Gobble Gobble!

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Today was an *almost* headache free day. Praise! I was able to put together these fun turkey themed lunches for my boys. I made a turkey shaped sunbutter and jam sandwich. I used Food Writers to add eyes, beaks, gobblers, feet, and feathers. Glorious, colorful feathers. I also packed cheddar sandwich crackers, dried cranberries, dates (Bigs), a Pfeffernusse cookie (Smalls), mandarin orange (Bigs), carrots (Smalls), green grapes, and raspberries (Bigs).

I am also the Co-op Parent in my Smalls’ class, so here is my lunch:

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I packed salad with dressing, a Pfeffernusse cookie, dried cranberries, kiwi, mozzarella cheese, and green grapes.

I’m SOOOO excited for Thanksgiving! It’s my favorite holiday!

Gobble!

Kristin

This Week’s Lunches

What a busy, busy week I’ve had! Here is what I packed each day:

Tuesday:

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I make two little PB&J’s on toasts. I also packed pretzels, blueberries, mandarin orange slices, seasoned corn and a homemade chocolate chip sprinkle cookie.

Wednesday:

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I made a PB&J on a hot dog bun. I also packed red grapes, pretzels, strawberries, and a homemade chocolate chip sprinkle cookie.

Thursday was my last Helper Parent day in my Bigs’ class. When he goes to Kindergarten next year, his school doesn’t utilize the Helper Parent system. I will SO miss spending the school day with him. I look forward to starting all over with my Smalls next year! I had to pack three lunches for today:

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Smalls got PB&J on a flat bread, broccoli with ranch for dipping, trail mix, and a homemade chocolate chip sprinkle cookie. For myself, I made a salad, packed ranch for dressing, a little piece of flatbread, two dates, and an apple. And for my Bigs, I packed a PB&J on a flat bread, red grapes, dried ginger, dates, strawberries, and a cookie.

And lastly, for tomorrow, Friday:

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We had pizza tonight for dinner, so I packed a piece for Bigs. I also packed goldfish (cheeseburger flavor – so weird!), strawberries, grapes, and half of a chocolate chip cookie bar.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Kristin

Three Lunch Thursday

Tomorrow is my Co-op day at my sons’ school. I get to enjoy my oldest for the entire day!

Here is my lunch:

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I made a salad (greens, bell pepper, yellow cherry tomatoes, carrots, and vinaigrette. I also packed a navel orange, green grapes, raspberries with semi-sweet chocolate chips in them, and some dark chocolate coconut bark. I can’t wait.

My Bigs’ lunch has the continued transportation theme. Although they are still learning about boats, I went trucks. Beep.

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I made a PB&J and used a pickup truck cutter on one piece of the bread. I added a few red sprinkles on top of the jelly to make it more of a profound (and less sticky) truck shape. I also packed pretzel sticks, green grapes, and semi-sweet chocolate chip stuffed raspberries for his dessert.

And for my teeny weeny Smalls:

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He requested a “triangle” shaped PB&J, about which I forgot. I just told him I went with a rectangle shaped one. And he bought it. πŸ˜€ I also packed green grapes, pretzel sticks, dried cranberries, and a chocolate chip cookie. He requested all of those.

Have a great Thursday!

Kristin

Three Thursday Lunches

Tomorrow is my Co-op day! I’m excited to hang with my big buddy in class. I packed three lunches for tomorrow.

For me:

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A salad with greens, yellow tomatoes, carrots, celery, and a whole avocado. I also packed bleu cheese dressing (although I’ll probably just mash up the avocado and use that as “dressing”). I also packed a mandarin orange, pineapple, and grapes.

For my Biggie:

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I made a puzzle out of a PB&J sandwich. I also packed Goldfish crackers, pineapple, grapes, a few caramel rice cakes, and some chocolate covered sunflower seeds.

And for my Smalls:

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He got half of a PB&J, some Goldfish, halved grapes, caramel rice cakes, and chocolate covered sunflower seeds for dessert.

Almost almost Friday. Let’s do this!

Kristin

Whiny Wednesday

Ugh. You know that feeling when you’re having a good day, and then all of sudden, you aren’t? That was my day. It wasn’t so bad at first. But then I got overwhelmed with life and also I took in some of my old purses to a resale store and they told me (not so much in words, but with rejection) that my Vera Bradley’s print and style was “old”. I felt washed up. It sort of set a tone for the rest of my day. It was just little things like that, happening for the rest of the day. Oh well. I’m not THAT old.

And I know it could be a lot worse. And a LOT more serious. We’re keeping it light around here tonight.

But still.

And then I had to get to karate, back home, make dinner (pre-fab chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs, whatever), and three lunches for tomorrow. I want to soak in a garden tub filled with bubbles, and surrounded by lightly scented candles and silence.

