National Book Month: Reading Tips and Challenges

Most of us understand how difficult it can be to make time to read. Getting the kids back to school, long days at the office and all the easy entertainment option at our fingertips that make picking up a book seem like an unnecessary chore. But October is National Book Month! That time of the year when most of us who haven’t been turning pages can rediscover the joy of reading. Get inspired to read with these tips and challenges.


5 Fall Reading Challenges
The weather is getting cooler and the new chill in the air encourages staying inside and cuddling by the fire with a good book. It’s the perfect opportunity for a fall reading challenge. There are many fun and interesting ways to create a challenge for yourself and your family, to expand literary horizons. Here are five fall reading challenges that will give you a reason to stay in your footed pajamas all day and enjoy your favorite pastime.


Back to School: Tips for Getting the Most Out of Reading
For the several months, your kids have been reading young-adult novels and flipping through picture books between running around from one summer activity to the next, but school is back in session and reading has changed. Kids look at the books they read for their school assignments much differently than the books they read for pleasure. Here are some tips to make sure they are getting the most out of their reading for school.


Holiday Shopping: Tips for Buying Books as Gifts
Thinking up a unique and personal gift for each person on your list can be a challenge. For some people, a good toy or a purse is the appropriate solution; for others, something to support a hobby, like yarn or knitting needles, is just the ticket. But for those who seem to have everything, a book may be your solution — you just need to figure out what type of book to get. Check out a few of these useful tips for buying books as gifts.

Back-to-School Tips from Studying to Sports

If your kids aren’t already waiting at bus stops and stressing over early homework assignments then the time is very near when they will be. Transitioning back to studying, sports and school activities can be tough after a long, relaxing summer. From first graders to college kids, it can take a few weeks to settle into the reality of the new semester. As parents, it always helps to have a few new tricks up your sleeve to make sure kids are adapting to school and its responsibilities. Get started with these back-to-school tips from studying to sports.


Back to School: Tips for Getting the Most Out of Reading
For the last few months, the kids have been reading young-adult novels and flipping through picture books, but school is back in session and their reading experience is about to change. Kids look at school books a little differently than the ones they read for pleasure. Here are some tips to make sure they’re reading right.


Dorm Decor: Lighting Tips for Better Study Sessions
Sometimes the library is packed with students, the weather isn’t ideal for working outside, or you just don’t feel like making the trip to your favorite study spot. In many cases, the dorm room is the premier place for getting your schoolwork done. Optimize your space with these dorm lighting tips for better study sessions.


Back to School: Choosing the Right Sports for Your Kids
Participating in a sport is great for team building, staying active, and teaching resilience, and this interest should be encouraged. It can be a challenge figuring out the best sport for your child, and the first sports they pick may not be winners. Here are some ideas to help children explore the variety of sports out there.

The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week for the First Day of School

The first day of school is upon us! Just a few more weeks and the kids will be getting up with you to get their breakfast and catch the bus. We’re never as prepared as we’d like to be, but the first day of school doesn’t have to be a disaster. We put together a list of must-have products to make it a little easier on you. Here is this week’s The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week for the First Day of School.camo-hoodie-kid

Signature Style He’ll be nice and warm wearing this Boys’ Camouflage Fleece Hooded Jacket. The full-zip jacket features the Highland Timber(TM) camo print. The fabric is designed for maximum breathability, with an anti-pill finish that makes the jacket durable and long lasting. Has two front slit pockets. college-fight-song-alarm-clock

Wake-up Call Wake up to your school’s fight song with a Collegiate Fight Song Alarm Clock! Instead of waking you with an annoying buzzing sound, this clock plays the familiar rousing song and flashes lights to the rhythm of the music. The face of the clock features your school’s logo. Has glow-in-the-dark hands and a 4-minute snooze button on top. girls-quilted-backpack

