Earn 12% Cash Back at the Disney Store

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ShopatHome. All opinions are my own. You can read my full disclosure here.

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Several years ago we surprised our kids at Christmas with a trip to Disney World. It was so fun! We wrapped up a couple of different gifts with clues, then they opened up one last gift that had a calendar with the dates that we would be gone circled and a big picture of Disney World. The kids were in complete shock as they had no idea what we had been planning. The grandparents were in on the fun and gave the kids Disney World gift cards as gifts to spend on souvenirs while we were on vacation.

My daughter, who is much like me, has a hard time spending her money. While we were at Disney World she shopped and shopped and just could not figure out how to spend her money. On the last day before we left to go home she decided that she wanted the stuffed animal Bolt. (pictured above). Since then Bolt has been her favorite stuffed animal.

Fast forward to this past weekend. We have a new one year old baby sister in our house who is starting to love stuffed animals as much as her older sister. So, this past weekend my oldest shared her Bolt with her baby sister.  Unfortunately, while we were at Walmart Bolt fell out of the stroller without us realizing. We have gone back and scoured Walmart twice and Bolt is nowhere to be found. Since I know how much Bolt means to my daughter I’ve been looking for a new one online today to surprise her at Christmas. I just found one on clearance at the Disney Store for only $9.97! Plus, right now I can get 12% cash back just by shopping through ShopAtHome.com. If you have any Disney lovers on your list, now is a great time to shop! You’ll find tons of great deals plus earn 12% cash back on top of all sale prices and free shipping on order $75 or more just by going through ShopatHome.

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How do you use ShopAtHome? Follow our step by step tutorial below:

1. Go to ShopAtHome.com by clicking HERE
2. In the top right hand corner, click “sign in” if you already have an account or “sign up” to create your free account
3. In the search bar type “Disney Store”
3. You’ll see a couple of different options, click DisneyStore.com
4. Choose your favorite coupon, then click visit site. A tracking ticket is automatically generated that will track when you make a reservation.
5. Sit back and wait for your check to arrive in the mail. You’ll earn cash back!

Thanksgiving Survival Guide

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sam‘s Club.  The opinions and text are all mine.

My favorite time of the year is quickly approaching! I love everything about this holiday from family gatherings to cooking yummy foods. Although we travel to spend Thanksgiving with our family who live out of town, I love hosting Thanksgiving with friends.  Here is how I survive Thanksgiving and make it memorable for everyone and why I’ll be shopping at Sam’s Club.

Pre-Holiday Shopping

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When it comes to cooking Thanksgiving for multiple people, it takes lots and lots of food. I love the fact that I can go to Sam’s Club and buy items from paper products to ingredients for our dinner, to flowers for a beautiful table scape and everything in between. I found this gorgeous selection of flowers at Sam’s Club.

Sams Club cleaning supplies

Cleaning Prep

I wish cooking was the only part of Thanksgiving. However, there is still cleaning to be done. I start a week early in the cleaning department and get everything ready for our guests. Sometimes we have guests come to stay out of town, so I spend a couple of hours prepping for their arrival as well. Sam’s Club carries a huge selection of cleaning supplies, so I’m planning on staying stocked up for a while.

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Cook Items Ahead of Time or Buy Pre-Made

Another way I prepare for Thanksgiving is by cooking a few items ahead of time. There are some items I buy already “pre-made” to make the cooking easier on myself. I may buy an already cooked ham and dinner yeast rolls from Sam’s Club for Thanksgiving. Anything I can do to make my life a little easier. I also make a couple of casseroles ahead of time and put them in the freezer. I have also been known to make yummy pies ahead of time and put them in the freezer while sometimes buying a pie or cake is completely worth my sanity. Whatever makes life easier on Thanksgiving Day, right?

There are several reasons why I’ll be shopping at Sam’s Club this Thanksgiving holiday. I’ve listed just a couple of reasons below:

Quality meat- Whether I’m buying a turkey or a ham, I know the meat I buy at Sam’s Club is complete quality! Not just any meat makes it through the high standards that Sam’s Club sets for its meat. You can actually taste the quality in their meat because there’s no artificial ingredients and minimal processing.

Quality produce- Most of the items I make on Thanksgiving Day require some sort of produce item. I love that Sam’s Club® produce is harvested at peak ripeness and transported with special care to ensure that it is the freshest produce available.

Quality Organics- If I’m going to spend my hard earned money on organics, it’s going to be the best, which is why I shopping for organic products from Sam’s Club is smart!

 

While you are in the Holiday mode make sure to enter the Holiday Party Planning Party Like A Pro Sweepstake. If you don’t have a Sam’s Club membership make sure to click the “promo offer” to receive a membership offer.

