Raise (and save) money with Box Tops for Education

As I mentioned last week, I’m still a bit sad that summer is too quickly becoming a sweet memory, while the new school year has crept up on us like ill-fitting underwear.

But there are certainly great things about this time of year, too. The structure of the school routine is really good for our family. And I love all the beautiful colors – and crafts – that make their debut in fall.

Plus the really good news is that our daughter absolutely loves school! She adores her friends and her teachers, and she has tremendous school spirit.

The bad news is that her 2-year-old brother loves school just as much. But he’s still got a few years at home with mama before he can join big sister – a situation he is not thrilled about. On the first day of school this year, he climbed into the school van while I was taking pictures of our daughter. I had to drag him out crying. After the van pulled away, he immediately turned to me and exclaimed, “Mama, we need to walk to school now, please!”  I have to admit I got a bit choked up that morning.

Until our little man can actually go to school (which will trigger a crying fit from mama for sure), we try to include him in as many school-related activities as possible.

For example, our family collects Box Tops for Education™ to help raise money for our school. When we’re at Walmart, our little guy loves hunting for Box Tops and loading the cart with participating products.

Box-Tops-kid

As a result of the Box Tops program, our small, Christian school is able to earn money to buy whatever is needed to improve the school experience for the kids. For example, we raised enough money through Box Tops to help purchase a school intercom system. And our daughter’s class was awarded a pizza party one year for collecting the most Box Tops. The kids were super excited about that!

Here’s how the Box Tops program works: You clip the Box Top from each package of a participating product and send all the tops you’ve collected into school with your child. The school then trades the Box Tops in for 10 cents each. Some products include bonus Box Tops – up to five Box Tops per package.

There are a lot of participating products available, so I stick to buying things our family already uses all the time.

Box-Tops-in-cart

Some of the General Mills® items I buy regularly at Walmart include:

  • Cheerios™
  • Lucky Charms™
  • Cinnamon Toast Crunch™
  • Yoplait® Yogurt
  • Pillsbury™ Crescent Rolls
  • Old El Paso™ Flour Tortillas

One of our dear friends is in charge of the Box Tops program at her children’s school. Several of us moms get together occasionally for a Box Tops party, where we help her count and organize the thousands of box tops that come into her school. This has really opened my eyes to all that goes into making this program a success.

Did you know that more than 80,000 K-8 schools participate in this program? Box Tops for Education has contributed more than $525 million to participating schools since the launch of the program in 1996.

You can find out more about the program at the Walmart BoxTops for Education site. Even if you don’t have a child in school, you can help by checking the site and choosing a school to support. (My mom collects Box Tops for our school, which is great.)

Stay tuned for Friday’s blog post, where I’ll be crafting a countertop-worthy, DIY Box Tops collection bin. I’ll also be sharing one of my favorite Box Tops product recipes.

Box-Top-crescent-rolls

You won’t want to miss it!

Are you a Box Tops collector?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of General Mills®. The opinions and text are all mine.

DIY hand soap and jar dispenser (plus Ball® giveaway)

It’s almost that time of year when our family gets together for an annual tomato canning extravaganza. It’s also the time when I fall in love, all over again, with my ever-growing collection of canning jars.

Since I have so many, I’ve explored different ways to use my Ball® jars beyond stuffing them with food. I’ve crafted a holiday vignette, displayed flowers, caught lightning bugs, and served drinks in them.

But I’m most proud of my latest canning jar creation – a DIY hand soap dispenser.

Essential-oils-hand-soap

To make your own soap dispenser and the homemade hand soap for it, you’ll need the following:

  • 1 Ball canning jar (pint-sized or smaller)
  • 1 canning lid and band (I’m loving the new Design Series lids.*)
  • 1 dispenser pump (I reused one from an empty bottle.)

Homemade essential oil foaming hand soap recipe:

  • 2-3 Tablespoons liquid castile soap
  • 5 or so drops of essential oil (I like the Young Living™ Thieves blend. The oil is optional, though.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable glycerin or Vitamin E oil (also optional)
  • Filtered water

Homemade-soap-ingredients

Step 1: Use a 5/8-inch power drill bit to cut a hole in the center of the canning jar lid (or use whatever bit matches the size of your soap pump).

