Little Passports and a Brigadeiro Recipe

Japan Little Passports

We signed up for Little Passports this past summer. I’d read good things about it. My children love to get mail and I was tired of Chirp magazine.

Our first box contained a welcome letter from Sam and Sofia, the friends who go on international adventures and send us souvenirs, post cards and more each month. We also received the cutest suitcase to keep all our mail in each month. Let me tell you, there was excitement in the house!

The children love getting our monthly mail and I love the simplicity and educational value of the package, not to mention the fact that it’s just on subscription!

Our first package was from Japan. The children loved the origami activity. Both needed a little help to complete it but boy, John was sure pleased with his boats!!
A recent package was from Brazil. The children were very excited over the beautiful piece of amethyst from the Brazilian mine. We also made the recipe included in our Brazil Activities card: Beigadeiros, a chocolaty Brazilian treat! {and I share below!}.

One of the things I love most about this box is that we aren’t learning all there is to know about the countries nor does it require a huge amount of time or energy on my part. I’m a busy mama. We homeschool. We have activities. My special needs child has appointments constantly. The last thing I need is something labour-intensive that will sit undone, leaving me feel guilty each time I see it. This doesn’t! It suits our family perfectly (my children are 3, 6, 7 for reference).

The monthly Little Passports package is simple:

  • A letter and post card that have some fun information about where Sam and Sofia visited
  • A boarding pass (I think it has a code for related online games but we’ve never used that part of it)
  • A flag sticker {*stamp*} for the passport you receive in the welcome package
  • A pushpin sticker to mark on your map where you’ve “been” each month with Sam and Sofia {full fold out world map is part of the welcome kit}.
  • A souvenir {so far we’ve received a sushi eraser and a package of origami paper/instructions from Japan, a camera where you press the button to see the photos of France and the kids favorite so far – the amethyst rock.}
  • Stickers for your suitcase. We haven’t put them on our suitcase though because I just don’t want to mess it all up! lol. We do a sticker collage instead.
  • You also get an activity sheet which, in addition to the activities, seems to have a recipe in it frequently; not sure if it will every month but our latest two months have.

It’s a great introduction to world geography and different cultures. You can expand it more with the online activities, add in some books from the library or whatnot…or you can simply just enjoy an hour a month reading the post card, marking your map, doing the few activities and trying the recipe.

With Christmas coming up, it would make a really fun gift for the child in your life…or multiple children. Chloe and John share the subscription. The activity sheet usually has more than one thing to do and the origami package had 6 or 8 different things to make in it so it was easy to share. {even mama made one!}

Missionary Moments:

We have a Missionary Map downstairs and when missionaries come through, we put their prayer cards up on the wall. I was excited to have Brazil this month because a friend I grew up with is a missionary in Brazil! We didn’t have a missionary that we knew of in Japan or in France so we just used it as an opportunity to pray for the unknown missionaries there and that God would send more to those countries. {I don’t know if this is telling tales out of school but John prays constantly that God would let him be a missionary to somewhere when he grows up}.

Brazil Little Passports

Brigadeiro Recipe

Recipe {tweaked a teensy bit} from our Little Passports monthly package

Melt 3 tbsp butter over medium heat then add one can of condensed milk. Dissolve 3 tbsp of cocoa in 1/2 a cup of water and add to the pan. Stir for 15-20 minutes until it thickens {mixture should stay separated for a moment when you drag a spoon through it}. Spread on a plate and cool in the fridge for 20 minutes. Once chilled, drop small amounts in to toasted coconut and roll around until coated. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes and ta da! They’re ready to eat!

So what are you thinking? Have you tried Little Passports before? How about Brigadeiros?

  • This post contains Little Passports affiliate link which I just signed up for. it means my family earns a little bit from your purchase so thank you! I am thrilled with our experience and am happy to answer any questions you have about our experience. I was in no way compensated for this post. Our subscription was bought and paid for with our own hard-earned dollars and worth it in my opinion!
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Remembrance Day

Posted by Jennifer under Just Life (No Comments)

Remembrance Day

Photo Source

On Sunday our church had a beautiful Remembrance Day-in-advance service and today we visited the Toronto Zoo to celebrate Remembrance Day with their special memorial. It was a very nice service.

I typically shed tears on Remembrance Day as I think about the soldiers and their bravery, the families left behind, the ugliness, dirtiness and suffering of war and the incredible freedom that we now have because of it.

