Category: Life and Times in our House

Back to School 2017

Back to School in the Valley of the Sun!  Tomorrow will end the first week of school for us out here in Phoenix.  Love my classes, seeing my old students, and watching my little ones regale their day at school.  As you prepare to go back to school this year you should take note of the products you use every day and make note of the Box Tops for Education.

Every little bit helps!

Reynolds Kitchens™ and Hefty proudly support the Box Tops for Education initiative which helps schools like mine raise money for supplies, technology and more. Find Box Tops on most Reynolds Kitchens™ products like Parchment Paper, Oven Bags, Slow Cooker Liners and Bakeware Pans. You can also find Box Tops on Hefty Trash Bags, Hefty Foam Plates and Hefty Cups—all things I need to make life easier during the busy school year!


Back to School 2017

Box Tops for Education has greatly benefited schools in our area. Whether it is the need to purchase books, computers, playground equipment for anything in between. Box Tops for Education has been helping schools across the nation since 1996.

Parchment Paper

Hefty Trash Bags

Back to School Treats

Don’t forget to choose wisely when shopping for Back to School.  Choose products that help teachers and students right in your very neighborhood.  As a teacher and parent I KNOW it matters.  Every little bit helps.



Now through August 29 you can enter here to be one of 50 daily instant winners and enter to win the grand prize of $1,000 worth of Box Tops for your school! A total of five schools will be chosen for the grand prize and you can enter once a day until 8/29 so bookmark the site and visit often.

BTFE Products_BTs_Shot1

How do you save for Back to School?

Do you participate in Box Tops for Education?

Would love to hear from you!

You can follow along with me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest!

Future Smart Event- Mass Mutual & Phoenix Suns

I was asked to join The MassMutual Foundation, Phoenix Suns executives, and other local community and business leaders for breakfast and networking. Where there was a detailed presentation on the importance of financial wellness, including strategies for holding on to the MVPs in your organization, with a panel discussion afterward moderated by Hill Harper.

Phoenix Suns- Mass Mutual Event

The MassMutual Foundation

Following the breakfast, we were invited courtside to attend the FutureSmartSM Challenge, a
collaboration with MassMutual, Junior Achievement of Arizona and the Suns. Hill Harper ran around and thoroughly engaged with over 3,000 middle school students, inspiring them to think about their future financial success and the importance of savings, career choices and going to college.


Phoenix Sun’s

Loved that the Phoenix Sun’s even after flying back from a game at 2AM came to represent and rally the youth of Phoenix, empowering them to make smart, educated choices.


Phoenix Suns Mass Mutual Media

The media present were asked personal questions about their financial literacy.  My questions were listed below.

Interview Questions:

  • What financial advice would you give to yourself five years ago?
  • What is the biggest financial lesson you’ve learned in life to date?
  • How much research do you do when you’re going to buy something

After the interview with Hill Harper we did a group cheer… or attempted a group cheer… and you can view that on Instagram- HERE.

If you want to know how loud I laugh in real life? Just click the link.  Sorry family for slightly embarrassing you with my cackle…

Phoenix Suns Mass Mutual Future Smart Event

As a teacher, I know how important finacial literacy is.  I love the The MassMutual Foundation is placing leaders within middle schools to teach classes about finances that are so often overlooked.  Schools are able to sign-up for the program, the teachers do not need to plan the lessons, as qualified city leaders come in and teach each lesson.  The culmination of the program is earning the right to attend the event with MassMutual and Hill Harper.

The kids were enthralled with his presentation. Hill had everyone cheering and openly discussing financial education…. these were middle schoolers that were empowered with information that will greatly, positiviely, effect their financial decisions in the future.  The MassMutual Foundation provides programs throughout the country.  I was proud to be apart of such a wonderful event that had education at the forefront.

Check out their site for more information- HERE.


When did you learn about personal finances?  In school?  On the hard knock streets of real life?

Would love to hear from you!


Be sure to follow along with me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest!


MassMutual sponsored this post. As always all opinions are always 100% my own.

Naot Footwear & Fashion Event

As a busy teacher and parent of two I love being able to pull an outfit together in a flash! Shoes are definitely a fabulous way to showcase your personal style and a rule I have is they MUST always be comfortable.  I love that I’ve found a new brand that is both stylish and smart- even better?!? The company takes pride in giving back to the local community. Check out the details below- I hope to see you today!



When: This Saturday – January 21, 11 am – 4 pm
Where: J. Stephens Shoe Store at Kierland Commons (15051 N. Kierland Blvd #100, Scottsdale, AZ 85254).

Try on a pair of Naot shoes and they will donate a pair to those in need, in your name. If you end up buying a pair, they donate two!


I’ll be getting this pair of rain boots in Black which I can’t wait to wear, especially during this wet winter! Naot footwear is known for their unique anatomical footbed and seems to have the devoted following for good reason – their footwear is comfortable, supporting the heel – shoes I need to wear while teaching a full day or running around after my munchkins.

About the donation + UMOM New Day Center

The donated pairs of shoes will go to the UMOM New Day Center whose mission is to prevent and end homelessness, an organization based in Phoenix. I love that they picked a local community to give back to, I love supporting companies that truly care.



