Back To School Supplies….Not Just For Your Kids!

Who loves back to school shopping?  I don’t…lol!  BUT, I do love that Staples commercial….you know the one I’m talking about where the dad is skipping down the aisles so happy…..the kids will be back in school soon!  It’s literally around the corner for me….and I know some of you have more summer ahead of you, but shopping is in your future, and as I found out, it’s NOT too early to start looking for back to school supplies!

I have to admit, private school has its ups and downs.  The best part of back to school shopping there is the uniform…a NO brainer….yay!  Did that before vacation in and out in about an hour with just one major meltdown in the dressing room…I’d say we were successful!  I don’t want to think about what it might be like to have to outfit 3 – 5 year olds….with the latest  and greatest!  Just thinking about it, and picking out clothes in the morning, gives me the chills.  To those of you doing this already, more power to you, I am not envious! 

However, I remember fondly going school shopping each year with my mom…one of my favorites were a pair of teal corduroys, and my teal pumas….oh, how I loved them!  I was all ready to go:)  My kids have their white shirts, blue pants, plaid jumpers and skirts…and they are ready too, I hope.  I think that is why they might get so excited about school supplies….the part I dread the most BUT go with it, because we need them, and if its where the joy is for them, might as well go with it (until I can’t take anymore).

Speaking of, I shopped the other day for 6th grade supplies…..because I did NOT do the pre-ordered backpack like all my friends (because I am a sucker and my daughter enjoys buying school supplies-ugh!)….and by the time I hit the 3rd store…..I was done!  All the joy was gone, and the stress was starting to seep in.  BTW, did you know they don’t make white folders (not here anyway) and we NEED one…… whoever added that to the list, BUY me one, or we’re NOT going to have one.  Let’s not discuss the calculator…I wish I saved mine from college!

As the day progressed, and even though we were EARLY in school supply shopping so there were little crowds, I had to stop to laugh and cry.  Just watching, and seeing how much she enjoys this, and how much I am starting to “dislike” it…..especially now that its x4.  Okay, I will admit, it was fun and we got to spend some quality time together, so don’t tell her but I already pre-oredered the backpack supplies for the 2012/2013 school year…lol!  As I said on FB, now its onto shoes…..for 4……as my  daughter says, they have to be black, blue, no buckles, no laces, no pumps, no xyz……do you hear the anxiety building?!?!  THIS is when I think, WHY private school?!?!?  Let’s not get off topic!

What amazed me as we were shopping were the lists, the number of supplies needed on them, and the choices….wow!  Remember I went to 3 stores….Staples, Target and Walmart…..who had lots of the same stuff BUT different styles, colors, etc.  When I was a kid, you had a notebook (5 subject if you were lucky), pens, pencils, and that PINK rubber band thingy that held all your books together….no backpack…and certainly not on wheels!  Maybe a boyfriend who was willing to carry them…I didn’t even have that…lol!  Kids these days have NO idea how easy they’ve go it!

Which brings me to my whole point in writing this blog (I know I get distracted sometimes…so thanks for bearing with me)….FOSTER KIDS!  Yes, they want and need new school supplies too!  They would LOVE to be back to school shopping, getting new clothes, supplies, and spending the day.  So, when I saw a post on FB I thought I have to blog and ask you… you are shopping for school supplies this year PLEASE pick up a few extra items, or a backpack filled with pens, pencils, notebooks, erasers, highlighters, and all the fun stuff and drop it off at your local CPS office!  Imgaine the smile on a childs face….ALL kids want and need to start the year off right with new supplies….and YOU can help them do it!  It’s that simple.

So, as I am shoe shopping, I hope you will have fun with shopping for back to school supplies…..for ALL the kids

Together we can make a difference…one child at a time!


Do you enjoy school supply shopping?  What is on your list this year?  Do you recycle last years items?  Will you help out and fill a backpack for a child in need?  Do you know where your local DHS/CPS office is?

About Rita Brennan Freay

The journey of a 1000 miles always ends with a dirty diaper. Headmaster of a self inflicted international preschool & visitor center compassionately changing kids lives, one diaper at a time.
This entry was posted in fostercare, rita's fun and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Back To School Supplies….Not Just For Your Kids!

  1. I smile with nostagia as I read this blog, but am grateful those days are over for me. Actually, I did enjoy them because I love school supplies and also loved shopping for clothes for my boys (more than they did). But I’m grateful because now I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as I did then! Too overwhelming with the plethora of choices. To tell you the truth, the school shopping I enjoyed most was my own. I loved everything about new pencils, the zipper cases, stacks of fresh paper and new notebooks. Since I was one of those kids who loved going to school, buying supplies was the best part of the summer.

  2. Fun post. Although you made me anxious as I have yet to do our school shopping and school starts in 14 days! I have time, right?

