Back to School Supplies for Middle School

We are approaching that time in summer where we need to start thinking about back to school supplies. I know, I really don’t want to think about it, but with one kid starting high school mid-August and another child starting middle school the day after Labor day, back to school supplies is something we need to start picking up. The school supplies for middle school will be a bit different than what we are used to picking up for elementary school.

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school supplies for middle school

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My daughter is going into sixth grade and she is beyond excited. She’s excited to have her own locker, supplies that is just hers, and she is excited to travel between classes. After going through the middle school years once already with her older brother, we have a handle on what exactly is needed.

School Supplies for Middle School

Cinch Sack

For some stupid reason, in our district, kids cannot use backpacks at the middle school level (they can in high school). However, they are allowed a cinch sack. We’ve purchased this cinch sack and really like it for a number of reasons.

adidas Alliance Ii Sackpack, Bright Cyan/Black/White, One Sizeadidas Alliance Ii Sackpack, Bright Cyan/Black/White, One Size

One of the reasons we like this one (besides the color!!) is that it can fit a water bottle on the side. If you are allowed to use a cinch, but not a backpack, GET ONE! It can hold those little random things that you need, but can’t carry easily from class to class. Also, for girls that have or may start their period, it can hold their supplies for that, as well.

Zippered Binder

Again, for those that can’t use a backpack (or those that don’t want to), a zippered binder is a must have item. We found one that has a file folder section in it that you can put tabs on for each class. This is a good place for kids to put their homework from each class or notes that must get home.

Case-it Mighty Zip Tab 3-Inch Zipper Binder, Black, D-146-BLKCase-it Mighty Zip Tab 3-Inch Zipper Binder, Black, D-146-BLK

This is the binder we got. One of the features I like is that it comes with a shoulder strap so your child can wear it across their body for easy carrying. It’s very heavy duty and holds up to the daily use.

Loose Leaf Paper

This is kind a no brainer and you probably think I’m crazy for mentioning it, but there is a specific loose leaf paper you should buy. Trust me. It’s well worth the couple cents more.

Five Star Loose Leaf Paper, 3 Hole Punched, Reinforced Filler Paper, College Ruled, 11Five Star Loose Leaf Paper, 3 Hole Punched, Reinforced Filler Paper, College Ruled, 11

This loose leaf paper has reinforced holes! Such a genius product and well worth it for the kids. I can remember many nights in middle school and high school where I was forced to put those little circle stickers over the holes of my loose leaf paper (always on both sides) just to make sure I didn’t lose my notes. Not anymore. These kids don’t know how good they got it now! This is a pretty good price for it too!

Mechanical Pencils

I was not a pro-mechanical pencil person because we had a TON of regular pencils. But after seeing how teachers would get upset with kids for needing to sharpen a pencil or how crappy the regular pencils are, it just became apparent that we needed to buy the mechanical type. Here are the ones we swear by:

BIC Xtra-Life Mechanical Pencil, 0.7 mm, 40-CountBIC Xtra-Life Mechanical Pencil, 0.7 mm, 40-Count

Again, stock up. This is an excellent price…works out to be about $0.16 a pencil! Buy lots because your kids will go through them!

Those are the top four things you will need for middle school. Of course, each individual teacher may have their items that they want kids to have, but the items above are the general school supplies for middle school items you can’t do without…in my opinion. Other items we found useful are listed below. Our district uses Chromebooks. This year we are opting to buy our daughter her own and utilize the Bring Your Own Device program. The Chromebooks the district have for the kids have seen better days.

Dated Middle School or High School Student Planner for Academic Year 2018-2019 (Block Style - 5.5Dated Middle School or High School Student Planner for Academic Year 2018-2019 (Block Style – 5.5Casio fx-300MS Scientific CalculatorCasio fx-300MS Scientific CalculatorMead Composition Books/Notebooks, Wide Ruled Paper, 100 Sheets, 9-3/4Mead Composition Books/Notebooks, Wide Ruled Paper, 100 Sheets, 9-3/4BIC Cristal Xtra Smooth Ball Pen, Medium Point (1.0 mm), Red, 10-CountBIC Cristal Xtra Smooth Ball Pen, Medium Point (1.0 mm), Red, 10-CountASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS01 11.6ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS01 11.6Toysmith Really Big EraserToysmith Really Big Eraser

Good luck and happy shopping for your back to school supplies for middle school!

Top Reasons Why You Need an Air Fryer Today!

