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Back-to-School 2017: Toddler + kid backpacks to send them off in style

Nothing takes us back to the first day of school like a brand-new backpack. It’s every kid’s must-have to kick of the year and the best (and most useful!) accessory for that Insta-worthy first day pic.

We’ve rounded up eight of our absolute favorite, insanely adorable, and totally functional backpacks for kiddos from the preschool crowd all the way up through to bigger kids. Your biggest problem is going to be choosing which one to pick!

1. Babymel Zip & Zoe

We cannot say enough good things about the ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE Zip & Zoe line of backpacks, lunch bags, and drink bottles from Babymel. Vibrant, ultra-cool designs, toddler and big kid sizes, and lots of zippers and pockets to hold everything and anything your little one will need to rock back-to-school. Each item even comes with its own unique accessory—everything from a figurine key chain to a musical tag.

Pro tip: The mini backpacks feature a toddler “safety harness” (read: baby leash) to keep your little one close by until they’re ready to roam free. No judgment here, mama—you gotta do what you gotta do.


2. SoYoung Raw Linen Backpacks

SoYoung’s Raw Linen Backpacks stand out as a beautiful, eco-friendly alternative to some of the synthetically-made backpacks available this season. Made from 100% raw linen and available in an assortment of simple, charming designs (dinos or foxes, anyone?), these packs are sturdy and completely machine washable (??). They’re perfectly-sized to hold just the right amount of stuff, and the padded straps make them easy enough for a toddler or bigger kiddo to comfortably carry.

Pro tip: These bags come in toddler and grade school sizes, and you can attach a matching lunch box to the outside. Win!


3. Skip Hop Zoo Little Kid Backpack: Ferguson Fox

It’s pretty much impossible not to smile when you lay your eyes on Ferguson the Fox. Skip Hop, a brand we’ve come to love, doesn’t disappoint with their newest backpack for the preschool set. Great design, durable material, and a roomy main compartment makes this a go-to bag for back to school.

Pro tip: Not diggin’ the fox? Choose from the rest of the zoo—penguins and owls and zebras, oh my!


4. Hanna Andersson

There is pretty much nothing that Hanna Andersson makes that we don’t ❤️, and these backpacks are no exception. Small, medium, and large sizes mean that toddlers through bigger kids are covered; lightweight-yet-rugged fabric means that these packs will stand the test of time. And the patterns—ahhh, the patterns! We couldn’t love them more.

Pro tip: These can’t be thrown into the washing machine, so we recommend you spot clean instead. The fabric is stain and water resistant, though, so you shouldn’t have to fight too much dirt!


5. Fjallraven Kanken Mini

Did you know that these iconic Scandinavian adult backpacks came in mini sizes? Well, now you do—and you’re welcome. The Fjallraven Kanken Mini is practical, functional, and beautiful: pretty much the perfect design trifecta. It’s also water resistant, so your little guy can stomp those puddles without fear!

Pro tip: Treat yourself: buy the Kanken pack for you and the mini for your little one. Who are we to stand in the way of you and your matching backpack ultimate cuteness?


6. Herschel Survey Kids

For a more unique pack, check out the the Herschel Survey Backpack, which was inspired by classic scouting bags. Ideal for kids 3 to 6, this pack comes in too many awesome hipster patterns to count. (I mean, come on with this. And this!) Magnetic closures, lots of zippered pockets, and the signature striped fabric liner make these bags seriously too cool for school.

Pro tip: Some pack styles feature leather straps, while others use rubber instead, which we thought was a pretty thoughtful option.


7. Pottery Barn Kids

Pottery Barn Kids’ backpacks are insanely popular for good reason: they are durable, they are well thought out, and they are downright adorable. From toddler all the way through big kid and featuring about a zillion pockets, straps, and gear loops, PB’s bags really get the job done. 2017’s new crop of kid-friendly patterns include rainbows, glow-in-the-dark moon and stars, alphabet, and neon dinos, just to name a few.

Pro tip: Add a monogram so your little’s bag will stand out on the coat rack!


8. TWELVElittle Big Kid Courage Backpack

We can’t stop swooning over these packs since we first laid eyes on them a few months ago. The Big Kid Courage backpack just could not be cooler. The crinkle nylon keeps it durable and lightweight, and the spacious main compartment is roomy and easy to open. But the best part? Iron-on patches! We told you—swoon!

Pro tip: Need more patches in your life to decorate your pack? Who doesn’t. You can snag them here.


We only include products we’ve tested and loved in MotherlyLoves. Through affiliate programs, we may receive a revenue percentage if you purchase through our website.

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Summer heat has a way of making the house feel smaller, more congested, with less room for the air to circulate. And there's nothing like the heat to make me want to strip down, cool off and lighten my load. So, motivation in three digits, now that school is back in, it's time to do a purge.

