Tuesday, August 22, 2017

10 Best Trader Joe's Toddler Foods

I have a confession....I'm a Trader Joe's fanatic. I love shopping at Trader Joe's because they manage to make it feel more like a shopping trip (who doesn't need a little retail therapy every once in a while?!) and less like another day at the grocery store.

I love trying new things and Trader Joe's has an excellent seasonal selection. If I'm honest, my favorite things to buy there are pre-cut veggies. I like to eat healthy, but ain't nobody got time to prepare everything from scratch with work and a little human on the loose. 

My little human is all about finger foods. Purees are a thing of the past so I'm always on a mission to find healthy finger foods that are baby and mommy approved. Today I'm sharing some of our absolute must-have Trader Joe's foods for (you guessed it) toddlers!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I appreciate any and all support.

In case you missed it, also check out my 25 favorite (adult) Trader Joe's foods.

1. Cauliflower and Broccoli Vegetable Patties

These patties are best prepared in the oven or even the toaster oven. My son can be finicky about steamed cauliflower and broccoli, but when it's made into a pattie, he gobbles it right up. These patties are easy to cook and store well in the refrigerator. I like to make the whole box (pack of 4) and pack them in his lunch the next few days.

2. Sweet Potato Wedges

Sweet Potato Wedges can be found in the refrigerated section near the other pre-cut veggies. This item is perfect for little hands and easy to pack for lunches or serve for dinner. Even better, no cooking required! These wedges can be served hot or cold, but we usually opt for cold. I've even stolen a few of these for myself before (I love these with quinoa, grilled chicken, and a bit of guacamole!). 

3. Butternut Squash

This one is a family favorite. Again, with the pre-cut veggie, this veggie comes in a bag in the refrigerated section. Simply toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and bake for about 30 minutes. My husband and I are huge fans of this food as well. It makes a great side dish with pretty much anything.

4. Turkey Burgers

Head over to the freezer section and load up on these pre-made burgers. They can be grilled or cooked in a skillet. My son can usually eat 1/2 of a turkey burger in a sitting, so I cut it in half and save the rest for the next day. 

5. Turkey Meatballs

Turkey meatballs are another good source of protein for your little human. These are best prepared by baking. If you microwave them, be very careful because the plate may be hot. My favorite way to bake meatballs is using a muffin pan. I spray the inside of each tin and put them in the oven (then you never have to worry about a run away meatball).

6. Black Bean Taquitos

Taquitos are easy to cook (microwave or toaster oven) and are the perfect size for my son's hands. They're another option to the ever popular chicken nugget. 

7. Joe's O's

These are just like Cheerios, but they do come in some different flavors. I like to buy the Whole Grain Oats or Fruity O's Multi-grain Cereal. My son LOVES using the Munchkin Snack Catcher and these are the perfect filler.

8. Peach Halves in White Grape Juice

My son will gobble these right up, but who doesn't love a tasty peach?! This is a great fruit option to store in the pantry and pull out when you've already eaten all of the fresh fruit for the week. 

9. Bananas

I'm convinced Trader Joe's has the best deal on bananas. At 0.19 cents a piece their price just can't be beat. My son is a huge banana fan and I love them in my smoothies. On a normal week we buy about 10 bananas for our family of 3 (maybe we're part monkey?). 

10. String Cheese

Who could forget the kid favorite, string cheese? My husband is a cheese enthusiast and my son didn't miss the gene. I buy the Low-Fat Mozzarella for my tiny human. They're perfect for his lunch box or as an afternoon snack.

What are your favorite Trader Joe's products for kiddos? I love suggestions!


Check out these other posts before you go:

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

EdTech Projects for Your Digital Classroom

In the spirit of back to school, I want to share some of my favorite project ideas. Using technology in the classroom increases engagement and can take learning to new heights. I'm continually amazed by all that technology can do. 

In full disclosure, I do have a Teachers pay Teachers store called Business Girl where you can find my projects, however, the purpose of this post is not to purely refer you to my products, but rather to share with you my favorite project ideas and websites that your students can use to create some pretty great stuff.


This program is one of my favorites. It's free to use and allows students to create amazing infographics. You don't have to be a design pro to use this site. My students were impressed by the ease at which they created beautiful looking products. Several of them even preferred it to creating a PowerPoint or Google Slides. 


You can create infographics for any number of projects. Any research project that you would do can easily be adapted to have students create an infographic instead of a presentation, essay, brochure, or the like. 

Some of my project ideas include:

Scams Research Project

I use this in my Personal Finance course when I teach consumerism, but this project could be used in any number of courses. Students research a scam of their choosing and create a project to report their research. This assignment gives students the option to choose between writing a short essay (1 page) or creating an infographic in Piktochart to promote personalized learning. 

