My Three Kid Circus

This may be as crazy as it gets… but we're lovin' it!

Teacher Appreciation Week May 29, 2012

My kids’ school just celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week not too long ago, and I wanted to share my simple and fairly inexpensive gift idea.

Thanks to Pinterest, I’d seen various pencils-turned-gift ideas and bought several boxes of yellow pencils way back at the start of the school year when they just were a penny each.  Yes, every once in a while, I do plan ahead.  My daughter and I made this for her teacher.  We started with a simple plant (this is a little tiny fuchsia, I forget its proper name, but it was in a four-inch pot so it was only a couple bucks).  I put a wide rubber band around the plant, and then started inserting pencils around the plant.  Because the pot wasn’t straight, the pencils eventually angled themselves for a slightly different effect.  A scrap of ribbon hid the rubber band.  My daughter made her teacher a card that read, “Thanks for helping me grow into a sharp student,” among other fourth-grade-girl sentiments.

It would have definitely been cleaner to glue all of the pencils onto the pot, but this way, the teacher can use the pencils for next year’s class too!  At this price, I will certainly be doing another round of these gifts next year.  Perhaps poinsettias for Christmas?


Happy Pi Day! March 14, 2012

Filed under: Celebrations,Meal Planning,Recipe — Sarah @ 10:17 pm
Tags: , ,

In honor of National Pi (not Pie) Day, we had pie for dinner:

Chicken Pot Pie using this recipe as it’s starting point.  I made lots of changes, so really, it went more like this:

Preheat oven to 400. 

I use a ready made pie crust just to make life easier.  Put one crust into your pie plate and prick several holes.  Bake for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the roux.  Add precooked shreded chicken and a bag of frozen vegetables.  Today, I used one of those Steamer bags that had sugar peas, carrots, cauliflower and brocoli in a basil butter sauce, plus added frozen peas and corn.  Normally, I would just chop up a bunch of fresh veggies and add my own seasonings but I was a little short on time today.  Melt cheese into the mixture.  Dump the entire pot into your now partially baked crust and then add your pie top.  We got a little fancy today and used cookie cutters to stamp “3.14” onto the top.  If you don’t want to get that fancy, make sure you vent your pie somehow so it doesn’t explode 🙂

Bake at 400 for about 45 minutes.  I had to cover my top after about 30 minutes as it was getting too brown.  Yum.

For dessert, we also had pie:

Apple Crumble Pie.  I made the recipe as is and just divided it into individual servings (Yes, we each got 1/5 of a pie.  Guess what?  We all licked our bowls clean too).  The kids loved having their own pies – and this pie is crustless so it was very easy.

My kids haven’t learned about Pi at school, so we found a short movie on BrainPop that did a reasonable job of explaining it to my 2nd and 4th grader.  They made some connections based on where they are in their math curriculum right now, which was fun to see.  But really, to a non-math person like me, Pi is just a number (3.14) that gives us an excuse to eat pie for dinner on the fourteen day of the 3rd month, eh?  Now I just have to find out when National Pie Day is, so we can have an excuse to have more pie for dinner…


Snacks March 13, 2012

Filed under: Recipe,Snacks — Sarah @ 3:10 pm

Today’s post is about snacks.  Do your kids get snack time at school?  Personally, I think it’s a bit silly, especially as my kids get older, but it is what it is.  I do like that my second and fourth grader bring their snacks from home.  My kindergartener gets a “community” snack which is often cereal or crackers.  I like that my older kids can bring a snack, because very often, they will choose to bring fruit or cut up veggies.  Or lately, nori 🙂

Sometimes though, I send one large container of snack for the week.  This week, we had lots of this-and-thats in the pantry, so it was a good week to do a trail mix of sorts:

Goldfish, mini chips-ahoy cookies, pretzels, wheat thins, marshmallows, cheerios.  Dried fruit and nuts would be good too, if I had any.  They were super excited for this mix.  I was mostly happy to clear several mostly empty boxes and bags from the pantry.

I’ve also been experimenting with a few recipes for healthier treats.

These homemade s’mores granola bars turned out pretty good.  All the kids agreed that there was too much honey so I may tinker with that a bit.  This particular recipe filled my mini loaf pan perfectly, and then I cut each larger bar into sixths.  You can find the recipe here.  It was really easy, and I even made my own granola, following the recipe that’s linked up in the aforementioned post.  The only change I made was that I only added half a cup of marshmallows and a handful of chocolate chips. I’ll definitely do these again.

What’s this?  This is a pan of gummy fruit snacks.  But I wouldn’t call them gummy fruit snacks.  Maybe pureed fruit jello?  Another easy recipe found here.  I used a combination of a blackberries, raspberries and blueberries and cran-raspberry juice.  I thought they were okay, one kid thought they were good, another didn’t like them at all and the third hasn’t had a chance to try them.  Not sure I’ll try this combination again, but it was so easy that I’d consider a different fruit combination.  Something sweeter, I think.

Of course, hands-down, the favorite “snack” that I made this week was the rice krispy treats.  Sometimes you just can’t beat the classics!


