The Zeitgeist Blog

8 Great Ideas on how to Start the New School Year Strong!

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Hi guys,

Julia here. I can't believe it's August already. We have been traveling for a few weeks in Europe and time flew by. We explored unique sights, culture, had lots of fun and amazing food. Anyway, now it's a great time to jump back into your routine, getting the kids prepared for school, teaching them more responsibility and involve them in chores. We know how tough it can be to get your kids in the mindset of learning. That’s why we’re here to help :)

1. Morning Routine with healthy home made breakfast

Get your back to school routine in place as soon as possible! The quicker you begin your routine, the easier the first day of school is going to be. Start with the most difficult task of waking your child up each morning, and preparing them a balanced breakfast that will help jumpstart their day! Some simple healthy recipes can be a yummy fruit smoothie (click here for smoothie ideas and recipes), overnight oats in the slow cookerblended fruit bowlschia pudding or a veggie scramble! And if your kids are older, involve them too. Making food together gets them learning new things, appreciating all you do for them, and gives you an opportunity to spend some quality time together!

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2. Get Organized in a fun and new way

Have you heard of Cozi or Ourhome? Those are free and must-have app organizers for families with busy schedules. Whether your child is an multi-sport athlete or club member, having them as your online coordinator helps diminish any miscommunications. These apps help align schedules, save to-do lists, plan for dinners and notify everyone in the family during your busy day. Plus kids can collect points and earn rewards! It’s a super easy and amazing way to get your school year started off strong and help you in your personal life. Picture an online personal assistant, who you don’t have to pay! Sit down with your kids, set goals, define priorities and put actual tasks in their calendars.

And if you have little ones, create daily routine schedules for them! Discuss with your child what they believe needs to happen before starting the new day, and then create fun and interactive to-do boards that they can use to help them remember the before-school essentials! 

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3. Structure the day, set clear expectations and limit online time

Of course when the kids are off it's so easy to spend time in front of the screen. Luckily there are new tools available that help you manage and control your kids' digital devices. Circle, for example, is a great one. This innovative gadget (available at Amazon) allows you to connect and manage every device that is connected to your home Wi-Fi. When you purchase Circle, download the app and control the limit of Wi-Fi usage per day, by time constraints or a bedtime setting. You can analyze usage, create filters and block to certain websites and social media sites. In a world with such excessive amounts of technology and screens in children’s faces, Circle is one of the best ways to get your child off the screens, prepping for their new year and enjoying what is left of summer!

 4. Make meals ahead and educate your kids

Each week, get into meal preparation and have your child help! Use our cute veggie cutters to cut vegetables into fun shapes and use small bags to portion off your child’s favorite snacks. Use the drawers in your fridge for certain categories (sandwich/wraps, veggies, fruits, snacks, drinks). Make sandwiches ahead - like the night before and use different healthy ingredients such as avocado paste with turkey, ham with salad, cut veggies, sliced fruits and of course your child’s favorite snacks! Pay attention to labels, note sugar and salt amount, watch for corn starch and other unhealthy and unnecessary ingredients. Educate your kids about nutrition and use apps such as Fooducate. This app tells your average ingredients, compares to other alternative food (more healthy) and let's you scan items in the grocery store, providing instant recommendations. My kids loved to walk around, scan food items and tell me what's good or bad about the item ;).

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5. Create an awesome Work Space

Create a designated homework station. No matter the age of your child, having a work space with all the tools they may need encourages them to finish their summer assignments early and be ready for school. Have your child get involved to pick out colors for bins and tins, their favorite pencils and erasers, and anything else they may find motivating to work! IKEA just released their 2018 catalog and you can find cool modern and inexpensive furniture and accessories!

 6. Shop online and get great deals

Do your back-to-school shopping online! Skip the lines and chaos, you can find exactly what you need online this year! Amazon, Target and Walmart have some of the best bangs for your buck, and are actually cheaper than in-store! Get your supplies list from school and search the web! Not only can this save you money and time, but it is one of those stresses about the new year that can be reduced! Visit Zeitgeist Gifts to see our full range of adorably unique lunch boxespencil casesrulers and other fun accessories to get your child the best before starting off the new year! Our water-resistant, theft-proof backpacks with integrated USB charging will make your kid the coolest in town!

