Smartphone Pockets 3-Pack Now Just $14.95!

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Great news: Now you can get a 3-pack of Smartphone Pockets for just $14.95! We are thrilled to be able to offer this innovative, convenient smartphone accessory at a reduced price. (And have we mentioned they make great gifts? At just $5/pocket, you can order a Smartphone Pocket for every one you know!:)

Order at our Amazon store!

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Beyond The Ham Sandwich: Inspired School Lunch Ideas

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Summer is winding down, many schools are back in session, and that means scores of parents are now on daily lunch-packing duty. And as every parent knows, packing something resembling a balanced meal, that travels well and that your child will actually eat, can be a challenge; it’s easy to fall into a sandwich-chips-cookie rut. To lend some inspiration, here are a few of our favorite out-of-the-box foods for throwing into the lunchbox:

Mini Kebabs. Thread cubed ham + cheese, different kinds of fruit, or grape tomatoes + mozzarella balls onto small wooden skewers.

Veggies (Carrot sticks, Bell pepper slices, Cucumber slices, Sugar snap peas) + Hummus, Ranch Dressing, or “Dinosaur Dip” (plain yogurt blended with avocado, a squeeze of lemon, and chopped herbs or baby spinach).

Sliced Apple + Peanut Butter Sandwich.

Hard-Boiled Eggs. If you’d like, cut in half and sprinkle on some salt and pepper.

Sunflower Butter + Honey Sandwich on Whole Wheat. This is a great option if your child has a nut allergy or attends a nut-free school.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread or Bagel with Plain Cream Cheese.

Fill mini pita pockets with last night’s leftovers (meatloaf, grilled chicken, or roasted veggies).

On cold days, send a thermos filled with soup or chili, along with shredded cheese for topping.

Graham Crackers + Strawberry Cream Cheese Sandwiches (you can use store-bought cream cheese, or make your own fruity cream cheese by chopping or mashing a favorite fruit–strawberries, blueberries, and bananas all work well–into plain cream cheese).

What do you pack in your kids’ school lunches? What have been the biggest hits with your kids?

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Get Smart This School Year: 6 Back-To-School Organizing Tips

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The summer is flying by (or perhaps it feels like it’s crawling?), and soon it will be time for another school year to start. Success at school starts with organization at home. Here are six simple ways get smarter at home this school year:

Get (And Use) A Family Calendar. Keep track of after-school activities, special events and field trips, even what’s for dinner. Get your hands on the school calendar as soon as possible and transfer all those dates (school breaks, teacher planning days, early release days) into the family calendar.

Post A Morning Checklist. This should include all the things that need to be done before it’s time to leave in the morning. For young children, add pictures to illustrate tasks like “Wake Up,” “Brush Teeth,” “Get Dressed,” “Eat Breakfast,” and “Get Your Backpack.” You can even include a picture showing what the clock looks like at the time you need to be walking out the door.

Hold Family Meetings Once A Week. Sunday night is a great time for this. Have everyone sit down for 15 minutes to go over everyone’s schedule and responsibilities for the week. This not only keeps all family members on the same page, but prevents unnecessary stressors like missed pick-up times, unpacked lunches, unmet expectations…the list goes on.

Use A Central Message Board. This could be a giant corkboard, or an oil-drain-pan-turned-magnet-board like this one. Use it to post everything from notes and reminders to artwork and A+ spelling tests!

Store Homework Supplies On A Pegboard. Pegboards are perfect for storing school supplies–there’s a place for everything, and everything is in sight (no more frustrated rummaging through overstuffed drawers or boxes!). Check out this, this, and this for inspiration.

Keep Borrowed Books In A Designated Place. Whether it’s a shelf, rack, or basket, keep a special space for library books and books that go to and from school (like your 1st grader’s early reader books). This way you won’t be digging through all of your other books to find them on the day they are due.

Of course, your Smartphone Pocket will keep your phone on hand and secure all school year long–at least that’s one thing you won’t need to worry about keeping track of! :) What are your tried-and-true tips for school year organization?

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Beyond Beef Jerky: Great Meals To Cook While Camping

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(photo via explore)

While we’re on the subject of camping, we thought we’d share some camping recipes we’ve come across lately that sound simply delicious–at least better than beef jerky and trail mix!

