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Tag Archive | "Back to School"

Fast Family Dinners


Sausage and Mushroom Calzone

(Family Features) Don’t let the back-to-school frenzy put a damper on dinner plans. Soccer, dance, football and piano lessons don’t have to keep the family from sitting down for a meal together.

With a little planning – and everyone pitching in – you can create memorable family time around the table, even on the busiest of weeknights. Try some of these quick dinner tips and easy recipes for a delicious family dinner – fast.

Simple is better. During the week, stick to simple family favorites and save multi-step meals and new recipes for the weekends when you have a little more time.

Do double duty. When you brown ground beef or sausage for one meal, go ahead and brown extra to use in another dish later in the week. Rice, cheese and chopped onion can all be put in the freezer and saved for tacos, spaghetti or a skillet dish when you’re pressed for time.

Have a back-up plan. Even the best-laid plans can go awry, so make sure you’ve got something you can put together in a flash. It could be a meal you’ve prepped and frozen that just needs warming up, or some pasta, jarred sauce and whatever vegetables you have on hand that can be tossed together for a quick Italian feast.

Use convenience foods. Save some time and hassle with frozen cut vegetables or bagged salads. Look in the freezer and refrigerator sections of your grocery store to find farm-fresh Bob Evans proteins and sides that help you get a wholesome meal on the table with plenty of time to spare.

For more fast family recipes and money-saving coupons, visit www.bobevans.com.

Sausage and Mushroom Calzone

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Makes 4 servings
1     pound Bob Evans Italian Roll Sausage
1     pound loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
1/2  cup pizza sauce
1     jar sliced mushrooms, drained (4 ounces)
1/2  cup grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In large skillet, crumble and cook sausage until browned. Set aside.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 12- to 14-inch rectangle. Cut into 4 pieces.

Top half of each rectangle with sauce, sausage, mushrooms and cheese. Fold dough over to enclose. Crimp around edges with a fork. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Mexican Sausage Pizza

Mexican Sausage Pizza

Prep time:  20 minutes
Cook time:  10 minutes
Makes 4 servings
1     pound Bob Evans Original Roll Sausage (can use Hot)
3     cups baking mix
2     cups grated cheddar cheese
1     can (15 ounces) refried beans
1/2     cup chopped onion
1     cup diced tomato
1/2     cup minced cilantro
2     cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
Sour cream (optional)
Salsa (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In medium skillet over medium heat crumble and cook sausage until brown. Cool.

In large bowl, combine baking mix, cheddar cheese and cooked sausage. Stir in 5 or 6 tablespoons water to form a dough. Pat out into a thin layer on a large baking sheet or pizza pan.  Bake for 10 minutes or until light brown.

Spread crust with refried beans. Top with onions, tomato, cilantro and cheese. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

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Save big on back-to-school sales


(ARA) – The back-to-school season can become a very expensive time of year – especially if you have a child that grew several inches over the summer months.

Add to new clothes all the school supplies and sporting equipment she’ll need if she decides to try out for a school team and you’ve got yourself a full list.

But there are ways to meet your budget, and make sure you get everything on your kids’ back to school lists. Here are some tips to cut costs and keep money in your pocket:

* Only purchase what you need. Look over last year’s equipment and have your child reuse pencils, pens, rulers or glue for the classroom. Sure, folders and notebooks take a beating so you probably will have to purchase some new school supplies. The same holds true for clothing. Find just a couple of mix and match outfits that will stand up to frequent wear and multiple washings to help reduce what you spend on clothing.

* Shop the sales. Many states offer clothing tax-free holidays during the back to school season, providing a nice discount. And most department stores also hold promotions and discounts on school supplies and clothing, so keep an eye out for store brochures that will allow you to comparison shop for the lowest prices.

* Stay home and save big online. Instead of driving all around town trying to find the best deals, stay home and shop your favorite stores through website like Ebates.com. For example, if you shop at jcpenney.com for school supplies, you not only can take advantage of discount codes and coupons through the Ebates site, but also receive up to 6 percent cash back check in the mail.

* Buy in bulk. Items are cheaper if you buy in bulk, so make a list of all the supplies your children will need for the entire school year and purchase them now, during the back-to-school sales. If you don’t need such a large supply, ask a friend or relative to join you in the expense so all of your children can benefit from bulk shopping.

The back-to-school season is so exciting and you can easily get caught up in the flurry of activities while trying to get your children organized. But make sure you’re an economical mom and stick to your budget so you can save money for some other fun activity.

