Thursday, January 7, 2016

Rock the Lunch Box

Elodie is back to school this coming monday. I have loved the last three weeks of slow mornings and holiday adventures but I can feel the need to get back into our daily rhythm. I've partnered with Rock the Lunch Box to try and get a jumpstart on the routine by planning the girls' lunches for the next few weeks.

As an added bonus, Rock the Lunch Box is giving away a Month of Lunches to five lucky winners - click here to learn more.

I like to give the girls a wide variety of healthy, whole foods that I can prepare in advance while also giving them a few items that they view as treats. The girls love to help pack their lunches and I know they are more likely to eat it if they have ownership in the process.

Elodie loves turkey or almond butter sandwiches cut into fun shapes while Francesca still loves to eat a deconstructed sandwich. I make sure they have fruits, nuts, and veggies but also like to throw in an Organic Honest Kids juice drink or some Annie's Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks or Organic Cheddar Bunnies with a cute note.

Here is what i am going to be giving them the next few months.

Monday: Hummus and Applegate Oven Roasted Chicken Breast Wrap on a Rudi's Multigrain Tortilla, cut carrots with dip made from veganaise (i like this recipe,) pomegranate seeds and tangerine segments, hazelnuts

Tuesday: Soba noodle salad with edamame, steamed cauliflower, orange segments, Annie's Organic Cheddar Bunnies

Wednesday: Brown rice pasta with pesto and mozzerella balls, melon slices, cucumbers, zucchini bread

Thursday: Applegate Turkey Rolls, pita wedges, chunks of feta, hummus, apple slices and Annie's Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks

Friday: Hard boiled egg, Rudi's Honey Sweet Whole Wheat Bread, Avocado slices, pistachios and dried strawberries, gluten free pretzels 

We don't have any specific dietary restrictions but a lot of my friends' children do. Head over to Rock the Lunch Box for more creative nut free, gluten free, or vegetarian inspiration (and do make sure to enter the Month of Lunches sweepstakes!)

And to make an even greater impact, Rock the Lunch Box is supporting FoodCorps, a nationwide team of AmeriCorps leaders who help make lunch more fun and delicious for over 165,000 kids a year. Our 2015 contributions will help support FoodCorps' expansion into their newest state, New York, where service members will deliver FoodCorps' three-ingredients recipe for healthy kids. 

This post brought to you in partnership with Rock the Lunch Box and Annie's, Applegate, Honest Juice, and Rudi's Organic Bakery - brands that I have purchased for years. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

a few of our favorite things...

i've decided to post a few of my girls' favorite gifts to give (and receive) this holiday season. it is a nice snapshot of where they are developmentally and also what is popular in our house this year. 

seedling has such great exploratory items for children. i put the seedling fairy wand kit under the tree this year but elodie also loves the good things for girls kit and is always practicing jump rope or making bracelets with her knitting doll. with her and we have taken the toadstool note pads and woodland stickers with us on all of our plane trips this year. their pocket money line makes the best stocking stuffers. elodie has asked for the oh deer money box for all of her coins.

i love, love, love the hair clips from hello shiso (and more do the girls!) francesca always has the mushroom ones in her hair.

audiobooks are the biggest thing at our house right now and the mindy mousekins series cannot be beat. i don't love the narrator but i'll happily overlook it as the girls listen with rapt attention in the car. 

i have been trying to make more presents for the girls but am not at all crafty. when i started to learn to wool felt i used woolpet kits from fawn shoppe. now i just look at youtube and make my own creations!

i made each of the girls a little gnome to sit by the tree on christmas morning. i plan on putting a little basket of crystals and chocolate next to it. i made one of them at a parenting circle and then just freestyled it for the next. this template online is it in a nutshell!

books are always our very favorite things to give and receive. this year our friends max, margaux and dash gave francesca the book "home" by carson ellis. it is one of the best books we own hands down. so beautifully illustrated and a story that both my three and seven year olds love. i also love stopping by woods on a snowy evening by robert frost and the animals' merry christmas by richard scarry! so many good books to choose from (and if you have any you recommend, i'd love to hear!) i love to write the day i bought it and a small developmental note to the girls in their holiday books. it's fun to read with them every year.

Monday, December 14, 2015

seven times the sun

one, two, three, four, five, six, seven journeys 'round the sun
through winter, spring, summer and fall,
i journey 'round the sun
a new year has begun.

here we are once again. another birthday for my eldest daughter elodie. this one feels so monumental. the completion of her first seven years here and an awakening in her eyes, heart, and mind.

i decided that this birthday deserved a special marker. you know when the universe conspires to have you hear a message? well, three times in one week i heard of mayayaland, home to a magical woman named mayaya. she does many things, one of which, is hold birthday parties for children and we were lucky enough to have her come to our home. she transformed our backyard into a fairy marketplace and captivated the girls with songs while she painted them with the markings of a fairy warrior. the few adults who were present at the party remarked how quiet they were all being...completely spellbound by her while they made their own special magic fairy dust.

