Why We Buy 'Cool' School Supplies

There are very few times my kids get 'spoiled'. They don't get candy, cookies, or pop except on special occasions. They get toys on their birthdays and holidays (and that's it). We buy clothes and bedroom d├ęcor from thrift shops. But when it comes to school supplies, we splurge a little. My kids do have the cartoon backpacks, the stylish pens, the multi-colored highlighters, and the metal insulated sport water bottles. Why?

It's not a stature thing. I don't want my kids to be "the cool kids". And my kids are avidly nagged to -share- a majority of their items with kids who don't have them. But each year, we spend a big day going out to a few different department stores picking out all of the notebooks and pencils we want to use during the upcoming school year. And here's why...

It Gets My Kids Excited About School
First and foremost, having brand new personalized school supplies gets my kiddos excited about learning. They have folders with their favorite SpongeBob character on the front (and they can't wait to put some homework in that folder). They have gel pens, which makes taking notes so much more colorful and exciting. And they have backpacks that they legitimately want to take care of (no they are not going to throw their special Spiderman bag in the mud, or leave it on the bus).

It Motivates Them To Stay Organized
As a momma with ADHD, I unfortunately understand the struggle to stay organized. And I'm a pretty awful example myself. I have lists upon lists sitting around my house (and most of the time, those lists get lost half-way upon completion). With that being said, not all of my kiddos have ADHD- and some are naturally organized. And all of my kids, whether or not they struggle with organization, become a bit more motivated to stay on task when they're using supplies that they actually want to keep in good condition.

My Foster Kiddos Haven't Always Had 'Nice' Stuff (And They Deserve It)
We have birth kiddos and foster kiddos and they're all treated and loved equally. My birth children have had the privilege of having nice new school supplies every year, but not all of my foster children have. My foster kids do get a bit of special treatment during our school supplies shopping, because I do find it especially important that they know they're worth a nice new set of school supplies. Especially if they are going into a new school, having school supplies their proud of really can be a small, but much needed, confidence boost.

We Still Have A Budget
My children, by no means, are supporting designer messenger bags and $20 personalized pens. No, absolutely not. But they do have the right to choose the slightly more expensive 'designed' notebook that fits their personal style and interests. They know we have a budget and they are aware that we are not rich. In fact, they go into our school supplies spending spree knowing exactly how much cash mom has to buy everything. And we take it as a family responsibility to stay within budget.

9 Daily Habits of A Calm Mom

I’m going to let you in on a secret- I’m a stressor. I become stricken with anxiety at least once a week. I worry about things that need to get done, or haven’t gotten done and needed to be done (yesterday). I continually have to make an effort not to freak out. But ever since I became a mom, I’ve been dedicated to setting a calm, patient example for my kids. And here are a few small daily habits, I’ve learned, definitely help me achieve the ‘mom zen’ that I want to have.

Eat Breakfast
I used to skip breakfast and opt for coffee instead. Coffee was great at waking me up in the morning, but I would crash around noon. After my first pregnancy, where I completely eliminated coffee, I began eating a hearty breakfast instead. No pastries or sugary cereal. I opt for healthy filling options. Eggs, turkey sausage, whole grain toast, oatmeal, yogurt and fruit. There are a lot of great healthy options out there, and I change it up frequently. A filling start gives me energy and gets me through the rest of the day.
Eat Healthy
I feel like crap when I treat my body like crap. Sugars and fats make me bloated, they make my skin feel gross, and overall I just don’t feel good. But when I eat healthy, I have energy. My body just genuinely feels better. And when my body feels better- so does my mind. It’s a lot easier to be in a good mood when I feel healthy, and eating healthy is a must for that.

Declutter And Clean
I’m very unorganized. It’s something my husband almost constantly has to nag me about. So I’ve made a sincere effort to take at least an hour a day to clean. I’ll choose a room or a task and just focus on it. 1 hour a day, goes a long way. I stay on top of basic chores and try to declutter at least one space a week- whether it’s the kitchen counter or the bedroom closet.

Breathe Deeply
Deep breaths actually work. I teach my children to take deep breaths to calm down, and I’ve had to teach myself to do the same thing. When you’re exhausted from being a parent and your emotions are running high, it’s very easy to overreact. Take a deep breath. Think before you speak. Breathe before you act. Just one deep breath can go such a long way.

I’m not super flexible and quite frankly I suck at yoga. But I try to stretch each day. Something about just keeping my body aligned and flexible helps my mood. After carrying around kids and bending over to pick up countless messes throughout the day, sometimes a good stretch can instantly put me in a better mood.

Pamper Yourself During Bath Time
Bath time is –my- time. I’m talking bubbles, candles, music, and soft bath towels. I have about 30 minutes before the hubby asks for my help with something, but ahhh- do I soak up those 30 minutes of pure bath time bliss. Maybe you’re not a bath person, but you can still find a way to treat yourself. Watch your favorite show for an hour each night. Read a good book before bed. Go and get your nails done. Do something for you, regularly.

Pay Attention To Smells
With dogs and cats and kids- a house can get smelly. I often get so caught up in everything that I don’t notice if the trash smells or the toilet hasn’t been flushed by the 4 year old for… an hour. But smells matter. Pay attention to the aroma of your home. I’m a lover of candles, essential oils, and anything that makes my home smell better. A good smelling home, just feels like a cleaner home. And a cleaner home makes for a calmer family.

Let In The Sunlight
We do open windows in this house. Pull back the curtains, let in the light. I absolutely hate blinds and even on rainy days our windows are wide open. It boosts everyone’s mood and energy. We all need that much needed vitamin D from the shine outside and open windows, I promise, will help out everyone in the house.

Get Outside Every Day
I always thought it was really important my children spend time outside Every. Single. Day. But when I began getting outside for them an hour a day as well, I noticed how much better I felt. Even if I’m just sitting on a bench reading while they play at the park- the fresh air, the sounds, and the sun all seem to make me a much calmer mom.A