Apples!!!!

We love love apples in our family. My youngest son eats at least three apples a day. Last year he was still in preschool and I had to pack lunch and snack for him. Everyday he would ask for the same snack which was apples of course. But when he came home the apples where untouched. He then told me that he does not like it when the cut apples turn brown. I tried squeezing lemon juice, since the citric acid keeps the apple from turning brown but then the taste changed and still he did not eat it. Finally I started putting the apple as it is in his lunch box. The only thing was that it barely fit with all the other boxes in there so sometimes I could not close his lunchbox all the way through.
This year he is in kindergarten and at his school they have squirrel problems so his lunchbox has to close all the way or the little hungry squirrels will eat his lunch. While researching I found out (again on the website momables) that if you use the product Eat Cleaner to keep the apples from browning. Eat Cleaner is an all-natural, tasteless and odorless produce and food cleaner.  Because it has citric acid in it, it also keeps produce and fruit from browning! This is a 2 in 1 product: you can clean your produce from nasty pesticides, waxes and dirt (even organic!) and use it to keep the food fresh.
So I just ordered a bottle and will see how turns out!  anything to keep apples in the lunchbox:)

Josiane

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Back to School!!!

Summer flew by so fast this year! I can’t believe I did not even post one single thing since June. I am so sorry I know I have promised to post activity ideas and take you along our summer journey, but I guess spending more time with my kids was more of a priority. I just needed more time with the kids and less time on the computer.
But here we are again rushing for last minute forgotten school supplies, uniforms/clothes, shoes…. oh and worst of all for me is the lunch planning. I like to try and plan every weekend the lunches, this way I am not panicking in the morning about what to pack. I make a list on Saturday or Sunday with the help of the kids and we shop for them.
I have picky eaters and it is a challenge to pack different lunch/snack everyday when your kids don’t eat everything. So here I am again frantically searching on blogs, pinterest pins etc. anything I can find to get any new ideas. Finally I called my family to a “meeting”. We have these whenever we need to discuss important issues. My aim was to create a large list of food they like and we can go back to it on weekend and pick 7 items from the menu list . After an hour of brainstorming and going back and forth, all we could come up with was a list of five lunch ideas, yes only 5!!! but it is something to start with right?!
I am still hoping I can get hem to add some more to the list, meanwhile I will try to get by the first week of school which is only 3 days, so our 5 menu list should be enough for now:)
At the end of the post I am pasting some tips from two different blogs, the first one has 30 lunch ideas and the second has tips for packing lunches, hoping it will help moms like me who struggle with lunches everyday.
Good luck and Keep Learning !!!!

 

My Kids’ List:

1- Homemade Pizza

2- Ham and cheese sandwich

3- Turkey and cheese roll-up tortilla

4- Lahm Baajen ( Lebanese recipe can post if anyone is interested, mainly ground meat with onions on a dough)

5- Banana Zuchini Bread ( not sure I consider this as lunch but will add it for now, makes my list a bit longer:)

With lunch I always send fruits and vegetables.
Fruits: grapes , strawberries, cut oranges , apples.
Veggies: snap peas , carrots , broccoli slaw, cucumbers.

Helpful Links

First link : This is a mom of 7 and has some helpful tips and ideas for packing school lunches. Check her out
http://www.staceysmotheringmoments.com/2013/01/packing-school-lunches/
Second link is to 30 different school lunch ideas:
http://www.peanutblossom.com/blog/2013/08/lunchbox-recipes.html/

 

Create Memories!!!!
Josiane Sawaya

End-of-year teacher plant/gift

As this school year so quickly comes to an end, I found myself looking for quick and easy gift ideas for the teachers. I love to plant and I also love personalized gifts. Teachers so often go unnoticed for all the very hard work they do. They leave an impression with our children that will be remembered for a lifetime. I came across an idea for a small plant to give to the teachers, it wasn’t so much the plant that I liked as much as it was what it said on the attachment.

I bought small vases from Dollar Tree (they have all shapes and different sizes). I also bought a couple bags of glass pebbles (you can also buy the decorative rocks). I have an abundance of nice succulents, so I didn’t need to buy any plants. If you don’t have plants, you can buy the 1-2 inch pots at your local nursery. You also need potting soil. I first filled the bottom, about 1/4 of the way up with pebbles, then I added potting soil. I poked the plants in and then pressed them down into the soil so they were all snug in the dirt. I watered it a little, but only enough to get it started. Since there is no drainage, the soil of this plant will need to completely dry before watering it again.

