Jul
22
2014

Creative Lunches for Kids with a French Twist!

Little Passports Blog Ambassador Wendy Copley is one creative mom! Even with two boys, she finds time to cook, write, and craft, and the artistic juices don’t stop there. Every day, she packs creative and healthy lunches for her sons with themes ranging from holidays to cute critters. Inspired by the world images on our Back to School lunch box, Wendy has created a French-themed spread just for Little Passports! Read on to learn more.

Send your child on a trip to France with this lunch inspired by traditional French treats! The centerpiece of this meal is a ham and butter sandwich on a baguette (called a “jambon-beurre” in French). It’s a simple, delicious street food that’s popular all over France. Accompany the sandwich with some sliced veggies, a French flag made of fruit, and a few madeleines and you have a fun lunch any child will love.

Ingredients:

  • baguette
  • sliced ham
  • butter or cheese
  • apple
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • cucumber
  • radish
  • madeleines

 

Equipment:

  • divided lunch box or insert
  • paring knife
  • toothpicks
  • decorative tape with a French motif

 

Putting it together:

We’re going to start by making the sandwich. Cut a piece from the baguette that will fit in the largest section of the lunch box, then cut the baguette in half horizontally. Spread each piece of the bread with a layer of butter, then top with ham and close the sandwich. (You can substitute cheese for the butter if you prefer.) Place the sandwich in the lunch box.

Next, we’ll make a French flag from fruit using blueberries, apple and strawberries. Cut a wide slice off the side of the apple, and then trim it so it fills about a third of one of the compartments in the lunch box. Slice it, then flip it over so the white side is up and center it in the middle of the compartment. If you are worried about it browning, you can dip the apple in a little water with a squirt of lemon juice in it.

Fill in the space to the left of the apple with blueberries, and add sliced strawberries to the right side of the box. Voila! The flag of France!

Slice the cucumber and radish. Layer the cucumber slices in another section of the lunch box, then top them with some radish slices.

Now let’s decorate the vegetables with some home made flag picks! These little guys are simple to make and you can whip three or four out in just a few minutes. Cut a piece of decorative tape (mine has the Eiffel Tower printed all over it) to a length of about one and a half inches. Wrap the tape around a toothpick and double it over onto itself. If you like, you can add a little je ne sais quoi to the flags by clipping a small triangle into the end with a pair of scissors.

Poke a few of the flags into the vegetables for a little extra decoration.

Finally, tuck a couple of madeleines into the last compartment for a little lunch time treat.

Voila! A lunch that will send you straight to the streets of Paris!

 

 

About Wendy Copley:

After receiving her first bento box as a Christmas gift, Wendy’s love of crafting unique and eye-catching lunches took off. Ever since, she has perfected her style and continues to make tasty bento boxes every day. This March, she released her book,  Everyday Bento: 50 Cute and Yummy Lunches to Go which is full of tutorials on how to make your own creative lunches at home! Check out more of her healthy lunch ideas: http://wendolonia.com

Jul
17
2014

3 Tips for Traveling Abroad with Kids

- Meet Candace Thomas, a stay at home mom of two boys and editor-in-chief of the lifestyle blog Luxe…With Kids. We asked her to share her thoughts on why traveling abroad with kids is so important.

My family recently took our first European vacation with our sons, aged two- and four-years old. It was their longest flight to date, and first major time zone change! Traveling the world with small children can be intimidating and demanding. But you’re giving your children a wonderful gift, both in terms of memories and in the sense of widening their perspective. It’s amazing to watch them develop the ability to appreciate their own culture, and also start to recognize common cultural differences. When you introduce your children to the world, you’re inspiring a curiosity and sense of wanderlust!

Here are three ways to inspire your global citizen before, during, and after your journey:

1) Before: Visualize Your Upcoming Trip

We love to look at maps and pictures, especially large world maps. Kids are instantly drawn to the different colors, shapes, letters and symbols. We point out where our family is from and talk about our heritage. We also talk about friends from school, people in our neighborhood, and others with whom we’ve crossed paths. You will be amazed at how many people you know from all over the world.

