Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dye-Free August Summer Camp Snacks - Part 2

We crammed a ton of gym camps into August, since I spent almost half of the potential July camp days at my sister's house. I liked having a few hours where I could run errands without having to figure out how to fit both kids in the shopping cart (plus, you know, have room for my purchases!) Or just kick back and read my book feed the baby, and let her have a nap without a certain loudly vivacious someone turning on the lights, jumping on the bed, and wanting to give her kisses constantly.
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Since we switched Little Z to an artificial-free diet, her behavior has improved dramatically. Although, to be honest, her screaming fits and belligerence weren't as bad as many other kids' "normal" Terrible Twos and Threes. Without the fake stuff, she is more cooperative, has an improved ability to self-soothe (she had zero ability before!) and her night terrors went away. Now she just wakes up and wanders into our bed, usually without even waking us, unless she needs to potty. She used to not even be able to pick up her water sippy without help, during a night-waking, much less get up and walk anywhere!

The snacks at Little Gym were deemed safe -Goldfish Crackers, organic vanilla cookies from Costco, Motts for Tots fruit snacks, and technically Cheez-Its (although they contain TBHQ, a petroleum-derived preservative that many dye-sensitive kids also react to. We don't know about Z for sure on that, so we avoid it, but I'd let her try them in a pinch.) But Z didn't trust the teachers telling her their snacks were safe. And when I asked her about them on the way home from our first camp back in June, she decided she wanted "for-sure-safe" Mama-packed snacks, like the one I had made before checking their snack stash. She requested fresh fruits and veggies, and I finally got to use all the cute little snack bento and sandwich boxes languishing away in my cupboard! Win!

Even though they're mostly not pictured, she got a juice box with most of these snacks. (My Gym requests you pack your child a water bottle, so she only had water there. And one of the days I forgot to pack a juice, but I happened to have a milk box in the car that day. Whew!)

Tuesday 8/14/12 -
 Little Gym camp snack.
Popcorn, organic Bing cherries
Can't remember which flavor popcorn this is. I still had some Smartfood White Cheddar, as well as Trader Joe's Organic Olive Oil Popcorn and Herbed Popcorn lying around.
Snack container came from Target's Dollar Spot.

Monday 8/13/12 - My Gym camp snack with water (not pictured.)
TJs Organic Olive Oil Popcorn, organic raspberries
Not sure which sandwich box I used. Looks like Tinkerbell or Hello Kitty, which came from either Dollar Tree or Target's Dollar Spot.

Wednesday, 8/15/12 - My Gym camp - favorite book theme.
TJ's Root Chips, seaweed crackers, Bing cherries, blackberries
Sandwich box came from Target's Dollar Spot.

We had had My Gym camps scheduled the following Monday and Wednesday as well, but Z told me she never wanted to go back. I made her go to this camp, just to make sure, but then was able to transfer the other camps we had already paid for to a friend at rock-bottom prices. Z might change her mind and be ready to try this gym again for their Mid-Winter or Spring Break camps next year, but I'm fine sticking with Little Gym for Winter Break and Summer camps, plus the occasional Parent's Night Out.

In the almost-four-years we've been going there, the teachers at The Little Gym have consistently been better at reading Z's nonverbal cues and immediately reacted to and respected her aversion to being spoken to, looked at, or touched by other adults. And they've known exactly how to work with and encourage her to participate, with understanding and compassion. Every place else we've gone to, for anything, has been more hit and miss. Her drop-off preschool teachers seemed to work well with her too, although I wasn't ever there to witness, and she did great at the co-op preschool, since I was in the building the whole time. But other than that I have to either remember to coach everyone in advance how to approach her, or else watch her shut down or freak out when someone comes at her the wrong way. (Apparently for her, a touch is akin to an assault. She doesn't differentiate between an accidental collision and an attack, or between a friendly pat and a hit. So when an adult comes to comfort her, she feels she is being attacked, unless she initiates the contact. Luckily, she no longer reacts as strongly when other kids are involved. We didn't go out socially much for a while, since I just didn't have the energy to deal with her screeching over every little imagined slight when we were with a group of other clumsy, touchy, friendly little kids.)

Tuesday, 8/21/12 - Little Gym Camp snack
sugar snap peas, blackberries, carrot flower, TJs Herbed Popcorn and juice box
Blackberries came from our backyard weed thicket garden.
In my favorite little snack bento box.

Thursday, 8/23/12 - Little Gym camp snack.
TJ's Olive Oil popcorn, Earth's Best Sesame Street 
Cheddar crackers, peas, Bing cherries and blackberries 
Blackberries came from our backyard, and the peas I shelled from some older pods starting to go wrinkly from our CSA.
Forget which sandwich box I used here. Either Hello Kitty or Disney Princesses, and came from Dollar Tree or Target's Dollar Spot.