my favorite part was a ceremony she performed where the girls all held the ribbons of a large sun as elodie ran around them seven times. after, she wrapped each girl in her big wings and gave them a gift of a color. you could feel that she didn't take her task lightly and was so reverent with bestowing the gift on each girl, purple for power for one, blue for another. so sweet and believing.

i had an idea to put ribbon in my favorite tree in our backyard to make a wish tree. elodie has been playing underneath it every day and i made a little story about it's significance. the only other decoration that i picked up were a couple of balloons which we definitely didn't need. it looked beautiful with everything mayaya brought.

elodie asked for a simple cake and wanted a fairy on top. we handed out oranges with soft peppermint sticks in it as well (there were those who didn't want cake.) i love the idea of having this at all of her december parties. it reminds me so much of the lovely story the sun egg by elsa beskow,

i don't think every year should have such a big party but i'm glad we were able to have this one for her. and this is the first year i've ever had a photographer. thank you so much morgan pansing for your photos. they are pure magic!

Friday, December 11, 2015

on the way to light

last night i went to a parenting circle at francesca's school where the topic was reverence. it really made me pause and think of what reverence means to me. these last few weeks, months, have been really heart wrenching for me on a personal level and i feel so tender and a bit anxious during this season that should be so beautiful. i turn on the radio or look on facebook and it is so clear the sense of dread and despair that i am feeling is in the air. my children must feel it so i struggle whether i should just shut it out completely or if i am meant to participate in the dialogue in some way. i just don't know the answer.

what i do know is that i am the mother of two small children. i do know that the world is largely good. i believe in the importance of the imagination and that this season of giving is also one that marks the beginning of something new. these days are full. full of what? that is my choice. every day i choose. and i keep tweaking and refining. there IS magic in the air in the face of so much despair. i'm doing my best to tune into that frequency instead of what the news cycle feeds me. there is nothing our small children can do with the despair that is out there in the world.

so now i think of how i put this desire and deep need for reverence into action. i have been practicing this for a long while (but can always be better.) i choose the contents of my day. i choose the company i keep. i choose to make meaningful moments with my children. through my example i can show my children that the rhythms and rituals we have for each season are deeply important and longer lasting than any shallow, consumptive ones. i still struggle with this myself. i see things on instagram and think BUY BUY BUY. i'm not proud of it but i am as human as the next person. in so many ways this makes me feel like such a sucker and i'm trying to get out of that habit.

so these small a beeswax candle that francesca herself made before telling a simple story after school. acting it out with little characters and ending with a song. a small circle for no reason at all other than to connect with my daughters. a moment of reverence and togetherness. the greatest gift we can offer each other.

another...making our winter nature table and focusing on the advent.

"the first light of advent is the light of stone - 
light that lives in crystals, seashells, and bones.
the second light of advent is the light of plants-
plants that reach up to the sun and in the breezes dance.
the third light of advent is the light of beasts-
all await the birth, from the greatest and in least.
the fourth light of advent is the light of humankind-
the light of hope that we may learn to love and understand."

we need symbols of light during these dark days. fill your home with light. fill your heart with light. if something is making you feel bad, change it. we have the choice to have gratitude no matter how big the obstacles we face.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

let it snow at the four seasons westlake village

elodie's favorite month is december (being her birthday month) so when we received a press invite to the four seasons westlake village "let it snow" event we happily said yes. we packed our overnight bags and listened to christmas carols in the car. it felt a world away from our home even though it was only a short forty five minute drive. when we arrived the girls were greeted with cute little teddy bears and bathrobes with their names on it (and miniature olaf stuffies which they loved.) elodie also loved trying to find the hotel's elf on the shelf hidden in the lobby.

we then tidied up and headed down to the festivities. the girls loved meeting rudolph and santa and taking a little train ride around the property. it was a whirlwind of snow and outdoor activities topped off with cookie decorating with mrs. claus (elodie's favorite.) we all had a family dinner together after ice skating on a beautiful snowflake rink. the ice was simulated thankfully so francesca was also able to participate.

the next day we had a farmer's market brunch with special visits from elsa, anna, and olaf. we spent the next few hours at the pool before heading home with tired and content girls. such a perfect overnight getaway and i hope we get to do it again next year. thank you for hosting us four seasons westlake!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

a visit to snow-line orchard

the girls and i decided to stop in oak glen for some apple cider donuts and a little bit of autumn weather on on the way home from a recent warm weekend getaway in palm springs. it's crazy that if you just veer off the 10 freeway for a few miles that you will all of a sudden be in 46 degree weather. we didn't dress nearly warm enough to stay for apple picking but the girls loved playing in the beautiful leaves and watching their hot apple cider donuts being made. sometimes just a little change in scenery is enough.

favorite dresses by mabo (francesca's) and smokks (elodie)

Monday, October 5, 2015

apples, apples

francesca has come home with the sweetest rhymes from her nursery school. this is one of my new favorites.

apples, apples, what a treat
sweet and tart and good to eat
apples green and apples red,
they hang from brances overhead
and when the wind blows
our apples drop
so we can have our apple crop.*

and she loves these little apples from apple n amos!

*a variation on the original by helen moore