevant. They have three sizes full packs, half packs, and nibblers in a variety of styles and colors. The Warp Speed Full Pack is the current star of the show with it's solar system design and it is sure to be a hit with kids (and, let's be honest, adults) of any age. 

Even more exciting? MadPax is giving away one Warp Speed Full Pack to a lucky reader!

Mabel's Labels

Beyond "buy a quality backpack," the one recommendation I've heard from parent after parent is LABEL EVERYTHING. When it comes to labels, the best of the best is Mabel's Labels. From backpack tags to iron-on labels to dishwasher and microwave safe labels for lunch boxes, Mabel's Labels has you covered!

Mabel's Labels is giving away the Stylish Scholar Combo Pack to one lucky reader!

Keeping the entire family organized!

erin condren life planner

My love of all things erin condren is well-documented. I know it sounds weird that the Queen of Technology would love a paper planner BUT I DO. I still use my calendar app to add my appointments but at the beginning of every week I put everything in my paper planner so I can see the week. I think about my life in weeks and I've found this helps me to stay organized not only in terms of appointments but also meal plans, work assignments, and school projects. 

If you've ever encountered someone who uses an erin condren product, you won't forget it. It's less of a fan club and more of a cult. Trust me. Once you go erin, you don't go back!

And OH HAPPY DAY, erin condren is giving away one life planner to a lucky reader!

Cozi App and Website

For those of you who want a high tech solution to family insanity, Cozi has you covered. A website, as well as iOS and Android app, Cozi is a one-stop shop for all your family's needs. From grocery lists to to-do items to EVERYONE's schedule, Cozi has it all. Every thing all in one place. What more could you ask for!

Cozi is giving away on one year subscription to Cozi Gold to one lucky reader!

Gear that makes lunch the most exciting meal of the day!

milkdot Printed Lunch Tote

Very few lunch totes are colorful for the young ones but cool enough for adults, but milkdot totes are one of the few. These insulated totes are well-designed with plenty of room for a full lunch, drink, and snack. Plus, I love the way they zip completely open eliminating all that annoying digging to the bottom for the special treat. 

milkdot is giving away this adorable striped green tote to one lunch reader!

Laptop Lunches Bento-ware

We are big bento fans in the Holland house. My kids like variety and I find the sections help me make sure I'm covering all the major food groups for the day. Also, I love reusable containers of any kind and hate throwing away ziploc bags everyday. I've heard rave reviews about Laptop Lunches because of their durability and design. Plus, every container is food safe (aka NO lead, BPA (bisphenol A), phthalates, or PVC), microwave safe, AND dishwasher safe. 

Laptop Lunches currently has a deal that with every order you get a $10 coupon to Mabel's Labels AND Lunchbox Love sampler (which I'm about to talk about below!) plus 20% at!

Use the coupon code: wastefreelunch for a 10% discount.

Pottery Barn Kids' Lunch Bags

This is another line that came highly recommended by the Harvard Homemaker, as well as many other moms I know. Just like the backpacks, there are a ton of patterns available but there are also four basic styles that offer something for everyone. I also love that the lining of each bag is made of PEVA, an environmentally friendly, food-safe vinyl that’s made without chlorine or plasticizers.

Pottery Barn offers personalization and free shipping on all their products as well!

I See Me! Off To School Personalized Lunch Box

There's just something about a classic tin lunchbox, especially when it can be personalized with your child's with your child's name like so many of the back to school products from I See Me!. The other feature I love about the I See Me! lunch box is the lid is also a chalkboard! Perfect for all those special little notes or reminders.

Lunchbox Love 

Speaking of little notes, my child can't even read and I'm already getting requests for lunchbox notes. At 7am the pressure to write something beyond "Love you!" can be a little high, that's why I love Lunchbox Love. The company was started by two friends that wanted more positivity in the products marketed to children and features lunchbox notes with a meaningful message on the front and riddle or fun fact on the back!

Lunchbox Love is giving away a four volume set of Lunchbox Love for Kids plus 2 volumes of Riddles to one lucky reader!