Chicken Tortilla Soup w/ Pepper Lime Tortilla Chips

Chicken Tortilla SoupThe weather is cooling off, the days are getting shorter and cozying up with a blanket and warm bowl or soup are high on my to-do list!

Savory, flavorful soups and stews are great for any Fall or Winter day, but on Sundays I especially like making something that can sit on the stove and more or less be ready to eat whenever we decide we’re hungry.  We tend to sleep in, eat a bigger breakfast later in the morning and our meal schedule sort of shifts.

For this soup, I wanted to add more flavor by giving my tortilla chips an unexpected little zing.  Lime juice, salt and pepper were the perfect combo.  Instructions in making your own Pepper Lime Tortilla Chips are included in the recipe below.  You can make a whole pack or save some for burritos or soft tacos later!

The best part of this soup, aside from how fantastic is tastes, is that it is so simple even an older kiddo could make it!  If you can do just a little cutting and open a few cans (and safely operate the oven and stovetop) you can totally make this soup!

Chicken Tortilla Soup w/ Pepper Lime Tortilla Chips

Chicken Tortilla Soup w/ Pepper Lime Tortilla Chips

Ingredients

  • 6 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 2 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • I Small Can Diced Green Chilies
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • I Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • I Cup Frozen Corn
  • I/2 Cup Chopped Cilantro (Fresh)
  • I Can Great Northern (White) Beans
  • I Avocado
  • I Package Soft Tortillas
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 Lime

Instructions

  1. In a large sauce pan, combine the first SEVEN ingredients.
  2. Cook over medium low, covered, for approximately 1 hour, or until the chicken is cooked through and shreds easily.
  3. Remove chicken breasts from the soup and shred.
  4. Return chicken to the soup.
  5. Add the Great Northern Beans to the soup and the juice of half a lime (reserve the other half).
  6. Continue to cook over low heat.
  7. In the meantime, preheat the over to 350 degrees.
  8. Place tortillas in a single layer on a flat baking sheet.
  9. Rub each tortilla generously with the cut side of a lime.
  10. Season tortillas well with salt and pepper.
  11. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut tortillas in to bite size strips or into triangle chips.
  12. Bake in the over for 10-15 minutes, or until crisp. Keep an eye on them so that they don't burn.
  13. Serve the soup with tortilla strips, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and a few slices of avocado.
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Pepper Lime Tortilla Chips

 

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Life Happens; So Do Stains

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the Maker of OxiClean™ through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about their Max Force™ Laundry Stain Remover, all opinions are my own.

OxiClean MaxForceLife comes in so many stages. First, there’s the baby stage. Spit-up, diaper accidents, messy crafts and dirt (lots of dirt) are telltale signs. Those were the days of doing daily laundry. As my kids got older, their stains became more complex: grass stains from sports, blood from scraped knees and food stains from my messy eater. When they become teens, it will be makeup products or grease from working on bikes (later cars) and things like that. And the adults of the house, well sometimes we’re messy too. I see a lot of dirt and grime from automotive projects from my other half and sometimes my lunch rush leaves me with a day-long reminder. Saving our clothes? That’s no sweat.

OxiClean MaxForce Gel StickMy kids seem to find stains in the most unusual ways. My challenge is eradicating them. Take my daughter for example. An afternoon walk around the neighborhood, capturing those crazy little characters everyone is after, somehow resulted in chocolate on her skirt. Of course, I didn’t know about the chocolate until days later when I found the evidence in the laundry. She stopped and had ice cream down the street. The mystery of the chocolate stain was solved and OxiClean™ Max Force Trigger saved the day.

Hunting Imaginary CreaturesMy son is a magnet for anything dirty. If there is dirt to be found, he will find it. We spend a lot of time at the race track in the summer and that lends us to some interesting stains. What did we have for lunch? His shirt will probably tell you. Food dropped on the bleachers? My son will probably sit in it. Someone spilled oil in one of the race trailers? My son will probably walk through it, wipe it on his clothes or maybe sit in it too. He is all boy and his clothes tell the tale. My OxiClean™ Max Force Foam and Max Force Gel Stick get a workout thanks to him.

Climbing the BleachersMy other half is a car guy, and anyone that has a car guy knows how hard oil and grease are to tackle. And it’s not just little spots we’re talking about either. No, they end up covered. For tough jobs like this, OxiClean™ Max Force Foam is my go-to. I love that I can treat most of his stains when they happen, but don’t need to run the washer immediately. I can wait a day or two and toss in a regular load.

