I’m on a boat!! (and a motorcycle)

It’s transportation week, continued!

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Bigs’ has PB&J motorcycle and boat sandwiches (I used my Food Writers to add a few details), two dates, a few raisins, oyster crackers, fruit salad (green grapes, strawberries, and raspberries), and one marshmallow for dessert.

Splish splash, vroom vroom.

Kristin

Pet Week – Bunny VPK School Lunch

Tomorrow’s pet-themed lunch could put a spring in your step…bunnies!

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I made a bunny-shaped PB&J, and added some pink and black details. For dessert, Bigs can eat this sweet bunny’s fluffy marshmallow tail (I affixed it with peanut butter). I’d have packed some carrots, but they probably would have gone mostly uneaten. So instead, I packed some colby jack cheese, the sandwich scraps, grapes, strawberries, some little pretzel nuggets (not to be confused with bunny nuggets, you know the kind), and dried cranberries. And I decorated with a few teeny bunny sprinkles.

Boing!

*This would also make for an adorable Easter school lunch*

Kristin

Community Helper Themed Lunches – Part I

This week began the Community Helpers study for my Bigs. During the next few weeks, the students will take a deeper look into the occupations that do great and helpful things in our community – doctors and nurses, dentists, police, fire, mail and pizza delivery (LOVE that pizza delivery falls into “community helper” status #ourschoolforthewin), etc.

First up this week – Dentist!

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I made a peanut butter and jelly tooth. Yes, that’s right. A tooth. While I realize my free-hand cutting skillz require some work and leave quite a bit to be desired, I’m hopeful that my Bigs’ precious and sharp teacher was able to decipher what this thing was, when he inevitably would ask. I drew a toothbrush with toothpaste on it out of an index card, just for fun. I also packed raisins, Trader Joe’s honey wheat pretzels, half a mandarin orange, and apple smiles for dessert. For the apple smiles, I cut apple slices (used some mandarin orange juice on them to prevent browning), pat them dry, added peanut butter to the insides, and marshmallows for teeth. I think he loved it. I’ve done it before and it’s been a raging success. I also used my favorite lunchbox accoutrement – my toothpicks tooth picks. So fun!

And for Doctor Day:

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This is where you’ll find further evidence of my crapola drawing skillz. In hindsight, I maybe should have written, “ER” or something more legible. But hey, Bigs can’t read all that well, so for once, that’s in my favor. Here you have yet another PB&J, but this time, it’s shaped as a doctor’s office (squint, then you’ll see). I’ve also packed honey wheat pretzels, raisins, strawberries, blueberries, and a Campfire Cookie.

My Smalls will also be in school today. Here is his little lunch:

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PB&J, raisins, Campfire Cookie, pretzels, and strawberries (he’s on a no blueberry kick).

Happy Thursday,

Kristin

Love & Legacy

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We’re already on Day 2 of Valentine’s Week. You’d think I was counting down to my own birthday or something. It’s not like there’s cake at the end of this countdown. Geesh. I shouldn’t be so excited. But I ammmm!

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I was surrounded by love today at my church’s Mom group. Those are such strong women. And I always love getting together with them.

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We had a speaker today (who is a mentor at my table AND reads this blog) who shared her story about how her sweet, loving husband unexpectedly passed away last year on Valentine’s Day.

Although the pain of what she and her family went through (and still is going through), she is honoring her husband’s legacy by sharing how she’s grown from the heartache, in God’s love.

What a poignant lesson to hear, on a day so close to Valentine’s Day and his Heaven Anniversary. And what a lovely reminder to always love those who are important to us. To SHOW them love.

Thank you, E, for sharing your difficult journey with us. I know it’s hard. It isn’t all for naught. Part of God’s purpose in your journey is helping us young wives and mothers remember to take the time to show our love, in all our incessant busyness. Blessings to you!

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Here is Valentine’s Week Lunchbox #2:

Valentine Kebab Preschool Lunch

I made a PB&J sandwich kebab for Bigs! I used my small Valentine’s Day cutters to make various heart shapes and then stuck them on a kebab stick. I also put in carrot sticks and an applesauce squeezy fruit. And for dessert, a smaller kebab made from two tiny pink wafer cookies flanking a cupcake shaped marshmallow. I think he’ll like this one.

Have a blessed Tuesday!

