Tasty Tuesday: Healthy Lunch Box Ideas

I know it is WAY too early to think about “healthy school lunches”, right?  BUT these are also some great ideas to use for trips to the beach or the park or even those outdoor activities this summer.

I never thought of Belinda as a fussy eater, she just knew what she wanted and it was one battle I did not want to fight.  So for lunch was usually carrots and dip or peanut butter and no jelly.  She wanted nothing to do with anything “green” but she did like “finger foods” for lunch so baby carrots were always good.

I’m sure some of you have a problem getting your kids to eat healthy.  Although I think it is a little easier these days.  Thanks to Thirty One for these yummy ideas!  We’ve searched far and wide to bring you the most delicious snacks you can easily swap out to boost your kids’ nutrition. (And they’re all perfect to pack in our colorful and hard-working insulated lunch bags!)

Swap out PB&J for a PB&B

We all remember pulling a pale, squashed PBJ out of our lunch bags as kids… with that dark purple splotch of jelly seeping through the soggy white bread. (Bleh.)  I loved it BUT Belinda didn’t do jelly.  Why not give your kids a healthy sammie worth celebrating? A peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat or put it in a wrap.  It is packed with 17 g of protein, 7 g of fiber, complex carbs and healthy unsaturated fats. This combo can help kids feel full and energized throughout the afternoon.  Slicing up half a medium banana instead of spreading on two tablespoons of jam adds potassium and cuts out 10 g of sugar! You can even layer in sliced strawberries for a touch of sweetness and a big dose of vitamin C.

Swap out juice boxes for a reusable water bottle

Single-serving drink boxes are convenient and fun, but many also contain artificial color, flavoring and preservatives. Even 100% fruit juices can contain up to 20 g of sugar per pouch!  Instead, try infusing a pitcher of water with citrus slices, torn fresh herbs or muddled berries at home. Combine together herbs and fruits (like strawberry-basil or blueberry-mint) for a refreshing change of pace. Leave your pitcher to infuse overnight in the fridge and pour into a leak-proof water bottle.

Our roomy new Lunch Buddy Thermals feature an elastic-topped mesh side pocket that’s perfect for toting the kids’ water bottles to school and back each day. (And the fun prints are irresistible!)

Swap out applesauce for apple slices

Packing a large, sliced apple instead of a cup of applesauce can double your kids’ fiber intake (5.4 g vs 2.7 g), boost their vitamin C (10.3 mg vs 2.7 mg) and provide them with the beneficial antioxidants contained in the skin of the apple.  Kids love to eat raw apples plain as a healthful snack, or dip slices in a delicious nut or seed butter for added protein and a salty kick. If you want to keep the convenience factor, toss in a whole apple or nab a segmented slicer tool to make quick work of lunch prep.  If you do decide to sometimes opt for applesauce, look for healthier varieties made without added sugar or artificial preservatives. Or make your own unsweetened applesauce, and be sure to leave the skins on!

Swap out chips for nearly anything else

Do your kids crave something salty to go with their meals? (Us too!) Steer clear of the fat, sodium and calorie bombs that are potato chips, which have been scientifically linked to weight gain, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.   Instead, why not offer your kids one of these tasty (and nutritious) treats?

  • Roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Deli turkey-wrapped cucumber slices
  • Nuts (Be sure to check your school’s allergen policy first)
  • Edamame, boiled or shelled and roasted
  • Air-popped popcorn (It’s a whole grain!)
  • Cheese cubes
  • Whole wheat pretzels
  • Celery sticks with nut or seed butter and raisins, or with cream cheese and dried cranberries
  • Swap out pudding cups for Greek yogurt
  • Kids love spooning up creamy treats at lunchtime. But when you’re packing their lunch bags, think Greek: While the calorie count and amount of calcium are essentially the same, a serving of Greek yogurt can provide as much as 20 times the protein of an individual pudding cup.

Stick to plain Greek yogurt for the least sugar, and add sliced berries or a little honey for sweetness. If the kids want the flavored kind, choose one with sugar near the end of the ingredient list: The first three ingredients should be milk, live and active cultures and fruit.

