Garden fresh

Okay, so not all of today’s lunch was from the garden.   I love having a garden steps away.  My kids love it too.  Nothing like walking over and grabbing a peach, bean or tomato while playing the day away.  It’s also a great tool to teach your kiddos where food comes from.   It doesn’t just magically appear in the grocery store or farmers market.   My little princess talks to the tomato plants.  She says hi ‘matos, love you.  And gently hugs or kisses the plants.  I can’t make this up.   We had summer squash straight from the garden and cous cous with our dinner last night.   My big guy liked it.  Sauted with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

Today we had:

Cucumber sandwiches.  I grew the cucumbers all by myself.   And yes, I consider this a great feat, since I do not have a green thumb.   In between them is a slice of cheese, a tiny basil leaf (again from my garden!) and a sprinkle of pepper.  They were gone in seconds.   I popped some popcorn the other day.  I didn’t grow the corn, but I did get it from the farmer’s market.  So it kinds counts, right?  The kernels are purple, much to the delight of my Diva.  :)  The peach is home-grown.  And so sweet and juicy.  Both girls ate it first.  We are down to our last 2 peaches.   I thought I’d never see the end of them.   I gave them to family and neighbors.  The raccoons and birds helped themselves.   I also made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on honey graham crackers.   YUM!!!!



Here’s what the big guy got.  No way in you know what he’d eat a cucumber and cheese……………

He got what I like to call “ninja salami”  He’s really into Ninjago, so since the salami is on a sword (yellow his fav color!), I called it ninja salami.  Come on, I know I’m not the only Mom that makes up stupid things to make her kid giggle.  Gotta have some crackers and animal crackers too.


Plus some ninja grapes…………




And peanut butter and honey grahams.

It’s that time of year………….

Back to school that is!!!!   It’s always bittersweet.   The big guy started 3rd grade, and the diva is still in preschool (darn you November birthdays!!!)

I have come to realize REAL food is the best food.  We’ve cut out all (okay most!) preservatives and dyes.  The big guy knows if he can’t pronounce it, he can’t eat it.   The big guy is also too big for cutesy little lunches.    Knowing he doesn’t get a bagged PB&J, bag of chips and fruit snacks for lunch….he picked this cool container.   It fits perfect (on it’s side) in the Pottery Barn Kids Retro lunch box he has.


While he LOVES him a PB&J, he really likes hot lunches too.    On his first day he took a sloppy joe, BBQ kettle chips, a honey stick (from the Farmer’s Market!).   I had a brainstorm.   We don’t really do leftovers here.  Sadly.   So instead of putting the leftover sloppy joe meat in the fridge, forgetting about and begging someone to eat it.  I froze it.   Stolen from a Pintrest idea, where they froze individual chicken soups, I lined a muffin tin with foil, plopped in the meat, and froze.  Once it was frozen, I transferred it to a freezer bag.  And then you have perfect single serve portions.


The night before, I pulled a cute little foil packet out, placed it in a bowl in the fridge and it was thawed by morning.   Just heat it, and throw it in a thermos.  Threw the bun in a reusable sandwich bag, added the chips in a container (so they don’t get smashed!).  Just as quick as a PB&J.

Here it is in action!!!!


Today we had a fluffernutter sandwich.  Not the best choice, but hey, moderation right?   I used Justin’s All Natural chocolate Peanut Butter tho!!!  And those orange things…..Meijer Natural’s cheese puffs.  If you have a Meijer near you, I tell you, check out their Natural’s line.   ;)


Yummy grapes!!!


Organic Animal crackers


And an extra drink.  He gets milk at school, but they are small cartons and he’s always thirsty.  So I added water.  Don’t tell him, but the ice pack I used was the one that came with my breast pump to keep the expressed milk cold.  shhhhhh

Happy Valentine’s Day…part 1

The kids and I made valentine’s for their classmates. Thanks to Pintrest for the inspiration….. Here’s what they have picked. As you can tell, they pretty much made them themselves. I just did some gluing and writing.

The big guy is giving these.

The back is the To/From info. He wrote this himself. I taped a glow stick to the back. He also added a heart to each one. He told me that since I had more practice writing, I should do the front. It was his idea to make the hearts out of red sparkle paint. I did most of them, since I’ve had more practice and all.

