Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

I am in the process of figuring out the perfect cupcake recipes for my daughter’s upcoming birthday. She decided on mint chocolate and lemon blueberry for her cupcake flavors this year. Then it’s up to me to figure out how to make those flavors into the perfect cupcakes for her big day.

Today I tried something new out. I made lemon curd. I figured a lemon curd would be a great filling for a cupcake. However, I had never made a lemon curd before, or any other curd for that matter! Ha! I was a bit nervous because it was something new and I didn’t want to mess it up.

Here are the ingredients that you will need to make this lemon curd.

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. lemon zest
1/4 cup butter

Now, how to put it all together.

Many of the lemon curd recipes I found called for a double boiler. I don’t have one so I took a small pot and a stainless steel mixing bowl and made a makeshift double boiler. I put some water into the pot and put it on medium heat, then put the stainless steel bowl on top of the pot or water. Voila! A double boiler!

Add the eggs and sugar to the bowl. Whisk them together. Then add the juice, zest, and butter to the bowl. Stir the ingredients continuously for 15 minutes. I stood there stirring and stirring and stirring for what felt like an eternity. My arm felt like it was going to fall off, but I just kept plugging along. Then all of a sudden, close to the 15 minute mark, it was no longer liquidy. It started to thicken up and coat the spoon. I continued stirring til the 15 minute mark and then took the bowl off of the pot and set it aside to cool.

Once it was cooled completely we tasted it and it was literally divine! My husband was trying to decide what all he could dip in it or put it on because it was so good. It is going to be perfect in the cupcakes in a few weeks!

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Crock Pot Breakfast Wrap Up

I just want to say how much fun it was waking up to breakfast already made each morning. However, four nights in a row of cooking again after dinner really tired me out! I do plan to make crock pot breakfasts again, but I will limit it to once a week or possibly every other week, or once a month even. Depending on how my kids did on their standardized tests … I may do the whole week again on testing weeks. But I’m not certain on that just yet.

Here’s a wrap up of the menu from the week of crock pot breakfasts,

Tuesday – Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole
Wednesday – Crock Pot Cinnamon French Toast
Thursday – Crock Pot Breakfast Cobbler
Friday – Crock Pot Breakfast Potatoes

The only recipe that was not liked by my entire family was Tuesday morning’s breakfast casserole. However, with some tweaking I think I could fix it to make it liked by all of us. I have asked everyone in the family and the votes turned out to be almost unanimous.

Grace – Cinnamon French Toast
Cameron – Cinnamon French Toast
Melody – Cinnamon French Toast
Larry – Cinnamon French Toast
Me – Breakfast Cobbler

The Cinnamon French Toast came in a VERY close second for me though. Larry said he can’t make a good vote because he didn’t get any of the Breakfast Cobbler.

Another thing that I really enjoyed about this week, was having a theme to blog about for several days in a row. I am still contemplating on what my next theme will be. If you have any suggestions on topics that you may want to hear about, please comment and let me know your thoughts.

Crock Pot Breakfast: Day 4

The Crock Pot Cobbler was a BIG hit! It was super delicious and I wish I had more of it ready so I could eat it again tomorrow. Definitely try that recipe!!!!!

Tonight we made Crock Pot Breakfast Potatoes. Here is the recipe.

Crockpot Breakfast Potatoes Recipe

What You Need
• 4 potatoes, sliced
• 1 onion, thinly sliced
• 4 ounces American or cheddar cheese, grated
• 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
• 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

What To Do
1. Prepare inside of crockpot with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Layer potatoes, butter, onion, bacon, cheese in crockpot. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used, ending with a layer of cheese.

3. Cover crockpot and cook on low, 8-10 hours.

My hubby is incredibly excited about this one. He loves bacon and he loves potatoes. I’m pretty sure that this one will be his favorite of the whole week. We shall see what the verdict is tomorrow though! Thanks to http://www.allcrockpotrecipes.com/breakfast/crockpot-breakfast-potatoes.shtml for this recipe.

tune in to tomorrow night’s post for everyone’s opinions of their favorite recipe for the week.