Dates: 10/22 – 12/31/15

The grand prize winner will win a $500 gift card and a 1 year Sam’s Club membership, which is worth $100! There are also 1, 2, and 3rd place winners, which have the ability to win a 1 year prime membership from Sam’s Club, a Wolfgang Puck 10 piece Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set, or a Kitchen Aid 3pc Chef Knife Set (in that order).

Thanksgiving Remix:

Check out Chef Robert Irvine, host of Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible Ambush as he ambushes an unsuspecting Sam’s Club member to help solve problems and party plan like a pro.  In this video, Robert and the Sam’s Club meat cutter show us that you don’t need a turkey for unforgettable meal that impresses, especially if this is your first time hosting.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sam’ Club. The opinions and text are all mine.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C., 21 years or older. Ends 12/31/15. To enter and for complete details and odds, visit www.foodnetwork.com/party

How to Eat Healthy during the Holidays

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sam’s Club. The opinions and text are all mine.
how to eat healthy during the holidays

Eating Healthy During the Holidays
Awe man, sometimes there’s nothing I want more than a big piece of chocolate cake, but after three kids, it doesn’t always agree with the waist line. Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and that’s a whole food story on its own. In this house, we try to eat healthy at least 80% of the time. The other 20% we are not 100% eating healthy, but that’s okay. This is how we roll in our household with healthy eating, during the holidays, like Thanksgiving.

#1. A Cheat Meal *Once in a While* is Okay

[Read more...]

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipe

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Every year we travel to Georgia to my mom’s house to celebrate Thanksgiving with my side of the family. It’s my mom’s favorite holiday, so when we first got married we decided that we would spend Thanksgiving with my family. I just love everything about Thanksgiving. In fact, I love everything leading up to Thanksgiving from bonfires, pumpkin patches, hay rides, cool fall mornings, hot chocolate and everything in between. If those aren’t enough reasons, two of my three babies were born two weeks before Thanksgiving, so we have much to be thankful for in our home. [Read more...]

Love the City Project

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Giving back is so close to my heart. My father, who passed away 6 years, was such a huge giver. He didn’t teach me about giving through sitting down and talking about it. Instead, I watched his life. As a young girl I remember him stopping his truck to help an elderly lady carry her groceries home after passing her on the sidewalk. I can’t count how many times daddy would take bags of fresh vegetables from my grandfather’s garden and leave them in our pastor’s garage by the back door. Daddy always gave, always. It was just who he was. Not just to me, but to everyone who knew him, daddy was known by his heart to give to others. Because I grew up watching my daddy give, I love to give. But more importantly, I want to teach my children to be givers. However, I know this kind of lesson isn’t something that I “teach.” It has to be something that we purposefully live out as a family. This time of year we love to give back as a family and serve others through the Love the City project at our church, Redemption Point Church, whose mission is to be the most loving church in America. One way that we strive to achieve our mission is through serving the greater Chattanooga community in a way that provides for their basic needs.  This year, Love the City, a ministry of RPC was able to provide Thanksgiving dinner to over 500 families. I couldn’t wait to join together with my family and serve our community together. Love the City 1 First, we gathered together earlier last week to pack bags of groceries for the families. Each food item was spread out at stations throughout the gym. We each grabbed these huge ALDI grocery bags, that ALDI so graciously donated for the project, and walked through each station to fill. We provided each family with all of the items listed below: Pre-packaged items:

  • Green Beans (2)
  • Corn Can(2)
  • Black Beans Can (2)
  • Stuffing box (2)
  • Brownies box (1)
  • Rice (1 bag)
  • Milk (1 Carton)

Fresh items:

  • Potatoes (10 lb) Pre-packaged
  • Onions (3 lb)  Pre-packaged
  • Bread (1)
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Apples (3 lb) Per case
  • Turkey (1)