My heart is full of thankfulness and gratitude as we remember the sacrifices made for that which is good, beautiful, free…

Lest we forget!

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Robyn & Wren {sale!}

Posted by Jennifer under Reviews/Giveaways (2 Comments)

Robyn & Wren offered a giveaway on their Facebook page last week. A friend commented on their post so of course it showed up in my newsfeed. I hopped on over to have a look and was delighted with what I found.

My little girl is a tall 7 year old and growing every day. It’s getting more challenging to find clothing that we can agree on; clothing that we both like, that is fun and most importantly…modest!

Robyn & Wren have just that. Fun clothing, bright colors, modest…and they have a sale on right now too; the prices are incredible. I ordered several dresses.

Look at this super sweet Strawberry Lemonade Alice knot dress. Only $21.00 Wish I would have ordered it. I love the colors.

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How’s this for fun? My Sunshine Annie dress is on sale for $22.00.

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And this Good and Perfect Set is probably my favorite with the verse sewn on: James 1:17, a verse that became special to my heart after our first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. $27.00 for a top and skirt is pretty great but you can purchase the skirt only for $17.00.

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A Friend Loves Dress is awfully sweet; I love the length and simplicity of the style and the bright colors and the bow make it fun.

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So we haven’t received our order yet; I may or may not do an actual in real life review of our dresses but I just had to give a big shout out to my readers to share the SALE!

 

*No compensation was received for this post. It isn’t intended to endorse or review the products, but simply a sale announcement I am excited to share.*

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Easy Pickled Beets Recipe

Posted by Jennifer under Recipe Box (No Comments)

Pickled Beets 2

At $1.88 for 6+ quarts of beets, it’s hard to beat beats for price I think. I just love pickled beets and so does my middle man, John. Isaac might too, but he’s never had them because he’s messy and beets stain. DH can take or leave them and Chloe would definitely leave them! What can I say?

Anyway, rooting through my red recipe box I could not find my beet recipe anywhere. Thankfully I posted it here on my blog so I could look it up and print it out. So without further adieu: Easy Pickled Beets.

Toddler in the Kitchen

Easy Pickled Beets (6 Quart Batch)

  • 6 quarts of beets
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tablespoon whole allspice
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 7  cups vinegar
  • 3 cups of water
  1. Wash your beets and then you can either #1 cook them and then peel them. This works well if your beets are small or #2 you can peel them, cut them and then cook them. Since my bushel didn’t contain consistently sized beets, I did both ways. I cooked the small ones first then peeled them and the larger ones I peeled then cut and cooked. It was slightly easier to peel the cooked beets but honestly? I don’t think it was really made too much difference one way or the other.*
  2. Combine all the ingredients (except the beets) in a pot and bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Pack beets into hot jars with 1/4” headspace (room at the top). Ladle hot liquid (without cinnamon sticks) into the jars, keeping your headspace.
  4. Remove air bubbles (just run a knife around the edge of the interior of the jar), screw 2pc lids on.
  5. Process 30 minutes in boiling water canner. {A stock pot with boiling water…add your jars…make sure that the water covers the top. When the temperature increases again, turn your heat down slightly so the water with the jars isn’t at a rolling boil}.

Pickled Beets

*today I peeled raw and I think maybe your hands end up pinker? Kind of a happy color though and a testament to my productive day?

*I added a few little notes in italics this time I posted since last time there were some comments about being unsure of the ‘terms’. Hope that helps.

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Peeking Through My Window–Repost

Posted by Jennifer under Faith, Just Life, Keeper of Home, Marriage, Parenting (No Comments)

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I had initially posted Peeking Through My Window in March 2012 but happened upon it the other day and thought it was a great time to repost, even if it isn’t March Break…just insert “back to school” or something.

I began preparing for March break in February. Alas, March break crept up fast and life being as it is, I was not as prepared as I had planned to be for our March Break trip. I forgot a few important things – like my beloved pillow and the new library books.

What is my point? You see what I let you in this little space of mine and usually it’s my best side. But,

Sometimes I yell at my children

Sometimes my house is messy {more often than not as of late}

Sometimes I’m snarky with my husband

Sometimes I’m not as prepared as I’d like to be, as I plan to be!

I want this space to be an encouragement and a blessing to you. Yes, there are times that I share our hard days, when my calling doesn’t feel beautiful or when life isn’t beautiful  because sometimes that is the best way to encourage others along.

