Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Box Tops for Education - Earn Money For Your Schools!



#Walmart #simplesavingsrealsuccess #BuyClipSendEarn

You know those little Box Top symbols you see on so many every day products? Well, I've been collecting those things for almost 2 decades, even before I had kids of my own. I collected them for nieces, nephews and cousins even though I never quite understood how they worked. Although those cuties are all grown up now, I have children of my own and have continued cutting, collecting and passing them on to their schools. Now we have grandparents, aunts and uncles collecting for US! 


I was so happy and eager to participate in this campaign to help spread the word about this wonderful program that General Mills started in 1996 and how it can help your school and others across the country. Box Tops for Education makes it easy to give back to schools on your every day purchases. Simply look for the Box Tops label, clip, save and pass along to your schools of choice. Schools will receive $.10 for every box top you clip/save/send and can earn up to $20,000 a year!

Here are a couple quick tips that will save your PTA and parent volunteers a world of time and effort:
  1. Please cut as close as you can on the Box Top dotted line as they need to be precise to be submitted. Otherwise they will have to be trimmed by a wonderful, devoted volunteer. :)
  2. Make sure they aren't expired. :)
Currently, when you shop General Mills products at Walmart, in addition to the $0.10 per Box Tops, you earn 4 more! That's $0.50 per product! Click here to see a full list of products that are participating in this awesome campaign and load up on them while it lasts! I headed out to my local Neighborhood Market Walmart to do a little shopping for this post to show you the exclusive 5-for-1 Box Tops deal they're running and picked these up:



If you're like me, you might have wondered if collecting these really make a difference for your school - believe it or not, they really do! Little Sis' elementary school earned about $2600 last year and $25,000 total in the almost 10 years it's been open. That's not shabby at all! Just think of some of the wonderful things this money could do for you school, for example, new technology equipment, playground equipment and/or improvements, a school garden, outdoor learning areas, fresh coat of paint and/or murals for their hallways, classroom supplies/necessities, books, just to name a few. How each school/PTA chooses to utilize these earnings will differ but it's all accomplished by the same simple task of clipping these little gems! Who knew that it can make that much of a difference? To see how much your school's earned over the years, just click here: Box Tops for Education School Earnings.

I have to say, I was a little disappointed to see that earnings at our school have been steadily declining over the past 4 years so it's my hope to spread awareness and get those numbers back up! To be honest, I had gotten a little lazy about clipping them over the past couple years, so you can bet that not a single Box Top will be escaping our scissors here on out! Especially since we have a hungry mouth to feed now...

And just because you may not have a school aged child in the family doesn't mean you can't still participate! Collect them and send them to relatives, friends, or just turn them into your nearest school - they will be so appreciated!

Why not make collecting Box Tops more fun by adding a craft that can get kids involved in saving for their school as well!? There's a huge sense of pride and accomplishment when they can bring their collection into their teachers during school-wide Box Top competitions to help their class win that pizza party or simply bringing them in when the jar is full. Or monster, in this case!


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To make this, we simply used the box from one of my purchases, the taco kit in this case, glued some construction paper onto it, cut a hole and had some fun.


I used to save my Box Tops in just an envelope, but then I got lazy and didn't feel like opening up the flap to put my Box Tops in each time, lol, so I cut a slit in the top of a baby food plastic container and made a little storage box. You can also stuff 'em in a lidless canning jar or make this Box Top-eating monster. It really doesn't matter how you collect them, as long as you collect 'em! :)


And of course I have to show you a lunch I put together with my purchases. Last night's dinner turned into today's lunches along with some sides. Make your own tacos at school!




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That's it! Be sure to stop by your nearest Walmart to shop participating products so you will not only have dinner AND lunch (and throw in breakfast too with that box of cereal) planned, you’ll also receive 5 Box Tops (worth $.50) for your elected school for each product! Be sure to plan your shopping trip ahead of time by checking out this list of participating products, print and highlight your items to purchase and start earning for your school!

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner, following My Epicurean Adventures on Facebook or on Instagram - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Tuesday's Table
What Kids Eat Wednesday
Diana Rambles' Friday Pin Me Party

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Ad: Get Organized for Back-to-School Meals

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc. All opinions are entirely my own. This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ReimagineYourRoutine #CollectiveBias

I've been packing lunches for my girls for 9 years now, starting from when Big Sis was a mere tot in preschool. Wow, that's a lot of lunch making! Back then, it was pretty easy. Life was just slower paced and we really didn't have places we NEEDED to be. The girls themselves might have required more work, but we had a pretty easy-going life. Fast forward 9 years and though the girls are more self-sufficient now, life has become a mad dash. Between their school, 6 soccer practices, piano lessons, and basketball and my own volleyball league, we are constantly on the move Monday through Friday.