Savings and Money Habits of a Generation

In this project students use Piktochart to create an infographic representing research about the money habits of a generation. Again, I like to give students a choice so they don't have to use Piktochart, but the rubric included allows for personalized learning.

Country Research and Infographic

I use this activity in my Introduction to Business and Marketing course when I cover factors of production and economic indicators. 

For this assignment I usually have students work with a partner and allow no more than one group to sign up for each country. Students need access to the Internet and particularly the CIA World Factbook to complete the assignment. Students research their country of choice using the provided worksheet, then students use their research to create an infographic.


I'm a huge Canva fan. I use it to create all of my blog and TpT graphics. You don't have to have a lot of skill because the program provides you with pre-made templates. Once the project is created you can download the file as a JPEG, PNG, or PDF. I do a lot of online submission assignments so students upload their creation through the online portal and I grade it from there. 

This program is especially great for a business course because it allows you to make so many different types of mediums. You can make anything from social media posts (great for a Marketing/Advertising course), posters, brochures, logos, invitations, and much more.

Social Media Posts

Social Media Campaign

My students do a food truck project, so they create a social media campaign for their food trucks, however, this project could be done with any business concept. In this project students work as a group to outline their social media campaign. 

Campaigns will include: target audience, goals, paid promotions, how they will get followers, and social media account management. As a group they will also create a social media posting schedule including dates, times, and topics they will post about. 

Individually students will be assigned a form of social media to create posts for. These social media forms include: Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Students use Canva to design these posts. Then students upload the pictures into Google Docs and write out their posts there.

Letter Head

This could be for your school or a business concept. Then teach students the proper format and etiquette for writing a letter. I have mine write a cover letter, and I was shocked by the lack of professionalism. They thought words like "psyched" and "grind" were appropriate for a cover letter. Yikes! Re-teaching to the rescue!

Cover Letter


Hosting an event at your school? Have students design invitations in Canva!

Vision Board

Digital Vision Board and S.M.A.R.T. Goals Project

In this project students create a digital vision board for their personal finances in Canva. Then students must write a short-term, mid-term, and long-term goal using the S.M.A.R.T. criteria and identify 3 factors that may influence each goal. 


Create logos in Canva for an individual or a business. Students can choose from numerous templates and design elements.


Use this template to have students create a magazine cover. This could be about a literary character, historical event, or any other topic that tickles your fancy. 

Then have students write a magazine article to include. For example, in Personal Finance I have my students write an editorial on debt.


If you are not already using Socrative, it's the best thing since sliced bread. My favorite way to use Socrative is as a formative assessment. I ask open ended questions and have students answer those questions with their device. 

Writing Prompts

Socrative is an easy format to have students submit answers to a writing prompt of your choosing. No need to worry about paper and results can be easily viewed once submitted.

I also have a few basic Socrative quizzes created that can be used for any topic as an exit ticket. Check out this link to add some of my digital exit tickets to your own account-- for FREE!

Digital High School Exit Tickets for Any Class

Google Slides

Google Slides is a great way to encourage collaboration among students. I love that students can simultaneously edit the file. The link can then easily be shared with others. It is also compatible with tablets and iPads which makes for easy access.


As you go through each unit, create a reflection or application assignment that relates key concepts to the real-world. Students work on the portfolio and submit the project at the end of the semester.

Personal Finance Portfolio

This is a comprehensive project I cover over the course of a semester in my Personal Finance class. Students create a Google Slides Presentation throughout the semester that will demonstrate their understanding of course concepts. You could easily adapt this project idea for any course.

I tried this project with Prezi and Microsoft PowerPoint, but Google Slides won out and now I only allow my students to use Slides. With Slides I don't have to worry about my students losing their work or forgetting their project at home, plus it's extremely user friendly.


Presentations are a great way for students to display their knowledge of a topic. Based on time you can decide if you will have them actually share with the class.

Food Truck Business Pitch Presentations

In this project students develop a presentation for their food truck business pitch presentation. Students explain their business concept, develop a presentation, use persuasive techniques to sell their idea, and evaluate the pitches of their classmates. 

For this section of the project I have the students prepare a presentation in Google Slides with the instructions provided. Then the students take turns presenting to the class. I usually invite 2-3 "guest investors" aka adults from the school or community to come observe. I usually give the guest investors about $20,000 (pretend money) to allocate to whichever food truck they like. The students then each have $5,000 to invest in 1 food truck of their choosing. I total up all of the money and the group that gets the most money gets extra credit on the project.

Google Docs

Just like Google Slides, students can work collaboratively to share ideas and create a variety of different documents. They're are several different templates students can use for different projects. I usually just have my students use Google Docs for written assignments like business plans, financial plans, brochures, and my latest favorite-- an e-book.


