Viewing category ‘School gear’

Milk and Cookies

with Kristen

I'm a mother of five, a bargain hunter, a recreational comparison shopper, and always trying to make more time - for me and for you, too. On this blog I'm sharing my favorite tools and finds to help make your work-life juggle a bit easier.

You can find my personal blog at

Life-improving products, part 2

Categories: Electronics, Elementary school kids, House & Home, Kitchen, Life balance, Managing stress, School, School gear, back to school, organization

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Continuing with last week’s theme of life-improving products:

Wahl Haircut Kit (photo from This was especially life-changing when the boys were younger: I could line up the four of them and save $60 in well under an hour. The first time I cut Toddler Rob’s hair was VERY SCARY, but I thought to myself, “If I make a mess of this, I can take him to the barber and have them fix it—or I can just shave it off and start over.”

Goody Small Claw Clips (photo from I buy these from Target in a pack that has 5 of each color. I use them for buns or for other twisty styles, and they have revolutionized how I do my hair. My only complaint is that they come in mixed-color packs, when I only like the tortoiseshell ones. I’ve been thinking I should set up a local swap club, because surely there are other women who like the black ones or clear ones best.
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Backpack time!

Categories: School gear


I’m going to lead with my favorite backpack, and in fact you could suspect me of writing this entire post as an excuse to show it to you:

L.L. Bean Jr. Backpack in Blue Woodland Critter (photo from Look at the little owls! The sweet baby deer! I’m so sorry it’s in a junior size and that it’s not available until late September and that none of my kids need backpacks this year anyway.

They do have good prints in the regular-size backpacks, too: here’s a shark one (photo from I would be tempted to get for Henry, if he didn’t already have the next backpack I’m going to show you.
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Cute lunchboxes, some on sale

Categories: School gear


The twins are starting first grade this year, and they need lunchboxes.

I thought for sure Elizabeth would choose one that was (1) Hello Kitty and (2) pink, but instead she chose a red and blue owl lunch box. (I can’t find it online, but it’s at Target. Super cute, and comes with a little owl-shaped ice pack. It’s on sale this week for $11.)

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Back-to-school conservation tips

Categories: Life balance, School gear, back to school


Two goals for back-to-school shopping:

1. Saving money.
2. Bein’ all green ‘n’ stuff.

Sometimes these two goals are in conflict, as when the Super-Speshull Recycled Lunch System of Environmental Awesomeness is $kerjillion and the plain no-environmental-awesomeness one is $5. But other times these two goals work together like pencils and paper.

Tip the first: Reuse instead of purchase. If school shopping is fun for you like it’s fun for me, or if you have kids who want the fun of something new, this will be a challenge. But the best way to be all kissy-kissy to the environment is to use things until they are USED UP, and this saves money too. Sometimes stuff is so beat up by the end of a school year it has to be replaced, but sometimes it can go another year, or two, or three, which brings me to tip the second.
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Whimsical desk accessories

Categories: At the office, House & Home, School gear, Toothsome products (for grownups), back to school


I have noticed that a little whimsy goes a long way to keep my mood good. In the kitchen I have a bird peeler and a porcupine scrub brush and a toucan can opener. In the bedroom I have a squirrel platter and a picture of owls cuddling. But on my desk I have…clutter and utility. Here are some of the things I’ve been looking at to increase the whimsy around here:

Woodpecker scissors (photo from  I have a pair of these already, actually, but I’m considering a second pair because people are always stealing my scissors HELLO CHILDREN I AM TALKING TO YOU.  These cut really well (they glide through wrapping paper), but I also like that they have a lock (the tail flips up).  This lets me make the scissors safer, but also lets me, um, pose the bird.  Like, close its mouth.
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