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– Kristin

Too Cool for School

I have the world’s coolest kids. I just do. These kids are the reason I am certifiably insane, but they, and my husband, are a constant in my life that I can count on (to make me certifiably insane…and to make me happy).

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My little Buzz Lightyear loves riding his bike with his wings on. He’s just cool.

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To infinity…and beyooooooond!

And my little Smalls has been loving doing almost everything on his own. He can now “blow” bubbles.

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And by blowing bubbles, I mean eating the bubble blower thing.

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And he loves being walked by his dog. Isn’t this hilarious? Our dog is like Rudolph, pulling Santa’s sleigh. Giddey-up! [Smart parenting lol]

We’ve also been very busy eating food.

I enjoyed good (i.e. food not cooked by me) food for a friend’s birthday. I got gussied up.

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I ate this.

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Fresh, warm pita, edamame humus, goat cheese stuffed peppadew peppers, roasted red pepper hummus, briny olives. I can’t even handle how good that was.

I also ate this.

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Lemony, pine nutty, olivey Moroccan chicken over Israeli cous cous. Yes.

And this…shared with the birthday girl and the rest of our gang:

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Chocolate Lava Cake. And vanilla ice cream. I mean, I could legitimately eat lava cake every day of my life. I have a soft spot in my heart for it (Get it? Soft spot in the middle, JUST like the lava cake? I’m basically a lava cake.).

I also made lots since I’ve last written! You know…because my family thinks they need to be fed or whatever. So weird.

Meatloaf Sandwich

I made this meatloaf sandwich for lunch. Aren’t those good? I like to order them from restaurants too. TooJay’s has a good one. And so did this other little country type restaurant before it turned into a funeral home (don’t ask).

I ate this too:

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Oats with coconut milk, cranberries, and granola. It was a power breaky. Sadly, it didn’t give me power OR energy enough to keep up with my littles.

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Dairy free, gluten free cinnamon pancakes, turkey bacon, and fruit. Yum. We eat a TON of pancakes in our home.

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I made lamb shoulder steaks, vegetables, and fruit.

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My husband LOVES lamb. I pan seared it (after sprinkling on steak seasoning) and finished it off in the oven.

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And for dinner lastĀ night, I made this little fun thing. You KNOW how much I love all things cafeteria themed! I made chicken nuggets from scratch. Like, from ground chicken. I happened upon a recipe and it was DELICIOUS!

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They were so easy to make and MUCH MUCH healthier than any chicken nuggets that could be purchased, pre-made.

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I’ll never buy another pre-made chicken nugget for my family again! SO EASY!

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I served them with carrots I peeled and boiled in cinnamon water, chopped pears, cherry halves, applesauce with sprinkles (because…sprinkles), ketchup, and GF bread and butter. It was a hit with EVERYONE! Smalls ate more than I have literally ever seen him eat. I think it was a hit.

Here is the recipe:

http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/817988/Tonight-s-Dinner-Homemade-Chicken-Nuggets

I’ll be making those again and again!

I also went old school and made marshmallow cereal bars.

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I used Cheerios (it was all I had that would have worked), white marshmallows, and fruity marshmallows.

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They were great! I put one in Bigs’ lunch for school and when we were discussing what he had to eat (during dinner), he said he loved his “biscuit with marshmallows” HAHAHAH! I literally laughed out loud! He’s funny. And weird.

Below is a link to general guidelines for making cereal marshmallow treats. I love that you can use almost anything and don’t have to be too precise in measurements.

http://food52.com/blog/8304-how-to-make-any-cereal-treats-without-a-recipe

Speaking of school lunches, Tuesday was Construction Worker day in Bigs’ class.

Construction Themed Preschool Lunch

I normally use a reusable compartmentalized plastic lunch container, but since I had this adorable construction-themed sandwich container, I used that instead. I put construction-themed stickers on each little individual baggie. So. He got a PB&J (what else!), on which I drew (using my Food Writers) a “Detour” sign with an arrow. I also packed carrot sticks, a squeezy fruit, pretzel stick “logs”, and a small Cheerio marshmallow treat. For snack, he got a box of raisins and some wheat crackers.

And don’t you know I love a theme? He wore a construction-themed shirt.

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A digger/back hoe thingy with “I dig my Dad” on it. Too cute.

Anyways, enough catching up on kids and food!

