Tuesdays with Jacob

Snack Boxes

September 16, 2018
This post is sponsored by Pearls® but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

It's no secret that things have been a little hectic around here. (Hence the radio silence over here one the blog) We're all back to our routines which includes Jacob and I getting up super early to get off to school on time and then Daddy leaving for work shortly after we get home. Because he works unusual hours, he usually eats a meal either before he goes to work or when he gets home. He doesn't have to take a "lunch" at work, so he prefers not to. That means that the food we send with him has to be easy and quick to eat on the go. 

He's long been a fan of olives and Pearls® olives recently launched three new flavors: Taco, Sriracha, & Italian Herb which add even more variety. The little to-go cups make the perfect compartment inside the Tupperware with plenty of room for other finger foods, and Pearls® are keto friendly, gluten free, & vegan! 

We like to add veggies - tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, broccoli, etc. As well as protein - salami, pepperoni, or cheese. And some nuts like cashews or pecans too. We'll toss in some dried cranberries, raisins, or trail mix for just a touch of sweet. 

It's not just Daddy that likes a snack box though, I regularly pack these to take with us on picnics, to sports practices, on our way to  church … pretty much any time we're on the go! Jacob likes them just as much as we do! You can purchase Pearls® on amazon, or using their store locator. AND, you can save on Pearls® by clicking HERE! Life is better with Pearls®!

Pre-K Interview

August 13, 2018

I swear it takes nothing more than a school uniform to age a child 10+ years. Hand over ALL the tissues please. The tiny polo shirt, the little tennis shoes, the backpacks and lunchboxes, I can't. There's no denying all traces of babyhood are gone and it makes me want to weep something fierce. Here's a little snapshot of Jacob as he heads off to Pre-k: 

How old are you? 
Jacob: I don't know. 
Mommy: Are you one?
Jacob: I'm not one anymore. 
Mommy: Are you two?
Jacob: I'm not two anymore. 
Mommy: Are you three?
Jacob: I'm not three anymore.
Mommy: Are you four?
Jacob: I'm four! Yes. Four. Maybe I'll be five soon. (Ha! He won't) 

Who's your best friend?
Jacob: Emily and Olivia

What's your favorite food?
Jacob: Pizza

What's your favorite color?
Jacob: Green, and yellow, and white, and black

What's your favorite toy?
Jacob: My legos

What's your favorite book?
Jacob: Elephant & Piggie ("We are in a Book")

What's your favorite tv show?
Jacob: Sarah & Duck

What's your favorite movie?
Jacob: Incredibles

What do you like to do outside?
Jacob: Dig in the sand

What do you like to do inside?
Jacob: Play with Play-dough

What's your favorite holiday?
Jacob: Halloween

What's your favorite animal?
Jacob: Giraffe

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Jacob: A firefighter

Farewell to a summer packed full of goodness and adventure. 

I feel like Meryl Streep waxing poetic...
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
He keeps on growing 
Slipping through my fingers all the time

Last years preschool interview: HERE

Back to School Organization

August 7, 2018

I shared the photo above on my Facebook and got a request for a blog post about it so... voila! Here it is! This will be my first year in 13 years of teaching that I have to get not only myself out the door bright and early, but my preschooler too. My preschooler who takes after daddy and is NOT a morning person. Let's just say the next few weeks are going to be painful as we adjust to our new normal. In the interest of making things as easy as they can possibly be I started looking for ways to streamline our morning. 

I knew I wanted one central area to keep all of Jacob's school stuff, and I wanted it downstairs since that's where he does all of his getting ready after eating breakfast. You do NOT need a big space to set up a command center like this. We have a teeny, tiny, townhouse and I had about 2 feet of wall in between my kitchen and dining room to work with. If I can find space - so can you!! 

I started at the bottom of the wall and worked my way up. My school has a uniform (Hallelujah) so I picked up a 5 drawer tub (find it HERE) and had my mom cut out labels for each drawer on her sillhouette. Each part of the uniform gets it's own drawer. 

