Category: Breakfast

Rainy Day Reflections

School was canceled for Bigs today, due to a funeral being held at our church (which is also our school). The funeral was expected to be attended by up to 5,000 people. The person who passed away was a beloved, young police officer who died in the line of duty.

Normally, I love Bigs’ school days. It gives me a few hours of peace and quiet less chaos. Today, however, I am grateful for an extra day of chaos, of chasing after my two precious boys, running errands, breaking up brotherly fights, cutting food into teeny bite sized pieces, and implementing time outs.

For the Fallen Officer was once (and always will be, I can imagine) someone’s precious little boy. It’s very tragic, sad situations like these that help me to remember to enjoy the little moments with my boys, no matter how hard the every days can be.

I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers.

– Philemon 1:4

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

– 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

-James 1:17

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Today for lunch, I made a brunch. I made french toast bites and fruit (with pieces of cheese for Smalls). The boys cleaned their plates.

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Have a blessed, THANK-FILLED day and if you can, say a prayer for the family, friends, and colleagues of this fallen officer?

God bless,

Kristin

Berries and Army Men

Well, Spring Break has come to a close. It was a nice break. On Friday, we went to our usual Friday playgroup and we celebrated one little friend’s first birthday! It was so cute! It is SO fun to see these little babies grow up. We were at the park, so the kids had a great time. It was a sunny, clear (warm!) day – the sort that makes more freckles appear on Bigs’ nose and makes him and Smalls’ cheeks turn pink!

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The park was a new one to us and really great! There were lots of mini-playgrounds to explore.

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As per the usual, Smalls followed Bigs around, trying to do all the big boy things bigger boys do.

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Bigs loves going down fireman slides. He’s so good at it. He calls himself “Fireman ‘Bigs'”, when sliding down!

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The boys had so much fun!

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And the birthday boy did too! He smooshed cake all over his sweet little face. It was a fun day!

When we got home, my wonderful neighbor brought me a Jewish pastry called a hamentashen. It was a prune flavored one and it was just delicious.

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The pastry was light and buttery, the prune filling was subtle and sweet. It was my first hamentashen and I’d been wanting to try one for a while. So thoughtful of my neighbor!

We rounded out our day with a fun dinner at Cracker Barrel with my parents-in-law (I took a picture of my dinner, under the watchful, slightly judgey eye of my sitting-too-close-dining neighbor-that-I-didn’t-know, but it didn’t look as good as it tasted). After dinner, we rocked on their famous rocking chairs for a while and relaxed. It was a great Friday.

We didn’t have pancakes on Saturday morning (!!!), but I DID make muffins! I needed to use up more of the spinach from St. Patty’s Day (when I made spinach pancakes).

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I doubled the recipe since I had a ton of spinach and it only made 12 muffins (I like to freeze them for future eating). They were spinach banana muffins. They came out SO good!

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I was taking pictures of them as they were cooling and Smalls couldn’t resist trying to sneak one. I love those little sneaky baby hands!

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These muffins came out just right – the perfect, tender, chewy crumb, a heavy banana taste, loads of cinnamon.

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You couldn’t taste the spinach at all, and I used about 3 or so cups!

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In our house, when I make spinach muffins, we call them “Army Men Muffins” because they come out almost the same color as Bigs and Smalls’ army men.

Here is the recipe for our Army Men Muffins:

http://thegreenforks.com/popeye-muffins/

We took the boys to Home Depot after breakfast to get some plants. There happened to be a popcorn cart there, at which the boys got some free little bags to munch on.

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Smalls

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Bigs

I shouldn’t even admit this, but I sort of love going to Home Depot. The lumber smell that hits you right as you walk in is such a wonderful smell, especially mixed with the hot doggy smells from the hot dog cart by the entrance. They sort of go together – hot dogs and lumber. Anyways, I love going through the garden section. It’s always like a little e-venture (as Bigs call it).

Bigs likes to try out the riding mowers.

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He’s so neat.

We got a blackberry plant, a blueberry plant, and some other stuff that I have no idea about. When we got home, we (they) transferred them to their new pots.

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Bigs is at such a wonderful age (turning 4 in about a month and a half), where he loves to help and is actually good at it.

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He put together his own little plant. He called it his “merry-go-round” plant because he couldn’t remember that it was a marigold.

