Back to School Gifts for the College Student

Fall is here, and with it, hordes of students are heading back to college campuses across the country. If you have a loved one that’s soon packing up and starting their higher education career, consider these fun and practical gifts perfect for the studious scholar.

Dorm Decor

Cramped spaces, shared bathrooms, and cafeteria food—ah, the joys of dorm living. Help them make their own mark on their living space with some great dorm décor. Instead of sticking to those boring old posters that have more crinkles than a linen shirt, help your college student outfit their living space with some up-to-date art. Finding great, unique pieces doesn’t have to mean spending a small fortune. Sites like Minted.com offer a bevy of art prints that will appeal to every style preference. Order the prints framed or stand alone for a great gift that will help transform a dorm room from a glorified closet into a stylish abode.

A New Backpack

Backpacks aren’t just for elementary school, but the college student you love probably wants something a little more sturdy and stylish than the good old JanSport packs of childhood. As they mature in age and fashion choices, keep up with their changing tastes and make sure they have all the school supplies no matter the class with any of these refined Touch of Modern backpacks. Tailored and high-end, these packs will help them move from school to professional world with ease.

Some Sweet Treats

College students are notorious for their snacking habits, and you can’t go wrong by appealing to these sensibilities. Whether they need some savory snacks to get them through those boring afternoon lectures, or need a bit of sugar power to help get them through those late night study sessions, you can’t go wrong with a delivery from CarePackages.com. Send the package of your choice right to their door to make for a fantastic surprise during midterms or finals week.

Some Fashion Sensibility

If the college student in question is a young fashionista or “fashionisto”, consider contributing to their wardrobe. If you’re not sure about the styles they prefer, or you just have a hard time narrowing down your selections, consider a subscription service like StitchFix. This awesome company will pair your college student with a personal stylist who will send collections

A Special Alarm Clock

We all know college students are notorious for their strange sleeping habits, but if they’ve got a morning class, there’s nothing more valuable than a great alarm clock. Make this gift unique by checking out the Shape Up Alarm Clock. Designed to add a bit of fitness to anyone’s morning routine, this gadget will definitely make sure they’re open for that early morning lecture. When the alarm goes off, they’ll have to stand up and lower and raise the dumbbell shaped clock thirty times in order to turn off the blaring. They’ll make it to class on time and have chiseled arms—talk about a win-win.

The Gift of Experience

Even the most studious of college students needs to take a break from the dingy interior of their campus library and head out into the world to get some real life experiences. What could be better than an experiential gift from FunSherpa.com? This awesome website allows you to type in a zip code, then gives you a list of all the fun activities and experiences available in that area. Whether it’s a day spent white water rafting or time spent galloping sat astride a valiant steed, they’re guaranteed to appreciate this gift idea. It will also help them get more involved in their college town area, and show them the opportunities knocking at every door. Life is about collecting amazing memories—this is one of the most important lessons they’ll learn in their college years.

It’s rare to see a college student on campus without headphones jammed in their ears. Whether they’re listening to educational podcasts or the latest radio jams, you can make sure they hear all their favorite beats and sounds in the highest quality possible with some new experiences.

5 Things To Do With Your Kids Today to Show Them Love

The choice to spend less time blogging about life as a stay-at-home dad and more time being a stay-at-home dad is proving to be a wise decision. There are so many wonderful things to do with your kids, and most don’t require much effort at all.

Being present with your child when possible makes a world of difference.  I know many parents work and have to have someone watch their kids all day, but the little things matter and make a big impact on your relationship with your children.

things to do with kids

Here are five things to do with your kids starting today that are simple, but will leave a lasting impression which will strengthen the parent-child bond.

  1. Tell them you love them. No matter when, where, or the time of day, just blurt it out “[Insert child’s name], I love you.” They may not be old enough to truly understand or maybe they’re older and will roll their eyes, but those three words are more powerful than any of us know.
  2. Give them a hug. Combined with number one, this will beat buying them the coolest toy on the market (only to become obsolete in a few months) and help you connect with your child on a new level. Hugging increases oxytocin, known as the cuddle hormone, and works great with your partner too.
  3. Read to or with them. Find a book, magazine, or just something with pictures to look at with your kid. Read or explain the pictures to them and ask them to point out certain words, letters, or pictures. If they need help, try giving clues first and praising them once they find the right thing or let them know it’s okay if they don’t and the important thing is that they tried. Knowledge is power and books are full of it!
  4. Simply sit beside them. Have a chat, ask them how they are doing (even if they can’t respond), play with blocks, describe your surroundings, or just embrace them in silence. Your presence will mean the world to your little mini me. This can be your fallback plan if reading doesn’t go so well or combined after you’re done reading.
  5. Go on a walk. If they’re still too young, push them in a stroller, but just getting outside with your little one has lasting benefits for the both of you. As a fan of keeping active, going on walks creates a healthy habit at a young age and is a perfect activity to do as a family. Fresh air promotes a sense of freedom and just makes you feel good. Depending on where you walk, it can be fun to explore new places or see familiar faces to socialize with.

