Back to School with the Magic of Chia + Giveaway

There’s still some time before school starts for us, and I haven’t done much to prepare yet.  Food is always my first priority though, as I’m a firm believer that a healthy diet is a lot more important than a new shirt or the ridiculously specific school supplies we’re expected to get.  Food is more fun anyway!

While I still don’t have the soft pencil case my son needs (a hard case would apparently mean the end of the world), I am ready for the things that really count:  breakfast, lunch snacks, and after-school snacks.  Every parent knows how hectic school mornings are, but having a plan ahead of time can make things go more smoothly.  Part of my plan is to have some healthy food options that don’t require much (or any) time to prep, so that even on those extra crazy days, the kids don’t end up with junk food.

Mamma ChiaWe’ve mentioned Mamma Chia before, and we actually handed them out for Halloween last year.  We’re all big fans of their Chia Squeeze Pouches and Vitality Beverages because they have some great flavors, and the squishy, jello-like texture is so much fun.  They’re super convenient, so we have them for snacks year round, and the fruity deliciousness makes for a refreshing and satisfying snack.

The Magic of Chia

Sure, it tastes good, but what’s the big deal about Mamma Chia?  Let me tell you.  Chia seeds are pretty cool.  Those tiny, nutty, crunchy guys are chock-full of goodness, like protein, fiber, and lots of vitamins and minerals.  They also happen to be very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and as someone who doesn’t eat fish, I know how hard that is to come by.  A small serving packs a big punch, which makes chia one of my favorite ways to give our diets a bit of a nutritional boost.

Mamma Chia Squeeze Pouches for a Healthy On-the-Go Snack

We’ve stocked up on Mamma Chia Squeeze Pouches, and they’re going to come in handy when I need a no-prep lunch snack or an on-the-go, after-school treat, but this year, Mamma Chia is going to make breakfast time easier too. Brand new to my family, and a welcome addition, is the Mamma Chia Vitality Granola.

Mamma Chia Wild Blueberry Granola

I can already tell that this one is going to be a lifesaver on mornings when I just don’t have time to cook.  (I’ll admit, that’s a lot of mornings during the school year.)  I don’t know why I haven’t considered chia for breakfast before, but what better way to start the day than with a healthy serving of protein, whole grains, and omega-3s?  My daughter’s favorite is the Wild Blueberry, and it’s also available in Vanilla Almond, Cinnamon Pecan, and Honey and Oats.

Whichever Mamma Chia product you go with, you can rest assured that you’re getting only the best ingredients.  On top of the amazing nutritional profile of the chia seed, all of the Mamma Chia products are organic, and like their packaging says, organic is non-gmo!  (They’re also vegan and gluten-free, for those of you who were wondering.)

Mamma Chia products can be purchased online at MammaChia.com or use their store locator to find a store near you.

Thanks to the generous people at Mamma Chia, you guys have a chance to win a Mamma Chia Prize Pack!  Enter via the Giveaway Tools form below.  Giveaway is open to US residents who are 18 and older.  Ends 9/15/17.  Good luck!

Mamma Chia Giveaway [Read more…]


It’s Never Been Easier to Get Kids to Eat their Veggies

I received this product for free from Moms Meet to use and post my honest opinions.  Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

My kids are amazing eaters.  Really.  They eat fruits and nuts as snacks, and they always finish their vegetables at mealtimes.  I started early and put a lot of energy into making this happen, and I think the results speak for themselves.

If we stayed home all the time, we’d be set.  As relaxing and welcoming as that sounds, it’s never going to happen.  We always seem to have some place to go, and that’s when we get into trouble.  There isn’t always time to prepare fresh fruit to go or measure out nuts, and restaurant vegetables are often less than appetizing–if they’re offered to kids at all.  Do we just skip the healthy stuff when that happens?  No way.