Brochures combine text and visual components to display knowledge. Google Docs has several brochure templates to choose from. If you're all about personalized learning, brochures are a great  alternative for students that don't love infographics.


Depending on your course, topics can greatly vary. Informative, persuasive, argumentative--select your cup of tea and get those students researching! 

Student Loan Research Paper 

In this project students write an argumentative essay on student loan debt with a claim and counterclaim. I expect students to find and cite their sources.

Financial Plan

This is part of a semester long project I do in my Introduction to Business and Marketing course. In this activity students create a financial plan for their food truck business. 


  • Identify business assets and research estimated costs
  • Determine needed capital and write a plan for how they will obtain start-up capital
  • Differentiate between start-up and operating expenses
  • Describe financial records management
  • Evaluate revenue, operating expenses, and net income
  • Describe growth financing
  • Create a purchase order and invoice
All in Google Docs!


Google Docs has a template for a newsletter. This is another spin on the brochure and encourages students to work on their written communication.


An e-book is one of my latest ideas and they turned out well. Give students a topic and have them write a e-book. They can even get creative and choose a theme such as a children's book, time traveling, or a scrapbook.

Evolution of Business: Technology Innovations E-Book

Students use the "Book Report" template in Google Docs to create an e-book with their research from an assigned time period. This project idea is great for historical events, but could also be used in any number of capacities.

Thanks again for your support! Hopefully you've found a new idea that you can take and adapt for your classroom. What are your favorite #edtech projects?

Don't forget to check out my store Business Girl for more project ideas! Also, take advantage of my FREEBIES! I'd love feedback on these resources!

Teaching Entrepreneurship with Food Trucks

Introduction to Business and Marketing ACT Style Text-Based Questions

Investment Portfolio

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

5 Tips for the First Days of School

Some of us dread it, some of us long for it, the first day of school comes whether you are ready or not. What can you do to make the day more successful for your kiddos? Check out our 5 easy tips for preparing for the first day of school.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I appreciate any and all support.

1. Set our your child's clothes the night before.

By nature, we feel most confident in ourselves when we dress up. Studies have shown that students perform better on tests when they are dressed up rather than in lounge clothes, so why not harness this confidence for the first day of school?

Choose an outfit that will make your child feel good about themselves. The way we dress affects how we perceive the world, but it's not about spending a lot of money, just being the best version of you. In addition, setting out clothes the night before cuts back on potential arguments the morning of. Dress the part and your child will be sure to feel like they're ready to conquer the world....or at least the 1st grade.

2. A new school year means a fresh start.

Explain to your child that the first day of school is a fresh start. If they struggled in the past or had issues with friends, this is an opportunity to start over. Anything that happened last year is old news. Sometimes the type of day we have is brought on by what kind of day we WANT to have. Our attitude is more than half the battle. Remember, today is a good day to have a good day!

You can download this free printable {here}.

3. Pack your child's lunch the night before. 

Packing your child's lunch will keep you from scrambling around the morning of trying to find something for your little one to eat. Go ahead and put things that don't have to stay cold into the lunch box and things that must stay cold in a certain spot of the fridge. 

If you're an Organization Queen, pack all the lunches for the week the Sunday before. This trick is a whole other level for most of us, BUT it can be done. If you know you have a busy week ahead, do your meal prep on Sunday before the week starts. When I've done this I take grocery bags and put everything for each day into one bag. It does save you some valuable time, because instead of getting the pretzels out each night, you're dividing them up into 5 plastic bags at one time. 

If that's a little too ambitious for you, the night before will do just fine. Set aside your child's lunch before you turn in for the night. Save yourself the stress when it comes to getting out the door.

Gymboree Sale On Now!

4. Rock the Wonder Woman or Superman pose.

Does your child need a little extra confidence? Dealing with some anxiety about the first day of school? Spend a couple minutes doing the Wonder Woman or Superman pose! 

If you've never seen Amy Cuddy's Ted Talk on body language, it is an awesome resource for understanding how body language affects us. If you have older children, encourage them to watch the video. I show it in my high school business course and some students have really used it to their advantage, especially when playing sports or going for a job interview. The idea is that high power poses, poses that are more open and relaxed, allow us to feel more confident. To do this, have your child stand tall with their chest and hands on their hips. Have a little fun with it and boost their feelings about the first day of school.

5. Beginning a few nights before school starts, go to bed on time.

Getting enough sleep is crucial to being the best version of ourselves. I know that even for me, if I don't get enough sleep, I don't feel like I can be the mommy I want to be. During the summer we tend to slack off and forget about the strict bedtime routines. Keep in mind a "routine" is not made in one day. Starting a few days beforehand, have your child turn in for bed at the time you would have them go to bed for school, this may mean they need to get up the same time they would for school as well. Getting started with a routine early will pay dividends later!

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