Archive for category Living
Well fall is officially here! We spent the weekend decorating and I thought I would share some great resources to help celebrate this changing season. Here are some links to celebrate fall including Pumpkin Patches, Apple Festivals and one of our favorites – the Pace Fall Fair on October 20th. Get out your calendars and plan some fun!
Every year it is with sadness and happiness that I send my little boy back to school. This year, along with the usual preparations, we received a long note with a list of acceptable “nut aware” snacks. Last year it was cleared that we didn’t have any nut allergies in the room and I was able to send my child to school with healthy snacks that included peanut butter and granola bars. Those are now banned.
So anyway, it brings me to seeking out new ideas to pack in my son’s snack bag 7 times a week. (Yes 7! Because there are 5 school days and 2 after school program days.) In pre-school, we would take turns bringing snacks for the whole class for one week, once a year. I liked that…
As a working mom, it’s hard enough to plan meals for breakfast and dinner every day without worrying about daily snacks as well. I’ve discovered a few things that qualify in the healthy category, and are nut free, so I wanted to share them with those of you that may be struggling with this on a daily basis too. I’m glad to share any ideas that come in comments as well.
First: I found these bags that I can put a cooler pack in to keep these things cool til snack time. They can be washed as well which is good if something gets smushed in transit.
- Fruit Buddies – these are basically an apple sauce consistency and come in a variety of flavors and have no sugar added. They are around $1 a piece but do come on sale as a Buy one, Get one type of thing occasionally and I stock up at that point. These don’t need to be refrigerated, but I do store them in my refrigerator and send them to school chilled as well.
- Individual carrot/ranch packets – Last year I’d send a baggie of carrots & a little plastic container of ranch dressing and inevitably it would open up and make a mess in the snack bag, so these pre-packaged containers make morning packing so much easier and its still healthy!
- Apples and caramel – I can send apples and they may get eaten, but I’m assured every single one will be eaten if I send in the additional caramel packet. These come 5 to a container and are fresh apples so you need to use them relatively quickly.
- I do send in plastic containers of grapes and cheese cut up, but again this is a little more work. They have these pre-packaged with apples but they seem expensive to me, so this one I still do myself.
- Gogurts – I’ve heard teachers don’t like these because they think they are messy, but I freeze them and if they go in the snack bag with the ice thing they stay pretty solid until snack time.
- Dannon Drinkable Smoothie Yogurt – Again, I think teachers think these are messy as the foil on top can open up. I will send these occasionally in a lunch bag that has a plastic compartment that will protect it from being crushed.
- Cheese – Babybel is easy and doesn’t seem to go bad. String Cheese is a little more fun for the kids.
-Boiled eggs – I peel them in advance and as much as I personally don’t like them, my son does. They pack easy and make a great snack.
- Turkey – Since I can’t send protein in the form of peanut butter I’ve been finding ways to send turkey. I use Boars Head turkey breast and put a slice in a little hawaiian bread roll. The sweet bread with the turkey is something he really likes and it holds him over well until lunch time. Or for after school, it will tide him over til dinner time.
-Hummus is another option and I wish my child liked it more, but its never worked for us.
-Lunchables have a meat/cheese/cracker snack option. I do keep a stash of the full lunchables as well so when we have playdates kids can pick what they want for lunch. Seems to go over well.
- There are plenty of pre-packaged cracker options, but most don’t really fall in the “healthy” category. I do keep these on hand for back ups.
- Oatmeal to go – these are pre-packaged but good to have tucked away in his back pack for the after school hungers on the days he stays late.
- Cereal to go cups – I found these round tubs of cereal that are great for keeping and don’t need to be refrigerated.
- Raisins and Dried fruit – My child isn’t crazy about these, but I do slip them in occasionally. I keep yogurt covered raisins, regular raisins, dried strawberries and cranberries on hand.
-Fruit cups – I keep a variety of apple sauces, mandarin oranges, peaches, etc in the individual cups, but Chase got tired of those a few years ago and I don’t send them as often. Plus it requires sending a spoon…
- Rice cakes – Same thing. He liked them a few years ago and I got quite a variety of them from cheese to cinnamon, but the novelty has worn off.
- Whole Grain Triscuits are good to throw in with the fruit or cheese, but I haven’t found them in individual packages yet and they tend to get broken and can be hard to eat.
I’m sure there are many more ideas and I know one Mom who insists her child only eats Cheez-its! I hope I’ve given you some new ideas and your child is enjoying being “Back to School”!
