Thursday, August 15, 2013

Great Back to School Tips for Parents from Macaroni Kid + Fun Balance Bar Review and #Giveaway

Disclosure: I was sent samples from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views shared are mine and mine alone.

"August is winding down and families are officially in “Back to School” mode, which includes packing lunches, soccer games, play-dates, homework and so much more! Balance Bar® in partnership with the MacaroniKid parent network surveyed more than 5,000 parents of school-aged children and found that 61% of parents thought that Fall (aka Back to School) is the busiest time of year for their families.

What else did we find from this survey? Check it out:

·         77% of parents said they have 3 or more activities/events per week on average once school starts.
·         80% of respondents said once school starts, they will be planning more meals and attending more sporting events for their kids.
·         And 57% of parents said they try to have one meal together each day as a family to help balance their schedules.
·         79% of parents reported that they pack their kids’ school lunches.

To help parents, Macaroni Kid provided some tips on how to better prepare for a school day and balance everyone’s schedules:

  • Do a run through.  Are your kids starting a new school or a new routine? Do a run through. Wake up "school time," brush teeth, get dressed, pack lunch, have a school-appropriate breakfast and maybe even drive or walk to school.  Then, take those packed lunches and head to the park for a final summer break picnic. 
  • Plan the menus.  Give your kids several options in each category and let them weigh in on what they'd like to find in their lunchboxes... you won't have to guess each morning and they are far more likely to eat it if they've had a hand in selecting it. We love Balance Bar® minis to pack along for snacks!

  • Clean your closets! Nothing gets you and the kids ready for smooth mornings like purged, well-organized closets. 
  • Start a good sleep routine early. Kids love to stay up late in the summer time (and who can blame them) but it makes for tougher mornings if kids are used to going to bed later and sleeping in past "school time" wake up. 
  • Set goals with your children for the upcoming school year. Whether it's academics, sports, or extracurricular activities it's great to help kids get motivated for success in the new school year."


Interested in hearing more tips on how to balance your schedule come this Fall? Join Balance Bar® Tuesday, August 20 at 2:00 PM EST/11:00 AM PST for a live, one-hour Twitter chat.


My Thoughts on Balance Bar Mini Energy Bars:

I have been enjoying Balance Bars since I began my diet this past January, and I happy to report that as of today, I am down 25 pounds, with 15 more pounds to go.  If it wasn't for these great tasting energy bars, I don't think my mornings would run as smoothly as they do.  While I haven't been able to give up my morning coffee (or should I say mid-morning or early afternoon, as I don't usually get around to reheating and drinking until this time), I have been cutting out sugary sweets that I used to keep in the house for a quick pick me up in the morning or for an afternoon snack.

What caught my eye on the Balance Bar mini energy bars is that while they are small (only 8.8 oz.), they contain 7 grams of protein, are only 100 calories per energy bar, and contain 23 vitamins and minerals.  And, being a chocolate lover, how could I resist such flavors as double chocolate brownie and cookie dough?  Mmm, I am getting hungry just thinking about them. :-)  My husband, who is the health nut in the house, and reads all the nutritional labels on everything I purchase, is also a fan of the Balance Bar mini energy bars.  When he is running late some mornings, he will skip rushing around to find something to eat and will grab a few of these energy bars to snack on in the car.  I also love their size, making they great for on the go snacking, or to stash in the diaper bag, to pull out when I need a quick, and oh so tasty pick energy boost.

Out of the two flavors, I have to say that my favorite is the double chocolate brownie, as every bite I take is filled with chocolaty goodness, and satisfies my sweet tooth.  You would think you would need to eat a few of these mini bars to feel full, but I find myself getting full 3/4 of the way through the bar.  This is definitely one must have item that I keep in my pantry at all times.   If you are looking for a great on the go snack, or a low calorie healthy snack, why not pick up a box of Balance Bar mini energy bars today?  I know that once you try them, you will want to get more. :-)

Don't forget to follow Balance Bar on Facebook (, and Twitter ( for news and special offers.

*Read on to learn how you can enter to win a box of Balance Bar mini energy bars to try for yourself.*


In addition to the Balance Bar mini energy bars I was sent to sample, I also received a fun Snack Happened Reusable Bag by Itzy Ritzy!  

"Never leave home without a snack stash! Pack an eco-friendly punch with Snack Happened™ Reusable Snack Bags by Itzy Ritzy!

Keep crackers, fruit, sandwiches, new Balance Bar mini energy bars, and candy bribes stylishly contained in colorful zippered Itzy Ritzy bags. Snacking becomes fun with the eco-friendly carriers that come in modern patterns so adorable you’ll forget plastic bags ever existed. Even better, they’re machine washable so cleaning – and reusing – is easy.

Talk about a treat! Snack Happened™ Reusable Snack Bags by Itzy Ritzy features include:

• 100% cotton exterior

• Waterproof lining interior

• FDA-approved, BPA-free, PVC-free, phthalate-free

• Lead-free zipper top closure keeps crumbs, drips and contents securely inside –no Velcro for snag free and silent snacking

• Machine washable

• Award winning

The uses are endless! Pack crayons, pacifiers, or small toys for your little ones, and keep makeup, toiletries, cameras, or cell phones safe and dry for you." 

This is my forth Snack Happened Reusable Bag to own, as I was first introduced to them by a fellow mom on a play date.  She brought her daughter's snacks in bag and her other daughter's pacifiers in another.  At first, I thought she made them, but said she was given a basket full as a baby shower gift, with a card listing all the ways that these reusable bags could be used over and over again.  I thought it was a novel idea, and ended up going online and ordering 3 bags for the girls.  But, I have to say that I am loving this new "reusable snack and everything bag," with the colorful monkeys all over it.  Savannah, who is also a fan of monkeys thought it was cute, and now uses this to carry around her fruit snacks, toys and more.  

If you are looking for a unique baby shower gift idea, why not pic up a few of these reusable snack bags and include with your gift.  This is one gift that will be used for years to come.  My husband even uses it when he brings sandwiches to work, or a bunch of grapes.  And, I love not wasting plastic bags or having to hunt for a container to put small carry along snacks in.  This reusable bag is so handy, and I can see why it has won numerous awards.

Snag some snack bags of your own at in regular or mini size.


Thanks to the folks at Balance Bar, one lucky reader will win a box of Balance Bar mini energy bars, along with a Snack Happened Reusable Bag from Itzy Ritzy.  To enter this giveaway, please complete the entries on the Raffelcopter form below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Itzy Ritzy:

At Itzy Ritzy, we believe parenting in style is possible. Our modern multi-purpose products pack a number of dazzling punches to provide attractive solutions to everyday challenges without making you do a lot of work. By reinventing practical luxury for modern families around the world, we consider our job done when you get your job done in a stylish, exciting and refreshingly simple way. For more information and to order Itzy Ritzy products, visit

Itzy Ritzy features include The Today Show, Good Morning America, Parents Magazine, SELF Magazine and US Weekly, and accolades as the winner of multiple awards. 

Disclosure: I was sent samples from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views shared are mine and mine alone.

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