Eggs and Pancakes. What? While camping? According to blogger and avid camper Liz Stanley, this can actually be pretty simple! Liz cracks her eggs into a large Ziplock bag, pours pancake mix and water into another Ziplock bag, and keeps them in a cooler. In the morning, she cooks them using a camping stove like this one. (For the pancakes, she just clips the end of the bag to pour the mix! How smart is that?) Check out the rest of her camping tips here.

Curry Chicken Pitas. This no-cook, spicy chicken salad recipe from Sarah of Trail Cooking would make a perfect lunch on the trail. Sarah’s three-ingredient Pecan Chicken Salad looks easy and delicious, too. And for dinner, check out her Last-Minute Meat and Olive Pizzas and Spicy Chicken Quesadillas!

Mac N’ Cheese. This one is made with three kinds of cheese + Panko bread crumbs and looks incredible.

Campfire Kabobs. How else can you get a balanced meal that requires no utensils?

Banana Boats. Prep these beforehand by stuffing the bananas with chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, and crushed graham crackers, then wrap in foil. Break these out after dinner and heat over the campfire for a gooey treat!

Of course, you can’t go wrong with classic hot dogs and s’mores over the campfire, either. (Speaking of s’mores, check out this Nutella and Banana version!)

What do you like to cook when camping?

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5 Dream Camping Spots

Do you like to camp (or backpack? or hike?)? The U.S. has so many incredible natural places to explore, and summer is a great time to get out and get acquainted with them. Here are five places we’d love to camp this summer:

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Allagash Wilderness Waterway State Park, Maine. 92 miles of lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams winding through the forests of northern Maine. Henry David Thoreau was one of its visitors!

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Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. “Oh, Shenandoah!” Long storied in song and folklore, this park offers a pastoral landscape of waterfalls, quiet hollows, and beautiful Blue Ridge views. (Photo credit: John Keith Photography)

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Denali National Park, Alaska. The tallest attraction at this majestic park is Denali itself, the tallest peak in North America (also known as Mt. McKinley). The taiga forest, alpine tundra, snowy mountain range, and incredible wildlife are also draws!

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Olympic National Park, Washington. This park encompasses multiple ecosystems, including a rainforest. A hike through this park will take you past (and over, and through) mountains, glaciers, old-growth forests and beaches. You might even see a whale off the coast! (Photo credit: Maurice King)

Barn on Mormon Row, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Home to the breathtaking Teton Range, also known as the “Mountains of the Imagination,” along with extraordinary wildlife! (Photo credit: Ron Niebrugge)

Plus, check out these smart camping tips! (We’d just add one: before you go, iron some Smartphone Pockets into your hiking pants and jacket–and even your bag or tent–to store all those loose odds and ends!)

Where are some of your favorite places to camp?

 

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Health News Roundup

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We’ve rounded up the latest news and musings on health and wellness from around the web. Happy Reading!

The positive effect of nature on the brain. (via NYT)

Which is worse for you, sugar or artificial sweeteners? One writer argues that the verdict is in. (via NYT)

Looks like U.S. health care spending is on the rise. (via ABCNews)

An 8-year-old boy has become the world’s first recipient of a double hand transplant. (via Medical News Today)

Learn how to take better naps. (via WSJ)

Is it healthier to eat paleo or follow standard nutritional guidelines? (via WSJ)

How we talk to babies can influence their social skills later. (via Washington Post)

What are you reading these days? We’d love to know!

 

 

 

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5 Keep-You-Cool Summer Treats

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We’re all for eating healthymost of the time–but we’re also fans of indulging in the occasional treat. And summertime, with its vacations, backyard BBQ’s, and laid-back, no-school schedule, is the perfect time to enjoy desserts that taste delicious and keep you cool. Here are five chilly treats to try this summer:

Popsicles. Fun to make (especially with kids!) and so refreshing to enjoy on the back porch on a sweltering day. Pick up a set of popsicle molds like this one, and try your hand at flavors ranging from sweet and simple to gourmet. (Here are 10 more for inspiration.)

Smoothies. Perfect as breakfast or an energizing snack. And there are so many delicious-looking recipes to choose from!

Ice Cream Sandwiches. Spread a graham cracker or cookie with ice cream or frozen yogurt, then top with another graham cracker/cookie.

Chocolate-Dipped Frozen Bananas. Melt dark chocolate, dip bananas, and freeze. Perfection! We’re also fans of chilled Banana Pudding at summer get-togethers.

