Trying Out New Jif Peanut Butter and Cinnamon Spread

The boys and I recently received a free jar of Jif Peanut Butter and Naturally Flavored Cinnamon Spread to try out. I was excited about this because Connor loves both peanut butter and cinnamon so I thought this might be something that he really likes. He was super excited when we received it and was ready to open up the jar and eat it right out of the bottle. I made him wait though so that I could at least pair it with something. I ended up doing a simple pairing with bread.

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What I loved about Jif Peanut Butter Cinnamon Spread is that it is very smooth and creamy. The cinnamon flavor blends nicely with the peanut butter without being overpowering. Connor really enjoyed it on the bread but thought it would even better on apples.

We didn’t have any apples on hand so after buying apples a day or two later I decided to make a bedtime snack by spreading the Jif Peanut Butter and Cinnamon Spread on graham crackers and then adding the apple slices on top. This worked really well. The spread is really good with apples and with the addition of the graham crackers it almost tasted like apple pie.

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Another pairing I decided to try out was Jif Peanut Butter Cinnamon with pancakes. I decided to chop apples and saute them with butter, a teaspoon of Jif, and a little bit of cinnamon sugar. Then I added that to a simple pancake recipe and made a syrup with the Jif Peanut Butter Cinnamon. To make the syrup I mixed the Jif with maple syrup.

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The flavor was nice. I really liked the apples with the pancakes but the syrup is a bit overpowering so I would recommend a light drizzle. The light drizzle is the perfect amount of flavor and blends nicely with pancakes.

Overall, we really enjoyed Jif Peanut Butter and Naturally Flavored Cinnamon Spread. Have you tried it yet?

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Trying Out Blount Organic Soups

Thanks to Tryazon and Blount Organic we got to try out Blount Organic Soups for free with some friends.

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If you are like me, you may not have heard of Blount before. Blount is a family owned and operated company that has been around since 1946. Blount makes their products using the freshest ingredients and they use locally sourced ingredients whenever they can. Blount is committed to energy conservation as well as sustainable business practices and has facilities in Fall River, Massachusetts as well as Warren, Rhode Island and McKinney, Texas.

Now that you know a little bit about the company itself, here’s what you need to know about the soups. The soups are all organic, most of them are gluten-free, and several of them or either vegetarian or vegan. When you go to purchase these soups, you’ll find them in the refrigerated section.

We decided to try out the Tomato Bisque, Savory Harvest Bisque, and Broccoli Cheddar Soup.

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They are super easy to heat up as they can be left in the container and heated in the microwave. They take about 4 minutes to heat through so we were able to heat each one up when we were ready to try it. Blount Organic Soups also feature a “cool grip” that makes it easier for you to grab and hold the container when you get it out of the microwave.

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The first soup we decided to try out was the Tomato Bisque.

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The majority liked the Tomato Bisque and almost everyone thought it smelled like pizza. JT liked it and asked for a second serving. I personally thought it was okay but it actually tasted the way I expected it to. I’m pretty picky when it comes to tomato soup.

The second soup we tried out was the Savory Harvest Bisque.

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I didn’t have any expectations about this one. I’ve never had any sort of squash or harvest type soup. When it was done being heated I was surprised to find that it smelled like apple pie. After taking a look at the ingredients I found that it did have apples and cinammon in it as well as butternut squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, nutmeg, ginger, and rosemary.

I personally thought this soup was also okay. It was definitely different and unique. One of my friends said that this one was her favorite and others didn’t like it. JT thought it smelled like pumpkin pie, tasted like apple pie, and he didn’t like it because it had too much ginger. Connor thought the opposite. He thought it smelled like apple pie but tasted like pumpkin pie.

After the Savory Harvest Bisque the last soup to try was the Broccoli Cheddar Soup.

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This one was my favorite as well as the boys’ favorite. JT had three servings of this one. Everyone else liked it too. It had a good amount of broccoli pieces and a good flavor.