Travel Flair Girls’ Quilted Patch Backpack is great for travel, school or trips to grandma’s house. It features an embroidered apliqué design, made from a variety of solid and patterned fabrics, and embellished with buttons. It’s fully lined and has a roomy interior for all her things. The top closes with a drawstring, and a fold-over flap with a magnetic snap keeps it secure. She can carry it with the top handle, or with the adjustable 9″-18″ shoulder straps. girls-cotton-skirt

Inaugural Outfit She’ll enjoy twirling around in a Girls’ Embroidered Cotton Skirt. The pretty skirt features lace and embroidered sequin trim with a crocheted hem. It has a smocked and elastic drawstring waistband for a secure, comfortable fit. Imported.frozen-socks

Stylish Socks Keep your toes cozy in chilly weather with the 3-Pair Frozen Knee-High Socks. Each pair features colorful images of your favorite characters. Wear these socks while lounging at home or layer with leggings or tights.

For the first day of school, the last day of school and every day in between, shop The Lakeside Collection for a variety of products at practical prices for everyday needs.


The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week to Cure End of Summer Boredom

We are entering the twilight of summer. By now, kids are starting to repeat the dreaded phrase “I’m bored.” Right now, they don’t remember much work goes into not being bored in a classroom for six hours a day, five days a week. That’s OK. They’ll be back in school in just a few weeks. Until then, it’s up to you to fill their days. But Lakeside can help! We put together a list of products to keep the kids busy. Here is this week’s The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week to Cure End of Summer Boredom.Guitar

Melody Maker Inspire a young musician with this 30″ Wood Guitar With Case. Perfectly sized for a child to hold and play, it features real steel strings for a beautiful, clear sound. Comes with its own vinyl carrying case with carrying strap, handle and side zipper. Includes a spare steel string.

frozen-coloring-book-with-stickersHours of Art Have hours of fun coloring and placing stickers in this Frozen Big Book with Stickers. With 20 pages to color and over 100 stickers, this book will help bring your favorite characters to life. Its built-in handle lets you carry it wherever you go.

construction-toysColorful Construction Your hands-on child will love the light-up effects of the 6-In-1 Laser Pegs Construction Toys. All 3 sets can make 6 different models. Drag Racer set makes Baja Buggy, Hill Climber, Junior Kart, Mighty Mite, Turbo Trike and Drag Racer. Monster Wheel Truck set makes All Terrain Rover, Mud Bog Racer, Pro Stock Puller, Rock Climber, Trophy Truck and Monster Wheel Truck. Farm Tractor set makes Compact Tractor, High Crop Tractor, Utility Tractor, Lawn Tractor, Wheatland Standard Tractor and Farm Tractor. You can download instructions for additional vehicles online. crystal-growing-kit

Crystal Creations Create your own crystal collection with this Sparkling Crystal Growing Kit. Following the instructions, dissolve the pre-mixed chemicals in water, and within hours crystals form right before your eyes. The fluorite grows as one spectacular crystal and the others grow in clusters up to 4″ in diameter. Kit makes a total of 4 crystals. bracelet-kit

Shareable Art If you love making your own jewelry, you’ll love the BFF Chunky Cord Bracelet Kit. These brightly-colored cords look awesome when you weave them together! Use the included foam wheel for hassle-free weaving. 24 Satin cords (36″, each) come in 6 colors. Kit makes 6 bracelets to wear yourself or to share with friends.

Boredom is not a word we use very often at The Lakeside Collection! Whether we’re deep in the dog days of summer or we’re snowed in after a blizzard, we have products and ideas to keep everyone occupied and entertained.