Whether with your partner or not, these will stand the test of time as effective things to do with your kids to let them know you’re there for them and love them. Hopefully these easy tips give you something to do with your kids today, tomorrow, and every day. Going Mom and I do one or all of these every day and our family is stronger as a result.

An Impromptu Trip to the Grapevine GrapeFest

Grapevine is a city near our home here in Texas. It holds an annual GrapeFest which, as you might suspect, has to do with wine. Going Mom, G-Ma, and I attended years ago on a Saturday and all I remember is lots of crowds and hot weather. The heat I’m okay with, but as an introvert, I’m not big crowds.

I had a doctor’s appointment on Thursday, the opening day for GrapeFest, where the office was nearby. GrapeFest was nowhere on my radar of things to do that day, but with my trusty sidekick and lots of signs for the event, the extrovert in me tried to show himself. With a quick appointment and Avery behaving in the office, I decided to go off course and let her experience the event.

doctors-office-on-spin-stool

The fact that is was free to enter the first day helped in the decision making process too. After parking and making the half mile walk with Avery on my shoulders, I asked for a pic of us at the entrance before we entered.

entrance-to-grapevine-grape-fest

It’s hard to see us, but I thought it was a good shot. You might wonder why kids would have any place in a festival all about wine, but it really has something for everyone. Lots of vendors selling unique niche-type products that were cool but I would never buy, lots of typical carnival food I wouldn’t touch with a…..well, anything, and even a KidsWorld section. Oh, and a carnival area that I refused to enter since I know that day will come eventually so might as well save the money until then.

I did, however, let our little girl indulge in a snow cone….kinda. A snow cone vendor stopped us as we were walking and asked if they could test out their new hire by making a snow cone for us. I explained we have yet to give her sugar and definitely won’t be the chemical-laden syrup they use, but then said I’d accept just shaved ice. That’s all they wanted to do anyway, so we got to enjoy an unflavored cone of shaved ice.

having-unflavored-sno-cone-at-grapefest

Hey, ice is fun with or without extras, and she liked it. Plus it was free, win-win! We continued down the strip and ran into Tubby the clown who offered to make a balloon animal. A turtle was the obvious choice.

turtle-balloon-from-clown-at-grapefest

Tubby was even thoughtful enough to make it a bracelet so the turtle didn’t wind up on the street only to get washed down a drain into the sewer where it has nuclear waste flow over it turning it into a mutant. Then a ninja rat would come along and….oh…better stop myself now…..she liked the turtle balloon bracelet.

turtle-balloon-on-wrist-at-grapefest

We made a quick peak inside a local farmer’s market where we sampled fresh okra and admired the local produce. It was also nice to enjoy some air conditioning before stepping back into the humidity of the day. Next stop was KidsWorld with activities from the Grapevine SEA LIFE Aquarium and LEGOLAND® Discovery Center. Giant LEGO bricks are never a disappointment.

playing-with-giant-lego-blocks-at-grapefest

I’d love some of those blocks at home to make a giant wall and just crash into them. Or to make a cool fort. Oh, to be a kid again! There was even a petting zoo complete with goats, chickens, bunny rabbits, llamas, and one cow.

surrounded-by-goats-at-petting-zoo

Mostly goats. I even made friends with one of them.

goat-on-daddys-leg

Meanwhile, Avery was making friends with a bunny who seemed to not enjoy being in the heat that much. Or the fact that dozens of kids have been chasing it around already.

petting-bunny-at-grapefest-petting-zoo

She made her rounds petting the different animals with the llama being the last.

posing-with-llama-at-grapefest

That turtle made new animal friends too! There was a section with miniature horses that were meant to ride, but no one was around, so I just had her pose next to them. Hey, that’s free!

next-to-miniature-horses-at-grapevine-grapefest
Cool shirt, huh? You can get one and more here – http://skreened.com/goingdad

There were a couple stops to the very humid porta potties throughout our visit, but we survived. The entire trip only cost me one dollar which was to tip Tubby the Clown for the turtle balloon. Not bad for new experiences with the sweetest kid.

I feared I might regret making the impromptu trip to GrapeFest, but it turned out to be a great experience for us both. Showing Avery new things makes me happy and I hope it’s something she remembers forever.

Then again, when Going Mom asked her that night what her favorite part of GrapeFest was, she answered “Ummmm, the porta potties.”

Kids….

I'm a health conscious stay-at-home dad looking for products that keep us fit, happy, and healthy. Follow along as I share our experience and discoveries with my daughter as a side-kick.

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