Top (small) drawer: has his accessories - belts, socks, underwear, and tee-shirts for Fridays. We picked up two of these belts in brown and black because they are super easy for little hands! 

Second (small) drawer: has his sweaters (for the few weeks a year it's cold enough) We love Gap Kids for cardigans and Crewcuts for pullovers. Some of our favorites HERE and HERE

Third (large) drawer: has all of his polos. He has to wear solid colors and while the brands we like best are Gap, Crewcuts, and Chaps, I do get most of his uniform pieces second hand. My parents have a great kids re-sale shop near their house. 

Fourth (large) drawer: has his uniform bottoms. We find the best fit with Ralph Lauren, Crewcuts, and Gap, but again I get most of them second hand. Jacob has three colors he can wear - navy, khaki, and black so we picked up a few shorts in each color and one pair of pants in each color. (It's rarely cold enough for pants here) He also has jeans and jean shorts in there for Fridays - which I almost always get at Gap, I love their denim! 

Bottom (large) drawer: has his shoes. We love Converse, Adidas, Toms, and slip ons from Old Navy and Gap. We just grabbed these bear slip ons from Old Navy - if it has glasses, we will buy it! 

It will be SO helpful to have this all in one spot and my hope is that I can eventually send him over there to get dressed on his own. It will also come in super handy on the rare occasion that daddy has to take him to school - he won't have to wonder what he can and can't wear since it will all be there together. 

In the middle of the wall I hung two hooks for his back pack and his lunchbox. We went with the Pottery Barn Kids Mackenzie size small backpack for Pre-k. (same one as last year) I debated getting the large so it would last longer, but it weighed him down and I knew it wouldn't work. We had it monogrammed with his initials only for safety reasons. 

For his lunch box we got the Pottery Barn Kids Mackenzie Cold Pack style - this decision was easy as it was the only one that fit his Bentgo lunch container, as well as his Sistema snack container and a milk. His water bottle fits in a mesh pocket on the side. I also used a handful of command hooks to hang a wire basket (dollar spot, similar HERE) as a catch all. It holds his water bottle, glasses case, goggles for swimming, a comb, etc. We also keep his SoCozy Boo! Lice spray in there, which we spray on every morning in hopes of avoiding those pesky little critters. A mini cork board in the middle can hold reminder notes, and currently our box tops collection. 

Up at the top of the wall I hung a photo clip frame that I got on clearance at Target a year or so ago, and have been searching for the perfect spot ever since. (similar HERE and I love this rose gold one!) I hung a small dry-erase calendar board up there as a visual reminder of our obligations, and the rest can be used to hang art projects, notes from school, and of course, photos. Jacob requested I add our star garland from Pearl & Jane and I love the little extra sparkle it adds. 

So there you have it! How do you keep sane during back to school? 

Lunchbox Sliders 3 ways

July 23, 2018

This post is sponsored by Pepperidge Farm, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

I know I say this every July... but I can't believe summer is halfway over. Pretty soon it will be time to start thinking about backpacks and lunchboxes and if you've got a picky kid like mine, that's a stressful line of thinking. This will be the first year I have to pack a lunch for Jacob every single day and the thought is a bit daunting. I've been trying out some new foods on him this summer and thinking of ways I can mix things up and not send the same thing every day. I recently came across Pepperidge Farm® Bakery Classics Slider Buns and I knew it would be a great alternative to sandwiches for Jacob because he LOVES hamburgers, and anything you put on these sliders automatically looks like a mini hamburger! 

The most important thing to keep in mind when packing a lunch is that it needs to be something your kid likes to eat. Without you there, no one is going to make your child eat a lunch they don't like! The lunchbox is not the place to introduce new foods - try them at home first to make sure your child is familiar with them and will willingly eat them. We've taken a few simple sandwich recipes for a test drive and gotten two thumbs up on each one so I thought I'd share them with you here to give you a few ideas! 

1. Pizza sliders. Jacob loves pizza and this combo has all the same flavors - pizza sauce, provolone cheese, and pepperoni. You could add other pizza toppings too like peppers or mushrooms, but Jacob's a plain pepperoni kind of guy. 

