Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dining Out: Palio d' Asti

San Francisco is a town for foodies. And every neighborhood hides at least one gem worthy of you stepping away from your chosen neighborhood. In the financial district, Palio d' Asti is that gem you should search out for a taste of Italy and for a venue that encourages you to visit with friends and family.

Insalata Caprese with Italian Pinot Grigio at Palio d Asti

 

When it comes to Italian restaurants, as an Italian-American I'm a harsh critic. My lens is filtered through my mom's cooking. I have a certain flavor profile that I expect and that my taste buds crave. So walking into Palio d' Asti to meet Emily, the Jetsetting Fashionista, my expectations were high. Leaving the restaurant later after a filling late lunch, my expectations exceeded, I knew I would return.
 

Palio d' Asti Summer Menu

 

A Taste of Italy

Palio d' Asti is nestled in the Financial District, and brings the best of Italian cuisine to the neighborhood and to the city. (If you're not familiar with San Francisco, we have Italian restaurants throughout the city not just in North Beach. North Beach has a higher concentration of tourist traps where the rest of the city has family-run establishments focused on food and service not glitz.)
 

What's your favorite Italian dish?
 

Many associate Italian cuisine with spaghetti, noodles tossed with marinara and maybe a meatball or two; this is an artifact of the mass immigration of Italians to America between 1860 and 1917. (My maternal great grandmother immigrated from Sassoferrato which is located in the province of Ancona in the Marche region of Italy (Central Italy) and nestled to the east of the Apennines mountain ranges.) The "Italians" immigrating lacked a common language as well as a national cuisine, but they shared one common foodstuff: pasta made from soft wheat flour, water, and salt. This commonality would be forever associated with Italian in Americans minds. In actually, Italian cuisine is regional and lets the season and local proteins guide what goes onto the plate.
 

Padron Peppers Roasted and Tossed with Olive Oil and Sea Salt

 

Palio d' Asti delivers true Italian cuisine. Which region of Italy the restaurant features changes according to season: Piemonte, Emilia Romagna and Tuscany are showcased in the fall and winter, Rome and Umbria in the spring, and Sicily and Naples in the summer. Their menu utilizes locally sourced and organic produce from small family farms as well as sustainable meats, poultry and fish.
 

In California right now, tomatoes and peppers are at their peak. When the owner, Martino Grande, mentioned they had padron peppers from the garden of his chef as a seasonal appetizer, I knew I had to have them. As Martino was quick to point out padron peppers are not Italian, but they emphasize the restaurant's commitment to showcasing the bounty of local gardens. They had a nice crunch, not overcooked. The olive oil was light and the salt balanced the sweetness of the peppers nicely. Eating padron peppers is like a game of Russian roulette, every once in awhile you'll get one that packs a punch. While I was lucky enough to only find the sweet peppers, Emily's first pick set her mouth on fire.
 

Fritto Misto

 

A Taste of Sicily and Naples: Summer Menu

Emily and I had a typical Italian meal, starting with Antipasti, following with Insalata, Primi Piatti, Secondi Piatti, and finishing with dessert. As I do at any Italian restaurant I dine at we ate family style sharing all of the plates between us. Growing up Italian, I've also learned to sample each dish no matter how much you may love it as the food just keeps coming and coming.
 

For our antipasti course, Emily and I selected the Fritto Misto (fried Calamari, shrimp, and summer squashes, with fennel and lemon and Calabrese chili aioli), a dish recommended both by Martino and Martin, our waiter who has been with Palio d' Asti for over 18 years. Good comfort food, such as fried calamari, needs to be made with care and with heart. At Palio d' Asti it is. The batter was crispy and the calamari cooked to perfection. At many restaurants you get an offering that tastes of oil, a sign that the oil wasn't hot enough (and why I don't cook fried foods as it's not yet a skill I've mastered). The ratio of batter to protein and vegetable was just right, especially important with the summer squash, a delicatedly flavored vegetable whose flavor can easily get lost in a dish. The Calabrese chili aioli added a little sweetness with a touch of heat to the dish. (If you get your leftovers boxed up, they include a container of the aioli--a nice touch as many places don't do this. Gates thoroughly enjoyed her sampling of leftovers, wanting more calamari and eating all of it before cubes could get a bite.)
 