At Christmas, I was hell bent on getting an Instant Pot. Everyone I knew had them and somehow I had convinced myself that an Instant Pot would make my life easier. Of course, like I do, I Googled the heck out of it and read some horror stories and then scared myself out of wanting one. Not to mention, it seemed like all the recipes were super involved. Not for me. Instead, I decided to get an Air Fryer. Let me tell you, that was the best decision ever! I use it multiple times a week, if not every single day!

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need air fryer
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Top Reasons YOU Need an Air Fryer

I know what you’re thinking…the last thing you need is another kitchen applianceneed air fryer taking up space. Normally I would agree with you. However, this appliance will be your favorite and most used appliance in your kitchen. Not even joking!

GoWISE USA 5.8-Quarts 8-in-1 Electric Air Fryer XL + 50 Recipes for your Air Fryer Book (Black)GoWISE USA 5.8-Quarts 8-in-1 Electric Air Fryer XL + 50 Recipes for your Air Fryer Book (Black)Premium Olive Oil Mister and Cooking Sprayer with Clog-Free Filter and Glass Bottle by CHEFVANTAGE - Stainless SteelPremium Olive Oil Mister and Cooking Sprayer with Clog-Free Filter and Glass Bottle by CHEFVANTAGE – Stainless Steel

Reason #1 – You can make your favorite deep fried foods, but without all the hassle of the bucket of oil, the risk of getting splattered by the oil, and without the damaging affects eating heavily fried foods does to our bodies. With the air fryer, you use very little oil. The air is what fries the food. Neat, huh?!?

Reason #2 – Foods take minutes to make. My favorite thing to make in the air fryer at the moment, is fried radishes. I know. It sounds weird, but it’s so good. I spritz a little oil on the cut radishes, use my favorite seasonings and they go in the air fryer for about 15 minutes. 15 minutes is about the longest anything has ever taken in this thing!

Radishes not your thing? Well then try this air fried Spicy Brussel Sprouts recipe. It’s a favorite of ours!

6 QT Power Air Fryer Oven Plus- 7 in 1 Cooking Features with Professional Dehydrator and Rotisserie6 QT Power Air Fryer Oven Plus- 7 in 1 Cooking Features with Professional Dehydrator and Rotisserie

Reason #3 – Looking for something a little larger for your family? The air fryer has you covered with the air fryer oven. Eventually I will be upgrading to this. I was at the gym one day and as I was on the elliptical, I watched an infomercial for the oven and you can cook a whole chicken in there for about 30 minutes. Amazing!

Are you convinced yet?

Currently, besides veggies, our favorite things to make in the air fryer are burgers, polish sausages, and popcorn shrimp for my son. Mine came with a little baking dish that I can make a cheesecake in there. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s on my list!! A Keto cheesecake would be a great idea! You literally can make whatever you would like in here. It’s also nice not heating up the kitchen with the oven for things like my sons popcorn shrimp, their chicken fingers, etc!


Surviving Keto in a Non-Keto World

We are almost done with June. The summer months can be especially difficult for people following a diet plan, especially Keto. If you think about the majority of the yummy foods you find at summer BBQ’s, its things like chips and dip, chips and salsa, corn on the cob, delicious desserts, etc. None of those things are “Keto approved”. However, you do NOT need to let that allow you to fall off the wagon or say no to the many invites you will be getting this summer. It is totally possible to survive Keto in a non-Keto world.

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non-keto world

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The Keto diet has been a huge part of my life for over the last two and a half years. I am going to be completely honest here and not try to be all, “oh it’s so easy to avoid the non-Keto foods”. That’s not true. Even those with the best will power will have struggles and if they say they don’t, they’re not being truthful. However, what is easy is to set yourself up for success by remembering these three tips for surviving Keto in a non-Keto world.

How to Survive in a Non-Keto World

Tip #1: Make a plan. If you are going to a BBQ, you know the main dish item will most likely be hamburgers, hot dogs, steak or chicken. It is typically foods that are easy to make on the grill. All of those things, for the most part, are Keto approved. All you have to think about are the side dishes. You know they will most likely have a salad. Plan to fill up on salad and meat.

