After School Routine + My Kids Favorite Snack

This post was sponsored by Nabisco as part of an Integrated Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

I’ve nestled the kids into our school routine with homework packets, reading logs, and permission slips scattering the kitchen island every afternoon. The kids work on math sheets and reading comprehension while I start dinner prep between helping with long subtraction and timing their reading assignments. Set up at the dining room table with a fresh glass of water and an after school snack, they don’t realize that they’re developing study habits that will help them throughout their schooling.

They take the bus this year, not because they need to, but because I promised them in kindergarten that we’d revisit their request to ride the bus when they were in second grade, thinking they’d forget by the time second grade rolled around. They didn’t forget. And the walk with sister child to pick up her brothers from the bus stop has become a welcome part of our daily routine. It’s not long after we walk through the front door that they’re all asking for a snack and hoping that when they throw open the doors to the snack cupboard that they’ll find a box of TEDDY SOFT BAKED Filled Snacks, one of their favorites. The lovable bear-shaped snack is made with real ingredients like milk, eggs, and chocolate (which also happens to be their favorite filling flavor of the two available). My kids love them and I approve of the no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavors, and no artificial colors treat. Plus, they’re easy to grab at my local Walmart while I’m doing my usual weekly shopping.

Enter the sweepstakes below for a chance to win one for twelve $50 Walmart gift cards or one of two grand prizes for a $200 Walmart gift card. I-C will randomly select 14 winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes.

Nabisco Snacktime Sweepstakes
After school snacks were always a part of my routine growing up and as a mother, it gives me a feeling of comfort seeing my children enjoy the same routine I did. I believe in encouraging good study habits and helping my children to develop a routine that will follow them through their school years into college, if that’s what they choose.

Learn more about TEDDY SOFT BAKED Filled Snacks, you can visit them on Facebook or Twitter. You can also discover more about the fun snack on the Discover Teddy website.

3 Things You Should Know About Pink Eye

This post is sponsored by TRP PinkEye Relief. All thoughts, opinions, and ideas are my own. Thank you to TRP for partnering with me. And thank you readers for supporting the brands that support this blog and my family.

With kids back in school, preparation for the inevitable spread of germs is on parents minds. Back to school season is an excellent time to prepare your medicine cabinet for the unavoidable bugs your kids will contract from their friends. Pink eye is one of the more common ailments parents and teachers see since children often forget to wash their hands or cover their mouths when coughing and sneezing. This guide to things you should know about pink eye will be a handy reference throughout the school year.

What is pink eye?

Pink eye (conjunctivitis) is an inflammation of the thin clear covering of the white of the eye and inside the eyelid. Pink eye is a condition caused by one of three things: a virus (like the common cold), a bacterial infection, or an allergy. The viral version is extremely contagious (can be spread by coughing or sneezing), but with at home treatment will typically clear up on it’s own within several days. The bacterial version, which is also contagious (spread through direct contact) should be treated immediately and can cause damage if left untreated. The allergen version is caused by typical seasonal changes like pollen or dander and can also easily be treated at home.

What are the symptoms of pink eye?

Not surprisingly, a symptom of conjunctivitis is a pink appearance in the eye itself. A viral pink eye usually results in watery, itchy eyes that are sensitive to light. Bacterial conjunctivitis will often result in a greenish yellow discharge in the corner of the eye and often causes the eyelids to stick together after waking up. Allergic conjunctivitis usually manifests itself with watery, burning, and itchy eyes usually accompanied by a stuffy nose.

How do I treat pink eye at home?

TRP PinkEye Relief is homeopathic medicine that brings temporary relief for the redness, burning, watering, and overnight crusting of conjunctivitis. The eye drops can be used throughout the day for relief as needed and use 100% natural ingredients that are safe and gentle. TRP PinkEye Relief has no known side effects or interactions with other medications and can be used in children and adults ages two and up. The product is the recipient of the 2017 Women’s Choice Award for America’s most recommended pink eye relief product and is readily available at major retailers like Walmart, Target, CVS, RiteAid, Kroger, and Walgreens.

While anyone can get conjunctivitis, preschoolers, schoolchildren, college students, teachers and daycare workers are particularly at risk for the contagious types of pink eye because they work closely with others in the classroom. This makes back to school season a prime opportunity to stock up on pink eye treatments for your children and family.