    Okay, I love your idea. And no, I do not know where our local CPS office is. How do I find it?

  3. Back to school shopping was not one of my favorites. I often struggled to have the money for ALL of the supplies. These days, I could probably help a kid out. Sooo many places to place money to help these days!

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Oh Rowena, I cannot believe how much I’ve spent on supplies, crazy! It would be awesome if you could help a kid out these days, bringing a smile to their face and a renewed appreciation for going back to school – ready to start the year off -with new supplies! Sometimes its the little things:)

  4. Wine4Lovers says:

    ah, back to school those were the days! If you don’t have kids will the local schools accept stuff for foster kids?

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Yes, those were the days my friend! Here schools will accept items to give to those less fortunate, and there are usually banks or other local stores collecting items as well….you may find that in your area as well:)

  5. Hi Rita,
    Thanks — your energy and enthusiasm are amazing!
    I don’t remember anything particular about back-to-school shopping from my adventures back in the Dark Ages. Perhaps nothing special happened, or perhaps my memory lost the file. Never got romantic about office supplies either. I always thought that paper clips and all the rest are just tools to make the interesting work easier and better.
    But your blog really hits its stride when you finally turn to helping foster kids — a truly worthwhile cause, these days more than ever. You’re a terrific communicator and motivator. Way to go!

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Aww, thanks Robbie, appreciate it! Hoping to spread the word and get the message out…since this is an easy way to give & make a difference! As you said, nowadays more than ever, with the budget cuts, the kids are the ones who will be suffering! Thanks again for your kind encouraging words:)

  6. I don’t have kids, but when I was in school, I enjoyed back to school shopping. Especially clothes! We didn’t have to wear uniforms, so it was important to have cool outfits, so you could fit in just enough and stand out just enough! I loved the message in your post, to pick up back-to-school supplies for foster kids. When I am at staples next, I will pick up some supplies and donate them. Thank you for inspiring us.

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Me too, buying the clothes was the best part too, lol! Love fitting in and standing out just enough, even today! Always happy to inspire, and thanks for supporting the kids! You will be making a child very happy to be starting school this year:) Thanks Jaspreet!

    • Arif says:

      We used to have a Pearl and a small local store, both cramped, badly lit and porloy maintained. Now the Pearl has gone out of business, and the local shop’s the only one left, and they do things like let consumers take the protective caps off the brushes and “test” them, which invariably leads to their ruination.So I’ve been reduced to paying shipping costs from online stores. Alas. :,

  7. Love the post Rita, especially the rambly part…you know I have a special place in my heart for foster kids…I can’t imagine how difficult it is to go to school and not have any of the stuff the other kids have…My husband works for Deloitte and they do an awesome job of collecting supplies from all their office staff. In fact, just sent him in with two bags of stuff for the kits they put together.

    For me personally school shopping is 1/2 chore, 1/2 fun…I love all the organizational stuff but don’t like to crowds. Thanks again for keeping the foster care conversation front and center.

    Devoted to finding all things delicious.

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Hehehe, thanks Darcie! I can’t help rambly, lol! I am with you on the 50/50…..and can’t stand crowds either, ugh! Great to hear about Deloitte – my friend works there and maybe I can get something coordinated with her. Thanks from all the kids – who will start school with big smiles this year:)

  8. Don’t have kids so I am really struck by what buying back-to-school supplies consists of now as opposed to when I did it (and I suppose my mom was pulling out her hair). I still think that even though I have not been in school for so long, there is still something that sustains for me in happy anticipation for autumn, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils, the feel of crisp new paper…hope for the year to come. Your post made me laugh and remember… thank you

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Glad you enjoyed it Vicki:) I do love the beauty that autumn brings, thanks for pointing out the silver lining!!!

  9. Pat Zahn says:

    I’m the nerd who LOVES office supply stores! My daughter gets so irritated with me when I start wandering and asking, “Do you need this?” “Are you sure you don’t need that?” – this is our last year of high school (I only have one kid) – today was 1st day. She doesn’t even have lists yet. Thanks for reminding about the Foster Kid backpacks – I think there is a mattress store that always collects them – I’ll figure out how to get them there – maybe one of the high school clubs is doing it as a service project (wouldn’t that be great and convenient!)

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Oy, she is in school already?! I thought we started early, yikes!!! Oh Pat, I LOVE office supplies too, lol, just not shopping for them, lol! THAT is what I miss about my 9-5, going to the supply room, hahaha! On a more serious note, I’ve heard of banks collecting backpacks in the past as well, just not sure they go to foster kids, who are near and dear to my heart, so I will have to inquire…and look into that as well:) A service project, hmmm, great idea…I will bring it up to my kids school….THANKS!