Rio Samba Rose

Larry and I did a lot of gardening this past weekend. Most of what we planted was vegetables, however, we planted a few herbs and a gorgeous Rio Samba Rose. The rose was heavily budded up when we planted it so we knew it wouldn’t be long before it began to bloom. Tuesday night, I took this picture. It is so gorgeous, I can’t wait to take more pictures as it opens up fully and as the other buds open up as well.

rio samba

I couldn’t help but share this pic. I will post more about our gardening journey soon. 🙂

Crock Pot Breakfast: Day 3

Yesterday’s recipe for Crock Pot Cinnamon French Toast was a HUGE success! It was delicious and got rave reviews from my entire family. All 3 kids loved it, and the hubby and I loved it too! We will definitely be making this one again sometime soon.

Tonight I will be putting together a Crock Pot Breakfast Cobbler. We are pretty pumped about this one. The kids are thrilled because cobbler sounds like dessert to them and they think dessert for breakfast sounds like a wonderful idea. Ha ha! The flavors in this dish sound so comforting and delicious to me and it also has lots of healthy stay with you food in it and that makes me happy! After they eat this breakfast, I know their beautiful brains won’t starting wandering off during the big test thinking about food because they are hungry.

Here is the recipe:

Crock Pot Breakfast Cobbler

What You Need
• 4 medium apples, peeled and sliced
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• 2 cups Granola cereal

What To Do
1. Prepare inside of crockpot with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Add apples to crockpot.

3. Mix in remaining ingredients.

4. Cover; set crockpot to low and cook overnight, 7-9 hours. (Note: Cooks in 2-3 hours on high.)

Serving suggestion: Serve with milk.

Thanks to http://www.allcrockpotrecipes.com/breakfast/crockpot-breakfast-cobbler.shtml for this recipe. I will post a review of this recipe tomorrow night. Last night’s recipe was kid tested, mom approved, and dad approved too!

Crock Pot Breakfast Day 2

eatwell

In yesterday’s blog post on the Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole, I promised to let you all know my kids’ opinions on the casserole. All 5 of us ate the casserole for breakfast this morning. However, only 3 out of the 5 of us liked the casserole. My older 2 kids both said the casserole tasted good, however, they didn’t like the texture of it. I think that next time I will let the bread dry out a bit before I put the casserole together. Maybe that will help with the texture issue?

Tonight I am putting together Slow Cooker Cinnamon French Toast for tomorrow morning’s Brain Food Breakfast. Here’s the recipe:

Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

Ingredients:
2 16oz. loaves cinnamon swirl bread, sliced into 1/4’s and left to dry over night (or for a few hours)
1 dozen eggs
4 cups milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:
Spray the crock with non-stick spray! Place all the bread in the slow cooker.
Mix all of the remaining ingredients together and pour it over the bread.

Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Admire the smell while it cooks! The last 1/2 hour or so, remove the lid to let the moisture absorb some. Dust with powdered sugar, a dollop of whipped cream and/or drizzle with syrup when serving!

Thanks to http://newbaltimore.patch.com/blog_posts/slow-cooker-cinnamon-french-toast-casserole for this recipe.

I plan to cut this recipe in half because I’m only serving the 5 of us. I can’t wait to taste it because it sounds delicious!

By the way, today was a wonderful day. The kids all feel like their first day of testing went very well. Work went well, and I had a nice break in the middle of the day. My hubby took me out for lunch! We just went to a fast food place so it wasn’t anything fancy. However, getting to spend even 30 minutes with him in the middle of the day makes a bad day better, and makes a good day great. I know, we are a mushy couple and that annoys a lot of people. We love it though. We feel so happy that we have a connection and relationship where we can show affection and enjoy each others company all of the time.

Yesterday’s tip was to enjoy the small things. Today, I am telling you not to be afraid to show love and affection to the one that you love.