Keep their yogurt – and the rest of their healthy food swap-outs – cool until lunchtime in a classic Thermal Tote personalized with your child’s name and favorite embroidered Icon-It design. Your kids will be eating healthy and noshing in style!

 

What is your kids’ favorite lunch?  Share it with us…. Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Campus style: College fashion bag trends

I know High schoolers and younger are not thinking about going back to school BUT I am sure the college students are gearing up for their new life.  The summer Belinda went off to college was a whirlwind of craziness….

Of course, changing colleges just two weeks before heading off for the first extended trip away from home did help either.  She went from attending Johnson & Wales in Charlotte to Western Carolina University in Cullowhee.  I wasn’t sure how it would work out but it was the best decision she ever made.  I miss her like crazy since she is 12 hours away but I am so proud of the woman she has become.

From backpack purses and messenger bags to slouchy totes and crossbody wallets, this year’s hand-picked campus trends will take you back to college in style. Read on to discover the hottest bag fashions designed to be super-functional, keeping you organized semester after semester.

Trend-right mini backpack purses

A small backpack purse is the perfect combination of hands-free and on-trend. Choose one with sturdy hardware and plenty of pockets – the one you pick will need to hold a ton and stand up to your busy daily routine. Don’t go too bold with this one: choose a solid color in an elevated finish to maintain wearability and lend a timeless air to an of-the-moment style. Thirty-One Gifts’ own Boutique Backpack comes in a luxe, faux-pebble fabrication in your choice of four colors with contrasting striped handles for a pop of fun!

Brand new for Fall 2018, our version of this fashionable, hands-free bag is available early (and at a great price!) to Customers who invite their friends to shop Thirty-One Gifts together this July! Connect with me to learn more about shopping and sharing this great style when you host a party. And as always, personalization is free on Hostess Specials – so make your backpack really stand out with an embroidered monogram or initial in color-coordinating thread.

Campus fashion tip: Wear it over a flowy floral top or dress, and tie a light cardigan or denim button-up shirt around your waist for those college lecture halls that seem to perpetually blast the AC.

Hands-free crossbody wallets

Whether you’re biking to class in the morning or hitting the town at night, hands-free is where it’s at. Choose a sleek and slim crossbody wallet to keep your phone, credit cards, ID and other essentials close at hand. And if you find one with a removable strap like our chic Tons of Funds, snag it – these styles easily transform into an everyday wallet for your larger bag, or clip on a Wristlet Strap for a cute clutch. Three great uses – all without unpacking your things!

Campus fashion tip: Skip the jewelry and sling a brightly colored crossbody wallet across a simple striped tunic and leggings to add a trendy visual pop.

Versatility is key when you’re selecting an everyday tote for class. Our slouchy and stylish Retro Metro Collection features a few stand-out pieces perfect for campus life: Try the Retro Metro Hobo Crossbody in black-and-white, vintage-inspired Twill Stripe. The long, flexible handle means it can be worn as a crossbody, or knot the strap to shorten the handle drop for a relaxed shoulder bag.

Need something with more room and a bit more structure? Our Retro Metro Fold-Overshares the same comfortable styling and durable construction, but features a shaped base and reinforced square corners for more of a messenger bag look. It’s available in cotton or canvas, perfect for toting textbooks, tech and more.

Campus fashion tip: Pair a slouchy bag with a fitted blazer or jean jacket to balance the casual vibe.

What better way to achieve exactly the campus style you’re looking for than by designing it yourself? For a true messenger bag in a chic, upgraded finish, check out our Studio Thirty-One Modern purse. The large magnetic flap is removable so you can switch up your look from semester to semester…or even day to day!

We love the classic sophistication of a monochromatic Caramel Charm Body and Flapwith a stylish pop of black-and-white webbing in the crossbody strap. And be sure to check out our Studio Thirty-One flaps from the Global Inspired Collection featuring bright, graphic prints.

Check out even more hot Studio Thirty-One combinations, or jump right in and start designing your own! Bonus: Each one of these purses is polished enough to take you from class straight to your internship. (Grown-up points!)

Campus fashion tip: Wear it with an olive green military-style jacket and cute ballet flats to punch up your favorite jeans-and-tee combo.