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7. Pre-pick your kids' school outfits

After you’ve done all your clothes and supply shopping, get your kids back into the swing of things by having them help with their first week of school outfits! Lay out their clothes for one full week to avoid the everyday stress of picking an outfit.

 8. Be safe!

Once school starts and the days begin getting shorter, check out our magnetic wearable lights that your child can use when walking home or to the bus stop! Also available for those who ride a bike plus some cool reflective stickers. Child safety is the number one priority for parents, so make sure your child has the proper equipment to stay safe!

Don’t forget to enjoy the rest of your summer vacation, while the weather is perfect for barbecues, cookouts and get togethers in your home. But keep in mind that the earlier you prep for back to school season, the less stressed you will be in September. Use our ideas as a unique way to plan and execute back to school preparation for the new school year!

xoxo Julia

How to make your 4th of July one to remember!

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Each year we have the honor of celebrating our country’s birthday! All the way back in 1776, our founding fathers started signing the Declaration of Independence! This declaration helped us break free and become an independent nation, that is now filled with opportunities, a variety of culture and a fun holiday that celebrates our freedom, country and summer!

The Fourth of July is the perfect holiday for many reasons, one being the time of year we celebrate it! It’s right in the middle of summer, and almost always beautiful weather! But this year, how can we make this holiday different from all the other years?

Get outside & be active!

There are so many different activities, events going on over the Fourth of July holiday, start looking now! In your city, see what festivals are going on and check if there are any fun-runs too! Don’t forget that the holidays are always heavy on eating, so try to find festivals to attend for walking and 5k runs before you grill out and eat the rest of the weekend! There is an amazing app that you can download called Meetup, where you can search for meetup groups based on your interests! It’s a great way to meet people if you’re new to a city or find some people that share your common interests.

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Have an amazing cookout with your loved ones

Grilling out is a 4th of July essential. Gathering a group of your friends, family, neighbors and cooking your favorite food, chilling out by the pool and drinking some beers is one of the best ways to celebrate the holiday! At Zeitgeist gifts, we have an amazing selection of BBQ and summer products, from unique corn holders and drink coasters, to frisbees and cute pool bags! Make this year’s Fourth one to remember with your cool new gifts from Zeitgeist!

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Go camping!

Invite your closest friends or family and make a weekend out of it! Find what campsites are near your city and make a small drive for a weekend filled with fun, sun, grilling out and quality time with those you love! Camping is a wonderful way to get out of the crazy city and enjoy nature. Make it even more special with some of our outdoor products that are perfect for bringing camping. Remember that spending a lot of time outdoors puts you at risk for sunburn. There is currently an app out there called Wolfram Sun Exposure that actually calculates how long your skin can handle the sun before burning based on your personal skin type, if you used sunscreen, and your location!

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Show your patriotism

Find your local parade and attend, see what you can do to volunteer during your city’s festival and don’t forget to hang your flag! Be proud of your traditions, your country and how far it has come. Almost every city has a parade and a festival that goes along with it - ending in fireworks. Finding volunteer opportunities is a wonderful way to give back, meet new people, and be a good example to your children!

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Make your own ice cream - kick the can!

Making ice cream is a perfect outdoor activity for your children, and it actually turns out great! All you need for this recipe is the following:
  • One large metal coffee can
  • One small metal coffee can that can fit inside the large one
  • Duct tape
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup of milk
  • Rock salt
  • Ice
Basically, all you do for this simple recipe is add all the ingredients into the small coffee tin, and seal it with duct tape. Then place the small tin into the large tin and surrounding the small tin with ice and rock salt. Seal the large tin and begin kicking the can! After about 20-30 minutes and a couple times of refilling the ice and rock salt, put in the freezer for 20 minutes before serving! It’s delicious and fun!

Make root beer floats!

