Valentine’s Day Lunch Snack Ideas for Kids

Valentine's Day Lunch Snack Ideas For Kids at RoamingRosie.com

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I’ve already started adding fun Valentines-themed snacks to my kid’s lunches.

The top picture is of heart-shaped strawberries.

Okay, okay… they’re not obviously hearts upon first glance, so I did mention to my girls ahead of time that they were getting strawberry hearts in their lunch bags.  Just in case my artfulness didn’t shine through right away.

Anyway, to make quick strawberry treats that vaguely resemble hearts, follow these steps:

  • Wash strawberry.
  • Cut top off of strawberry.
  • Cut berry in half.
  • Cut a triangle out of the top center of the berry.
  • Cut off the edges of the top at an angle.
  • Ensure children they’re getting lovingly carved hearts and not mangled fruit pieces.

You can also toss those extra strawberry pieces into a bowl of cereal or oatmeal, by the way.

And onto the next photo…. I used a tiny {about 1-inch} cookie cutter to cut hearts out of American cheese slices and flour tortillas.

I cut out about twice as many tortilla hearts as cheese ones because my oldest likes to assemble her own cheese sandwiches out of the pieces.

The last photo doesn’t have anything heart-shaped, but instead includes something red.

I tossed a few red M&Ms {leftover from Christmas} into a container of nuts.  Cashews, specifically, since I think they taste better than peanuts, and there are kids in my daughters’ classes with peanut allergies.

My girls will eat the nuts without any extra incentive, but I felt the dash of red color just added a little fun.

And if you’re wondering about the containers I had the cashews in, these are the ones I use:

Kotobuki Children's Bub a Buu Snack Container, Triangular Onigiri Animals, Set of 3

My girls love getting snacks in these little triangle containers.  They’re technically condiment containers, but they’re easy to open {even for my 2yo} and they hold plenty of food.

Not a LOT of food, mind you, but a handful of nuts or raisins or goldfish or about 5 or 6 grapes.  Enough for a snack.

Oh, and I also cut apple slices and used the same heart shaped cookie cutter to remove the seeds, thus putting a heart in the middle of the circle slice.  But I forgot to photograph those.  I’ll try to remember next time.  :)

Please share any fun Valentine’s snacks you’ve made for your own kiddos!

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Flower Shaped Cinnamon Buns

Flower Shaped Cinnamon Buns at RoamingRosie.com

These flower shaped cinnamon buns make breakfast a little extra special.  :)

And it’s pretty quick to do with the help of store bought cinnamon rolls.

I popped those babies out of the can, formed a flower near the top of the pan {one roll in the center and 5 around it to act as petals} and then cut the remaining 2 rolls in half to use for the stem and leaf.

I was pretty happy about how much it actually resembled a flower even before I added the colored sprinkles.

Once you pull the buns out of the oven, add some colored sugar sprinkles right after spreading on the icing – otherwise the icing will start to harden just enough for the sprinkles to not stick.  You have to be kind of quick about this step, so pick out your colors ahead of time.

Now, I made these for my mom on her birthday because she is a gardener and she likes flowers…. but while I was sprinkling on the bright colors, I realized it would also make an impressive centerpiece for any springtime or Easter breakfast or brunch.

Well, that is, it would make an impressive centerpiece if you transferred the buns to a platter instead of being all lazy like me and serving it right on the cookie sheet…..

Either way:  enjoy!

And if you’re a big fan of sprinkles, check these out:

Jack O' Lantern Cinnamon Buns

Jack O’ Lantern Cinnamon Buns

Milk Sprinkles

Milk Sprinkles

Sprinkle Cookies

Sprinkles Cookies

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Phrenologically Speaking……

phrenologically speaking...

So I’m reading a novel on my tablet and this particular word was bothering me because it was SO familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it.

What does it mean?  What does it mean?  What does….. oh, wait!  I can look words up on my tablet!  Sweet!

And this is the definition I get:  phrenologically: (phrenological) of or relating to phrenology

Seriously???

I mean – REALLY?

You know, when I was in school {granted it was many years ago} we weren’t allowed to use the word we were defining in the definition.

Apparently Google Books doesn’t have the same restrictions.

Of course, I soon afterwards picked up a book that used the word repeatedly.  But by then, I’d remembered what it meant.  Because I looked it up.  In a real dictionary.

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Coffee Is My Boyfriend, But Books Are My Lovers

Coffee is my Boyfriend but Books are my Lovers art wood prints and wrapped canvases at RoamingRosie.com

Coffee is my boyfriend, but books are my lovers.

Because we all need priorities in life.

:)

Check out my newest art here:

Coffee is my Boyfriend Wood Print

Books are my Lovers Wood Print

Coffee is my Boyfriend Wrapped Canvas

Books are my Lovers Wrapped Canvas

And I hope you enjoy the art as much as your coffee and your books!

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Book Review: My First Keyboard Book

My First Keyboard Book Review by Roaming Rosie

Usborne’s My First Keyboard Book is a lot of fun to play with … and not just for the kiddos.

I enjoy it, too, and so do a lot of adults that come in contact with it.

Part of the reason for this, I think, is the wonderful feel of smooth keys and the beautiful tone of the notes, which isn’t overly electronic.  It sounds like you’re playing a piano or a high-quality keyboard.

The book itself teaches you recognizable songs {like Twinkle, Twinkle and Row, Row, Row your Boat} with color coordinated keys.  There are dots of color on each key that correspond with patterns of dots that produce the song if you play them in that order.

It’s easier to show you than to tell you, so here’s my video review:

It is an internet linked book, so you can see a video of someone playing one of the songs, read some more reviews, and see pictures of the inside of the book on the Usborne site.