The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week for Back to School

We wish it weren’t so, but the new school is right around the corner. That means the coming weeks are going to be hectic while we try to cram in a few extra trips and hours at the pool we have to get all of our back to school obligations in order. We’re going to make it a little easier on you — we’ve put together a list of items we think your family might need this fall. Here is this week’s The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week for Back to School.batman-shirt

First Impressions Dress your little one up like his favorite comic book hero with this Boys’ Licensed Superhero Cape T-Shirt. It has his hero’s emblem screenprinted on the front and a removable cape with the emblem on the back. Cape attaches with fabric-magic strips. lunch-tote

Convenient Carryall The Oversized Insulated Cooler Backpack is an essential addition to your next picnic, camping trip or tailgating party. Its fully insulated interior can hold up to 24 beverage cans, snacks or whatever else you need to stay cool. Two cinched side pockets and a zip pocket on the front add space for other items. Adjustable straps provide a comfortable fit, or carry it by the

Organization Aids The Stuff I Need To Do Notepad Case easily organizes your daily life in style. Make organizing your thoughts easy with the 600 sticky sheets in the Stuff I Need To Do Notepad Case. 12 Sticky styles come together in a classic red hardcover jacket. Lap-desk

Dorm Room-Ready Computer Lap Desk with 2 Fans keeps you and your computer cooler to work more comfortably and efficiently almost anywhere. Its fans prevent your computer from overheating and the foldable table is adjustable so you can work flat or tilt the tray to any comfortable angle. Adjust the legs to the height you desire. Sets up in seconds and opens at the press of a button. Features a built-in mouse pad, cup and pen holder on the right side, as well as a 29″ USB cable to power the fans. portable-hamper

Lighten the Load This Portable Rolling Hamper makes laundry less of a chore with its easy-to-use, all-in-one design. Its adjustable handle and 2 wheels make taking clothing to the laundromat or even to the next room much easier. The lid of the hamper secures with a zipper. A zippered pocket on the front and two mesh pockets on the side let you bring along supplies such as detergent, softener or dryer sheets.

We want you to be ready for every event in any season! Shop The Lakeside Collection for all your back to school and fall essentials.

Back to School: 10 Morning Time Savers

Back to school means changing your morning routine. Getting the kids up and out of the house could double your morning workload, but there are tricks to get you out the door on time. Here are 10 morning time savers.

1. EAT Do not skip breakfast because yoBack-To-Schoolu are tight on time! Get ingredients and utensils ready the night before. You even can prep things over the weekend, like smoothie packs that go straight from the freezer or fridge to the blender.
2. PLAN TO EAT Plan lunch a day (or even a week) ahead. Pack as much of the meal in the evening as possible, and make sure ingredients for the rest are in one spot and easy to find. If necessary, keep the fully packed lunch bag in the fridge overnight.
3. PICK AN OUTFIT One of the biggest sources of last-minute struggles is clothing. Avoid this one by helping kids pick out clothes the day before. Children can take all the time they want to create an outfit, and parents have chances to make sure clothing is appropriate and clean.
Back-To-School4. PLAN A ROUTINE Create a simple routine that is similar to your family’s bedtime routine. This will prevent forgetting important things like brushing teeth and combing hair. The routine should include a bathroom schedule to make sure everyone gets the time they need.
5. GET UP EARLY Wake up before the kids. It is easier to get them up and going when you are up and going. Take a little time to shower, have a cup of coffee and get dressed before you need to focus on getting your children ready.
6. LEAVE IT AT THE DOOR Select a spot near the door specifically for things you need to grab on the way out, like shoes, bags, jackets, keys, and more. This will prevent a hurried search for a backpack or matching boots.
7. MENTAL NOTES Before you go to bed, go over the next day’s schedule. Don’t forget to check the weather report, too. You also can take this time to finalize transportation and carpool arrangements to avoid last minute scrambling.
8. TIME IT Use a timer to keep everything on track. Figure out how long you have to complete each task before you head out the door, then set a kitchen timer or the timer on your phone. That way, time will not slip away from you.
Back-To-School9. TUNE OUT Avoid the news unless the rest of your to-do list is finished. It is easy to get distracted by interesting—or depressing—stories from around the world. Staying up-to-date is important, but in the mornings, you need to concentrate on preparing yourself and your children for the day. There is plenty of time during the rest of the morning to catch up on current events. If there is a morning show you cannot miss, record it and watch it later.
10. STAY FOCUSED Resist the temptation to wash dishes, clean up an e-mail inbox, and other chores that do not need to be done in the morning. Once you have a morning routine down, you can add other activities to it if you have the time.