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He dropped in the seeds and watered it all by himself.

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We can’t wait to see it grow!

Smalls played in the yard while Bigs planted.

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He likes going up to the fence separating our yard from the neighbors’ and barking at it, in hopes that their dogs will come to see him.

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Our sweet little girl keeping a watchful eye on the new plants

After planting and naps, the big boys (Husband and Bigs) grilled some burgers while Smalls kept me company in the kitchen. We had macaroni and cheese (GF, DF version for Husby). I also sautéed some green and wax beans with some carrots.

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It was a good Saturday.

Today, Sunday, was a great day too! Church was great. We are learning about the book of John right now. Today we talked about how even when we don’t know ourselves and when we question who we are (which I have many times), God always knows who we are and who He has made us to be. It gave me such a sense of peace that I don’t even need to always know who I am. It just doesn’t even matter. God knows.

And in Bigs’ Sunday School class, they learned about Jesus washing feet.

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They got a little kit of soap and a teeny towel. I couldn’t even get a picture of it all together since Bigs was so excited. He couldn’t wait to get home and wash the feet of the most willing participant (I won). He said it’s how Jesus showed His love and so he wanted to do that too.

I am blown away at the Biblical knowledge Bigs is learning and how his love for Jesus is showing. <3

With our leftover hamburger dinner, I made the most yummy fruit salad. A refreshing way to end our Spring Break.

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It’s summer fruit season already and I am so excited! I never used to look forward to Summer (so hot, not an outdoorsy kind of gal), but my boys just make it so much fun and we have so much to look forward to. God is good!

I hope you all have had a blessed Spring Break (or week, if you weren’t so lucky).

Happy Sunday,

Kristin

Spring has Sprung!

It’s still Spring Break here and we’ve been staying quite busy! The weather has been gorgeous (save for one day where it seemed like we were in a hurricane) – clear skies, white fluffy clouds some days, picture-perfect blue backdrops everyday, chilly mornings that burn off to warm, sunny, lovely spring days.

Spring Break actually started last week, after Bigs got out of school. We had breakfast for dinner that night. I made a baked oatmeal casserole.

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I based my recipe loosely on this one:

http://www.aaronandyolanda.com/2013/07/baked-oatmeal-casserole.html

Instead of two cups of milk, I did one cup of coconut milk and a cup of pumpkin puree. I only added a few chocolate chips. I also didn’t add nuts or fruit of any kind. So it’s basically nothing like that recipe. And it of course didn’t turn out like that recipe (what did I expect!).

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It was alright. The oats didn’t get soaked with the pumpkin custard like I thought they would, so there was a separation of sorts. Next time, maybe I’ll have all the right ingredients and I can make it the right way. 🙂

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I served it with scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, and sausages. It did the trick (if trick = filling our tummies).

The next day was GORGEOUS! We went to a park play date.

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Smalls was able to keep up with the big kids this time.

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And Big Brother took the time to play with him.

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I love to see them playing nicely together. 🙂

I gave Smalls a wee little apple and he carried that thing around while playing. He dropped it and still clutched it tightly. This is what I found him holding later on.

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The next day was Pancake Saturday – not to ever be missed in our house! It should be renamed Pancake and Breakfast Meat Saturdays.

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By this time, I’d run out of eggs (running out of ingredients is a key theme in my life, apparently). I substituted applesauce for the missing eggs. The result was an incredibly creamy, custard-like inside. I also added loads of vanilla and vanilla bean paste, and some caramel extract that I found at Wally-World (Walmart). I thought they were just delicious.

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They came out fluffy and golden. So good. Seriously. I might be using the applesauce trick again. I also might HAVE to, as I never seem to have everything I need.

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Oh, pancakes.

After breaky, we went to a local Farmer’s Market/Petting Farm. It’s newly opened and we’ve been wanting to try it out.

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Bigs insisted (and I am not using that term lightly) on wearing his overalls and boots.

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Kind of adorable though.

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We saw all kinds of farm animals. Bigs went up to the chicken coop and squatted down and said to them, “Hey Chickens! Why did you cross the road?!” My husband and I were beside ourselves with laughter!

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From there, we went to the food trucks and market side. We ate an okay lunch of hot dogs.

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And followed that up with a huge cup of the most refreshing, gorgeous, delicious fruit ever. I think it tasted even more delicious after that greasy, fried lunch.