Crockpot Breakfasts Day 1

brainfood
This week my kids have standardized tests. My hubby, Larry, and I wanted to make sure the kids had a good hearty breakfast before their big tests each day. However, I am not at all a morning person and my husband leaves long before we get up. That meant we had to find another way to get them that good brain food breakfast. I turned to my favorite appliance that I believe every busy mom should have, my crock pot!

crockpot

I searched on Bing for Crock pot Breakfast Recipes and found a multitude of ideas and suggestions. I let the kids pick which recipes they wanted us to try. We decided to start with a Crock pot Breakfast Casserole. Larry and I just finished putting the casserole together in the crock pot. I will tell you guys how it tasted in tomorrow’s blog with tomorrow’s recipe.

Here’s the recipe.

Crock pot Breakfast Casserole

What You Need
• 6 eggs, eggs
• 10 slices of bread
• 1 1/2 cups milk
• 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
• 1/2 pound sausage
• Salt and pepper
• Yellow mustard (optional)

What To Do
1. In a skillet, brown the sausage and crumble. Drain fat.

2. Spread mustard on one side of bread and cut bread in quarters (or just cut plain break into quarters if you’re skipping the mustard).

3. Beat eggs and milk together, along with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Spray nonstick cooking spray on inside of crock pot. Layer bread, cheese and sausage inside crock pot.

5. Pour milk/egg over top. Cover. Cook on low 8-12 hours.

Thanks to the web site http://www.allcrockpotrecipes.com/breakfast/crockpot-breakfast-casserole.shtml for this recipe. I can’t wait to hear what the kids think about this breakfast. I really feel like it’s the small things like this that leave an impression with my kids. Sure they remember the big stuff, but I love it when they come to me and say “Hey mom remember that time … ” and they are 80% of the time talking about one of the small moments that we have shared together as a family.

Take time for the small moments. You will cherish them forever.

Diary of a Tonsillectomy & Adenoidectomy

The blog post below is an article that I wrote back in 2008. My best friend is about to go through this with her son so I felt like I should put it on my blog not only for her, but for others to view as well. While we were going through the surgery and healing I kept on thinking about how no one told me or warned me exactly what to expect. I wanted to help prepare other parents for what could possibly occur during this process.

Read Below for the diary that I kept during my son’s surgery and healing.

**************************

My son, Cameron, has had issues with snoring and sleep apnea for quite some time. According to the pediatrician and the ear nose and throat specialist, the cause of his issues were enlarged tonsils and adenoids. The ear, nose and throat specialist also felt like removing those would help him with some of the other issues that he was having. Some of those issues were over night bed wetting, and also behavioral issues. I called in and scheduled his surgery with the surgery center. It is an outpatient procedure and usually done in a surgery center not an actual hospital.
The Day Before the Surgery

My son was not allowed to eat or drink anything, including water, after midnight. However, some doctors have different procedures when it comes to that, so make sure you check with your doctor to see what his procedure is regarding food and drink before surgery.

Day 1 – Surgery Day

We arrived at the surgery center at the time requested. However, we had quite a long wait before our surgery. Our doctor was running behind, so we were called back 3 hours after we originally arrived. This was very difficult on my son, he was hungry and thirsty and we could not give him anything to eat or drink. He was also very nervous about the procedure. We kept him busy in the waiting room with games and books. After we were called back tot he pre-op area, we had more waiting to do. The nurse asked us some questions and checked Cameron’s temperature and his vitals. She had him put on a hospital gown and then we waited for the anesthesiologist to come and talk to us. The anesthesiologist explained how they would put Cameron under the anesthesia and asked us the standard questions regarding allergies and reactions to medications, and family history.

Then it was time for Cameron to head back for surgery. They asked Cameron if he wanted to be wheeled into surgery on the bed, but he said he wanted to walk. So my big boy got up and walked with the doctors and nurses back to the surgery room. We watched him walk back and then went back to the waiting room. I got very emotional at this point. All of my nerves and concerns had been held in so I wouldn’t upset my son, and they all came out after he was out of sight. The entire surgery lasted less than an hour. There was a phone in the waiting room and they called us on that phone to tell us when they started. Then a nurse came to get us when Cameron began to come out of the anesthesia.

