Lunch Improvements

I haven’t been meal planning lunches for the kids lately. I haven’t needed to. I think it just took three weeks of planning and trying new things to help me come up with creative menu ideas on the fly. We haven’t been eating chicken nuggets or fish sticks lately, which was my goal. The kids still aren’t eating many vegetables, but I’m trying.

Oh, I’m trying.

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Cucumber Spider

I have two meals that the kids will eat consistently. The easiest is English muffin pizzas. Toast an English muffin, top it with sauce and cheese, then broil it until the cheese melts. Add a vegetable and a fruit. Easy peasy.

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The meal that is most often requested is “cocktail party” dinner. Audrey asks for this for almost every meal. It is small bits on a plate, like you would eat at a cocktail party. Karen gave me the idea to put meat and cheese on a pretzel skewer, and it has been a huge hit. I try to do something fun to the plate every time, today it was mustard sunglasses for dipping the turkey.

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I am pleased that the kids are not eating as many chicken nuggets. Now that we’ve discovered cocktail party lunches I’m having fun changing them up. I’m always looking for new things to add to the rotation, so if you have any ideas send them my way.

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Kansas City Weekend

Happy Sunday! We made it back from our quick trip to Kansas City. It was a fun weekend.

On the three-hour drive down we stopped at the first rest area in Missouri to play and take a nature walk. It was hot – in the 90s. It was so hot Audrey decided she should walk down slides instead of sliding down them. That went about as well as you would think, and she ended up falling on her face. Luckily the playground was on the bouncy rubbery material that keeps kids from getting hurt. It was just enough of a shock to keep her from doing it again (hopefully).

On Saturday we went to my brother’s house to celebrate my niece’s graduation from High School. It was a great party. The highlight was discovering that Audrey is a natural at karaoke. She saw the machine and got to work singing nursery rhymes. Bailey, the graduate, was kind enough to sing a few songs with her.

None of us slept well last night, but we had been promising the kids a trip to the Kansas City Zoo for weeks. We decided to skip brunch and get some time in at the zoo before the kids crashed. I’m so glad we went. John hates to travel, so I like to squeeze family vacation moments in whenever I can.

We headed for home after a quick stop for lunch. Elliot, who woke up half asleep this morning, never napped. I have some very tired kids. Maybe they will even let us sleep in a little tomorrow.

I hope you had a great start to your long weekend!

 

Thursday

I am so happy it’s nap time. We’ve had a big morning. I’m ready for a nap myself, but before I sleep I thought I would share our morning with you.

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My mom found an electric griddle for me at her church garage sale. Pancakes have never been so easy to make. I can also see a grilled cheese party in my future.

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Audrey now fits into one of the cutest outfits my niece ever wore. She will be in her strawberry outfit most of the summer.

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I put my blanket on my bed to continue drying. It is so pretty I had to share it again. It is probably the last time I will make you look at it. Unless you are at my house, and then you are for sure looking at it.

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I took the kids out to lunch with friends to celebrate my friends daughter finishing her year of preschool. The good news is both kids enjoy Indian food. The bad news is they were horrible. It’s like we never let them out of the house. On my to do list for this summer is to get them out more so they learn to behave. That or we aren’t going out to eat again until they are in high school.

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In addition to the rest of our morning I finished my socks. They are currently blocking. If Audrey ever falls asleep I’ll be casting on Vanilla Latte Socks this afternoon (thanks for the tip, Karen!).

Now if you will excuse me, I’m off to cast on some socks or nap. I’m not entire sure which I will choose.

Knitting Picture Books

My two favorite hobbies, knitting and reading, are things that I like to share with my kids. While I haven’t taught the kids to knit yet, they both pretend to knit while saying “In. Around. Through. And off.” Considering they are only 2 and 3 I think that is pretty good.

Both kids love to read and being read to. We have a lot of books, but I’m always looking to add to the collection. Some of my favorite books to buy are picture books about knitting.

These books are great for anyone looking for new books for their kids. You don’t need knowledge of knitting to enjoy them. They would also make a great baby shower gift if any of your favorite knitters are expecting.

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This book is about a little girl who finds a magical box of yarn – she can knit and knit and knit and never run out of yarn.  It is a cute story – who wouldn’t want an endless supply of yarn? I love how the knitting is illustrated.

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Everyone in our house loves Ned the Knitting Pirate. It is a fun read, with a rhyming pirate song to enjoy within the story. My only issue with this book is that Ned appears to knit exclusively with boucle yarn, and I just can’t get behind that.