We also ran into two different families we know! It was a great day.

When we got home, there was still some time before nap, so the boys did their “yard work”.

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They earn their keep, I tell you.

On Sunday night, some of our best friends, who have moved far away, came back because of work and we got to visit. We went on a date night with several of our couple friends. It was just wonderful seeing them. It is terribly sad when one of your best friends moves away, but it makes you treasure the time you have with them, when you see them again.

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My husband ordered the best red wine I’ve ever had – Jam Jar! SO GOOD! I will have to get that one next time. I’m not much of a red wine drinker, unless it’s sweet, which Jam Jar was.

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We had a minted edamame hummus and roasted red pepper hummus with lavosh crackers, as an appetizer. We also tasted our friends’ pesto chicken flat bread.

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After we toasted to our wonderful friendships…

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…we dug into our meals. My husband ordered the scallops (did not get a good picture) and they were divine. I ordered the winter vegetarian sampling.

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This plate changes seasonally. I love it. This time, there was a stuffed mushroom, some roasted beets, broccolini, asparagus, and peppers, along with a veggie stuffed taco, and some tofu with mango chutney.

This restaurant is famous for its small desserts. I can’t ever choose one.

Oink.

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I chose the chocolate peanut butter mousse (um, SO good) and the cannoli (cannoli cream, chocolate chips, raspberry sauce, cannoli shell).

I can’t even.

I am still dreaming about that cannoli cream. Is that weird? To dream about cannoli cream?

The next day was St. Patrick’s Day! I always go big on these smaller holidays. I love a theme! I think you know that by now.

Before everyone (else) woke up, I put together the Irish Stew in the crock pot.

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I sort of changed around the recipe. I used this recipe as a base:

http://everydaymomsmeals.blogspot.com/2013/02/its-not-soup-its-stew.html

I did not add onion soup mix (due to the non gluten and dairy-free and high sodium nature), so I added real onions. I only used one can of tomato soup and added a can of no-salt stewed tomatoes. I also added more of the same vegetables. I let that sit on low all day while we were busy doing other things.

For breakfast, I made Spinach Pancakes (yep – the third time in five days that I served my family pancakes – that’s how I roll). This was a great recipe.

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They were chock full of fresh spinach (two cups!). Bigs said that they tasted like green beans, but he kept eating them, so that’s a good sign.

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When drizzled with syrup and some butter, the very obvious spinach flavor was sort of pushed to the back (a plus for most kids).

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I added more vanilla than called for. I served them with corned beef hash.

Here is the recipe:

http://www.superhealthykids.com/blog-posts/no-dye-green-pancakes.php

My best friend since kindergarten was up visiting from where she lives and brought her little girl (who is only 2 months older than Smalls). I LOVE seeing my best friend. I miss her dearly. I feel so blessed to see two of my loveliest friends, who no longer live near me, all in the same week!

For an after lunch St. Patty’s Day treat, I made Leprechaun Pudding for the kids!

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I just mixed half a packet of sugar-free, fat-free white chocolate pudding mix into some vanilla yogurt and added some green coloring. I layered that with some Lucky Charms cereal. I think they liked it.

Earlier in the morning, I’d also made a birthday treat for my bestie. I asked her what she wanted and it was so simple and I love her for that. All she wanted was a boxed mix peanut butter brownie with a ganache on top. How easy!

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I sent that home with her. She let me try it and take pictures of it before she left though. THAT’S a best friend!

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It was good. I used coconut milk for the ganache.

While my boys were napping, I prepared our Irish dessert – Banoffee Pie! I totally used shortcuts. I made a quick crust from graham cracker crumbs and butter. I “baked” it in the toaster oven. I sliced a banana on top of that, melted and poured some dulce de leche that I bought from Costco, and sliced another banana on top. I then whipped a half pint of whipping cream and spread that on top.

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I let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. It was SO good.

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I loved that the dulce de leche was the only sweet part of it. I added no sugar to the graham crust or whipped cream. It was a nice contrast.

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It was a dream of a pie – crunchy, buttery and rich, sweet creamy bananas, indulgent, deep caramel, fluffy, milky topping. Seriously, the stuff (my) dreams are made of.

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Just…yum. It was even better the next day.

And the Irish Stew came out SO SO good!

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The stew beef was so tender, as were the potatoes.

