Crafty Box Tops for Education bin (plus my favorite breakfast casserole recipe)

Earlier this week, I mentioned how the Box Tops for Education™ program benefits our family and our school. We are a Box Top-collecting bunch!

Today I wanted to share a crafty idea for creating a Box Tops collection bin for your home or child’s classroom. I’m also including a recipe for my all-time-favorite breakfast casserole.

Box-Tops-bin

I made this countertop-worthy Box Tops bin yesterday using a canister I bought at Walmart for $1.97 – plus a few materials from around the house.

Materials-list

Items you’ll need to replicate this project:

  • Plastic canister with removable lid
  • Metallic spray paint
  • Chalkboard spray paint
  • Painter’s tape
  • Chalk marker
  • Large drill bit and craft knife (optional)

Step 1: Remove the label from the front of the canister. Place it on a sheet of plastic and spray it with a coat of chalkboard paint. After it dries, stick the label back on the canister.

Free-chalk-art

Step 2: Drill a hole in the canister top. Painter’s tape may help keep the plastic from cracking.

Drilling-hole-in-top

I had the misfortune of damaging the lid during this step. So I applied a few coats of painter’s tape and cut out a hole in the tape using a craft knife. If you want to avoid the chance of breaking the plastic top, you can skip the hole-drilling step.

Fixing-top

Step 3: Spray the plastic lid with a few coats of your favorite metallic spray paint.

Step 4: While the lid dries, print out the words for the chalkboard label on regular printer paper. Then use my chalkboard transfer method to create a carbon copy of the words on the label.

Chalk-outline

Step 5: Fill in the chalk outline with a chalkboard marker. Done!

Box-Tops-for-Education-bin

To help fill up your new Box Tops bin, consider purchasing participating products at Walmart. Right now, Walmart has Bonus Box Tops available on select General Mills® products.

Box-Tops-on-belt

I made my favorite breakfast casserole using Pillsbury™ Crescent Rolls. A total of five Box Tops are included on each package right now!

Easy breakfast casserole

Breakfast-casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 can Pillsbury™ Crescent Rolls
  • 1 lb. of your favorite ground sausage
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Breakfast-casserole-ingredients

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan. Spread the crescent rolls on the bottom. After frying the sausage, sprinkle it on top of the rolls. Mix up the eggs and milk (I salt and pepper this mixture), then pour it over the sausage and rolls. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake for about 35 minutes or until eggs look done. Enjoy! 

Does your family collect Box Tops for Education? Learn more about Box Tops at Walmart here.

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

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.

How to keep kids from destroying your car

This is the final post in a three-part series on how to save big money on vehicles. If you haven’t already, read parts one and two. Also, don’t forget to enter to win the Ultimate Car Care Kit from HomeRight®, running in conjunction with this series. Enter by clicking here or on the photo below. 

Autoright-Car-Car-Kit

You’re probably aware by now that our family drives cars until the wheels fall off, which has saved us tens of thousands of dollars over the years and allowed us to have zero car payments!

I gotta tell you, though, with all the effort we put into making our cars go the distance, nothing will add wear and tear like these two little rascals:

carcleaning

Thanks to them (I’ve gotta blame someone, right?), my car often looks like the inside of a giant purse – used napkins, fast food restaurant toys, loose change, sports paraphernalia, crumbs, an occasional pair of underwear (no joke).

So today I thought I’d wrap up my auto-saving series by sharing five tips for how we can keep the kids from destroying our vehicles.

1. Keep it locked.

This may seem obvious and most of you probably already lock your car when you’re not in it. But this didn’t become a habit for me until recently. I used to leave my car unlocked in the driveway for convenience sake. Then my 2-year old decided it was his personal playground and would literally open the door himself, hop in and proceed to empty the glove box, tissue box, etc. Not only was this a horribly messy situation, it was also extremely dangerous. So, especially if you have young kids or grand kids, keep your doors locked and make a rule that playing in and around vehicles is not allowed.

2. Have them help clean and maintain it.

After we get home from a trip, I try to make an announcement for everyone to pick up all the stuff that needs to go inside as we exit the car. No one leaves the car empty-handed. I’m still working on consistency with this, but it is definitely helping the kids think about the fact that our car is not their personal wastebasket or storage closet.

Also, consider having the kids help vacuum or wash the car when it needs a good detail job. Fortunately, I’ve got kids at ages where they’ll do this somewhat willingly. I’ll have to get creative as they get older. 😉 #choresformoney

AutorRight-Easy-Wash-Stick AutoRight-Auto-Wash-Stick

3. Choose leather upholstery.

Oh, the sweet, sweet wipe-ability. Need I say more? Of course, I realize many of you have cloth interiors and, since I don’t want you running out and getting a new car, 😉 below are a few tips for cleaning out tough stains from cloth upholstery. (These tricks work on carpets, too.)

  • Fast-food grease – Greasy stains can be removed from both carpet and upholstery by using paint thinner and covering the stain with salt. Make sure the paint thinner you choose passes a colorfastness test by first applying it on a hidden area. Once the greasy stain is absorbed, vacuum the stain to remove it. Or put cornmeal on the stain and let it sit overnight, then vacuum. I’m also a huge fan of the AutoRight Multi-Purpose Steam Machine* to remove tough dirt and grime. Enter to win one here.
  • Ink stains – Hairspray can remove all types of ink stains from carpet and upholstery.
  • Carsick stains – Try club soda mixed with baking soda and water.
  • Blood stains – Blood should always be treated with cold water. Mix the cold water with dry laundry detergent to make a paste, then apply to the stain. Once it’s dry, brush the debris away and vacuum.
  • Frayed carpet – Buy some liquid resin at a craft store and apply to the frayed edges and trim. This should keep the edges from excessive fraying.

If you’re sick of scrubbing cloth upholstery, you could also consider purchasing washable seat covers.

4. Prevent food and drink accidents.

Consider only allowing “safe” foods inside the car when possible. Ideally, that list would include foods that are easy to pick up or vacuum, like dry cereals, trail mixes, animal crackers and dried fruits. I’ve been guilty of giving my littles pudding in the car. Never again. Shudder. #rookieparentmistake 

5. Apply the Law of Domestic Input to your car.

I explain this law in more detail in my e-book, “Organized for Real: How to Conquer Life’s Top 5 Chaos Hotspots.” Here’s a brief summary.

The Law of Domestic Input states that for every chore that is either completed or avoided, there is an equal and similar chore completed or avoided. So if we leave gum wrappers, soda cups, etc. in the car, our kids will think nothing of adding to the mess with their own junk.

Whenever we confront a mess, we typically don’t feel bad about adding to it. On the contrary, when most normal people encounter order, cleanliness and beauty, we have a tendency to feel a twinge of guilt about crapping it up. Hence the clean, organized vehicles (and homes) seem to stay organized, while the clutter keeps piling up in the chaotic ones. So if we make the effort to keep it clean, it gradually becomes easier to keep it clean.

To find out more about the Law of Domestic Input and other practical cleaning and organizing tips, snatch a copy of my e-book here.

I hope this series on how to save money on vehicles was helpful in some way. Do you have any tips I may have missed? Please share in a comment.

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