Dinner Leftovers Turned to Lunch March 9, 2012

Filed under: Bento — Sarah @ 2:09 pm

A couple lunches from this week.  It was a good week for using up dinner leftovers!


 The Contents:  Honeydew, half an orange, leftover teriyaki chicken, crackers and cheese.  Not shown:  a small container of pudding.

The Details:  This was a leftover kind of lunch.  One serving of chicken left from the previous night’s dinner that my hubby opted not to take, so the kids got it.  Wasn’t enough by itself, hence, crackers and cheese too.  Have you done pudding for your kids?  Easy enough to make in the morning and pour into individual sized cups.  It’ll set by the time the rest of lunch is made.  Love that it’s another easy source of protien and calcium for my non-milk-drinking kids.

The Contents:Thermos of chicken noodle soup and rice soup, honeydew, apple slices, turkey on a baguette sandwich and yogurt covered pretzels.

The Details: My family barely touched the wild rice from dinner the night before so there was plenty to add to a can of chicken noodle soup.  Made for a lunchtime favorite. 

The Verdict:  My kids said this lunch was a favorite.  Honestly, I was surprised they ate it all!


Happy 100th Day! February 24, 2012

Filed under: Bento,Celebrations — Sarah @ 11:53 am

Today my kids are celebrating their 100th day of school! I packed them 100 pieces of lunch:

10 pieces of cheese

 10 pieces of pepperoni

10 crackers

10 carrot coins

10 green beans

10 grapes (on skewers)

10 apple bites

10 candy hearts

10 bunny crackers

10 sesame sticks

What did your kids do to celebrate the 100th Day of School?


February Update February 23, 2012

Filed under: Bento,Celebrations,Crafts — Sarah @ 10:17 am
Tags: ,

It’s been a long time. Again. And I even have timely lunches and projects to show you. Let’s just say I want you to be prepared for next year and leave it at that.

Have you had this bread? Dave’s Killer Bread. Seriously good and full of yumminess.  My kids won’t eat it. I sent it, they tried it and told me it was disgusting.  I beg to differ, so I just saved the rest for my hubby and I.

Anyhow, pretty simple lunch here: half a turkey sandwich, pears and letter cookies.  It’s fun to send specific letters…names, short messages.  I think my bookend kids actually play with the letters at lunch.  I imagine that they are even conversation starters for the 10 year old girls.


This is the dipper lunch.  All things that my kids can dip into hummus. Pita, carrots, sugar peas, cucumber and apple slices. An almond cookie for dessert.

Another dippy lunch. I can tell I must have been to Costco recently. Pretzels and yogurt covered raisins.



Asian infusion lunch.  Noodles tossed in sesame oil, a touch of soy and who knows what else.  Chinese BBQ pork.  Mandarin oranges.  Pears and a cookie wrapped in plastic so that the oils from the noodles don’t ruin it.



Kid lunch galore.  Crackers and cheese (cheese is in a silicone muffin liner so that it doesn’t touch the crackers and make the crackers soggy).  Yogurt covered pretzels.  Apples.  And grapes and strawberries on a stick.  My boys won’t either if they aren’t on a stick…put them on a stick and they’d each a pound of each.  Go figure.


Valentine’s Day Lunch (see, I told you there would be timely lunches). More fruit on a stick plus the featured *hot* dog. Yes, my children made that up. Anything “sexy” is hilarious to them. Including a *hot* dog on Valentine’s Day. To make it heart shaped, I sliced it in half on the diagonal and reassembled it, using a toothpick to hold it together. If you wanted to be really cute, you could find an arrow shaped toothpick, or cut appropriately shaped pieces from cheese to attach to the toothpick to make your own arrow. This lunch also had a side of mac and cheese.

Another cracker and cheese lunch.  This one has that spreadable cow cheese (that’s the sliver wedge tucked in the corner), ham slices, kiwi, apples and a side of crackers.  For dessert, the kids got fortune cookies and a lychee candy.


A “cute” lunch.  My daughter had a school assignment in which she was supposed to write a love note to her parents.  Among the charming things she had to say:  “Mommy, you are so creative with crafts, and you used to be with lunches for school, but that’s stopped now, thanks to the boys.”  So I am trying to make amends with her – meatballs with cute picks and cheetos.  What kid wouldn’t love me?  And yesterday, I was chastised for not putting vegetables in her lunch, so today she gets cucumber slices and carrot sticks in addition to apples and strawberries.


And NO!  I didn’t send a six pack of beer for my kids’ lunches!  That’s my hubby’s Valentine Day present.  Inspired by this, executed at midnight with only the kids’ leftover scraps.  Not usually a good plan, but he loved it anyhow.  Do it next year, your hubby will love it!


Kids Cook – Book Report! January 24, 2012

Filed under: School Work — Sarah @ 9:26 pm
Tags: ,

My second grader had to read a cookbook this month.  He gets quite a bit of flexibility in how he “proves” that he read the book, so he opted to make treats for his classmates. 

I present to you, Chocolate Pudding Poke Cake.  Made all on his own except taking the cake out of the oven.  I obviously turned my back when it was time to decorate the cake!