A Lunch to Smile About

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HorizonLunch #CollectiveBiasschool-lunch-idea-smiley-face-sandwich 91

When it comes to school lunches, Cory and I each have our own rolls. Mine, is usually to throw a couple easy things in Alea’s lunch box and then his job is to add whichever sandwich Alea requests for that day. She’s a cold lunch kind of a gal due to her picky eating and we’re all about providing her with a more wholesome, but easy to assemble lunches to bring to school. I must say, as of late, I’ve been a little bit inspired by Pinterest and I’ve started to enjoy making Alea’s lunches a little more fun!

That smiley sandwich is just the start my friends! It may not be anything extravagant, but it’s sure enough to put a smile on Alea’s face when she opens her lunch box and finds the surprise waiting inside.

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We always grab our school lunch ingredients at Walmart and we were recently surprised by the increased selection of organic products and brands. I immediately gravitated towards the Horizon® Organic milk boxes and foods! With those Peanuts characters on the boxes smiling back at us, it was hard to miss! (We can’t wait to see the movie! It comes out on November 6th!)

The milk boxes (in Chocolate, Vanilla, 1% and Strawberry) are perfect for lunch boxes and a great alternative to juice boxes everyday. They boast 8 grams of protein per box, are an excellent source of calcium and contain no high fructose corn syrup. Alea’s new favorite lunchbox companion, though, would have to be the Horizon® Sandwich Crackers in cheese and peanut butter! We even used them in our sweet little smiley face sandwich!

Here’s how to assemble:

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Just make a regular ol’ peanut butter and jelly sandwich and cut out the crust with a circle cookie cutter. Cut a circle out of a piece of cheese with a cookie cutter and cut the circle in half for the mouth. Then, split open the Horizon® peanut butter sandwich crackers and use each side for one of the eyes. The peanut butter will help it stick! Don’t forget to serve some of the Horizon® cheese sandwich crackers on the side with a Horizon® milk box! Mmmm!

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Your little one will have the biggest smile on their face when they open their lunch to see their sandwich smiling back and them and I know you’ll smile as a parent knowing that smiley lunch of theirs is also better for them!

How do you make your child’s school lunch special?

5 Tips to Take Better Phone Photos

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Isn’t it crazy how we’ve progressed with our photo-taking? Just about each and everyone of us carry a point-and-shoot camera with us wherever we go. We’re constantly stopping to take a photo of each moment, just grasping onto every moment we can and if you’re anything like me, taking dozens upon dozens of photos of our littles everyday. I love not having to lug around my big DSLR wherever I go and still having the capabilities to take great photos.

The only downside of the cell phone camera revolution, is the quality of photos has gone done. While, the quality of our phone cameras has improved over time, they still don’t quite compare to the quality of even an entry level DSLR. To make up for the quality of cell phone camera photos, there are a few things you can do to improve your photography. Follow these simple tips when you take photos next time and you’ll all kinds of impressed with your photos!

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1. Use Natural Lighting: I can’t even tell you how much good lighting makes a difference in your photos. Natural lighting is always best and I try to either take my photos near a window, in a brightly lit room, or even outside at times. It just shows all of the colors so much better and doesn’t leave your photo with that orange-y hue. Natural colored lightbulbs are a great alternative if you don’t have access to natural light, however.

2. Change Your Perspective: Get down to the level of your subject. Whenever I take photos of Alea, I try and kneel down and really get down to her level. You can also practice this by taking the photo from your hip. Shots from a above are always aesthetically pleasing, as well, if your shooting a grouping of objects. It all depends on your subject, but thinking about the perspective is key!

3. Get Close: But whatever you do, do not zoom in! The zoomed photo is always blurry and not as focused and sharp as it could be. If possible, try and get closer to your subject, rather than using the zoom feature on your camera phone.

4. Stay Still: Whatever you do, stay as still as possible while you’re taking the photo. Camera phones don’t have much forgiveness when it comes to camera shake and a little movement can completely ruin and blur your photo. If you’re hands are shaky, try holding your arms closer to your body or if you’re in a kneeling position, put each elbow on each knee to stabilize your arms and make your own personal tripod. This will surely help your photos to come out nice and clear and sharp!

5. Store Your Photos Safely: This is something I’ve been working hard on. I take so many photos that I honestly don’t even know what to do with them all! I just know that whatever I do with them, I want them to be safe. I have several very special and meaningful photos I’ve taken with my camera phone and if I lost any of them, I would surely be devastated. That’s where Amazon Cloud Drive comes into play!

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With Amazon Cloud Drive, all you have to do is download the Amazon Cloud Drive app, available on both iOS and Android, and upload your photos directly to it. If you’re already an Amazon Prime member (which hello, you need to be), then you already have 5gb of free storage! Are you a crazy person like me who wasn’t taking advantage of that?

They have plans available to increase your storage as well, both of which start with a free 3-month trial. The Unlimited Everything Plan is $60/year (less than $5/month) and you can store an unlimited amount of photos, videos, anything! The second plan is the Unlimited Photos Plan which is available for $11.99/year– so if you’re looking to store only photos, this is definitely the plan for you, and it also provides 5gb of storage for videos.

Storing your photos with Amazon Cloud Drive will free up space on your phone and help keep those special memories safe and sound. Trust me, you’ll want a safe spot for all those brightly lit, sharp, and focused photos you’ll be taking!

What tips do you have for taking better photos?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Because Sometimes Dinner Needs to be Easy

This post is sponsored by Jacks Pizza through partnership with The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes my life looks a lot like this:

1. Spend Sunday morning meal planning and writing out meals for each day of the week. Maybe even the week after if I’m feeling rather ambitious.

2. Head out to 3 different grocery stores to gather all of the ingredients for all of the meals on my meal plan, quick and easy lunches for us for the week and snacks as well.

3. Come home and put all of the groceries away and prepare at least one large meal that will generate some leftovers for the week. Leftovers are a must!

4. Cory calls me on my way home from work on Monday and Tuesday and asks what the plan is for dinner and I immediately respond with the pre-planned meal with gusto!

5. Cory calls me on Wednesday questioning what’s for dinner and I yawn, shrug my shoulders, and decide there’s no way we’re making the extravagant meal I had originally planned for hump day.

Sound familiar?

And that’s where Jack’s Pizza comes into play! Insert the hallelujah chorus here. Sometimes, slaving away in the kitchen is just not my cup of tea. As a working mom, I leave for work at 7am and get home around 5:15pm. As soon as I get home, it’s time to get dinner ready and start thinking about homework and bath time for Alea and then it’s time for me to plop down and get some blog work done as well. It makes for a busy, busy night some nights and sometimes you just gotta hit the survival switch!

And my survival switch is tossing a delicious pizza in the oven– mmmm! Jack’s Pizza is made with 100% real Wisconsin (go WI!) cheese and made right here in the midwest! It’s a quick meal with preservative-free crust that goes from oven to table in no time flat and I don’t know about your family, but pizza always puts a smile on my family’s face! All for only a couple bucks! Deal!

Now mom’s happy because she knows exactly what to turn to on those busy weeknights and the family is happy because they get to devour some deliciously cheesy pizza! Basically what it comes down to is, “When mom’s happy, everyone’s happy!” Am I right?

In need of more information? Visit JacksPizza.com!

What do you make when you need an easy meal for dinner?