I never thought I would be this mom.
I hoped to be one of those cool moms - you know the ones that fight the man and don't make a big deal about holidays, or first days of preschool, or make homemade snacks.
When you aren't a parent you formulate a lot of opinions about the mom you will and won't be ("I'll never let my kid watch watch t.v./drink juice/eat refined sugar/fill in the blank) but actually being a parent instantly changes all of that. Suddenly you're so in love with a teeny person, a tyrant-like tiny person, but still so in love. Some days you'll bend your own pre-baby rules just to survive and other days you'll do the same just to make them smile.
am was anti-Valentine's day. I swore we would never-ever-ever celebrate Valentine's Day as a family. And yet here - I am buying classroom Valentine's Day cards and making snack mix for preschoolers. Yes - I realize that this is completely ridiculous and I still absolutely love it. Receiving a kiss (without asking!!) and hearing "Mama - I wube Baletines" is all it takes for me to start planning again for next year.
Ella is also starting preschool this week (I've written about her other childcare here) and I'm just not even ready. She has a little lunch box and a classroom with a cubby to hang her coat and she will be spending the day with a bunch of people I don't know. Valentine's day is the most wonderful distraction for this big change -ever-ever.
We used Pear Tree Greetings for our family Christmas Cards this year after a lot of friends recommended them (noted for having excellent customer service). And we loved the results! They were affordable, they shipped quickly, and the paper quality was awesome. So when the folks at Pear Tree Greetings asked me to try their Classroom Valentine's Day cards - I happily agreed.
I ordered a couple variations on classroom Valentine's Day cards from Pear Tree Greetings - it was tough to decide because I loved the classic "puny" Valentine's Day cards and my husband loved the photo cards. We both loved the photo-booth Valentine's Day cards too. I picked my favorite puny Valentine - Bee Mine, photo postcards to send to Grandmas, Grandpas, and MawMaws, and photo cards to give to friends and family.
I'm packaging this obsessives snack mix with Ell'a classroom Valentine's Day cards, because I am official that mom and because I love Ella - I'm okay with that.
Valentine's Day Snack Mix
makes 20 (1/2 cup) servings
Ella really loves (we all do) the muddy-buddy style snack mix that my mother in-law makes for the holidays, but its full of sugar. I was looking for a way to mimic the fun of that snack in a little bit healthier way - I'd say we nailed it. Even my husband cannot stop eating this.
2 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
4 cups chex cereal
4 cups multi-grain cherrios cereal
1 cup pretzel goldfish crackers
1/2 cup sprinkles
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup freeze dried strawberries
1 cup freeze dried yogurt bites
Heat the oven to 300 degrees F. Lightly grease two baking sheets.
Whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and water until foamy in a large bowl. Add the cereals and crackers to the bowl and stir until well coated. Add the sprinkles and stir until combined. Divide the snack mix between the two prepared baking pans and spread into an even layer. Bake for 30 minutes. Stir and continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the snack mix is dry. Cool completely before adding the strawberries and yogurt bites. Store in an airtight container for up to a week**.
** The baked component of this snack mix will last longer without the strawberries and yogurt bites. You could make this now and add the berries and bites before packaging.
Please note: Pear Tree Greetings did provide our Valentine's Day Cards (and sponsored last week's Instagram Giveaway) but all opinions are my own. I would never feature a product/company I didn't love. Its all about the recipes anyway, y'all.*