It was at 7:45 pm last night that he asked if we could MAKE something for this teacher. Of course I said yes, but I didn’t know what to make since I hadn’t been planning on it. My thoughtful little man suggested I just go out to Bath and Body Works once he goes to sleep and get her a couple of bottles of that smell lotion stuff. He’s such a male. Smelly lotion stuff…… My wheels started spinning and I remembered I had pinned some recipes for homemade sugar scrubs. They looked simple enough. And they were. I made a vanilla brown sugar scrub. Fancied up an empty (and clean!) pickle jar.

Super simple and good enough to eat. And you can. Here’s what you need.
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

(pretty sure you all have this in your pantry!)
Mix up your sugars so that there are no lumps. Use a fork! Keep your 7-year-old son from eating said sugars, especially since it’s 8 pm. Distract him by having him climb the counters to get the vanilla. Make him measure the olive oil and vanilla. Let him stir it all up and again try to keep him from eating it. Send him to go brush his teeth with the promise of a “taste” when he comes back. While he’s gone transfer it all to your jar. Leave a smear of scrub on the mixing bowl for his “taste.”
I used leftover ribbons and an unfinished bow for the top. I actually think I will make this again, but for myself. I had to test it out you know. And it made my hands super soft!

The diva picked butterflies as her project. We went to Michael’s and picked up some purple sparkly (of course) paint and clothes pins. In case you are wondering….I did not cut out any of the hearts for either project. I bought a couple of packages of heart-shaped cards, which I cut in half. (I’m lazy) She painted all the clothespins herself. She stamped her Happy Valentine’s Day stamp “kinda” and wrote her name all by herself. I taped them and glued the antennae on the backs. She even insisted on the red sparkly eyes.

Finally, here’s the big guy’s lunch today. I tried to make it manly.

Yesterday I forgot his snack. I remembered today. He had a squeezy applesauce and I taped a red heart that said you are the APPLE of my eye. How cheesy. :)

A manly valentines lunch

I asked my little man if he wanted a Valentine’s lunch today. He said yeah, but make it manly okay mom?

And this is what I came up with.

A couple of M&M’s and animal cookies. A granola bar is in the foil. A couple of potato chips and a Peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich. I cut out a heart from fruit leather and “glued” it to the top with a piece of PB and honey covered banana that fell out of the sandwich (waste not want not! lol)

Fruit Salsa and cinnamon chips….an after school snack!

Yet another Pintrest recipe!!!

I made mine a little different from my pin. I used what fruit I had on hand and what I knew they would eat. Mine is:
A couple of blueberries (halved)
Two strawberries (teeenny tiny pieces)
Four blackberries (quartered)
Five red grapes (quartered)
One spoon of crushed pineapple
A sprinkle of white sugar

To make the chips I used whole wheat tortillas, cut in strips and then in half. I threw them in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a few shakes of cinnamon sugar. I have a shaker of this premade and it’s great for waffles and toast, oatmeal and applesauce.

Oh, I almost forgot. We made jello jigglers the other day and I saved the “scraps” since we cut out shapes. That is what is in the little dip bowl back there. It’s apricot flavored and it’s very good. I’d never seen apricot jello before!!! I don’t make a lot of jello because it all usually has a dye of some sort and usually a red dye. I’ve been finding it harder and harder (at least in my normal store!) to find unflavored gelatin. Well, I found some made by Jello! It’s called Jello mixchief. It’s unflavored and the kind I bought was to add your own juice. We splurged and bought some yummy peach, grape mango orange juice and this is the best jello I’ve ever had!

Lost, but not forgotten

Alphabet pasta salad with a drizle of ranch and chopped olives, pickles, flower PB&J , brocolli and veggie crackers. If I would hav given the kids elbow noodles and olives and ranch, no one would eat it. Magically if you add fun shapes, like letters, they eat it all. And if you are lucky like me you will find their name spelled out in slimy noodles on your kitchen table.

Girls lunch! PB&J gingerbread man, veggies, goldfish and fruit

Snowman sammys in “snow” (aka popcorn), half an orange and grapes on letter picks (I did his initials).

A corn-y lunch


Kinda…..really easy, and really good! I just snagged one and they are super good!

Can’t get any easier than this!
You need:
Jiffy cornbread mix
(along with the egg and milk it calls for)
Hot dogs
Cupcake tin

Make the cornbread according to the box. Cut your hot dogs in 1/4’s. Grease or line your cupcake tin. Spoon a bit of the cornbread mix on the bottom of the cups. Plop a hot dog down in the middle. Spoon more of the corn bread mix over the top. Bake according to the box. 400 for 15 mins and lunch is done!!!

