DIY Veggie Pizza Pockets for your School Lunch Boxes

the kids are finally back to school, which means let the lunch packing begin! i don’t know many parents who love packing lunches, but there is really no way around it. so i’ve been trying to figure out some fun and creative ways to to give my kids a wholesome lunch that they will eat. that’s the key. do you know how many times i send my kid to school with a full lunch box, only to have everything come right back home uneaten?!!!! so frustrating. so, i have partnered with Kroger to share a fun idea for Back-To-School lunch packing!

i headed across the street to Ralph’s, a my local Kroger store. when it comes to buying food for lunches, i find myself buying food from natural and organic brands such as Horizon Organic. i have to say that it’s one of my favorites. Kroger has tried to ensure that finding natural foods for your family are easy to find because purchasing real food for our families shouldn’t be time consuming. all you do, is go to an aisle and look for the “live naturally” signs. you can find them on almost any aisle and even in the refrigerator section. this is were the organic and natural products are found, and where i purchase most of my groceries.

Live Naturally Foods at Kroger Ralphs

here is my stockpile of Horizon products from cheeses, milk, to pastas, to crackers and cookies, there’s a lot to choose from.

my boys were especially excited about Horizon’s Good to Go! snack packs. we’ve never gotten them before, so they all wanted to try them as soon as i brought them home. boys….you have to wait for lunch!

and now to pack the lunches. i’ve got something up my sleeve that i know the boys will love. winning!!!!!

Easy Lunch Box Veggie Pizza Pockets

as most kids do, my boys like those pre-made DIY lunch kits. they do like the meat, cheese and cracker varieties, but their all-time favorites are the DIY pizza kits. so that’s what i decided to make for their first school lunches.

to make this DIY Veggie Pizza Pocket Lunch, all you need is some Horizon Organic Mozzarella sticks, sliced veggies such as bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, whole grain pita bread, and marinara sauce. (i used the Simply Truth brand).

i started by cutting the pita bread into quarters, and made sure to pull it apart so the boys could easily stuff them with pizza toppings. i also cut the cheese stick in have and pulled apart the tops so the were easy to shred.

i filled a disposable condiment cup with marinara sauce, and sliced up some bell peppers. cucumbers, zucchini, onions and even carrots would taste great too. whatever your kids will eat is what is best to use.when it’s lunch time, they can have fun filling each pita quarter with sauce and then their favorite pizza toppings.

paired with a Horizon Organic milk box and a Simply Truth Organic Applesauce pouch, this is a great lunch choice any day of the week. my boys were super excited to take this one to school, and they said their friends wanted to try them too.

plus you can’t forget a snack. the boys are loving the Horizon Good to Go! new snack combos. they are a fun snack kids love. peel open before practice or pack it their lunchbox. with real organic nutrition and 6 grams of protein, it’s a deliciously easy way to keep them going. just toss them in with the lunch and they’re good to go! no pun intended.

What do you pack in your kid’s lunch?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.



Back to School with Dino Buddies

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Yummy Dino Buddies. All opinions are 100% mine.

summer has finally come to an end for our family, and the boys have just gone Back-to-School.  it’s great to have our family begin to settle back into that Back-To-School time routine. but i also find that this is such a busy time of year. getting the kids Back-to-School ready is a lot of work for parents. school supplies, new shoes, new clothes, forms to fill out, fees to pay, schedule changes and carpools to figure out…it’s no easy task. and then once school begins….the homework!!!! i’m always look for opportunities to simplify getting homework done. i find when i set the boys up with a fun snack, it gets finished much faster with less complaining and less attitude. this week i made a fun Dino Buddies snack complete with a dinosaur scene. and would you believe it only took minutes to create?!!!! not only was it easy, but my kids thought i was super cool. mom win!!! since Dino buddies are fully cooked and microwavable, they make snack making easy….which is very important for our busy family. to make this fun dinosaur inspired meal, all you need is a couple broccoli and cauliflower florets, slices of bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, your favorite dipping sauce, and of course Dino Buddies! place the cauliflower florets as clouds, the broccoli florets and tomatoes as the tree tops, and use strips of bell pepper as tree trunks and grass. for the dinosaur water hole, use the bottom of the bell pepper as a dish for your dipping sauce. since Dino Buddies are fully cooked and microwavable, they make this snack super easy. once you have cooked Dino Buddies, place them among the vegetable trees and clouds. there you have it….the perfect dinosaur snack. when i’m looking for an afternoon snack, i’m looking for things that are not only fun for the kids, but filling, taste good and not full of sugar. Dino Buddies are made with boneless skinless chicken breast, are an excellent source of calcium, omega 3, iron, and have 0g trans fat. the boys love the taste of the dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets. Dino Buddies make a great after school snack, but they can also make a perfect Back-to-School meal! as you know, our family is always on the go. not only are we running around Orange County sharing all the fun happenings, but the boys have a ton of after school activities – dance, swimming, water polo, Boy Scouts, robotics, and music classes mean we are on-the-go almost everyday. it’s nice to have a few boxes of Dino Buddies on hand for those nights when i don’t have a ton of time to cook. it’s so much better to pull out a box of Dino Buddies than to pick up fast food. I can find Dino Buddies at my local grocery store and warehouse club. i always think of the new school year as a fresh start… hopefully, by having Dino Buddies on hand, the days when things get a bit hectic, i will be covered in the snack and meal departments. Dino Buddies to the rescue!!!!