love the city2 So many people volunteered to help that we finished in less than an hour. This is my friend, Betsy, her smile and genuine excitement sums up our night. I love that my kids were able to participate by helping get the bags ready. It also created opportunities on the drive down to talk about how truly blessed we are as so many families are in need, especially so during the holidays. 12246677_10207688459360229_2330710259990180195_n Then, on Saturday it was time to Love the City and hand out food to each family. My mom was in town to celebrate both of my girls’ birthdays so she was able to come with us as well. It’s not always convenient or easy to serve others. I want my kids to understand that serving and giving will always be a sacrifice, otherwise they will grow up thinking that it’s something we do when it’s convenient. 12236435_993057150740000_198938466_o Each family that we serve through Love the City had registers beforehand and arrived that day with a ticket. As they arrived they were met with smiling faces ready to help complete their Thanksgiving bags. There were a couple of items that we didn’t prepackage on Tuesday either to insure freshness or for the items we hadn’t received yet.This is my daughter (far left and several of her friends. On Saturday morning they gave each family that walked by a box of brownie mix, which was also donated by ALDI. 12236995_993028064076242_1191764952_o One of my favorite parts of being a blogger is working with incredible companies like ALDI. Y’all this is what generosity looks like. When my church was gathering donations for our Love the City Thanksgiving Project I contacted ALDI about donating brownie mixes. They were so quick to jump on board and donated 500 brownie mixes and 500 large grocery bags.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with ALDI over the past couple of years on several projects and they are by far the most generous of any brand. In addition, ALDI is my favorite place to shop for my family’s groceries on a weekly basis. I can always save money without having to worry about using coupons which is especially important in my very full life. 12235650_993057224073326_97912861_o I just can’t resist sharing our youngest little turkey with you. Someone asked me, “Wouldn’t it be easier to wait until the baby is older?” Of course, it would, but giving and serving others isn’t about what is easier. 12255683_993057194073329_820663333_o I have so many more pictures I want to share with you, but I’ll wrap up with this. Here, the girls are truly loving our city. As each individual or family passes by, they don’t just hand them a box of brownies. The look them in their eyes and offer them a word of encouragement. They see in person real people in need. They see boys and girls just like them who without help wouldn’t have a meal this Thanksgiving. In all the hustle of bustle of the holiday season, I hope more than anything that they are inspired to give more not just get more. At the end of the day, how we love others defines who we truly are. Disclosure: This post was underwritten by ALDI. I am so thankful for their generosity in donating 500 large grocery bags and 500 brownie mixes. All text and opinions are my own. Please see my full disclosure here.

Creating Holiday Memories & Traditions #HolidayMeans

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I cannot believe that Christmas is right around the corner, it feels as though we just celebrated. Maybe it’s because the holidays bring back so many memories for me, who knows for sure. While this post may be more personal than most. Keep in mind that I’ve learned over the years that the holidays aren’t about “things,” they are about memories and the people we love.

Several years ago my daddy was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer. The Tuesday before Christmas that year he was admitted into Hospice without much hope of making it through the Christmas holiday (we were so thankful that he made it another two months).

Although “things” have never been what defined Christmas for me I learned that year what was truly important and it has shaped me ever since. I learned that time with those I love the most is what is the most important. We don’t have to have fancy dinners or expensive gifts to celebrate.

That Christmas my entire family gathered in the family room at Hospice to share Christmas Eve dinner together, we opened gifts beside my dad’s bed, and enjoyed each other’s company.

Here’s what I learned that I hope to always carry over into my family’s holiday celebrations. My goal continues to be the same every year, simplify the season, be purposeful in planning, and savor every moment.

1. Gather with family and friends - enjoy being together. The holiday means spending time with family. Seriously, while everyone pushes the gift agenda, it’s so nice to just relax and enjoy being in the presence of family.

2. Prepare food/meals in advance when possible so as not to complicate and cause stress. There’s nothing worse than a stressful holiday where you spend hours slaving in the kitchen while the rest of the family enjoys each other’ company. The holidays for me mean planning ahead and making the day as stress free as possible.

3. Stay within our budget as gifts are quickly forgotten but experience, traditions and memories together last a lifetime. Staying within budget is so important in our family. We love to buy gifts, but want to stay within our budget because people mean more to us than the presents we buy them.

4. We are purposeful to focus on the real meaning of the season for our family. We love the holidays, but really try not to get caught up in the commercialism of it.

5. Create traditions that last a lifetime. My mother always prepared the exact same breakfast for Christmas morning. Now, as a mother I cook the same breakfast for my family. It’s something we all look forward to. It’s fun to see my kid’s faces on Christmas morning, 2/3 have been around long enough to start to expect it on Christmas morning and I love it! This is just one of many traditions that my family enjoys. Plus, we have traditions with each set of grandparents. No wonder Christmas feels so magical to me as family traditions are my favorite way to celebrate!

6. Teach Purposeful Giving. It’s so important to look beyond ourselves and serve others all year long, but especially during the Holiday Season. I want my children to understand how blessed they truly are. One way to do that is to serve as a family. Personally, we join with our church in a project called, “Love the City.” Each year at Thanksgiving we help package bags of food for Thanksgiving meals that go out to 500 families in our community. Then, at Christmas we serve by helping with “The Magi Project,” which serves hundreds of families by providing brand new toys for their children for Christmas. Finally, each year we pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

Holiday Savings

Planning with SunTrust

Just as I’ve learned things over the years, SunTrust has also taught me a thing or two. While I haven’t always been at a place in my life to be so mature about the holidays, I was astounded by some of their statistics. “According to the National Retail Federation, the average American planned to spend about $800 celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas and/or Kwanzaa last year?” Can you imagine dropping $800 on toys? Apparently it does happen.