Friday, 8/24/12 - Little Gym snack
blackberries, Earth's Best Sesame Street crackers,
NatureBox Tomato Crunchies, TJ's Lemon Cookie
She went ape over the Garden Tomato Crunchies in the July Naturebox, so I tossed some in with her crackers. She used to love the Earth's Best crackers, and asked for them again recently when we were in that aisle for something else at Fred Meyer. I told her she needed to wait until they were on sale, or until Baby was old enough to eat them. They went on sale first.

We did a make-up class that morning, and normally she asks me to stay in the lobby for class. But I really needed to restock at Trader Joe's, and as it and our regular Little Gym are near each other, and roughly 25-minutes away from home, I like to get my shopping done there either during or after class. Since we'd be racing off to the other Little Gym location after, for camp (our regular location doesn't offer Summer camps on Fridays,) Z let me leave and go shopping during her class. Which turned out to be a good thing, since I'd bought some plain milk boxes there to try (Costco only has chocolate milk and soy milk ones,) and it turns out I'd forgotten to bring her a juice box for camp snack, so she agreed to accept a "reg-a-lur milk" box that was still in the bag in the trunk.

Container is a small Take N Toss snack bowl with lid.

Monday 8/27/12 - Simple and quick snack.
TJ's White Cheddar Popcorn, strawberries, TJs grape juice box
Hello Kitty container was a gift from Candy Girl at BentOnBetterLunches. No clue where she found it. Squeee!

Tuesday, 8/28/12 - Using a mini Glit and Brillia 2-tier box I found at the Asian market for the first time. I don't know if she could open this herself, but with only 10-ish kids in the camp, I knew the teacher would be able to help her. Plus I unsnapped the sides when I left it on the snack counter, since they wouldn't need to move it around or anything until snack time.
NatureBox trail mix dried fruit, strawberries, blueberries,
Trader Joe's White Cheddar Popcorn
At first she took off just the top lid, and asked the teacher "Is this all my snack?" Luckily "Miss Bwee" was able to figure out how to take off the inner lid on the bottom half.
The dried fruit assortment in the mini muffin cup came from a trail mix in an older Naturebox (April or May.) It originally had nuts and sunflower seeds in it, but she kept swiping just the dried mango, apple, and cranberry bits, leaving the seeds and nuts scattered on her desk. So  when I accidentally ordered a second box (I was trying to switch to a 6-month subscription, but forgot to cancel my month-to-month. Doh!) I just separated out all the seeds and nuts to sprinkle on my salads, saving the fruit for her. I had forgotten about it, sitting in my "dried fruits" area, and decided that it would be a nice change for her.
Well! Her dried fruit was a huge hit. Not only did she love it and gobble it down, but the other kids all asked her about them, apparently, so she shared with some of the kids sitting next to her. Awww!

Friday, 8/31/12 - Last day of Summer camp! *sniffle*
Blackberries, seaweed crackers, Snappea Crisps, TJ's Yogurt Stars
I thought I'd change it up a bit for her last day of camp, so I put in some seaweed crackers from the Asian market and some Snappea Crisps, instead of popcorn. And as a special treat, a few TJ's yogurt-covered vanilla cookies, for my little superstar! In my new little strawberry snack bento box.

The good news is that she liked having a "special" snack, different from the other kids. The bad news is that she wants me to pack a daily snack for preschool too! Oy! Last year I just had a bag of safe snacks to sub in as needed. She was still getting exposed to something, whether it was artificial flavors, Vanillin, BHA, BHT, or TBHQ, since they were only checking for artificial colors. And while I'm still not 100% sure she's sensitive to any of those, there have been inexplicable episodes of something where we know she didn't get exposed to colors, so there's something else out there.
And for some reason Tuesdays and Thursdays, her school days at that school last year, she'd come home and get the screamies. Although it's also possible that the juice concentrates people were bringing had fake colors and the teachers didn't think to check. I know I didn't think to when we were at my sister's house, and I let her drink the Red 40 fruit punch.

   Microwavable Japanese Bento Box Lunch Snack Box Pink Microwavable Japanese Bento Box Lunch Box Fruit Pink Strawberry 


  1. Love all the snacks and I am glad she is enjoying camp. My son never trusts non-Mommy snacks and feels so much better having snack from home :) Otherwise he will insist on watching you check the label :)

  2. Love all these, Kendra!! Your blog is fantastic and I am passing the One Lovely Blog award to you. You can check out the details here if you accept :) Keep up the good work! http://i-brownbag.blogspot.com/2012/09/one-lovely-blog-very-inspiring-blogger.html

  3. The screamies! I know what those are. I really like your blog.


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