I had been told by several people that coming out of anesthesia was really one of the worst parts of the surgery. I have to be honest, those stories were right. Nothing really prepared me for seeing my son in that way. He was completely disoriented and scared and drugged up. He was very upset. He didn’t want any of the tubes or needles attached to him, but they had to be. He tried several times to pull them out and we had to try to keep him calm. This was not an easy task because he was still so out of it from the medication. After about 10 minutes of this he fell back asleep. This is totally normal and expected. He slept off a bit more of the medication. One thing I must suggest to any parent going through this is for you to make sure to eat and drink something. I did not eat or drink anything, and it really effected me while in the recovery room. I began to feel dizzy and faint. So don’t forget to take car of yourself during this time. You can’t take care of your child, if you aren’t taking care of yourself.

Cameron woke up again after about another half hour. The nurse gave him some pain medication and had him try to eat a popsicle and drink some juice. He refused the popsicle and juice, but did drink some milk. The doctor let us know that we could choose to give him half doses of his pain medication more often than the full dose. He said that this may be best at first. Make sure you discuss any medication dosing with your physician to see what is best for your situation and condition before modifying any original dosing instructions.

After 1 hour of time in the recovery room, we were allowed to take Cameron home. He slept a lot and didn’t eat or drink much. We did feed him some ice cream and some popsicles. Whatever he would eat we gave it to him. Every time he woke up we tried to get him to drink something. Even if it was only a sip. Swallowing and staying hydrated are both very important in the recovery from this surgery. The more they swallow the quicker it will heal. We made sure to keep pain medication in him, that way he would not be in any pain.

Day 2

Lots of comfort is needed on this day. He still did a lot of sleeping, but was awake more. We were careful to make sure his pain medication was given in the correct dosage and on time to prevent any pain flare ups which would cause him to get upset. We continued to push fluids. He drank juice, water, and ate popsicles. He didn’t want any food, but did attempt to eat some yogurt, ice cream, and pudding. He only ate a few bites, but a few bites is better than nothing. I did attempt to feed him some macaroni and cheese that was not hot, just luke warm, and he couldn’t eat that yet. Make sure you watch for a fever. A fever is expected, however, if it goes above a certain level then you need to contact your doctor. Our doctor didn’t want the fever to get any higher than 101.5.

Day 3

This day was the worst day of the recovery for us. Even though we were pushing fluids, I believe he was on the verge of getting dehydrated. This is a very bad thing at any time but especially when trying to recover from a major procedure such as this one. His fever was very close to the level of having to contact the doctor. He wanted to sleep more than the day before. He was refusing to drink or eat. We really had to force fluids and food on him. We even had to force the medications on him. On this day we began giving him Gatorade to drink instead of just plain water and juice. Since he was only drinking small amounts the water and juice just wasn’t enough to keep him well hydrated. The Gatorade worked like a charm. Continue the pain medication on a regular schedule, and allow as much rest as your child wants.

Day 4

This was the beginning of better days for us. Cameron began to eat some foods. He ate some luke warm macaroni and cheese, among other soft foods. He continued to drink his Gatorade, however, I did have to remind him to drink often. I did not give pain medication on as strict of a schedule. If he was in pain and it was time or past time for medication I would give it to him. However, I waited for him to tell me he was starting to hurt. On this day, we noticed some diarrhea from the antibiotics. If the diarrhea becomes excessive, you may need to contact your doctor.

Day 5

Cameron is feeling much better on this day. He was eating and drinking without any struggle. we were still taking pain medication as needed. However, in the evening on this day his ears began to hurt. This is totally normal, so do not be alarmed by it. The pain from the removal of the tonsils and adenoids will radiate out and cause pain in the ears. This pain was quite bad for my son. However, every child will react differently to this. We had to go back to a strict schedule for the pain medication. Also, I made sure to give food and drink after the pain medication to help prevent further pain. Also, by making sure to offer food and drink while the pain medication was in his system I found that he was able to eat and drink more.