To learn more about pink eye, it’s causes, and how you can prevent conjunctivitis, TRP PinkEye Relief. You can also enter for a chance to win a backpack filled with back to school supplies and a TRP bundle (sweepstakes ends September 30th, 2017).

5 Back to School Lunch Ideas

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PackThePerfectLunch #CollectiveBias

“I gotta go back! Back! Back! To School again!” Its a song that I sing to me kids at the beginning of every school year. It’s my sworn duty as a mother to annoy them with my Grease 2 songs as I wake them up and get them out of bed each morning. With three kiddos in school this year, it’s also my sworn duty to pack them well rounded lunches. I try to keep things fun by switching up my lunch game every now and then. These five back to school lunch ideas have become tried and true favorites with my kiddos.

Copycat Box Lunches

This lunch is simple to put together and one of my kids favorites. I simply use the top of a water bottle to cut the bologna into circle shapes and cut the cheese into bit sized squares. My kiddos can assemble their cheese and crackers creations during lunch just like they would with the store bought version. I add in a bottle of cold DASANI and a couple of mandarins before packing this lunch up for school.

Turkey rolls

I added these fun turkey rolls to the rotation last year when I was trying to revamp a plain ol’ turkey sandwich. Bread gets soggy fast here in the desert, so I try to avoid sandwiches if I can and these were a simple solution. I pat a piece of turkey dry with a paper towel, layer a few pieces of salami over it (my kids love salami, but it could easily be swapped with any other lunchmeat or even cheese), and roll it up. None of my kids like cream cheese, but if they did, I’d slather a bit of that over the turkey too. I add a package of Lance crackers and an Honest Kids Juice with a piece of fresh fruit to complete the meal.

DIY Pizzas

I’m sure it’s easy to guess that this is one of my kids faves. I use a plastic container for some shredded mozzarella, pepperonis, and crackers. All the elements one needs for a lunch version of pizza. A package of Lance Crackers and a bottle of POWERADE go in next followed by some cut up apples (not pictured).

PBJ rolls

I jazz up a classic PBJ by rolling out a piece of bread as thin as I can using a rolling pin. I add the peanut butter and jelly before rolling it into a fun spiral. I usually make two of three of these for my kids and they love them. It feels like a fun treat rather than the usual PBJ. My kiddos love finding a Honest Kids Juice in their lunch boxes along with a package of their favorite Lance Crackers.


These are a fun way to serve some of my kids favorite finger foods. I simply a classic cheddar cheese quesadilla into small slices and insert them into a container. I add a package of Toast Chee and a Honest Kids Juice along with a couple mandarins to finish off this lunch.

Save $1.50 on any (1) Lance 8 count and larger sandwich packs when you buy any (2) participating DASANI, POWERADE or Honest Kids multipacks with tear-pad coupon found in-store. Find the in-store coupon available on end caps.

These are a fun way to switch up normal lunches and they double as a great tool to encourage my kids to enjoy better for them options. While I love to switch things up, I love using Lance crackers to add to their lunches. It makes it easier for me to get creative with their lunches when I can rely on things like Honest Kids Juice, POWERADE, DASANI, and Lance Crackers which I can find conveniently at my local VONS. While I have mad love for the bento box moms, I’m not quite there. I need a semi-homemade version of that and I think that these back to school lunch ideas are the perfect balance for me.

For more back to school lunch ideas and inspiration, be sure to visit your local VONS store where you’ll find all of the ingredients I used here along with my trusty sidekicks: Honest Kids Juice, POWERADE, DASANI, and Lance Crackers.

My Favorite Back to School Supplies

This post contains affiliate links.

As a self-confessed stationery and planner addict, back to school season is one of my favorite things ever! Everywhere I look are displays of pens, notebooks, paper, and pencils and even better, almost everything is on sale! As an avid hunter for all sorts of unique stationery items, I thought I’d share some of my favorite back to school supplies that I’ve found this season with you.