Family Pasta Dinner Perfection- Gluten-Free

Our family takes pasta seriously.  Pasta is it’s own food group with nights throughout the week dedicated just to enjoy our favorite recipes.  As a food-allergy parent finding a gluten-free sauce option that pairs well with gluten AND egg-free pasta… and with our busy back-to-school schedule making sauce from scratch doesn’t work during the week.  Keep reading to check out my new, kid-approved find for our Family Pasta Perfection. YUM.


Family Pasta Perfection- Gluten-Free

Thankfully over the past two years there are more and more variations of pasta shapes available that fit our allergy-friendly quota.  Fusilli is definitely the favorite in our rotation.  With gluten-free pasta-if you over cook it? YOU ARE DONE. Yuck- consistency? YUCK. So check yourself before you wreck yourself… no one wants a preschool with a bit of hangry asking for the tenth time when dinner will be ready. NO ONE.

If you don’t have to worry about allergies… I bet yours will taste TEN times better than the above… just an educated guess.


Mezzetta Parmigiano Reggiano Marinara

Honestly, gluten-free sauce that is DELICIOUS makes meal time fun, albeit a bit messy, but MUCH more delicious. So far the Whole Garlic & Sweet Basil passed the kid-test but the one they keep asking for me to grab is the Parmigiano Reggiano Marinara.  Perfection.


Mezzetta Marinara

Mezzetta® Marinara:
• Italian Plum Tomato
• Whole Garlic & Sweet Basil
• Caramelized Onion & Butter
• Calabrian Chili & Garlic
• Truffle, Porcini & Cream
• Parmigiano Reggiano

Simple. Rich. Real.
• Rich. The world’s best tomatoes – hailing from the rich soils of Italy’s San Marzano region.

Now enter this AMAZING giveaway!  I would love a reason to update my passport- a trip to Italy would be spectacular… the history, the traditions, the food… goodness what dreams are made of.  So you can bet that I am entering!


Mezzetta’s great Italian trip sweepstakes- ENTER HERE.
One (1) Grand Prize Winning Entry will be selected. The Grand Prize consists of a trip for Winner and one (1) Guest to attend culinary experiences (including cooking class and farm tour) in the San Marzano region of Italy and explore other cities of Italy. The Grand Prize trip consists of the round trip coach air transportation between the major commercial airport nearest winner’s residence and Rome, Italy, the culinary experience and tour of Italy.

What is your favorite pasta dish for busy nights during the week?

I need another one for the rotation… PLEASE.

You can follow along with me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest!


Back to School: Sleep Now

Today I am going to share what helped me when we got back into the swing of things when school went back into session in July.  That’s right- year round school calendar out here in the Valley of the Sun- which works well as we get glorious time off during the fall and winter months that are MUCH more friendly temperature wise.


First Day of School

Back to School Basics- To Help Parents

Now that some of you are getting back into school schedules and school activities, I thought I’d share with you helpful hints that could ease the transition back into the school routine for your family.

1) Start the back to school transition a week before school starts.

Wake up, have the kids eat a healthy breakfast, get changed, and BOOM.  Make sure it happens before you need to hit the road-bus-sidewalk.

My little guy likes to take his sweet time with just about everything.  I am actually grateful he wakes up so early as we need all of that available time to get ready in the morning before we are off to preschool.



2) Regulate Your Sleep- take Natrol Melatonin to help regulate healthy sleep patterns.

What?!? Go to sleep at a normal time?  What is normal anyways?  I make sure to have all the kids clothes picked out the night before, along with permission slips signed, and snack bag ready.  Being a food-allergy parent means there are a couple of other steps each day and a few extra items each week-but it is all worth it.

I have heard wonderful things about taking Natrol Melatonin and plan on talking to my doctor about incorporating into my life in the future to help with more restful and healthy sleep.

Sleep is SO necessary.

3) Get organized – organize your morning the night before, create a master calendar of after-school activities.

I have a paper calendar and a digital calendar to coincide with school, play-dates, appointments, work, and after-school activities.  I also like to use my fabulous crock-pot 2-3 times a week.  I just set it and forget it in the morning and come dinnertime we feast on a family approved recipe.  White Chicken Chili is the favorite right now.  Can’t wait to share the family recipe here soon as Fall is sneaking on up.


From my sponsor:

Natrol Melatonin Fast Dissolve is a 100% drug-free sleep aid that promotes healthy sleep patterns and a more relaxed night’s sleep. Natrol Melatonin Fast Dissolve tablets require no water and can be taken anywhere, anytime.

Natrol Advanced Sleep Melatonin is a 100% drug-free sleep aid that helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep with a built in 2-layered time release that gives you an initial 5mg dosage to help you fall sleep and then releases the remaining 5mg dosage throughout your sleep to help you stay asleep.


Put Your BEST Fuzzy Foot Forward

Remember that it takes awhile for little ones… even teenagers to get into a routine.  Hopefully with a little planning and some extra shut-eye you can conquer that first week of school!

Grab a COUPON to try Natrol HERE.

What are your tips for easing into the Back to School routine?

Would love to hear from you!

You can follow along with me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest!

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