Back to school may not equal a mom happy dance

As the school buses roll through the neighborhood, the groans from the children can be heard loudly. The summer fun is replaced with homework and long days. As I look around social media, many moms seem to be doing the happy dance. For me, back to school does not equal a happy dance. 

Here’s why I’m not overly excited that school is back in session. Don’t get me wrong. I do get several hours of quiet to do work. But, there is a trade-off. Think about the typical school week. There’s school lunches, homework, projects, sports, music, and those are just the kid related items. Don’t forget the laundry, house cleaning, yard work and the work that pays the bills. Add all those items up together and life seems crazier during the school year than the summer months. 

In our house, the school schedule produces a very long day for everyone in the house. I’m up at 5:45 a.m.; kids up at 6:15 a.m.; bus comes at 7:15 a.m., kids off the bus at 3 p.m., homework, dinner, leave to for swim practice at 5:15 p.m., home at 8:30 p.m. and time to finish anything else that is left on the list and bed might finally come before the late night news. Just writing that list is exhausting. 

In the summer, the alarm clock didn’t ring quite as early, the lists didn’t seem do daunting and life just seemed to happen. The family calendar didn’t need to be coordinated. I didn’t seem so exhausted. I was able to breathe more. 

Yes, I don’t have to oversee the kids 24/7 like during the summer, but the summer presents less pressure to be perfect. One morning we don’t have to make sure that breakfast is healthy, lunch doesn’t have to come exactly on-time, it’s ok if I skip a day of laundry (that must have team shirt isn’t needed every other day). 

So, as social media shows moms celebrating the kids heading back to school, I tread more cautiously. A few more weeks of summer vacation wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

Atkins Meal Kits, counting carbs and making a change - review

The writer was given the opportunity by Role Mommy Writer's Network to try Atkins Meal Kits.

What’s the biggest stumbling block to achieving an idea weight? Like many others, I scratch my head at the number on the scale. Yes, I exercise five days a week. Yes, I get my 10,000 steps a day. Yes, I try to get up from the computer a couple of times an hour. Yet, those shorts are getting tighter, the jeans need an extra pull to get on and we won’t mention my arms in that sundress. So what am I doing wrong? The simple answer is – it’s my food intake. 

While I know, like I’ve been told forever, the key to weight loss is calories in/calories out, the reality of that statement is a little harder in daily life. Think about it. Who doesn’t want to stop for that afternoon latte while waiting in carpool line? It’s just coffee. But, that little indulgence comes with tons of sugar and calories. 

The alternative of not eating anything isn’t a good choice either. No one wants to deal with a crabby mom who hasn’t eaten all day. There has to be a better solution. 

The Atkins Meal Kits offer a convenient meal subscription service that takes the guess work out of better eating. With a variety of pre-prepared meals and snacks, the busy on-the-go mom has no excuse for making poor eating choices. From a quick breakfast to the on-the-go snack, the Atkins Meal Kits are the solution to reduce the number on the scale. 

A new service, the Atkins Meal kits can be purchased via the Atkins website. Available in three options, Frozen Foodie Meal Kit, Evening Chef Meal Kit, and Easy Peasy Meal Kit, these kits offer a week’s worth of food and tools. Whether starting a new program or getting back on the wagon, these meal kits simplify the whole foods eating lifestyle. 

Since my biggest issue is convenience, I am trying the Evening Chef Meal Kit. This kit balances the convenience of prepared foods during the day with home cooked meals in the evening. The kit contains a variety of frozen meals, shakes and snack bars. From the hot breakfast to start my day to the quick bite to make it through carpool, these whole foods options are keeping my energy sustained all day long. 

The best part about the Evening Chef Meal Kit is that the program is guiding me to be self-sufficient. The carb counting guides and book give clear, easy to follow advice on adapting the Atkins lifestyle into my daily habits. By making a meal each evening, I am re-enforcing smart choices according the Atkins lifestyle. 

For anyone who wants to try the new Atkins Meal Kits, these items are available to order via the Atkins website. Until September 30, guests can use the code NEWKIT5 to receive 5% off all orders. In addition to the kits, all plans come with The New Atkins Made Easy book, the Atkins Carb Counter and the Recipe Booklet. 