Do not wait until you are running late to find ways to save time. Plan ahead, and you will be ahead of schedule before you know it.

7 First Day of School Traditions to Start This Year

Image source: Flickr

Image source: Flickr

The first day of school is exciting and there are only so many we get to experience with our kids. Here are 7 first day of school traditions to make every first day of school memorable.

Preservation The night before the first day of school is almost as exciting as Christmas. To get rid of that nervous energy, help them craft a box where they can save their papers and artwork for the school year. It will be a collection of their progress and at the end of the year, have them sift through it to create a scrapbook. They can fill it with memories and see how they mature over the school year.

Fashion Show Help them pick out their favorite outfit to wear on the first day back to school. What they like to wear and what looks good for the first day of school might be two different things, so they may need guidance on how to be camera ready. Add something new to the outfit to mark the day – like a sparkly barrette or a hat – and look good for a picture.

Image source: Young Sok Yun via Fickr

Image source: Young Sok Yun via Fickr

Breakfast Your kids no longer get up or eat when they want, so make it easy on them and prepare a breakfast to entice them out of bed. Make an effort, but not so much effort you can’t get to work on time. Make healthy pancakes (it pleases you as much as it pleases them) or French toast (with whole grain bread, of course). Cut up fruit and make the batter the night before so all you have to do in the morning is heat the griddle.

Expectations Over breakfast, have them make a list in a cute, crafty notebook of what they’re excited about for the new school year. Talk about their friends, what they want to learn and their new teachers. Save the notebook and pull it out to review on the last day of school.

Pack It Help them pack their lunches. Make it extra special with a fun dessert and a note from you. Tell them how proud you are of them and what kind of potential they have for the school year. Give them gentle encouragement to finish the day.

Picture It Take a picture of them before they leave for school or at the bus stop. Have them hold up a sign – pre-printed, on a chalkboard, or hand-drawn – with the date, their age and grade. Take an identical picture of them on the last day of school to show how much they’ve changed over the school year.


Image Source: Zeetz Jones via Flickr

Dinner The first day of school is exciting and stressful. Treat them to a family meal of comfort food. Make them things only you can make right – like your perfect macaroni and cheese, oven-fried chicken or broccoli pie. After dinner, set up an ice cream sundae bar and take dessert to the patio to talk about the first day of school. Ask about what they did at school, what their teacher is like and who they were excited to see.

It’s just the first day of school, but there are only so many you get to witness in your child’s lifetime. You’ll be glad you marked the days for your memories and for theirs.

Back-to-School Must-Haves For Your Tween

tween-bedroomIt’s almost time to get the kids back to school, and while you’ll find tons of specials on items for the grammar-school set and college students, don’t forget about the tweens! Even during their pre-teen years, kids have a well-developed fashion sense, so send them off to junior high in style without breaking your budget when you shop these middle school must-haves.

School supplies are always at the top of every back-to-school list. For middle school students who can expect an accelerated pace and a bigger course load than what they had in elementary school, the essentials can get expensive. With office supply sets, you can satisfy a tween’s sense of style while covering back-to-school needs on a budget. Refillable binders in bright colors, sleek roller-ball pens and pads for everything from jotting notes in class to tracking homework assignments get a junior high school student ready for the start of the school year. Looking cool counts for more in middle school than it did in the earlier grades, so it’s important for tweens to have stylish school accessories.

Technology has become a fixture in kids’ lives, and as tweens become more socially active, their phones are indispensable. For parents, phones are just as important; a pre-teen with a charged phone is never out of reach. Mobile devices do no good if they aren’t charged, though, so having a battery recharge pack keeps tweens in touch with parents and each other. Now that kids and teens use their phones as calendars, calculators, appointment books and more, it’s vital to keep the devices charged while on the go.