How to prepare a meal with 3 kids…….

Okay, so I am totally addicted to Pintrest. I have found some really great ideas!!! One thing I found while browsing things to do with the kiddos was making activity bags. Ziploc (or other!) bags filled with things to do. The point of these bags is to occupy/entertain the kids while shopping, waiting at the Dr’s office…etc. In my case, I’ve decided to make them so the big guy can get his homework done in peace and I can make dinner. I also made up some folders full of printables for them to color/do. And then I found more cool links on themes and learning ideas. I put these bags low, so that they can grab them as they want. Here’s a couple of the bags I made from things I had around my house.

A threading bag. Fat piece of ribbon with knots and other ribbon tied at the bottom. So the felt pieces don’t fall off! Enlist your 7 year old to cut squares out of all the felt scraps you have. Then cut a slit in the middle so they ‘thread” onto the ribbon.

Nuts and Bolts. I raided my husbands tool box for screws and wire caps and nuts.

A sorting bag. I had a couple of star shaped ice-cube trays lying around. I wrote numbers in the bottom of each mold and counted the correct amount of beads to be placed in each star. Obviously good for counting and fine motor skills!

The Diva likes to cut. And it’s good for her motor skills. There is a pair of scissors and some cutting worksheets. I got these from The Diva’s school, but you can google or make your own! Sometimes I take a piece of solid construction paper and draw basic shapes all over, have her cut them out and then that usually leads to glue…..

A silly face bag!! If you’ve ever bought a helium tank, you probably still have these face stickers around. At least I did. So I put them to use in making silly faces on some plain lined paper. Unlined would be better, but I found 3 packages of lined paper in my house.

A paper weaving bag. Again I used what I had on hand. I made the “loom” out of the back of a pad of writing paper! Then just cut lines on the cardboard and then strips of paper (and yes, I even threw in the scraps from the “book bag” I made). I included a couple of sheets of stickers so that they can make patterns also.

A make a book bag! Again trying to use up the mass amounts of notebook paper. I cut it down to small hand side, stapled the sides and threw in some stickers I had lying around. I plan to raid my scrapbook supplies too for more stickers!!

A straws, strings and ties bag. I stole this from my son actually. He’s come home from school with clear straws and twist ties to make shapes. I added more straws and strings with buttons tied on the ends. If you click the picture and look closer at it, you will see my son’s addition of a twistie tie guy tied up in a red pipe cleaner!!

Felt cupcakes and ice creams! Again, I used the felt scraps and cut out a cupcake (actually 2) a liner, frosting, sprinkles and a cherry. I also cut out some ice cream cones and ice cream scoops. I used the scraps of the scraps to make “sprinkles”.

Waiting for the snow….

It’s the middle of January and there is not a bit of snow here in Chicagoland. It snowed twice, but not even enough to shovel. My kids have new boots they are dying to “test” out. And I’m sitting here at my computer with the window open and it’s 50 degrees outside.
So in wishful thinking, I made the kids a snowman snack, complete with “snow.” Maybe it worked…it’s supposed to snow here tomorrow.

The snowman is made of banana slices, and I quartered a blueberry to make the “buttons.” His hat is half of a grape and the snow is Sally’s Natural marshmallow cereal and some yogurt covered raisins. The cereal is from Costco, and even my husband who is kinda picky when it comes to food (wonder where the Little Man gets it from), eats it just about every night before bed. :) There’s no dyes or preservatives in it, and it is really yummy!! Stick some pretzel sticks in for arms and dust some powdered sugar (I have an old shaker filled with powdered sugar for this task!) on top and hope for some real snow!!!

A happy snowman

I totally stole this from my new obsession…..pintrest!! I have found so many great ideas, I love it!!

The “pin” showed a snowman shaped pancake and they used blueberries, not icing for the snowman details, and marshmallows for the snow. I don’t have a pan big enough to accommodate a pancake that long….so I improvised. Two pancakes, with a bacon scarf. I used left over icing from Halloween (orange and black) to create the details and I couldn’t serve marshmallows for breakfast and I didn’t have any, so I made hash browns instead, and that was the “snow.”

The strawberry is supposed to be Santa. I just cut the end off the strawberry to make it sit flat, then cut the top off and put a blob of frosting, but you could use whip cream, but I didn’t have any of that.

Previous Older Entries

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 319 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 4,455 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 319 other followers


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 319 other followers