Three Back-to-School Must Haves

It’s drizzling outside as I write this and I’m thinking about fall and back-to-school days.

Some of my favorite little people will be starting school soon and just thinking of them heading off with their back packs makes me melt. I’m hoping so much that they have a wonderful year!

Back-to-school always makes me want to start a new class of some kind myself. I’ve never actually done it, though. But good news: we scheduled our art classes with Gustavo (classes will start just after the retreat)! I’m so excited. Do you have any traditions for yourself at the beginning of a school year?

And today, I thought I’d share with you three back-to-school items that are pretty genius. They’re two things I’ve heard chatter about and one thing I just saw on my own. Maybe some of you already know about these things. But just in case, here you go….

1. Planet Box

A friend has these lunch boxes for her children and they all love them. These are really well made out of stainless steel. I LOVE that they reduce so much plastic wrap, zip locs, and paper bags!! And I love all the little compartments. It’s like eating out of a bento box everyday which seems ridiculously fun. Somehow carrot sticks and grapes never looked so good. (Btw, the family with the Planet Boxes has this awesome tradition: the Dad makes their lunches everyday before he goes to work. Even during summer days, you can spot the children eating lunch from their Planet Boxes. 🙂 You can buy some here from Amazon.

2. Rosemary Oil

Did you know that rosemary oil repels LICE? Yep. One teacher told my friend to dab a little rosemary essential oil on the children each morning before school (one suggestion is to dab it behind the ears and at the nape of the neck). Buy it on Amazon here. There is also a shampoo that I love that has rosemary in it and is helpful for the same purpose. It’s actually a kids’ shampoo, but I love it as it’s all natural and makes my hair and curls so dang soft. It’s Original Sprout Shampoo & Conditioner. I even brought some with me to Ecuador! I used it the other day and Danny buried his head in my curls and said they smelled so clean. 🙂 That is always welcome, right?!

3. Pencil Case

I saw this on-line and have been swooning over it. I think it’s so sweet for children starting school. It’s no longer available for sale on Etsy, but I am in DIY mode down here and might even take a crack at making one.

Do you guys have any other back-to-school must haves to report? I always love that these posts become great references for myself and readers. (I often find myself clicking back to past posts to look up stuff you guys have recommended. I love it. xx)

P.S. An interesting tradition in Ecuador: people get bonuses twice a year. Once at Christmas time and once in August right before school begins so they can have extra money for their kids’ school supplies.

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  1. About Us August 19, 2014 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Cute, Mara! How are you?! We ended up in Phx for residency, where you're from, right? I love checking in to the blog to see what you're up to. We miss you guys.
    Jesse and Eric Overton and Stella and Izzy

    • mara August 19, 2014 at 6:20 pm - Reply

      Jesse! How fun to see this note! Oh, we miss you guys SO much. I think of you from time to time and wish we could repeat some of our park day or dinners together. Just seeing your note has us melting over your kids. And wow – Phoenix! That's great. Though hopefully you've been surviving the summer. 🙂 My parents live there and next time we visit AZ we absolutely will have to come visit you. Much love to you all, Mara

  2. Aubrey August 19, 2014 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    Mara – I always love all of your recommendations. I really love those pencil cases!
    I love that everyone gets two bonuses. That's something I really love about other countries – they seem to have a more healthy mindset – ie: Universal Health Care in Canada, Long lunches/shorter work weeks in Europe, LONG maternity leaves in Sweden, etc – I wish US could get on board with that stuff.

    • mara August 19, 2014 at 6:40 pm - Reply

      Oh, thanks, Aubrey! You're so sweet. And yes, it is interesting to see how they do things elsewhere. They definitely do some of the "euro vacation" mode here, too….meaning it seems many families take off for weeks or a month and they head to the beach for the summer. It's so lovely. I wish this was more of the norm in the U.S.

  3. Aron Stillman August 19, 2014 at 10:12 pm - Reply

    Can hardly wait to hear about your 10-day Vipassana retreat. Buen viaje!

  4. Grandma Honey August 19, 2014 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    Amazon has sold out of the Planet Boxes….do you know any other place I can order from? I love this post Mara….thank you.

  5. Anonymous August 21, 2014 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Is that blanket in the photo yours? It's gorgeous, if so where did you get it?

    • mara April 14, 2016 at 6:49 pm - Reply

      Oh – – I just came across this old comment and realized I never responded. I'm so sorry about that! The blanket is ours. It's from Ecuador. They sell TONS of these in most towns. I've seen them in Cuenca and definitely at the Otavalo Market in Otavalo. You can usually get one for $15-20. They may quote you a little more, but they expect negotiating. Also, many people will say the blankets are made of alpaca, but I think most of them are actually made of acrylic. The alpaca ones are usually very much more – maybe $100 or more.

  6. My Name is JACY August 22, 2014 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    Mara! Thank you, thank you! Thank you for sharing the love about The Togetherness Project! It means more than you know!

    • My Name is JACY August 22, 2014 at 4:20 pm - Reply

      A few people have already emailed us because they read your blog. THANK YOU!

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