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Lisa Prejean: Trouble with snacks

May 07, 2010|By LISA PREJEAN

Editor's note: Lisa Prejean is on a missions trip to Costa Rica. This column originally ran in May 2007.

"Hi, hon. I'm here at the grocery store. They don't have Kool-Aid Jammers. Do you think your friends would like Hi-C Torrential Tropical Punch instead? OK. I'll pick up enough so everyone can have two. See you at home. Love ya. Bye."

As I was having this conversation with my 8-year-old, I heard another mom chuckling behind me. After I ended the cell phone call, the other mother smiled and said, "The right kind of juice is important. I know. Mine are really particular about their juice, too."

I nodded, laughed, and said, "Yes, and this is for a class event, so it has to be right."

Her look of understanding revealed that she knew exactly what I was talking about. If your child brings yucky juice for the class, it just won't be a good day. The other kids will dump it down the drain, your child will feel bad about not being a good class host and then you'll feel like a parent snack-squad dropout.

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At first I thought I was alone in my feelings about this, but the more I talk to other parents, the more I've discovered that many of us feel the pressure to get it right when it's our turn to bring snack. We want our kids' friends to enjoy what we bring.

The same week that my daughter needed juice for her class, my son signed up to bring in snacks for his class. I've heard him complain about store-bought cupcakes, cookies and brownies, so I thought we'd bring a homemade treat. We recently sampled some O Henry Bars at a bake sale. They were good, so we decided to make some.

The weekend before the class event, we tried the recipe. The bars were so easy to make that I told my son he could sign me up to bring those any time.

The night before our snack turn, my kids had piano lessons right after school. After piano, my husband and I met at the soccer field so he could stay with our daughter during soccer practice. Then my son and I went home to start dinner. While dinner was cooking, I started preparing the syrup for the O Henry Bars. I thought it could cook while we ate. We'd have a head start on our snack-making venture.

By the time we finished eating, though, the corn syrup and sugar mixture resembled taffy. We threw that batch out and started over again.

"I guess I shouldn't have tried to make dinner, do laundry, check homework and make the snack at the same time," I confessed to my family.

My son timidly looked at me and gently replied, "Yes, Mommy. Haste does make waste, doesn't it?"

We were scraping the solidified cereal mixture into the trash can, and I caught a hint of a grin that he was desperately trying to suppress.

I couldn't help laughing as we started on another double-batch. This time I stayed in the kitchen and the bars turned out fine.

The next evening I asked my son if his friends liked the bars. He thought they did. Then he told me what another mom had brought earlier in the week: fresh fruit and cheese. Apparently, it was a big hit.

Perhaps that was the case because our children aren't getting enough of either in their diets.

Snacks have become all-important in our culture. Our kids can barely get through an athletic event without a snack. Special classroom events and projects call for snacks to share.

No wonder American kids struggle with weight issues.

The last four or five weeks of school are notorious for this snack-bringing frenzy.

I think the next snack I bring will be straight out of the dairy case or the produce aisle.

Here's the O Henry Bar recipe I made:

1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 1/4 cups crunchy peanut butter
6 cups Special K
12 ounces chocolate chips

Mix sugar and corn syrup. Bring to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter. Pour over Special K. Press into a 13x9-inch greased pan. Melt chocolate chips over low heat. Spread over cereal mixture. Cool and cut.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at lisap@herald-mail.com .

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