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Awesome Back to School Clothes…without Leaving Home!

I received a Zappos.com gift card to purchase back to school clothes in order to facilitate this review and all opinions are my own.

Have you done your back to school shopping yet?  Still need just a few more things?  {Maybe you haven’t even started your shopping yet…I won’t tell}.  I did all my shopping online this year.  It isn’t the first time I’ve done my shopping online. Each year it seems I do more and more of my clothing shopping online for a number of reasons. I’ll share my reasoning and my tips here…so read on to get the 411.

Back to School Shopping the Easy Way from WholesomeMommy.com

Back to school shopping can be a hassle – especially when you’re taking all the kids with you.  In my case, and likely in many of yours, its the only option.  They are with me all the time and usually I need them there to try things on any way.  The last time we did our clothing shopping at a retail store we didn’t do too bad.  The worst parts were me chasing the youngest one while still trying to see the oldest try on a few of the pieces so I could make sure we were buying him the right sizes and the fact that many of the items I would have liked to have purchased were sold out in his size.  I like to buy our clothes from multiple stores – you know to get the best fits and the best prices on things. The trouble is, I am usually worn out, sweaty from chasing everyone, and the kids are done after just one or two stops.  I live too stinkin’ far from most of the places I like to shop at and gas is outrageous these days.  So, online shopping has gotten more and more appealing to me over the years.

I started by only making a few of our purchases online. After several good experiences, I got braver about ordering more and more until now, I hardly stop foot in a retail store.  It is just SO much easier this way.  Especially for this season in my life: I have a 5 year old that has started kindergarten, a 3 year old, and I’m just 4 weeks from due date with baby #3.

New Balance Shoes from Zappos for back to school from wholesomemommy.com

One of the places I love to shop online for clothes, shoes, and accessories is Zappos.com. I’ve been using them for several years now for shoes.  My whole family does much better to order our shoes from them – they have more selection for all of us than our local stores and I don’t have to go to 15 different store to find the pair I want.  You see, I have small feet {a size 5 in ladies} and most mall stores don’t even have my size!  My husband needs a wide shoe, and both my children need a small wide shoe as well.  I like to buy them a nice pair of sneakers at the start of school/fall each year and Zappos gives us lots of options in all of our sizes.

Another reason I love to shop with them is their iphone app. {Also available for android}.  I am a Zappos VIP on my iphone app and thus get faster shipping for free because of it! Score! Even if you haven’t acquired VIP status, you’ll feel like a VIP with Zappos. They ship fast {which is great news to those of us who have procrastinated back to school shopping} and they have THE best customer service. Shoes don’t fit? No worries. They take returns AND they’ll pay the shipping both ways.  It doesn’t cost you anything to return an item back to them. They’ll refund you for the initial purcahse as soon as the shipment arrives back at their warehouse. I’ve returned and reordered shoes 4 times over the past 3 years and I’ve NEVER had a bad experience.  I never worry about whether or not I get the perfect fit any more {which used to be the reason I was reluctant about ordering online.  I’m sure to get exactly what I want without leaving my house!

So I’ve talked a lot about ordering shoes from Zappos - which is what I’ve done the most of, but did you know they have much more than just shoes? They have all the brands your kids are asking for at great prices.  AND, right now they are offering FREE next day shipping on all clothing purchases {see the site for details}.

Favorite Brands from Zappos for Back to School from wholesomemommy.com

This school season I ordered my son a pair of New Balance sneakers, which he picked out. We sat in a booth at our local pizzeria and shopped on my iphone together while we waited on our dinner {Did I mention I love online shopping!?!}  He favorited all the ones he liked in his size and then we narrowed it down to this pair.  I also ordered my daughter a cute pair of sneakers in hot pink or course {her only request}.  While I was at it, I took care of winter jackets.  They had a great selection on North Face, Patagonia, Columbia, and many other hot brands.  Living in Georgia, these fleece jackets are all my kids will need to stay warm all winter long. I am in LOVE with the color of my daughter’s jacket. It is absolutely gorgeous!  Since the prices were right, I even had enough left over to purchase dear ol’ mom {myself} a MUCH needed jacket for running errands. The last time I bought myself a jacket was YEARS ago. I am thrilled with this one by Nike.

