lunch-notes_xmas Hi Everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful long weekend filled with loads of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, family and holiday decorating! We certainly did and what an effort it is. Every year I tell myself it’s too much, but then throughout the year I forget and get excited to do it all over again…who’s with me?!
I digress…the point of this post is to offer you some free printable Christmas themed lunch notes for your kiddos lunches this season. Why not keep the lunches festive and the cheer going while they are away at school? I came up with these cuties yesterday and my girls are getting their first ones in their lunches today. I am especially fond of the santa jolly one 🙂 I hope you enjoy! There are more general themed ones for the rest of the year in my Etsy Shop (see tab on home page). Enjoy this magical time of year and I’ll see you soon with some more holiday posts. Oh, and click here for the free downloadable PDF.
And just like that, it’s Halloween! Are you all ready?! I think we are now that my girls have their costumes and I’ve got this Halloween bingo under wraps for my oldest’s class party on Monday. There are a ton of variations of Halloween bingo out there on Etsy, but here is my take on it…and it’s free!!
If your kiddos are having a party and need you need an easy game, just print these out and trim. Done and done! There are twelve different cards (Click here) and one set of calling cards (Click here) with all of the individual pictures. You can use any little candies you like for the place holders 🙂
It’s looking like halloween around this household and chatter about the girl’s costumes is underway…I need to start thinking about that! But in the mean time, I have successfully managed to put a lunch note in the girl’s lunch with a written note on the back EVERY DAY so far. I’ll give myself a pat on the back for that one 😉 I am getting tired of the same ol’ rotation of notes that I have, so I thought it would be fun to make some seasonal holiday ones to change things up for a few months.
I sat down today to come up with some halloween ones and I hope to follow up with some Thanksgiving and Christmas ones as well. You can download these free lunch notes here!
Does anyone else struggle with your kids never listening to what they need to do each school morning to get ready? Even though it’s the same thing EVERY morning, they look at you after you get mad like a wounded puppy that is just learning the ropes. “You’re telling me that you were completely blown away that you had to brush your teeth after breakfast and I’ve never asked you to do that before? Even one minute ago? REALLY?!”. I digress 😉
Can you tell it’s been a trying morning at our household?! Yesterday I decided to try out a check list they can look at instead of me constantly repeating myself and getting frustrated. We have yet to fully try it since I am taking them to get laminated this morning. This way, they can check off each box over and over without me having to reprint. I put the basic steps that I think most households do to get ready in the morning: eat breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, brush hair and make the bed (not sure if this last one is standard for most, but I make them do this starting in kindergarten and they get a break on the weekend). I also created little pictures as well as words because my kindergartener isn’t quite reading yet. Fingers crossed this helps mornings go smoother and this Mama can rest her voice and save her sanity!!! Hope it helps you guys too! Click here for the download 🙂
I can’t believe I am talking about back to school already! We still have some serious summering to do, but back to school is nearing and I need to start thinking school supplies, clothes, backpacks, etc.
Last year I put a lunch note in my girls’ lunches nearly every day. There were some days I missed and I have to confess, the majority of them were more clustered at the end of the year. Partly because they were getting tired of the same old rotation of notes, and partly because I was burnt out on making lunches!!! Most days I wondered if they even cared I put a note in their lunch and if it had any impact. But when I would forget, I would hear about it when they got home. So if it helps them feel a little love to get them through the day, I’m willing to go the extra step. After all, the days when want a note from mom in their lunch and aren’t embarrassed by me are numbered. So I will take this time while I have it.
My littlest is starting Kindergarten this year (when did that happen?!) and so I want to make her first big year just as special as her big sister’s. To help myself not slacking on adding notes to their lunches, I created another lunch note set and I plan on printing a TON before school starts so I’ll always have a supply. Click here for the free printable download and check out my Frella Design Etsy shop for some more lunch note sets.
Summer has been off to a slow start here in the NW, but I am determined to make the most of it for my girls. I feel like having a cup of hot cocoa at times, but it’s summer. Right?! So the calendar says anyway. I’m deciding to listen to the calendar instead of the weather and with that advice, I made some super easy fudgecicles that require only two ingredients, a bowl and a whisk. Can’t get any easier than that!!
So here it is…Trader Joes Speculoos Cookie and Cocoa Swirl spread and chocolate almond milk. That’s it!!! And they make for a super yummy summer treat. Do you think if you eat enough fudgecicles summer will arrive out of pity for us? Oh and did I mention they only have 150 calories per pop?
1/2 cup Speculoos Cookie and Cocoa Swirl Spread
1 1/2 cup chocolate almond milk
Whisk cookie and cocoa swirl spread with 1/2 cup almond milk in a large bowl until smooth. Add the rest of the almond milk and stir until combined. Pour in popsicle molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.
It was a granola bar kind of day around here – cloudy and kinda slow. I do a different variation of this recipe almost every time, but today I wanted to keep it simple and classic with the flavors of oatmeal raisin cookies. I have brought these bars to plenty of parks, picnics and play dates and I have never met a kid (or husband) that didn’t like them. They whip up super quick, make a ton and last for at least a week or more. A pretty perfect snack if you ask me.
Feel free to add in, swap or exchange ingredients. I substitute some of the oats for rice crispies, use coconut flour, add flax, hemp or chia seeds at times too (I did throw in a little hemp seeds in this batch!!). Dried cranberries, dates, apricots or cherries are also yummy alternatives. The one thing I don’t alter is the coconut oil. I tried several batches with butter and/or oil and they both fell apart or were too greasy. The coconut oil is perfect for melting and then solidifies when it’s cooled – plus it’s a healthy alternative and adds flavor. Have fun experimenting!