OxiClean Max Force FoamStains happen for all of us every day, but they don’t have to mean the end of the line for our clothes. While some stains are more common than others, OxiClean™ has products to battle them all. Each of the products below works on all stains, but some info on which products are proven to fight which common stains the most effectively.

OxiClean™ Max Force Gel Stick – Grass, Chocolate, Perspiration, BBQ Sauce, and Mustard
OxiClean™ Max Force Trigger – Blood, Spaghetti Sauce, Chocolate, BBQ Sauce, and Mustard
OxiClean™ Max Force Foam – Tough Grease Stains, Cooking Oil, Food Grease, Butter

OxiClean MaxForce Stain RemoverI can’t tell you how many times OxiClean™ Max Force products have saved clothing items that I thought were gone for good. When life’s messes happen, no matter at what stage, you can count on OxiClean™ to be in your corner. For more information on the full line of OxiClean™ products and instructions for each, visit this site.

What weird stains do your kids (or other half) throw your way to keep laundry time interesting? Do you have a hobby that creates unique stains? Share with us in the comments or on our Facebook page.

 

 

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20 Upcycled Home Decor Projects

upcycled-home-decor-projectsHome decor projects can be a ton of fun and a very rewarding way to spend your time and flex your creative muscles.  Upcycled home decor projects just takes things to the next level.  I am amazed by some of the awesome ideas I see floating around Pinterest that take old things and make them new and useful again.  Pallet projects were (and still are) all the rage.  I’ve even created some pretty cool wall art myself.

Another of my favorite projects was a dessert stand I made using plates, a bowl and glasses.  It was fun, colorful and a total thrift shoppable project.

Enough about me though and more about you!  Here’s a collection of twenty different upcycled home decor projects that you might want to try yourself.

  1. Upcycled Lampshade Vases from thehousethatlarsbuilt.com
  2. Upcycling DIY from lanaredstudio.com
  3. Wallpaper Lampshades from pillarboxblue.com
  4. DIY Leather Handles On Boxes from shrimpsaladcircus.com
  5. DIY Upcycled Clock from trimcraft.co.uk
  6. Easy Marble Dessert Stands from akailochiclife.com
  7. Upcycled Plastic Bottle Into A Rustic Rope Planter from acharmingproject.com
  8. Recycled Fabric Twine Planter from mypoppet.com.au
  9. Upcyled Leather Catchall Tray from makeanddocrew.com
  10. Coastal Inspired Candlesticks from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com
  11. Upcycled Bottle Vase from makeandtell.com
  12. DIY Book Vase from katescreativespace.com
  13. Repurposed Metal Tins from erinspain.com
  14. DIY Sea Glass Bottles from sadieseasongoods.com
  15. Wire Earring Holder DIY from littleredwindow.com
  16. Easy DIY Upcycled Driftwood Votive Candle Holder from sustainmycrafthabit.com
  17. Thrifted DIY Jewelry Holde from brooklynberrydesigns.com
  18. A Reclaimed Toolbox To Flower Box from thedecoratednest.com
  19. Give Your Old Plant Pots A Painterly Designer Makeover from we-are-scout.com
  20. Farmhouse Style Container Upcycle from thecraftycarlson.com

Check out all of these amazing projects and Pin your favorites or Pin this post to save the whole list!

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Life Lessons As Taught By My Cat

life-lessons-catPets of all types can add so much to our lives.  Joy, love, comfort, and sometimes even frustration. There have only been a few very brief periods in my life that a pet didn’t own me.  Yes, they work their way into my heart and they rule he roost.  Little miss Reese is no exception.  She wormed her way in to my heart behind the little metal bars of her Human Society home.  She and her brother were found, abandoned, and someone brought them to the Humane Society.  My stopping by “just to look” quickly escalated into “can I take her home today?”

Reese is a constant source of entertainment, knowledge (cats are fascinating to learn from) and love (usually directed at her “daddy”.  Yes, we are those annoying people who refer to ourselves as “mommy” and “daddy”.

We could all stand to be a little more like Reese.  Reese is fearless, driven, loving, patient and full of life.  She also confuses herself for a bird sometimes, and I’m also occasionally convinced she’s part dog.


On being fearless, Reese’s curiosity knows no bounds.  Sounds, smells, new people and new things always have her attention.  She rarely hides from anything, even when you can tell she’s unsure of a new situation.  She takes car rides (probably her second least favorite thing in the world, next to bath time), and while she hates them, she is always craning her neck to see everything that’s going on in the world outside of the car.

