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13 innovative products for an even better back-to-school

From name labels to simplified kids clothing and everything in between.

13 innovative products for an even better back-to-school

There are so many awesome products out there to make your family's life more streamlined. But, let's face it: finding the time to research and purchase your favorites is tough. That's why we did it for you!


Whether we're talking a two-in-one lunchbox backpack or the best way to keep all of your kids artwork together, we'll keep you in the know and ahead of the back-to-school game.

Here are 13 of our favorite innovative products to keep your crew organized and efficient this school year:

These insulated stretchy neoprene lunch totes keep food warm or cold for 4 hours. They’re available in a huge variety of fun colors and patterns, and the soft handle makes them easy to carry. Best of all, the flat bottom design keeps food upright, so lunch won’t tip over and spill everywhere.

Yumbox is a bento-style, leakproof food container made to help kids establish healthy eating habits. With compartments for fruit, veggies, grains, protein, and dairy (and an extra treat or dip compartment), this is the ultimate kid friendly lunchbox. Throw away the baggies and expensive snack packs and trade them in for this dishwasher safe, compact, easy to open, easy to clean container and make lunch fun. And they fit perfectly inside the BUILT NY Lunch Totes.

We already love the plastic Contigo bottles, but these new vacuum insulated stainless steel ones are a step above. The innovative autospout lid opens at the press of a button to keep liquids in and germs out. Say goodbye to spills with the only leak-free insulated bottle around.

Weelicious lunches is a cookbook jam packed with healthy, fun ideas for school lunches that are sure to please both kids and mama (and probably dad, too!)

This Obersee backpack features a roomy interior and a side drink pouch. You’re kids will love the awesome prints like unicorns, robots, or tie-dye. What really sets this backpack apart is the insulated front pocket that can double as a lunch box. The padded straps make it super comfortable for little shoulders. A back to school must have.

Capture all your child’s milestones with these memory cards by Sticky Bellies. Featuring 10 customizable cards from the last day of camp to the first day of school, just grab a marker and create an instant memory.

Eliminate the time you spend running around in the morning trying to find their favorite bow. Keep hair bows and headbands in one place with this fully customizable hair accessory organizer.

Primary is a new online clothing store where you can get affordable, simple, comfortable basics for kids 0-10. With t shirts and pants in every color of the rainbow all in one place, who needs to lose time shopping for clothes? No logos, super soft pima cotton, these are more than basics, they’re staples. The collection stays consistent so you can replace your kids’ faves when they get too small.

Name labels don’t have to be standard and boring anymore since Minted joined the game. Personalize them with a picture of your child, or choose a beautiful watercolor that includes your phone number or your child’s classroom and stick them on anything that runs the risk of getting lost.

Especially useful in a shared closet, keep everyones hanging clothes organized with these adorable and practical closet dividers. No more mixing the babies rompers in with your toddlers dresses. Separate all by sizes or request seasonal dividers so you’ll never search for a sundress in a sea of sweaters at 7 a.m. again.

Artkive is the best way save all your child’s artwork without the clutter. You can categorize each piece by age or school year and the app will help you make a book of your favorite collections. Simply take a picture with your iPhone, upload it to the app, and it will store it all for you.

This art-caddy is a great way to keep all their supplies in one place. Keep scissors, glue, pencils, crayons etc in this super cute, easy to transport design that seamlessly moves projects from one room to the next, keeping everything neat and organized.

Keep kids learning even after they get home from school by making screen time count. Leo’s Pad was designed by a team of Stanford University education researchers to include a variety of fun, informative, excited games woven through a great storyline. The game follows a group of kids named for some of histories greatest scientists as it teaches your kids about space, gravity, colors, shapes, and rockets.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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