We don’t have a garden tub. Or silence.

On the upside, tomorrow is my day at the Co-op, to work in my Bigs’ classroom. I’m very excited for that. This week they are learning about the five senses. Tomorrow is a taste test. Perfect!

For my Bigs’ lunch, I went with dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets (so what if I’ve said, even here on this blog, that I would only ever make my own chicken nuggets from scratch from then on). Mama’s tired.

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I packed four of those not-so-good-for-you nuggets, some ketchup, a homemade honey zucchini muffin (that IS good for you), grapes, pineapple, dried oranges, and banana chips.

For my Smalls:

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I made a PB&J half sandwich. I also packed some banana chips, two dried orange segments, some mini cinnamon rice cakes, and an applesauce squeezy fruit.

And for me:

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For myself, I packed a salad (iceberg lettuce, orange tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and a packet that comes in my Publix’s pre-packed salads (dressing, nuts, cranberries). I also packed grapes, pineapple, and a yogurt.

Blessings to you!

Kristin

I need this Bible verse tonight:

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. – Romans 12:2

BBQ Picnic Salad & Sensory Play

Today has been a busy day. It isn’t even nearly over. I guess the days seem long because my boys get up so early. I am always pooped by lunch time.

After the boys woke up, we made Banana Kale Smoothies. Or “smoozees”, as they call them. Bigs helped me.

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Banana Kale Smoozees:

Serves 3

3 bananas, peeled, chopped, frozen

1 C washed, raw kale

1/2 C coconut milk

1/2 C vanilla yogurt

Place in food processor.

After our smoozees, we went for now our-usual jog early this morning. So far (crossing my fingers), the boys haven’t tried to escape their jogger seats yet, and they’ve been pretty good. I’ve only had to stop and get on their case for brotherly-arguing about three times since I’ve started jogging consistently.

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Today they were squealing with delight and throwing up their hands. I know I’m not jogging fast enough for them to feel like they are on a roller coaster!

When we got home, I set up a little sensory playtime for them. I’d remembered that one of Bigs’ favorite activities in school wasΒ  playing with shaving cream. So, the last time I was at the Dollar Store, I bought a few cans. Today I set them out with some Tupperware and whisks.

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Bigs loved it, obvi. Smalls did not. I thought he would, but I should have guessed. Despite being so wild and cray cray, he does not like messes on his hands and body, with the exception of food on his face. That, he never seems to mind or notice. Oh well. Scaling the walls, climbing on table tops, eating out of the trashcan, and running amok will have to suffice for Smalls entertainment. I think he’ll be okay.

Whenever I make lunch for the boys, I end up feeling like a piece of meat, with vultures surrounding me, pecking, and ravishing my personal space. I cannot keep them from getting all up in my face while preparing their meals. Today, I gave them a few pieces of frozen corn to much on while waiting. I did not expect it to turn into their favorite snack ever. They both loved it and ended up eating around a 1/2 cup each.

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What a fun discovery for me! I hope they’ll continue eating it. I think it makes for an almost refreshing, and certainly healthy, “treat” (usually I serve corn warm for them).

I made another salad for myself. It was divine. It was a BBQ Picnic Salad.

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I used romaine lettuce, carrots, red/yellow/orange bell pepper, frozen corn and peas, yellow tomatoes, shredded chicken from last night’s dinner (roasted chicken), shredded cheddar, and a pickled tri-bean salad. For the dressing, I put BBQ sauce, olive oil, S&P, mustard, and ACV in a mason jar and shook the dickens out of it. Yum yum. And very filling.

Blessings,

Kristin

Blooming

I have not been a good blogger lately. Between my family being sick for two weeks, and the end of the school year approaching, it’s just been bananas around here. The summer is going to be a much needed slower pace…hopefully, that isn’t wishful thinking.

Our blackberry bush finally bloomed and ripened!

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Several plump blackberries were ready for picking. And it only took about five seconds because there were four and a half.

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This was all it yielded. It really makes one appreciate the farmers who are supplying markets and grocery stores. We’ve waited months for these four blackberries! Our blueberry bushes are even slower. I see one unripened blueberry.

Growing some of our own food surely does help us feel appreciative. We can’t wait for our melons to be ripe and, hopefully by October, we will be able to carve our own homegrown pumpkins.

Eating delicious salads everyday also help me to appreciate the freshness of the season…and good health.

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And I love putting fruit in my salads – grapes, peaches, nectarines, raisins, dried cranberries, berries of all kinds. Delicious. What’s your favorite kind of salad?

We’ve also been up to our usual tricks – Pancake Saturday (gluten and dairy free)!