Tip #2: Offer to bring a Keto approved side dish. I don’t know about your BBQ’s, but a staple side dish at most BBQ’s that I go to have cheesy potatoes. Offer to bring this loaded cauliflower casserole. I guarantee you, not many people will even realize the difference.

non-keto world

I mean, look at it, it looks phenomenal and I am sure it tastes just as good. But…if cauliflower is not your thing, and I get it, not everyone likes it, then you HAVE to make these bacon wrapped asparagus and throw them on the grill (or the Air Fryernon-keto world…my absolute favorite appliance)!

non-keto world

Tip #3: Pop a piece of gum in your mouth or brush your teeth. I don’t know about you, but once that piece of gum goes into my mouth, the only thing I drink is water and I don’t want to eat anything. Food and drinks (besides water) taste gross mixed with mint gum. There are some really good Keto friendly gum on the market.PUR Gumnon-keto world is my favorite.

So, as you can see, it is totally doable to survive Keto in non-Keto world. If you happen to fall off the wagon slightly, don’t beat yourself up. What I do when that happens (and it does happen) is I take my probiotic like normal before bed and the next morning I go to the gym and do a long cardio workout. For the rest of that day, I try to eat as few carbs as possible. That has seemed to help me over the years.

If you would like to find out more information about the Keto diet, you can check out my Keto diet archives here. For more delicious Keto friendly recipes, check out my Keto diet recipes archives here. Enjoy!


Keto Diet Stall – Top Reasons Why

Like any diet or lifestyle change, there are bound to be times where we face little hiccups. There will be times that we fall off the wagon or make a conscious decision to take a break. It’s totally normal. It happens. What happens after those moments is what matters. Both my husband and I have been following the Keto lifestyle for well over two years now. We’ve had our fair share if ups and downs. For me, dealing with my gallbladder issues and then recovering from surgery, was a bit of a hiccup for me, but I am bouncing back. For some of you just starting the Keto diet or looking to start it, you may be wondering what the top reasons why people experience a Keto diet stall are. Lucky for you, I’m going to tell you!!

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keto diet stall

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So…as I said, with any diet or lifestyle change, there will be things that cause us to stall, fall off the wagon, etc. For me, I didn’t make a decision to step away from the diet. I, more or less, couldn’t cope with feeling so horrible from my gallbladder AND sticking 100% to the Keto diet. Instead, I was in survival mode. I ate mostly Keto, but also ate what would agree with me. Prior to all my gallbladder issues, I was in a horrible keto diet stall. I hadn’t gained or lost any weight for at least six months, but I think it was even longer than that. So what happened?

Keto Diet Stall – Top Reasons Why

  • You’re not actually in ketosis 

If you’ve been reading up on Keto, you will see that there are a couple schools of thought. There are some people that follow “strict Keto” and they track everything. On the other hand, there are people that follow what they call “lazy Keto” and they don’t track anything and just eat Keto approved foods. I’ve always followed strict Keto. I track every single thing I eat. By doing this, I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am in ketosis. There is no fear of hidden carbs when I’m tracking. These ketone stripsketo diet stall can definitely help you determine if you are in ketosis or not.

  • You’re not drinking enough water

I know, I know. It seems like everyone is always harping on water intake. That’s because it’s SO IMPORTANT! Our body needs water to function properly. Beside that, drinking enough water while following the Keto diet helps with the dreaded “Keto breath”, it helps replace water that is lost throughout the day, water helps suppress your appetite, and most importantly (in my opinion), water helps to take stress off your kidneys. I once read to think of water as a lubricant for your kidneys to help them function properly. This 32 oz. water bottleketo diet stall or my 30 oz. Yeti cup is always with me and filled with ice and water!

  • Hidden carbs are making their way in

Hidden carbs can happen in a couple ways. First, you aren’t measuring your food. Measuring your food is so important. Eventually you can eyeball it, if need be, but even after over two years of being on the Keto diet, I still measure everything. I joke that it’s because my personality will not let me eyeball things, but truth be told, when I have no choice, but to eyeball it, it does stress me out! The second way hidden carbs make their way in, is by taking a bite of this and a bite of that. You know what I’m referring to. You may think those little bites don’t mean anything, but they do. That’s why you need to measure and track EVERYTHING! Pick up a food scaleketo diet stall and get started with weighing your foods!

  • You’re dealing with too much stress

You’re probably thinking, “what in the world does stress have to do with it?” but believe me, it has a lot to do with it. You see, when we are experiencing stress, our body releases a hormone called cortisol. When we are constantly feeling stressed and the cortisol is constantly being released, we start experiencing negative affects, such as weight gain. Learning how to deal with stressful situations is so important. For me, I like to listen to the Classical Goes Pop Pandora station while I read. The music is soothing and reading is my favorite thing to do (besides be with my family).