Insalata Caprese

 

We followed the Fritto Misto, with the Insalata Caprese (Heirloom tomatoes with Mozzarella di Bufala, Basil, mixed olives, and Basil oil), another dish recommended by both Martino and Martin, but one I'd wanted walking in the door as tomatoes are at their peak. The chef let the ingredients shine going light with the basil oil dressing. If you're dining with a little one, you'll want to plate the salad for them without the olives and pit the olives for them. (This is easier to do with leftovers in your own kitchen.)
 

For our pasta course, we chose the Fedelini con Granchio, spaghettini with Dungeness Crab in tomato sauce with Calabrese Chilies and Oregano. When I read the description of the dish I was expecting a flavor profile closer to that of a Cioppino, heavy on the tomato and oregano. In this preparation, the local Dungeness crab is the hero, as it should be. Overall the dish was light, a great dish for a multi-course Italian meal. If just eating alone as your main course, I'd recommend getting a hearty soup to start.
 

Fedelini con Granchio

 

One thing I've learned when dining out is to put aside preconceived notions. For me with Italian cuisine, it's the idea that Eggplant Parmigiana will be a heavy, greasy concoction with overcooked mushy eggplant that I'll have to choke down. As I'd enjoyed our first courses, I was happy to give Martino's suggestion of the Melanzane Parmigiana a try. One of their house specialties and an item that was originally on the menu when he took over in 2008 and left untouched. (The two other items with that honor are the Insalata Romana which we did not have and the Tiramisu.)
 

Melanzane Parmigiana

 

The Melanzane Parmigiana should be on every diner's table (as long as you're not allergic to eggplant and then I'd recommend skipping it). Their presentation differs from most. They emphasize ricotta over mozzarella giving the dish a much lighter feel. They prepare theirs in a wood-fired oven and the eggplant picks up wonderful smokey notes.
 

Tiramisu

 

Even though Emily and I had shared every course and packed up left overs, we were almost too full for dessert. But, we went for it any way. Their Tiramisu is one of three dishes Martino left as is when he took over in 2008. And, trust me, it's not your stereotypical Italian dessert. The Tiramisu is lady fingers soaked in espresso layered with rum zabaglione and mascarpone cheese. Unfortunately, the photo does not convey the astonishment or bliss my tastebuds were in when the first bite and the second came their way.
 

Fig Crostata

 

As figs are at the peak of their flavor in the bay area, I also ordered the Crostata del Giorno (tart of the day). The fig tart was served chilled with Vanilla Gelato and a Balsamic vinegar reduction. I was so stuffed I could only eat two bites. (My family had it the following day as dessert after our breakfast and it was still amazing. We had to encourage Gates to share as she wanted all of it.)
 

Your Happy Hour Destination and Special Events Venue

Wherever you are located in the city, you should add Palio d' Asti to your list of spots for Happy Hour (4 to 7 pm Monday through Friday) and special events. During happy hour, for every two drinks (beer, wine, spirits) you can get a full-sized pizza for $1. And, if you have a group you can reserve a table! Who's tired of having to jostle for bar space and juggle a plate of food precariously during a happy hour? I sure am.
 

Palio d' Asti should also be on your list of spots for special events. Unlike many places in the city, Palio d' Asti does not charge a room rental fee and has private dining rooms with bars in the back of the restaurant that comfortably seat 20 to 50 people, the front dining area where we ate lunch that seats 40, and the main dining room which seats 120 with food and beverage minimums starting at $500 depending on the time of year.
 

genuinely eden

P.S. Don't feel like commenting? Strike up a conversation with me elsewhere: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, or Pinterest.

Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.

DISCLOSURE: Both Emily of the Jetsetting Fashionista and I received complimentary lunches. I was not paid to write this post. I feature products that I own or services or establishments that I am considering purchasing or frequenting. All opinions presented are my own.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Participating in The Cricut Design Space Star Challenge

I'm extremely happy to announce that this Fall I'm participating in Cricut's Design Space Star Contest. In every reader's survey, you have asked for more DIY, so get ready! At least one DIY a month will be coming your way from now through November.
 

Cricut Design Space Star Contest Submission from The Road to The Good Life

 

Throughout the competition, I could really use your support and encouragement. Some may remember that my first encounter with a Cricut was with a Cricut Expression Personal Electronic Cutting Machine when I was in the thick of wedding projects. Back then I tried hacking my Cricut Expression to cut intricate designs on extremely thin handmade papers; something that machine was not designed to handle. This time I ran the Cricut Explore Electronic Cutting Machine with Cricut Design Space Free Online Software (*affiliate link) and cut paper, fabric, and leather and successfully created a beach tote that converts into picnic blanket.
 

Supplies for My Endless Summer Project

 

I won't say the project was all smooth sailing, there was some operator error that ruined half of my fabric. But, I will say I'm hooked on making designs come alive with the Cricut Explore. I have so many ideas sketched out it's not even funny.
 

To make the contest more fun, Cricut divided all of the participating designers into teams of ten. Each month we agree on a theme and then start designing. It's great to be creating with nine other designers. They're inspiring me to step outside my comfort zone and dream big. Along the way we share tips and tricks, cheerlead, and more as we learn the ins and outs of our new Cricut Explore Personal Electronic Cutting Machines. Knowing that we're all in this together is incredibly motivating; especially as none of us had experience with the machine before the contest started.
 

Introducing Team 12

Let me introduce my team; we pretty much hail from all over the country and only a couple of us have actually met in person. I love that with one exception all members of Team 12 are all moms in addition to designers. I was excited when I found out I'd be working with Mari of Small for Big; we met briefly at Alt Summit in January 2013 and hung out more this past January, getting to know each other better. Mari is from Minnesota, and, like me, is also unable to eat dairy so I felt an immediate connection when we shared a meal. She's not a huge fan of children's toys in primary colors (my obsession) preferring pastels, but I love her anyways and stalk her blog for activity ideas to try with Gates.
 

Where in the US Team 12 of the Cricut Design Space Star Contest Comes From

 

I haven't yet met my other eight teammates in person, but I really hope our paths do cross in real life in the future. Thirty percent of our team is based in California, besides me, Bev of Flamingo Toes is in Carlsbad, CA (just north of San Diego) and Andrea of Legal Miss Sunshine is in Los Angeles, CA. Brooke of Little Retreats is in Maple Valley, WA. Sara of Clever Pink Pirate is in Phoenix, AZ. Another thirty percent of our team calls the Midwest home. Besides Mari in Minnesota, Gretchen of Three Little Monkeys Studio is based out of Kansas City, and Kim of The Celebration Shoppe is in Columbus, OH. Both Anneliese of Aesthetic Nest and Tami of Gifting Sweet are across the country on the other coast in the DC Metro area and North Carolina, respectively.
 

Be sure to check out the amazing projects my teammates did for our first challenge: Fashion/Gear with a theme of Endless Summer.
 

Endless Summer Cricut Design Space Star Projects by Team 12

 

From top left clockwise: Dry Brushed Earrings designed by Tami of Gifting Sweet; Motivational clipboard and coffee mug designed by Kim of The Celebration Shoppe; Surfboard Earrings designed by Gretchen of Three Little Monkeys Studio; Temporary Beach Tattoos designed by Brooke of Little Retreats: handcrafted with cool peeps in mind dreamt up; Summer Forever Tee Shirt designed by Anneliese of Aesthetic Nest; Easy Lace Filigree Chain Necklace designed by Bev of Flamingo Toes; Aluminum Geometric Necklaces designed by Mari of Small for Big; and Upcycled Volleyball T Shirt designed by Sara of Clever Pink Pirate.
 

