Pretty Opinionated http://www.prettyopinionated.com Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 5 Tips to Make Back to School Lunches Easierhttp://www.prettyopinionated.com/2014/07/5-tips-make-back-school-lunches-easier/ http://www.prettyopinionated.com/2014/07/5-tips-make-back-school-lunches-easier/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.prettyopinionated.com/?p=38431 I received products mentioned below to help me write these tips to make back to school lunches easier. All opinions are my own. Despite my desire to stretch summer out as long as possible for my son, back to school is right around the corner. While neither of us are happy about this, as we’ve had nothing but problems at his school for the last four years, it’s time to face reality. Summer is almost over. With back to school season comes back to school lunches. Now, Jacob usually buys his lunch at school, but there are days that he […]

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I received products mentioned below to help me write these tips to make back to school lunches easier. All opinions are my own.

Back to School lunch tips

Despite my desire to stretch summer out as long as possible for my son, back to school is right around the corner. While neither of us are happy about this, as we’ve had nothing but problems at his school for the last four years, it’s time to face reality. Summer is almost over. With back to school season comes back to school lunches.

Now, Jacob usually buys his lunch at school, but there are days that he prefers to pack. Unfortunately, he usually tells me he wants to pack like three minutes before we have to be out the door! I feel bad saying “bud, it’s too late!”So this year, I am devising a system that will make it easier for me to give in to that last-minute request to pack his school lunch. Take a look at my ideas.

Make Back to School Lunches Easier

  • Keep a stash of “go” lunches for those last-minute days. Jacob loves “finger food” lunches with turkey pepperoni, sliced cheese, black olives and carrots. As long as I keep a supply of those things and an open can of olives, I have an easy go lunch. For your child, it may be sandwich meat already separated into lunch portions, individual servings of soup in little containers or whatever else they like. The point is to make sure you have a stash ready to go.
  • Prep everything the night before. If you know in advance that your child will be taking lunch the next day, make as much as you can the night before. Put veggies in containers, pack the juice, add napkins and so on. I don’t like to make Jacob’s peanut butter and fluff sandwich the night before because the bread gets gunky, but when there is just one thing left to prep in the morning, it’s a lot easier!

Juice in the Box

  • Use Juice in the Box! Speaking of juice, I tried out this awesome container called Juice in the Box. Basically, you can put any juice in it and it’s like having a juice box! The obvious benefit, of course, is that it saves you a ton of money since you’re not buying those single-serving juice boxes. Plus, it’s so much better for the environment. When it’s shut, it’s completely spill proof. In fact, even when it’s open, unless kids are sipping from it, they aren’t likely to spill. Jake has used his every day since it came! It’s made from near indestructible materials too, so it will last you all school year!

Juice in the Box

  • Find out lunchroom policies right away. I probably should have mentioned this first, but one of the best ways to make school lunches easier is to NOT pack things that are prohibited. For example, at Jake’s school, he’s allowed peanut butter in the lunch room but not as a class snack. Some schools don’t allow any peanut products, while others have rules on the desserts you can send along. Personally, I feel I should be able to send anything I want as long as it’s not a health hazard for another child (I’m okay with no peanuts as I know they can actually kill children with allergies, but if I want to send Ring Dings along as a dessert, that should be my choice).

Pack it Lunch Bag

  • Think outside the box. Another fabulous back to school product I received is the Packit Freezable Lunch Bag. I’m totally keeping this for myself! It rolls up into a small little bundle that fits right on your freezer door.

Packit

  • When you need it, just unroll and fill it up! It keeps food cold for up to 10 hours, so you can pack it first thing in the morning and your child’s lunch will stay fresh until he’s ready to eat it. I love the PackIt because it’s easier to fit into Jake’s book bag than a lunch box. I also really love using it for family outings! Best of all, they are free of harmful PVC, BPA, phthalates and lead and are made with nontoxic food-safe materials.

Both the Juice in the Box and the PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag will make your mornings so much easier.  Together, with my other tips, you should be able to get out the door on time even when your child requests to pack last minute!

What are your tips for making back to school lunches easier?

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ClearlyFiltered Clean Water Pitcher Even Makes My Cruddy Water Taste Good!http://www.prettyopinionated.com/2014/07/clearly-filtered-clean-water-pitcher/ http://www.prettyopinionated.com/2014/07/clearly-filtered-clean-water-pitcher/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.prettyopinionated.com/?p=38521 I received a ClearlyFiltered Clean Water Pitcher to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own. I have the worlds worst water. Okay, maybe not the worst in the whole world, as I know there are many who don’t even have any clean drinking water, but I’d say it’s among the nastiest tasting in the developed nations. For reasons that I haven’t yet figured out, we have sulfur water. You know, the stuff that smells and tastes like rotten eggs? Great, right? We had no idea until after we moved in. Now, I know that technically sulfur water isn’t harmful […]

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I received a ClearlyFiltered Clean Water Pitcher to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

ClearlyFiltered Clean Water Pitcher Makes Nasty Water Palatable!