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If you like soups, Blount Organic Soups are worth checking out. We found our soups at Target but you can check out the Blount Organic website to see where to find some near you.

Have you tried out Blount Organic Soups? Which was your favorite?

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JT's One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish Snack

For Dr. Seuss’s birthday, JT made a fun snack inspired by the book One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. Besides being a good Dr. Seuss themed snack, I thought it would also make a good summer snack.

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These snacks are very easy to make. JT did the majority of the work and said “This is fun!”. His favorite part was adding in the fish.

The first thing we did was go shopping for everything we needed. I explained to him what the snack was going to be and what we were buying for each layer. I also let him choose what the sand layer would be made out of and he chose Golden Oreos.

Here are the ingredients we used: Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Pudding Red and Blue Swedish Fish Golden Oreos We also used milk as per the directions on the pudding  as well as turquoise food coloring.

Here are the ingredients we used:
Vanilla Pudding
Chocolate Pudding
Red and Blue Swedish Fish
Golden Oreos
We also used milk as per the directions on the pudding as well as turquoise food coloring.

To make your snack, the first things you need to do are to crush your sand layer and make your puddings. For the puddings all we did was follow the directions on the box.

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JT wanted to stir both puddings at the same time.

JT wanted to stir both puddings at the same time.

Once the puddings are done you’ll need to turn your vanilla pudding blue. The blue food coloring that we had was turquoise. It took us awhile to get a good blue since vanilla pudding is more yellowish rather than white. It might work out a little better if you actually have blue.

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Here is the blue color we ended up with up.

Here is the blue color we ended up with up.

Once the puddings and sand layer are ready to go all that is left to do is assemble.

We put a chocolate pudding layer on the bottom for dirt, followed by the Golden Oreo sand layer, then the blue vanilla pudding water layer, and we topped it off with a red and blue Swedish Fish.

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We used small cups to make these because we were going to a party and needed to make as many as we could but you could definitely make bigger portions.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy JT’s One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish snack.

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Discover Brookside

*Disclosure: I received a free bag of Brookside Clusters to sample. A blog post was not required and all opinions are my own.*

I was chosen to receive a free sample of Brookside Clusters through Crowdtap. The bag I was received was the Berry Medley flavor. I wasn’t familiar with Brookside before but after I received the sample I noticed people snacking on these and I saw them at the store.

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All of the Brookshire chocolates are dark chocolate and there are four different flavors. There is the pomegranate, acai and blueberry, goji and raspberry, and the crunchy clusters in berry medley. The Crunchy Clusters are clusters of multigrain and fruit centers. They are then covered in dark chocolate.

When I first tried them just out of the bag I liked them. They are crunchy but the bigger pieces are a little chewier. The primary flavor to me is the chocolate and it’s followed up with the slightly sweet berry flavor. The flavor combination works really well.

JT was really excited to try these. He loves chocolate but he didn’t like them. I was really surprised because he will even eat bittersweet baking chocolate if you let him.

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I made some sundaes with the Brookside Clusters as a topping and they tasted even better in the sundae than by themselves. They seemed to be crunchier in the sundae which I really liked. I made sundaes using both strawberry and vanilla. Then I added a layer of chopped strawberries, whipped cream, and then the Brookside Clusters and a cherry.

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I was hoping JT would like them in the ice cream but he didn’t. Connor however is not a big fan of chocolate and didn’t want to try these but he really liked them on his sundae.

I’m glad I got to Discover Brookside and would really love to try the other flavors.

Zoku Pops, Shakes, & Slushes

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Last weekend we hosted a Zoku Holiday Pops Party. I was one of 30 lucky hosts chosen by Tryazon to host this party. In exchange for hosting the party and writing a review we received a bunch of really cool Zoku products for free. I was really excited to host this party because the boys love food makers so I knew that they would love the Zoku products.