Revised details of the “SPLOST” Woodland Brook Drainage Project were revealed on Monday evening by Cobb County’s District 2 Commissioner Bob Ott and Engineer Bryan Ricks at an informational meeting at the Vinings Library. The plan calls for the replacement of dual 48-inch pipes that run beneath Woodland Brook Drive to be replaced with a 25-foot by 6.5-foot bottomless arch culvert.
Woodland Brook will be closed four to six weeks this summer, with a goal to have the road open to traffic again before school begins August 13. Construction is expected to begin shortly after Cobb County schools let out for summer on May 24. The exact date of the closing is uncertain at this time due to recent changes in the contract specifications which will no longer require the road to be raised.
While Woodland Brook Road is closed, “Village Residents” can use Randall Farm Road as a detour route. It is expected that Speed Humps on Randall Farm Road should prevent speeders along the residential street. Emergency response teams have been made aware of the pending road closure and have alternate plans to access the affected areas.
Signage providing detour direction around Vinings Village to neighboring communities will be strategically placed. It is hoped that as a by-product of the improvements, travelers who have used Woodland Brook Rd. as a pass-through to other destinations in the past, will find the detour routes more efficient for future travel.
Please refer to the VVHA Website for maps & updates.
I had the opportunity to volunteer at this year’s Decorators’ Show House & Garden, located in an historical home in Buckhead, Knollwood. It was a real treat to be stationed in John Oetgen’s Solarium as guests passed through. This is a great way to support the arts, get ideas for your own home, be exposed to some of Atlanta’s most fabulous interior designers, and take a peak at incredible architecture. (Also not a bad idea for a last minute Mother’s Day gift!)
The Show House is open through Sunday, May 13, and tickets are $25 at the door. Click here to learn more about the Show House.
Vinings Historic Preservation Society Easter Egg Hunt was held last Thursday and it was a beautiful day and fun was had by all.
The party started with Atlanta’s famous story teller Betty Ann Wylie who captivated the children with her Easter stories. We got there early by mistake, so my son had a chance to chat with Aunt Betty Bunny before the event.
The hunt came next and after they were done they had treats of cookies and juice or water.
Oh wow, I just looked back at the photos and the one with Chase and Aunt Betty Bunny is a skyline picture with the Overlook building in the back ground. I think this is one of the things that makes Vinings so special, we are a gem in the middle of a big city.
This event has become so popular that it’s only open to members and people actually joined so their child wouldn’t have to sit on the waiting list. It’s inexpensive to join and you’ll be on the mailing list for all events, childrens and adults alike. Click here to find out more about joining the Vinings Historic Preservation Society.
Wow! My son was featured in the Northside Neighbor’s coverage of the event! Click here to see some additional photos in the Northside Neighbor of the Vinings Historic Preservation Society’s Easter Egg Hunt.
Even though it’s just barely officially spring, I’m already thinking about summer vacation and plans to relax somewhere while Chase is enjoying his time away from school.
To help me with my summer reading selections, I have enjoyed reading book reviews written by my cousin, Jennifer Clark Nodland from Bismarck, ND. Below are a couple of book reviews, and I’ll post more two or three at a time.
It’s never too early to start thinking about your next vacation (or spare 20 minutes, for that matter!).
Enjoyable read! Storyline follows four women back in Judea at the time of the Roman invasions (70s). Great way to learn history.
The writing is a little heavy on “magic” and a tad flowery at times but overall very rich.
AfterI finished reading, I got online to find out how much was based on actual events – turns out, more than I thought!
Click here to see The Dovekeepers on Amazon.com.
Book Review: “The Cat’s Table” by Michael Ondaatje (2011)
The story rather delicately unfolds as the boy tells his tale both from his childhood perspective as it was happening in the 1950s and as he remembers it today as an adult.
Pleasantly surprised by some of the unexpected turns in this tale.
Click here to see The Cat’s Table on Amazon.com.
Age 4 – Swimming party
Since I went over board at 3 years old I decided to scale back. Since we have a very child-friendly pool at our house with a shallow end that’s only 6 inches and the deepest part was 5 feet, I decided to have it at the house. So the kids that knew how to swim could go anywhere and those that were hesitant could hang out in the shallow end. We also have a playground and saying we have a large sand box is an understatement, you could play beach volleyball in it, so that’s great too.
I can’t remember completely what the menu was, but I think I had bought a tray of chicken nuggets, fruit salad and then had some chicken salad for the adults and croissants and some other misc things and then cake and ice cream. Any party at home is a lot of work, but its kind of nice to do that every once in a while for nostalgia sake and it’s easier on the budget. I had to schedule the party in September and keep the pool heated as you never know what temperature October will bring and he’s a late October birthday.
Age 5 – Zoo Atlanta
This was fun, but costly as you’ll need to pay admission for the child and adult, unless most of your friends have annual passes like mine did back then.