Zebra Mildliner Highlighters from Amazon // Zodaca Mini Desk Stapler from Amazon // Motivation Pen Set from Anthropologie // Erin Condren Life Planner from Erin Condren // Rose Handled Scissors from Anthropologie // Liberty for Anthropologie Journal from Anthropologie // Floral Washi Tape from Amazon // Pastel Sharpies from Amazon

For me, stationery is a fun way to reflect my personality in my work. You’ll never catch me using a plain pen or notepad. I love infusing my workspace with color and inspiration to help keep me cheerful throughout my day. I love that these picks reflect sweet personality quirks and bring some character to my desk.

For more adorable stationery and back to school picks, be sure to follow the Our Holly Days page on Facebook where I share some of my faves daily.

30 After School Snack Ideas (That Your Kids Will Actually Eat!)

One of my back to school struggles has been trying to find snacks that my kids will actually eat and that I’m satisfied with (read: not potato chips). It’s taken me several years, but I finally feel like I’ve got my snack arsenal locked and loaded with after school snack ideas that they’ll actually enjoy (my kids steer very clear of hummus and pita chips). I grocery shop once a week and usually buy two savory items and two sweet items from this. These are snacks my kids love to munch on and I usually will never tell them no when they ask for something on this list. I’m hoping my years of parent training (ha!) will inspire your back to school snack cabinet with some of these better-for-them options.

  • string cheese
  • Cuties
  • apple slices with peanut butter
  • pretzel sticks
  • grapes
  • yogurt
  • Z Bars
  • fruit leather
  • strawberries
  • almonds
  • applesauce
  • fruit cups
  • turkey slices
  • cucumber slices with ranch
  • raisins
  • Babybel cheese
  • pepperoni
  • granola
  • beef jerky
  • bananas
  • carrot sticks
  • cantaloupe
  • pickles
  • raspberries
  • kale chips
  • celery sticks with peanut butter
  • carrot sticks with ranch
  • hard boiled eggs
  • salami slices
  • cheese crackers

This list of back to school snack ideas is full of options that I can feel good about my kids eating after school. They’re thoughtful options that I know will fuel their brains without spoiling their dinnertime appetites. What are some ideas that you use with your kiddos? I’m always on the hunt for options and ways to switch it up in my home.

For more back to school inspiration, ideas, recipes, and more, be sure to follow the Our Holly Days page on Facebook where I share and update daily.

DIY Apple Mason Jar Pencil Holder

Before the beginning of the school year, I like to sit down with my kids and create a thoughtful gift for each of their teachers. Not only is it a kind gesture for the person who will be educating my kids for the next nine months, but it’s also a way of instilling thoughtfulness and kindness in my children. My boys and I created this adorable DIY Apple Mason Jar Pencil Holder together for their teacher this year, which I hope brings a smile to their face as they’re welcoming several new students into their classrooms on the first day.

I started by pouring some red paint into a mason jar.

Then I poured some fine red glitter into the mason jar.

And swirled it all around, using a paintbrush for the harder places.

I set aside the mason jar to dry for several hours.

While the mason jar dries, I cut out two leaves from green pattered paper, hole punching the end of each one.

Once the jar was completely dry, I screwed the rim on and use twine to string the paper leaves onto the jar.

Lastly, we filled it with plenty of fresh number two pencils for teacher. It’s about as close to a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils as one can get (we should be friends if you get that movie reference).

I love that this sweet little gift is a fun play on the original apple gift teacher’s are known for. It’s a sweet way of saying how excited we are and how much we appreciate all the hard work that the teacher has already put in before the year has even begun.

For more back to school ideas, crafts, tips, and inspiration, be sure to follow Our Holly Days on Facebook where I update daily.

My Favorite Back to School Backpacks for Preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links.

One of my favorite parts about back to school season is shopping for new backpacks with my littles. This is is extra special since my tiniest babe, Evelyn, starts her first year of school at pre-k. She’s been ready for this since her brothers started school last year and as bittersweet as this next chapter is, I’m jumping in with two feet and enjoying watching her experience some of the little joys, like choosing her first backpack. Evelyn, her two big brothers, and I have scoured our favorite stores to being you some of our favorite back to school backpacks for preschoolers like her.

