Back to School with Balance Bar – #GIVEAWAY {#sponsored}

My kids went back to school today. Mind. Blown. This has been the fastest summer EVER. I just can’t believe school is back in session, sports have started back up and before you know, BAM, it’ll be Christmas. Let the panic attack begin. Just kidding, no time to panic. It’s time to meal plan, break out the crock pot, makes lists, and get super-mom organized…and lucky for us, Balance Bar is trying to help with that!

Balance Bar, along with parenting expert and Mom blogger Jenny Ingram, from Jenny on the Spot, have some awesome suggestions for surviving ‘back to school’. 
For example: 
·         Keep Smart Snacks within Reach. Back to school isn’t only exhausting for kids. Moms and dads get worn down too so smart snacking is important. Pack a supply of nutritious snacks to have in your purse for when you’re running errands or going from school to practice. ItzyRitzy’s reusable snack bags are perfect for keeping your on-the-go snacks organized and always handy. Fill them with grapes, almonds, carrot sticks and Balance bare bars for a healthy snack sure to satisfy both busy moms and kids until dinner!
·         The (digital) calendar is key.To make sure no one misses an activity, homework deadline or playdate, color code each kid in your calendar so you know exactly who is doing what and where and when. The Cozi app – is free and great for organizing your upcoming activities and goes everywhere you do since it’s on your phone.  
·         Pack bags within your bag.  If you’re like me, you have a huge bag. It’s great for storing lots of things, but it can be hard to find anything if you’re not organized. Keeping a mini bag that holds chapstick, hand sanitizer and other items frequently used items in a brightly colored small bag that stands out can help with that. The ItzyRitzy’s reusable snack bag can even double as an organizational bag that’s stylish too!
·         Miniature First Aid Kits. It’s helpful to have some first-aid basics in your bag for everyday incidents that are bound to happen. Jenny’s homemade first aid kit includes Band-aids, Neosporin, Kleenex and wipes, and says the wipes are much more effective than napkins at cleaning up whatever messes my kids have.
·         Be prepared for homework. With after-school activities, keep homework supplies in your car and bag so your children can do their work while you’re waiting for soccer/volleyball/etc practice. Keep rulers, pencils, pencil sharpeners, scissors, calculators and a clip board in the car to make sure you’re prepped for any homework assignments.
·         Label everything. With 3 kids, and all the supplies and gear that come with them, labeling is important. Mabels Labels are great for lunchboxes, backpacks, jackets, shoes, sporting equipment and anything else. It also helps avoid lost items in the school coat closet.
·         Pack healthy school lunches efficiently.  Trying to accommodate everyone’s lunch needs is hard. Jenny suggests making their sandwiches and then let them choose 3 snacks for themselves. In your pantry, have mom-approved snacks (like Mixed Berry Balance bar bars) in three drawers and every kid is allowed to choose 1 item from each drawer to add to their lunch.
·         Transitioning summer bedtimes.  Late nights are not going to work once school starts, so gradually transition kids’ sleep schedules. 4-5 days before school starts, move their bedtimes up 10-30 minutes. It’s a slow process but really helps to ensure they’re rested and ready for the first day. Since school has already begun for my kids, it’s important to stick to a nighttime routine and consistent bedtime. I know my kids are going to be worn out by the end of the week!
The Back to School Survival Kit contains these Balance Bare bars. They are made with fruits and nuts, are non-GMO, and Gluten/soy/dairy free. The best part…they taste good! The Sea Salt Caramel Nut tastes almost like a candy bar. It’s my favorite, followed closely by the Sweet and Spicy Nut. I love the hint of spiciness in with the sweet, and it’s a unique flavor idea. However, I also like the Mixed Berry Nut. I’ve been throwing them in my gym bag for after a workout, my daughter has had them as a snack before volleyball, and they are great for curbing my late afternoon ‘Iwanttoeateverything’ phase that hits me around 3:00pm.
The GIVEAWAY consists of your very own Back to School Survival Kit. (The one pictured above is missing a couple of bars. We got hungry before I could take pictures!) The kit contains – 

To win, just enter via the rafflecopter form. Shipping only available to US addresses.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received the above pictured kit to facilitate this post. Both kits and information are provided by Balance Bar. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed regarding product are my own.

