back to school apps and products and first-day-of-school traditions

How is it that summer is drawing to a close? Between the P&G “Thank You, Mom” Olympics commercials and my older daughter starting Kindergarten in two weeks, I’m a sappy mess. I’m also realizing that I have to get my booty back into school mode.

You can watch this Fox 5 Segment for some suggestions for back-to-school apps, websites and products, or read below. Also, see below for info on a Kajeet smart phone for kids giveaway.



1) Cool Pencil Cases – What kid doesn’t love fresh, new school supplies, especially a pack of newly sharpened pencils and a pencil case. Well thanks to the creative folks at the days of the boring pencil case are over. Check out their wide selection of trendy, decorative cases:

back to school must have

These cases range from $10-$20.00 and can be found online only at

2) Funky Lunch Boxes – I’m in love with these LOVE lunch boxes that I found on They have FDA approved food safe lining along with an inside mesh ice pack holder and keep foods hot or cold. Also, they can go in the top rack of the dishwasher. Hello!

back to school musts


3) Knotieties– Finally, we have a 21st century answer to the hair scrunchie! Any mom of girls, actually, any mom who throws her hair in a ponytail everyday like I do, will know how important it is to have hair ties around the house, especially ones that don’t hurt to pull out and don’t break the hair.

back to school gifts


These trendy, colorful hair ties, created by one of “our” former Miss California’s, are a must! You can wear them in your hair or on your wrist.

4) Kajeet Kids Smart Phones – The age that kids are getting their own personal cell phones is getting frighteningly younger and younger every year. It won’t be long before my daughters are wanting/expecting/”needing” to have a phone of their own. I just discovered a smart phone provider especially dedicated to kids and education, called Kajeet. They specialize in parental controls for phones that allow your kids to explore technology but with safety and restrictions front of mind.

Cell phone for kids with parental controls


  • EXCLUSIVE: Equipped with kajeet Smart BlockerTM technology that allows you to determine what types of websites can be accessed and which should be blocked
  • Three Mobile Web Add-ons to choose from (select one when you activate your phone)
  • Android Operating System v2.1
  • Touch screen with crisp display
  • 3.2MP camera for pictures and video
  • Music and video player
  • Virtual keypad
  • Access to Android Apps Market
  • microSD card slot
  • Speakerphone and Bluetooth®
  • One-touch access to apps like Google Maps, Facebook and Pandora

Now get this: I have a Kajeet phone in purple to give away.  See below for details!

5) A Tradition: I’m a sucker for traditions so I love coming up with the idea of a first-day-of-school tradition. Here are a few that I found while searching Pinterest.

  • First-Day-of-School Fairy – Since the Binky Fairy was such a hit in our family, as will be the Tooth Fairy when she comes, I love this idea. Get some fun, inexpensive back-to-school items, stick ‘em in a bag with a note and have them waiting for you kiddo(s) at the breakfast table (or doorbell ditch them like TipJunkjie suggests).
  • First-Day-of-School photo montage – I saw this on Pinterst with a couple that took photos of themselves every year holding a frame of the photo from the previous year. Click through to my Pinterest board to see what I mean.  You can also do this with your kiddo holding up the a number symbolizing their grade and keep going through the years.
  • A Gift For the Teacher – It’s never too early to become teacher’s pet so schmoozing the teacher on the first day of school can never hurt. Something small like a “Survival Kit” (with school supplies and a Starbucks or Target card) or something massively creative like this crayon wreathare two fun ideas.
    First Day of School traditions

    via @TipJunkie

    For a tutorial on this crayon wreath, click here.

To commemorate your summer, be sure to put together a photo album, or better yet, try one of their new videograms. Both are are easy to put together and the photo albums are on special at right now for only $14.00.



To enter the giveaway for the Kajeet Smart Phone for Kids, just leave a comment telling me your back-to-school tradition. Giveaway entries will close on Wednesday, August 15th at 11:59 PM PST and winner will be announced on Thursday, August 16th.



  1. 1
    Melissa Walker says:

    Will this will be the first year we start a family school traditioin as my oldest is now entering Kindergarden. My plan is to get her a first day special outfit and take her to school and take a picture of her in front of the school sign. I just hope she will let me continue taking pics of her every year. I fear once she hits middle/high school she wont want to take pics lol. I also thought the crayon wreath was very neat looking so I might try that sometime in the year as a gift to the teacher, thank you for the great ideas. I would love to win this phone as it would be a big help as she grows up.

  2. 2
    Cecy says:

    Hello Mary,
    Our traditions are probably not that uncommon. We do the walking to school (or, should I say, to the car) picture but I simply love the idea of holding the previous school year picture frame. From now on I will “upgrade’ my tradition. My daughter will be going into the 5th grade this year and I have been considering getting her a cell phone. I like the idea of having the parental controls that providers don’t offer. Thanks for the great ideas.

  3. 3
    Laura F says:

    Nice job on the Fox 5 segment! Our back to school tradition includes a picture in front of the school and new clothes, backpack, lunchbox, school supplies, etc. Just the basics. I love the idea of the back to school fairy! I think she may pay a visit to our house this year!!

  4. 4
    Jenny Martin says:

    We take First Day of school pIcs with a sign that states what grade they are going into

    Then when they get home–they get to pick a special meal for the first day of school!

  5. 5

    My son gets to eat anything he wants. If it’s candy for breakfast, it’s ok. It only happens once a year. I remind him before I leave him at school that he gets to have dinner anywhere he wants. Last year it was Burger Lounge and ice cream from Moo Time.

  6. 6
    Sherri says:

    Awesome stuff, Mary! I am still in denial about school starting, however…

  7. 7

    So cute!!! I still need to get Ellie a new lunch box!

  8. 8
    Kristen says:

    We saved 15% off our kajeet phones!! Here’s a coupon code I found online: 1015 Just enter it at checkout and the discount will come off when you check out.

  9. 9
    SIL Laura says:

    Love, Love, Love Knotieties! They don’t leave a crinkle in your hair when you take down your pony! A must for an anti-hair washer like me! The headband version is great too to keep the wispys out of your face! :)

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