Reese is driven.  If she sees something she wants, she stays after it, no matter how many failed attempts.  Her tenacity is a part of what makes her personality so special and makes her extremely interesting to watch.  She pairs her drive with her patience and amazing things happen.  She might not make it from the floor to our high top table today, and maybe not tomorrow, but she will keep trying new ways until she figures it out (which she now has).

Reese is so full of life. She gets sad sometimes (especially when her daddy leaves) and she might cry for a few minutes, but she never mopes. She simply moves on to something that makes her happy.  She will play with her favorite toy (a stuffed emoji from a McDonald’s Happy Meal), watch TV (seriously), chase a fly or maybe just take a nap.  Regardless of the activity, she finds a way to move on.

I’m striving to be more like Reese. More fearless, more patient, more full of life. Maybe in my next life, I’ll be a cat.

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Twenty Comforting Casserole Recipes

comforting-casserole-recipesIf you are anything like me, you are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Fall.  I find myself longing for the days of cooler temperatures, snuggling under blankets and warming the house with the delicious smells of casseroles, fresh from the oven.

I tend to stay away from my oven through the summer months.  It seems to add extra heat to an already warm house and I’m generally drawn to the grill and spending as much time outside as possible.  Not in the Fall and Winter.  Give me a warm, filling casserole and I’m a happy girl.

This list of 20 of the best casserole recipes around is your ticket to warm, comforting Fall and Winter meals, any time of day.  Paleo, Veggie, breakfast and more!

  1. Frito Pie Casserole from plainchicken.com
  2. French Toast Casserole from amandascookin.com
  3. Cheesy Vegetable Casserole Recipe from thegraciouswife.com
  4. Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole from foodfanatic.com
  5. Paleo Tuna Green Chile Zoodle Casserole from cottercrunch.com
  6. Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake Casserole from celebratingsweets.com
  7. Tuna Casserole: Light Tuna Noodle Skillet from amandascookin.com
  8. Quick And Easy Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole from jocooks.com
  9. Ham Egg And Cheese Breakfast Casserole from dessertnowdinnerlater.com
  10. Stuffed Overnight French Toast Casserole from livingsweetmoments.com
  11. Corn And Broccoli Rice Casserole from plainchicken.com
  12. Cheesy Quinoa Casserole With Corn And Chicken from wellplated.com
  13. Hungarian Potato Casserole from greenevi.com
  14. Taco Casserole: Beef, Beans, Taco Seasoning, Cheese, Tortilla Chips, Salsa from amandascookin.com
  15. Butternut Turkey Baked Spaghetti Casserole (Grain Free) from vitamin-sunshine.com
  16. Easy Southwest Black Beans Polenta Casserole {vegetarian} from cottercrunch.com
  17. No-boil Pasta Casserole With Chicken from savorytooth.com
  18. French Gratin Potatoes from howtofeedaloon.com
  19. Weight Watchers Chicken Taco Casserole from slapdashmom.com
  20. Eggplant Parm Rice Casserole from theironyou.com

Take a peak at the recipes that intrigue you and let me know which ones you think will be your favorite in the comments below or on Facebook.

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4 Unexpected Ways To Save For College By Investing

Starting a college fund for our kids can be challenging, especially considering inflation and the rising costs of practically everything, but this investment is important for the future of our children. Sure we’ve all heard about tradition avenues, even some non-traditional methods such as life insurance policies with a “grow-up plan” available, this are additional avenues in investing towards the education of our children when they mature.

But investing in almost any form, even “safe” methods like life insurance come with their risks along with potential rewards.  Here are four unexpected investment opportunities that can turn into cold, hard cash when it comes to paying for college tuition in the future:

Diamonds

#1 – DIAMONDS – An Investor’s Best Friend?

They may be a “girl’s best friend,” but they have also held up remarkably well over the years when it comes to ROI. While their prices rise by approximately 7% in our country, globally speaking, they’ve seen regular double-digit increases, which increases their potential value worldwide.

While USA prices were under a rise of 10% annually, overseas markets have seen 26% in China  and 37% in India. Compare those to an annual yield of a CD account, even the highest returns are less than 2% yearly.

#2 – ETD’s – Affordable, But Risky or Rewarding?

ETD (Exchange Traded Debt) is a lesser known opportunity that comes in $25 increments, which makes in an affordable investment for many people, especially single mothers. These structured investment bonds pay quarterly dividends that are at a higher rate than the traditional yield of the company’s stock, usually between 6 and 7 percent annual rates are common.