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The Surprise, by Sylvia van Ommen, is one of Audrey’s all time favorite books. It’s a book without words that follows a sheep as she dyes her wool, knits a present, and gives it to her best friend.

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I love reading these books to the kids. We get to talk about the story as well as knitting. Do you have any knitting picture books to recommend? I’m always looking for more books to read.

Camping Recap

As I mentioned yesterday, camping wore me out. Part of that is the lack of sleep. The other part is we spent the entire time on the go. It was such an enjoyable weekend.

The drive down to North East Missouri (in the same area as Mark Twain State Park) took about 4 hours. It went remarkably well. I borrowed my sister’s portable DVD player, so the kids were able to watch Mickey Mouse and Olivia in the car. We stopped at a park about three hours into the drive. Getting them out of the car to play helped all of our moods.

When we got to the campground we unpacked the car and then walked up to the camp store to order pizza.  It was a great way to get the kids familiar with each other again, and a great way to get us out of cooking.

This is the first time the boys have spent much time together. They immediately hit it off and played well together all weekend. It was so much fun to watch.

After dinner we headed back to the camper. The girls and Bryan went for a ride on the golf cart (Kirsten’s husband was there dropping it off and drove them around) while Kirsten and I go the beds ready. Elliot was not up for a ride yet. He liked exploring the golf cart, but he was scared of riding on it.

After the golf cart ride we tried to get the kids to bed. It did not go well. That was the case all weekend. As they get older it will get better. That’s what I’m telling myself.

In the morning we had breakfast at the camper before we loaded up the golf cart and heading out to play.

The first stop is the modern playground. It is a big cube for climbing, with a slide and swing in it. The kids loved exploring it. Eventually it got busy and we headed to a different playground.

The second stop was an older playground, also at the campground. We were the only people there, which the kids (and their mothers) enjoyed. The kids played hard until it started to rain.20180512_0953321026274787.jpg

The campground has a place for kids 1-5 that is basically an indoor area to explore. Sadly most of the toys were broken and it hadn’t been cleaned for what looked like a decade. That being said, it was free and kept the kids busy.  20180512_1021082060642474.jpg

After all of that it was only 11. We decided to have lunch and try for naps. Lunch went well. Naps didn’t. The boys got out of their pack and plays after about 30 minutes and walked out to the living room. We decided to throw in the towel and explore some more.

We headed to the Mark Twain Lake visitors center. It was full of things to do. We checked out a few scenic overlooks. We took a hike. We looked around the visitors center. They had a table with crayons and coloring books for the kids. The employee on duty even handed me a bag with 4 packs of sidewalk chalk and two workbooks for the older girls. He mentioned they will be added a playground next year, so we will be back.

The nice guy at the visitors center then told us the best park to visit at the state park. It was a great park and it is very close to the campsite. There is also a beach close to the park, so hopefully we will try that out later this summer. The kids were so entertained at this park Kirsten and I were able to sit on a bench and actually talk! It was a miracle.

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That night getting the kids to sleep was horrible. At one point I went in to check on the boys because they were being very loud. They had crawled into bed together and were very proud of themselves.

20180512_190013579921131.jpgOn Sunday we got up, attempted to go get pancakes and found the restaurant closed, and drove home. All in all, it was a crazy way to spend Mother’s Day weekend, but it sure was fun.

 

 

Camp Snacks

Tomorrow I’m packing up the kids and driving four hours to camp with my friend Kirsten and her two kids. We will have four kids under four in a camper. We are clearly insane.

Because I imagine it is going to be a crazy weekend I wanted to get some of the work done before we left. I also wanted to make sure we had some healthyish items. I threw together a few things that I think the kids will like to eat. As an added bonus Kirsten and I will like them too. 20180510_195417436169163.jpg

I’m still on my hummus high, so I made some more sun-dried tomato and basil hummus. I sliced up some bell peppers to use for dipping sticks. I am also bringing crackers for the hummus.

For quick snacks and an on the go breakfast I made some peanut butter energy bites. These are basically no bake cookies, so I think the kids will love them.

I am on the e-mail list for volunteer recipe testers for Cooks Illustrated, and just this week they sent out a recipe to test for raw fruit and nut bars. I thought they looked good so we are trying them out this weekend. They have dates, dried cherries, almonds, and cinnamon. They are basically the homemade Lara bars I’ve been making for years, but with smaller bits of almond. I think the kids will like the texture of these better.

Do you have any make ahead snacks you like to take on trips?