Drilling-jar-lid

Step 2: Insert soap pump into hole. To seal and secure it to the jar lid, I used hot glue.

Homemade-soap-dispenser-lid

(For the record, glue gun burns are the worst! They make me feel like saying words no church-going woman should ever say. Can I get an “Amen?”)

Step 3: Add homemade soap mixture and filtered water to jar.

Step 4: Secure top to jar. Shake vigorously to activate foam. Done!

Essential-oils-hand-soap-dispenser

To make my dispenser pretty, I added a chalkboard label from Walmart and wrote on it with a silver permanent marker. Tip: Use a smaller, narrow label. I had trouble getting mine to stick because it had to wrap around the jar.

Do you enjoy using your canning jars for more than food storage? Ball also has some cute jar accessories to help us multi-purpose our jars even more.

Ball-brand-drink-glass-accessories

Ball Regular Mouth Sip and Straw Lids on drink mugs

For all my fellow canning and jar enthusiasts: On Aug. 1, Jarden Home Brands will host this year’s fifth annual Can-It-Forward Day, broadcast live online at FreshPreserving.com from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST. The webcast will have an integrated chat function where consumers can submit home-canning questions to be answered in real time. New this year, there will also be an exciting celebrity mason jar auction unveiled during the webcast.

(AUG. 1 UPDATE: The link to the webcast is here.) 

So be sure to tune in to that. I’ll be sharing a link to the broadcast here, so you can also check this post on Aug. 1 to watch.

Until then, enter below to win a coupon for a free case of jars. This year’s limited time, vintage-style jars are gorgeous!

Ball-vintage-jars

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* Affiliate links are provided in this post for your convenience. 

Outdoor S’mores bar on the cheap

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Dollar General. All opinions are 100% mine.

Summer is nearly here and I am ready to head outside to enjoy a campfire with family and friends. One thing I always make sure I keep on hand at our campfires is S’more supplies.

Today I wanted to show you how I came up with an uber-stylish S’mores bar that will wow your guests and have them praising your crafty skills. And, as always, it’s done on the cheap!

I started by heading to my local Dollar General Store to pick up the food and craft supplies I needed for my S’more station.

Then I went to work creating a sign for my S’mores bar. I started with a piece of black poster board from the Dollar General Store and an old frame rescued from the basement (glass removed).

I cut the poster board so that it tucked into the back of the frame.

I printed out the S’more station words for my poster board on a regular printer using 8.5×11″ sheets of paper. The fonts I chose were PWScratchedfont and Impact. I also printed out marshmallow clipart for the bottom of the sign.

Then I needed to transfer the outline of my printed words onto the poster board.

Step 1: Trim out the words to make sure they will work in the frame.

Step 2: Flip words over and rub a piece of chalk over the entire surface of the paper.

Step 3: Turn words right-side up and position them on the poster board. Using a blunt pencil, trace over the outline of the letters.

Step 4: Remove paper from poster board. Use cotton swabs to clean up excess chalk dust. Then trace over final outline using chalk markers, gel pens, etc. (I also like to fill in my letters with chalk or color.)

Here’s my finished S’more station sign.

The rest of the decorations for my S’more station came together easily. A painter’s dropcloth served as my tablecloth. I layered a burlap tablerunner over that before adding the decorations and food.

I stuck some chalked labels on the plastic bins that keep my extra S’more supplies.

The tray works great for displaying ingredients and makes building S’mores easy and fast. No more digging and fumbling around with bags and boxes!

I love how the small basket resembles a S’more. I used it to hold the napkins.

I thought my driftwood candle holder was the perfect addition to the tablescape.

This is such a quick and easy DIY project that I made out of a rescued stump! For instructions on how to make your own driftwood candle holder, click here. The votive holders are available at the Dollar General Store for $1 apiece.

Now I’m all set to host an outdoor campfire complete with a S’more station.

Are you ready to host campfires yet? Save on summer essentials with Dollar General! Also, to find out about deals and get more crafty inspiration, visit Dollar General on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram

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