Wednesday, September 25, 2013

School Year Slump

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the blogosphere, I've just been busy making these:

bento box lunch ideas

This was week 1 of school. See how nice and bento-boxed the lunches were? And variety! Some pb&j, some cheese and crackers, lentils, a variety of fruit options, plus I added homemade trail mix on top for snack.

It was all for this one who started first grade!

But now, I'm so tired, and crazy-pants busy, that she's been packing her own lunches. Less pretty and nutritionally balanced, but still good. And I promise, next week, I'll make them again.

The 4 year old has been adorable, and lovely, and inventive.

Even this one, the 22 month old who is desperate to be in preschool, has been putting on a cute face. 

So I'll put on my big girl blogger pants and try to get back in the swing of things next week. We have a  a backlog of party and food ideas, and even a completed backyard play structure, that I haven't blogged about.

Happy end-of-September my friends.


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Friday, September 13, 2013

Inspiring a Culture of Giving

Family Friday, is really growing on me. Here's a belated look at one of our heart-warming summer moments.

Our construction loving 4 year old somehow found out about the horrific tornadoes earlier this summer. He was sad, but also really interested in the idea of how a tornado could demolish a school.

All on his own, he decided to empty out his piggy bank to "give the money to the kids from the school that got demolished. They will need to rebuild it".

We are so proud of him, and his sweet heart that immediately wanted to help. Of course it took us a bit to figure out how to get a ten pound piggy bank of coins (mostly collected pennies) to Oklahoma. Finally, we realized we could take it to our local grocery store, drop everything into the Coinstar machine and he could chose which charity to give his money to.

There was $37.12 in his bank, over $27 in pennies alone! We chose to give the money to the Red Cross. I think all our talking about money and giving has really paid off, now we just have to keep it up!

take your child to the local Coinstar machine and let them chose which charity to give their money to.


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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Easy, Cheesy, Creamy Brussels Sprouts

The most ridiculous part abut this recipe is that it makes my kids ask for these little veggies! Other than my generous use of "sprinkle cheese" (otherwise known as Parmesan), this has got to be the easiest-to-get-the-kids-to-eat vegetable I make. They call them "Cheesy Brussels Sprouts".

Easy Cheesy Brussels Sprouts


  • Saute diced shallots (those little purple things that are halfway between an onion and garlic) in some coconut oil or olive oil.
  • Add halved brussels sprouts
  • After 5 minutes, add 1/4 cup cream. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Add a dash of nutmeg and salt.
  • Pour mixture into a casserole dish and top with Parmesan cheese and Asiago (or anything you have on hand)
  • Bake at 400 for 15 minutes until cheese is golden brown.

I'm pretty sure the secret is that they are fully cooked, so there is no bitter aftertaste, and they are soft and delicious. And now in picture/tutorial form...

The shallots, 
chopping shallots

The brussels sprouts in the pan,

sautéing brussels sprouts

Adding the cream:)

Making creamy brussels sprouts with no bitter taste!

In the baking dish with cheese on top.

Making creamy brussels sprouts with no bitter taste!

All done and ready to eat!

Easy Cheesy Brussels Sprouts


Thanks for stopping by! 
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Monday, September 9, 2013

One Tip per Room: Quick and Easy Ways to Organize Your Home

Having just done a massive closet clean-out, this guest post seemed particularly timely. Plus, just for fun I'll show you my hidden trash can with a link to my third ever post on this blog. I know, look how far we've come!

Plus, I'm just in the beginning of the Jewish holiday season, so after hosting 10 adults to a plated (which means fancy) meal on Wednesday night, attending lunches on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, oh, and hosting more people Friday night, I *might* be a tad burned out:) 

rolling hidden trash cans and recycling center

One Tip per Room: Quick and Easy Ways to Organize Your Home

Organizing your entire home can be a daunting task. And in households with children, messes and clutter can accumulate with in the blink of an eye. To make the clutter more manageable, try to break down your tasks room by room and focus on one task at a time. Focus on the rooms that are used more frequently, where clutter and mess are inevitable. Start and complete one task before you move onto the next.

Here are a few homeorganization ideas, tips and tricks to keep the clutter away. With one tip per room, it will make the organization process seem a little less daunting.