Bonus accessory trend: Lightweight scarves

Want another great college-friendly fashion tip? Think beyond the bag! A square, rectangular or infinity scarf is a key element in your back-to-school wardrobe. Tie it on your bag to add stylish flair and a shot of color, or wrap one loosely around your neck to make a fashion statement in any season.

There are as many ways to wear a simple scarf as there are prints available in our long and lightweight Avenue Scarf: a quick search on Pinterest turns up tons of creative tying methods, from simple knots to fancy braids, head wraps and even belts!

Campus fashion tip: It’s easier than you think to turn a rectangular scarf into a stylish kerchief: you’re just seconds away with this four-step tutorial we love!

Thank you ThirtyOne for today’s blog post.

Celebrating the 4th of July

According to Wickapedia “Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain”.

For me, the 4th brings up bittersweet memories….. I’m grateful for them since living with MS has robbed me of many of them.  The many pictures I have of these celebrations allow me to reflect and remember.

Life in Ocean Grove over the 4th of July was a whirlwind of fun and excitement. I can remember many July 4th parades and bar-b-ques with family.  Belinda was always in the parade in an array of costumes. Costumes made by me – Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Pocahontas, Peter Pan… are you getting the Disney theme? Yes, we were obsessed with Disney and we wore out many VHS tapes before DVDs came around. Then as Belinda got older, it was decorating her bicycle. Cards in the spokes to make the flipping sounds – okay, am I really showing my age now? Red, white and blue shirts, shorts, and hats…

Sitting on Main Street waiting for the parade and the barrage of candy thrown by the floats as they traveled down the street. Grams worried Belinda would get too close to the  trucks. Belinda hiding and covering her ears as the fire trucks came by – her sensitive ears were always a concern for Grams.

Life in Ocean Grove was fun and has lot of memories for us. I mean there was a time when ALL of us lived in Ocean Grove on Broadway – Edythe, then Grams, Pop-pop & Elsie then closest to the beach was mom and I. Okay, so it was BEFORE Belinda but it was always a lot of fun. Believe it or not, I miss living in Ocean Grove… Yes, I squirreled!

Want to check out a GREAT “Christmas in July” sale?  Stop by my Thirty One website to grab some awesome deals.  The sale goes through July 11th.

Best wishes for a ThirtyOne-derful day with friends and family celebrating today…

Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day by definition is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.

Today, I am blessed, to be a daughter, a step-daughter and a MOM!  Today will be a day filed with some tears I’m sure as I am not going to be with either of these TWO amazing ladies.

To my mom, my best friend and biggest cheerleader.  The road has been filled with more than our share of twists and turns but through it all you have stood by my side.  Through thick and thin, the good times and bad. Just like when I was a child, you were are there to guide and support me now as MS takes away my memory.  Thank you for being my traveling buddy and joining me in my pink bubble.

You have taught me about strength and kindness. You have taught me how to be a good mom. You taught me to cherish my family. Mom, thank you for all of the lessons. I may not have always appreciated them at the time, but I am grateful for them now as an older, wiser and sometimes more mature woman.  I am who I am today because you allowed me to grow and struggle through the bumps in the road. I am who I am today because you loved me when I didn’t love myself.  Thank you…..Happy Mother’s Day to the BEST MOM in the world. I love you!

To my daughter, Belinda who makes MY Mother’s Day so special. They say you never know what it means to be a mom until you have a child – I agree 100%. I now understand why my mom put up with everything (the good, the bad & the ugly) all of those years. My daughter is my heart.  It was “you and me, kid” for most of her life and I wouldn’t change it for the world.  Being a single mom had its struggles but with the love and support of family and friends we made it.  As a child, you were a challenge – having your own opinion and questioning everything but you helped me to grow as a person too. You have grown into an AMAZING woman who I am proud to say is “my daughter”.  MS may steal the memories by in my heart I know it will alway be “you and me kid”.

To those who have lost their moms, cherish the memories. To those who have a strained relationship with them, reach out, re-connect – bless and move on – for you don’t want to live with regrets when they are gone.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms and those who have been like a mom to so many.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.