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The broth was rich and tomato-y.

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We ate it for two days. It was great.

I’d call that a successful food holiday!

I got a chance to see my other friend (who we’d seen on Sunday) again before she went back up North. We met, with some other friends, at a neat farm-to-table restaurant.

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We started off with fresh, crusty bread and butter (the only way to “start” anything).

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My friend got a Blue Moon and I had some. I love that beer – so refreshing!

My other friend and I went halfsies on the burger. It wasn’t just any old burger. It had bacon jam, pimento cheese, spicy/sweet pickles, bibb lettuce, and a fried green tomato.

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One of the best burgers I’ve had!

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It was served with wedged potato fries topped with shaved white truffles. Earthy, salty goodness.

Aca-yeah!

Yet another friend and I shared the chocolate cake! We call each other “cakesters”…we just live for cake, what can I say!

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It was delicious. And a wonderful night with wonderful friends.

I got to see my kindergarten bestie again the next day! I took her to my favorite donut shop.

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She hadn’t been there before. She is now a convert.

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I got my now usuals – a sprinkle for Bigs, some holes for Smalls (one of which was shoved whole into his teeny mouth), a German chocolate, a Coconut Crunch, a strawberry and cream cheese, a chocolate and peanut butter, and a chocolate and cream cheese.

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I meannnnnn…..

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Oh, my heavens.

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Why, thank you!

We then walked off our calories at the zoo. It was such a gorgeous day!

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The boys and my bestie’s daughter, B, really loved seeing all the animals.

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The usually low-key otters were really playful and the lemurs saved their freak-out for when we were leaving.

It was a really wonderful day.

My, what a foodie Spring Break it’s been, and it isn’t even over yet!

I hope this finds you all well,

Kristin

A Berry Good Day

Today has been a berry, berry good day! Yesterday’s gloomy, overcasty clouds burned off to reveal a blue-skied, clear, gorgeous day. It was a perfect backdrop for strawberry picking. We started our day with our usual Saturday Pancakes.

Pancakes Bacon and Sausage

This time, I added little sausages with our bacon, and brûléed bananas.

Pancake Breakfast

After our hearty breakfast, we were off! The strawberry fields were about a half hour away and we got there just as they opened.

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The boys were SO excited! To them, it must have looked like miles upon miles of strawberries! Bigs did a great job of picking the plump, ruby red, ripe berries. Smalls did a great job of eating any berry he could find, whether it be from the ground (half-eaten by some vermin or squashed by an unknown stranger shoe) or plucked from the plant itself.

Smalls Eating

Just about every time I turned around, Smalls was stuffing a berry into his mouth. His little baby hands were stained red within minutes. When I picked him up to give him a snuggle, his little breath and skin smelled so sweet of ripe, juicy berries. I just held him forever, burying my face in his curly hair and neck, inhaling his sweetness. And he let me, instead of squirming away. It was magical. I could have breathed in his scent forever.

Smalls and Strawberries

The boys had a wonderful time. It was great to show Bigs food-sourcing. He couldn’t wait to get home, wash these sweeties, and eat them – the ones HE picked! Snack-time was wonderful – a bowl of freshly picked berries!

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I love this one of Husband, Bigs, and Smalls, in succession <3

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It was such a happy morning, with the blue, clear skies, the sweet smell of berries in the air, and surrounded by my three, very special boys. My heart is so full!

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Our bounty, washed and drying

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Beautiful, ruby red jewels

From the strawberry field, we went to a Farmer’s Market. We walked around, munching on kettle corn (it’s always best made right in front of you!).

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Each boy got their own little bag. Smalls dumped his out on accident.

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We smelled the produce and plants for sale (this one was a spectacular chocolate mint plant!!).

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We watched an Amtrak train pull into the station and take off again. We sat there gawking at it like tourists. It was great. Smalls talked about for the rest of the day, in his own little 19 month old way, “Choo choo?? Wooo wooooooo!!”, “Choo choo!!!!”. Those boys love their trains.

And, we also walked through the rows and rows of gorgeous flowers for sale. These are the most lovely hydrangeas. I love hydrangeas.

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Spring has most certainly sprung around these parts – a fresh promise of growth and renewal, and a reminder of life’s beautiful, cyclical nature.

It was indeed a gorgeous and perfect morning for our little family! We ended our day (after all the non-event middle day stuff) with frozen yogurt.