Icebox Cake. A decadent dessert with custard or whipped cream layered between wafer cookies or graham crackers, an icebox cake will win you friends at any summer BBQ. Here’s how to make one (it’s easy). We recommend giving this strawberry one, this lemon cream one, or this mocha chocolate one (made with chocolate chip cookies!) a try.

What keep-you-cool treats are you enjoying this summer?

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Health News Roundup: The Latest Happenings in Health and Wellness

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In a reading mood? You’re in luck! We’ve rounded up a few of today’s top health and wellness stories:

A new study suggests that electronic screen addiction is having an alarming effect on children. How to curb it? Say no to screens yourself. (via NYT) (How to keep your phone securely out of sight when spending time with your kids? Leave it in your Smartphone Pocket!)

Apparently, eating fast food may not be worse for you than eating in a sit-down restaurant. (Cooking at home is still your best bet!) (via WebMD)

On a related note, how to stop stress eating. (via CNN)

5 tricks for treating a sunburn (in case you missed our sun protection tips!). (via CNN)

Don’t look or feel your age? This might be why. (via Fox News)

What drowning really looks like, and how to rescue someone who’s drowning. (via Slate and Today Health)

What are you reading these days? We’d love to know!

 

 

 

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Smart Snacking: Healthy and Delicious On-The-Go Eats

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So much of living healthfully comes down to planning ahead. With that in mind, here are five healthy, satisfying on-the-go snacks that will keep you prepared for when hunger strikes at work, in the car, or in front of the cookie aisle:

Veggies, Crackers, or Mini Pitas with Hummus. Baby carrots, celery, grape tomatoes, broccoli, sliced cucumbers, green beans, and sugar snap peas all make great companions to your favorite hummus. Of course, so do whole wheat crackers and tiny pitas.

Granola Bars. Sure, the packaged variety will do the trick, but a homemade granola bar tastes so much better! We recommend giving these 5-Ingredient Granola Bars, these Chocolate Chunk Granola Bars, or these Blueberry Vanilla Greek Yogurt Granola Bars a try. Mix up a batch at the beginning of the week and freeze individually.

Hard-Boiled Eggs. These are easy to make at the beginning of the week and store in the fridge. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, paprika, or for a kick, a dollop of Sriracha.

Graham Crackers + Peanut Butter + Fruit. A crunchy, creamy combination that will satisfy your sweet tooth in one small serving. Spread graham crackers with peanut butter (or chocolate hazelnut spread, if you’re feeling fancy) and top with sliced fruit, like strawberries or bananas.

Popcorn. Go for the less-fat versions of this classic and you’ve got a low-calorie snack that counts as a serving of whole grains. Topping ideas (in addition to salt, of course!): shredded Parmesan, crushed kale chips, or chili powder + lime zest.

What are your go-to snacks when you’re on-the-go?

 

 

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How To Pack Like A Pro

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Everyone looks forward to vacation, but let’s face it: packing is a chore, especially if you’re packing for an extended stay, an overseas trip, or for lots of (little) people! Here are five tried-and-true ways to make the process as painless as possible:

Make A List. Do this before you start packing and it will make the process worlds easier. Creating categories like “clothing,” “toiletries,” and “tech” can help you organize your list and minimize the chance of forgetting something. If you have small kids, include categories for “eating” (snacks, sippy cups), “sleeping” (pack n play, favorite teddy bear), and “entertainment” (books, toys, etc.). When you’re done, file it away to use before your next vacation!

Stick To A Color Scheme. Pack outfits in one color scheme, like black and white, shades of blue, or earth tones. Afraid you’ll get bored? Accessorize with pops of color–a belt, scarf, and jewelry will keep things interesting while taking up much less space.

Plan To Re-Wear. Choose pieces that can do double duty. A sundress dressed up with a denim jacket and cute sandals for a casual dinner can become a beach cover-up the next day.

Roll Your Clothes. Knits and denims can be rolled instead of folded, saving space and preventing wrinkles. (Another pro tip for tackling wrinkles: pack a mini steamer!)

Don’t Forget The Things…That Are Easy To Forget. These are different for everyone, but often include medicine, a good book, a hat, Q-tips, hand sanitizer, and phone charger. (Of course, your phone will be tucked securely into your Smartphone Pocket, so no need to worry about forgetting that!). Another oft-forgotten essential when packing for a summer trip: a sweater or jacket. Easy to forget if you’re bound for the tropics, but you will wish you had one when shivering in a chilly airport or hotel!

 

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