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The star product in the lineup here is the Zoku Triple Quick Pop Maker. This allows you to make some really yummy pops quickly. The Zoku Triple Quick Pop Maker is really simple to use. Before your first use it needs to be in the freezer for 24 hours but after that you can just store it in your freezer that way it’s ready to go whenever you’re ready to make some pops. You can make nine pops before you need to re-freeze it.

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The Zoku Triple Quick Pop Maker includes 6 sticks, 6 drip guards, and the super tool. To make pops you simply put the sticks (without drip guards) into the mold and then fill the mold with your pop recipe. It takes about 7 minutes to freeze and when it’s ready you use the super tool to loosen the pop from the mold and then you can put the drip guard on and take the pop out. Your pop recipe can be as simple as just using your favorite juice. There are so many other fun recipes that you can make though. I also received the Quick Pops recipe book that had many different recipes broken down by category including chocolate, fruity, and ice cream. You can also find recipes on Zoku’s blog.

With Zoku you also don’t have to limit your pops to one solid flavor. With the help of the Zoku Tools you can use several flavors to make cool designs and add fruits or candies. The tools included are a siphon, an angle tray, a heart stencil, a star stencil, a fruit wand and 3 pour cups. All of the tools come in really handy. The pour cups allow you to easily pour your pop recipe into the pop maker with no mess. The siphon is used when making pops with different angles and also when making core pop that have a surprise flavor in the middle. The heart and star stencil are used to cut out star and heart shapes from fruit and then the fruit wand allows you to place your fruit (or candies, cookies, etc.) onto the sides of the molds. Last but not least, the angle tray helps you make all the different shapes.

I used my angle tray to make pops with a Christmas tree shape in the middle. I used the Kiwi recipe from the Quick Pops recipe book for the tree section and the pineapple recipe for the rest of the pop. I also used a star shaped piece of Kiwi as a star on top of the tree.

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Other pops we made were the Mango, Tartufo, Oh Fudge, and Cookies n’ Cream.

Another fun product Zoku has is the Chocolate Station. They have a really great quick shell recipe that you can make to add a chocolate shell to your pop. The Chocolate Station makes it easy to dip your pops in the chocolate. It also comes with two trays to add sprinkles, nuts, or candies as well. There is also a spoon to drizzle the chocolate rather than dip.

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I also received the Zoku Storage Case. The storage case has an airtight top and can hold 6 pops.

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In addition to all the fun pop items I also received the Zoku Slush and Shake Maker. The Zoku Slush and Shaker Maker can also make smoothies. This can also be stored in your freezer and needs at least 8 hours in the freezer before you use it. Like the pop maker it is also really easy to use. You simply fill it up with the slush, shake, or smoother recipe of your choice then let that sit for about a minute before using the included spoon to scrape the sides and stir. You continue this until your drink is ready, about 7 minutes. The first drink I tried with this was a simple Dr. Pepper slush. For the party I decided to go with milkshakes. The Art of Slush has plenty of great recipes and it has a really great recipe for a root beer float milkshake. You can of course substitute the root beer with a different soda. For the party I gave everyone a choice of Cherry Dr. Pepper or Coke and the Cherry Dr. Pepper won the vote.

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I highly recommend checking out all the Zoku products. They are a lot of fun and so easy to use. I really enjoyed my experience with all of the products I received and the boys enjoyed trying several different pop recipes. I am so glad I was able to host the Zoku Holiday Pops Party.

Green Smoothies eBook Review

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I received a free copy of the eBook Green Smoothies: The Weight Loss and Detox Secret by Jonathan Vine. The book has over 50 recipes and a lot of tips about making smoothies and what to add.

The boys love smoothies; Connor especially because he knows they are healthy. We had fun trying out the smoothie recipes. Here are a few that we tried:

Apple and Spinach

This had apple, spinach, yogurt, honey, ginger, and lemon.

This had apple, spinach, yogurt, honey, ginger, and lemon.

We liked this one but I thought that the yogurt flavor was a little too strong so I started putting less than called for in other recipes.