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Homemade Shark Attack Pop Tarts for Shark Week

it’s Discovery Channel Shark Week, which means lots of shark movies, shark television shows, and shark themed activities and treats. my boys love shark week so much that i decided to find a fun Shark Week activity for them….of course in a food theme. so, i came up with Homemade Shark Attack Pop Tarts! super easy to make and even include oozing blood from a shark bite. they are pretty much a homemade strawberry pop tart with blue icing, fishy sprinkles and a gummy shark. i found the gummies at our local Sprouts market and the fishy sprinkles are by Wilton and i purchased them from Michael’s Craft Store.

How to make Homemade Shark Attack Pop Tarts

all you need to make these Shark Attack Pop Tarts is pie crust (i used the refrigerated ready-made), strawberry jam, confectioners sugar, blue food coloring, sprinkles (optional) and shark gummies. plus, one egg for the egg wash.

first, cut the pie crust into rectangles. you will need two of the same size for each pop tart. for best results, use a ruler and a sharp knife to cut the dough.

place the bottom half of the pie crust on a baking sheet.

top each rectangle piece of pie crust with strawberry jam, making sure not to get it too close to the edges. leave at least a 1/2″ border.

next, place the second pie crust rectangle on top of the jam. with a fork, crimp all the edges to seal. also prick the top of eat pop tart a few times.

brush each pop tart with egg wash. a mixture of one beaten egg and a dash of water.

place the finished pop tarts into a preheated 450º F oven. bake until golden brown. approximately 10-12 minutes.

finally, mix the confectioners sugar with water until the correct frosting consistency. add food coloring. frost the pop tarts and add sprinkles and gummy sharks. then enjoy for Shark Week!!!! YUM.











A Visit to Fazoli’s Italian Restaurant…Italian Food Fast

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Fazoli's Italian Restaurant

The first time i heard of Fazoli’s® was a couple of weeks ago. I’m always looking for great family-friendly restaurants in Southern California to share with my readers, and after reading about Fazoli’s, i thought i should take the family and give it a try. Fazoli’s is Italian food….fast! and i wasn’t sure what to expect until got there. what most interested me, was that as of June 19th, they’ve changed things at their restaurants to remove all artificial ingredients from the entire menu. this being part of the 0% Artificial 100% Delicious Naturally Italian initiative. i knew i had to check it out!

so we packed up the family and headed over to have dinner at Fazoli’s®. my kids love eating out but we only have “take-out night” once a week. and since we only go once a week, i need to make sure the food is good!

right away we noticed the daily deals. the prices were awesome…which for us is an extra bonus, especially now that we have 6 mouths to feed. we always appreciate a good value.Fazoli's Italian Restaurant Deals

there a 3 top things that my family does when going out to dinner. first of all, they argue. no one agrees on a single place, they always want to go to different restaurant. next, they whine. there’s always someone that doesn’t want to go where the rest of the family decides to go. finally, there is always that one kid that’s mad. they sit there angry that they didn’t get to go to the restaurant of their choice. UGH!!!! this is another reason why we don’t go out a lot. however, i knew Fazoli’s® would be different. all my kids like Italian food, so i was pretty sure everyone would be happy at this dinner. WIN WIN for mom and dad, because we both like Italian food too.

and this was just the case! everyone was happy, no whining. we ordered our meal….we decided to get one of the family-style meals where you pick two entrees and also get a salad and unlimited breadsticks. that’s right…unlimited breadsticks (when you dine-in). we also got an extra order of Fetticcini just because we wanted to try it. they brought the food out and everyone served themselves up a plate.

