Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

August 22, 2016

How To Build a Better Lunch Box (and GIVEAWAY!)

*This is a sponsored post* 

One week.

While the first day of autumn does not arrive for another month, my family's summer is officially over in one week. Why? Because school begins!

This year is extra special. Not only because Hubby and Chica are back to the school grind (as teacher and 3rd grader, respectively). But Bug is going to be a big kindergartener!  Our program is in its last year of half day K, so it's only a few hours a day. But it will be a big shift having to put her on the bus (NO, I'm not crying - there's something in my eye) and to have everyone out of the house every day.

One of the things I'll be trying to focus on this year is offering better lunches for the girls. During the summer, since there was more time and we didn't have to pack anything, we had some great "out of the box" lunch ideas. Produce was fresh from the garden or farmer's market, and we had the time to be more creative.

My goal is to extend the same ideas to our school lunches. And, luckily, Giant Food Stores is here to help! Not only are their Nature's Promise products chock-full of healthy goodness, but their on-staff nutritionists offer great tips on building a better lunch. 

Here are some tips on building a better lunch box this school year!


Group It Up

MyPlate is a fantastic resource for what our "plate" should look like for each meal. With the pickiness of kid's palates, it's easy to get into a habit of missing some of the core food groups. MyPlate is a goo reminder to include the five food groups each day. 





Parenting Lunch Box Goal: aim to include a minimum of 3 food groups in your child's lunchbox each day.

Section It Out

I started doing this last year and I feel like it was super helpful for both me and my girls. Using a lunchbox with divided sections or separate containers helped me think beyond the sandwich and get creative. I felt free to try foods like salads or dips and vegetables that I wouldn't be able to use in a traditional lunch box. It's also a gentle reminder to include different food groups. It's a win-win, because the kiddos like seeing the different sections and not having their food touch.

Pump It Up

Pump it up...with protein! I've been more conscious of trying to incorporate foods full of protein into school lunches. Not only is protein an important part of MyPlate, but it's a great way to keep little tummies full for longer. Almond butter is one of my favorite protein sources (I always have a jar of Nature's Promise Almond Butter in my cabinet). Pack a double protein punch by adding some some granola as a greek yogurt topper.



Think Outside of the (Lunch) Box

How often do we plateau in a lunch-making routine of PB & J sandwich, goldfish crackers and a squeezy yogurt? This is a great lunch, but the same ol' same ol' can get boring. 

Use your divided lunchbox to break OUT of the box with new ideas! Try tortilla roll-ups, carrots and ranch dressing, quinoa salad or build-your-own tacos. Sometimes a smattering of random things is a great option, too. Cut up some cheddar cheese, add some crackers, hardboiled eggs, applesauce and raisins for a tapas-style meal. 

I know several parents who have had success putting mac-n-cheese or meatballs in a quality thermos and it's still warm and ready to go at lunch time! 

Shake it up - your kids will thank you!

*****

To help you build a better lunchbox, Giant is awarding one of my lucky readers a $25 gift card to start the school year right! To enter, fill out the rafflecopter below. Happy winning - and cheers to a great school year!


Disclosure: I was provided product and monetary compensation for this review and giveaway. All opinions are my own.

June 9, 2016

Limoncello Products are BACK at Giant Food Stores (and a GIVEAWAY!)




It's that wonderful time of year again!

No, not the end of the school year or beginning of summer. I mean that beautiful season of Limoncello products at Giant Food Stores!

Seasonal products are my fave - it always makes me excited about the season. Give me pumpkin in autumn! Mint in winter! And when the days get longer and the temps start rising, I need me a big helping of Limoncello flavor. Like last summer, Giant is harnessing the special Sorrento lemon flavor and infusing an entire line of products that will be available in-store for a limited time only.



The Limoncello product line includes more than 30 items, from fresh to non-perishable departments. What Limoncello items am I most excited about? Limoncello cookies, Limoncello seltzer, Limoncello granola, Limoncello soap, and, of course, the Limoncello ICE CREAM.

(Note from Steph: the ice cream is DIVINE. Like. Get some. Now.)

In honor of the fantabulous limited-time Limoncello product line, Giant is giving one of my readers a $25 gift card! That way you can buy $25 worth of delicious Limoncello products for your next Summer Soiree!

Or you can hide them and eat them all yourself. No judgement here.



GIVEAWAY 




Enter below! Happy winning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


June 1, 2016

GIVEAWAY: The Franklin Institute's The Science Behind Pixar

This is a sponsored post.



Having grown up in the Philadelphia suburbs, I can say, hands-down, one of my favorite attractions of all time is the Franklin Institute.  Granted, I've always been a bit of a science geek. But, the Franklin Institute really offers excitement for children (and adults) of all ages!

One of things I love is their rotating exhibits. Each year, I know there will be an interesting and education attraction to bring my kids to. I'm really excited about their newest exhibit, The Science Behind Pixar.

As a fan of Pixar, this exhibition so incredibly interesting. And since my kids love Pixar movies as well, it's a win-win! This exhibit, which runs through September 5, 2016, offers 8 different sections, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the creation and production process: modeling, rigging, surfaces, sets & cameras, animation, simulation, lighting and rendering. Kids will enjoy getting a chance to see recreations of their favorite Pixar characters (hello Buzz Lightyear, Dory, Mike and Sulley, Edna Mode, and WALL•E!), and get involved in hands-on activities.

This is definitely an exhibit you and your family do NOT want to miss!

The folks at The Franklin Institute are kindly giving away a Family 4-Pack of tickets to The Science Behind Pixar to one of my fantastic readers! Just enter below!

The Science Behind Pixar Exhibit Details



Dates
March 12, 2016 – September 5, 2016

Ticket Information
Daytime  (Includes General Admission to The Franklin Institute) - Daily, 9:30am - 5pm

- Adults $29.95
- Children (ages 3-11) $24.95



Evening Tickets (does NOT include General Admission to The Franklin Institute) - Thursday through Saturday, 5pm-9pm
- Adults $19.95
- Children (ages 3-11) $14.95

Use code MBPIXAR*  to receive $5.00 off up to 4 adult, daytime tickets to The Science Behind Pixar. Contact The Franklin Institute at 215-448-1200 or visit fi.edu to redeem your code.




*$5 off Daytime Adult Admission tickets to The Science Behind Pixar. Limit 4 tickets per person. Includes General Admission to The Franklin Institute. Cannot be combined with any other offer or discount. Upgrades available on-site for IMAX and 3D Theater. Redeemable online or over the phone. Processing fees apply when ordering tickets in advance. Excludes holidays. Valid through 8/28/16

Photos provided by Franklin Institute



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