We liked this one but I thought that the yogurt flavor was a little too strong so I started putting less than called for in other recipes.

Minty Avocado

The ingredients here are avocado, yogurt, almond milk, mint, and agave nectar.

The ingredients here are avocado, yogurt, almond milk, mint, and agave nectar.

This one had a nice color and smelled really good but I did not like it at all. Apparently I don't like the flavor of almond milk. I also think it needed more avocado.

This one had a nice color and smelled really good but I did not like it at all. Apparently I don’t like the flavor of almond milk. I also think it needed more avocado.

Watermelon and Spinach

Ingredients for this one are watermelon, spinach, lemon, mint, coconut water, and coconut cream.

Ingredients for this one are watermelon, spinach, lemon, mint, coconut water, and coconut cream.

We also liked this one but it would have been better with a sweeter watermelon. You could really taste the coconut in this.

We also liked this one but it would have been better with a sweeter watermelon. You could really taste the coconut in this.

Arugula and Raspberry

This one is Arugula, raspberry, yogurt, agave nectar, and fresh orange juice. This one was okay but I didn't like the taste of the Arugula in the smoothie. Next time I would use spinach instead. The boys did not like this one at all.

This one is Arugula, raspberry, yogurt, agave nectar, and fresh orange juice. This one was okay but I didn’t like the taste of the Arugula in the smoothie. Next time I would use spinach instead.

Spiced Pumpkin

This one was made with pumpkin, ginger, pear, maple syrup, fresh orange juice, and yogurt.

This one was made with pumpkin, ginger, pear, maple syrup, fresh orange juice, and yogurt.

This one was surprisingly good. Connor tried a pumpkin smoothie at a smoothie place before and we did not like this. I think since I used fresh raw pumpkin that may have made a difference. The pear flavor also went really well in this.

This one was surprisingly good. Connor tried a pumpkin smoothie at a smoothie place before and we did not like this. I think since I used fresh raw pumpkin that may have made a difference. The pear flavor also went really well in this.

These are just a few of the many recipes in this book. We didn’t love everything we tried but these recipes make great starters and can be easily altered if you find you don’t like something. You also might be surprised that you really enjoy a certain combination that you didn’t think you would like. With so many options in this book everyone is bound to find some good recipes to enjoy.

Here is the link for the eBook on Amazon. Go take a look and if you decide to get the book let me know what your favorite smoothie combinations are.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Vegetarian Quick and Easy eBook Review

*Disclosure: I received this eBook for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest opinions.*

I received the eBook Vegetarian Quick and Easy- Under 15 Minutes for free to try out and review. The eBook contains 100 recipes. The recipes are divided into four different categories- Easy and Quick Recipes for Busy Mums, Quick and Easy Recipes for Romantic Meals, Quick and Easy Recipes That Even Kid Can Make, and Easy and Quick Recipes for Parties.

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The first section, for busy mums, contains a couple of breakfast recipes like Vanilla French Toast and Avocado Scramble as well as some simple lunch or dinner ideas like Flat Bread Skillet Pizza and Italian Grilled Sandwiches. Other recipes include Greek Salad, Crunchy Zucchini Sauté, and Caramel Apples.

The following are screenshots from the eBook of some of the pictures from the above recipes (not my own pictures):

Vanilla French Toast

Vanilla French Toast

Flat Bread Skillet Pizza

Flat Bread Skillet Pizza

Caramel Apples

Caramel Apples

The second section, for romantic meals, contains recipes like Minty Fruit Salad Cups, Chili Pecorino Spaghetti, Straciatella Yogurt Mousse, Sage Gnocchi, Lemon Flavored Roasted Asparagus, and Grilled Peaches with Raspberry Sorbet.

Again, here are a few screenshots:

Minty Fruit Salad Cups

Minty Fruit Salad Cups

Sage Gnocchi

Sage Gnocchi

Moving on to the next section, kids can make, you’ll find recipes like Pita Pockets, Warm Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich, Gazpacho, and Hot Chocolate Mix.