ETD’s take 10 and 30 years to mature and they can be “called” early by the company that issued them leaving you with the original starting amount of your cash. This means that your future interest you were expecting could disappear.

#3 – REIT’s (Real Estate Investment Trends) – Are they safe?

Many are hesitant to invest (or reinvest) in the real estate market when we still looming from the housing crash in 2007 and beyond. Some blame bankers and investors for this economy busting era, but REIT are different than traditional property investments.

Real Estate InvestingREIT’s can be bought, sold and exchanged similar to stocks on the major markets since they are investments in commercial real estate properties. Some REIT’s pay dividends to their investors quarterly and others mature over time and can be sold for a profit.

#4 – REINVESTING TODAY’S REWARDS & TREATS – Is This A Possible Plan?

Statistics tell us that while 20% of people are using investment plans to save for their kids college coffer, 18% of parents are using their credit card rewards and other options (21%) to reinvest or save towards tuition. Since credit card rewards are just that, money that we earn that can easily be put aside, think of any “other options” where you could put aside some extra cash and then invest that into your child’s future.

Whether it’s that morning trip to the coffee shop or quaint cafe for our daily caffeine fix, think of other possible ways of curbing costs. Saving a few dollars or some spare change every day can add up to big rewards later on when invested properly.

BUYER / INVESTOR BEWARE: As with any investment opportunity, there are often many different types of platforms available and none of them come without risk. Minimally, be sure to do your homework before putting your hard-earned dollars into any avenue, but the best course of action is to seek the advice of a long-term financial advisor before taking the leap.

______________________________________________________

Hilary Smith has writing in her blood and communications on her brain. This yoga enthusiast appreciates a daily workout and loves keeping time with two children. A mother by day and writer by night, Hillary keeps abreast of the latest tech apps as she focuses in on the field of digital parenting.

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Homestyle Cheesy Lasagna Rolls


Lasagna RollsNothing says “home” to me more than a big, warm plate of pasta.  It doesn’t really matter what kind.  I just need noodles, cheese and sauce.  My grandmother made spaghetti sauce on a regular basis when I was little, so maybe that’s why pasta always feels like home to me.  Being a pasta lover, I’m always trying one thing or another.  One of my favorite dishes is lasagna.  To change it up a bit, I went for a more individualized approach with Lasagna Rolls.  They’re loaded with three cheeses, herbs and topped with Ragu Homestyle Pasta Sauce.  The best part is that you can prep these ahead, freeze them and pull out just the quantity you need.

Lasagna RollsIf you don’t love ooey, gooey, drippy cheese goodness, turn away now.  (But, if you are dairy intolerant just grab your favorite dairy-free substitutes!)  This recipe does take a bit of prep and planning, so it’s a great Sunday afternoon activity and there are plenty of opportunities to get the kids in the kitchen and prepare a meal together as a family.  After all, your family is what really makes home “home”.

Homestyle Cheesy Lasagna Rolls

Homestyle Cheesy Lasagna Rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 Package Lasagna Noodles
  • 1 Jar Ragu Homestyle Spaghetti Sauce (use what ever flavor is your favorite!)
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves, Chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley Leaves, Chopped
  • 1 Large Container Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, Divided
  • 3/4 Cup Grates Parmesan Cheese, Divided
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. Cook the noodles according to package directions.
  3. In a bowl, combine your Ricotta, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, 1-1/2 cups of the Mozzarella, the parsley and basil, and the nutmeg.
  4. Add the eggs to the cheese mixture and stir well.
  5. When your noodles are done, drain them and dump them onto a clean kitchen towel.
  6. Once cooled, lay the noodles out flat on a firm surface (counter top or cutting board).
  7. Create layers with the cheese mixture and noodles. Noodle on the bottom, top with a layer of the cheese mixture, top with another noodle and one more layer of cheese. Each roll up with have two layers of the noodles and cheese.
  8. Roll up the cheesy noodle layers and place them in a baking dish, seam side down.
  9. Top the roll ups with Ragu Homestyle Pasta Sauce.
  10. Top with reserved Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese.
  11. Bake covered for 45-60 minutes, removing the foil after about 40 minutes, or until the cheese mixture is cooked through and the cheeses on the top are bubbly and slightly browned.
  12. Let the rolls cool 15 minutes before serving.
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Ragu

If you’re looking for more Homestyle recipes, check out Ragu’s recipe page.  Have a great homestyle recipe of your own to share?  Hit us up on Facebook or tell us about it in the comments section below.  Happy eating!