Froyo

The boys are now tucked into bed, I am not far behind. I love when I am pooped from doing things that made me happy.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

I am so blessed by these three boys! They give me the hope for a new day and they fill my heart with love. My cup truly runneth over.

Have a very blessed night, yourself,

Kristin

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. 😉 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. 🙂

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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. 😉 I can handle a GF crust, but no cheeeeeese (I’m out)?! Whatever will I do?

Have a blessed Friday,

Kristin

Happy Pancake Saturday!

Pancake Breakfast this weekend

I love our family’s Pancake Saturday tradition. We ALWAYS look forward to pancakes anytime, but especially combined with a Saturday morning, where the hope to sleep in springs eternal, and the rush of the weekday life sees further away.

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The type of pancakes vary (although they are now all gluten and dairy free). There’s usually bacon and some kind of fruit.

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Today was vanilla pancakes (lightly flavored with almond from almond milk).

I can always count on the boys to clean their plates!

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And also…this happened! Dunkin’ Donuts now has their own line of coffee creamers!! I’ve been saying they should do this for forever. It was good! I found it at my Target, where I seem to be able to find all kinds of funky, new, seasonal, and rare food-type items.

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So here’s to a fulfilling, lovely Saturday! Where we live, it’s dreary and very rainy right now, but we are making our own sunshine. <3

Have a blessed day,

Kristin

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Valentine’s Day Leftovers

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day week. We sure had a busy one! And it spanned over a few days, too. We filled food bags for hungry kids through our church and school (which is the same thing for us). It was a great way of showing Bigs how to show love to others, even if we don’t know them.

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It was nice to let Bigs pick out the pantry items to put in the bag.

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And then to see the sea of red bags in the foyer of his school was just heartwarming.

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Then, Bigs’ Thursday class party was just precious. The kids sang (so very softly and with some nervousness too) “Skinnamarinky Dinky Dink”. Then we ate. And it was just a perfect day.

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Bigs and his Valentine’s for his teacher and the Admin 🙂

Bigs woke up to his last “What I love about you” heart on his door on Valentine’s Day. Each morning, starting February 1st, I put a new heart on his bedroom door while he was sleeping. It was a fun thing for him and it allowed me to put in writing for him to see, some of the things I love about him.

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On Valentine’s morning, I made pink almond pancakes with sprinkles.

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They were so good. I put conversation hearts as decoration, although they were highly coveted by The Big One.

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I let him only have a few, knowing how sugary sweet the rest of the day would, inevitably, be.

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And Cupid came, wrote a poem, and left his poop (hey, I live in a house where poopy humor runs [get it?] rampant)!

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We went on our Friday playdate, where the kids exchanged Valentine’s (just like at school the previous day). It was a lot of fun. I packed up the cookies I’d made earlier in the week (what’s interesting to me is that the kids liked the Sweethearts candy more than the cookies! Oh well – more for us Moms!). I had made sure to make double batches of everything so we’d have enough.

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After we got home and napped, I took the boys to the market to get some dinner supplies. I wanted to make a nice meal for them and my Sweetheart. I made Chateaubriand Filet Mignon (such a rare treat!!) and asparagus, and had a few salads.

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To make the steaks, I let them get to room temperature, sprinkled them with Kosher salt, and placed in my preheated, olive oil-coated grill pan. I seared them for a few minutes on each side and transferred them to a sheet pan. I put them in a 400 degree oven for about 12 minutes and brought them out to rest. For the asparagus, I rolled them around in olive oil and Kosher salt and roasted them in the 400 degree oven for 13 minutes on a sheet pan.

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I served them with a strawberry and spinach salad, and a cucumber and dill salad purchased from the market. It was all delicious!

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We had chocolate covered strawberries for dessert, quite fitting.

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That night, I made a Flourless Chocolate Cake (the recipe was already gluten free and I made the ganache dairy free) to celebrate my father-in-law and husband’s (husband has birthday coming up) birthdays the next morning.

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The cake came together easily and so beautifully. It was dark, dense, and oh-so-chocolately. The ganache was glossy, rich, and shiny.

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http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/flourless-chocolate-cake-recipe

While I was making that, the boys painted their little ceramic elephant craft we’d gotten them for Valentine’s Day. They had a lot of fun. It was a lovely day.

