This isn’t technically a recipe, nor is it an activity or a project. I guess it kind of (?) could be considered all-of-the-above. But, let’s get real: this is really really simple, people. Like throw stuff in a container simple.
I can’t believe I’m calling this a blog post.
Actually, the only reason I am calling it a blog post is because today it saved my sanity. Winter is getting long, so I thought I would share a sanity-saving tip since we’re all in this together. You know, Together: That place where the good, great, or simple ideas of others are shared and propagated so we can all help each other out. But back to how this saved my day x3.
FIRST: I had to go to Target. No really, I did have to go. I had a prescription to pick up. Somehow, my kids looooove trips to the grocery store but get squirrelly on trips to any other kind of store. I don’t get it: same cart.. same concept.. but regardless, they need some extra encouragement. Or the Target people need to step up to the plate and put a SuperTarget here. Either works for me. But today, their ‘extra encouragement’ came in the form of a brainstorming game: “Girls, we’re heading on a roadtrip and will be in the car for awhile. What kind of snack could we pack that wouldn’t make a mess of my car?” As they listed off ideas, we added some things to our list. Target may not technically be a grocery store around here, but they do carry a grand selection of snacks. The brainstorming toddlers stretched out their snack-wish-list-making for long enough that I made it through the pharmacy and the housewares section, with enough time for a quick swing through the gardening aisle (hello, spring!). Sanity in check.
SECOND: While I attempted to pack for this road trip, they attempted to UNpack. Empty suitcases make glorious pretend cars and peek-a-boo tents. I blame cabin fever and grand imaginations. I abandoned the clothes-packing endeavor and started thinking about the car. Why have six different choices of snack? The only thing that will do is guarantee that they will inevitably want whichever snack I did not pull out of my bag of tricks. Why not mix them all together? Done.
In an attempt to distract them from my suitcase-car, I set an empty Tupperware container on the floor and gave them some 1/4 cup measuring cups. “Mix these things together, but only add one cup at a time.” Genius. More sanity points, and a packed suitcase to boot.
THIRD: I needed to have some labs drawn at the hospital, and the girls needed to sit peacefully for the time it took the phlebotomist to do his thing. Kind of nerve-wracking. If they choose to take off while I’m literally in a tourniquet, well, amongst other things I would lose all of the sanity points I have acquired thus far. Solution: small cups of snack mix. Not only is this a snack, it is also an activity. Like “Seek and Find” or “Where’s Waldo” with an edible reward. They hunt and peck through their bowl for their favorites in a quiet concentration. It is like the kid-version of a bag of Gardetto’s, but without the salt and seasonings and residue on your fingers. All good in my book. So anyway, they sat quietly and I had my arm poked and some old ladies came up and told me what wonderfully behaved little people I had. Thank goodness for snack mix.
This is such a magical concoction that I’m confident they will peacefully sit with their snack mix for the entirety of our road trip without issue. Or not. But today it looked something like this:
So really, it’s more than just a bucket full of half-opened crunchy things. It’s choosing and measuring and mixing and testing. It’s searching tirelessly and hollering “marshmallow!!!!” when you thought they were already gone. We do this often, the girls are proud that they “made” their snack and enjoy the process.
And I can’t believe I managed a post this long about throwing some snacks into an airtight container. Bon Apetit, or something.
A note about ingredients. Anything goes, really.We tend to incorporate one ‘treat’ ingredient, and are sure to include fiber and protein in addition to the obvious carbohydrates. Today’s Lucky Charms are a nod to the upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day.
I don’t tend to worry about mixing ‘flavors’ as unlike adults, kids are rarely grabbing a handful to eat at once. They prefer to hunt and peck. Cheddar-flavored bunnies with Lucky Charms? No problem.
Here are a few ideas, but often we find what we have on hand and work with that:
Cereals – varieties similar to Golden Grahams, Cheerios, Kix, Chex, and Fiber One crisps are great grabbing-size
Nuts – peanuts, cashews, pine nuts, pistachios
Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds
Chocolate pieces (chocolate chips, M&Ms, etc) – use caution. mess-potential.
Raisins or other dried fruits
Freeze-dried fruits or vegetables (Target has freeze-dried peas and corn that we have enjoyed)
Cheddar flavored crackers (Goldfish, Annie’s, etc.)
Pieces of graham cracker (or Teddy Grahams, Annie’s bunnies, etc.)
Yogurt covered raisins
Disclaimer: Obviously, because you are wise, I know you will take into account your audience and not feed nuts to babies without teeth and things of that nature.