Holiday Budget Tool & Holiday Guide

Even if you do plan on spending that amount on Christmas, which is totally up to you, you don’t have to go broke buying Christmas for your family. SunTrust actually has some really cool resources available to people like you and I. I love their Holiday Budget Tool, you can download a planning worksheet, set limits, track expenses, and so on. And I love that SunTrust allows you to make automatic transfers into monthly savings to help you reach your holiday savings goal. You can also download their Holiday Guide, which includes tips to help keep you focused on the task at hand. The holiday season should not stress you out and SunTrust wants to help. There are some great tips in there and I encourage you to check them out.

Join my family and SunTrust and make your holidays mean more. Use the tools that SunTrust offers to help plan for the holiday season, so you don’t end up overworked and overstressed. Use the tips I gave you to keep the meaning of the holidays in check. Don’t get caught up in all of the commercialism, enjoy your family and friends. What do the holidays mean to you?

Visit SunTrust’s resource center for actionable information, tools, tips and calculators to help you make this holiday season a smart financial one.

The holidays are for focusing on moments that matter. But for many Americans, financial stress can get in the way. This year, you can make small changes that make a big difference for your financial well-being.

 

In this holiday planning guide, you’ll find tips for getting organized and making a plan for holiday spending so you can feel confident in your ability to stay on track with your budget. You’ll see how other Americans are shopping, traveling, celebrating and giving in ways that make the holidays cost less, but mean more.

Download Guide

 

For more holiday planning advice visit  holiday resources

 

Meaningful spending made easy with a budgeting tool to help you make a plan and stay on track with your holiday spending.  Download here.

 

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

Our Rookie Box Tops 4 Education Shopping Trip! #BTFE

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It’s no secret that my family homeschools our children. I just found out that just like many public schools participate in Box Tops 4 Education, our homeschool community can too (click here to see if your homeschool association meets the requirements).  You may wonder why we are excited to help collect Box Tops and how it supports the homeschooling world. Now that my family understands the value of Box Tops 4 Education and how it is one of America’s largest school earnings loyalty programs it’s important for my family to support for several reasons beyond just the financial benefits to our homeschool association:

#1. We are Teaching Our Kids Loyalty

We have chosen to teach our children the value of loyalty. It’s an important characteristic/value we want our children to know and learn. We can pair loyalty and Box Tops together, by purchasing brands with Box Tops on a consistent basis, we are showing our kids how important it is to stick with something once you start.

#2. Total Family Involvement

We love to do things together and Box Tops allows us to do that. Together we can cut Box Tops, contribute to our homeschool association, and help them earn money through the program. Box Tops are worth $0.10 for your child’s school. That means 10 cents for each Box Tops is donated to your child’s school. Think about how quickly that can add up if you are buying products on a weekly basis that support Box Tops. It’s like free money for your school or in our case our local homeschool association.

#3. Serving Where Planted

We love to teach our kids the value of serving. Sometimes you are called to serve in small ways and sometimes in big ways. We may just be a small part of the Box Tops program, but it contributes to society, as a whole, in a large way. Box Tops aligns with our family values in the contributions to society, as a whole, in a large way. Box Tops aligns with our family values in the fact that sometimes we are called to serve where planted and for us that means cutting, contributing, and getting involved with Box Tops!

#4. Box Tops is an Easy Way to Get Involved

My family is busy as I’m sure yours is as well. Box Tops is a program my busy family can get involved in. We love the fact that Box Tops gives us a way to give back without taking up extra time because we don’t have it. Between our busy life of homeschool, sports, church activities, this is an easy way that our family can contribute without it costing extra money or a lot of extra time. Speaking of extra “money”, Box Tops helps provide a main source of funding to our homeschool association. When the Box Tops money is cashed in it pays for items like microscopes, tables for classrooms, books, extracurricular activities and even art projects.

Since it’s our first trip purchasing items that qualify for the Box Tops 4 Education program, I thought I’d take you along with us on our trip. In researching I discovered that there are select General Mills items at Walmart that include bonus box tops for a total of 5 Box Tops. As we walked up and down the aisles, my children kept an eye open for items that included the bonus Box Tops. Here’s a peek into our shopping trip, take a look and see what we found. You’ll see that my daughter made an appearance in some of the pics. My son and 9 month old baby decided to opt out this time. :)

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My son, Caleb, spotted the bonus Box Tops on Pizza Rolls right when we first walked in the store.

