Are you ready for back to school? I know lots of parents who are after a full summer of holidays and kids hanging around the house. Truthfully, I am not sure I am.
It is with mixed emotions that I write this. My baby is growing up. I had 5 years to prepare for this moment but honestly the first 4 it never fully entered my mind. It was not a reality that kindergarten was just around the corner.
To some it may seem funny to get emotional about this, especially as she does go to daycare full time. I am not alone in this. She has been going to the same daycare since she was 18mths old and has grown up with a lot of the same kids. Now they will be disbursed into different schools and classes, no longer having the daily interactions. It has been a sort of second family. Friends as close as siblings fighting and making up to learn the social lessons of life.
It is a safe haven of familiarity that is set to change. Daycare will still be there during the first year of school, but in a different context. Some kids will be on opposite days and will only see each other once in a while. Change is coming.
The staff that has been there since the beginning have forged a bond with each of the children including mine. They are just as excited but sad that they will not see the same faces each day as they slowly let go. You can tell as the school year draws closer the bitter sweet looks on their faces as another group moves on. They, like parents, have done as much as possible to prepare them for the next stage.
A new world of possibilities is opening up with adventures and lessons. Playground rules and social standings are something that is to be re-established. The scariness of the unknown along with the excitement of new beginnings are whirled together.
This is all new to me as well. School for myself consisted of shared grades and kids you spent your whole childhood with. There was 6 in my graduating class including myself. No multiples of the same grade or different kids from year to year.
I am also needing to learn the rules which are so different from way back when. There are teacher prep days, school supply lists, emergency lock downs, online communication with the teachers, paying for supervision and added food restrictions for lunch. The information package is nicely laid out and I am thankful for that, but it can all be a little overwhelming.
One thing that is pretty common in school lunches is no nuts. Which I can understand given the chance of an allergic reaction and am familiar with from daycare days. The difference now is that I need to pack the lunch while trying to make it as nutritious and fun as possible.
Having a supply of dried apricots on hand and the determination to create something that is easy to replicate was the base for this recipe. They can be made up ahead of time and even stored in the freezer for those impromptu ‘Oh my goodness, school tomorrow and I have to pack lunch’ situations.
I must say, they are a life saver to have on hand and I have even stuck a few into my own lunch for those late afternoon cravings.
So go ahead. Make some up and be the super prepared parent
(at least for snack time).
Apricot Craberry Snack Squares
School or work approved lunch snack that tastes great
- 1 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 3/4 cup & 1 Tbsp flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper on the sides and bottom. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan combine the dried apricots, dried cranberries and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the honey. Add in the 1 Tbsp of flour and stir until combined. Remove from heat at let slightly cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, toasted coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice. Add in the melted butter until combined.
- Press 1/2 of the oat mixture onto the bottom of the pan. Spread on the apricot and cranberry fruit filling. Top with the remaining oat mixture and lightly press down.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. Place in the refrigerator until chilled and cut into equal sized squares.