With back-to-school looming for some and already in full swing for others like me, it's so important to stay organized and simplify life where life can be simplified. One of the major areas in my life that requires planning and forethought is in the food department. Between breakfasts, school lunches and figuring out dinners in the midst of relentless activities, my refusing to hit the drive thrus and take out as much as possible, my kitchen and fridge need to be organized. Whether you're a working mom or a stay-at-home one like me, life is just that much easier if you can get organized.

Now's the perfect time to starting thinking about back-to-school routines and stocking up on those items that make life a little easier and run a little smoother. While I love to cook and make things from scratch as often as possible, sometimes you just need the quick and easy. Luckily there are great affordable options that my kids love like State Fair® Corn Dogs, Tyson® Chicken Nuggets and Jimmy Dean® Pancakes & Sausage.

On top of the hustle and bustle of activities, I also have a very skinny picky eater, and we are determined to put some meat on her bones and get her to grow this year. Protein is our tool of choice. Not only do these three items fit into that category (all three are high in protein), my choosier one LOVES every one of them, as does the less picky one. Yay! :)


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I found these at my Neighborhood Market Walmart in the frozen foods section. State Fair® Corn Dogs are found in the Snacks & Appetizers section, Tyson® Chicken Nuggets in the Dinner Foods section and the Jimmy Dean® Pancakes & Sausage in the Breakfast section. While you're there, be sure to stop by the refrigerator section for a wide selection of yogurts, cheese and other cold snacks. And don't forget to make a pass through the produce section as well, to pick up favorite veggies and fruits to complete your meals!

Making these meals is easy peasy when you get organized. Let me show you how I do it:

1. To get started, try to pick a set day of the week where you can set aside some time to perform the mundane, dreaded tasks of food cleaning and prep. Sunday would be ideal since you can start using the items first thing Monday, but if you're like me and just can't (i.e. won't) do it, Monday works great too. :) As painful as it may be, a little time up front will save you a ton later on.

2. Pre-wash your veggies and fruit. Don't pre-wash berries, though, as they won't last nearly as long. Use a scrub brush or soak and rinse them, depending on the produce. Clean with a 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar solution, a veggie cleaner found in stores or just plain water. While you're at it, wash their packaging in warm and soapy water, to reuse for storage and save yourself and our Earth from another baggie. :) Make sure the veggies, fruit and bags are thoroughly dry before storing in the fridge. This will help them keep longer.


3. Cut the cheese. ;) Cut the meat. Cut the whatever you see fit :) Take, for example, cheese. I usually buy the sliced kind for sandwiches and cut them in quarters, the perfect size for crackers. Return them to the baggie they came in.


4. Pre-fill little containers with snacks and dips your kids eat frequently, like hummus or applesauce. It's amazing how mind numbing it gets to fill these on a daily basis. These little gems are Little Dippers by EasyLunchboxes.


5. Find storage bins that fit nicely in your fridge. They can be like the ones I bought (see affiliate links below) or can be something you already have sitting around. Fill the bins with go-to items like cheese sticks, drinkable yogurts, fruits, veggies, apple sauces, whatever!


6. Find a nice, convenient spot in your fridge. That slightly-too-short shelf that just won't fit that much stuff was the perfect one for me.


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And tada! You're organized and ready for a week of quick and easy breakfast/lunch/dinner making! This also makes it fun and easy for kids to pack their own lunches as well!

Now let's see 'em in action. Wednesday is our crazy busy day. Big Sis comes home from school, then we go pick up Little Sis from school and take her straight to piano lessons. After that, we beeline it to her indoor soccer practice, followed up by Big Sis' basketball or soccer practice (we're double booked right now). That means quick and easy meals are a must, but healthy and high in protein are just as important. The girls were excited to see my sign that corn dogs were on the menu today! A special treat. With my lunch box gear ready to go, I quickly (and easily) got to work.



Here's that dinner with State Fair® Corn Dogs:


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Another fun dinner is this chicken taco made with chopped up Tyson® Chicken Nuggets. It's nice for evenings when you can eat at home but are still pressed for time.


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Last but not least is breakfast with Jimmy Dean® Pancakes & Sausage. These are a great Monday morning breakfast when it's just too hard to get up earlier to cook up something more involved. ;) With Big Sis going to school an hour earlier than Little Sis now, these are a huge help AND she LOVES them! The perfect way to put more meat on her bones. ;)


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Which products will YOU be stocking up on? For more ideas to get back to your back to school routine, click here and sign in.


Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner, following My Epicurean Adventures on Facebook or on Instagram - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Diana Rambles' Friday Pin Me Party

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Weeks #29-51

Even though our new school year has started, I'm just now finishing up my collection of last year's lunches! Though I started with weekly posts, I quickly slowed down into monthly, now 4 months worth in one. lol. These lunches aren't all unique, nor did I capture each one I made, but here's a collection from the last few months of school. Hope you see something you like! :)

Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #29-51. Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches

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Here's a closer look at each of the lunches. Just click on the pix to get an even closer look! It's fun to mix up some of the favorite main entrees with different sides. Let me know if you have any questions!

Lunch box fun: This leftover French bread sub sandwich was a HUGE hit w/ the girls!
Sub sandwich
Lunch box fun with a hot dog and mac and cheese in our @easylunchboxes
Hot dog and mac and cheese
Lunch box fun with cheese and cracker lunchables
Cheese and cracker lunchables
Lunch box fun with mini frozen pizzas. SO easy and they always get gobbled up. In our @easylunchboxes #lunchboxideas
Frozen mini pizzas
Lunch box fun with cheese and cracker lunchables. Always fun to eat and better than the store-bought kind. In our @easylunchboxes #lunchboxideas
Cheese and cracker lunchables
Lunch box fun with tortellini, a tried and true favorite. #lunchboxideas
Tortellini
Lunch box fun with a bagel and cream cheese. So easy to make when you just don't have much time. In our @easylunchboxes #lunchboxideas
Bagel and cream cheese

Lunch box fun with a chicken patty sandwich. In our @easylunchboxes #lunchboxideas
Chicken patty sandwich

Lunch box fun with a grilled reuben on a hamburger bun. In our @easylunchboxes #lunchboxideas
Grilled Reuben on bun

Lunch box fun with a chicken patty sandwich and a healthy tomato mozzarella salad. In our @easylunchboxes #lunchboxideas
Another chicken patty sandwich!

Lunch box fun with a hot dog sprinkled with cheese on top. In our @easylunchboxes #lunchboxideas
Hot dog with cheese and ketchup

Lunch box fun with ham and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bun. In our @easylunchboxes #lunchboxideas
Ham and cheese on whole wheat bun

Lunch box fun with a turkey and cheese sandwich on a potato roll hamburger bun. In our @easylunchboxes #lunchboxideas
Turkey and cheese on a potato bun

Lunch box fun with a turkey and cheese on potato roll. Mmmm. In our @easylunchboxes #lunchboxideas
Oh wow, another turkey and cheese w different sides!

Lunch box fun with popcorn shrimp! #lunchboxideas
Popcorn shrimp!

Lunch box fun with cheese and cracker lunchables. SO much better than the store-bought kind. In our @easylunchboxes #lunchboxideas
Cheese and cracker lunchables

Lunch box fun with tortellini! #lunchboxideas
Tortellini

Lunch box fun with a ham and cheese sandwich on a deliciously soft potato roll. In our @easylunchboxes #lunchboxideas
Ham and cheese (dinner on the go, actually)

Lunch box fun with a grilled egg sandwich on a potato roll. #lunchboxideas
Grilled egg sandwich on potato roll

Lunch box fun with ham and cheese sliders. So yummy. In our @easylunchboxes #lunchboxideas
Ham and cheese sliders

Lunch box fun with a grilled chicken breast mini sub sandwich on a potato (hot dog) roll. In our @easylunchboxes #lunchboxideas
Chicken breast mini sub

Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Weeks #29-51 Super simple and super delicious Pizza lunch in @easylunchboxes #lunchboxfun
Frozen pizza

Lunch box fun with chopped chicken tenders. #lunchboxideas
Cut up chicken tenders

Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Weeks #29-51 Bagel and cream cheese in @easylunchboxes #lunchboxfun
Bagel and cream cheese

Lunch box fun with tortellini! #lunchboxideas
Tortellini

And if you love EasyLunchboxes, this graphic's for you! :)
Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Weeks #29-51. Lots of super simple super yummy lunch box ideas in @easylunchboxes #lunchboxfun

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Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner, following My Epicurean Adventures on Facebook or on Instagram - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

                                  

My favorite Bento supplier @ All Things For Sale.  Just click on the pix to view/purchase now! :)

Japanese Bento Accessories Sauce Container set of 4 Lovely Mayo Cup Bento Silicone Baking Food Cup - 12 Heart Japanese Bento Accessories Silicone Colorful Food Cup 6P 

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Tuesday's Table
Anyonita Nibbles' - Tasty Tuesdays
What Kids Eat Wednesday
The Party Bunch

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)