Lunchbox Pizza Rolls

Sunday, 21 September 2014

A good portion of recent conversations with my friends involve discussing school lunches. What are the kids eating? What are we sending? Who has hot lunches and pizza day at school? There's much to discuss.

So far, my girls have been eating what I send them for lunch. That said, I am being very simple in what I send them and it's only been two weeks. They won't eat sandwiches or anything fancy and resembling a proper meal. They aren't allowed any nut or sesame products. They don't have a long time to eat. This means that most of their lunches are very simple bento box style lunches. For snack, I send some kind of homemade snack which is packed with fruits and/or veggies. I like this oatmeal cookie recipe (made without the nuts) because it includes pureed zucchini. For lunch, they get some kind of bread/pita/wrap/cracker with cheese, veggies, fruits, raisins and sometimes a fruit and veggie pouch. The other day I sent a pizza bun made from a local Italian bakery. While it was yummy, it wasn't as nutritious as I would like.

Then I came across this wonderful recipe for veggie packed pizza rolls. Kids love pizza and they also love anything that comes in the form of a muffin, so I was intrigued. I really loved the idea of sneaking in the veggies. However, I immediately knew there would be NO way I was going to make pizza dough. Um, no.

Instead, I purchased grocery store pizza dough and followed the rest of the recipe. I added sautéed veggies (I used onion, tomato, green pepper, carrot and spinach) to Unico pizza sauce and blended it in the Vitamix. Then I rolled out the dough, layered cheese (we only had cheddar in the fridge) and the veggie pizza sauce. Then I rolled it up, sliced it and placed the pieces in a muffin tin. This made 9 pizza rolls plus tons of leftover sauce. The rolls are seriously delicious and very portable for lunches.

Pizza Rolls

From Pinterest (where else?)

If you have any interesting lunchbox ideas for picky kindergarteners, I would love to hear them.

Have a great week!

Apples + Engineers

Saturday, 20 September 2014

First came the peaches and now the apples! This time around we picked 14 pounds of apples earlier today. I have an apple crisp in the oven as I'm typing and the smell is driving me crazy. I plan to make applesauce tomorrow and then cruise Pinterest for ideas on what to do with the rest of the apples.

Cutest apple pickers I know

This is what 14 pounds of apples looks like
I friggin' love Fall and all of the Fall related activities, and we have only just begun!

This week, the girls also received Goldie Blox as a gift. You may remember me posting about this toy before - click here. I'm happy to report that this toy is as wonderful as I would have hoped. It comes with a story that helps to guide the girls in how to build the spinning machine plus it has a bunch of other suggestions for things to build. They both love it. Alexa in particular spent hours tinkering with it and making things from her own imagination. We have always said that she would make a great engineer just like her dad since she has gravitated to building toys and fine motor activities. The funny thing is she hates when we say anything about her being an engineer. Obviously, she doesn't really know what an engineer is. Her only really exposure to engineers is from the book Rosie Revere Engineer (great book for little girls). For some reason, she doesn't want to be an engineer like Rosie. And the more people say things about engineering or her building skills the more she protests. She spent a 20 minute car ride crying about it the other night. Seriously crying because she doesn't want to be an engineer. It was too funny. Mia is loving this toy too and incidentally, she has no problems with us calling her an engineer ;)

NOT engineers


Thursday, 18 September 2014

I'm pretty much obsessed with photos of my kids. That's obvious, right? Moms are the new paparazzi. The question is what to DO with all of the photos. This question was posed to me by a friend this morning. She and I are in "photo" mode because we just took family photos on a farm as part of our annual professional mini-sessions. On what to do with all of the photos, I don't know the answer. I try to upload and organize the photos the best I can on iPhoto but I'm completely overwhelmed when it comes to proper back-up standards... Not to mention keeping track of the photos taken on my phone and my hubby's phone in addition to the "big" camera and professional images. There are a lot of photos.

Then there's displaying the photos. Every time we take professional photos, I swear the photos are my absolute favourite and no photos will ever be better. And then the next time around, I fall in love again and they become my favourite. It's the same thing every time. Our latest Fall photos really are my favourite LOL. The location and weather were amazing, our outfits really came together and everyone was happy. I quickly started printing off photos from this shoot to replace our gallery wall of beach photos (click here for a refresher). Those beach photos are so special because we took them near my in-law's place in Florida. Despite the love for the beach photos, however, the new farm photos were just begging to be displayed. I didn't have to change anything about the gallery wall other than the photos themselves. Those frames (all from Target) happened to coordinate with the farm photos as well as they did with the beach ones.

Admittedly, the formerly-beach-now-farm-gallery-wall isn't our only gallery wall. There's also the ballet gallery wall in the girls' room and the baby photo wall in the playroom plus a few other scattered photos around the house. We are approaching the point where almost every wall is a gallery wall in our home LOL. It's just so hard to resist displaying photos of my loves.

AND THEN there are my photo books. I wrote a post a million years ago about loving My Publisher photo books and that's still the case today. My system is to create and print two photo books a year (January-June and July-December) plus special books for trips like Disney and also the professional photos. On my to-do list is to create a proper baby book for each of my daughters with milestones and other memories in addition to the photos. It will be a big job. I've been putting it off until they started school, and so I should get cracking on that soon.

The thing is I don't think anyone has ever looked back and complained about taking too many photos of their kids, right? I certainly never will.

2014 Family Photos

Sunday, 14 September 2014

I just got the images from our 2014 family photos and I'm loving them. This year, we took photos on a farm. I went for a vintage inspired theme for our look (click here for more about how to style family photos and here from tips from our favourite photographer). Everything came together so nicely in the photos, and I'm already thinking of redoing gallery walls in our house and making 2014 holiday cards LOL.