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Bigs requested sprinkles this past Saturday. We fueled up because after breakfast, we did a walk that raised awareness about Human Trafficking and Slavery. It was informative and powerful.

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/05/12/snickerdoodle-pancakes/

I also made a birthday cake for one of my sweet friends.

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Her favorite is Red Velvet and I’d never (surprisingly!!) made one from scratch before. I gave it a go. Here is the recipe I used:

http://suziesweettooth.com/tag/9-x-13-inch-red-velvet-cake/

I think I over baked it. :/ I had a migraine all weekend and wasn’t fully “with it”.

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But it sure smelled good and came out pretty! I hope she enjoys it. I’m giving it to her today.

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I’ll have to see if she can send me a picture of a slice, so I can see how the inside turned out. πŸ™‚

Hope you all have a very blessed day! I am going to my last monthly Church ladies group meeting before we break for Summer. It’s always a blessing to me. I always leave renewed and refreshed, something that is so very important to this Mama!

Kristin

EDIT: My friend sent me a picture of a slice of the cake! She said I should package it up and sell it, so I think that’s a good sign. πŸ™‚ I am so glad she liked it!

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Dough’nt Worry, Be Happy!

It’s Friday! I love Fridays! You know what I loved about this particular Friday? We had no plans. Zero commitments. It is SO rare for us to have nothing to do. I’ve been craving a day like that for a long time. What better to do with our time on a misty, coolish, slightly gloomy Friday than travel 20 minutes to get the best donuts in [the neighboring] town? I don’t even need to explain our history with donuts. It was a perfect start to our Free Friday.

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Since my boys were up extra early this morning, we got there before 7:45am and almost all the donuts were sold out (not ALL, but all the flavors WE wanted). I asked the girl in the front if they had any in the back and she came back and told me that the baker would make the flavors we wanted. That’s what I call customer service!

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We got a half dozen – that ought to last me through the weekend. πŸ˜‰Β Starting on the top left, we got my new favorites, German chocolate, strawberry cream cheese, sprinkles for Bigs (he was THRILLED to have one freshly made just for him!), a plain glazed (nothing “plain” about the flavor though!), a chocolate peanut butter, and lastly, the Coconut Crunch.

I only ate one – the chocolate and peanut butter, which is a classic and amazing combo, as you all surely must know. Bigs ate his sprinkle donut with gusto.

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He wastes no time. He also said, “By the way, Mom, can I have another one?” (LOL, nice BTW, kid, very nonchalant of you!)

I gave Smalls the glazed one. I learned last time that he’s not so fond of sprinkles, for some reason beyond my personal comprehension. That glazed donut (and I’m having deja vu, so I know I’ve said this before about the same donut), is the best glazed donut I’ve ever had – sticky and slightly crunchy on the outside, tender and yeasty on the inside. Smalls loved it. He would put it up to his mouth and suck on it. That’s one way to get all the flavors. I helped him finish it. He didn’t mind sharing his “do-do”.

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Smalls sucking on his donut…because why not?

We only had to stop and leave all our donuts on the table to use the restroom once. Not too shabby.

We made the 25 minute journey back to our house, all the while giggling and talking about donuts, and still smelling of the fried yeast dough.

When we got home, the boys played in the playroom while I did laundry and worked off my donut on the Elliptical (also located in the playroom). Why is it though, that kids can be quite independent when playing with toys, but become completely needy once they see Mommy doing something else, like a timed work out?!

After that, the boys and I did springy crafts.

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We made “shamrocks” out of paper towel rolls (Smalls’ work on the left and Bigs’ on the right). I think each of them took their own artistic license with it. πŸ™‚

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Smalls ate some paint, as per the usual.

Then Bigs used markers as his next medium, to draw Easter bunnies, some crosses, a few churches, and the most even Easter egg I’ve ever seen!

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I’m this kid’s number one fan! He does great work.

For lunch I made an “Everything Salad”, the healthier equivalent to the Everything Pizza or the Kitchen Sink Cookie.

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I love when my leftovers go nicely with a green salad. I used ice berg, red bell pepper, mandarin orange segments, carrots, and sprouts. I added last night’s beans and carrot salad. Delicious!

Ahhh, yes, it’s been a great day. And it’s not even over yet! Gluten free, dairy free pizza for dinner! I might stick to my leftover donuts. πŸ˜‰ I can handle a GF crust, but no cheeeeeese (I’m out)?! Whatever will I do?

Have a blessed Friday,

Kristin

There’s always time for cake!

There's always time for cake

Even though my busyness continues, there’s always time for cake. That’s SORT of ironic, only because making a cake is not always a fast process. You’ve often got multiple bowls going for your wet and dry ingredients, you’ve got to cool before you frost (usually). But somehow, if it is needed (isn’t it always), I always find time to make a cake. This time, I made a gluten and dairy free Chocolate Chip Zucchini loaf cake (under the guise of a “bread”). It came out great – moist, chewy, chocolately, healthy(ish).