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Hello September – Goals, Plans and Ramblings

It’s not officially Fall yet, but September is finally here and you can feel the first hints of Fall in the air. I started writing this post on the 1st of Sept with the plan in mind of laying out my goals for the month, one of which was to share a new post every day. Clearly, being that it’s September 3rd and this is my first post, I have already missed the boat on that one. If you’ve been a reader for at least a few years, you know the frequency of what I share has become far less than what it once was.  I could blame it on the twists and turns of life, I could blame it on all of the different social media channels we (bloggers/writers/digital content creators) are expected to manage now, or I could blame it on a shear lack of things to say. The true is, I’m just tired.  Plain and simple, just tired

I have a regular day job to support my family.  I wish I made enough money off ads, sponsored content and posts for brands to support my family, but I don’t.  I spend 3-4 hours a day commuting (yes, you read that right) plus 8-1/2 – 10 hours a day at my actual job.  Personal hygiene, food intake and sleep account for most of my down time.  Thrown in some laundry, housekeeping and grocery shopping and I’m about done. I doubt most of you are interested in reading about that.  I spend most of my weekends either catching up on the things I’ve ignored through the week, or soaking up a little bit of time with the other half.

Xenia Ohio Drag Race

This weekend, we’re in Xenia, Ohio, at a NHRA (drag racing) event.   We’re camping, he’s racing and I’m writing this post from the stands.  It’s as close as I can get us to both enjoying our hobbies at the same time.  That is a new goal for me personally.  I want to spend more time on my hobbies without dragging him away from his.  We’ve spent a lot of time at The Henry Fors museum this summer trying to do just that.  I can soak up my love of history and cool random knowledge and he gets cars and all things mechanical.

So, back to goals…

I’m aiming to hit 3000 followers on Instagram, 6,000 followers on Twitter and 7,000 followers on Pinterest.  Facebook is a slow go, it always has been, but I’ve been stuck at 2,400 for what seems like forever.  2,500 would be awesome, but I’m not sure how to get there without spending a ton of money on promoting posts through Facebook Ads.

Another goal for the month is to post more frequently here.  I can’t promise a ton of recipes and crafts (you have no idea how much times goes into one of those posts unless you’re a blogger yourself), but I will aim for one recipe or craft per week and try to sprinkle in some other posts as well.  You might see less of my beatifilly photographed foods and more “this is what I’m eating” iPhone photos, but I’ll be sharing.  If you have idea for things YOU want to see, tell me!  I’ll work on it.  After all, what I’m doing here is as much for you as it is for me.  If you want to see a resource posts of Minecraft birthday party ideas or 15 minute meals, just say so.

For now, I’m going back to my low key weekend, watching cars fly down a straight track and then I’m off to make turkey sandwiches in a dirty, greasy 24′ enclosed trailer.  And if I can find someone with some coffee, I’m going to make a new friend and try to score myself a cup.  Happy Saturday.

 

 

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Simple and Elegant Strawberry Jalapeno Snack Bites

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SpreadTheHeat #CollectiveBias

Strawberry Jalapeno Snack Bites

The last year has been such a whirlwind.  I’ve moved 700 miles from the only place I’ve ever called home, changed jobs, bought a house and now I’m getting married!  Yes, I’m engage!  Life is good and I am happier than ever.

Sometimes when we’re happy, we let ourselves go a little.  I’ve gained a few pounds, mostly due to poor snacking habits.  With pending nuptials, I’m looking to make some changes and pick up some better habits when it comes to snacking, but I refuse to sacrifice taste.  I am always looking for new products that make snacking more interesting. Unique flavors, unique ingredients and unique preparations always spark my curiosity.

Strawberry Japaeno Fruit Spread and Cream Cheese Appetizers

My newest snack fetish definitely packs a flavorful punch.  It’s so simple that it feels almost silly to call it a recipe!  But, if you search the web, you will see that this a version of a very classic hor d’oeuvre.  It’s quick enough to enjoy as a snack and fancy enough to serve at parties.  Putting together these Strawberry Jalapeno Snack Bites is so easy!

Wasa MultiGrain Crackers

Step 1 – Grab the ingredients – Wasa Multigrain Crispbread, Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Strawberry Jalapeno Fruit Spread, Reduced Fat Cream Cheese, Fresh Jalapeno (optional) and Fresh Strawberries (optional).

Step 2 – Take the Wasa Multigrain Crispbreads and break them in half.  I used the edge of a knife to cut into mine and “crack” them.