Birthday Reflections

Another milestone….. yes, believe it or not, tomorrow is my 61st birthday!  Do I feel 61? Some days especially when the MS decides to rear its ugly head..

I’m a day early since I don’t blog on Friday’s, I figured today would be a great day for reflection and probably some tears.

I am blessed I get to wake this morning and every morning.  No matter what the day may bring, I know it will be WONDERFUL!  I’m determined to be positive and make the most of it. It may take me two hours to clear the fog and get moving but being grateful for each small step it a gift from God.

Birthdays are milestones in our lives.  As children, they are a day (or sometimes a week or even a month) where the focus is on us.  Filled with presents, parties, family, friends and of course cake and ice cream.  As the years go by, life “happens” and things change.

The past year has been filled with many ups and downs.  Receiving the “official” diagnosis of RRMS (Remitting Relapsing MS) and starting injections three times a week.  Working my Thirty One business full-time while learning the ebbs and flows of not receiving a consistent pay check.  The realization more memories are lost and struggling to find the right words some days.  The toughest part of the last year was the loss of my dad.  Through it all I hold fast to the mantra “every day is a gift from God with a blessing to be found.”

Truth be told for many years “birthdays” were just another day when low self-esteem and lack of confidence and those nasty inner gremlins made me feel like I didn’t deserve a celebration. I’m great at giving but I’m not very good at receiving.  Today, I am looking at them a little differently – have I grown up?  Don’t count on it!  My dad was all about living life to the fullest and his passing is probably one of the reasons why I stopped saying “it is just another day”.   Today is a gift from God  to be able to spend another day with family and friends.  The celebration doesn’t need to be big, it doesn’t need to have lots of presents (maybe just one or two would be nice).

As a child, one of my favorite celebrations was the annual trip to New York City to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus. This annual tradition was a treat from Edythe and Elsie. It included the circus and dinner in NY. I always felt so grown up! Both of them are now our guardians angels in heaven and the circus performed for the last time last year.

I have to admit the tears are starting to flow, tears of joy mixed with some sadness:

  • I grateful for my daughter, Belinda.  She has grown into an AMAZING woman who I am proud to call my friend.  Life was not always easy but she turned adversity into a learning lesson.  God could not have given me a greater gift then to be her mom.  We may have missed out on the ThirtyOne cruise thanks to the hurricane but I loved spending time in NC with you.
  • To my mom….thank you for always being there.  We are not just mother and daughter, but we are friends.  The miles may separate us but I know you are only a phone call away or a short drive to Mays Landing.  You are always one of my biggest cheerleaders.
  • To my dad….who is now watching over me from heaven.  It has been a rough year but through it all, I remember your encouraging words.  You taught me to embrace life, living it to the fullest every day and to chose JOY, even on a bad day so everything will be okay. I miss you daddy!
  • To my Thirty One family.  An amazing group of women who have loved and supported me in my darkest days.  My team is AWESOME and they inspire me daily.  My hostesses and customers are so much more than just “orders”, building friendships with many of them.   They all hold a special place in my heart.  It is with their help and support I am able to work my business full-time.

  • To my DS/Crafter Friends….words can express the gratitude I have for you.  This past year, you have helped in so many ways.  Sharing events, carrying my stuff when I am struggling, cheering me on and checking in on me.  Thank you for your support as I ventured into fulfilling a dream of celebrating, and encouraging other DS business owners through our networking group, Jersey Shore Direct Sellers Network.
  • Lastly, to my hubby (who probably won’t read this)…who is my ROCK!  I know I am not the easiest to live with (imagine that?) but you are always there, standing strong and supporting me.  Your support and encouragement in my Thirty One “business” gives me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone. Thank you for being one of my greatest cheerleaders.  I’m excited to spend my birthday with you this year, thank you for taking the day off.

There are many more people I could (and probably should) thank or talk about from this year.  It has been an AMAZING journey for me and I am looking forward to the blessings God has for me in this new year.  I can’t believe I am actually 61 years old – okay, so it is only a number, right?

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Stop by my VIP group on Facebook, Hope’s Purse Closet, for a birthday present from ME to YOU!

Hope you have ThirtyOne-derful day!