For many kids, middle school offers a first taste of a second language. Others develop an interest in Japanese, Spanish or other languages to communicate with a wider circle of friends or enjoy television shows without subtitles. With Language Learning Books, pre-teens and teens learn fun visual prompts for pronunciation while picking up the basics of a new language. Make language lessons easier with a little help from these easy-to-use softcover books in Italian, Spanish, Chinese and more.

Young kids love colorful lunch boxes with their favorite cartoon characters, but tweens have a more sophisticated sense of style. They still need to eat a proper lunch, though, so send them to school with an insulated lunch totes filled with something fresh and wholesome from home. A divided, insulated tote keeps food fresher than brown-bagging because it stores hot and cold foods separately. Tweens who have developed more particular eating habits will appreciate being able to pack their own sandwiches, salads and fruits. It’s also a more economical option for you than buying packaged lunch products that can’t match the nutritional value of homemade foods. Fun designs and colors still have tween appeal without looking too youthful for a pre-teen with a sharp eye for fashion.

Cool school supplies get kids excited about the coming school year, and that goes for pre-teens too. Give your tween extra reasons to look forward to fall with a great collection of back-to-school essentials!

Back to School: Check out the Great Items we Have for Your Dorm Room!

Your dorm room is your home away from home, but with its plain walls and simple furniture, it may not feel much like your cozy childhood bedroom. You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money to put some personality into your dorm room. With a few key back-to-school pieces from our collection and a few tips on how to decorate, your dorm can become a retreat!

Create a Focal Point

Every space needs a focal point to add visual interest. Your dorm probably won’t have any natural architectural focal points, but you can create one with colors, textures and patterns. If you’re lucky enough to have a large window with an appealing view, this can be your focus. You may not have the option to hang curtains, but you can get a similar effect when you frame the window with art that draws attention to it.

The word dormitory comes from the Latin word for sleep, so it’s no surprise that your dorm room’s bed occupies a big share of the room’s visual space. With a splash of color, the bed’s prominent position is a decorating asset. We love these microfleece sheet sets in vivid jewel colors for dorm room decor. As soft as they are colorful, these sheets will add some life to a dull dorm room.

Deck Your Walls

Even in a solo room, you won’t have much floor space. However, you will have plenty of space to decorate your walls. Depending on your dorm’s construction, you may not have the option of hanging traditional pictures with nails or hooks, but home wall decor and decals are perfect for enlivening a wall without damaging its finish. Choose inspirational sayings for a tranquil oasis, or pick a handful of peace sign decals in rainbow hues to bring some color to plain walls.

Save Space

Because space is at a premium in your dorm room, any furniture that can do double duty or fold away is perfect. Many dorms contain units that already have desks, but others are fairly bare aside from the bed and a shelf or two. Our fold-away desk is a great solution to space problems. When you aren’t studying, it folds into a compact column of storage drawers. Even if you already have a desk for studying, this fold-away version is handy for study groups or as a temporary table for late-night snacking in your room. Sturdy enough to hold a semester’s worth of textbooks, it also has casters and can roll out of the way when you want to clear the floor for exercise.

Your dorm room will be home for at least a few months, so make it somewhere you want to stay with practical storage solutions, comfortable bedding and art to give it personality. Between classes and college mixers, you might not spend much time in your room, but with a little investment, you can make your hours more pleasant.

Easy Dinner Ideas From Lakeside!

It’s back to school time again for your kids.  That means nights filled with football practice and dance recitals and little time to prepare dinner.  No worries though, we found a quick and easy recipe that can be made in 30 minutes or less!

Quick Chicken Parmesan

Prep: 5 minutes

Bake: 25 minutes

Makes: 4 servings


4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)

2 cups spaghetti sauce

2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 package (8 ounces) spaghetti, cooked and drained (about 4 cups)


1. Place the chicken in a 2-quart shallow baking dish. Top the chicken with the sauce. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.

2. Bake at 400°F. for 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve the chicken and sauce with the spaghetti.