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S.M.A.R.T. back-to-school shopping


Photo courtesy of Getty Images

(Family Features) School supply lists seem to get longer each year, and when you have more than one child to shop for, it can really add up. So it’s no surprise that just about everyone is looking for ways to shop smarter.
In the most recent Back-to-School Shopping Forecast survey from PriceGrabber, 95 percent of shoppers will be using money-saving techniques to get school supplies this year. The survey also found that:
•    69 percent will shop online or use comparison shopping websites.
•    52 percent plan to spend as much as they did last year, while 35 percent say they’ll spend less.
•    55 percent will spread the cost of purchases over a longer period of time.
When you’re ready to stock up on backpacks, notebooks and an endless supply of pens, use these tips to help you be a smart back-to-school shopper:
S – Streamline your shopping.
•    Instead of driving all over town to get what you need, get as much as you can at one-stop-shops. Picking up school supplies and classroom supplies, such as tissues, disinfectant wipes, etc., saves you time and hassle. And it keeps you out of frustrating traffic.
•    Check the store’s website before you go. Make sure it will have the supplies you need so you don’t waste time looking for something that’s not there. If what you need isn’t in-store, consider ordering online.
M – Make a list.
•    Work with your child to craft your shopping list before hitting the stores.
•    Many retailers work with local PTAs and school districts to secure back-to-school shopping lists, making it easy to find exactly what your child needs.
•    Take an extra pen with you and have your child check off supplies as you get them.
A – Ads and alerts.
•    To help you save money, pay attention to the weekly ad inserts in your local newspaper. Combining sale prices with coupons saves you even more. Keep an eye out for super savings, such as Office Depot’s Penny Savers, when you can find many core supplies on sale for just a penny.
•    You can also sign up for special deal alerts through retailers’ websites and Facebook pages, giving you the scoop on extra savings.
•    If you want to avoid overfilling your email inbox, set up a separate email account just for retail alerts.
R – Rewards and rebates.
•    Many retailers have rewards programs that let you in on extra savings.
•    Some retailers also have programs that help you earn school supplies for your school, where a percentage of purchases goes to a designated school to use towards supplies.
•    To take advantage of rebates, check manufacturer websites as well as retailer websites for the latest ways to get money back.
T – Technology tips.
•    Keep your computers up to date with the latest virus and malware protection.
•    If your child will be doing online research for homework, you can put some parental controls in place to protect your child. Check out Google SafeSearch, AOL Parent Controls or ATT Smart Controls, or with your current Internet provider.
•    You can see user and professional reviews of parental control software at www.consumersearch.com.
Taking a little time to do your homework now will help you save time and money on school supplies when you’re ready to start shopping. To get the latest in back-to-school savings, visit www.officedepot.com.

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It’s time for back-to-school eye exams


Annual eye exams may help improve school performance. (c) Carlos Caetano - Fotolia.com

(StatePoint) Did you know that 80 percent of what we learn is acquired visually? From reading to visual mnemonics (think stop signs and multiplication tables), vision plays a critical role in your child’s academic success.

That’s why it’s important to put a visit to the eye doctor on your back-to-school to-do list.

Surprisingly, approximately 76 percent of children under the age of 5 have never had a comprehensive eye exam, according to a recent nationwide survey of nearly 4,000 Americans by VSP Vision Care, the largest not-for-profit vision benefits and services company in the Unites States.

And since vision problems often manifest as behavioral problems or poor academic achievement, they’re also often misdiagnosed. For example, a child who fidgets in his seat and does poor work because he can’t read the board work may be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. While a good doctor would rule out vision problems before making a diagnosis, the child may not say anything because he is unaware there is a problem.

Children’s eyes also change from year to year, as they grow. Between shopping for school clothes, updating immunizations and stocking up on supplies, parents can forget the all-important annual eye exam that children need. Moreover, parents may assume that the screenings provided by pediatricians and school nurses are enough, but they’re not.

“General vision screenings are limited and overlook many potential vision problems,” said Dr. Stephanie Kirschbaum, a VSP provider based in Grass Valley, Calif. “Children need to be examined annually by an optometrist for signs of astigmatism, nearsightedness and farsightedness. Their eye doctor will also examine the structure of the eye for tell-tale signs of serious diseases affecting more American kids each year, including diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.”

Children should have their first eye assessment at 6 months of age, a comprehensive eye exam starting at age 3 before entering school and then an annual exam throughout their lives.

See your eye doctor if your child:

• Loses his or her place while reading
• Avoids close work
• Tends to rub his or her eyes
• Has headaches
• Turns or tilts his or her head
• Squints while reading or watching television
• Has behavioral problems
• Holds reading material closer than normal

Regular eye care is essential to classroom success. By correcting any vision problems now, you can make the classroom a positive and productive experience for your child.

Posted in HealthComments Off

Packing healthy school lunches for kids


BACK-Healthy-Lunches(StatePoint)  Packing nutritious school lunches that kids will eat can be tricky. You want to make sure that all those healthy foods you carefully selected are not traded away for junk food or tossed into the trash.

With childhood obesity a growing problem, many parents are determined to find healthful but tempting school lunches for their kids.

“Just because a bagged lunch is nutritious doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be fun. Include a variety of foods your kids enjoy and get creative by packing colorful vegetables and fiber-rich fruits. And since kids love snacks, don’t fight it, pick healthy snacks and avoid junky chips and empty calories,” says Josh Schroeter, co-founder of Sahale Snacks, a producer of healthy, all-natural snack foods.