We have our Little Passports World Map on the wall, and the first thing our five-year old said when we announced we were going to Switzerland and England was, “let’s go look at where it is on our map!”

 


2) During: Think ‘What’s Different?’

What’s different about walking around in Vevay, Switzerland, compared to walking around in Houston, Texas? Well… they are speaking French, there are mountains AND they have Kinder Egg chocolates (a child’s fascination with a Kinder Egg knows no end). One of my favorite reasons for traveling is not only seeing new places and experiencing new cultures, but also to view home with a fresh set of eyes. We constantly ask our kids “what’s different”, “what do you like about it”, “how does it taste different”, “what do you think about…” These are engaging questions that help you see the impression travel leaves on your children’s thoughts. Don’t shelter them from what is different, highlight and celebrate it!

3) After: Remembering When You’re Home

Each of our boys picked out a special stuffed animal from Hamley’s, the incredible five-story toy store on Regent Street in London, as a souvenir to take home. They named their teddy bears ‘London’ and ‘Hamley’. When our older son returned to school, his teacher asked him to share his favorite thing about Switzerland. His reply? Playing in the snow.

Yep, he did play in the snow…in the SWISS ALPS! We still talk about Big Ben, double decker buses, the accents, the ride on the “tube” and eating fish and chips. We use the stuffed animals we brought home as a prop to engage them in a trip down memory lane. It’s not just a teddy bear, but a representation of the entire adventure!

The Bottom Line

Traveling internationally can be a great experience for kids. Don’t let long flights and time zones deter you; children are resilient and adjust quickly. Inspire your children to explore the world around them and instill a lifelong desire to travel!

 

About the Author:

Candace Thomas is a stay at home mom to two boys and editor-in-chief of Luxe…With Kids. Follow her and her family’s adventures on facebook , twitter and instagram.

 

Jul
9
2014

Summer Festivals Around the World

All across the world, summer festivals are in full swing! Families love to gather and watch colorful parades, eat unique foods and most importantly, enjoy a day in the sun with their loved ones. Take a look at how each of these countries celebrate.

Austria

People in Linz, Austria come together for 3 days in July for Pflasterspektakel, which is an event as exciting as its name is long! Thousands of festival goers head to the streets for this one-of-a-kind “pavement spectacle.” From July 17th to 19th, acrobats, musicians, dancers and parades entertain the large crowds. This event is a unique opportunity to experience the skills of both famous and local artists. Special theater performances are staged just for kids by the “Kinderspektakel” program. Pflasterspektakel truly has something for everyone!

India

Delhi, India hosts one of the most delicious summer celebrations: The International Mango Festival. From July 11th to 13th, visitors can enjoy that delicious fruit at its seasonal best. The juicy treat is honored with contests, games, tastings and more. Over a thousand different varieties of mangoes are highlighted, as well as hybrids. But the fun doesn’t stop after the festival is over. Visitors can walk away with purchases like jams, pulp, and even a whole mango plant, to enjoy for the rest of the summer!

Japan

Aomori, Japan celebrates the Aomori Nebuta Matsuri festival from August 2nd to 7th. This colorful festival began as a way to ward off the sleepiness that citizens of Aomori felt during the heat of summer. For six days, large and elaborate floats are paraded through the city, accompanied by traditional music. Attendees dance throughout the festivities!

USA

On August 17th, look up into the skies above San Francisco, California, and you’ll see a variety of different kites soaring through the air. Held at the historic grounds of the Presidio, the Family Day Kite Festival is a treat for kite-lovers of all ages. This year, the 102-year-old kite artist, Tyrus Wong, will be a special guest!

Craving more festival knowledge? Check out our Summer Festival Board on Pinterest: http://bit.ly/1rUsZET