Tag Archives | back to school


We survived the first week of back to school with minimal rides on the struggle bus, but I’m so tiiired you guys. And so happy it’s Friday!

Our week was jammed pack with open houses, soccer, football, carpool, errands, school drop offs and a playdate at the state fair with the littles. Thought I would share a few (ok, an embarrassing amount of) pics from the last few days, starting with some open house shenanigans…


Poor Espey came down with a low-fever and ended up missing the official first day of school. Thankfully he bounced back quickly!


Both wiping off THIS kiss.

rae-ann-kelly-back-to-school-8271 rae-ann-kelly-back-to-school-8513Ozzie is now a sophomore, Espen a 4th grader, Tilly a 2nd grader and Griffin a pre-K-er.

And I am dead. Can’t imagine them getting any older than they already are.


When old routines, like waiting for the bus, feel new again!

Going to the first day without her big brother was a big deal, but she killed it. Luckily Espen was feeling better the next morning!


Yesterday Griffin, Poppy, and I distracted ourselves with a playdate at the WA State Fair. Friends, a couple rides, blow up toys, farm animals and corn dogs were just what we needed!


The face Poppy makes when I tell her to smile. ^^^

I love my little, big family more than words and life. Summer with them is my love language and having them all to myself for the last 10-ish weeks has me wishing it would never end. Trying my best to find a new rhythm and embrace this next season. Currently finding comfort in pumpkin spice lattes :)

Happy weekend friends!

XO, Rae



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‘Tis the season for lunchbox packing! Not that my kid’s lunches look this cute everyday during the school year, but I do try and make them extra special for the  back to school season especially. I feel like it makes the transition easier for all of us. Then as the year goes on, anytime we get in a packed lunch or school rut, I’ll start adding special touches again. Chocolate covered or sprinkled anything and notes or stickers are always a hit.

Over the long weekend, while planning meals for the first week of school, I felt inspired to print some emoji and hashtag stickers to keep on hand. Download file and take a peek at what and how we’re packing for lunch this week, below.

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  • Almond butter and banana sandwich
  • Chocolate covered pretzels
  • Edamame
  • Greek yogurt and sprinkles
  • Answer to the joke: Because they would crack each other up :)

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  • Bagel with cream cheese and cucumbers
  • Salami bites
  • Almonds and M&M’s
  • Popcorn
  • Raspberries


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My kids start school tomorrow and I am dreading it. But if I had to pick a silver lining it would be that the kitchen won’t be in a constant state of eating, snacking, cooking and general mess. At least during school hours. So at the moment, packing lunches feel like a blessing. Ask me in a couple months though!

How do you feel about packing lunches?

XO, Rae



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The morning struggle is real you guys especially when transitioning from summer into a back to school schedule. In the past, a big part of that struggle in our home had to do with getting dressed. Picking out an outfit is never easy in a cluttered closet (right?) so today I’ll be sharing how I simplify my kid’s wardrobes as well as a few other tips that will help with the morning rush!
For those of you in the Seattle area, I’ll also be chatting on this subject today on KING5 around 4:45pm. Trying to be more excited than I am nervous so tune in and send me all your good vibes! :)
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Slightly obvious, totally necessary and also my least favorite part is going through all the kids clothes. I try to bribe them into trying on their pants and dressier clothes. Everything else is usually easy to tell sizing. Then I make piles and decide what to keep, give and store for a later season. Don’t be afraid to part with items that are in really good shape that the kids hate wearing or you don’t like.
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Next I place their ready to wear items within reach, off season items out of the way and giveaway items in the trunk of my car because you know they will find a thing or two they don’t want to part with if given the chance! Then I separate the graphic tees from the hoodies and pants, etc. in their closet and drawers. This makes it easier to see what they do and don’t need which often saves me money. No more spontaneous Target purchases unless of course they need it or it’s too cute to pass up! It’s harder to justify buying another graphic tee if I know they already have 10 (or 20) of them hanging in their closet.
Using labels and hanging dividers can help keep things organized. Download the simple template pictured above:

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Now that their closets are organized and I know what they have and need, here comes the hardest part… Not purchasing every cute pint-sized garments I see. Fewer clothes saves time so I try purchasing items that will work well with their existing wardrobe, that I know they will enjoy and wear and that I also like (sorry kids).

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  • It’s always a good idea to set clothes out the night before (we rarely do this but always love it when we do!).
  • I highly recommend having your kids get dressed before eating breakfast (at least the older ones). Mine tend to get dressed much quicker this way!
  • It’s always a great time to let kids dress themselves but especially now because almost anything goes in fashion at the moment. They can mix stripes with florals, girly with tomboy, and summer with fall until their hearts content!

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Have any other tips you can share? How do you transition from summer into a back to school morning routine?

