Snacking Grace

by HEAB on July 13, 2017

Hi!!! Long time, no talk.  I’ve had a few ideas for posts on my mind, and I’m finally sitting down to share.  Let’s talk about snacks.  They happen often at our house.  Seriously, our kids start asking for snacks about five minutes after we clean up breakfast and then every two hours thereafter until they are asleep…not until bedtime, because we sometimes hear, “I’m hungry” after teeth are brushed, books are read, and everyone is tucked in for the night.  I used to be really good about making homemade snacks, but I seem to be crunched for time lately and often find myself grabbing easy portable snacks for when we’re on the go. In an ideal world, I’d make everything from scratch and keep our freezer stocked with homemade granola bars, etc., but I’m trying to give myself more grace this year. So, I wanted to share a few of our favorite go-to snacks we’ve been enjoying this summer.

My favorite snack is a rice cake + almond butter.  However, have you ever tried giving a kid a rice cake in the car?  No bueno.  So lately, we’ve been relying on various energy type bars to keep the hangry monsters at bay.  Larabars were a staple in our house a few years ago, but the kids tired of their orange and brown snacks (cashew cookie and peanut butter bar flavors) after eating them everyday for over a year.  So, I stopped buying them, but Larabars made a comeback when I did Whole30 a few months ago (anyone else gain weight and not sleep on Whole30?  Just me?).  Anyway, I love the simple list of ingredients, and they’re always on sale for a dollar or less somewhere.  The kids are loving the chocolate chip cookie dough, and my favorites have always been Cashew Cookie and Cherry Pie.

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Snacks for Meadow Music.  We’re in Colorado at the moment, and the kids love Jeff & Paige!

Back in June, Chris and I celebrated our ten-year anniversary a few months early and spent a week hiking around Bend, Oregon.  Every morning, we loaded up on oatmeal at our hotel and then made sure to pack snacks and plenty of water for our daily hike(s).

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Sunblock, bug spray, and snacks.  Check.  Another discovery during Whole30 was the above RXBAR.  The mint chocolate is my flavor of choice.  When we hiked the Summit Trail around Smith Rock, we needed more of a dense energy bar and went with the Macrobars pictured below.  Their sunflower butter + chocolate bar is my favorite. These are pretty sweet but definitely gave us that boost of energy we needed for the last few miles of our hike.  They also make a great breakfast if you’re ever running late for school (much less messier than rice cakes!).

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We both agreed it was one of the coolest hikes we’ve ever done…

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And while in Bend, we of course had to enjoy some Picky Bars.  We celebrated the Summer Solstice with an early evening hike along the Deschutes River Trail.  These bars contain plant based protein yet don’t taste chalky, and I’ve loved every flavor I’ve tried.  Well done Lauren and Jesse!

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Another great hike if you’re in the area is Paulina Lake.  We did the seven-mile loop trail around the alpine lake.

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So, that’s what we’ve been up to this summer – a lot of hiking and snacking.  The kids are old enough to take on (very) short hikes, and we’re enjoying our time in Colorado together.

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Family friendly hike in Chautauqa Park in Boulder.

Nashville is home, but these mountains will always have our hearts.  When we go home, my goal is to get back into making more homemade snacks, especially since Hannah will be starting school three days a week in the fall.  There are several Larabar type bars/balls I want to make, and I want to start keeping a batch of these No Bake PB Bars in the fridge again at all times.  I also can’t wait to try these Coconut Fat Balls.  Any other recommendations for yummy on-the-go snacks that don’t crumble?

PS – You can recycle energy bar wrappers through TerraCycle.  My friend has an account with them, and she’s happy to send in our wrappers whenever I give her a bundle. That’s another reason I’d like to get back into homemade snacks – wrapper guilt.

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This past November, Summer turned six, and Hannah turned three.  Charlie and Katie are four and a half.  Can you even believe it?!?