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Bigs

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Smalls

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Final product: Bigs, left, and Smalls, right

Bigs also did his Valentine’s Day homework that his awesome teacher sent home! It was a neat Sweethearts themed one!

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It involved counting and coloring heart shapes and sweethearts. SO CUTE!!

The next morning, we got up and “released” Bigs’ Valentine’s Day heart balloon. I sort of love doing that. It’s fun to watch it flit away, wherever the wind pulls it. The kids liked it too.

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I like to think that if I saw a heart shaped balloon flying in such a gorgeous, crisp, blue sky, it would make me smile!

Then we went to my husband’s parents’ house to celebrate his and his father’s birthdays with chocolate cake and a sunshiny day!

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We played with sidewalk chalk and played hopscotch. Does anyone play that anymore?

Then…cake!

I used this knife that my wonderful sister-from-another-mister friend gave me:

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It’s always been my life’s motto! Even as a young child!

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The cake was RICH! So rich, like a truffle. But very good.

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Despite being a short little old thing, it fed a lot of people – my in-laws, my own family, I gave some to my parents and also to our neighbors! The cake that kept on giving!

We ended our day with walking around a craft store. Look at this cute bike bell I found – it’s a donut! I just need a bike now!

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Although I didn’t get it, if I did, it would have been like buying the shoes first…THEN the outfit. That’s normally how I do it.

Church on Sunday was wonderful. We love our pastor and his messages. The boys had fun in Sunday School and had a fun snack before naps:

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Yogurt Banana Splits!

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I cut a banana in half and lengthwise and put vanilla yogurt and chopped strawberries in between. The boys got such a kick out of it. We needed to get back to simple eating after all the festive, rich foods we consumed this weekend.

And back on the diet. :/

I hope you all had a blessed “holiday” weekend! I’m ready to slow down, get back to “normal” (schedules, diets, LIFE!).

Kristin

Busy as a Bzzzzz!

Busy as a bee

We have been so busy. School is back in (yesssss! I love having BOTH my boys around, but when Bigs is in school for a few hours a week, I am really able to find time to get stuff done.) and sometimes getting back to an old schedule takes a little adjusting. Sure my kids never slept in during winter break, but we still had to move a little more quickly to get places.

For Bigs’ first day back at school yesterday, I did a transportation themed lunch.

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Mind you, I’m a bit rusty from not doing any special school lunches since December 12th. I made a choo-choo and race car shaped PB&J, I put some dried fruit, nut and raisin mix in there with some orange yogurt raisins, some pretzel sticks and an applesauce squeezy fruit. He said he really enjoyed the train sandwich!

And dinner was even mostly successful.

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I roasted zucchini and squash (in a tian fashion, without the cheese or breading).

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I cut the up the veggies and tossed them in olive oil and Montreal steak seasoning and baked them for about 40 minutes.

I served them with sun-dried tomato, garlic and herb chicken sausage and green bell pepper tossed in a homemade tomato sauce.

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Everyone (all the adults – we had a friend over for dinner) ate it and there were no leftovers.

Did I mention that I am on a self-imposed diet? I am. It’s a dessert on weekends only diet. AUGH! I am three days into it and have stuck with it so far. It’s going to be hard when I start baking again.

Well, since today is Wednesday and there is no school, I decided to TRY to start a new tradition – Special Breakfast Wednesday. During the school days, we just don’t have enough time to MAKE a breakfast (that isn’t cereal, toast, etc.). So this morning I made pancakes from scratch. Snickerdoodle Pancakes. And they were HEALTHY. And let me tell you, they were some of the best pancakes I’ve eaten in my whole life. Bigs ate 10 small ones. Smalls ate about 4. And that’s a lot for him.

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I used a recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie. She does healthy desserts and breakfasts. I’ve made her Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip before and it was wonderful. These particular pancakes have a very small amount of sugar and no fat at all (or eggs)!!

They browned up quickly and beautifully.

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Like every other time I make pancakes, I get better at making them as I go through batches. The last batch is always the best. Works out for me since I always give the first batches of pancakes to the boys and my husband first. 😉

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There, that’s better. Golden brown.

Anyways, they were DIVINE. I am not exaggerating. They were so wonderful. I still smell the cinnamon in my house. I will be making these again and again. And I can easily make them gluten and dairy free. They were made even better with real maple syrup.