Veggie Gos Fruit and Veggie Snacks

For those moments, I’ve come to depend on prepared snacks that help fill in nutritional gaps.  The hard part is finding something with good ingredients that still appeals to the kids’ taste buds, but I’ve been able to find a few options that work really well.  The latest addition to our grab-n-go snack shelf are Veggie Gos, and they’re just the kind of thing I’m looking for.

Veggie Gos were created by Lisa and John McHugh, two people who believe in real food.  It’s what they eat, it’s what they grow, and they want to help other people find real food options too.  They’ve lived and worked on organic farms throughout Europe and turned their experience and passion into a line of good-for-you snacks.

Veggie Gos are organic, gluten-free, and don’t have any added sugar.  All the yummy flavor comes from the natural sweetness of the real foods used to make them. The best part is that each Veggie Gos snack provides one whole serving of fruits and vegetables.  They’re the only brand that can say that!  This is definitely a treat you can feel good about serving your little ones, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t eat them myself.

Veggie Gos Strips and Bites

They come in strips and bites, and both are convenient snacking options that you can keep in your purse or throw in a lunch bag.  I have a little cooler that we take with us on outings, and I like to stash a few in there just in case.

Veggie Gos Snacks are Perfect for Back to School Lunches or When You're On the Go

With simple, healthy ingredients, these are a no brainer, but Lisa and John really went above and beyond when they came up with their flavors.  The combinations are as interesting as they are delicious, and my kids love every single one.

Strips:

  • Berry, Apple, and Spinach
  • Sweet Potato, Apple, and Spices
  • Beet, Apple, and Cinnamon
  • Carrot, Apple, and Ginger
  • Tropical Fruit and Kale

Bites:

  • Strawberry, Chia, and Beets
  • Orange, Cocoa Nibs, and Carrots
  • Berry, Rice Crisps, and Greens

Veggie Gos Organic Snacks

My son’s favorite is the Carrot, Apple, and Ginger Strip, while my daughter goes nuts for the Berry, Rice Crisps, and Greens Bites, but they will both devour any and all of these snacks.  They ask for Veggie Gos by name, and I’m happy to oblige.  By keeping Veggie Gos on hand, I can be sure they get their fruits and veggies even when we’re on-the-go.

Veggie-Gos Fruit & Veggie Snacks are available at most Whole Foods Markets, Sprouts Farmers Markets, Amazon, and VeggieGos.com.  Try their store locator to find a store close to you.

 


Ice Cool: A Fun Family Game Where You Get to Flick Penguins

Are you melting? I’m melting. It’s so very hot, and the humidity is just miserable. My kids love to play outside (and I love for them to enjoy the outdoors), but some days it’s too hot for them to stay outside for long periods of time. On those days, we try to find some fun indoor activities to help them chill out and cool off. One of our favorite new ways to do that is a game called Ice Cool, featuring our favorite critters: penguins!

Ice Cool Game Penguins
I know that so many of the games we play these days are played on consoles or computers, but this is an actual tabletop board game, which makes me happy from the start. Ice Cool is a flicking game – if you’ve never heard of a flicking game before, it will make sense in a moment, I promise.

A disclaimer from me to you: if you’re anything like me, you best learn how to play a game by observing rather than reading instructions, so bear with me while I attempt to explain the gameplay here.

The main characters are, as I mentioned, penguins (this thrills me), and it takes place at their happy little penguin school. Just like little humans are known to get distracted in class, these penguins are bored and have decided they’re more interested in catching some tasty fish instead of sitting at their desks. They’re ready to go play and steal some snacks, but the hall monitor could be lurking around any corner, just waiting to take away their hall pass and send them scurrying back to their classroom.

Ice Cool Game Box
The actual construction of the game looks like a school and is created by connecting several low-profile boxes that feature door openings. (The box is the game and the game is the box!) Little fish hang above each door, just waiting to be snatched by a penguin on the run. Each box forms a “room,” and there are 5 rooms in all. If you know there’s a fish to be caught in the gym, for example, you’ll need to move your penguin there.