But today I want to  remind you that when you read here, it’s only a small glimpse of my life.  When you read a blog, pass a woman on the street or admire her from afar, remember that you are seeing just a snippet, or just what they let you see. Guard your heart; I’m not called to be her, you’re not called to be her

She’s not perfect,  remember nobody’s perfect; especially not me!

How was your March Break?

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Kinder Photo-Strip, Smile Booth and Farewell Summer

Posted by Jennifer under Reviews/Giveaways (No Comments)

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Why is it that every year we approach the end of summer wondering where the summer went? Well I tell you that this year, I feel it even more so and I’m not sure why. If you’re in Southern Ontario, maybe you can relate when I blame it on the weather? I felt like we were waiting for summer to come and it hardly came; we’ve had some strange summer weather for sure. Or perhaps it’s that we’re often just too busy doing and we never sit down to say, “ahhh, summer!” I’m not sure. Maybe “do nothing once a week” should be on the summer bucket list?

I think it’s because as a child school always started for me in September that the end of August was always synonymous with end of summer for me. Thankfully we still have a week and a bit left of summer in my mind. Chloe is still at camp as I write this however we pick her up today and then Monday we head out to visit my parents for the second time this summer. We’re meeting my sister and her children up there for the final hurrah of summer, though I’m a bit sad that this year my brother and his family won’t be there since they’re back in Australia. It will be loud and busy and the kids will love playing with their cousins. Hopefully they play nice so that the adults can sit on the wrap porch and visit; I’m going to make sure that I take some time to really savor that “ahhh, summer” moment.

#KinderSmiles

If you are looking to share your favorite summer moments…

KINDER® invites you to try their new Facebook “photo-strip” app starting. I haven’t tried it out yet but apparently it’s pretty simple:

  1. Step 1: Fan KINDER® on Facebook
  2. Step 2: Start your photo-strip {click Smile Booth}
  3. Step 3: Upload your photos
  4. Step 4: Choose a fancy KINDER® frame
  5. Step 5: Choose a filter (make yourself look silly)
  6. Step 6: Save & share 
  7. Add #kindersmiles to any photo-strip and you can see your smile in the app’s gallery view.

Looking for a little Kinder Fun to finish off summer?

CNE Kinder Fun August 30th

Southern Ontario readers – Are you attending the CNE over the long weekend? In celebration of their 40th anniversary KINDER® wants to make history!!

  • WHERE: Bandshell Park, Canadian National Exhibition 210 Princes’ Blvd, Toronto
  • WHAT: Attempting a Guinness World Records® title for most number of people unwrapping chocolate at the same time
  • WHEN: Saturday August 30th
    Bandshell Park 10:30 a.m.
    Receive your egg at 10:45 a.m.
    Break the record at 11:00 a.m

Kinder Smile Booth August 17-28

  • “KINDER®will be live on location at Toronto’s Eaton Centre (TEC) from August 17-August28 with a custom built interactive KINDER® Smile Booth.  A surprise moment of joy, between parents and kids will be captured though photo/video that people can share with friends and family through social channels with #kindersmiles. Come check us out in Albert’s Way for the big reveal.
  • A play zone for mom and kid will surround the booth, so come take a break from shopping and enjoy some time with your kids before they head back to school. The Smile Booth will be happening from August 17 to August 28th at TEC,and August 30th to September 1st at the CNE. “

Farewell Summer
And so summer is coming to a close, so my participation in the #KinderMom program. I’ve enjoyed working with Kinder since…was it 2011? I love Kinder chocolate, and I love that Kinder supports the Children’s Miracle Network. Thank you for a great partnership and I will happily continue to support you by eating your chocolate!

  •  “Disclosure: I’m part of theKinder® Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation withthis group.  The opinions on this blog are my own”
  • #KINDERMom & KinderSmiles
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Sometimes Life Isn’t Beautiful

Posted by Jennifer under Faith, Just Life, Parenting (5 Comments)

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In 2012, Isaac began having seizures. You know those times when you are almost asleep and you jerk awake? Most of his seizures physically look like that jerk except that he is awake and doing normal activities when they happen. Sometimes they are a singular occurrence and if you blink, you miss it. Other times he will do it every 10-15 seconds for a period of 5 or 10 minutes. Usually he isn’t too bothered by them, though he requires reassurance and comfort. He has had two full blown seizures that look exactly like what you are picturing when you hear the word seizure. His eyes roll back, he loses consciousness, doesn’t appear to be breathing, turns blue and does the jerking convulsions while foam comes out of his mouth. It’s horrible really.