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Real maple syrup can make anything better.

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These are a great “work-around” to my no dessert during the week diet!

Here is the recipe:

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

TRY THEM!!!

Anyways, off to ready the house for my bestie! She is up from where she now lives, four hours away from me (waaaaaaah) and we are going to spend some time together this morning with our kids.

Have a blessed day!

Kristin

Tinsel’s in a Tangle

Happy Christmas and Merry Food Coma

My body is in a coma…the food sort. My fridge looks like it’s in a coma too. Not an inch to spare (it IS a rather small fridge, though) with all the leftovers.

Let’s rewind a few days. We took our boys to visit Santa. We stood in line for over an hour to see a really wonderful looking Santa.

Boys in line for Santa

Smalls was delightful the whole time waiting (as was Bigs), but the second he was plopped on Ol’ St. Nick’s lap, he screamed like he was being pinched. Poor thing. Not a fan. So Bigs was smiling really sweetly (and told Santa he wanted a bouncy carrot) and Smalls was screaming with tears pouring out of his eyes…50%, not bad. We also went to Christmas Eve service at church, which was beautiful.

We set out some cookies (some GF and LF) and almond milk for Santa (to accommodate Mr. Claus’ Crohn’s diet!). We also left a carrot for the reindeer.

Santa Cookies and Milk

We actually had to wake the boys up on Christmas morning. They NEVER sleep in. Ever. They are usually up way before 7:00a. They were very excited about everything and Bigs was shocked Santa brought him a bouncy carrot.

Bouncy Carrot

Since they slept in so late, I was able to finish prep on their special breakfast. I reheated the gluten and lactose free pancakes I’d made earlier in the week. I cut up some fruit and finished the Grinch kebabs, and put together the pancake toppings bar (bananas, strawberries, Christmas sprinkles, chocolate chips, and marshmallows). We sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and began eating.

Christmas Morning Breakfast

Bigs gobbled it all up. Smalls ate next to nothing, which is typical. I also made hot chocolate (my Mom made the mix from scratch) with whipped cream Christmas trees (that I made with a silicon mold the day before). I wasn’t sure the molds would work, but they did! They were so fun. I gave Bigs another hot chocolate today with another whipped cream tree…all of which he accidentally knocked on the floor. Sigh.

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While they were basking in the glow of new toys, I put together two casseroles.

Bread Pud and Hash

A Cranberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding and a Cracker Barrel-inspired Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole. They were both DELICIOUS.

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While cheesy potatoes are always a good dish to me, the bread pud was TO DIE FOR. Geesh, that’s morbid. Let’s say it was a must try. It was divine. Seriously. I will be making this again and again and again.

Hash Brown recipe:

http://choosingsimplicity.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/easy-1-bowl-cheesy-hash-brown-casserole/

Bread Pudding recipe:

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/11/cranberry-white-chocolate-bread-pudding-recipe.html

We ate those two dishes with some others that came with my Husband’s side of the family (some vegan and GF dishes, bagels with cream cheese and lox, fruit salad).

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And then after naps, we went to my parents’ house, where we enjoyed another meal! We had roast beef with au jus and horseradish sauce, roasted vegetables, rolls, fruit salad, and a lovely cheese platter.

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And my Mom made a fruitcake…a FRUITCAKE! I love fruitcake. I might be one of two people (My Dad and I) that eat it. My husband jokes that there is only one fruitcake in the whole world. I think that’s the only fruitcake joke. Whatever. More for me (and Dad).

I hope that you had a lovely holiday.

As for me, I’m ready to cleanse my home, take down the decorations, prepare for the new year, and make my resolutions. And eat less (maybe).

Kristin

*Sorry for all the collages versus whole pictures – it was just much easier and less time-consuming with so many!

Happy Thanksgiving 2013!

Away in a Manger Scene

We did it! We decorated for Christmas. We always do it the week of Thanksgiving since we travel on the day of and want our home to be Christmas-y upon our return. Bigs was SO excited! This will be a fun year with him. He “gets” it. Smalls, however, is just a typical one year old, plucking the Christmas balls off the tree, yelling, “BALL, BALL!!!”, and throwing them as hard as he can (and he’s freakishly strong) across the living room. I normally put a smaller tree up, as well, that is my “Sweets Tree”, where I put on only dessert and sweets themed ornaments. That one is, sadly, not up this year. I just don’t have the energy to watch Smalls around two trees. I have extra eyes on the back of my head to watch them, but they just aren’t enough. Perhaps next year.

