I Love Fast Food

When I’m trying to cram in a week’s worth of exercise and errands in the 2 hours and 50 minutes that my son’s in preschool.  When I reach towards the backseat and wonder whether goldfish or gummies are more effective against a hunger headache.  When I wish I could stomach anything at McDonalds other than a large Diet Coke.

$3.99 Summer Roll or $4.99 Avocado Salad Roll at Publix

If the grocery store is on my to-do list, I pick up one of these rolls in the Publix sushi department.  Sugar is more a concern for me, personally, than salt, so I skip the sweet, gooey sauce and use low-sodium soy sauce.

Starbucks Artisan Snack Plates, $4.95 each

Also convenient is Starbucks’ Protein plate, especially if there’s a drive-thru nearby.  A hard-boiled egg so perfect it looks fake, apples, grapes, white cheddar cheese slices and a bready-raisiny thing with peanut butter.  The Fruit, Nut & Cheese plate is good, too, but seems less like a meal, despite the higher calorie count.When I’m on top of things, I duplicate the Protein plate at home, substituting a Thomas’ whole wheat mini bagel for the meusli bread, and pack it all in a cooler for the car.  If I eat the apples and cheese slices together, I can almost imagine I’m in Napa overlooking a vineyard.

And then a Target shopping cart rolls into my minivan.

Costco: Harry Potter & Lego

Lego Harry Potter Book at Costco for $11.99.
And Mom’s feeling generous because it’s the beginning of summer break.

Oh, happy day, for my 5-year-old son.

Pictures Tell A Story

A couple of years ago, after my husband woke up on Father’s Day,
he walked into our kitchen to find the wall plastered with photos of him with our kids.
It was so plainly clear at that moment what a great Dad he is, that it took our breath away.

Years before that, I made wrapping paper from photos of me and my stepfather.
I don’t even remember what the gift was, but I still have pieces of the paper.

Year-End Gifts for Teachers

I’m not a fan of asking other parents to contribute money for teachers’ gifts.  Especially at the end of the school year, when everyone has giving fatigue.  Or is just fatigued, period.

But I have asked for parents’ help gathering year-end sentiments from their children to the teacher.  For a kind of class thank-you note.

Last year, it was 5 sentences on a sheet of paper that each child completed, described here.  I bound the questionnaires together (nothing fancy – something that the kids would do, with a title handwritten by my daughter) and let the kids present the book to their teacher during the last week of school.  They were pretty proud of themselves.

But I did notice that few kids (these were kindergarteners) came up with thoughtful responses to all 5 sentences.  So, this year, I printed out the same thoughtstarters on cardstock, one per half sheet, and sent 5 different cards home with each child.  The children could choose one (or two or all of them) to fill out and return to me.  I also suggested that the parents could write a note, and a few did.  Then I mixed up the cards, tied them with ribbon and put them in an art caddy.

I contributed filler that I thought the teacher would appreciate, including M&M’s printed with her favorite sports team logo and personalized notepads from Giftsin24.com.  The other room parent added a gift card purchased with the balance of our class fund (to which all of the parents contributed at the beginning of the year).

Here are some of the children’s year-end sentiments:


Coloring the Yard

If you like color and can live with plastic, these adirondack chairs are fabulous!

Comfortable, stackable, easy-to-clean.  And, as my recent football player-sized party guest can attest to, surprisingly sturdy.

Adams Manufacturing makes them.  Last summer, after they sold out at Home Depot ($8 each on clearance), I found them at DoItBest.com, a hardware store co-op.  Several candy colors are available for $18.99, and they ship site-to-store for free, if there’s a store in the co-op near you.  They popped up on Craigslist, too.

The chairs are back at Home Depot now for about $16, but in more muted colors.  I prefer the brighter, candy colors at DoItBest.com, but if they’re too saccharine for you, there’s yet another option at Target for $17.