Now for the screenshots:

Gazpacho

Gazpacho

Warm Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

Warm Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

In the last section, for parties, you’ll find recipes like Tortilla Wheels, Marshmallow Sauce and Fruit Skewers, Olive Oil and Fresh Ricotta Bruschetta, and for adults- Red Wine Punch.

The section only had one recipe with a picture so here it is:

Red Wine Punch

Red Wine Punch

While this is a vegetarian cookbook you don’t have to be a vegetarian to appreciate these recipes. Although I will say that there are quite a few tofu recipes and those I will not be trying but there is much more of everything else. A couple of the recipes that stood out to me were the Bruschetta recipes (we love Bruschetta and we usually make a simple tomato Bruschetta), the Lemon Flavored Roasted Asparagus (it is almost identical to my go to recipe for asparagus which I love), and the Guacamole Bites.

The Guacamole Bites were surprisingly really good. I didn’t expect to love them as much as I did. The boys loved them as well. They were kind of like Bruschetta with a Guacamole topping. They were also quick and easy to make.

The following pictures are my own so that means unfortunately they won’t look as nice.

The only thing I didn't use was parsley because we didn't have any.

The only thing I didn’t use was parsley because we didn’t have any.

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Here is another recipe we tried from the kids can make section. It was the Italian Flavored Popcorn.

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Again this is another simple and quick recipe. It one wasn’t as great as the Guacamole Bites. JT didn’t like it, Connor liked it, and I thought it was fine but as the recipe states it is versatile so you have room to add or take away ingredients to make it something you really love. The boys did enjoy making it though.

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The only complaint I have about the book is that I wish there were more pictures. I personally just love to see pictures of recipes in cookbooks. Also, there were a few recipes that were missing some measurements, it just said tablespoons or cups, but for me this isn’t really a big deal. They were recipes where I think you would be able to figure how much you need to use on your own.

The book does have a lot of great, simple, and quick recipes though so I recommend checking it out. Here is the link to the book on Amazon.

If you do buy this Vegetarian Quick and Easy- Under 15 Minutes I’d love to know what your favorite recipe was.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

October Ogre Activities

I mentioned here about the Virtual Book Club for Kids when I wrote about JT’s activities for October but I never got around to writing Connor’s. I should have written it in October but since I didn’t I’m doing it now. It will be fairly short though.

Connor’s October book was The Calendar Mysteries: October Ogre. The book was a really easy read. We read half of it one day and the other half the next. It took us less than an hour total to read it.

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In the book the kids had to follow some glowing green footprints so I had told Connor that I could buy some glow-in-the-dark paint and he could make footprints. The day I bought the glow-in-the-dark paint he got himself a piece of paper and tested it to see if it would really glow in the dark and it worked so then he got another piece of paper and started painting his footprints all by himself.

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The kids also receive “yummy fingers” to eat. In the book they are cookies with raspberry frosting so I asked Connor what he thought ours should be and he said cookies. So, we made sugar cookies, green glaze, and cherries to make kind of witch looking fingers. They don’t look exactly like fingers but I could tell what they were supposed to be and they tasted good so that’s the important part.

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So that was what Connor did, I thought of a few other things that he could’ve done but we didn’t get around to doing them. This month’s theme for the chapter books is fairy tales so Connor is reading Half Upon a Time by James Riley. This is a much longer book but hopefully we’ll be done soon enough that I can actually write the activities in November. For JT’s the author this month is Karma Wilson so JT is going to read Bear Says Thanks. We have some other bear books by Karma Wilson but I figured that one would be perfect for Thanksgiving. Look for that post to be up soon. Thanks for reading.