Forget the spring clean—who has time for that? Those last few months of the school year are busier than the first. And summer's warm weather entices our family outdoors on the weekends, which doesn't leave much time for re-organizing.

So, I seize the opportunity when my kids are back in school to enter my zone.

I love throwing open every closet and cupboard door, pulling out anything and everything that doesn't fit our bodies or our lives. Each joyless item purged peels off another oppressive layer of "not me" or "not us."

Stuff can obscure what really makes us feel light, capable and competent.

Stuff can stem the flow of what makes our lives work.

With my kids back in school, I am energized, motivated by the thought that I have the space to be in my head with no interruptions. No refereeing. No snacks. No naps… I am tossing. I am folding. I am stacking. I am organizing. I don't worry about having to stop. The neat-freak in me is having a field day.

Passing bedroom doors, ajar and flashing their naughty bits of chaos at me, it's more than I can handle in terms of temptation. I have to be careful, though, because I can get on a roll. Taking to my kids' rooms I tread carefully, always aware that what I think is junk can actually be their treasure.

But I usually have a good sense for what has been abandoned or invisible in plain sight for the lack of movement or the accumulation of dust. Anything that fits the description gets relegated to a box in the garage where it is on standby—in case its absence is noticed and a meltdown has ensued. Crisis averted. Either way, it's a victory.

Oh, it's quiet. So, so quiet. And I can think it all through…

Do we really need all this stuff?

Will my son really notice if I toss all this stuff?

Will my daughter be heartbroken if I donate all this stuff?

Will I really miss this dress I wore three years ago that barely fit my waist then and had me holding in my tummy all night, and that I for sure cannot zip today?

Can we live without it all? All. This. Stuff?

The fall purge always gets me wondering, where in the world does all this stuff come from? So with the beginning of the school year upon us, I vow to create a new mindset to evaluate everything that enters my home from now on, so that there will be so much less stuff.

I vow to really think about objects before they enter my home…

…to evaluate what is really useful,

...to consider when it would be useful,

...to imagine where it would be useful,

...to remember why it may be useful,

…to decide how to use it in more than one way,

... so that all this stuff won't get in the way of what really matters—time and attention for my kids and our lives as a new year reveals more layers of the real stuff—what my kids are made of.

Bring it on.

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In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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For many years, Serena Williams seemed as perfect as a person could be. But now, Serena is a mom. She's imperfect and she's being honest about that and we're so grateful.

On the cover of TIME, Williams owns her imperfection, and in doing so, she gives mothers around the world permission to be as real as she is being.

"Nothing about me right now is perfect," she told TIME. "But I'm perfectly Serena."

The interview sheds light on Williams' recovery from her traumatic birth experience, and how her mental health has been impacted by the challenges she's faced in going from a medical emergency to new motherhood and back to the tennis court all within one year.

"Some days, I cry. I'm really sad. I've had meltdowns. It's been a really tough 11 months," she said.

It would have been easy for Williams to keep her struggles to herself over the last year. She didn't have to tell the world about her life-threatening birth experience, her decision to stop breastfeeding, her maternal mental health, how she missed her daughter's first steps, or any of it. But she did share these experiences, and in doing so she started incredibly powerful conversations on a national stage.

After Serena lost at Wimbledon this summer, she told the mothers watching around the world that she was playing for them. "And I tried," she said through tears. "I look forward to continuing to be back out here and doing what I do best."

In the TIME cover story, what happened before that match, where Williams lost to Angelique Kerber was revealed. TIME reports that Williams checked her phone about 10 minutes before the match, and learned, via Instagram, that the man convicted of fatally shooting her sister Yetunde Price, in 2003 is out on parole.

"I couldn't shake it out of my mind," Serena says. "It was hard because all I think about is her kids," she says. She was playing for all the mothers out there, but she had a specific mother on her mind during that historic match.

Williams' performance at Wimbledon wasn't perfect, and neither is she, as she clearly states on the cover of time. But motherhood isn't perfect either. It's okay to admit that. Thanks, Serena, for showing us how.

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There are some mornings where I wake up and I'm ready for the day. My alarm goes off and I pop out of bed and hum along as I make breakfast before my son wakes up. But then there are days where I just want 10 more minutes to sleep in. Or breakfast feels impossible to make because all our time has run out. Or I just feel overwhelmed and unprepared.

Those are the mornings I stare at the fridge and think, Can someone else just make breakfast, please?

Enter: make-ahead breakfasts. We spoke to the geniuses at Pinterest and they shared their top 10 pins all around this beautiful, planned-ahead treat. Here they are.

(You're welcome, future self.)

1. Make-ahead breakfast enchiladas


Created by Bellyful

I'd make these for dinner, too.

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