For girls

Neon Cat Backpack from Crazy 8 \\ Russian Doll Backpack from Dabba Walla \\ Butterflies Backpack from Amazon \\ Buddie Character Rucksack from Joules \\ Roller Skate Backpack from Land of Nod \\ Woodland Print Backpack from Be Free via Etsy \\ Dancing Princesses Backpack from Weeperas via Etsy \\ Chocolate Lace Backpack from Rabbit Lia via Etsy

For boys

Scorpion Backpack from Crazy 8 \\ Fox Backpack from MiniBoden \\ Shark Backpack from Dabba Walla \\ Grey Robot Backpack from Amazon \\ Teacher’s Pet (Dog) Backpack from Land of Nod \\ Outer Space Backpack from Land of Nod \\ Zippy Rucksack from Joules \\ Patch Rucksack from Joules

I’ll never forget my Lisa Frank rainbow leopard backpack or my embroidered Winnie the Pooh backpack. As sappy as it sounds, my backpacks gave me confidence and a sense of self when I wore them. I’ve loved helping my daughter choose hers this year and sharing in a tradition I held with my own mother as a little girl. I love that I can help her to learn to embrace herself, quirks and all, with something as simple as choosing her first backpack.

For more back to school picks and fun, be sure to follow Our Holly Days on Facebook, where I share daily.

How to Set Up Your Planner for Back to School + a Pilot G2 Pen Test

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyGo2Pen #CollectiveBias

A fresh pack of erasers, packages of lined paper neatly hole punched for binders, the familiar scent of hand sanitizer. They can all only mean one thing: back to school season is here. As a planner addict who has always had a weird need to hoard all the school and paper supplies, it’s one of my most favorite times of the year. It’s also the perfect excuse to freshen up and update my planner to reflect all the new schedules and incoming information for the new school year. As a professional planner addict, I have years of experience and it’s my hope that these tips will help you to set up your planner for back to school season.

Add the school calendar

The first thing I do every school year is add the school calendar into my planner. If my planner has a yearly view, it’s easy to utilize that. I use different colored pens or highlighters to note days off and minimum days. Some planners don’t have yearly views and that’s fine. It’s simple enough to print out the calendar from the school, laminate it, and insert it into my planner.

Use laminated lists for monthly tasks

I’m often forgetful, which doesn’t bode well for the school year. To help me keep track of monthly, weekly, and even daily tasks, I create lists and laminate them. These handy lists are easily inserted into my planner for reference throughout the school year. I can remind myself of monthly haircuts, fundraisers, and even meetings with these handy lists.

Don’t forget minimum days

My kid’s have a minimum (half day) day every week. If I don’t write it down, I often forget. Especially on days when their after school club doesn’t meet up. I’ve been called by the office once with a gentle reminder that it was a minimum day and that my boys were waiting for me. Whoops! Since then, I’ve added minimum days into my planner every month.

Add teacher and school contact info

I can’t tell you how many times jotting this down into my planner has been useful. Yes, I usually put it into my phone as well, but having it in my planner is beneficial for a variety of reasons: dead phone at the doctor’s office (yes, this has happened to me), at work and needing to shoot an email to teachers, and simply for easy access.

Set aside time daily for homework

My planner is helpful in allowing me to physically see and map out my time each day. Since I work from home, it’s important that I utilize my time effectively and with discipline. With all of my kiddos in school this year, that means setting aside time to help them with homework. I make sure I physically add homework time into my planner so that I’ll be able to note that throughout my work day when I’m working through my to do list.

Get a fantastic set of pens

In the planner world, it doesn’t get much better than the Pilot G2 pens, which should make it no surprise to learn that they’re the number one selling pen brand in America. They don’t bleed through paper, come in four point sizes, and offer a variety of vibrant colors, which is a planner babe’s dream come true. We like to color code. Like, a lot! I use my Pilot G2 pens for everything and treat myself to a fresh new pack every year. When those school supplies come out at Walmart, it’s my own personal version of utopia. I wander down aisle after aisle of pretty folders, fresh notebooks begging to be written in, and of course fresh packages of my beloved Pilot G2 pens. Yes, I get specific about my pens, friends. When you love paper as much as I do, you get serious about the pens you use.

My fellow planner addicts often experiment with pen tests and share the results so others can see how the pens actually hold up in real life. I completed my own pen test with my new set of Pilot G2 pens and they didn’t disappoint me. Though, I wasn’t surprised. They’re always so smooth and colorful!