Are you ready to jump-start a whole food lifestyle? Check out the new Atkins Meals Kits and get your energy back while seeing the number on the scale go down. 

Disclosure: The Role Mommy Writer's Network sponsored this post. All opinions in this post are the writer's alone. 

Make lunches safer, back to school safety tips

As the school buses make their rounds, the kids stock up on pencils and parents get giddy with excitement, back to school season is in full swing. While families and school often focus on school supplies and preparedness, one aspect can be overlooked, foodborne illness. 

Parents often think about germs being spread through sneezes, unclean hands and other issues. But, foodborne illness can occur in your child's school lunch. A thoughtful preparation of kids' school lunches can prevent a bad situation. 

STOP Foodborne Illness has come up with several lunch packing suggestions that help prevent foodborne illness this school year.
  • Keep in mind the bacteria danger zone. Bacteria grow rapidly in the temperature "danger zone" of 40-140° F. 
  • Wash your hands. When preparing lunches, STOP Foodborne Illness emphasizes the importance of washing your hands thoroughly and keeping all surfaces you're working on clean. Use this as an opportunity to explain the importance of hand-washing in preventing foodborne illness.
  • Use an insulated lunch box. Whether hard-sided or soft, this helps keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot until it's time to eat them. Food safety experts agree: This is a "must have" item. Using an insulated box will help keep your child's food out of the bacteria "danger zone."
  • Use ice packs. Another "must have," according to STOP Foodborne Illness, these inexpensive items are vital for keeping cold foods cold. You can pick them up for about $1 each.
  • Use an insulated thermos. This keeps hot foods hot, like soups, chili, or mac and cheese. 
  • Freeze drinks before packing. Frozen milk, juice boxes, and water bottles will help keep the drinks cold, along with other cold foods you've packed. Frozen items will melt during morning classes and be ready for drinking at lunch.
  • Pack hot foods while hot. Don't wait for hot foods to cool down before packing. Instead, pour piping hot foods like soups immediately into an insulated thermos. You can also preheat your thermos by filling it with boiling water, letting it sit for a few minutes, pouring out the water, and then adding your hot food.
  • Wash and separate fresh fruits/veggies. STOP Foodborne Illness recommends washing produce thoroughly before packing in plastic containers to keep them away from other foods. After washing, dry produce with a clean cloth towel or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present on the surface.
  • Use individual snack packs. Portions packed from larger bags of items like pretzels, chips, and cookies means potential exposure to bacteria from many hands that have been in and out of the bag. To help prevent the spread of germs, STOP recommends using individual-sized servings.
  • Add room-temperature-safe foods. Use nonperishable items or foods that do not need refrigeration like peanut butter, jelly, cookies, crackers, chips, dried fruit, and certain whole fruits. 
  • Encourage your child to wash their hands. Before and after eating their lunch, STOP Foodborne Illness asks you to stress how important it is to wash their hands. Hand-washing with soap and water is best, but wet wipes or hand sanitizer will work in a pinch.
  • Avoid putting food on tables. Once kids are in the cafeteria, they shouldn't put their food on the table. Pack a paper towel or some wax paper they can use instead.
  • Explain the 5-second myth. Be sure your child knows that the "5-second rule" is a myth. Any food that touches the floor needs to be thrown away.
  • Toss perishable food. To avoid foodborne illness, let your child know it is okay to throw away perishables like meat, poultry or egg sandwiches, if not eaten at lunchtime. Unopened, room-temperature-safe foods and uneaten fruit can be kept.
  • Make sure lunch boxes are regularly cleaned and sanitized. We recommend you clean your child's box each evening before packing the next day's lunch. Find out more with these box cleaning tips.
 These tips from STOP Foodborne Illness can help everyone have a better, safer school year.

Get Egged Fundraiser for No Kid Hungy at Einstein Bros Bagels

One tragedy that continues to plague our country is children without the food they need to thrive. Did you know that 1 in 5 U.S. kids don't have the food that they need? That heart wrenching statistic creeps into so many aspects of our community. When a child is hungry, he cannot learn at the highest levels nor can he achieve his fullest potential. No Kid Hungry, Share Our Strength, seeks to change this situation for the better. On August 16, Einstein Bros Bagels has joined with No Kid Hungry to make a difference.

