Month: February 2014

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

“L” is for the way you look at me…

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…and also for “lunchboxes”!

Can you hear the springy sound of Cupid shooting his arrow? It’s Valentine’s week! That means lots of sweet lunches for my children! I can’t wait! You know how much I love themes. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I LOVE Valentine’s Day themes because I love love, and pink, and hearts. Could I get any more stereotypically “girl”? In my defense, I have to maintain every ounce of girlishness that I can because I am surrounded by testosterone in my house.

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I’ll be doing a Valentine’s themed lunch each day (even if not in school). Here is Valentine’s Day Week Lunch #1 (for both Bigs and Smalls this time):

Valentine's Themed Preschool and Toddler Lunch

I made PB&Js with strawberry jam and used heart cutters and filled those holes in with pink and Valentine’s colored sprinkles. For Bigs (top lunch), I included pretzel sticks and an applesauce squeezy fruit. I sprayed red food-safe spray on the leftover bread. And for dessert, I gave him chocolate Goldfish cookies with cherry yogurt covered raisins. For Smalls, I did the same sandwich (only half the size), an applesauce squeezy fruit, some pretzel sticks, his extra bread piece, and some raisins.

I hope they’ll enjoy these (and know how much I love them!) while I’m at my church Mommy group.

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So here’s to a love-filled week…

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…that’s also filled with sweet lunches!

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Happy Valentine’s Week!

Kristin

A Pizza my Mind!!

It was Pizza Day in my Bigs’ class yesterday!! You can tell by the number of “!” how excited I was. I am so food-inspired. It’s weird. Anyways, my Bigs was excited too! We love our pizza – OBVIOUSLY. I make a lot of it. We eat it a lot. Even Smalls likes it. And he likes saying it…”Peepoo, peepoo, peepoo!!”. He’s cute.

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Yup.

I made Bigs a pizza-themed lunch, also obviously. It’s what I do.

Pizza Party Themed Preschool Lunch

This one was so much fun to make! I made a pizza-shaped PB&J (this kid and his PB&J’s!!) and used my food-safe spray to make a golden crust and sort of reddish sauce. I cut out fruit leather “pepperoni” (I add the crusts and bread leftovers back into the bento after picture taking – no one wants to see those things), which served as his dessert. I added pretzel chips and real pepperoni so Bigs can make little snack stacks. Is that even a phrase? He also has an applesauce squeezy fruit. I got such a hoot out of making this. I can’t even handle it.

And obviously, we had to dress the part! I can’t help myself!

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Just a red and white striped shirt (my friend, B, let me know that she found Waldo!!) and…PIZZA EARRINGS. I can’t even.

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Food jewelry makes me happy. Is that weird?

Anyways, I painted pizzas on my nails too. Was it too much?

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All the girls in Bigs’ class squealed with delight when I showed these to them. The boys could care less, although Bigs and Smalls liked it, at home!

I do it for the kids. What can I say?

And Bigs dressed the part too (Smalls always matches big Brother, so he had the same shirt on that day too), wearing a shirt with pizzas having a party.

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I know. I know I’m ridiculous. I admit and accept that.

Bigs’ wonderful teacher had really fabulous pizza themed activity centers! And for snack time, each kid got to make their own little English muffin pizza. It was so fun! I loved seeing how different each pizza came out.

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This has sort of been a pizza week for us. I made Pizza Pasta earlier in the week.

I made it up. I mean, I’m sure it’s been done a time or thousand, but I came up with it on the fly, with what I had.

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It basically came out of when dinner time rolled around and I hadn’t thawed anything. And it worked with our pizza theme.

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I mixed spaghetti sauce with teeny pasta shells (GF for Husband), added mini pepperoni, cheese (none for Husband), and olives, only for me.

I served it with peas and apples. It was good and it totally looked like I planned it.

And today, Friday, I made pizza for dinner. Just to “round” out the week.

I used this GF & DF crust mix:

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It’s pretty good. It comes with a packet of yeast, so it’s at least more like a “real” pizza crust.

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This was the pizza for Bigs, Smalls, and me. GF, but with cheese, ham, and pepperoni.

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My husband’s looked a little more pitiful without the cheese and three lonely pepperonis.

But dessert made up for it (it IS Dessert Friday, after all!!)!

I made vegan Chocolate Haystacks.

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This simple recipe consists only of making a quick, vegan chocolate sauce, mixing it with rolled oats, and freezing. That’s it!

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They came together in minutes and were fantastic!

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I think these would make for a really lovely Valentine’s Day dessert.

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Try them! They are so easy and you probably have all the ingredients!

Here is the recipe:

http://www.becauseilikechocolate.com/2013/12/vegan-chocolate-haystacks.html

My kind of blogger – “Because I like chocolate”…

ANNNNND, since we are on the topic of dessert, my beautiful friend had a birthday yesterday and shared her cupcakes with some of our other beautiful friends. We had a great time and cupcakes are ALWAYS a plus. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Aren’t they just gorgeous? I meannnnnn….. I can barely contain myself where there is a cupcake around. Just wonderful.

I hope you all have had a lovely week and that your weekend is just as lovely!

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 lastย 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