We celebrated Summer and Hannah’s birthdays with a pirate party…

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So, yeah, my four babies have morphed into four little people overnight, and I wanted to share several important lessons learned along the way…

STAINS – We have encountered some pretty gnarly stains since becoming parents, and I have quite the arsenal of stain treatments ready to go at all hours in our laundry room cabinet. For mud and dirt, I try and attack the stain as soon as I can.  I find that if you can get to it before the stain sets in, you’ll have a much easier time getting rid of it.  First, I’ll rinse off any excess mud or dirt using the kitchen sink sprayer, and if we’re completely covered in mud, I hose off the clothes in the driveway.  Then I’ll either wash immediately or soak in a bucket of water + OxiClean and launder as usual.  For tough grass and dirt spots, I’ll rub in OxiClean gel or Dawn dishwashing liquid soap.  For blood (we get a lot of bloody noses around here), my #1 stain fighter is ice.  Cover the stain in ice as soon as you can, and just leave it.  The ice will get out the majority of blood.  I then treat with OxiClean gel and wash as usual.  If the stain doesn’t come out after the first wash, do not dry it.  Treat again with OxiClean gel and set out in the sun for a few hours.  The sun works wonders when it comes to stains and is my favorite “bleach”.  For general day-to-day dirt and food stains, I keep two 5 gallon plastic buckets of water + OxiClean powder in our master bath tub and throw extra-dirty clothes in there until I can launder them.  I love using this method to get out spots in our mattresses (potty training – oh man).  The spot itself may not be completely gone, but it definitely takes care of any odors. Oh, and the ice trick works great for spot cleaning furniture too.  If I notice a dirty spot on our furniture, I’ll rub it away with an ice cube and then allow the spot to dry.  Easy peasy.

Stomach Bug – When you hear this phrase, STAY FAR AWAY.  That is all.

Mondays – keep them open if you can.  Several friends have shared this tip with me as well as a few blogs that I read.  Monday is a great day for catching up after the weekend.  I usually have a list of phone calls to make and/or random errands to run, etc., and I find that when I make plans for Monday morning, I often feel behind before the week has even started.  Hannah is not yet in school, and so if I get through my list, we try to head to story time at the library or to a playground, but sometimes, Mom just needs to get the boring stuff done.

Fresh Air – Get some every.single.day.  Even if it’s just for ten minutes, go outside.  When the weather is bad, and we stay inside all day, my mood is usually awful by the end of the day.  Nature does a body good – something I have to remind myself of often.  Take a walk, sit on your front porch, go jump in a puddle or climb a tree.  Just get out there.

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Stay in Touch – Send letters and notes.  To me, there is nothing like receiving a letter or card in the mail, and I want our kids to enjoy this experience as well.  So, we often send short notes or thank you cards to our friends and loved ones.  It’s a fun activity for the family to do together.  You don’t even have to buy stationary.  Just make cards out of school or home art projects…

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Bangs – Never cut yourself some new fringe after a rough day. Take it from me, that is a very bad idea.

Skip Starbucks – Give me a grande almond milk latte with two pumps of sugar-free vanilla, and I am a happy camper, BUT, those coffee shop trips can really add up…to a not so pleasant conversation when it’s time to go over the monthly budget.  Instead, get yourself one of these and start making your own version at home.  Warm 1.5 cups of almond milk on the stove.  Froth until foamy and then add about .5 cups of your partner’s leftover brew, and five to seven drops of vanilla stevia drops or sweetener of choice.  Froth again and voilà!  It’s delicious, especially with a TBSP of raw cacao powder and a dash of cinnamon.

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Potty Training – All I got: be patient and be prepared to clean up pee, anywhere from a few days to a few years.  It’s different with every child, and I still don’t know what the best method is.

Crib to big kid bed – Keep them in the crib as long as humanly possible. If they’re happy and not attempting to climb out, why mess with a good thing? All of our babies were good sleepers until we transitioned them out of their cribs, and I don’t think we’ve slept through the night in about three years now.

Toys – We’ve cycled through a lot of toys, and they usually end up sitting unused, taking up space in the playroom.  Our kids love building forts with pillows and blankets, playing outside (nothing better than sticks and dirt), and coloring.  We leave paper and markers + crayons within reach at all times, and the kids are able to make art whenever they want.  The one toy the kids love, and that I wished we owned more of are these.  They are not cheap, but the kids use them to build the most amazing structures, and if we only had one toy, it would definitely be Magna-Tiles.  Oh, and we also have a trampoline, which gets used pretty much daily.  Love our trampoline.