In June 2014 Isaac began waking up once every week or two and he isn’t able to sit. He’s weak and really tired. {This combined with some recent bloodwork he had done are leading them to wonder about nocturnal epilepsy.} He will try to fall asleep on the floor or where ever he is, except that he has his jerk-like seizures that keep waking him. After a few minutes they stop, he snuggles and sleeps; when he wakes up, life is normal again.

Tuesday morning when he woke up with that same little sob, I knew it was a seizure morning. Except that it didn’t progress the way I expected. A few minutes into our usual seizure morning routine {I bring him in bed, hold him as he tries to rest}, he began his full body jolting movements but they didn’t stop, they came constantly for an hour and a half. It changed throughout that period, at some points he had one or two jolts per second constantly and at other points he would have a 5 second break in between them. And he cried, oh, he cried. I watched his toes curl under and listened to his sharp cry. At one point I held him as he clawed at me – silent – trying to find his breath. His pupils dilated then returned to normal constantly, despite there being no change in the light in the room.

Sometimes life isn’t beautiful. It’s hard to watch him like this. He has no words, he can’t speak. Is he in pain? I know he’s scared.

I prayed and cried. I sang/prayed our song in a trembling, teary voice that sounded more like a sob and as I stroked him and wished I could take it on me for his sake. My sweet John came into the room yet again and came close by the bed. With his little hand on me, he lifted his voice in prayer to our amazing God.

And in that moment, I was again reminded that sometimes life isn’t beautiful but there are always beautiful moments to be found. Being helpless and reminded to look up, to have no control but to know He has it all, to be reminded of the fleeting days of our lives, the beauty of love and family –amazing graces in my life. My son, freshly-turned-6-years-old, needing no reminder to pray but instinctively knowing that we can always turn to God; lifting up his little man-boy voice to pray, it impressed upon my heart that this is life.

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Moment by Moment Grace Unfolds is the message on my Dayspring wall tiles.

Life isn’t the fun stuff, the vacations, the weekends…it’s all the stuff in between. Life is hard and messy and beautiful all in one. Life is hurts and trials and joy intermingled. Praise God that through all the hard stuff, He can open our eyes to see His grace.

grace / grās / noun

the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings

It’s easy to see the hard things in life but I wonder how many blessings I fail to notice daily.

 

{PS. We did make it through the morning and yes, Isaac is back to normal.}

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Packing for Camp Y.E.S. 2014

Posted by Jennifer under Just Life, Parenting (2 Comments)

YES! Going to Camp Y.E.S. 2014

It’s Chloe’s first year heading to camp by herself for a week. I’m pretty sure she’s ready and I’m not. It helps that every year (except 1) we’ve went to Family Camp for a week there so she’s familiar with the grounds as well as the lovely families that live there year round and she is friends with their children. Oh, and our Pastor’s daughter is her counselor this week…a gift from the Lord for this mama!

I saw a packing list on the registration form but only glanced at it. When I went to pack her, I looked but the registration forms are no longer online. I have no idea what she is supposed to bring. I thought back to my years at camp and hope I covered everything.

What I Packed:

  • Clothing (dresses, tees, underwear, bike shorts, leggings, socks, pj’s, sweaters, rain coat}
  • Running Shoes (she wore her sandals)
  • Sleeping bag, pillow, sheet
  • Bathing Suit, Towel
  • Bible
  • Bug spray, sunscreen, shampoo, itch stick, toothbrush/paste, face cloth, hair elastics, brush
  • Flashlight
  • Laundry bag
  • Love notes for each day along with corny jokes that she will laugh at

What I Know that I Missed:

  • Health Card {but her number is on her registration form and I’d drive the card down in a heart beat if something happened but next year I will be like the other organized people and send a photocopy}.
  • Baseball Glove {John mentioned this while we were already driving to the church. Not sure if it was necessary? I did take one to camp as a kid but…}

We had her all packed up to go but the other day when we were at Costco, DH and I saw this hockey backpack and knew it was a great solution; {at least I hope it is, guess I’ll find out when she gets home}. Anyway, it fit all her clothes along with her rain jacket, towel and extras. I was also able to put her pillow, sheets and sleeping back in it with room to spare. I love that it has a telescope handle and wheels so she can pull it along with ease.