You can see all of the projects submitted so far in the competition by all teams on the Cricut Design Space Star Pinterest board.

What big projects are you working on this Fall?
 

Joining the Fun

Have you always wanted to start designing with a Cricut? Well now's your chance! Throughout the contest, we'll be creating designs that you too can make as well as sharing tips on how to get started with a Cricut. (I've got a How to Ensure Your First Cricut Project is a Success (complete with a few mishaps) coming up next week.) If you do decide to make one of our projects, please share with us. We'd love to see what you made.
 

Cricut Supplies Purchased for My Projects

 

If you want to follow along with my designs, here's my basic setup: Cricut Explore Electronic Cutting Machine with Cricut Design Space Free Online Software (*affiliate link); Cricut Explore Deep Cut Blade and Housing (*affiliate link); Cricut Tools Craft Basic Set (*affiliate link); and Cricut Cutting Mat 12X12 Variety 3PK (*affiliate link).
 

genuinely eden

P.S. Don't feel like commenting? Strike up a conversation with me elsewhere: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, or Pinterest.

Credits: All layouts designed by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life. Photos in the Team 12 collage taken by the respective team mate as credited and linked to above.

DISCLOSURE: For my participation in Cricut's Design Space Star competition, Provo Craft gave me a Cricut Explore. This post contains affiliate links, followed by (*affiliate link). I feature products that I own or that I am considering purchasing. I own all of the products included in the post. All opinions presented are my own.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Make: Tote that Converts into a Picnic Blanket

I don't know about you, but I don't want summer to end (if only we could have rain!). For us summer means campouts and hauling lots of gear. After four campouts where we juggled picnic blankets, beach totes, camp chairs, and more as we trekked back and forth from our tent to the water or to a shaded grassy area, I decided we needed a lightweight tote into which we could tuck our beach clothes that could be spread out for us to sit on it.

DIY for making convertible yoga mat carrier or beach tote

 

Cricut's August Design Space Star competition's August Challenge (Fashion or Gear) gave me the perfect excuse to stop putting off this project and just do it, especially when my team, Team 12, chose Endless Summer as our theme. Coconut trees immediately popped into my head and stayed there thanks to Gates' latest favorite book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Chicka Chicka Book, A) (*affiliate link) .
 

 

Making Your Tote

Difficulty

This project is pretty easy, both in terms of the fabric collage you cut using the Cricut Explore and the construction of the tote itself. Because the picnic blanket is almost 8' by 5', you'll need a pretty sizeable area when you're working. I hadn't considered this and only had a 2'x3' space in which to work. I was able to complete the project in this space, but it required constantly double checking to ensure I wasn't accidentally sewing on multiple layers (which I did a couple of times) or catching the straps while attaching the D-rings (which I also did a few times).
 

Supplies

For your collage, you'll need the following:

For your tote, you'll need the following:


 

 