Day 6
Today you need to be prepared for a fall back in the recovery. It is totally normal and our doctor told us to expect it at this time. Stick with the pain medication on a regular schedule. Continue to push the soft foods and fluids. My son would cry because the pain from his ears was so bad. We started to chew gum to help with the pain.

Day 7 – 1 week post surgery

Cameron’s ear pain continued. I called the doctor’s office to find out the results from the culture of the tonsils and adenoids. The results were not in yet.

Day 8

Cameron’s ears are somewhat better. However, we are still having to give pain medication every 4 hours. He is starting to eat more, and is drinking much easier. This is the day that most children are able to return to school. This day fell on a weekend for us, so Cameron is still at home. Now that he is feeling so much better, we have to watch how much physical activity he is doing. There is to be no strenuous physical activity for 2 full weeks post surgery. With my son, I had to keep a close watch on him. I even enlisted his sisters to help me keep him from getting to active.

Day 9

Cameron’s appetite came back completely on this day. He was still experiencing ear pain. I gave him pain medication when necessary.

Day 10

I could have sent my son to school on this day. I chose to keep him home one additional day though. He had still been taking pain medication every 4 hours up until this day. The medication was mainly for the pain in his ears. I kept him home to see if he could go all day without taking any pain medication. He chewed gum to help with the pain when needed. He wanted to eat constantly. I guess he is making up for all of the food that he didn’t eat in the first week of recovery.

Day 11

This is the day that Cameron went back to school. I walked him in and spoke with his teacher. She was already aware that Cameron was having surgery, but I wanted to make sure she was aware of what to do in case something went wrong with Cameron. I sent a note in as well to be on his file just in case. I also made a point to inform the school nurse that he had just had the surgery and what to do in case of an emergency. The main concern was if Cameron had a tonsil bleed. This is not common, but it can happen. If this does happen, you child needs to go immediately to the hospital in an ambulance. However, before you do this, make sure to have the child drink ice water immediately to stop the bleeding. I made sure both his teacher and the school nurse were aware of this, they never needed to do anything though.

Day 12

Cameron’s voice is coming back to normal. The swelling seems to be going down. He still has quite an appetite. If he wanted to eat, I fed him. Even if it wasn’t time for a meal. He had lost some weight during recovery and his body must need to have some additional calories to be hungry so often.

Day 13

His voice continues to sound better. It is still not completely back yet. We returned to the doctor for a follow-up visit. The doctor says he is healing up very well. We discussed the results of the cultures. We were given the OK for all physical activity including gym and recess at school.

It has been over a month since Cameron’s surgery now. He is back to his old self again. His voice never did return to what it sounded like before, however it is similar. We are no longer having any issues with apnea. We are still working on the overnight bed wetting, but it is much better than it was prior to surgery. It was a difficult road to recovery, but it was completely worth it for my child. His health is much better now because of the surgery. I truly hope this article will help anyone whose child is going to have this surgery. I searched for people who had been through this, and wanted more information. It is hard to prepare yourself as a parent for all that comes with the surgery. If either of my other children have to have this done, now I am better prepared. Hopefully you are now too.

Throwing a Survivor Themed Birthday Party

survivor
The image above is what we used on our invitations to the party. 🙂

For my family watching Survivor is a family event. The kids get the biggest kick out of watching these people survive out in the wilderness and picking their favorites! My daughter decided she wanted to have a Survivor sleepover for her birthday. I was super excited about the theme and ran with it.

Invitations
You can get extremely creative with invitations for any party, however we had an extra fun time with the Survivor party invites! You can always go out to the party supply store and find some jungle or island themed party invitations, those will work just fine for this theme. My preference is to make my own invitations though. We thought of several different ideas that are extremely cute for Survivor themed invitations. One is to use brown butcher paper, write the party details in a clever rhyme similar to what tree mail would sound like on Survivor, then roll it up and tie a piece of twine around it. Another option is to use a photo editing program and come up with your very own Survivor Logo. I had a friend of mine do this for our invitations. she used my daughters favorite colors and my daughter even made up her very own tribe name. I took the logo and pasted it into Microsoft Word and typed up the invitations and printed them out. Very easy to do and I never had to leave my house to get them done!