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One of the most American treats, make root beer floats for your family! Pick up a quart or half gallon of vanilla custard/ice cream from your local ice cream shop and buy some A&W root beer! Place two scoops of ice cream into your cup and fill the rest with root beer! It’s an easy and unique treat that the kids and adults will enjoy!

Create your own firework show

Find your local firework shop and load up on fireworks! Create your own show in your yard that night! Note: Make sure you check your laws and regulations regarding fireworks in your neighborhood before spending any money!

Have a safe and Happy Fourth of July!

Celebrating Moms — On Mother’s Day and Every Day!

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Mother’s Day is right around the corner! Every year I plan on getting mom something special way ahead of time. I listen carefully to any comments she makes and look out for all of her favorite things. Although we have the best intentions, so often life gets hectic and we just try to get through the day! Right?

Being a mom myself dealing with the kids, work and another gazillion tasks has helped me in understanding what moms really want. At least I know this to be true from our friends and a lot of others that I have talked to. Sure there are so many gifts out there that will make mom happy – but what really shows her that you truly care are the little things. This might sound a bit crazy as I own an online business and sell gifts myself, but my true conviction is a unique gift paired with something very personal. Here is why…

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Believe it or not, when we get older – not old, old, but maybe better said when we mature, the focus shifts away from stuff of material value to those of sentimental value, i.e. extrinsic to intrinsic. In other words spending time together, making memories, family gatherings, and extra time for your personal interests and hobbies become even more important.

This is why mom will love nothing more than something that comes from the heart. Whether it’s an errand that you complete for her or a lovely photo album of her family and friends - because she hasn’t been able to do it herself over the past years, I promise she will cherish it forever! Or what about a gift certificate for a dinner at her favorite restaurant, a surprise trip to a destination where she has always wanted to go or simply a very personal letter that talks about you and mom. Try to read her mind! Good news is that many of these fun ideas can be done last minute. Let me inspire you with some of my favorites:

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1. Make a Mother’s Day Coupon Booklet! 
Check them out here and definitely personalize them!

2. Create a Poem for Mom with this Fun Poem Generator!
In case you are not as gifted of a writer as you’d like to be. Find it here.

3. Make a Delicious Homemade Brunch for Mom!
These ideas and recipes are amazing and will make mom smile!!!

4. Create a Custom Photo Album! 
Don’t worry if the printed copy arrives later! I personally really like Chatbooks or Snapfish

5. And of course – I LOVE Flowers!
The simpler, the better! Make a small flower bouquet – even add a personal note, heart, bird or whatever mom would love. Some simple tips can be found here.

And of course, we also have some fun items that mom will surely love. Remember my mission at Zeitgeist Gifts was and still is to look out for items that are uncommon, that fit into our modern and busy lifestyle and hopefully will make people smile.

For the mom who is always on the go…

These Pappwatches come in exciting, bright designs and are the perfect accessory to help her keep track of time and stay on schedule throughout her busy lifestyle. What’s even better?  They are made of Tyvek – a super-durable material, lightweight and unique. Plus they are eco-friendly because the material can be recycled up to 6 times!

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For the mom who loves home decor…

We love these handmade candles, and she will too! They put a personal touch on your gift and smell amazing! With the royal wedding coming up in a couple of weeks, this Queen Elizabeth Pot is a wonderful conversation piece for mom’s next dinner party, or she can add a bit of elegance to her home with this Audrey Hepburn Pot filled with her favorite plant. Or check out our unique flip vases!! She’ll be able to choose from 7 different backgrounds for her small flowers or greens, and voilà – they instantly look incredible!

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For the mom who loves the beach…

There is nothing better than sand between your toes and the sound of crashing waves. These super cute tote bags are perfectly sized for a good book, bottle of sunscreen and the rest of her beach necessities. Or try our unique Mom & Me set: one nail polish for mom and one for the little one; packaged in a small beach house. Now all she needs is the sun! 

So get moving and if any of these suggestions help to make her day, we want to hear all about it!

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Happiest of Mother’s Days from all of us at Zeitgeist Gifts!

xoxo Julia

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