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I wasn’t surprised that my son spotted these double boxes of cereal with bonus Box Tops first. That boy would eat cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day if we let him. I’ve never seen anyone love cereal as much as him!

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My kids make me laugh so much. I guess they’ve been listening more than I thought when I’ve talked about adding fiber to our diet. They both spotted these Fiber One bars and commented how they would be a great source of added fiber to their diets.

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My daughter is a type I diabetic. Therefore, we have to carry around snacks with 15-20 carbs so that we can treat a low blood sugar quickly. Fruit snacks are the perfect choice since they are portable and yummy!

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Not to be outdone by his sister, my little guy found this package of 3 boxes of Star Wars fruit snacks.

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Score! As we looked for yogurt for our lunches this week, my daughter spotted yogurt that included the bonus Box Tops. Yay!

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So, what Box Tops items did we choose on our very first shopping trip? We choose Fruit Gushers fruit snacks, Yoplait yogurt, and Fiber One bars. Thank you to my lovely daughter for pointing out the Box Top labels on the boxes for me.

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All of our Box Top items in the self checkout lane. My kids think the self checkout lane is the best ever! Since each product has 5 Box Tops our purchase today means that we will be able to redeem 15 Box Tops for our group. at $0.10 a pop, that’s an easy $1.50! Wow! That amazes me!!

Here is a small brief on the important role Box Tops 4 Education plays in the lives of families, children, and schools everywhere!

  • Box Tops are worth $0.10 for your child’s school
  • Box Tops is one of America’s largest school earnings loyalty programs.
  • Over 80,000 k-8 schools participates
  • Schools can use Box Tops cash to buy whatever they need.
  • Box Tops for Education has contributed over $525 million to participating schools since the launch of the program in 1996.

Why do you love Box Tops and how does it align with your family values?

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


Grilled Chicken Wraps with Tyson® Grilled and Ready® Chicken Breast Strips #WMTProjectAPlus

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

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Since it’s that time of year again for back to school, it’s also time to start thinking about lunches. Although I homeschool my kids, during the school year I need fast healthy lunch ideas for when we are at home and on our community days with our homeschool group. My kids really like to have a variety of lunch options each week besides sandwiches, so this week we are going to make grilled chicken wraps. Oh my goodness, these grilled chicken wraps are so delicious and easy to make!

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First, I loaded up my little and big munchkins and headed to Walmart to pick up a few groceries. When did they get so big? It seems like just yesterday, I was pushing my two big kids in a double stroller. Now, they are pushing their baby sister.

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My shopping helpers for today.

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First, I let them pick out the main ingredient for our wraps. My kids absolutely love grilled chicken. These Tyson® Grilled and Ready® Chicken Breast Strips are the perfect choice. Not only is it an effortless way to make healthy home cooked meals with 100% all-natural and made with all-white meat, but it’s also 97% fat free, and fully cooked.

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As an added bonus, we can help our homeschool group (you can help your school too) by purchasing products that are part of the TysonProjectA+™. There are other Tyson® products affiliated with Tyson Project A+™ if grilled chicken isn’t your thing.

The Tyson Project A+™ program is one of the simplest ways to support your school. Just clip and collect Tyson Project A+™ labels from Tyson® participating packages. For every label submitted, Tyson will give the school cash and the school can use the money for whatever it needs. See an example of where to find the label below.

 

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Baby girl was super excited to help with the other ingredients that we needed: multi-grain tortillas, lettuce, and Italian dressing.

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On our way to check out, they insisted that we grab some Edamame for a snack. Who are these kids? It makes me happy to see my kids making healthy choices all on their own.

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As hard as it is to see how fast my big kids are growing up, there are advantages. For example, they can clean their own bathroom and use the self check out at Walmart without my help

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about sharing my recipe. You aren’t going to believe how simple it is!

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Ingredients:

  • Tyson® Grilled and Ready® Chicken Breast Strips
  • Multi-Grain Tortillas
  • Lettuce
  • Dressing of your choice.

1. Thaw chicken in microwave following directions on package.

2. Add chicken and lettuce to tortilla and wrap.

3. Serve with dressing of your choice and fresh veggies.

Tip: We are going to make these for lunch for our community homeschool days. On those days, I’ll add the chicken frozen, then wrap tortilla wrap in aluminum foil. The chicken should thaw out by lunch and stay fresh without an added ice pack to our lunch box.

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