cute (and safe) school lunches

Ditch that passe brown bag! Lunchboxes can be adorable, too!

I’m a huge fan of SkipHop for the kids. They have SkipHop lunchboxes almost every year! My favorite this Owl Lunchbox.


But Colin prefers the Penguin!


For older kids (or grown ups) this polka dot lunchbox is adorable!


I got this one for Colin for next year – how fun is this pirate lunchbox!

But its not just about having a cute lunch box! Keeping your kids’ lunches safe is important.

Tip #1: If the lunch you’re packing contains perishable food items like cold cut meats, eggs and yogurt, make sure to pack it with freezer packs or keep it otherwise chilled.  Harmful bacteria multiply rapidly in the “Danger Zone” — the temperatures between 40 and 140 °F (4.4 °C and 60 °C). So, perishable food transported without an ice source won’t stay safe long.
Tip #2: Frozen juice boxes can also be used as freezer packs. Freeze juice boxes overnight and use as freezer packs. By lunchtime, the juice should be thawed and ready to drink!
Tip #3: Pack lunches in an insulated, soft-sided lunch bag. Lunches with perishable food items can be unsafe to eat by lunchtime if packed in an old-fashioned brown paper bag.
Tip #4: If there is a refrigerator at school, tell your child to keep their lunch inside. But leave the lid of the lunchbox or bag open so that cold air can better circulate and keep the food cold.
Tip #5:  After lunch, discard all leftover food, used food packaging, and paper bags. Do not reuse packaging because it could contaminate other food and cause foodborne illness.

Visit to learn more tips for best food safety practices.

world toilet day *giveaway*

Today is World Toilet Day.

I know what you’re thinking. There’s officially a day for everything now. But why do we need a day for a toilet – something everyone obviously already knows about?

Because there is a huge population of the world who doesn’t have one. In the US, we tend to take our access to clean, running water for granted. But While the Western world grapples with ways to reduce the amount of water used in our clean, abundant and convenient bathrooms,  almost half the people in the world lack  a safe way to go to the bathroom. We have traveled many places where THIS was considered a nice bathroom:


Across the world, over 1.5 billion people are living without access to sanitary water or a proper toilet. The open pit latrines common in these places increases the spread of disease through transmissions from flies and other insects. This isn’t a matter of indoor plumbing or giving people nicer bathrooms. This is a SERIOUS health issue across the globe.





One thing is abundantly clear: this is a serious issue.  American Standard saw this as a problem and created the Flush for Good campaign to try to help.

A team of American Standard engineers conducted field research in villages located in the Rajshahi region of Bangladesh in 2012. Based on their findings, the American Standard team invented a cost-effective, hygienic toilet pan called SanTo that  uses ingeniously simple mechanical and water seals to reduce disease transmission by closing off pit latrines from the open air, keeping flies out. Plus, they’ll help reduce the occurrence of odors, thus improving sanitation and quality of life for users.

For every Champion toilet purchased, American Standard will donate one sanitary toilet pan for a developing country.  You can also help on  Facebook, with a sanitary toilet pan being donated for every 100 likes and shares.

I am so pleased to be supporting this campaign. I love that American Standard has latched on to a cause that is related to their products and is doing what they can – not just to donate money – but to EDUCATE people about this important global health issue.

win it!

One lucky Girlymama reader will win a $200 Gift Card to Home Depot, courtesy of American Standard!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One winner will be selected at random and will be notified by email. Winner must have a U.S. Mailing address. For other contest rules, see our giveaway policies page.

eMeals: making mama’s life a bit easier

Meal planning is KEY to keeping my sanity these days. Our new town is very quaint and sweet – and has ZERO fast food restaurants. So if I don’t have something planned, I can’t swing by a drive thru – we’re having scrambled eggs!

eMeals sounded like a dream come true! It provides easy recipes with concise directions and a grocery list for budget minded and busy people. Get delicious eMeals weekly meal plans everyone will love – its a new way to organize and simplify the usual chaos of dinner at home. Its brilliant.

First –  just choose a meal plan based on your eating style, your family size and even your favorite grocery store. Then, your meal plan arrives in your inbox —complete with seven simple, creative, family–friendly dinner recipes (each includes an entrée and side dishes) AND you’ll receive a detailed grocery list organized by section and – here’s the amazing thing – its coordinated  with the weekly sales your selected stores. So you save money too!

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eMeals sounded like a dream come true!  You can search meal ideas by type or diet or whatever! I did the Slow Cooker Clean Eating plan, since we are SO CRAZY busy in the evenings and the slow cooker is perfect! But if we want to change our meal plan, we can do so. Maybe in spring or summer, I can try something else.

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So now, every week I get a menu plan AND a grocery list. ZERO work, all ready to go. BAM!

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And the cost? $58. PER YEAR. That’s less than $5 a month for a little angel to take one tedious chore off your back! Totally worth it! I highly recommend eMeals!

disclosure: i’m an emeals blogger. i was given a complimentary membership, but was not compensated for this post.

lundby dollhouse: chic and tons of fun

Our Lundby dollhouse has arrived… and we LOVE IT! Gracie is just loving this fun, stylish dollhouse and all of its fun accessories. Check it out: Lundby doll houses are typical examples of modern dream homes – in miniature format: 1:18 scale. All of their houses are based on the same fundamental belief – that the urge […]

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new toys from peppa pig!

We are SO enjoying some new Peppa products from Fisher Price!! Featured in this video: Peppa Pig and the Busy Day at School book ($12.99) Follow the adventures of Peppa in school as she learns her numbers, letters and more! Muddy Puddles Bathtime Peppa ($12.99) Make the bath more fun with Peppa and George! Watch Peppa’s muddy spots disappear in warm water. […]

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flush for good: you can improve sanitation conditions worldwide

I am so pleased to be partnering with the Flush for Good campaign. This important campaign  is designed to increase awareness of the global water sanitation crisis and to stimulate action that protects the health of all people through well-engineered plumbing solutions. In the US, we tend to take our access to clean, running water for granted. […]

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back to school round two with staples *giveaway*

Well, it time for our second annual Back-to-School shopping trip, where we buy everything we forgot the first time! (I’m not the only one, right?) Except now we’re facing crazy temptation when we go to Staples – they’ve expanded their educational supplies section and the prices are divine. Now, right along those school supplies and […]

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lundby: every girl’s dream house

We have way too many toys. Moving really drove that home for us. Even after our yard sale and taking a bunch of stuff to Goodwill, somehow we still have too many. I’m on a mission – no more junky plastic things that break moments after they are out of the box. Nothing with batteries […]

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ode to school supplies

I confess: As much as back to school shopping is stressful and annoying, I LOVE shopping for school supplies. Like seriously. New notebooks and folders. A fresh planner. Binder clips. (I have a serious thing for binder clips.) And new pens. I LOVE pens. I firmly believe I can never had too many pens. Partly […]

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summer movie night with teen beach movie

Our family loves a good movie night! Once a week, we all snuggle up on our family room and watch a movie together – complete with popcorn of course! Well, this next weekend, we know what we will be watching!! My kids are soooooooooo excited about Teen Beach Movie, a breezy musical comedy that’s sure […]

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