Memories – Take more photos of your kids with their grandparents.  I treasure every picture I have of my mom with our children, and I always wish I’d taken more.

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Thanks again for taking this one, Emily.  I love it so much.

Stuff – Clutter has always bothered me, but my aversion to stuff was truly confirmed once we had kids.  Big messes give me anxiety…okay, small messes do as well.  I wish this wasn’t the case and that I could relax a bit more when it comes to an untidy room, but I can’t.  My mom raised me to really appreciate a clean house, and it’s just the way I am.  So, our solution is to try and keep the toys all upstairs in the playroom and a few in the kids’ rooms as well.  The downstairs is mostly a toy-free zone, and we keep our decor fairly minimal.  It’s not just for me – Chris has always been anti-stuff, and the kids tend to get overwhelmed with messes just as much as we do.  They seem to do a lot better with just a few choices of things to play with rather than a whole room filled with toys.  Try it.  Less stuff will change your life, or at least allow for a little more breathing room.

Clean-up time – And speaking of stuff, one important lesson I’ve learned over the last few years is that kids can clean up their messes, but really young ones tend to get overwhelmed.  Yes, they can turn a room upside down in less than five minutes, but tell a two-year old to clean up, and it will often end in tears and frustration.  Summer, our six year old will clean up the entire playroom by herself, putting everything back in its proper place, and Charlie and Katie are pretty good about this as well.  However, Hannah still needs help, and the best way for her to learn is for an adult to do it with her.  Kids will model their parents’ and teachers’ behaviors, and if you help them sort and put away, they will gladly do it with you, especially if you sing a fun song while you do it: “Now it’s time to tidy-up, tidy-up, tidy-up…”

Okay, this post has gotten way too long.  That’s all for now.  Parenting sure is wonderful, yet humbling at the same time, no?  And I don’t even have teenagers yet.  😉

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Back to The Books

August 10, 2016
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Books.  Every spare second, I’ve got my nose stuck in one – just like years ago when I could not get enough of Laura and her calico bonnet, Anne Shirley with an “E”, and later on, the Wakefield twins and all members of the Baby-Sitters Club.  I read every book assigned to me throughout high-school and college (except […]

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That sticky stuff left on glass after removing a sticker or price tag?  The worst, right? After cleaning up a jar the other day to use for flowers, I thought I’d share one of my favorite life hacks.  I think I read this tip on the Internet years ago – it’s no big secret, but […]

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Yesterday, we celebrated Summer turning five and Hannah turning two (can you even believe it?!?).  Dragons Love Tacos is a favorite book around here, and we’d thought it be a fun birthday party theme.  Because who doesn’t love dragons, or for that matter a taco salad bar??? Still my favorite guac… And everyone’s favorite cashew […]

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Site Maintenance

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Hey all, I have someone trying to fix a few kinks in my blog, and some old posts accidentally went out via email yesterday.  Sorry about that, and no, we’re not expecting again. 🙂 Thanks for your patience. -Heather

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Vegan Creamy White Bean Chili

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We’re gearing up for fall around here (my favorite!) and made our first chili of the season tonight.  There wasn’t time to cook my own beans or get the crock pot going this morning, and so I came up with the following recipe using canned beans and gluten free flour as a thickener.  After taste […]

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No More Stinky Breath Hummus

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Our kids like hummus, and they also like to crawl in bed with us first thing in the morning.  I love the early cuddles, but I do not love smelling garlic breath at 5:30 AM.  No thank you.  So, we stopped buying hummus in bulk at Costco and started making our own garlic-free version.  That […]

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Pregnancy Changed Me For The Better

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Pregnant with Summer in October 2010… Thank you Emily for the beautiful photo! And 34 weeks pregnant with Charlie and Katie in June 2012… And last but not least, awaiting Hannah’s arrival in October 2013… Another favorite from Emily Smallcomb Family Photography. I did something I haven’t done in a while.  I wrote a guest […]

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