Connor & JT’s Adventures in Snack Making

Yesterday and today the boys have been really into making snacks.  Yesterday I gave them some Havarti cheese, grapes, and crackers and Connor put a little slice of cheese and a grape on each cracker.  He arranged them really nicely but I didn’t take a picture of those.  He said he was calling it crackers and dessert.  After that he decided that he was going to make some snacks every day.

Yesterday he also made these snacks:

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JT wanted to make some also. Here is his:

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Once they were done making their snacks Connor started thinking about what other stuff he could make. He came up with a spider snack for Halloween and had me write down his recipe so he wouldn’t forget it.

Today they each made different snacks. Connor said he was going to make a fruit sandwich because fruit is favorite thing. He got out an apple and a peach. I sliced them for him and then he cut shapes out of them. I also cut some slices of bread for them and he spread peanut butter on mine and JT’s and left his without.

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JT got out all the ingredients he wanted for his snack: a tomato, an onion, some fresh oregano, and a lime. He also asked me to get him the salt and pepper. I chopped everything for him and he put it all in a bowl, added a lot of pepper and a little bit of salt and then he said he needed to mash it some and then stir it. He basically made salsa without any heat.

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So, that was their adventures in snack making for the past two days and I’ll have to wait and see what they make tomorrow.

Roly Poly Houses, Sock Bubbles, and Back to School Themed Food

Roly poly houses, sock bubbles, and eating some back to school themed food are some of the things the boys have done.

From time to time they decide that they should make house for the roly polies. The last time they just pade some paper houses but this time they used flower pots. Connor used one full flower pot and then taped another piece of a flower pot to it so that they could walk in. He also gave them two little balls to play with.

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JT used a piece of paper and then glued or taped a couple of different things to it. He put a half a pot on the paper along with some other things for the roly pollies to play with or on. He added a little basket, a bubble wand, another piece of a pot, a toy McDonald’s McFlurry, a button, a foam leaf, and a soft foam sheet.

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They put their houses outside by the palm tree which where the roly pollies are.

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They also added some of the big seeds that fall off the palm tree. We usually find the roly pollies eating them.

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Connor decided to bring his house inside but JT left his outside for a few days. He didn’t get many roly pollies but we saw a lot of ants walking around on it.

Sock bubbles is something I saw on Pinterest. You take a water bottle and cut off the bottom; then you put a sock over the cut end, make sure it is tight…you could tape it…and then dip that in bubble solution and blow through the mouthpiece. The bubbles come out in long thick strips. I think that the post I saw on Pinterest called them bubble snakes.

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Here the boys are chasing after some bubbles that floated away.

Here the boys are chasing after some bubbles that floated away.

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Now moving along to the back to school themed food. Connor has exactly one week left before he goes back to school and my friend wanted to come over Friday night and make some cute food so of course there had to be a theme. Connor said that it would make sense if the theme was back to school. This is what we ended up with:

Mini Circle Salads

Mini Circle Salads

Star Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Star Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Rectangle and Star Cucumber Sandwiches

Rectangle and Star Cucumber Sandwiches

Twinkie School Buses

Twinkie School Buses

Here is the side of the school bus.

Here is the side of the school bus.

Ice Cream Apples

Ice Cream Apples

The ice cream apples and Twinkie school buses I had seen on Pinterest. I made them a little differently from the ones I saw. I actually also added numbers on the back of the bus but I forgot to take a picture of that. The ice cream apples are balls of ice cream rolled in sprinkles. I made the chicken salad with diced apples, grapes, and onions and I just used the garden vegetable cream cheese for the cucumber sandwiches. I also was going to actually cut the cucumber sandwiches into nice squares but I decided to use the bread that was leftover when I cut out the stars that way I wouldn’t waste any bread.

My friend also made some sandwiches using raisin bread, bananas, figs, and almond butter.

These were her ingredients.

These were her ingredients.

Here are her finished sandwiches...they were grilled in a pan.

Here are her finished sandwiches…they were grilled in a pan.

Expect to see a lot of new posts from me in the next few days. In fact I will probably write another one tonight.