This is where the flicking comes in. Rather than having a game piece that you move from square to square like many games, these little penguins have wobbly bottoms and can be flicked and spun around. You don’t have to move a certain number of spots to get to your desired location. If you want to hit the gym and you have doors through which you can travel, you can flick your penguin in a way that spins it through the door(s) to get to your destination. Don’t have a door, or you see the hall monitor is in your way? That’s okay, too – you can just jump a wall! [Read more…]


5 Reasons Big Kids Love Dutch Wonderland Too

My kids and I truly have a lot in common. We share the same silly sense of humor, a mutual love for musicals, and we all love a good amusement park more than just about anything!

Some of my happiest childhood memories take place in amusement parks. From the rides to the snacks to the smiles on everyone’s faces, they’re just an incredibly enjoyable place for me and my family. We’ve been to pretty much all of them, large and small, and we all get giddy at the thought of a day at a theme park.

band_dutchwonderland

Dutch Wonderland is an amusement park somewhat near us, right in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country in Lancaster, PA. We recently visited, and we all had an absolute blast! I feel like Dutch Wonderland has a reputation as being geared toward only very young children, so I’m excited to share some of my family’s favorite attractions – I want to prove that older kids (and adults, too) can have a great time and a full day of fun! My kids have visited some of the largest theme parks in the country, and have ridden every exciting attraction they’re tall enough to ride, so they’re not strangers to the exhilaration of crazy roller coasters or drop rides. That said, even though you won’t find things like inverted coasters here, my kids still love every minute of their day at Dutch Wonderland.

kingdomcoaster_logflume_dutchwonderland

1. Rides

My favorite things at any theme park are the rides. You show me one, and I’ll do it – I love them! Some of the rides at Dutch Wonderland are indeed very gentle and fun for even the youngest kids at the park, but there are also rides the whole family can enjoy. Older kids and adults will love our favorite rides, including the Kingdom Coaster, the Sunoco Turnpike, the Wonder House, and the Double Splash Log Flume. They’re all fun and exciting without being over-the-top crazy, so even hesitant riders can enjoy many of them. I especially love any log flume ride, and the Double Splash is at the top of my list. There are plenty of other rides I haven’t listed, so check out the full lineup here. There’s even a new roller coaster under construction, and we’re looking forward to revisiting Dutch Wonderland to check it out!

ride_dutchwonderland

2. Special Features

One of the things that makes Dutch Wonderland so special is all the fun attractions and events you can take in as you stroll through the park. At any given moment, you may run into Princess Brooke or Duke the Dragon, so there’s a potential photo op around every corner. You can also do unique things that I guarantee you won’t find at other theme parks; for example, you can milk a cow! [Read more…]


Dare to Dream & Get Ready to Dance: Leap! the Movie is Coming to Theaters Soon!

Leap! Movie Poster

Check out the brand NEW trailer from The Weinstein Company’s  LEAP!, featuring Carly Rae Jepsen’s hit song from the soundtrack, “Cut to the Feeling.”

In LEAP! 11-year-old orphan, Félicie has one dream – to go to Paris and become a dancer. Her best friend Victor, an imaginative but exhausting boy with a passion for creating, has a dream of his own – to become a famous inventor. The two friends flee their orphanage in pursuit of their passions. But Félicie quickly learns that talent alone is not enough, but determined to succeed, Félicie finds her mentor in the tough and mysterious school custodian, Odette who, along with Victor’s encouraging friendship, help her reach for the stars.

This charming animated comedy will inspire the whole family! Parents, kids, anyone who has ever dreamed of following their heart will fall in love with LEAP!. The entire cast captures the spirit and humor of the story and the music will have you dancing all the way home!

Make sure to get your tickets early!

LEAP! opens in theaters nationwide on August 25th and stars Elle Fanning, Nat Wolff, and Maddie Ziegler alongside Mel Brooks, Kate McKinnon, and Carly Rae Jepsen.

#LeapMovie

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This sponsored post is brought to you by The Weinstein Company and coordinated by Wendy’s Bloggers