Zappos.com also has lot of other clothing options – like this zip up, track jacket by Puma that I bought my son. It will be great for school as the fall weather moves in! They have everything you’ll need to gear up for back to school including jeans, backpacks, jackets, dresses, and everything in between!

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7 Simple One Pot Meals for Back to School

Back to school can be hectic.  It may take a while to adjust to new schedules and with after school activites ramping up, dinner may be the last thing on your mind.  But, don’t let the fast food drive thru take advantage of you!  You can still feed your family a great dinner. I’ve got 7 one pot meals you’re going to love – not only because they are delicious but because they are quick and only need one pot!

7 simple one pot meals for back to school from WholesomeMommy.com

Even if you aren’t the “chef-y” type, you can make these meals. They are so simple! If you’ve been used to relying on boxed skillet meals {like Hamburger Helper} you are going to love these meals.  They are just as simple, {I think } they are MUCH more delicious, AND they are made with real food ingredients that won’t kill your budget {they are all made with simple ingredients that you can get at your local Walmart}.  Lord knows we’ve spent enough this month with buying new school clothes, and back to school supplies!   I thought your wallet might need some relief.

So what’s on the menu?

One Pot Taco Pasta from WholesomeMommy.com

If you like tacos but are looking for something a little bit different, give this taco pasta a try!  Just a couple ingredients and 20 minutes and you’ve got a meal!

Tomato Basil Pasta - MAke it ALL in ONE POT!! From WholesomeMommy.com

This pasta is magical! Just like spaghetti marinara but cook it all in one pot!  Not need to boil the noodles separate. It mesmerized me the first time I tried it! Serve with a nice slice of garlic toast on the side and/or a simple tossed salad to round out the meal.

Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta - From WholesomeMommy.com

This pasta dish has everything you need for a “square meal.”  Get even your pickiest eaters to try a new veggie with this pasta dish.

Skillet Lasagna from WholesomeMommy.com

Who doesn’t love lasagna?  But, rarely do I have time to layer pasta, grate the fresh cheese, and bake it!  I mean, it IS a labor of love {and when I DO make it, I double up the recipe and freeze it!}  But, if you are looking to get that same flavor in 30 minutes or less, give this recipe a shot! Serve with a simple salad and some garlic bread, just as you would any lasagna.

Creamy Tuna Pasta

This is one of my favorite pasta dishes because you can literally make it out of everything in your pantry. No need to pick up special ingredients. This is a great go to meal for us when I might have forgotten *ahem* to thaw out a protein or have absolutely no idea what I am going to make for dinner. {Not that that happens often…}

Spicy Sausage and Spinach Pasta from WholesomeMommy.com

This dish has gotten RAVE reviews.  I still get emails and friends of friends that tell me that they made this for their families and they can’t wait to make it again!  Children and adults alike gobble up this pasta and ask for seconds!  Plus, with sausage as the protein it helps you mix it up from the “usual” beef or chicken.

Barbque Chicken Tater Tot Casserole from WholesomeMommy.com

Another simple dish that my friends and family have gone nuts for. It really doesn’t get any easier than layering BBQ chicken {leftover or store bought – I’ve even been known to pick it up at our local BBQ place}, tater tots, and cheddar cheese. Its so simple it almost doesn’t qualify as a recipe!

I hope this will inspire you to make dinner this week even when it seems like there isn’t time.  Most of these recipes only require 20 or 30 minutes and VERY little effort {or energy} because we all know the first few weeks of school wear EVERYBODY out.  Bonus points because all of these recipes are so cheap they’ve been featured on my REAL Food on a Food Stamp Budget Menus at some point or another. You can get everything you need at your local Walmart and your wallet will sigh with relief when you aren’t eating out all week long!

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