"Its the most wonderful time of the year" this line from a Christmas carol always plays in my ears as I get started shopping for school supplies.  Being a good mom I try very hard to be frugal but not cheap.(It's a fine line that should never be crossed)

Armed with lists from the kid's school on supplies they "needed" to have as they started another stepping stone in their academic career I square my shoulders and prepare to go toe-to-toe with every other mom in East Texas.

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    Walmart

    Walmart has provided a basic list of school supplies you will need for your child

    We all have a Walmart close to us that usually has everything we need from safety scissors to that weird manilla paper that the kids never use. I am warning you -- check with your school as most are very specific about what supplies they want. Certainly don't want to show up with the wrong type of pencil -- poor little Johnny could be the laughing stalk of the class. It has been my experience to never stray from the list or you'll have a heart breaking story of how you bought the wrong size size baggies. (yes I did that once -- never again) I think my daughter who is now a senior has finally gotten over that trauma. (sigh)

    MommaBear, Flickr
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    Target

    If you want to be brave you can order your supplies online -- with your $50 purchase the shipping is free.

    Most years I end up going to target to supplement what I didn't find a Walmart. I think the kids look forward to the Target part of the quest for school supplies because of the Icy I get them. (Note - When your child has a yummy cold drink in their hands they are far LESS picky and you can get in and out of there without too much hassle). I always grab a few more packs of paper, crayons and pencils to have at home -- the just in case factor is covered.

    lisawalter, Flickr
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    Office Depot

    My girls always wanted me to go to Office Depot because they have a good selection of binders.

    Check with your school to make sure you can use a "trapper." I always found that my kids way under utilized these $15+ organizers. Really the word "organizer" and a thirteen year old boy should not be used in the same sentence. One of the best things we ever found to help keep the papers in some sort of order was one of those expandable folders that has 5 - 8 compartments.

    Amy Austin also agrees that you MUST invest in the quality binders -- the cheap ones just don't stand up to the abuse -- suck it up butter cup and shell out the dough.

    Office Depot
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    Adventures In Learning

    The one stop shop for obscure school supplies -- like the dreaded "18x24" manilla paper.

    I know I sound like I am harping on "manilla paper" but I have seen maybe five projects come home on this paper that I stress over finding. The really nice people at Adventures In Learning are used to seeing us frazzled moms come in desperately trying to find one last thing on the school supply list.

    mjanssen, Flickr
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    Levine's Department Store

    This is the best place in Tyler to find your school uniforms. Kohls and Target carry a small selection -- but Levine's is sure to have what you need in one stop.

    A couple of years ago the Lindale Independent School district took a pulse on the "School Uniform" issue -- Did Lindale parents support this practice or not? If I remember correctly it was quite close, but the School Uniform reform didn't make it off the drawing board. I kind of thought it would be a good idea -- all the stressing over does this match that or is that going to make the dress code guessing would be gone. I see both sides of the argument and am okay with letting my kids have a choice in their clothes. It is my theory that the more choices your kids make that are relatively risk free the more confident they are in themselves and hopefully when it comes to making some of those REALLY BIG decisions like driving, peer pressure etc etc they are better equipped to make the correct decision. Non the less -- there are many schools in our communities that do have a school uniform and Levine's in Tyler I hear from (my snooty friends) is the place to shop.