My paper planner gets me through life, but I’d never make it out of the school year alive without my trusty sidekick that helps me to keep our family’s lives together. That’s why I take setting it up for the school year seriously and update it frequently. Using my paper planner has helped me to keep it all together, even when I’m feeling like I’m busting open at the seams. There’s no limit to what I can do when armed with my planner and a set of Pilot G2 pens.

For more back to school inspiration from bloggers like me, be sure to check out the #MyGo2Pen hashtag where you’ll find tips, tricks, and tutorials

Back to School Teacher Bouquet

This school year is a little extra special for my family. My littlest daughter, the baby of the family, will be starting her first year of pre-kindergarten. As a work from home mom, this is exciting for me because I know I’ll have several hours of uninterrupted time to work, but it’s bittersweet because she’s my baby and I do enjoy being able to play with her at home. Despite my missing her, I know she’ll be in good hands with her teachers. In our small town, the teacher has stayed the same and has taught my two older boys; so she’s a familiar face that will help put me at ease when I drop off my littlest to her each morning. To show my appreciation for Evelyn’s new-to-her teacher, I created a fun back to school teacher bouquet to for my little preschooler to give to her teacher as she walks through the door. This fun little gift will brighten the classroom with a familiar school supply while also letting her teacher know that we appreciate the hard work she put into her classes.

To start, I grabbed a trusty mason jar. These things are perfect for just about any craft, am I right?

I also grabbed an empty plastic water bottle and trimmed the top down to the same size as the mason jar before placing it inside.

Next I lined my mason jar with little craft puffs, you know the brightly colored ones that most of us can remember creating with as kids? I was able to find these at the dollar store. Since this was for a pre-k teacher, I kept the colors as they were in bright primary shades, but this could easily be transformed into a more elegant piece by using only the silver or gold puffs.

Then I added some water to the water bottle.

And dropped in some beautiful flowers. Yellow for friendship since the year should be full of new beginnings for my littlest and her teacher.

Teachers play such an important role in my children’s lives and this year, I’m hoping I can communicate to them just how much I appreciate their work in my kiddo’s education and development. Through little gifts like this Back to School Teacher Bouquet I’m hoping my children learn to better communicate their appreciation and respect to people in their lives. I’m hoping to also bring a smile to the educators that see my children every single day.

For more back to school inspiration, including tutorials, crafts, recipes, and more, be sure to follow the Our Holly Days page on Facebook.

Back to School | A Day in Our Lives

This post was sponsored by Nature Made® as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

Back to school means a new routine for my family, so I thought I’d share what a day in our lives looks like now that we’re in a new schedule. This photo journal is a little peek into our daily lives here in the High Desert as we head back to school.

Good morning stares form the dog.

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Waffles in the toaster because it’s pretty much all they ever ask for.

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Then we head off to school to drop off the boys. Evelyn isn’t in school yet, but shhhhh…don’t tell her that.

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Evelyn and I head out to a meeting at our church after dropping off the dudes.

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And after the meeting we headed to Target because well, TARGET. And we picked up Nature Made® KIDS FIRST® Multivitamin Gummies. It’s my goal this year to start the year on track with quality healthy habits. Nature Made® KIDS FIRST Multivitamin Gummies come in great-tasting all- natural fruit flavors that my kids love. Not only do they taste great, which means no complaints from the kids, but they also help fill many of the key nutrient gaps from my kid’s diets and support overall health.

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When we got home, Evelyn couldn’t wait another minute to try the Nature Made®, KIDS FIRST®. The gummies contain 12 essential nutrients for age-specific nutritional support, including vitamins A, C, D and E, B vitamins, and minerals like iodine and zinc. Evelyn loves that they come in great-tasting all- natural fruit flavors like Orange, Cherry & Mixed Berry.

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Then it was laundry time. Much groaning was had.

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Miss Evelyn and I left to pick up the boys from school a little early so she could play in the grass.

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The boys did their homework while I squeezed in a few emails.

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These two dudes helped me with dinner. BLTs are perfectly acceptable for back to school dinner, right?

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I took the pooch out for a bathroom break and enjoyed the desert sunset.

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Our days are getting busier and the days shorter, but I welcome the new structure. Soon we’ll be in a perfect symphony and our healthy habits will be second nature.

For more information on Nature Made®, KIDS FIRST® be sure to visit the Nature Made® page on Facebook and check out their website on ShopCentric.

†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  These products  are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.