Wasa Crackers with Cream Cheese

Step 3 – Add a little cream cheese, about a teaspoon, to each Crispbread.  Spread it just a bit.

Step 4 – Top each cream cheese coated Crispbread with a teaspoon of the Strawberry Jalapeno Fruit Spread.

Cream Cheese and Jalapeno Fruit Spread on Crackers

Step 5 – Top each delightfully flavorful snack bite with fresh chopped jalapeno and strawberry.  This step is totally optional, but I highly recommend not skipping it if you are serving these at a party.  It really adds a finished, high-end look.

Strawberry Jalapeno Fruit Spread and Crackers

Crunchy, wholesome, snackable and surprisingly satisfying Wasa Multigrain Crispbread and the NEW better for you Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Strawberry Jalapeno Fruit Spread are available at your local Walmart.   Wasa Multigrain Crispbread is Non-GMO Project verified, high in fiber, low calorie and Kosher!  How could you go wrong with that?  Smucker’s Fruit & Honey spreads are naturally sweetened with sugar and pack a ton of flavor without all the bad stuff.  It’s easy to make a better for you snack when you start with better for you products.

Ibotta users, act now and earn $1.00 off Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Spread and $0.50 off Wasa Multigrain Crispbread.  These are Ibotta offers you don’t want to miss!  This is a great chance to check out the other Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Fruit Spread flavors too!

So, what do you think?  Is this a snack you could enjoy on an afternoon at home or a party with friends?

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5 Tips for Back To School Success


happy children group in schoolUnless your child is heading off to Kindergarten, the words “Back to School” are probably music to your ears.  Summer is great, awesome actually, but kids get bored and parents get burnt out.  Lack of schedules, lack of sleep and just lack of a everyone having a break from each other.  I can understand why year-round school programs have been so successful.  Despite the shift in the earth that occurs as the kids head back to school, you can make a smooth transition from the lax rules of summer to the realities of the school year.  It just takes a little planning.

Tired student sleeping over textbooksFirst, don’t over-schedule the kids, or yourself, in the first few weeks of school.  Yes, I know sports are starting up and you’re itching to tackle tasks you didn’t get to over the summer, but give it a few weeks.  The kids need some time to establish new relationships with their teachers, learn the homework routines and basically settle in.  You need to give yourself time to adjust too.  If your kids are on the younger side, their homework is your homework too.

Second, do as much of the “first day of school” as you can before the first day of school.  If you’re able to attend open house, this is a great time to bring in all of those school supplies you bought, ask questions about homework schedules/expectations and learn about your teacher.  Knowing how the teacher expects things to operate can make a HUGE difference in how successful your student (and you!) are in the first few weeks of school.

Assortment of coloured pencils, isolated on white backgroundThird, set the scene for successful evenings.  Don’t plan to come home and cook a “from scratch” meal every night the first week of school.  Like I mentioned before, your child is going to be navigating new waters, new topics and new people.  Have what you need on hand for quick, but nutritious, meals the first week and spend more time talking about their day, working on their homework and less time trying to get dinner on the table.

Fourth, don’t try to be a hero.  You don’t have to be a ‘Pinterest Mom” making packing visually stunning lunches or sign up to a “Room Mom” if your plate is already full.  Doing things out of guilt only leaves you frustrated in the end.  While doing what you can to help your teacher and make school as great as it can be for your kid is awesome, you shouldn’t feel guilty if you can’t be “that” parent.

Fifth, don’t wait until the night before school to start enforcing new schedules.  I don’t just mean bedtime.  If you’re going to have to rise and shine earlier than you have all summer, give yourself a few days, even a week, to adjust.  The same is true for bedtime.  If you’ve been letting the kids stay up until 10 or 11 every night, it will take a few nights for their bodies to adjust to an earlier bedtime.  You too!  You may have a little trouble falling asleep the first few nights, but there’s help for that.

Melatonin To Help SleepNatrol Melatonin is a drug-free, non-habit forming way to fall asleep and stay asleep.  I’ve been using Melatonin (even for the kids) for years.  We all have times when we have trouble falling asleep.  When that happens, you can reach for the purple bottle (there are several options depending on your needs – Natrol Melatonin Fast Dissolve and Natrol Advanced Sleep Melatonin are my favorites!) and be fast asleep in about a half hour.  Grab yourself a $2.00 coupon here and pick up the best Natrol Melatonin product for you when you do your back to school supply shopping.

 

 

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