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Back to school in style

It’s hard to believe, but August is halfway over, and the new school year is just around the corner. With three kids in three different schools, I’m in prep mode already. Here are a few things I’ve found to make getting ready for school a little easier.

Calendars
Google calendar has been a staple for us professionally for a long time, but last year I discovered it could help me organize the school year too. As each new school calendar arrives in my inbox, I take 15 minutes and input the dates into a dedicated calendar that I can then share with my husband and our babysitters.

Lunches
We have to pack lunches under a number of different constraints, thanks to dietary laws, school policies and kid preferences. It’s easy to fall back on mac n’ cheese with a packet of Milano cookies every day, but that’s not doing anything for them nutritionally. At the same time, once school starts, it’s not a good time to start experimenting, since a rejected lunch translates into a very unproductive afternoon at school. I use the last few weeks of summer to get the kids involved in the planning for lunch and to try new things (like soba noodles – a big hit!). As children get older, they usually become more adventurous and willing to try new things, so never assume that, just because they refused to eat something last fall, they won’t give it a try a year later.

Clothing
My older kids are going into 2nd and 4th grade, and they’re finally old enough to want to choose their own clothes. A few months ago, I heard about this new web site, Fashion Playtes, where kids can design their own clothing and have it made. Since then, it’s become one of my girls’ favorite places to shop online.

The clothing they’ve made is really fun and surprisingly affordable, especially considering each piece is custom-finished right here in Massachusetts.

To give you a sense of how this works, I asked my daughters each to design an outfit for the first day of school. Here’s what they came up with:

My older daughter is into funky and comfortable clothing. She loves to mix colors and patterns, sometimes the crazier the better. This dress is a little tame by  her standards, but I guess she was factoring in first impressions.

Fashion Playtes design

My younger daughter is a future fashionista — she loves to coordinate outfits and accessories, and she likes things to match. She was extremely dismayed that I didn’t give her extra time for her to design new shoes and a purse for her dressing room avatar.

Fashion Playtes designThe dressing room interface offers tons of customization and fun designing activities, which my daughters love. But it is  especially exciting when they get to see their virtual creations turned into real outfits.

Want to try Fashion Playtes? Now is the perfect time, because until the end of the month, when you spend $50 on FashionPlaytes.com you’ll get $10 in FashionCash.  FashionCash can be used on future clothing and accessory purchases (More details here).

Do you have any other great tips or resources for back to school? I’d love to hear about them.

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