Fazoli's Italian RestaurantFazoli's Italian RestaurantFazoli's Italian RestaurantFazoli's Italian RestaurantFazoli's Italian Restaurant

so what does Fazoli’s® Italian Food….fast mean? that’s what i was wondering.

well, that’s just what it means….i would call Fazoli’s® “Fast-Casual” since it’s not a restaurant where you sit down and have waiters serve you the entire time. you order your food at the front of the restaurant, which then is brought out to you when it’s ready. there’s actually also a drive-thru where you can order from your car. so yes, the food is ready fast! not many places that have a drive-thru window have accomplished the significant milestone of clean food. especially not a chain store. way to go Fazoli’s®.

knowing that a restaurant serves artificial ingredient free food matters to me because i want to make sure that my children aren’t eating unnecessary chemicals in their food that could potentially cause problems in the future. there is no need for it, so if i can avoid it, i do. and Fazoli’s works with almost 50 suppliers to guarantee that all their food….a total of 81 artificial ingredients, colors and preservatives were eliminated from the food menu.

Fazoli’s® ended up being a hit with the family. good food. fast service. happy kids and happy parents. That’s really what we look for when we add a restaurant to our favorites list. And Fazoli’s® is the only brand that i know of, who offers an Italian dining experience for people who want a break from ordinary fast food, but without spending more. such a great value. plus we had leftovers!

even baby Dani wanted to get in on the action. she tried to steal mommy’s breadstick. yum yum

Fazoli’s® is a great place for family-friendly dining in Southern California. we visited the one in Chino Hills which is just a few miles north of the OC.

$3 off Coupon to Fazoli’s®

if you would like to check out Fazoli’s, make sure to us this coupon for $3 off $10 or more at Fazoli’s.

{Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Fazoli’s. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.}








S’mores in a Jar with HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Hershey Company. All opinions are 100% mine.

This post is created by me and The Hershey Company

summer is coming, and that means warm nights, campfires with friends and of course S’Mores! there’s nothing better on a warm summer night than ooey gooey, freshly roasted S’Mores made with none other than a HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate bar. It’s an iconic taste of summer and the farm fresh milk in HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate makes their chocolate the best for making S’Mores. plus, it’s pretty good anytime you want a treat. farm fresh milk is what helps gives HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate the delicious taste you know and love. the milk comes from farms within 100 miles of the Hershey factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania. did you know that Hershey is one of the few large-scale chocolate manufacturers in the U.S. that uses farm fresh milk? i really believe that is why you can tell the difference from other chocolate bars. the farm fresh milk really helps to give it the delicious taste you know and love. Well, that and the simple ingredients used in HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate like cocoa and sugar, plus no artificial flavors, preservatives or sweeteners. check out the graphic below to see how farm fresh milk becomes part of HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate.while me and the boys were waiting for summer to arrive, we decided that we couldn’t wait any longer to make some S’Mores. so, we decided to do a twist on the traditional campfire S’Mores by making S’Mores in a Jar. they can be made right in your oven at home, so you don’t even have to worry about not having a campfire. we made them the other night…which was a miracle because we all wanted to eat the HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate bars!   it’s really simple to make S’Mores in a Jar. for each jar you want to make, you will need 1 HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate bar, 1/2 a cup of marshmallows, 2 graham crackers, 1/4 cup whipping cream, and a butter pat.  first, in a plastic zipper bag, crush up graham crackers and mix in melted butter. next, place the graham crackers at the bottom of small canning jars. heat the whipping cream in a saucepan on the stove until hot. pour over the HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate. stir until smooth. pour chocolate into jars over the graham cracker crumbs. now, top the chocolate and graham cracker crumbs with mini marshmallows to the top of the jars. put all the jars in a baking dish. place in the oven heated to 450º on the top shelf. bake for about 5 minutes or until the marshmallows are toasted and browned. watch carefully! they can burn easily. once the jars are cool enough to touch, top with a piece of HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate and enjoy! be sure check out this video from Tastemade, in which Katie Quinn shares an inside look at how HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate is made from farm to factory. and then go and enjoy a bar…or two!

i want to thank The Hershey Company for working with me on this blog!

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