- 4 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup coconut oil melted
- 1/2 cup brown rice syrup (or honey)
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease one 9×13 inch pan or line it with parchment paper.
- In a large metal mixing bowl melt the coconut oil over the stove top (very important it’s metal! Otherwise melt it in the microwave). Add brown sugar, brown rice syrup and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Add in the oats, flour, baking soda, and cinnamon and mix until combined. Stir in raisins.
- Press mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes then press down again with a flat surface (a measuring cup works great). Cut into bars. Let bars cool completely in pan before removing or serving.
I was out with my girls yesterday and we found some local trails to explore. Normally, my seven year old is gung-ho to explore and my five year old is “too tired” to walk anywhere. However, to my surprise, they were both willing to see where the said trail led and we were off on a little unexpected adventure. It was a breath of fresh air (literally) to be outside in nature enjoying ever turn and corner with my two little ones. No one complained or whined and we kept going to see what we would discover. Even my five year old said she wants to do more trail walks…what?! OK!! To help keep interests alive, we made it an adventure to see how many different things we could find. We saw bunnies, a blue heron, ducks, flowers, creeks, bugs, etc. I think it’s so important for young ones to get out and see what is past their backyard. Fortunately in the Northwest, we are so lucky to have woodlands and forested areas just minutes outside any given neighborhood.
During our excursion yesterday I was inspired to make my own version of a nature scavenger hunt card. I was kid free this afternoon and had fun creating little illustrations for the printable. I rarely get several hours at a time to myself to create something fun just because. And here it is to share with you all…for free! Click here your free download and I hope you have many adventures this summer exploring your local trails with the little ones!
Is anyone a little freaked out about summer break and keeping the kiddos entertained for several months like I am? Well, this little survival guide might help whittle away some of those summer hours and provide some fun for all. I am ready (and my girls) for the break, the lazy mornings at home, the fun outdoor activities and even some rainy days indoors. That said, there will be days that everyone gets a little antsy. To ease some of those “ants in the pants”, I’ve put together some of my favorite things for summer that I personally use or are on my wish list, including the links where you can find them.
- For those rainy days, kids still need to get out their sillies and this hop scotch rug from Land of Nod is so darn cute.
- Every kid loves to build a fort and have a special place of their own. I’m always finding all sorts of toys set up in ours. Land of Nod has sooo many cute ones to choose from. The one shown is particularly adorable. Or even build your own with blankets and chairs! We’ve done that too 🙂
- Visiting your local library for books provides hours of entertainment and keeps those reading skills up for the next school year. Our library has a reading club (I’m sure most do!) kids can join and earn points the more they read. Take your budding readers to the library and sign them up for their own library card. They will be so proud to have a card of their own!
- The Wonderful Things You Will Be is currently a best seller with adorable illustrations and perfect for the my five year old.
- My seven year old is currently loving Judy Moody books. I’m not familiar with boys’ books series, so if you have suggestions of some fun ones, I’d love to hear.
- I’m sure most of you will be going on at least one car trip this summer. As much as I am thankful for ipads and dvds to occupy my kiddos impatient little minds, I also don’t want them to remember car trips as “free reign ipad” time. Auto Bingo is the perfect way to get everyone off the screen and looking out the windows at their surroundings. Some of my best memories of car trips are seeing an amazing rainbow, rock formation or waterfall. If our noses are buried in screens, we miss it all.
- Another car trip activity to get the whole family engaged is this Family Road Trip Box of Questions from Melissa and Doug.
- Summer isn’t complete without trips to the beach or water park. I don’t know about you, but I am always amazed at the amount of gear required to do a simple outing. The towels do take up the majority of the room, but you still need some beach toys, floaties, snacks, etc. This natural canvas tote from Lands End won’t let you down. I have the extra large size and use every inch of it! It’s sturdy, cute and a great price for what you get.
- Every beach/pool trip isn’t complete without something to float on and how fun is this giant chocolate donut?
- Hanging out in your backyard? Some old fashioned croquet will entertain the kiddos as well as the parents. I love the subtle colors of this Coleman set from Target.
- Last, but not least, summer can’t happen if you don’t protect your little ones from the sun. Goddess Garden makes a great sunscreen for kids without any of the harmful junk and at a great price point. It rates very high on the EWG website so you can rest easy that your kids are protected from the sun, as well as not getting any harmful extras.
Have fun this summer and find some adventure! We plan on taking it easy for a bit after school gets out to refresh. After that, it’s going to be beach, camping and maybe try a short hike. And of course visit the cousins in Colorado. What adventures do you have in store this summer?!
Did teacher appreciation week sneak up on anyone else like it did me?! If it did, rest easy, I have a free printable teacher thank you card for you! Our teachers do a wonderful service in teaching and guiding our children to be prepared for adulthood. And nothing is more valuable then a teacher who cares about and works hard for our children. So regardless of our hectic lives and stuff we have going on, I at least want to give them a card – after all, our kiddos spend more time with their teachers than they do their parents during the school year (sniff, sniff). Just click here and print on white card stock and you are good-to-go to say “thank you” to that special teacher in your children’s lives.
Also, check out the free recipe cards I posted last week. I had my girls tell me their favorite recipe and then I typed them on the cards, printed them and am pairing them with these mini measuring spoons for a simple, yet sweet personalized gift for their teachers.