  • Make Favorites Even Better: Choose whole grain bread over white bread when making your child’s favorite sandwich. Substitute a whole wheat tortilla or pita pocket and kids won’t notice a difference. Choose lean lunch meats such as turkey or chicken and low fat cheeses. Use mustard instead of mayonnaise. Home-made bean or yogurt dip with vegetable sticks can be a tasty source of protein and fiber.
  • Go Nuts with Nutrient-Rich Snacks: Nuts and seeds make terrific protein- and fiber- rich snacks in lunchboxes. They contain heart-healthy fats and satisfy the craving for crunchy foods. Choose nut mixes with low sodium and no trans-fat or heavily processed sweeteners — and go beyond boring trail mixes. Liven things up with all-natural, kid-friendly glazed nut blends, such as Sahale Snack’s “Almond PB&J” blend of nuts, strawberries, raspberries and ground vanilla beans. “Parenting Magazine” recently recommended this treat as a calcium-rich energy booster. These snacks are available in grocery and health food stores, and won’t get traded away in the lunchroom.
  • Make Calories Count: Avoid packing refined carbohydrates and high fats together in one lunch. Substitution is key. If the main dish runs high in carbs or fats, add a side of veggies or fruit instead of chips or cheesy puffs. This cuts down on obesity-inducing foods that also might leave your child sluggish for the rest of the day. Substitute water for soda or juice, avoiding empty calories and sugar.
  • Play Dress-Up: Just because it’s made of vegetables, doesn’t have to mean boring. Dress-up a salad with nuts and dried fruit to make it more fun by adding crunch and sweetness. Mix in nuts, dried cranberries or apple slices. Or, opt for a pre-packaged nut blend that combines tree nuts with dried fruit like pomegranate or berries. Just be sure it’s not loaded with sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Select one with organic evaporated cane juice or some natural honey instead.
  • Let Kids Choose: Have children help with the shopping and preparation. Take a visit to the local farmer’s market where the kids can taste test and choose their favorite seasonal produce. Cut fruits and veggies into fun shapes, add happy faces with raisins and nuts, and make items bite size for small hands and mouths.

For more healthful food ideas and recipes, visit www.sahalesnacks.com.

“Getting kids to eat right can be challenging, but you can make it easier by only buying things you want them to eat and instilling healthy eating habits at an early age,” stresses Schroeter.

Posted in SchoolsComments Off

Tween and teen fashion trends make back-to-school fun and affordable


BACK-Teen-and-tween-trends(ARA) – This year’s back-to-school clothing trends are all about expressing individual personality. Just as music allows the listener to express themselves, fashion is a way for tweens and teens to let their true personality shine through.

Actress and singer Selena Gomez has teamed up with Sears to share today’s hottest back-to-school teen trends. Here’s what the coolest kids in school will be wearing this year:

Trend 1 – Be inspired by music

“For me, music and fashion are two ways I really get to express myself,” says Gomez. Like many tweens and teens, the music she likes has become a huge influence on her taste in fashion. From rock to rap styles, this year will be the year of music-inspired clothing.

For example, skate-style outfits will feature bold colors and geometric patterns. Rocker styles are edgy and use dark or muted colors. Hip-hop styles have lots of flare and feature accessories such as cool hats and belts. Pop-styles tend to be trendy and mix and match lots of dressy elements with casual pieces.

Trend 2 – Accessorize!

Accessories are an easy and affordable way to transform any outfit and make it more unique and your own. For girls, this could include necklaces, bracelets, scarves and fun colored socks. For boys, watches, sunglasses and shoes top the list.

“Unique accessories are also great because they can add so much to an outfit and dress it up or create a totally different style,” says Gomez.

Trend 3 Mix and match for success

Get the most out of your back-to-school wardrobe. Consider new combinations, interesting patterns and mixing textures to find a style that is uniquely you.

Gomez suggests, “Try to mix up your wardrobe with a combination of trendy items as well those that are classic. For instance, everyone needs a great pair of skinny jeans that you can wear with anything, but look for unique pieces such as a cool jacket, vest or scarf that are perfect for back-to-school this year and really dress up your look.”

Trend 4 – Make your style your own

The golden rule of tween and teen fashion this year is to make your style all about you. “It’s so important for everyone, especially tweens and teens, to have their own sense of style. Even if that style is constantly changing, it’s an outlet for us to tell the world who we are and what we like,” says Gomez.

She suggests trying new things and creating a different look each day. The key is to find a style that gives you the confidence to walk in a room and feel really good about yourself. “What’s great is that Sears has all the top fashions to choose from and since it’s so affordable, you can always get the hottest new items and try a variety of looks,” says Gomez.

Do you have a fashion sense that stands out? Is music part of your unique personality? Visit www.Arrivelounge.com to view all the hot new fashion trends and check out the Sears Air Band Casting Call. You’ll also have a chance to help style the band, pick a name, design a logo and more. The winner will get great prizes like a Sears back-to-school wardrobe.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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