The Last Day of VPK for 2015

Tomorrow is my Bigs’ last day of VPK. I am in denial. He’ll be in Kindergarten next year. That’s like “big boy” status.

Cue ugly crying.

Bigs’ class pet this year was a flamingo, appropriately named “Mingo”. He spent many nights with us, as he did with all the classmates. He was very loved. It was absolutely fitting that the class pet was a flamingo. It’s always been, um, my spirit animal. If there is such a thing. So I really enjoyed the flamingo theme this year. I made a few flamingo lunches this year, as well (here and here). So for his very last VPK school lunch, I felt that Mingo needed his due course.

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I made a “Mingo” shaped PB&J. I also packed a pluot, TJ’s organic PB crackers, red grapes, and yellow watermelon. I didn’t pack a dessert, since we’ll be having an ice cream party tomorrow. I used flamingo cupcake picks and added a palm tree (that I acquired through a bakery cake at some point).

Long live Mingo.

And for my Smalls, who is also having his last day of Mom’s Morning Out…

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…he’ll be in the “3’s” next year. Sniff. I made two little ice cream cone shaped PB&J sandwiches. I added details with my Food Writers. I also packed PB crackers, yellow watermelon, and one homemade chocolate chip/sprinkle/M&M cookie, cut into fourths.

I made those cookies yesterday to deliver to the boys’ school staff, as a thank you. They were really easy to make and used whole wheat flour.

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Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Sprinkle M&M Cookies

Adapted from: Weelicious

1 C AP flour

1¼ C whole wheat flour

1 t baking soda

½ t salt

1 C butter, room temperature

1 C brown sugar, packed

½ C granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 T vanilla

1 C semisweet chocolate chips

1 C M&Ms

1/2 C colored jimmies

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat and set aside.

Whisk together both flours, baking soda and salt. In another bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), cream butter and both sugars together for 3 minutes. Add in eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Gradually add in dry ingredients. Do not overmix. Stir in chocolate chips, M&Ms, and sprinkles.

Drop dough onto your prepared baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

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Enjoy! Summer is here!!

Kristin

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The Sunshine State (Lunches)

When you think of Florida, what comes to mind? Songs, like “Way down upon the Suwanee River”, “Welcome to Miami”, or “Margaritaville”? Do you think of all the dumb criminals that keep surfacing on almost every news station country-wide? Or about our balmy beaches? We have ALL of those things. And tomorrow, my Bigs gets to learn about them, in his study of our great state. Well, maybe not the criminals. We’ll save that for a rainy day. Excitingly enough, I get to be Co-op Parent in his class.

Here is my lunch for tomorrow:

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I packed blueberries, strawberries, a clementine, a hard boiled egg (on which I used my egg shaping kit to make it look like a bunny…because bunny eggs), S&P for the egg, snap peas, assorted raisins, Trader Joe’s mini peanut butter cups, and a few  TJ’s “Inner Beans” (which sounds horrific, but they are awesome).

For my Bigs:

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I confidently decided that I could not free-hand cut the shape of Florida on bread and went with a tropical fish PB&J instead. I drew details with my Food Writers. I also packed pumpernickel pretzel sticks, strawberries, blueberries, assorted raisins, a clementine (you can’t pack a FL themed lunch without citrus), TJ’s yogurt star cookies, and an organic yogurt squeezy thing. I added a surfboard, a few flamingo (my spirit animal) picks, and a palm tree for decoration.

And for my little Smalls:

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Going based on lunches alone, you might think I love my oldest son more than my youngest. Smalls’ lunches always look a little crappy. The truth is, this kid is so wishy-washy with food, I can’t even keep up. Tomorrow’s sad looking lunch consists of half a PB&J (which he tells me he only likes when he’s at school and won’t eat at home right now), a few carrots, pumpernickel pretzel sticks, assorted raisins, yogurt star cookies, and an organic yogurt squeezy thing. I also packed him a banana for snack.

If you need me, I’ll be looking for my large shaker of salt.

Kristin

Birds of a feather find their way home

Flamingo

Once upon a time, there was a girl about 12 years of age. She had an obsession with flamingos. And when I say obsession, I mean it. She loved anything (tacky or not…mostly tacky) that had flamingos on it. It was her thing. And people knew it. After almost 10 years of loving flamingos like she did, this little girl (now a much older young lady) went through some difficult life changes and all of a sudden, she didn’t know who she was anymore. She had an early life crisis, if you will. Flamingos now reminded her of that rough time in her life and she just stopped liking them. It was very sad.

After many, many years of trying to find herself, the young lady had an epiphany. She realized that she could love whatever she wanted and it didn’t have to remind her of a yucky place in her life…she could just re-associate her love for flamingos to where she was now and to the good memories she had in the past. It was a big step. It wasn’t just about the flamingos. It was about self-acceptance. Finding that she liked who she was becoming, and also letting herself grow, letting go of some of her dark places, learning that she loved finding out more about herself, that it made her more complete.

That little girl turned young lady is me (I’m not terribly young anymore, mind you).

I am very happy to say that I’ve been back in the flamingo game for a few years now (maybe not to THAT extent that I was, but I am more than okay with enjoying them again).

It truly makes me feel more whole when I discover something about myself, that I maybe didn’t previously know or that I somehow suppressed on my journey and have re-discovered. God has helped put me back on the track to being myself and I am so grateful.

So. Today is Bird Day in Bigs’ class at school. Although I have several different bird cookie cutters, it just seemed fitting to me to use my beloved flamingo. I’m not even sure why I ever got into them. Maybe because they are pink (post shrimp buffet)? Because they are weird and stand on one leg? I really don’t know. But they are neat. And they are absolutely a sign of self-acceptance and self-love to me, in some weird (I’m weird, what can I say!) way.

So, I made a flamingo themed lunch for my Bigs today.

Flamingo Themed Preschool Lunch

And I made it as tacky as I could. It’s the only way, really, when dealing with flamingos.

I made a flamingo-shaped crunchy PB&J. I also put in corn and carrots, some pink (strawberry, I think?) yogurt pretzels and some cherry yogurt raisins. I used some of my flamingo cupcake picks and a palm tree, just to tacky it up a little more. I think Bigs will get a hoot out of this. I sure did.

Have a self-accepting day, my friends!

Who you calling tacky