Instructions

  1. Prewash your fabrics and prepare any lightweight fabric, by applying Thermoweb Heat'n Bond Medium Weight Iron-On Fusible Interfacing-White 20"X36" (*affiliate link) as per manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Import Endless Summer Coconut Tree SVG file into Cricut Design Space.
  3. Prepare your design for cutting. Assign all coconut tree trunks and coconuts the same color so that they'll print on the leather. (You can choose to have your coconuts a different material; simply assign them a different color and have additional material ready.) Assign the coconut tree leaves the same color (different than the one you used for the coconut tree trunks and coconuts) so that they'll print on the 12x12, if you have two color leaves, assign half to each color. Assign the sun a different color. Preview your boards to ensure that the designs fit on your fabric; this is especially important if you're using scraps that don't completely fill the 12x12 space.
  4. Cut your material. Load your lightweight leather face down on the super adhesive mat. Select mirror image (fabric is not right side up). Select Custom dial, Leather Lightweight and modify settings so that it's the greatest pressure and cuts 5 times. Hit Go. Load your lightweight fabric for the coconut leaves face down on the regular adhesive mat (interfacing should be facing you or it will get stuck on the mat). Select mirror image (fabric is not right side up). Select Custom dial, Fabric, Polyester and modify settings so that it cuts 3 times. Hit Go. Load your lightweight fabric for the setting sun. Select Fabric dial. Hit Go. Close out of your cut. Reload your cut and advance until you're back on the setting sun mat. Flip your board when you load it. Hit Go. You now have all of the pieces of your collage cut.
  5. Thread your sewing machine with one thread matching your reversible fabric for the top stitch and the other thread that matches your reversible fabric on your bobbin for the bottom stitch.
  6. Sew a square of Velcro Brand Soft & Flexible Sew-On Tape 5/8"X30"-White (*affiliate link) to the front of one of your setting sun pieces.
  7. Pin two setting suns right sides facing each other. Sew together. Notch the hem. Flip fabric inside out.
  8. Sew three sides of your reversible fabric together (right sides facing each other) beginning with one of the long edges. Flip fabric inside out.
  9. Pin your setting sun to the middle of the open edge of your blanket. Fold the raw edges of the blanket in and pin.
  10. Sew edge shut and continue edge stitch around the entire blanket. Optionally, stitch a parallel edge stitch around the entire blanket with your thread colors reversed (or simply flip your blanket and stitch again).
  11. Pin collage onto your blanket. Sew in place.
  12. Attach webbing to your blanket. Pin straps to blanket at 1/3 of the width from the left long edge and 1/3 of the width from the right long edge. Attach a single D-ring to top edge of each strap and sew securely in place with a straight stitch across the webbing quadruple stitched (forward stitch, reverse stitch, forward stitch, reverse stitch). Secure each strap by sewing 9 inches of the webbing to the blanket. Affix two D-rings at 9 inches and secure in place as you did the first D-ring at the top edge of the strap. Place remaining 6 D-rings on the back of the blanket so that the straps remain in place when styled as a tote, one at the bottom of the tote, one halfway up the back, and the other at the top edge of the blanket for each strap.
  13. Sew a square of Velcro Brand Soft & Flexible Sew-On Tape 5/8"X30"-White (*affiliate link) about 7 and half inches down from the center of your blanket where your sun lies. Use the piece on the back of your sun as a guide.
  14. Sew strips of Velcro Brand Soft & Flexible Sew-On Tape 5/8"X30"-White (*affiliate link) to the both the left and right top edges of your blanket. This will keep the setting sun and coconut tree collage lying flat when your blanket is styled as a tote.

 

Converting Your Tote from Blanket to Tote

Because this tote converts from a tote to a picnic blanket, it's not designed to hold heavy items. The long straps give you the flexibility to style the tote as a bag for your yoga mat or a beach duffle, but don't give you support for heavy items, like a watermelon. This tote is designed to hold lightweight items such as towels, hand wipes, and sunscreen and to reduce the number of items parents are struggling with as they attempt to keep up with excited children. If you used longer straps and attached them directly your blanket, you could carry heavier items. (Lengthening the amount of webbing doesn't substantially increase the cost of the project as 6 yards cost just under a $2.00.)
 

 

Depending on how you close your tote, you either have a bag (steps shown above) sized for carrying your yoga mat, towel, and bottle of water or a beach tote (knot the two left corners together, then knot the two right corners together, make sure the knots are tight, fold the knots towards each other, and pull sunset sky fabric over the top to cover) sized for a couple of towels, swimsuits, hand wipes, sunscreen, hats, and a couple of snacks.
 