We had it catered by the zoo, they brought in pizza, chips, and drinks to a little camp ground they have onsite, then we had an animal experience in another camp. They talked about the animals and let the children touch them.
The nice thing was the it was Boo at the Zoo that day and the kids dressed in costume and were able to trick or treat around the zoo and play on their playground etc. We made a day of it, as many did. We did have slight rain sprinkles, but not enough to affect anything. I think I still had close to 30 kids.
Age 6 – Lake Party
The weather was great we had the party at our lake. Our course going over board like I do, I brought in a couple of tons of sand and bought small treasures to hide in the sand.
When each child arrived they received a bucket and shovel with their name on it to hunt for treasures. I had snacks and drinks on the picnic tables. This was a lot of work that day as I had to haul tables, decorations and food down to the lake and then on the return bring all the gifts back up to the house as well. I only survived with the help of many friends.
I hired an entertainer (wish I could remember his name) and he sang, told jokes, did some magic and made balloon animals for the kids. If he hadn’t been late he would have been great, but he was a 1/2 hour late and that’s tough when you have a group of kids to entertain. I had a large group as usual, maybe 40 kids but there was no incremental cost and the more the merrier is my theory!
Age 7 – Airplane Hangar
Well, this was my biggest and best yet. The party took place at an airplane hangar at Peachtree Dekalb airport. A client/friend of mine allowed us to use it and treated Chase to a Helicopter Ride around the city and Stone Mountain.
Chase landed in the helicopter at his party about 15 minutes after the party started like a Rock Star, for his “Grand Arrival”. It was the cutest thing and I couldn’t have planned it any better, all the kids rushed him on the tarmac in a group hug.
The children were allowed to look at all the aircraft in the hangar and sit in one that was attended by adults. I had entertainment come “The Reptile Guys” and they did a great show with reptiles and allowed the kids to hold them at the end. We had pizza and drinks for all and of course cake.As you can see, I just LOVE parties. Now let me give you ideas of the many of the activities that most parents plan for birthday parties. The ideas below will work for older or younger children, but in my “short” experience they’ve kind of trended like this.
Also I’d like to make a note that the girls and boys parties start to split around first grade, but many children (including mine) don’t want to leave anyone out and continue to have parties for boys and girls. I’m sure I’m missing many girls types of parties – like at the American Girl Store so if there are some locations I’m missing please feel free to comment as I don’t have any experience with girl themed princess parties or anything like that.
Younger /pre-school children: My Gym, Center for Puppetry Arts, Fernbank Museum, Zoo Atlanta, Kangazoom, the dreaded but necessary Chuck E. Cheese, The Children’s Museum, ponies and petting zoos. various characters can visit a party and conduct games or read to the children.
A neighbor just had a party that was a rock star theme and had a music teacher come and do songs for the kids. Many fire stations in Atlanta will give tours and allow you to host parties at their facilities. Here in Vinings you can actually schedule the fire truck to come hang out, but if there’s an emergency, they leave of course.
Elementary Age Children:
SS Fun House in Sandy Springs, Atlanta Rocks – rock climbing, The Gym at Peachtree Pres – gym activities including roller blading, basketball etc, Brunswick Bowling in Marietta(2749 Delk Road, marietta, 30067) seemed a bit safer than the one we went to at Midtown Bowl.
Laser Tag is at the SS Funhouse or in Marietta off of Delk road. Chattahoochee Nature Center has parties and guided hikes. Top Dog Sports will conduct various types of parties. One child had a karate party where he displayed his talents and each child received a mini-lesson. Young Chefs Academy is fun for smaller groups and the Georgia Aquarium allows sleepovers! Science themed parties where the children do experiments. There are trucks that will come to your party and the kids actually go on the truck to play video/arcade games. We did go to a super fun party at a Race Track in Gwinnett that had an arcade, mini golf etc, but it was a bit of a drive for the Buckhead crowd.
There are various entertainers/entertainment that will come to your home such as: Reptile Guys, Snakeman Steve, magicians, clowns, swimming parties or water slides at the home for summer parties. Of course, if budget isn’t an issue, you can get bands, musicians etc. I haven’t been to one with a movie theme yet, but in my research I found a company that will do outdoor movies. I think they’ll need to be a little older for that one. We recently went to Monster Jam at the dome I’m trying to find a way to make that the theme for next year – ideas are welcome! Of course as they get older parties can be smaller and at sporting or arts or race car driving (Andretti Indoor Karting & Games) events with a small group. We’re not there yet, but maybe someday…
Here’s a website that has some more ideas….and I would love to hear your comments, too.