Einstein Bros Bagels will be hosting a Get Egged fundraising event on August 16 at various locations. The Get Egged event offers guests one FREE Classic Fresh Cracked Egg Sandwich, with coupon. Additional purchase required. Coupon can be showed on a mobile device or printed. To acquire your coupon, please visit

This Get Egged promotion benefits No Kid Hungry. For each coupon redeemed, Einstein Bros Bagels will donate a meal to a child in need.

"Einstein Bros has set a goal of raising 1 million meals to fight a crisis that threatens our nation's future," said Alex Sterling, Einstein Bros. Bagels director of communications. "The FREE day allows our guests a chance to join the effort in a meaningful way, and Einstein's has sweetened the deal by offering our new line of signature fresh cracked egg sandwiches at no charge." 

The signature fresh cracked egg sandwiches have three specialty sandwiches in the line. These new sandwiches include the Farmhouse, Chorizo Sunrise, and French Toast. One of these fresh cracked egg sandwich will definitely satisfy a flavor profile.

For those who desire a classic sandwich, the Farmhouse has applewood-smoked bacon, smoked ham, country pepper shmer, cheddar cheese and a fresh-cracked egg. All the ingredients are served on a Cheesy Hash Brown Gourmet bagel.

For those who crave spice, the Chorizo Sunrise amps up the flavor. Served on a Green Chile Gourmet bagel, the fresh cracked egg is paired with chorizo, avocado, jalapeno, salsa shmear and pepper jack cheese.

For the sweet tooth, the French Toast sandwich features the fresh cracked egg with applewood-smoked bacon, maple shmear and cheddar cheese on the sweet French Toast bagel.

On August 16, join with Einstein Bros Bagels to raise funds and wares for a plight that affects us all, childhood hunger. Show a coupon, eat a sandwich and donate a meal to a child in need.

Disclosure: Einstein Bros Bagels provided the writer a gift card to sample the new fresh cracked egg sandwiches. All opinions are her own.

Van’s Foods Back-to-School giveaway, making mom’s life easier

Many moms have mixed emotions when it comes to Back to School. The school year provides structure, learning and independence. Still, the same event comes with busy schedules, more planning and less downtime. Moms are left to balance it all. Van’s Foods wants moms to know that they are thinking of them with this back to school giveaway and helpful tips from Joy Bauer. 

Van’s conducted a survey of 1,000 moms and asked them to describe their mornings. From the survey, Van’s found that while moms may forfeit “glam for fam,” serving wholesome breakfasts is one area they are not willing to compromise. 

The survey found the following:
o    58 percent said they rush through their morning hair or makeup routines
o    Nearly 40 percent admit to wearing pajamas to drive their kids to school
o    17 percent who apply makeup in the car.
o    Nearly 70 percent of moms said they feel better about themselves when they serve a hot breakfast, and they count protein, whole grains and kid-friendliness as the lead factors for making good choices for their families.

Van’s waffles make a great vehicle to provide the quick, yet healthy option for a breakfast. From a hearty option like Van’s 8 Whole Grains Waffles (with 7 grams of fiber) to kid-favorite Van’s Minis (with 27 grams of whole grain per serving), families have a multitude of breakfast options. 

The Van’s waffles can be served with traditional fruit toppings like blueberries and bananas. Or, the Van’s waffles can have a savory application, like an egg sandwich or spicy chicken. With so many choices, moms can serve a different Van’s waffle breakfast each school day. 

Van’s waffles are available at grocery stores, mass merchandisers and natural food retailers nationwide. To find Van’s waffles in a store near you, visit:

To celebrate Back-to-School and to help make moms’ lives a little easier, Van’s is hosting a special giveaway. The prizes in the Back-to-School giveaway are:

·         A year’s worth of free waffles (52 coupons)
·         Three signed cookbooks from celebrity nutritionist and best-selling author Joy Bauer - “Slim & Scrumptious,” “From Junk Food to Joy Food” and “Food Cures.”
·         Giveaway value – approx.: $275

Everyone can enter below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Let’s make this school year a great one for kids and moms. 

This giveaway was facilitated by Van’s Foods. I was not compensated for this post but did receive free product samples and all opinions are my own.