Chloe did not take Ducky, her special sleepy blanket that she has had since birth. She did decide to take Slush, her husky that was a gift from a couple in our church. She packed Slush in her bag. When she arrived at the bus and discovered other girls had brought “friends” too, she immediately had me dig Slush out. She’s such a little girl, turning into a big girl. Don’t grow too fast little bear!

As we drove to the church, I quizzed Chloe on what we do if we have a problem, what should we do with our wet things, what happens if…to make sure we had hopefully discussed anything that might come up. After all, especially as homeschoolers, she is with me all the time. Anyway, John got right into this conversation and began to quiz her about what happens if she is out with friends and they step into quick sand…lol. He drew her a picture so she wouldn’t forget him. He’s in the back yard right now with a couple neighborhood friends but I think later tonight, he’s going to feel lonely.

So, go ahead and tell me, what did I forget to pack that she’s going to need?

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Tiny Tidbits 8.14

Posted by Jennifer under Just Life (No Comments)

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John and Chloe were sitting at the kitchen table at my parents house one morning eating breakfast, still in their Pj’s. Mom and I were in the sitting room chatting when we saw John suddenly look over at Chloe and say, “Woman,  do something with your hair!!”

In the van while driving one day John asked me if Isaac might have the bee disease? I told him I didn’t think so but wondered where he had heard of this b disease? I saw it on TV at granny’s house. It said if you think you might have bee disease,  talk to your doctor! {I’m thinking maybe those Hep B commercials? lol.}

Chloe comes flying up my parents stairs in excitement one evening and interrupts the adult conversation with the exciting announcement: “Mom, Payless Shoes sells shoes for the whole family!!!!!!!!!”. Trying to keep a straight face I asked if she thought that they had shoes for moms and dads as well as grandpas and grannys? She told me she was pretty sure they did and she was going to go back down and find out.

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“Mom, are we ever going to go to dream land?” John asked me. “What is dream land?” I ask. “You know, mom, everyone loves dream land.” (sang to the tune of everyone loves MarineLand, which apparently where he would like to go some day.)

Seems like a lot of my tidbit-entertainment this month comes from my children watching commercials at my parents house. Glad we don’t have TV at our place – they truly are very easily influenced.

"What do my socks say?"
"Friday"
"Awesome!!!"
"Today’s Thursday"
And the little boy in Kangaroo costume and the striped-socks-that-say-Friday looks crestfallen.

Today on the way to Isaac’s doctor appointment, the children and I were having a chat about the difference between Mercy and Grace. A few minutes later Chloe spotted an A & W up ahead. She quickly asked me, “Mom, can you show some mercy and grace and buy me a hamburger?” Laughing, I asked her to explain how that would be showing her mercy and grace {already getting into the turn lane}. Between John and her, they managed to come up with the fact that I would be giving them something that they didn’t deserve {grace}and also Chloe had not eaten her lunch properly so she deserved to be hungry and I would spare her the hunger {mercy}. I have to admit it was pretty good thinking on their part. I hope this lesson sticks with them. {and yes, we all enjoyed our Mama Burgers}.

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And Isaac, well, he doesn’t talk so much but the other day I was grating pounds and pounds of zucchini and ended up cutting my finger. I took two minutes to go to the bathroom and bandage myself and returned to find Isaac ‘helping’. I use the term ‘helping’ quite loosely as you can see from the pictures! I tried a new recipe, zucchini bread by A Beautiful Mess, and it was amazing!!

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Mama and the Dopey Boy

Posted by Jennifer under Just Life (1 Comment)

Adenoids Out 

Did I tell you that Isaac had his adenoids out in the spring 2014? He snored terribly and doesn’t breathe  through his nose at all. His adenoids were blocking 70% of his nasal passage.

Post surgery his snoring isn’t so bad but I can’t say that I am noticing much difference in his breathing; as far as I can tell, he still breathes through his mouth exclusively.

Anyway, I just had to share these dopey little pictures from when Isaac was waking up from the anesthetic because they are so cute.

TIP: If your toddler is going in for surgery make sure you take your child’s cup or bottle with you for post surgery drinks and absolutely take your child’s favorite lovey or stuff animal.

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