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Bigs was very concerned that the Christmas tree would go away while he napped, while we were away for Thanksgiving and for any other event requiring us to leave the house. Which is a lot. Object permanence isn’t as ingrained as I’d thought. But that will make it more magical and more fun to show him as we get closer to the day. And for him, it’ll be like Groundhog Day, every morning! The tree will still be there, just like yesterday! It is just so wonderful to see this holiday through the eyes of a child. I know that is clichéd (I am shaking my own head at my own self right now), but it truly is.

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I just love that skinny little baby arm and hand (left), and that sweet toddler hand (right) coming together on an ornament, placing it on the tree in tandem. I am so in love with them.

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This is the first ornament Bigs made in church last year. I am only slightly concerned because it’s made of paper and you know, light-heat and paper don’t so much mix, but it was too precious not to put up. I love that he constantly sees the images of Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus. Seeing it over and over will help him learn and then know, with certainty, the true meaning of Christmas. I am truly blessed and thankful for them and my husband.

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Jesus sure is the Reason for this season. Without Him, none of this would be. And that applies to just about everything.

Today I finished making my Coconut Cake. I used a different recipe this year. And as per the usual, I didn’t read the recipe the whole way through before starting on it. That’s how I do. It called for keeping an un-iced, filled cake in the fridge for three days. Luckily, I made the cakes and filling two days before Thanksgiving, so it still worked out. You really think I’d have learned, by now, to read a recipe all the way through before starting on it!

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http://www.cakeduchess.com/2013/11/coconut-cake-foodmemory-guest-post-magnolia-days.html

The only changes I made to the recipe were that I used sweetened coconut in the filling and used less sugar since it didn’t really specify that the coconut used was sweetened or not. I also added about a half teaspoon of coconut flavored baking emulsion to really enhance that coconut flavor.

http://www.amazon.com/LorAnn-Oils-Emulsion-Coconut-Ounce/dp/B001REJIJM

I love how when I pat the coconut on the frosting, it falls all around the plate like freshly fallen snow. It’s such a show-stopper of a cake (if I can be so bold to say so – I simply just followed the recipe!). So very festive. I cannot wait to eat that piece as big as my face, that I promise myself each year.

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I also got my Aunt Sue’s Macaroni Casserole made. It is a cinch to throw together and is so delicious. Here is the little beauty going in to the oven.

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And here she is coming out…melty, ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness.

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I can’t wait to dig into it tomorrow.

Here is the recipe.

Bigs and I made pumpkin muffins for breakfast and snack tomorrow. It was a fun little activity for us to do together while Smalls was still napping.

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We used a shortcut and made them with a store bought cake mix (vanilla). We added one can of pumpkin puree to the vanilla cake mix and stirred like the dickens. We added some ginger and cinnamon and some pumpkin spice bakery emulsion. We baked them in a 350 degree oven for about 20 – 25 minutes.

http://www.amazon.com/Lorann-Oils-Pumpkin-Emulsion-4oz/dp/B00BR25W9E

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I also put together a snack bento for Bigs for the Thanksgiving car trip. We aren’t going TOO far, but snacks make for a more pleasant ride.

Preschool Thanksgiving Road Trip Snacks

I packed a string cheese, a clementine some 5-grain crackers, a box of raisins, some Newman’s Own popcorn and one of our pumpkin spice muffins. Smalls will have less exciting snacks, in the form of Cheerios. 🙂 I will pack both of them an applesauce squeezy fruit.

Thanksgiving Subway

I hope you all have a VERY blessed, safe, thankful and HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Enjoy the time with your family and friends. And if that’s not how it’s going to turn out, it’s what you make of it! And to those going through hardships and heartache, may you feel God’s warm, loving embrace and presence, and may you find comfort in Him and the blessings (big and small) you have. There is always, ALWAYS something to be thankful for. God Bless.

I am so thankful for all my friends and family, near and far. And I’m thankful to God for all the blessings He gifts us (and even those He does not!) And I’m also thankful for this blog and all who read it and support me. It means so much more than you can even know. So, thank you. Happy Happy Thanksgiving.

Kristin

Happy Thanksgiving