Other things I like about this book are that all of the keys work – even the black flat/sharp keys, and I especially like that there’s an on/off switch on the back.  It’s nice to know I can shut it off when we’re not using it and it’s stored on the bookshelf.

It’s easy to play, too.  My girls are 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 years old, and while the 2yo isn’t really interested in following the colored patterns, she does enjoy making her own music.  The 4yo is able to play the songs by following the patterns, although her rhythm needs some work.

My point is, this book is great for younger kids as well as older ones.  Little Ones might need much more practice before getting the hang of it, but older kids will pick it up right away and, like I mentioned above when I pointed out that adults seems to love it, it’s somewhat addicting.

Plus, there are actually a bunch of interactive books that get kids involved with and learning about music, many of which are illustrated in this graphic:

 

Children Love Music with Usborne Books

Happy Reading!

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The Garden of Empress Cassia {a book review}

The Garden of Empress Cassia by Gabrielle Wang: a Book Review at RoamingRosie.com

As soon as I finished reading The Garden of Empress Cassia by Gabrielle Wang, I was seriously tempted to turn back to the first page and read it all over again.

I liked it that much.

But I had appointments to keep and a review to write, so my rereading will have to wait.

Before delving into the story, let’s get the basic description out of the way:  it’s a chapter book of 112 pages that’s suggested for elementary to middle school children between the ages of 8 and 12.  Of course, I’m in my thirties and really enjoyed it, so I’d say you could push that age limit out a bit, even if it is targeted to kids.

The story is about a Chinese-Australian named Mimi Lu.  Her parents own an herbal shop and insist that Mimi be proud of her Chinese heritage, but Mimi just wishes she could blend in with everyone else.  Wishes she could be “normal.”  To make matters worse, her father doesn’t want her to pursue her love of art, and she’s being bullied at school.

Another prominent character is Mimi’s art teacher, Miss O’Dell.  Miss O’Dell is an Irish-Australian that is a kind, calming, and somewhat enlightening presence throughout the story.  She’s also the one who gives Mimi the gift of the magical pastels.

These pastels allow Mimi to draw the ancient garden of Empress Cassia, and the magic in them transports people into her drawings, much like the chalk drawings in Mary Poppins.  The garden is a place of healing and inspiration, and it’s beautiful.

The reason we know the garden is so beautiful is because the imagery in the story is so vivid and alive.  It’s really one of my favorite things about the book.  The writing is so fluid and transportive that the scenes come to life in a natural way that leaves the reader feeling as though they’re experiencing what Mimi is experiencing.

But just in case you can’t quite imagine it for yourself without any help, there’s also a gorgeous illustration of a map of the garden in the back of the book.

My other favorite thing about this book is the strong moral story.  It’s not shoved at you or anything, but it’s potent.  First of all, Mimi is truly goodhearted.  Even when the bully steals Mimi’s cherished gift, Mimi truly worries for the other girl’s safety.  And when Mimi questions whether or not she’s actually a good person and deserving of the pastels, the wise old man in the tale helps her distinguish between someone who’s good but occasionally acts naughty and someone who is actually a bad person.

It even ends with showing that Mimi doesn’t really need the magic pastels to make magical pictures.  As an artist, she already has this vibrant magic in her heart.  And kind of like Dumbo learning he doesn’t need his feather to fly, it allows kids to see that maybe – just maybe – they already are special.

Overall, I feel Mimi is an excellent roll model, and I not only feel comfortable offering this book to my own children when they’re older (they’re in preschool now), I want to encourage it.

This tale is about following your dreams and passions, about being strong and confident in the face of meanness and adversity, and about embracing who you are.

The Garden of Empress Cassia is a story you shouldn’t miss.

Awards for The Garden of Empress Cassia

  •  CBCA Notable Children’s Book of the Year
  • Aurealis Award Winner
  • Shortlist, Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards
  • USBBY Outstanding International Booklist

Click here for a sneak peak of the first 2 chapters! 

Similar books, with recommended ages ranging from 8 to 12:

Andie's Moon by Linda Newbery Hannah's Winter by Kierin Meehan Noodle Pie by Ruth Starke

Darius Bell and the Glitter Pool by Odo Hirsch I Lost My Mobile at the Mall by Wendy Harmer Butterflies by usanne Gervay

Happy Reading!

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Make Cute Animal Shaped Mini Sandwiches and Cookies and Stuff

CuteZCute Animal Palz Mini Bento Sandwich Stamping Cutters

These little sandwich shapers are ADORABLE!

The full name for these cute, little sandwich cutters are CuteZCute Animal Palz Mini Bento Sandwich Stamping Cutter & Egg Shaper.

Which is quite a mouthful.

But they do so many fabulous things I can totally get why they had trouble giving it a shorter name!

I’ve used them for a bunch of different things and they really add a great element of fun to my daughters’ lunches.

You can use them to imprint on bread, tortillas, watermelon, cookie dough, and probably a bunch of things I haven’t even thought of yet.

Plus the set also has the tools to make pocket sandwiches.  I’ve found that you can actually get a little bit of both peanut butter and jelly inside of them, but my 4yo actually prefers just plain peanut butter.

Oh – and I have used them to imprint on slices of cheese.  But I don’t recommend that.

Here are some meals/snacks I’ve made with them:

CuteZCute Animal Palz Mini Bento Sandwich Stamping Cutters

And there are tools in the kit to also shape hard boiled eggs, but I haven’t tried that yet.

I do really love this Sandwich Stamping Set.  I’ve kept the box because everything has it’s place inside of it, the directions are on the back of the box, and it fits nicely in the pantry.

I have to keep an eye on the pieces, tho… they have a habit of walking off.  Especially when my 2yo sees me using them.  :)

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