Best-After School Snacks

posted on: Thursday, September 25, 2014

Just found this post in my drafts. It was buried for two years! The kids are older but the content is still relevant so here it goes.

We're getting ready for gearing up for back to school season, and with that we've already started brainstorming and testing some after school snacks we'll put on our family menu this year.

I like to joke and say that snack-time is the most important meal of the day. Of course breakfast, lunch, and dinner is crucial to a healthy diet but in order for lunch or dinner to be a real success then what kids eat before those two meals makes a huge difference.

Normally, the one meal we get to eat together as a family is dinner. It's a special time for our family, where we get to sit together and enjoy each other's company and talk about our day as we share a nutritious meal together. In order to guarantee that dinner will be a success I usually plan out a weekly dinner menu. Fridays nights is always home-made pizza night. However, even with the best of intentions dinner doesn't always go the way I planned. By 5:00pm the kids are starving. They don't want to wait another 30 minutes until the quiche is done baking. They want food and they want it now.

I realized that in order for dinner to be a success I need to make sure their after-school snack is more than just a handful of cheese crackers. I like to think of their after-school snack as a mini-meal, where they get protein and iron, and lot's of vitamins, not just carbs or sweet treats. When they have a good after school snack they can hold out until dinner without melting down. When they have a good after-school snack, with healthy ingredients, they are less whinny about the nutritious food I make for dinner.

Here are some ideas for protein rich, and of couse full of flavor, after school snacks your kids are sure to enjoy.

1- Mini Skewers 
Not only is this a quick snack to make, it is also one my toddler can help me assemble. Some of our favorite ingredients are - chicken, cucumbers, cheese, and tomatoes.

2 - Chicken-n-Dip
Dipping is fun. Sometimes, when my kids don't want to eat their chicken or their veggies I bust out their favorite dip and voila! they're all of a sudden excited about their snack.

3- Muffin-Tin-Platter
You can use muffin tins, or individual tins or ramekins, the concept is the same. Do you have a child who hates it when their food touches? I do! Putting individual servings into separate compartments makes it easy for my son to enjoy his after school snack. His favorite - chicken, celery, carrots, and almonds. My daughter's favorite - chicken, tomatoes, grapes, and black olives. What about your kids, what do they enjoy?

4 - Chicken Nachos
My kids love homemade nachos. I love them because they're so easy to make. Instead of just handing them over a bag of potato chips I prefer something a little more healthy. Baked corn tortillas with a handful of cheese and a few pieces of left over chicken microwaved for 30 seconds (who doesn't love melted cheese?), is always a winner at my house.

What about you, are there are after school snacks your kids love?

For more after-school snack ideas scroll through my Foodie collection!

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by Damaris Santos Palmer at

Happy Birthday Maria!

posted on: Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Five years ago, or as my children would say a full hand ago, Maria was born. The minute she came out she was placed on my tummy and she crawled up to my chest and started nursing right away. I was amazed, and instantly in love with this tiny resilient creature who took matters into her own hands.

I am even more amazed and even more in love with a little girl who continues to take matters into her own hands. She is smart and witty, kind and affectionate, brave and confident.
She has only been in my life for 5 years but I feel like I have known and loved her forever.
I am excited to see her grow until she is two full hands old and then many more full hands after that.When she opened her present today she said enthusiastically "this is exactly what I wanted!" even though she had no idea what she was going to get. I feel the same away about her. Even if I had tried I would not have been able to create her in my wildest imagination. She is her own self, determined to be her own self. She is amazing!.

We Moved

posted on: Wednesday, August 6, 2014

It's been one week since I've started waking up in Hawaii.

And it feels good.

It feels right.

Moving to Hawaii was a long process. From last year when Christian applied for the job to waiting, negotiating with my job, packing, crossing off things in our endless to-do list, topped with flight drama. We prayed a lot during the whole process. I begged Heavenly father to help Christian get the job and then I begged him to help me keep my job. Even when those two things were set and I knew we were moving, emotionally it was still hard to let go.

Change is hard for me, it requires me to relinquish control, to live in a messy house full of boxes of things we own and use regularly and things we don't use regularly. It makes me feel very vulnerable. It makes me feel like a hoarder. It takes up a lot of my time and energy. It's way more comfortable to just stay put.

But as I watched my stuff being packed into the crate, our furniture being taken apart, our home that we earnestly put together and decorated and made it our own, being disassembled, I felt happy. It was not a feeling I was expecting at all. South San Francisco never felt like our community. It was a fine place for the eight months we lived there but it was never really where we were going to put down roots.

Leaving my office and saying bye to my co-workers was hard. I'm a social creature, I like working with people, and I like my co-workers a lot. Luckily I work an online job so I still feel connected to people at work. It's not the same of course, but it's a worthwhile trade. Now I work from 6:00am-2:00pm Hawaii time. Yesterday, for example, I picked up Enzo from school then took the kids to get some shave ice, and we still had time to go to the beach, have dinner, help them with homework, spend one-on-one time with them (I'm militant about this), read a chapter of Little House on the Prairie, and even squeeze in a short family home evening. This schedule is golden!

This last week has been fun. We've gone to the beach, hung out with cousins and friends, shared meals, made new friends, we even got to go on a date, a triple date with our friends.

More than anything though this last week has felt right. All along I knew that the move was right but there was still this feeling of not wanting to let go, of feeling scared, of doubting. But now the feeling is just peace. We are where we should be. School, preschool, babysitting, has all worked out. Christian is in his element, Enzo is thrilled, Maria walks by herself to the neighbor's house to play with kittens, Eliza likes interchanging between her swimsuit and birthdaysuit, and I'm feeling happy, safe, and excited for the future.

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