Spring Cleaning with Balance Bars (GIVEAWAY)

Spring is finally here! I think. You can’t be too sure nowadays. However, if the pollen and asthma/allergies are any indication, then yep, Spring has finally sprung! Even though the pollen does cause my family and I lots of issues, I still love to see the flowers and trees blooming. It gives me a renewed sense of happiness and well being. It makes me want to make things fresh and clean….and that means spring cleaning! I have an entire Pinterest board devoted to cleaning. Not that I’m doing it, but hey, I have the resources whenever I get around to it! Not only do I want to purge and clean my house, but I want to shape up my diet as well. I’ve gotten back into the habit of lots of processed junk and too much sugar and carbs in my diet. Registered Dietitian, Sharon Richter, has come up with some tips to help us all start cleaning up our diet, by spring cleaning our pantry!
Balance Bar is doing their part as well, by offering healthier alternatives to many ‘grab and go’ snacks and teaming up with J.R. Watkins  which has awesome products without harsh toxins, so that we can “Spring Clean” inside and out!

Balance Bar comes in a variety of flavors, like Dark Chocolate PeanutDark Chocolate Crunch and Dark Chocolate Coconut.  And if you follow my blog, you know that I big pink puffy heart dark chocolate!

Not only do they come in my favorite flavors, but they have 13g of protein, and are gluten free. They make a good pre- or post-workout snack and are great for keeping in your purse or desk drawer for a mid-day snack to tide you over until your next meal. I shared my Balance Bars with my workout buddies and they were well received. It’s not a candy bar, but it doesn’t have the really harsh “protein-y” taste that some protein bars do. I know for me, that I am more likely to make poor food choices when I am really hungry, so keeping healthier snacks around is important. Learn more by following Balance Bar on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

In addition to the Balance Bars, today’s giveaway also includes this White Tea and Bamboo All Purpose Cleaner and Hand Soap by J.R, Watkins. It has a very fresh and clean scent without using harsh chemicals. I have already given the all purpose cleaner a work out since I have a lot of kitchen counter tops…and they constantly need cleaning! Learn more about the products by checking them out on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

So, on to the giveaway! To get you in the mood to start your own spring cleaning, Balance Bar and J.R.Watkins are providing a prize pack to one Makin’ it Mo’Betta reader including a variety of Balance Bars and the above White Tea and Bamboo All Purpose Cleaner and Hand Soap.

You’ll receive more bars than pictured. I sort of ate most of mine before taking blog pictures. oops.

Just enter via a Rafflecopter giveaway form. Prize pack only available for shipping within U.S.

Disclosure: I received the same prize pack as being offered as a giveaway. Both prize packs are provided by Balance Bar/JR Watkins. No other compensation was received for this post. All opinions are my own.

Homemade Brownie Larabars

Do you eat Larabars?
They are made only with fruit and nuts.  And my favorites, of course, contain chocolate.  When I saw this post over at Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog, I knew I wanted to give it a try.  I found a large container of dates at Sam’s Club the other day, and decided it was time.

Homemade Brownie Larabars

from CCK
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 and 1/3 cups pitted dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 T cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Dark cocoa)
  • 1/8 tsp salt (optional)
  • chocolate chips (optional) (of course I used chocolate chips! Ghirardelli 60% chips)
Blend all the ingredients, using a food processor, Magic Bullet, etc. Form into bars. (bars are sticky, so I placed in between waxed paper and shaped them into ‘bars’)
Verdict?  They taste just like Larabars!  Wholesome ingredients that are great for an energy boost or quick snack on-the-go.  You can change up the nuts and add different fruits to make your own varieties of bars.