Off to paint my nails for Pizza Day (oh, just you wait!)!

Kristin

Gimme S’More

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Ohhh, life has been so challenging lately, let’s discuss something light. And sweet. And toasty. And chocolatey. I need to take my mind off my troubles.

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Gimme s’more. So not original. But what other puns (of which, I am a HUGE fan) can be said of s’mores? Not much (although Husband just shouted out, “The Legend of Sleepy Mallow!!”, but how can I use that?). But does it matter? What matters is making and eating the s’mores. It’s anĀ experience! I have been known to make them in my toaster oven when having a craving. And don’t think for one second that Hubby doesn’t come up behind me (staring into the toaster oven – I LOVE seeing the marshmallows brown and puff up) and ask for some! But nothing tastes like a s’more made over a fire, because MY favorite part about it is the toasted marshmallow flavor all smooshed into the melted chocolate. Oh, just YUM.

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This burger is something to behold. A few friends and I decided to put a s’mores IN a burger. The result was delicious, as you’d maybe not expect. It was REALLY good – salty, gooey, sweet, smoky. If you’re feeling particularly daring at your next cookout, and have calories left in your day, give it a try.

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This is my husband and Bigs roasting marshmallows on our back porch last winter. It was so fun. Even little baby Smalls go in on the action. We can’t wait to do this again, when it gets more consistently cold out!

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Isn’t that little outfit a hoot? It was a hand-me-down and kept him so toasty (get it?)!

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We love our s’mores in this family! I like to do variations on it, as well. There are so many options – S’mores Brownies, S’mores Dip, S’mores Cake, S’mores Pie (Do I sound like Forrest Gump talking about shrimp, but instead s’mores?? I do.). The choices are only as endless as your imagination! Well, not your imagination. I’m sure you’re very imaginative. Right? Hopefully more than me. I seriously lack in imagination. My skills are quite limited, I must painfully admit. Tangent!

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Here are some S’mores Cake Pops I made a while back. I am not even sure of the recipe on this one. You can easily do brownies or chocolate cake and mix with maybe a vanilla or marshmallow frosting and then dip in chocolate and then crushed grahams.

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I made this glorious S’mores Trifle for this last 4th of July. Isn’t it a beauty? It’s taken me only almost five months to see that I spelled “s’mores” wrong on my own graphic. Cool. But it was so good, no one should complain! Here is the recipe!

http://www.momendeavors.com/2013/06/brownie-smores-trifle-dessert.html

Smores Brownies

These S’mores Brownies are outta this world! A baked graham cracker crust, a homemade brownie and an ooey gooey toasted marshmallow topping. What could go wrong (besides burning the whole lot, which I’ve done!?)??

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/smore-brownies-recipe/index.html

There is something so very magical that happens when you make your own brownie batter. The second you add those eggs, that chocolate turns so glossy and shiny. The stuff dreams are made of! Well, MY dreams. Do you dream about chocolate? Is it weird that I do?

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Don’t even ask me how I got that picture of my own self stirring brownie batter. I musta looked weird, but the end is magical, still, right? I’m not even sure I’d be able to master that again!

It’s SO easy to make brownies from scratch. I urge you to do it. It beats a boxed mix any day and is SO SO easy. I wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true!

Smore for you

For moi?? Why, thank you! Don’t mind if I do!

This is so me. I really am the official taste tester (of all things) in my house. “Oh, let Mommy take a quick little bite to make sure it isn’t too hot!” See how that works? Totally works. Get extra bites every time. Bigs is on to me though. Now he’ll say, “Mommy, don’t eat the hole thing!”…clever boy.

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I know in other parts of our country and world, it is FREEZING outside right now. Perfect s’mores weather. We, on the other hand, are still waiting for it to cool down just a teensy bit more before breaking out the fire pit. But when we do, it’s ON!! S’mores in my face (mouth) all the time!

I want Smore

Always.

I think, therefore I s’more.

Have an ooey, gooey, crunchy, smoky, chocolately day!

Kristin

PS – if you want to make your own marshmallows, here is a great recipe:

http://willowbirdbaking.com/2010/10/26/homemade-hot-chocolate-marshmallows-voting-now-open-in-project-food-blog-round-6/

If you want to make your own graham crackers, try this one:

http://willowbirdbaking.com/2010/01/27/nanaimo-bars/