I have the worlds worst water. Okay, maybe not the worst in the whole world, as I know there are many who don’t even have any clean drinking water, but I’d say it’s among the nastiest tasting in the developed nations. For reasons that I haven’t yet figured out, we have sulfur water. You know, the stuff that smells and tastes like rotten eggs? Great, right? We had no idea until after we moved in.

Now, I know that technically sulfur water isn’t harmful to drink, but I’d rather eat beets than drink that stuff. I hate beets. The smell of it as a glass goes towards my mouth just makes me gag. Bottom line: to me, it’s NOT drinkable. So what do I do? Spend a fortune on bottled water, that’s what.

ClearlyFiltered Clean Water Pitcher Saves Me Money on Bottled Water

I have high expectations out of a water filter and pitcher. While most people are just trying to filter out impurities and weird, government control mechanisms like fluoride (I’m kind of kidding, maybe, I’m not sure if that conspiracy theory is true!), I expect it to also filter out the sulfur taste. Not many water filters have pulled it off. In fact,  ClearlyFiltered Clean Water Pitcher is only the second filter I’ve ever found that works.

ClearlyFiltered Clean Water Pitcher Even Makes My Cruddy Water Taste Good!

Let’s break down the savings over bottled water, shall we? I spend between $0.35 and $0.99 cents on a gallon of bottled water. The low end is from a machine outside the grocery store. The ClearlyFiltered Clean Water Pitcher costs about $70. You get 200 gallons of clean water from each filter. That’s $0.35 cents per gallon, or what I’d pay for the cheapest clean water in my area.

Now, here’s the thing. After those 200 gallons, you’ll need to replace your filter. That will cost you $44.95. So your next 200 gallons will cost you about $0.23 (I rounded up, it’s actually $0.22475).  That’s $24 savings on every 200 gallons! Considering that I go through at least 6 gallons a week, that adds up incredibly fast!

Features of the ClearlyFiltered Clean Water Pitcher

While I needed the ClearlyFiltered Clean Water Pitcher to really pull off a small miracle and make my water drinkable (which it passed with flying colos), most people don’t need it to do quite so much work. Take a look at the comparison of the Clean Water Pitcher to other pitchers (this photo is from their website)

Pitcher-Comparison-Chart-Updated-July-2013.001

Just look at all the stuff it eliminates or drastically reduces! With 90% reduction in Fluoride, at least if the conspiracy theories are true, the government can only control 10% of my brain! Honestly, though, the fact that I don’t have to suffer if I run out of bottled water is enough to make me love the Clean Water Pitcher. Plus, I’m much more likely to drink water now that I know it isn’t costing me as much! That’s good for my health, right?

Visit ClearlyFiltered to learn more about the Clean Water Pitcher and their other products. Follow on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with news.

 

 

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Build Your Plush Collection & Library with Kohl’s Cares and Help Kids in Need!http://www.prettyopinionated.com/2014/07/kohls-cares-little-critters/ http://www.prettyopinionated.com/2014/07/kohls-cares-little-critters/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.prettyopinionated.com/?p=38433 Kohl’s provided me with a Little Critter’s Kohl’s Cares package for sharing the information in this post. All opinions are my own. My son has a massive stuffed animal collection. In fact, the only collection larger than that is his book collection! I can’t help it, there are so many great books and adorable snuggly stuffed animals out there. Those two collections have one thing in common: Kohl’s Cares. With stuffed animals and gorgeous hardcover books at just $5 each, it was easy to amass a collection that rivals a toy store and a library! It’s even easier when you […]

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Kohl’s provided me with a Little Critter’s Kohl’s Cares package for sharing the information in this post. All opinions are my own.

Kohls Cares Lil Critters with books

My son has a massive stuffed animal collection. In fact, the only collection larger than that is his book collection! I can’t help it, there are so many great books and adorable snuggly stuffed animals out there. Those two collections have one thing in common: Kohl’s Cares. With stuffed animals and gorgeous hardcover books at just $5 each, it was easy to amass a collection that rivals a toy store and a library!

Kohls Cares Box

It’s even easier when you know that the $5 you’re spending on adorable new plush friend or bedtime story is going to help other children in need. Did you know that 100% of the net profit from the Kohl’s Cares collections goes towards children’s health and education initiatives nationwide? They’ve raised over $231 million since the program began? That’s incredible!

Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter arrives in the Kohl’s Care Collection

Kohls Care Abbie

Now that I have a niece, it’s time to start building her collection! I received the adorable Little Critter stuffed animals and books you see above. I thought they would be just perfect for Abbie! She’s only 7 months old, but you’re never too little to appreciate books. I wish I had a picture of her reaction to the girl Little Critter. I held it in front of her and she looked for a moment, then laughed as she grabbed it and bit its’ bow! She’s so stinkin’ cute.