How will you use your bag?
 

 

More Endless Summer Projects to Try with Your Cricut Explore

To really bring Endless Summer to wherever you are, no matter what the weather, you'll want to check out these projects from my Cricut Design Space Star Contest teammates, go Team 12!:

 

genuinely eden

P.S. Don't feel like commenting? Strike up a conversation with me elsewhere: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, or Pinterest.

Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.

DISCLOSURE: For my participation in Cricut's Design Space Star competition, Provo Craft gave me a Cricut Explore. This post contains affiliate links, followed by (*affiliate link). I feature products that I own or that I am considering purchasing. I own all of the products included in the post. All opinions presented are my own.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Back to School: Creating Activity Kits for Preschoolers

As a participant in the Walmart to Go First program, I’ve received a personal invite and payment for my time and efforts in creating this post.

Everywhere you look communities and stores are gearing up for back to school. Whether your little one is ready to head off to school or not, they may be excited about everyone else going back to school and want to go to school too. Portable activity kits allow you to take supplies and a snack with you wherever go to.

Essential Items to Include in Preschool Activity Kit

 

Gates loves to learn something new and her quest for knowledge seems unquenchable at times. I want to encourage her inquisitiveness, but sometimes it's hard to come up with an educational activity on the spur of the moment. To satisfy her curiosity and relieve the pressure on me, I created activity kits that I can pull out when needed. Our current modules are Colors, Counting, and The Alphabet.
 

San Francisco Counting Activity Kit for Toddlers San Francisco Counting Activity Kit for Toddlers

 

Making Your Activity Kit

I'm a big believer in reusing materials that would otherwise be headed for the garbage or the recycler. As I subscribe to Le Tote, we have lots of sturdy, similar shaped boxes lying around. For our kits, I decided to decorate two Le Tote boxes. Depending on the age of your little ones, you can have them help you make your activity kits. Because I used scissors to punch holes through the top of our boxes to secure visor organizers, Gates did not help with this project. The larger art supply bins that we created using Plated delivery boxes were completely decorated by Gates.
 

For this project, you'll need as many boxes as you want kits. We currently have two boxes, but will eventually have a total of six. (We have three days where we have Gates full time, so we'll have two activity boxes for each day, one for the morning and one for the afternoon.) Separate activity boxes make scheduling activities and restocking kits after you complete an activity a breeze. If you're creating your own container, you'll want an organizer that will keep little pieces from getting lost. An organizer intended to be placed on your car's visor works especially well for this project as it has velcro strips that allow you to position it securely to your box.
 

Supplies You Need to Decorate Your Box

 

You'll also want one to two thick rolls of solid colored Duck Brand tape and one thin roll of patterned washi tape or Duck Brand tape. The thick rolls of tape are used to reinforce weak spots on your boxes as well as disguise any branding. The thin roll of tape is used to hide the seam or overlap of the thicker tape so that you don't have to cut it or worry about perfectly aligning each layer. If you want a perfectly smooth exterior, remove all of the packaging tape from your box before you begin decorating. (I didn't want to compromise the structural integrity of the boxes, so I left some clear packaging tape on our boxes and applied the colored tape over the top of it.)
 

Step by Step Instructions for Creating Decorated Storage Box

 