  10. Rita, darling Rita, I was smiling as I read your post. I too love school supplies and felt that love hate relationship when shopping for them with my daughter. The anxiety and the love. I felt like I was in the store with you. I love your personality and how it shines through the blog. I love that you are passionate about making your kids happy, and all kids. I dont know where my local DHS/CPS office is. I wore a uniform at school but my daughter didn’t. I always thought it made life so much simpler. Nothing to think about in the morning. No stress tied to fitting in. More time for hair twiddling.

    Jennifer Duchene
    The Home Makeover Mixtress blending lifestyle, laughter and Chic Cocoons™

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Hair twiddling, oh the knots, tangles, and drama…lol! My daughters would LOVE you:) The uniforms are going to save my arse this year, no doubt! Ah, you hit it, a mixture of anxiety and love….felt it today as I was shoe shopping (after the dentist w/4 kids)…who knew this could be so much fun and stressful at the same time! Love my kids:)

  11. I so dislike school shopping – it’s not such a big deal in the UK – or wasn’t when we lived there. Our schools unfortunately don’t do the pre-ordering thing and they don’t give us the lists until registration or even after at times. Then the lists are ridiculous! Why do the teachers feel the need to be quite so picky and specific – many are sooo anal about the whole thing – color, size etc etc. Luckily both my girls get school laptops from now on so much of the work will be on them so I hope the madness dies down. I’ll let you know when I finally get the lists!
    Louise Edington
    Breaking Through Online Frontiers

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      No lists yet?! Yikes. Gotta love the thought of doing it all last minute, with the crowds huh, I don’t envy you! However, I do love the laptops though:) Very cool! Hope you get your lists soon, and can beat the mad dash! Good luck:)

  12. Rita, You cannot know how much I love school supplies! Going to buy school supplies was the highlight of my back-to-school rituals, much moreso than buying clothes. It was quite simple – a 3-ring binder and a little zip case for pencils, plus pens, eraser, and maybe some of those little white circles that you pasted on 3-hole punched paper when it ripped! My father often took me, and he also kept me supplied in pens and other desk supplies, which he loved as much as I did.

    I’ve never lost my taste for office supplies! I still am happy when I have a reason to go to Staples and browse around.

    We do have campaigns here for people to donate so foster children and other children in need can be prepared to go back to school. I also read about one food bank that started giving out crayons with the food because the kids were so excited by them.

    Great topic! Took me way back…

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer
    Personal-Professional Balance Through Writing

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Hehehe, those little white circles……LOVE it! I remember them well, and needed many! That brought me back, way back! Life was so simple then..wasn’t it?! I love that they are handing out crayons at the food bank, how awesome for the kids!!! Glad to hear there are organization by you that collect for those in need….it can really change a child’s outlook….on life, school, fitting in, so many things!

    • Iyan says:

      Dick Blick is my main choice, fewollod up by Pearl Paint – their big store in Chinatown of Manhattan, NY.Whatever I can’t find in their stores, I always have the websites. Blick’s webpage has never let me down with their selection and service.

  13. No need for school supply shopping here! But I love reading about yours. And if my memory is working right, I too had uniforms in grade school and I hated hated hated them. I’m glad I got to wear regular clothes in high school. Although that was fraught with other emotions too! Enjoy the time. One day they won’t need you to take them school supply shopping. They will ask for the money and go with friends!

    Julieanne Case
    Always from the heart!
    Reconnecting you to your essence, joy, vitality, youth.| Healing you from the Inside Out |Reconnective Healing | AgeLoc Skin Care | Pharmanex Supplements

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Awww, thanks Julieanne, and sadly you are right! It will break my heart…but I will have to deal, lol! I am hoping they will love their uniforms, and I will be spared the dressing nightmare each morning! They can wear whatever they want when they get to college, rofl!

  14. Donna McCord says:

    Wow, does this bring back memories! My daughter was in private school from preschool through 7th grade, but they only uniforms her last year there. I still remember the Supply Lists, and all the time spent in Office Max, Office Depot, Staples, etc. trying to find just the right items…it’s been so long ago now my memories are mainly pleasant, but reading your post reminded me of the drama (especially with the clothes and shoes shopping) and the arguments, and the huge amount of patience that was required! Still, I kind of miss those rituals after all this time. Now if my daughter wants me to go shopping with her it is quite different…she knows what she wants and goes for it…but then it also much the same — if I go along, I become the money source, and she still asks my opinion (even if she doesn’t agree with it)! I too have seen the advertisements for Sleep Train’s efforts to collect supplies for the Foster Kids, and I am looking to see if there is a Sleep Train in our area here. Many blessings to you, Rita, and all you do for these precious children. Hope your kids are excited and looking forward to their new school year!