Thursday, 11 September 2014

Today, I'm sharing two inspiring posts from blogs which I regularly read. They're both popular blogs so you may have already these posts, but in case you haven't then I think they are worth a read.

The first is from Enjoying the Small Things -- you can read the post by clicking here. I have been reading Kelle Hampton's blog for as long as I can remember. Kelle has been criticized for over-glamourizing her life, and only showing the good parts. I like that about her, that she looks for the beauty in everything. In this reflective post, she shares what it's like to juggle the demands of her three young children and how sometimes even she needs to pass off the parenting duties and escape her kids.  In the end though, it's the hard parts of parenting -- the parts not normally featured in blogs, Facebook or Instagram -- which are the ones that make it worth it. She says "Loving, even when it's hard, is the payoff in parenting". She's completely right about that.

The second post is from Momastery -- you can read the post by clicking here. Let me say, I'm not a huge fan of this blog and don't find Glennon Doyle relatable. Like, at all. Sometimes though her posts (like this one) are spot on. She talks about the feelings she has as she watches her kids walk in to school. Now it's only been a few days of school drop-off for me but I could completely relate to her description of the crush of emotions felt as you let your precious baby walk away into the doors of another world.

I can't wait to pick-up my girls from school and hug them extra tightly today!

#tbt Look at those faces! 

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The transition to full day kindergarten is going well. The girls are happy, more tired than ever and eating really well. The week has already had some funny and perplexing moments like lost water bottles, broken lunch boxes and one almost missed school pick-up because of a trip to the mall to replace the aforementioned broken lunch boxes. They have already brought home a ton of artwork and have learned the chicken dance.

Walking to school with our neighbour and bestie

To mark the first day of school, I asked the girls a series of questions.


How old are you?

What is your favourite color?

What is your favourite food?

What is your favourite TV show?
Doc McStuffins

What is your favourite movie?
Star Wars 

What is your favourite holiday?

What is your favourite thing to do with Mom?

What is your favourite thing to do with Dad?

What is your favourite thing to do with your sister?

What was your favourite part of summer?
Going to Collingwood

What are you most excited about for kindergarten?
Playing a lot

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A big girl like mommy and a princess

What is your favorite toy/stuffed animal?

What is your favorite thing to wear?
Ballet clothes 

Who are you going to marry when you grow up?

What are you going to name your kids when you grow up?


How old are you?

What is your favourite color?

What is your favourite food?

What is your favourite TV show?
Special Agent Oso

What is your favourite movie?

What is your favourite holiday?

What is your favourite thing to do with Mom?

What is your favourite thing to do with Dad?

What is your favourite thing to do with your sister?

What was your favourite part of summer?

What are you most excited about for kindergarten?

What do you want to be when you grow up?
(Refused to answer)

What is your favourite toy/stuffed animal?

What is your favourite thing to wear?

Who are you going to marry when you grow up?

What are you going to name your kids when you grow up?
What I didn't realize when I spent all that time wondering (worrying) about this milestone is that it would be a good thing. Mia and Alexa really are at a stage where they need to spread their wings and fly. They are so eager to learn and to experience more than what I alone can provide for them. Being home with them the past few years really and truly was my privilege. I'm sad this stage is over and at the same time I'm ready for the next stage. 

On the first day I walked my girls to school and dropped them off with their teacher for a few hours, they went happily running into school without so much as a goodbye hug for me. There was no big scene. Not a single tear. They just let go of my hands and kept on going. Heartbreaking, yes. But also validating. The fact my girls could be happy and confident as they embarked on something so new and scary for them meant that we have been doing all that we were supposed to for the past (nearly) four years. They were ready for the next thing. While I will still worry about them every minute while they're at school, I will also be so very proud.

What's next for me? Well, I have no idea. I'm just gonna spend some figuring that out and opening myself to whatever comes next for me.... Plus, school let's out at 2pm leaving a lot of time for mommy duties. 

- posted from my iPhone 

Meet the Teacher

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Where we live, entry into junior kindergarten is staggered meaning the kids don't enter the day after Labour Day like everyone else. They have a few visits scheduled this week, and then start full time next week. I like the idea of letting the little ones gradually get used to the process; however on the flip side, it's also prolonging the anxiety around starting school. This morning, we went as a family to meet the girls' kindergarten teacher. It was a great visit, and I really enjoyed watching my girls in their new surroundings. No tears were shed, not yet anyway.

Country Baby

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Today, we spent time in the Niagara Region where we went to a pick-your-own farm and picked the biggest, juiciest, ripest peaches I have ever seen. As we filled up our baskets, we couldn't resist sampling the peaches. I think we each ate three peaches each, that's a dozen peaches right there!

We now have so many peaches that I feel like Diane Keaton in the movie Baby Boom -- you know when she ends up with bushels and bushels of apples so she stars making applesauce and then she starts her own line of gourmet baby food called Country Baby (a novel idea in the 80's, I guess?). I love that movie!

In my case, I have about 30 pounds of peaches to work with. Since getting home, I have frozen about a dozen peaches, made peach muffins and made peach/carrot loaf. With all of that, I still haven't used even half of the peaches we brought home. Not that I'm complaining. I really have never tasted peaches like this before. We are looking forward to enjoying them.

I hope your long weekend is peachy ;)
With Pinterest, there is no shortage of ideas for back-to-school photos. Or, as in our case, first time school photos. The most ubiquitous is the chalkboard or driveway chalk version of the school photo. Today, we gave this a try on our driveway.

Here are some other pin-worthy ideas....

The photo I included here is from my phone (also posted on my Instagram @lovingyouischerrypie) but I also took photos with my big camera. I may edit the digital images to include the girls' names, age and fun facts. I also really like these printables for the actual first day.

Have a great Labour Day weekend!

- posted from my iPhone