Food
Food was simple for this party as well. I didn’t want to serve any gross foods as they often do on Survivor, so instead I kept my menu simple. I did throw in a few things that looked gross though. For the Survivor-like foods we served pretzel sticks (firewood), gummy worms, malted milk balls (mini coconuts), and ants on a log (celery sticks topped with peanut butter and raisins). Then we also had other typical party food snacks as well.

The cake was very simple to make. I decided to make her cake into an island. We used graham cracker crumbs to look like sand. I bought some plastic palm trees from the cake decorating supply store to stick int he cake as well. These trees were very inexpensive, and really added that extra touch to the cake.

Fun and Games
Some children prefer not to have games at their parties, other children love them. Here are a few suggestions for Survivor themed games for your birthday party.

1. Obstacle Course – You can set up an obstacle course in your front or back yard. The kids can easily go through the obstacle course and you don’t really have to buy anything to do this. You can use whatever items you have around the house or garage to make your obstacle course work for you all.

2. Quiz time – In some episodes of Survivor they have to read a story and answer questions about the story. Other times they have to answer questions about their fellow tribe mates. You can have the kids answer questions about the birthday child, or you could have them listen to a story and then answer some questions about the story.

3. You can also do any standard party games such as Red Rover, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Musical Chairs, and etc. These will all work well for a Survivor party since the challenges are always different on Survivor and these can just be your version of those challenges.

Party Favors
We purchased some bandannas in my daughters favorite colors from a craft store. Then I wrote the tribe name on them with fabric paint.. You can do this or you can put some bug and worm shaped fruit snacks into goody bags with some survivor items like compasses, magnifying glasses, mini telescopes and other fun survivor toys.

This party was so much fun and was extremely simple to put together. It works great for both boys and girls, and is truly a blast for everyone who attends.

How to Build Healthy Brown Bag Lunches for Your Kids

lunch

Many of you may already know that I am a mother to 3 school-aged children. I am constantly trying to find new creative ideas for meals for my kids. For a few years the most difficult meal for me to find ways to make more interesting and healthy was my kids’ school lunch.

I have never been a big fan of cafeteria lunches, not even when I was a child in school. So when I was getting ready to send my oldest child off to school, I knew that I would be making her lunch each day. At first, her lunch was simple; just a sandwich, some chips, a dessert, and a drink. Sometimes I would throw in some fruit along with it, but other than that, it was the same thing every day. Luckily my oldest child is a very good eater and not a big complainer. She ate it without a peep about it being boring. However, as a mom I knew that she was getting bored with it quickly.

I knew that I had to try some new things to keep her happy at lunch time. At first, I just tried making different types of sandwiches, and putting little notes in her lunch on a napkin. That worked for a while, but then I had to really begin to get creative. In my opinion every child’s lunch needs to have a few key ingredients to make it healthy. These ingredients are a main dish, at least two side items, and a drink. Most children would boycott without some sort of sweet treat to eat along with their lunch, so I always make sure to include a dessert as well.

In the remainder of this post, I will give you some ideas for each of the key parts of a child’s lunch. You can pick and choose from any of these ideas to make the perfect lunches for your child.

Main Dish

Sandwiches
Instead of just making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread, take your kid’s sandwiches to the next level. If you have a picky eater, this may be more difficult. I have one picky child in my crew, he would eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and nothing else and be perfectly happy with that. however, I know that his meals need more variety for him to have a well-rounded diet. There are tons of ways to make sandwiches more creatively. Sure you can make a different type of lunch meat, or crunchy peanut butter instead of creamy or even try wheat bread instead of white, that is a good first step, but I am the type of person who likes to take things even further.