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      It is bitter sweet:) I loved it as a kid, I should ask my mom if she dreaded it or enjoyed it. I do enjoy it, but there is stress! So far my kids are excited about school, a bit nervous, and don’t really understand its coming soon, and that its all day school as opposed to camp…..that could be ugly! But, we are preparing them, and I am hoping for the best:) I will be sad, I am sure:(

  15. I am one of those nuts who loves back to school shopping. One for my daughter, one for me! I love new office supplies and this is the perfect opportunity to get some. I only shop with the youngest (8th grade). My oldest, junior in high school is way to sophisticated to go with me anymore. But, the smell of new notebooks, new everything makes my eyes water. My mom used to stick me in the dressing room at Sears and pick out everything for me. Hated that, but my parents were on a budget so I guess that was the easiest thing for her to do. I let my kids pick their clothes, heck, my oldest even buys her own, so I cannot complain.
    And, just so you know, I buy an extra bag and drop it at a friend’s house who delivers everything to the local Juvenile Residential Center. Those kids have nothing but a hard bed to sleep on. Very sad……

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Love you Laurie, as do those kids at the Residential Center!!! THANK you:) It is so sad to think about that hard bed, starting school unprepared, trying to fit in….ok, now I have tears, ugh! This is why we all do what we do, and try to give back, help those who can’t fend for themselves…for ALL the kids!

  16. I was wondering when you were going to get to Foster Kids! There is a lot of advertising here in the Bay Area on the radio about shopping for school supplies for foster kids and they can be dropped off at Sleep Train. I love that store because this time of year they collect school supplies and at other times of years they collect shoes, coats, pajamas and various other things for foster kids. They do good work for those kids, just like you do Rita. You are an angel. Keep on spreading the word. You are making a world of difference.

    Susan Berland
    A Picture’s Worth

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Hahaha Susan, you know I am long winded sometimes, lol! Have to say, sadly there is nothing on the radio here damn it! I remember hearing last year about some bank that collects things, but I am not sure it goes to foster kids…which is where I want mine to go…..but giving to any place willing to help those in need is fabulous!!! As always, thank you for your kind words and support, you are awesome:) Love ya!

  17. Brenda Jones says:

    This is my first year to go school shopping for my daughter who is starting preschool. I had to shop for clothes not to find her the latest and greatest, but to go get clothes I don’t mind her ruining in the art studio or in water/mud play like they are doing this summer. She has a closet of “cute” clothes, but I’m not putting that on her for school. If they get destroyed, it will be my fault, not someone else’s or I will hold a grudge, lol. So off to target for the wonderful mix and match $5 (toddler) and $6 (girl’s) stacks. Grabbed new shoes too since she can’t wear sandals, and that’s all she really had that fit. New backpack, new lunch box and containers, new stuffed friend for days she stays through rest time, oh and the duplicate outfit to leave in her cubby… and we’re done. No school supplies for us yet, but we do hit the sales for her art center at home.

    To answer your questions, I do not know where the local CPS office is. I will be helping the women’s ministry at our parent church stuff back packs for kids in need next week, but I think I’ll go put something together to drop off here as well if I can find the back-to-school list for our area. As for the white folders, if you’re talking paper folders, they have them at Staples in the report folder area. At least that’s where I bought a bunch last time I needed them. I can always mail you one if you really need it!

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Thanks Brenda! I might take you up on the offer of one white paper folder….still can’t find them, but haven’t looked in the report folder area:( Didn’t want to have to go back there…lol! Your local CPS/DHS….hmm, I think I need to find the registry/or easy way to find it and blog about it…..many people don’t have a clue (not that I did until I signed up, lol!)…guess there’s always google, lol! Enjoy preschool, it goes by SO fast!!!

  18. Jan Tallent says:

    I have to admit I am not-so-secretly addicted to office supplies and am NOT safe if let loose in a Staples, lol. I loved the back to school supply shopping for my kids because Mom always got a few bonus items as well – heck, I had to drive 35 miles to get TO Staples so I deserved some gifts, right?

    I just love the look and feel of new folders, notebooks, stationary, pens, etc. and have my own mini-Staples store that I *call* my home office to prove it.

    Great post, by the way, Rita :-)

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Hahaha funny Jan…I can picture you at Staples, enjoying the supplies, lol! I love the look and feel too, and am a secret office supply horder, shh, don’t tell! My daughter is forever “borrowing” my stuff, so I need to keep a stash, hehehe! So, like you, of course I have to get a few things while I am school shopping, we deserve it! Thanks for stopping by and sharing:)

  19. I love to go back to school shopping! I am so weird like that. My kids wear uniforms too, so that was totally easy. I also had to go to three stores to get everything we needed, but for some reason I didn’t lose my mind this year. I do reuse whatever I can from the year before like clipboards, pencil cases, and backpacks.
    I did pick up some extra supplies to donate, thanks for reminding me to drop them off.

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Awesome Meredith! I enjoyed it in the beginning, but now its starting to stress me out…lol! I’m happy to remind you…and want to say THANKS for picking up the extra’s for the kids…we need more rock stars like YOU!

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