  1. (Optional) Remove any old mailing labels and packaging tape. (You'll see the outline of the edges of the labels and any imperfections in how the original packaging tape was applied through your decorations.)
  2. Flip your box over so that the bottom is facing you. You'll want to start with the bottom of your box rather than the sides so that the edges of your tape on the bottom of the box are covered by the tape you apply to the sides.
  3. Align your first strip of tape with the edge of your box and slowly affix the tape to your box.
  4. Align the next strip of the tape alongside the edge of the first strip. If you can't cover the bottom of your box without overlapping your tape strips, place your next strip of tape alongside the edge opposite your first strip.
  5. (Optional) Cut a strip of tape to cover the odd width or overlap a piece of tape down the middle.
  6. Flip your box over so that the back edge of the box is facing you. Tape about an 1/8 inch along the back edge, lining up with the top edge of your box, and begin pressing the tape over the corner and along the side of your box. Work slowly pulling the tape and pressing it down as you turn the box until you return to where you started. Cut the tape to cover the 1/8 inch edge.
  7. If you want a perfectly smooth edge to your box, pull a strip of tape long enough to cover the edge of your box and cut to size. If you don't cut a perfect straight edge, tape about an 1/8 along the back edge of your box lining the tape up with bottom edge of your box, and begin pressing the tape over the cover and along the side of your box. Work slowly pulling the tape and pressing it down as you turn the box until you return to where you started. Cut the tape to cover the 1/8 inch edge.
  8. To disguise the overlapped edges of your solid tape, choose a thin patterned tape. tape about an 1/8 along the back edge of your box placing the tape over the overlapped edge of the solid tape. Begin pressing the tape over the corner and work slowly pulling the tape and pressing it down as you turn the box until you return to where you started. Cut the tape to cover the 1/8 inch edge.
  9. Reinforce the front edge of your box with a strip of colored tape.
  10. Reinforce any weak spots on the top of your box as well as cover branding.
  11. Once you have decorated the top of your box, open your box and line up your visor organizer in the center.
  12. Punch four holes for the straps and feed the velcro straps through to secure the visor.
  13. Place your activity kit essentials into your box.
  14. Place your supplies that are specific to your learning module into your box. For our counting module, we have a San Francisco Counting Book and numbered stickers.
  15. Close your box and put away until you need it.
Affixing Visor Organizer to Your Box

 

Stocking Your Activity Kit

I used Walmart To Go to stock my kits as I can find everything I need in one place at low prices without having to shop around for the best deal. Because Walmart offers the brands you know and love, Crayola, GoGo Applesauce, Duck Brand tape, and more, at low prices, common school supplies are frequently out of stock. (One downside of the Walmart To Go interface and service is that you can't see whether items are out of stock until you add them to your shopping cart. However, just because you find an item that is in stock, you won't actually know if it's unavailable until the Walmart To Go truck shows up at your door.) For this reason, you'll want to stock up so that when you run out of an item you won't be scrambling. You'll also want to order seasonal items well in advance of any in store or online promotional sales.
 

Supplies for An On the Go Activity Kit for Toddlers and Preschoolers

 

For convenience, I stock each kit with the same basic essentials and then add materials specific to the topic we're exploring. Items to include in all of your activity kits are:

  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Bound journal
  • Crayons, colored pencils, or washable pens
  • Construction paper
  • Pocket tissue pack
  • Alcohol-free hand wipes (only with supervision)
  • Snack
  • Double-sided tape (if under 5, only with supervision)
  • Rounded tip scissors (if under 5, only with supervision)

What items do you include in your kits?
 

In addition to the items pictured here, I'm going to add a basic digital camera (with SD card) to each kit so that we can record what we see, print the items out, reflect on, and expand the activity. (The cameras I wanted for my kits were out of stock.) For example, getting through the entire alphabet in one sitting with an active toddler is often unrealistic. By printing out the items you've found that match a certain letter, you can pick up where you left off or add to as you find more objects that start with a given letter.
 

One upside of the Walmart To Go service is that the drivers call you to tell you they're on their way. Many of the other services I use may send an email reminder or a text message, but the personal call really helps me plan my day. If I'm in the middle of cooking and find out I'm missing an ingredient, I can dash to the corner store and grab what I need without having to worry that the deliveries will show up while I'm gone. For this reason, if you're in San Francisco, I highly recommend signing up for Walmart To Go First - VIP Experience.
 

genuinely eden

Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.

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