In the Kitchen
·       Pantries can become messy and unorganized rather quickly. Utilize plastic food storage containers to avoid the mess. Store homemade goods in slider bags and half used boxes of pasta in plastic containers. It’s a simple way to stack food items and you will be able to easily see what is in each container.  
In the Garage
·       Our garages often become a place for clutter, junk and disorganization. One way to feel more organized in the garage is to open up floor space. Utilize wall hooks and mounts to hang gardening tools, helmets, un-used hoses and even bikes on the wall. This will create the illusion that there is more space within your garage.
In Your Closet
·       Purses, hats, scarves and belts can add unnecessary clutter to your closet floor and shelves. Hanging shower curtain hooks in your closet is a cheap and simple solution for this. Do your closets have a door? Over-the-door coat racks can also be used to store handbags, towels, scarves and more!
In the Living Room
·       Extra blankets and pillows sitting around the living room add un-needed clutter to the space. Utilize decorative storage bins to store blankets and pillows while they aren’t being used. Look for furniture that serves a dual purpose. Wicker baskets make for cheap storage options while adding a little bit of decorative flair and sturdy storage furniture can be used as extra seating!
In the Kids Rooms
·       Take advantage of under-bed and under-couch storage. Buy long, thin storagebins and place them underneath any bed or couch that’s high enough off the ground.  You’ll create lots of storage space but keep everything out of sight. This is a great way to store kids clothing that is out of season!
Home organization can be a daunting task. Break down your organization tasks room by room and it becomes a little easier. How do you tackle home organization? Leave your own tips below!

Author Bio: These tips were provided by Katie F. on behalf of Hefty®. For other simple tips and cleaning products like trash bags, visit
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Friday, September 6, 2013

Best Kid Books: Ages 2-4

Best books for kids ages 2 to 4

Here are a few of my favorites that our 22 month old is just aging into and our 4 year old still enjoys. Any book that 2 of the 3 kids will sit quietly for is pretty amazing in my book:)

My 4 year old loves construction (remember the construction machine birthday party?), so for obvious reasons he adores Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site. 

He never went through the train phase, but the Duffy Driver and the Little Red Train compilation of books is really well written, and British, so you just feel smarter reading them.

Madeline is a classic, and easy to memorize, so he can "read" it to himself. Even the baby can complete the last word on each page. In an old house in Paris that was covered in.... "Vines!"

Princess and the Potty, worked wonders for our 6year old and is an engaging story.

And of course, the Panda Bear version of the classic Brown Bear books. We have them all, and this one focuses on endangered species, which gives a nice opportunity for talking about the environment and our responsibilities as stewards for our planet. Sorry, didn't mean to go all hippy-skippy on you there;)

my testers

The affiliate links above are just to make it easy if you need to get any gifts for small people anytime soon:)

Another fun Family Friday...

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Indian Summer Hostess Gift

Farmer's Market Hostess Gift- peaches, honey, dried fruit and nuts

So you need a hostess gift?

For tonight? 

Or you're invited to a million meals this month and don't know what to bring? This is super easy to throw together, and my test-hostess loved it.

Yep, I tried it out on my very particular aunt, and she loved the peaches, local honey, dried fruit and nuts. Just the right thing to get someone who has everything.

Use what you have on hand, or if you have a little time to plan ahead, go to the farmer's market and pick up the great end-of-summer items, peaches, corn, heirloom tomatoes, anything that looks amazing and fresh will be perfect.

OK, now it's back to my Rosh Hashana cooking. Guests are arriving at 5pm this evening, eeek!

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Healthy Homemade Trail Mix

Happy Labor Day! 

Don't let the holiday fool you. You still need to pack your kids lunch this week...

DIY trail mix, so easy to make at home

With the beginning of school here, I find myself stumbling around looking for good lunchbox solutions (see my favorite school lunches here). 

Healthy trail mix is one of my favorites since you can mix it up, it stores well, and my kids get in on the act.

My favorite ingredients include:

  • Almonds
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Cashews (chose 1 or 2 nuts)
  • Coconut Flakes
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Dried Blueberries (dried fruit of any kind)
  • Chocolate chips

Stacking homemade trail mix to take in school lunches

You can even make this, dare I say it, educational, by taking the time to count, weight, sort and measure the ingredients. Which totally makes it fall into the DIY category, by the way:)

Plus stacking them in my go-to lunch containers is always a fun:)

Stacking homemade healthy trail mix to take in school lunches


Thanks for stopping by! 
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