  • You’re consuming too much diet drinks

Now I am going to be 100% completely honest here. I do drink diet pop. Is it Keto? Not really since it does have artificial sweeteners. However, so long as I drink my water each day, I allow myself to have diet pop. I don’t like coffee and with as crazy as my schedule is each day, there is no way I would survive without caffeine! With that being said…READ THE LABELS and Google what you are drinking. Just because it’s “diet” or “sugar free”, that does not mean it’s always carb free. Case in point, I love diet Mt. Dew. However, did you know that technically diet Mt. Dew still has a little sugar in it because it is made with orange juice? Yep. I didn’t either until a few weeks ago. There’s another example of those hidden carbs I mentioned earlier. They add up.

  • You’re eating too much/not enough

You’ve heard it before, you need to eat to lose weight and it’s so true. However, if you are eating too much, even if it is Keto approved foods, you’re not going to lose the way you want to. You still have to eat at a calorie deficit to lose weight. On the same token, if you are not eating enough, your body will freak out and try to hold on to every little bitty thing it can so it can properly fuel your body. Again, I know I sound like a broken record, but this is why it’s so important to properly track your food intake so you know you are getting what you need!

  • You’re not getting enough sleep

Not too long ago, I read that your body does it’s best work when it’s sleeping. That statement says so much to me. Before, when someone would tell me that I need to sleep more to lose weight, I laughed them. Not even joking. However, it’s so true. If the fact that our body does it’s best work when we are sleeping, then we need to make sure we are getting adequate amounts of sleep a night, each and every night to insure that our body can do what it needs to do to lose weight (and everything else it needs to do).


There you have it, the top reasons why you may be experiencing a Keto diet stall. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about the keto diet or the keto diet stall you may be experiencing. I would be more than happy to help you break that keto diet stall, if I can!

Summer Daily Planner for Kids Printable

Last summer, the last thing I wanted was for the kids to wake up and spend all day, every day on their electronics. I also didn’t want to spend my day nagging them repeatedly to do their chores. So I started leaving little to do lists on the counter for them with various chores that they needed to complete before they could even think about pulling out an electronic. It worked fairly well. It allowed me to sleep in a bit too (well…if you call sleeping until 7:30 am, sleeping in)! This summer, I want to do the same thing, but go a step further. I will be using this summer daily planner and attaching it to the fridge every night.

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summer daily planner

Print your FREE Summer Daily Planner printable HERE

I think it is very important for kids to have chores during the summer (and during the school year). We do not pay an allowance right now, as the chores we ask the kids to do are things that help out the family from day to day. Things we do pay for are extra things. For example, cutting the grass, doing a load of laundry, etc. My husband and I like to listen to Dave Ramsey and I believe he had a podcast all about how your kids can earn commission for various jobs. Basically you will put up a job chart and the kids can pick and choose extra jobs if they want to earn a little extra money. It works out well (usually).

summer daily planner

The nice thing about this summer daily planner is that you can write out one sheet for both kids. I just make sure to label who does what or they would fight. Seriously…I don’t know about your kids, but mine seem to fight about everything lately. Since my kids are older, one thing they are responsible for in the summer is making their own breakfast and lunch. I take care of dinner. However, what I hate is when I see them standing in front of the fridge just staring at the food like it’s going to spontaneously change into something new. By giving them two choices, they feel like they are making their own choices, which they are, but you are still ultimately getting them to eat what you want them to eat!

AmazonBasics Clear Sheet Protectors - Letter Size (100 Pack)AmazonBasics Clear Sheet Protectors – Letter Size (100 Pack)Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Retractable Pen, 0.7mm, Ink, Pack of 14, Assorted (1951636)Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Retractable Pen, 0.7mm, Ink, Pack of 14, Assorted (1951636)

So how do you get this summer daily planner sheet to work for you? Simply fill it out accordingly and slip it in to a sheet protector and hang it on your fridge. At the end of the day, slip your daily planner sheet into a binder. This way, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every single day. Lets face it, a lot of these daily chores, as well as the meals, can be repeated! Definitely take a look at those InkJoy Gel Pens. They are super nice to write with AND they come in pretty colors. I don’t know about you, but I just love writing in different colored ink!

What are you waiting for? Download your FREE summer daily planner printable today!