After I planted the plant, I found a ribbon I liked. I hot glued it around the pot. I had some unfinished wood plaques I bought from a craft store that I painted to match. Once the paint dried, I wrote this on the plaque “It is not so much what is poured into a student, but what is planted by the teacher that really counts.” I love that! Of course you can write anything on this, but that really sold me. I can’t wait for my kids to hand these to their teachers, as special as they are!

RAZAN

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Cherry picking… a Memorial weekend tradition

We never had a Memorial weekend tradition but it just happened that the past two years, we went Cherry picking during Memorial weekend. So this year my husband suggested we try and make it a tradition each year. The only thing that we were worried about was the horrible traffic we hit going there, and even the traffic at the cherry picking place.
So we decided to go on Friday instead. It worked great since my kids were off on that Friday. We also decided to try a new place, Nunn Better Farms in Brentwood, CA. We heard great reviews and I am so happy we went there, most of the trees had low branches. It was very easy for my kids to pick up the cherries. They went crazy picking, they picked 12 lbs!!!

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Now that we picked the cherries and spend only 20 minutes at the farm, we were not ready to go back home. It took us around an hour to get there. So we decided to go to a park we discovered 2 years ago, The Veteran Park. We spent around 2 hours there. There was a new play area for the kids that was not there the last time we visited. They loved the new play structure!

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My son had a rocket that flies when you add Baking soda and vinegar to it, and he wanted to try it for the first time. I thought it would be a very easy activity, but after 5 trials we gave up. I thought he would be disappointed but he enjoyed the trial so much and we laughed so hard that by the end of it we were just satisfied by the time we spend.
I could say we had a great time and looking forward for next year!

If you live in or near the Bay Area, Nunn Better Farm is a great place to go to for Cherry picking. If you don’t like cherries, there is a lot of other fruits you can pick. Just make sure you have cash because they do not accept anything else.

 

 

 

 

 

My Daughter’s hair donation

My daughter has been wanting to cut her hair for a while now, but whenever we got close to the day she backed off and changed her mind. It was a hard decision for her. But when she saw a friend of hers donate her hair to “Locks of Love”, she told me ” Mom I think this is what I want to do, I want to donate my hair and I am sure”. At the start my heart sunk, to tell you the truth, I love her long hair but I was touched by her decision and selflessness. So I went online and researched Locks of Love, I found out they needed a minimum of 10 inches of hair. So I measured her hair and it was barely enough. I knew the charity was very strict regarding the length. I told my daughter ” your hair might not be enough unless we go short all the way”. Her eyes went teary, she said I really want to donate my hair but I am scared to have it short like a boy. She paused a moment and said, “that is ok mom it will grow fast”, but could feel a bit of sadness in her voice. I went back online and researched more to see if there was any company that would take 8 inches, which is how much my daughter could cut without it being extremely short. I finally found on Oprah’s website a link to “Pantene Beautiful Lengths”, they donate the hair to people affected by hair loss from cancer.
I called my friend Suzi, a hair expert, and asked her to help us with the haircut. Today we met and my daughter was super excited but could feel she was a bit nervous. After the haircut, she was so happy and I think she loves her new haircut. So proud of my daughter and her selfless decision. Love her new look:)

Make a difference – Josiane

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Cupcake liner tag DIY

My kids like to do their own birthday and thank you cards. We have been experimenting with stamps, paint, markers… Recently we started using cupcake liners. Those things can be used in many other ways, will be posting more ideas soon.

I used a blank card which I got from Michaels, a cupcake liner, cupcake stamp,  a circle tag that I punched, and glue or glue sticks.

You mainly flatten the cupcake liner and glue the circle tag on top and then glue the whole thing onto the card. very quick and easy.

My daughter wanted to write on the circle tag but you can always print out the tags before you punch them, will look even neater. But I like the kids’ handwriting, it makes it more personal!

Keep creating memories!!! Josiane

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Quick and easy snack

Having 4 kids, with ages ranging from 1 to 9 years,  I am always on the lookout for new and easy recipes. My kids love to bake and cook with me.  I love the fact they are into cooking and baking but as you all know it doesn’t always end up being a nice experience. So what makes it a good experience is if the recipe is a short and easy one, specially when you have kids under the age of five. Their attention spam is short and by the time you finish reading the recipe they are all over the place. So here is an easy one that you can prepare in few minutes and keep them involved.

Ingredients:
4 oz grated cheese
3 Tbsp soft butter or margarine
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 425F. Blend cheese and butter into dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix to form stiff dough, adding drops of cold water if too dry. Shape into small balls and place on a greased baking tray. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Yield 12-18 balls.

Note: This dough can be used to make cheese straws or twists. Put dough into a pastry tube to make straws. To make twists, roll out dough, cut into narrow strips and twist before baking.

Bon Appetit!! Josiane
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