Making Memories That Last

Making Memories That Last


Whoever invented PB&J sandwiches is a genius!

We are not quite at school yet; ours starts after Labor day, but currently we are doing both, soaking in the last days of SF “summer” and prepping for school, which means there is lots of excitement and buzz around here!

Moments like this are very special. I stumbled on a set of printed photo books from a couple of years ago last Saturday while cleaning. I couldn’t believe how much not only the kids have changed even in such a short period of time, but how different our life is today comparing to what it was even three years ago. I noted in my mind too, how happy I was that we put extra effort into recording those moments and memories. It may seem at times that snapping pictures with the camera is too much hustle and best moments are engraved in the memory (which is partially true), but the reality is, life is so full, those memories that are fresh today will dim a little in a month, and even more so after a couple of years, so it is well worth the effort.

Vasilisa is starting school this year. She’s been waiting for so long to pack her lunches, and I decided it would be a perfect opportunity to kick this significant milestone off with a small sandwich making party. Not only are little impromptu parties like that completely and absolutely fun, but I find them useful too. When my kids create things, I can see what they like to eat and what their preferences are, which allows me to tailor lunchboxes to their needs, and it makes the kids excited about their lunches too. A win-win all around. A little love in a lunch box can go a long way in brightening my kid’s day. It always does.

Although we are a multi-cultural family and I put a lot of effort into exposing the kids to all things I grew up with so they can learn and understand, sometimes I feel like we forget about American culture a little. We decided to partner up with Jif & Smucker’s (that has “American” stamped all over them in my mind!) to highlight the best of moments in our unique but still American life.

PB&J sandwiches are such a classic in my eyes. I was about 10 years old when we met our American friends for the first time and they had introduced us to this iconic, cultural recipe. I have very warm memories attached to a simple PB&J sandwich. I wanted to share the warmth of this memory with my children as well, so that throughout the year and for years to come every time they pick up a PB&J sandwich they will think of moments we spent together, whether they are 5, 15 or 35. For us adults, it may seem like a new year of school is not a really a big deal, but for these little humans, it's a huge milestone, another step forward into grownup life, which is not always easy. It’s not just a sandwich or simply lunch, it’s a token of love that will give them a little boost for the times when they need it most.

We wanted to put a little twist on them, though! So here is what we came up with.

First, we used Jif Creamy PB and Smucker’s Strawberry Jam. We did both savory and sweet sandwiches. I also used sprouted bread for sandwiches because it is more nutritious, and for some of the sweet options I also used PB to offset the sugary sweetness with fresh roasted peanut butter taste and 7 grams of protein.

Here are some of the combinations the kids liked most from the savory choices:

PB + diced zucchini +sweet potato ribbons + pomegranate seeds
PB + diced broccoli + sweet potato ribbons + sliced cucumber
PB + sliced zucchini + diced broccoli + sliced mushrooms
PB + sliced tomato + sliced zucchini

Here are the sweet combinations that were favorites:

PB + sliced strawberries + sliced figs + pomegranate seeds
1/2 PB + 1/2 Jam + sliced figs + blueberries + raspberries + pomegranate seeds
Jam + slides apples + sliced strawberries + blueberries
Jam + sliced strawberries + sliced figs + pomegranate seeds

Any of the choices can go well with other fruits such as grapes or dates, and most of all have fun as you make your own creations.

One thing that I have learned over the years is that it doesn’t really matter what you do. Creating memories and special moments doesn’t have to cost a lot because the time that you spend together is what matters. These memories will live on and the kids are excited for their back-to-school lunches filled with nourishment that will carry them through the day. For more PB&J recipes and inspiration, I love this site.


This post has been sponsored by the J.M. Smucker Company. I received product and compensation, but all opinions are my own.


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