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I love packing vegetables into food. What a great way to get a serving in your diet!

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I used three whole zucchini for this recipe. I’d never get away with roasting them and serving them at dinner. Well, Smalls might be all about it, but he’s weird. He didn’t even want this cake. Like I said, weird.

Up Close

I bet if Smalls knew it had so much zucchini in it, he’d have eaten it. He’s my savory-loving little boy!

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Here is the link:

http://www.foodfanatic.com/2013/09/gluten-free-zucchini-bread-decadently-chocolate/

We had simple salads for dinner to go with our veggie theme:

Oh Salad

And here’s today’s elephant themed lunch:

Elephant Themed Preschool Lunch

And elephant shaped PB&J (standing on his rock made out of crusts), an applesauce squeezy fruit, some corn, and some goldfish crackers. I used some elephant themed decorations I had, as well.

Have a wonderful Thursday (almost Friday, yay!),

Kristin

Anniverary Leftovers

We had a great anniversary…because we spent it together. Did we do fun stuff during the day? Ehhh, no. Our little one, Smalls, had an unusually high fever the day before and we’d been treating it. But yesterday, our anniversary, we took him to the doctor’s. It was just too high of a fever. So after two hours of waiting at our Pediatrician’s office, we left with a double ear infection diagnosis. Such a bummer. Pray for him? And to not spread sickness?

BUT…we DID go out to an early dinner without the kids. We went to a favorite of ours – Cheesecake Factory! We love that place! And guess what? They have an entire gluten free menu for my husband!

We started off with Shrimp Spring Rolls. We always used to get those when we were dating, so it was nice to have sort of a ‘throw back’. They were delicious.

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I love the dipping sauces. Once the spring rolls were gone, I used their fabulous bread, simply as a means to scrape more sauce out of the bowls, since licking them in public is frowned upon for some reason.

We shared an “adult” beverage, as well – the Pineapple Mojito! YUM!

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It was gorgeous! I’d not had that drink there before. I love how the aesthetics of it were just as beautiful as the flavor.

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And mint is one of my two favorite herbs (tied with cilantro). YUM.

I enjoyed it…

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…A LOT. πŸ˜€

I ordered the Luau Salad. I love ALL their salads, but I was feeling…tropical this time. No matter what salad I get there, I ALWAYS order a side of their house-made ranch dressing. I am sort of a ranch snob. I can pick out a store-bought bottled dressing anywhere. So. I URGE you to get their ranch. To dip your bread in, as well.

I am a pig.

Oink.

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With and without ranch. SO much better. Their ranch is a good accompaniment to any of their other dressings, as well.

Enough about their ranch, or they’re going to have to start paying me.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

Husband ordered a hamburger off of their GF menu. It was one of the best burgers he’d (and me!) ever had. It was juicy and with the addition of bacon, the cheese wasn’t really missed.

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It was nice for him to have a meal that didn’t make him wish he wasn’t dairy or gluten free.

Until dessert time…

…when I ordered the Mango Key Lime Cheesecake.

YUM YUM YUM. I am eating the leftovers as I type this now.

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It was the perfect end to a celebration of five wonderful years.

Oh! And to catch up on food from the week, since that’s what I do…

I made yummy Oat Energy Balls!

Energy Balls 1

SUCH an easy recipe. A friend of mine posted the recipe on FB and it reminded me to make them. They are so easy, delicious, and HEALTHY!

The basic recipe is:

1 C dry oatmeal

1/2 C chocolate chips (I did a little bit less)

1/2 C peanut butter (I did homemade)

1/2 C ground flax seed (Costco sells a huge bag!)

1/3 C honey

1 t vanilla

I also added about 1/3 C shredded coconut. You mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and place in the fridge for about 10 or so minutes. Then you roll them into balls and keep in the fridge for about a week.

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My husband can’t keep his hands off of them. And I’ve been putting them in Bigs’ lunchbox for snacks.

Energy Balls 3

Try them! You can almost put anything in them, as long as the protein and sticky components are there.

I also made arepas. Have you had those?

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Nothing beats an arepa straight off the flat top grill from an outside cart in Miami, but hey, we aren’t there, so I make my own. Unfortunately for my DF husband, no cheese (no GOOD cheese) is allowed on these, but they were still so good! They remind me of my in-Heaven Southern Grandma’s hoe cakes. These are the Latin version.

Arepas 1

I used Harina PAN cornmeal. Super easy – recipe on back. Nothing fancy.

Hmm, I think that’s it for now.

Have a wonderful Friday (FINALLY here!!),

Kristin