Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Steps Toward Packing an Entirely Reusable Lunch to Help You Save Money, Your Health, and the Environment

Welcome to Take It Tuesday! Today we have a guest post from Hannah from the Wild Mint  if you've never shopped there, take a peek at all the wonderful items they have in stock. Today Hannah is talking to us about lunch gear! That's right up my alley, so enjoy! Thanks Hannah!

Steps Toward Packing an Entirely Reusable Lunch to Help You Save Money, Your Health, and the Environment

The end of the year can be such as busy time, especially for parents! Family gatherings, entertaining, and gift giving are joyous events but time-consuming nonetheless. Amidst all of this, the ho-hum lunch packing routine for your kids tends to get put on the back burner, so we are here to give you some new, fresh ideas and bring back a healthy, eco-friendly lunch for your kids!

Whether it’s incorporating cute and colorful reusable lunch gear into a holiday gift idea or setting New Year’s resolutions to work towards packing healthier lunches, there’s never a wrong time to steer your focus back on healthy, reusable lunches. And when you consider all the potential monetary, health and environmental savings you and your family can benefit from, I think you’ll agree!

The typical disposable lunch consists of a brown or plastic bag, disposable drink, plastic baggies, prepackaged food, utensils and straws. So the switch to a reusable lunch means that everything in it can be eaten, reused, recycled, or composted.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started: 
* Instead of using plastic baggies, place your child’s favorite snack in reusable sandwich bags 
* Ditch the drink cartons and opt for a reusable alternative like a Lifefactory water bottle. Their 9oz bottle is perfect for kid’s lunches and super lightweight for mom to fit in her purse as well! 
* Keep warm food tasty in insulated food containers
I’ve run the numbers in a “Lunch Savers” analysis and the cost savings of packing a reusable lunch versus a lunch made up of disposable items is definitely nothing to scoff at. This is the time of year pinching a few more pennies here and there definitely won’t hurt! So, after evaluating a typical child’s lunch, my team and I at Wild Mint determined that packing a reusable lunch can save $2.32 per day. That’s over $400 per child per school year!

The health benefits are also a huge part of making lunches reusable. Waste-free alternatives such as the examples above help avoid exposure to BPA, phthalates, PVCs, lead, and other heavy metals and toxic chemicals. Many disposable and prepackaged lunch materials, like plastic, contain harmful chemicals that can leach into the food and drink they come in contact with.

Prepackaged foods are also often high in fat, sugar, sodium, and preservatives and made with artificial colorings, artificial flavorings, and many unpronounceable ingredients. Prepping your own foods will decrease junk food pitfalls and nourish your child with fresher ingredients.

Last but certainly not least is the eco-impact of disposable vs. reusable lunches. We are creating a huge amount of waste every year with the paper, plastic, Styrofoam and other materials used
in school lunches (18,000 pounds of waste for an average elementary school, WasteFreeLunches.org). But you can make a big difference by making some little changes.
* Cut up fruits and veggies. Kids will often only take a few bites out of an uncut apple or whole banana. With nowhere to put the leftover fruit without making a mess, it often gets thrown away.
* Pack delicious lunches your kids will love and keep them guessing with great lunch inspiration and recipes, like the ones here on Give Peas a Chance!
* Pack together. Kids are more likely to eat a meal they’ve helped plan and prepare! (WasteFreeLunches.org)
* Food scraps. Have your kids save their food scraps for composting or even taking to a nearby farmer or zoo where they can use the food scraps to feed animals.

I hope I’ve helped you feel confident in how to pack a completely reusable lunch for your little ones. You can read even more details on cost savings data and reusable ideas here, and if you ever have any questions or ideas, please email me (Hannah) at hello@wildmintshop.com!

~ Hannah

A little more about Hannah, our guest poster! 

Hannah Helsabeck
President, Wild Mint Shop Hannah Helsabeck is President and Co-Founder of Wild Mint, an online shop dedicated to helping families find toxin-free and eco-friendly products for healthier lifestyles. She is passionate about educating others on the benefits of healthy living and the importance of taking small steps towards eliminating exposure to toxins in people’s daily lives. She also enjoys finding new ways to be eco-conscious and is often found in the kitchen cooking up simple meals with real, whole foods. Hannah is the oldest of six kids, has amazing parents as role models in business as well as life, and currently lives in South Florida with her incredibly supportive husband. To learn more about living a more toxin-free lifestyle and find healthy recipes, visit the LEARN section of her website.
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Monday, November 24, 2014