The Little Critters books available through Kohl’s Cares are perfect for getting your child ready for back to school time. Aside from the two I received: Litter Critter Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Critter Bedtime Stories,  there are several other fun books, activities and stuffed animals in the current Kohl’s Cares offerings. These include:

  • Books:  Little Critter’s Bedtime Storybook, Little Critter Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Critter Little Red Riding Hood, Little Critter Hansel and Gretel and Little Critter 3 pack Board Book Set
  • Plush: Little Critter, Little Sister, Bear and Wolf
  • Other Goodies:  Zoo Matching Game, 2 pack Doodle Book
  •  Online Exclusives: Little Critter Where’s My Sneaker? (a lift-the-flap-book) and Mouse plush

They also have a few great items for adults, including The Mom 100 Cookbook and Good Housekeeping Stain Rescue!

At just $5 each, and with the proceeds going to such great causes, Kohl’s Cares has always been my favorite way to grow my son’s library and stuffed animal collection. They also make such fantastic holiday gifts that won’t bust your bank account. Head to your local Kohl’s or shop Kohl’s Cares online.

Have you bought stuffed animals or books through Kohl’s Cares? What were your favorite finds?

 

 

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Help Me Give Yick Wo A Great Art Program with Schoola #clothes4schoolhttp://www.prettyopinionated.com/2014/07/help-give-yick-wo-great-art-program-schoola-clothes4school/ http://www.prettyopinionated.com/2014/07/help-give-yick-wo-great-art-program-schoola-clothes4school/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.prettyopinionated.com/?p=38608 This post is brought to you by Schoola, the best place to buy discounted kids clothes all while give back to schools in need. Click here to learn more about Schoola. Click here to see what people are saying.   When Jacob started Kindergarten and began bringing home awesome art projects, I started an Art Gallery wall in my bedroom. That way, his creations are the last thing I see before I go to to bed at night and the first thing I see in the morning. This one little wall is only a sample of the many beautiful pieces […]

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This post is brought to you by Schoola, the best place to buy discounted kids clothes all while give back to schools in need. Click here to learn more about Schoola. Click here to see what people are saying.

Help Me Give Yick Wo A Great Art Program with Schoola #clothes4school

Jacob’s Art Gallery, the highlight of my room!

 

When Jacob started Kindergarten and began bringing home awesome art projects, I started an Art Gallery wall in my bedroom. That way, his creations are the last thing I see before I go to to bed at night and the first thing I see in the morning. This one little wall is only a sample of the many beautiful pieces of art my son has created over the last four years. Some are awe-inspiring, like his replication of Van Gogh’s Sunflower:

Help Me Give Yick Wo A Great Art Program with Schoola #clothes4school

Some are, well, interesting, like his Mother’s Day Word Art project, in which he wrote many words that he feels describes me. I’m embarrassing because I call him my little Monkey Pants (although not in public anymore). I’m also a liar because he recently found out the truth about the Easter Bunny and Santa. This was his witty way of making sure I stay humble, I guess. I do love that he thinks I’m pretty! I think it’s funny that he thinks I’m a good cook, considering the most masterful thing I make for him are  Peanut Butter and Fluff sandwiches.

Help Me Give Yick Wo A Great Art Program with Schoola #clothes4school

None of the projects on my Jacob’s Art Gallery wall would be possible without quality art programs in schools. As often as I complain about Jacob’s school district, I have to give them credit: they make sure art is a priority, at least in elementary school.

Help Give Yo Wick a Great Art Program

Art programs in school are as vital to a child’s future as English and Math programs. While English, math, science and social studies form the core curriculum and give kids the basics they need to make it in life, art gives them the chance to explore creative uses of those basics. It brings them together in a new and exciting way. For children like Jacob, who learn by doing, it is often one of the only ways to drive home the messages taught in the core classes.

The parents at Yo Wick Elementary School in San Francisco, CA need your help to get their school a great art program. Schoola, an amazing resource for children’s back to school clothing, is on board to give them a hand, but they can’t do it alone.

Shop Schoola For Back-to-School Clothes and Help Yo Wick & your own school!

This is where you come in. First, if you haven’t heard of Schoola, let me quickly tell you a little about them. They work in two ways:

  • As a shopping site for parents to find fantastic back-to-school clothes at an amazing price. With finds under $5, “new with tags” collections and more, you can find the most stylish name-brand clothes for your child at a fraction of the retail price. I’m talking major savings, like up to 90%!
  • As a donation site to repurpose your child’s gently worn clothes. We all have barely-worn clothes sitting in our children’s closets. Even though I try to maximize my spending and only get what Jake need, we still end up with clothing that he wore once- or not at all- by the time he moves on to the next size. Schoola will send you a donation bag so you can give those clothes to them. The money the raise goes to supporting schools like Yo Wick. You can also designate a school to receive the funds!

So how does this help Yo Wick get an art program? Well, let’s talk about that.

  • For every transaction made through my Schoola link, $1 will go to helping Yo Wick
  • For every person who requests a Schoola donation bag via that link, Schoola will donate $1 to Yo Wick.
  • On top of that, when you donate the clothes and fill out your school information, $2 of every $5 made will go back to the school you chose to support. Win/win for you and Yo Wick!

It’s really a win/win/win situation. You get great clothes at an affordable price, get to clean out your closet and both your school and Yo Wick get some help funding important programs!

Click here to shop Schoola and help Yo Wick!

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