2. Peanut Butter and Banana sliders. You could also use jelly, or strawberries, or fluff... whatever floats your kiddo's boat! If you've got a nut allergy in your kids class you can substitute in a nut free butter like sunflower butter or tahini. 

3. Salad sliders. Tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad. All of these are great with a little swiss cheese! 

Here are a few more ideas: 
Ham & Cheese
Chicken or Hamburger patty (cut to size)
Pulled Pork

Pretty much anything you would put on regular bread you can put on Pepperidge Farm® Bakery Classics Slider Buns, they're super versatile! They are the perfect size to fit inside lunchboxes and in little hands. They're just big enough that I know Jacob will fill up, but not have a lot of extra go to waste. What are you packing in your kids lunchboxes this year? You can see my tips for packing a teacher approved lunch HERE

Jumpstarting the Summer

June 28, 2018

Whew it's been a busy summer so far! Jacob just finished up a week of Jumpstart clinics at Goldfish Swim School in Canton, MI near my parents house. Goldfish offers traditional swim lessons year round where kids go once a week, but during the summer they offer jumpstart clinics where kids can go everyday to build confidence and fast track their skills. 

This was our first experience with Goldfish (but they are opening one near us soon!!!) and we were so impressed. In the words of my brother "I didn't know swim boutiques were a thing!" And he's got a point. The pools we went to for swim lessons as children were cold and sterile, rented from the local high school. Goldfish could not be more different. Everything there is bright, warm, and inviting - 100% designed with the whole child in mind. From the friendly murals on the wall, to the fun surfboard drying stations, to the constant 90 degree temperature in the pool; everything there is just perfect for setting kids at ease and making sure they have a positive experience.

We were usually rushing in for class after dropping my mom at work, so we'd use their changing rooms (designed like cabanas - so cute!) to change and then wait in their large waiting area for them to call his class. The waiting area is huge (and air conditioned!) with big comfy chairs and floor to ceiling walls with a full view of the pool so you can see your little one and note what they are working on the whole time.

Once they called his class I'd drop Jacob off at his lane and then go sit in the waiting area while he had his lesson. Each class has four kids or less so the instructor can really focus on each child and building confidence in their abilities. Jacob has loved all of the instructors that he has had - they are super patient, attentive, well trained, and great with kids! They had Jacob jumping to them without holding on his very first day there - something he never does! My favorite part of the lessons at Goldfish is that they work on not only swimming skills, but safety skills as well. 

The last 5 minutes parents are allowed to go in and observe and the teacher will give you a run down of what they worked on and what they need to practice. This is so helpful for working with your child on your own in between lessons and not something we've experienced at other swim schools. At the end of each Jumpstart week you get a progress report (every 3 months for weekly classes) with the skills they've accomplished checked off and a cute ribbon regardless of whether or not they are moving up a level. Just look at how much progress Jacob made in one week, he is SO proud of that ribbon!

Our first stop after class was always the adjoining showers. I noticed most kids just do a rinse off, but I always took the opportunity to bring shampoo so I wouldn't have to give him a bath later. After his shower we'd hit the changing rooms again to change back into his street clothes, and then his favorite part - the drying station! He loves sitting up on the surf board and using the hair dryer to dry his hair "all by himself." I really appreciate the different settings on the hair dryers that let you control not only the intensity, but also the heat. I could let Jacob go to town with the heat set to low and not have to worry about him accidentally burning himself. I'd always bring a wet bag to throw his wet suit and towel into, but they also have a swimsuit dryer there. 

Besides a beautiful facility and a sound program in place for swim instruction, the staff at Goldfish is so welcoming and accommodating. If your schedule changes they will reschedule you for another date and if you need a makeup due to illness or travel it's no extra charge. We've had such a great experience at Goldfish, that we are now SO excited for the one near us to open up! If you'd like to learn more about Goldfish click HERE to check out all their offerings and find a facility near you. 

*Goldfish provided Jacob with free lessons in order to facilitate this review. As always all opinions are my own and we only promote brands we love.