XO, Rae



As I mentioned in my last post, I finally started back to school shopping and cannot believe the amount of cuteness out there! It’s so hard to narrow down our faves but here are a few of the backpack + shoe combos that the kids and I both love. All backpacks are by State Bags, a company that gives bags to kids in need with each purchase, and the first two are for preschool ages. Links below!



I enjoy everything about back to school shopping (hello summer to fall style and new school supplies) but my favorite part is helping  the kids pick out backpacks and shoes. Probably because it was always such a big deal to me growing up. What is your favorite part of BTS shopping?

XO, Rae

PS – If you are local to the Seattle area, tune into KING5 during the 4 o’clock hour this Friday, August 26th… I’ll be sharing stress-free back to school wardrobe tips for kids (!!!).




Despite my best effort to avoid anything involving back to school– preparations have official begun around here. My feelings (and there are lots of them) are mixed at best. I REALLY don’t want the summer to end, but I do want to be organized and ready for a shiny new school year. Since I am pretty useless without a checklist and am motivated by cute things, I made this infographic – slash – illustrated checklist last night to help ease myself into the BTS spirit. And (kinda surprisingly) it’s worked a little already! Johan and I added a couple more summery things to our calendar as well as the kids’ school events and I’m now off to checkout the 50% sale at the Gap. Check, check, and partial check…

What’s on your checklist this week??? Inquiring minds (or something less creepy) want to know :)

XO, Rae

PS – Feel fee to share, save, use or pin the graphic for later!!!



Over the weekend the kids and I put together back to school survival kits for their teachers filled with a few things to make their day and desk a little sweeter. I know most families with preschool or elementary age kids already had their first day, but it’s never too late to give away some goodies! They would make a cute surprise for students, friends or neighbors as well. Freebies and details below.


Here’s what we put in our survival kits:

  • BACK TO SCHOOL TAGS, pdf (click to download) tied to the outside of the goodie bag.
  • Washi tape
  • Mints
  • Stickers from our favorite sticker club, PIPSTICKS
  • Starbucks Via instant latte packs
  • 5×7 instant download print from the shop (30% off right now with code BTS15)
  • Note cards from my paperworks subscription. Could double as a back to school gift to yourself or grab some from the dollar isle at Target.
  • Highlighter and pretty pencils from Target


ABC’s // by the numbers // kind is cool// day by day

We’re also celebrating back to school with a P R I N T   P A R T Y30% off everything & new prints! Use code, BTS15. Sale ends at midnight (Tuesday 9/1) so hurry and head here to shop!

Happy, happy, happy, BTS!




It’s Friday. How did that happen? The 4 day hiatus I took was not planned but I think the result of the summer wall I’ve hit and bad planning/packing while we took a quick trip to Leavenworth earlier this week. Regardless I missed posting and am haaaaaapy to be back to share this fun kid friendly craft!


I really love seeing all the styles and accessories that trend during the preschool and elementary years. One of the things that Tilly got into last year was collecting trinkets to hang from her backpack. It was cute and she had a lot of fun with it so I thought some bright and colorful handmade charms would be the perfect touch for her bag this year. She made a bunch to share with friends as well and Griffin got into it too.


(Little man can hardly wait to sport is backpack bling on the first day of preschool! Bag from the big boy section at Target)

It took us an hour or so to prep and paint everything, with a few things needing a second coat later in the day and then 30+ minutes to pick the combos and string everything. Griffin (4 y.o.) needed lots of hands-on help but Tilly (6 y.o.) did most steps on her own.

Supply list and how to, below!


You’ll Need:

  1. Acrylic paint (love the hand made modern sold at Target)
  2. Plastic animals (grabbed a bag of jungle animals and dinosaurs at the craft store)
  3. String or twine (colored hemp pictured – also used twine)
  4. 3/4 inch. wood beads (from craft store)
  5. Key rings (from the jewelry making section at the craft store)
  6. Eye screws (also from the jewelry section at the craft store)
  7. Tiny finishing nail and hammer or drill-bit and drill

Here’s How To:

  1. Using your nail and hammer or drill, make a hole in an animal. Screw in an eye screw. Repeat on the rest of the animals.
  2. Paint beads and plastic animals as you wish. Set aside to dry. We strung the beads onto wood skewers as we went to dry.
  3. Make tassels if you wish.
  4. Touch up paint.
  5. Cut string to about 12 inches long. Once paint is dry, thread through the screw eyes on the animals. Add beads and tassels as you wish and finish with a key ring. Tie a knot at the end of the string and trim excess.
  6. Add to the zippers on your backpacks or gift to friends (and aunties!)!

They turned out just as cute, if not cutter in real life as they look in pictures and would be equally adorable as a pint-sized necklace or bracelet if you have supplies leftover.