What about trying something completely new to your kid? One of my kids has fallen in love with pita pockets and asks for them in her lunch quite often. I get the pita pocket and fill it with lettuce, some lunch meat, and ranch dressing. She just loves it! Another favorite for pita pocket filling is leftover salmon patties, lettuce, and a bit of thousand island dressing. Delicious, and really healthy too!

Another way to dazzle your kids with a sandwich at lunch is a wrap. Tortillas are still bread work a lot like bread for me. I just lay it out flat and spread whatever my kids favorite toppings on and then roll it up. Sometimes it is peanut butter and jelly, other times it is lunch meat, then again many times I will make an actual taco or quesadilla and wrap it in foil to keep it warm for them until lunch time.

My final sandwich examples are so much fun for my kids. It makes them feel like they are getting breakfast at lunch time, and for some reason that just makes my children ridiculously happy. Take a bagel or a few waffles, and use that as your bread, then make a sandwich as normal. Fill the bagel or the 2 waffles with your child’s choice of sandwich stuff and I promise it will make their day! When I do this, I like to do it the night before and put it in the fridge so the kids don’t see me making them in the morning. That way when they open up their lunch box in the cafeteria they are completely surprised by it and it seems to just make their day.

Here are just a few sandwich filling ideas, that may help to spark a creative streak in your brain when it comes to changing things up for your kid’s lunch. Instead of peanut butter and jelly try peanut butter and banana or apple slices. Instead of just deli meat and cheese, try adding lettuce, tomato, or maybe even avocado slices. My oldest loves a sandwich with fresh baby spinach, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes, then we use a pesto and cream cheese mixture as a spread. Not all kids will like that, but she just loves it!

Hot Stuff
If you invest in a thermos, the choices of things to send for lunch with your kid increase dramatically. Soup, spaghetti, chili, you name it, you can put it in a thermos and have a nice hot lunch for your kid. Best of all, it is home-made! If you have leftovers from last night’s casserole dinner, you can warm them up and put them into a thermos and your kid gets that healthy casserole that they loved last night again today for lunch!

Cold Choices
If a thermos isn’t an option for you, adding an ice pack into your kid’s lunch box can give you more choices to keep something cool. Sometimes I will send a salad in my kid’s lunches. I feel like a salad needs to be kept cold or else the lettuce may wilt some. Salad isn’t nearly as good if it isn’t crisp!

Side Items

When choosing sides to go into your kids lunch try to remember that there are other things you can pick besides chips. Here is a list of some of the things that I like to use as side items for my kids’ lunches.

carrot sticks and dip
celery filled with peanut butter and raisins
a piece of fruit
fruit cups
fruit slices and dip
yogurt
dried fruit
cheese and crackers
popcorn
pretzels
granola bars

I try to pick more than one of these to put into my kids lunch each day. However, if I am only choosing one then I try to make sure it is a healthy choice.

Desserts

Sure Little Debbie desserts are yummy and pre-packaged so they are super easy to pack into lunches.I use those at times, but I much prefer to choose other desserts for my kids’ lunches. Pudding and jello are both some of our favorites to mix up our dessert choices. Also, many times I will make some healthy home-made sweets and use those as a dessert. Then at Halloween time, I will use the kid’s candy stash to pop a quick treat in to their lunch box. Desserts don’t have to be healthy all of the time, so I am much more laid back when it comes to our dessert choices. Most kid’s will eat their dessert first while at school. No mom or Dad around to tell them not to, so they feel like they can do it and get away with it. For this reason, I try to make sure whatever dessert I choose to put in to that lunch box is a smaller and not very filling option so they still have plenty of room for the rest of their lunch.

No matter what you do to change-up your child’s lunch, make sure you get your child’s input on the choices. That way they feel like they had a say in it and then they are more likely to at least try the new lunch and more than likely they will like it!

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Sincerely, James

The Life of a Teenage-Traveler

The Ninth Life

It's time to be inspired, become encouraged, and get uplifted!

Stay Calm, Have A Cupcake!

Handling life one sweet treat at a time.

WTWO Alerts

Posting Weather Alerts for West TN