We Choose Virtues- Review, Giveaway, Black Friday Code

Hello! I have something wonderful to share with you. Something that in the short time we've had it has been a blessing in our home. It's We Choose Virtues, have you heard of it?  Here is a little about it from the website:
Let's be honest, instilling virtues in kids is hard work! But can it be fun too?  We think so. In fact, there's no better way to learn. So We Choose Virtues brings memorable catchphrases, endearing characters, and just plain fun to Simply. Inspire. Character. We Choose Virtues is SIMPLE. It is based on a clear and positive language that everyone can learn together
We Choose Virtues is INSPIRING. It is teaching by demonstration and learning through practice
We Choose Virtues is about CHARACTER...more than attitudes or actions, it is who you are when no one is watching
What a wonderful tool to help not the whole family focus on virtues and building up of these character traits in each and every one of us! The We Choose Virtues kit that we have up and are using is the Homeschool Kit. There are so many things to say about this kit. The posters, cards, and flash cards are colorful and well made. The illustrations are fun and help kids remember each virtue. There is a virtue character that goes with each of the 12 virtues covered. For instance, for kindness there is a picture of Kettle Gretel. On the Parenting cards there is a story about every time we see a kettle to think of Gretel. It tells of a story about how Gretel likes to visit her Grandma's house. One of their  favorite things to do is make hot chocolate for the neighborhood kids. When Gretel moves away, her Grandma gives her the kettle. Gretel is sure she could make new friends with the kettle. There is a question at the end: Why is that... do you think?

So the kettle helps us remember the story about kindness, it also helps us think of ways to be kind to others. The Parenting cards come with challenges, teachable moment games, activities, and though provoking scenarios. The Virtue Characters on each with their stories help remind us of what each virtue is and how it's "lived out".

The Virtue User Review cards are such a fun way to reinforce and let someone know "hey, I see you working hard at this, I'm so proud of you", it also is a way to guide a child to focus on a specific virtue to work on. This is called Virtue in Focus. I really like this because, we all have virtues that may come naturally, but we also have some that just don't. We all have virtues that we need to focus on! Isn't it cute that there's a butterfly where the "good job" is, and a caterpillar where the Virtue in Focus is? Such a perfect illustration of the transformation of character we are working on!

2 Corinthians 5:17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

 The entire kit is a wonderful tool. I love that there are no hoops to jump through to use it, it's not difficult to use. It does take diligence. Building character is about forming new habits and getting rid of bad ones. There is no real short cut for that is there? Not at all! But these tools help keep the focus, the beautiful posters are encouraging and fun to read. Yesterday I heard my youngest reading them out loud before bed! The 100 days of Virtue chart keep us all on track and help us see that God is changing us!

Here is some more information on this kit and what it includes-
 This Kit was assembled with everything a Homeschool parent needs to effectively teach 12 Virtues. It has 5 beautiful posters, a 100 Day's of Virtue achievement chart with stickers, flash cards and so much more. The Parenting Cards included in this set were created to help you inspire and demonstrate each Virtue and turn your home or homeschhool classroom into a place where Virtue is demonstrated with both attitudes and actions! 
The Parenting Cards come with a Bible quote on each one, even in the secular version of this Kit.

How to use this Kit: 

It has been said that character is not one more thing to add to your plate, character IS the plate. This system is not a curriculum or a unit study, it is a language that that you rehearse and demonstrate for the first 10-15 minutes every time you get together no matter what else you are teaching! Please take a look at the individual tools included in this Kit and get all the details on how to use each one.


Reusable Tools
Consumable Tools
Downloadable/Reproducible PDF Tools
  • Teacher's Handbook (no need to print this handbook. Just read and save for easy reference)
  • Butterfly Awards 
  • Family Character Assessment
  • Kids of VirtueVille Coloring Pages

We Choose Virtues has other kits available. It's not just for homeschoolers, as we are not a homeschooling family. There are kits for schools, youth groups, church groups. There are secular, NKJ, NIV kits.
Three versions of this Kit are available; Secular, King James Bible, or New International Bible versions. The secular version does not contain a prayer, Bible verse or Bible hero and is appropriate for public schools. 
  Right now there are some We Choose Virtues has some great coupon codes to use on your purchases. Check them out! 

VIRTUE15 for 15% off anything in our store! 
We have a special Black Friday through Cyber Monday too! The promo code is HOLIDAY30 for 30% off anything in our store. Only one promo code per order.

While all the tools in our We Choose Virtues kit are awesome and so helpful, my personal favorites are the Parenting Cards and guess what?  We Choose Virtues has offered to give one Give Peas A Chance reader a set of these wonderful cards, enter below to win.

Find We Choose Virtues
Twitter @WeChooseVirtues

If you are in the US, have a US address, and are 18 years of age or older, enter below to win a prize from We Choose Virtues!

Read the rules HERE, first.
Disclaimer: I was provided a free sample/s of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. All pictures are from the companies site, unless noted.
More giveaways on Give Peas A Chance found HERE.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lunches #212-227 Take It Tuesday

Happy Take It Tuesday everyone! Here are some lunches for you. This whole batch seems to be a huge blur. I apologize, but you get the idea. I hope that you are having a fantastic school year, for those that are in school or have family members in school. The weather here has been gorgeous! Fall is here for sure, we've already raked leaves TWICE :o ! What about you? Have you had to rake leaves? Or do you live in a place where you don't have to deal with the leaves? I don't mind the first few times. After that it gets a little bit annoying. Still Fall has to be my favorite season. Have a blessed week!