If you have any other back to school needs, here’s a few other posts on the subject:

more-bts-goodies1. BTS fashion show activity // 2. mom + mini bus stop style – dad + mini bus stop style // 3. favorite lunch combos // 5. everyday DIY, BTS series I did with mom.me awhile back. videos 1 2 3 4 5

Happy weekend!

XO, Rae

(images by Stacy Jacobsen)




Itsums has quickly become my favorite online resources for planning parties, home dec projects and wardrobes. I used it with the girl’s room makeover and my summer capsule and finished on budget and just this week started boards for the kids’ back to school clothes. Usually around this time I start filling up my online shopping carts and then end over spending, getting too much for one of the kids (usually Tilly) or purchasing items that don’t necessarily work well together. Needless to say I’m excited to be more organized and on budget this year!

In the spirit of back to school and staying on budget, I’ve partnered with itsums to giveaway (1) $75 gift card to one lucky winner (finger’s crossed it’s you! :)

Enter to win by using  T H I S   L I N K  to start your own itsums account. Contest closes Sunday, August 16th at 8am PST. I’ll announce the winner here and then a direct email will be sent to the winner from my friends at itsums.


If your in the mood for some BTS shopping inspiration, take a peek at the kids’ (approved) boards. At the moment they are all over budget so I’ll be doing some editing or holding out for some sales before purchasing!

Griffin’s Board // Tilly’s Board // Espen’s Board

Since the weather stays nice through the middle of October I typically purchase a few things for back to school and then add layers later in the year.

What’s your strategy for back to school shopping?

good luck and happy hump day!



PS – I know you will love itsums but want to mention that they are in the beta stage and gladly welcome any feedback you might have after using.


breakfast club: favorite brekkie cookie

you guys up for another recipe?  i hope so because we go crazy for these breakfast cookies at our house and devour them so quickly that i recommend making 2 batches at a time. they are perfect for a quick breakfast or after school snack on the go and you can freeze the extras for later.  i also thought i would share the stickers i made for those crazy mornings  when everyone is running in different directions. download, print and cut so you have them handy…. links and recipe are below!


“HAVE A GOOD DAY, OKAY?” stickers (PDF) 

PEANUT BUTTER BREKKIE COOKIES: makes 24 , 10 minutes prep, 11 minutes to bake each batch

You’ll need

  • 1 cup favorite all natural peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (good fat = good for the brain on a school day!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1-1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (less sugar than other types)

Here’s How

preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

in a large bowl mix peanut butter, brown sugar and coconut oil until combined and smooth. mix in eggs. add rest of ingredients and stir until combined.

using your hands (or a cookie scoop) make 2-inch balls, place on prepared baking sheet and press down slightly. cookies won’t expand while baking so you can place them closer together – i usually fit 18 or so. bake for 11 minutes.

let cool before serving. great for breakfast, lunch or snack time! freeze leftovers and thaw for busy days!

what do you usually hand the kids on their way out the door when you didn’t have time to sit down for breakfast?

xo . rae


bus stop style (dad + mini)


as promised, a little bus stop style for the men in your life! honestly, i could pick out and dress boys all day everyday — it’s the girlie stuff that tends to trip me up a little! hope you like!

for DAD: hat, top (option), pants (option), shoes

for MINI: top (option), sweater, jeans, shoes, headphones (option), backpack

i finally got around to doing a little back to school shopping earlier this week but am only about half way done and still need to decide on backpacks! purchasing a new backpack for back to school is like a tradition around here… and since it’s something they carry everyday i also tend to splurge a little too. however, after talking to several moms who purchase new ones when the old ones are worn out, i’m starting to feel like a major sucker! what do you guys usually do about backpacks?

xo . rae

ps – love the state backpacks (pictured) because for every bag purchased, they give one away to a child in need in the US… they also put on motivational rallies and events that create change in communities. so cool. and so are their bags!


bus stop style (mom + mini)

bus-stop-style-mommy-+-mini2for MOM: hat, top (option), rings, denim, tote, shoe (option)

for MINI: hat, denim jacket (similar), top (option), backpack, track pants, sneakers (option)

just two weeks left before we send our kids back to school and even though there is an abundance of cute fall duds in the stores and online right now, i haven’t purchased a single item. not feeling quite ready to say goodbye to summer! or my kids’ cute faces!! hoping this outfit collage get’s me inspired to check a few things off my back-to-school shopping list today!

how about you!? are you ready for back to school?

xo . rae

(ps – i haven’t forgotten about the boys in your life. come back tomorrow for a daddy + mini bus stop style!)

gray-stripePPS – for more style inspiration, check out this fun video we did as part of a back-to-school series with mom.me!



xo . rae

creative direction: rae ann kelly
video production: mark titus, august island pictures
production asst: paul moore, jane kelly + stacy jacobsen