Here are some lunches for you-

Crisp flatbread
Chocolate Chips
Antipasta salads
(Leftover from dinner, which is the picture below)

Chocolate Chip pancakes made by Diva
Sunflower seeds
Most lunches on Give Peas A Chance are packed in Planetboxes
and Yumboxes, found HERE.
CUPPOW info found HERE.
I want to invite you all to share your lunches on my Facebook wall, Instagram (see hashtags below), Twitter, and in comments below.
Share your latest lunches- if you have a photo to upload, an Instagram post, a blog post. 
HASHTAGS- for Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest #peasblog #TakeitTuesday
Or come and share you favorite lunch box recipe.
Please make sure you link to all recipes and credit sources. I will delete any recipes that have been cut and pasted. Please leave links only.
Also I would love if you used my affiliate links for purchases on these sites. It doesn't cost you extra, doesn't change your price, but it does help me out.
Here are some of my links 
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Manic Monday Meals

It's a Manic Monday post!! I thought I'd share some recent dinners we've had (and by recent I mean "I'm so behind but it's been about this past year"). I tried to link each picture to a recipe, hope I didn't miss any! 
I hope you all have a wonderful week. Are you blogging? Cooking up any new recipes? Let me know, would love to hear from you. And as always, thanks for visiting Give Peas A Chance!

This is a Curry Noodle Bowl with spiralized zucchini noodles and rice noodles. You can find the recipe HERE. Now that the weather is cooling down I'll be making more soups and noodle bowls which is a favorite of ours here. 

This Spicy Daikon Radish Salad was made in a Lao Green Papaya Salad style. I used the Spiraler for the radish also.

A fast favorite around here is dressing up a pack of Ramen noodles or Udon noodles. But to be honest, this gluten free Khao Piek Sen is boss. 

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Summer Squash Casserole

This dish is a wonderful way to have summer squash. Usually we stir fry it, steam it, or boil it. Everyone here loved this and we're not big fans of casseroles. Summer Squash Casserole is so easy to make, my 10 year old prepared this one. Your kids can help crush crackers, cut veggies, and mix the topping for this. If you're kids are working on counting, let them count out the crackers. It's a very forgiving recipe. I like to add little more squash because I usually have extra on hand.

Summer Squash Casserole

4-5 cups sliced zucchini and/or yellow squash (about 1/3 inch thick- doesn't have to be precise)
1 Small white onion chopped (about one cup)
35 buttery crackers, crushed (I use club crackers and just use a whole sleeve.)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 eggs beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
2 tablespoons melted butter

  1. Bring a pot with just enough water to boil the squash in it, to a boil.
  2. Add squash and onion to the pot of water and let it cook for about 8-10 minutes. 
  3. Drain the squash and onion in a colander. Leave the squash and onion draining while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
  4. In a bowl mix the shredded cheese, cayenne, and crackers. Set aside.
  5. In a big bowl whisk eggs, milk, melted butter, mustard, salt, and pepper.
  6. Stir 1/3 of the cracker mixture, and the squash and onion into the egg mixture.
  7. Place the squash and onion mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  8. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  9. Mix remaining cracker mixture with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. 
  10. Top the casserole with the remaining cracker mixture and bake for another 5-10 minutes until lightly browned.

As always, thank you for dropping by Give Peas A Chance!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Planetbox Sale CODE- 48 Hours ONLY

If you've followed Give Peas A Chance for any amount of time you may have noticed that I have certain go to lunchboxes, or boxes that I use more than others. Planetbox of course is at the very top of that list. I have done two reviews of Planetboxes for the Rover and the Shuttle boxes. Both reviews can be found here on Give Peas a Chance HERE and HERE. They are wonderful boxes, they have held up so well, are so easy to wash and take care of! My oldest likes that they are sleek and don't have cutesy images on them. My younger girls love that you can add some flair with magnets!
Planetbox has offered Give Peas A Chance readers 15% off of lunch kits for two days. This is a private sale, please use both the code and the link below to order. Think ahead for holiday gifts, birthday gifts, and for yourself! I use the Planetbox for lunches, perfect portion control!
To see some lunches I've packed please click HERE.

- 15% off Planetbox lunch box KITS- not individual items such as bags and magnets 
- Valid 48 hours only from October 15-16th (ending at midnight EST on October 16th)
- Use code GivePeasAChance2014
-Please order through this link  http://planetbox.com/#oid=1017_1 I would also appreciate it if you shared my link and code also. 

Planetbox has never done a "private sale" before and I'm honored that they would work with me.
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