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As summer comes to a close and the time for ‘back-to-school’ approaches, (and I know that some of you have already started) I’m puzzling at how in the world my kids make it through the hours between breakfast and lunch when they’re at school! For the past 2 months, my kids are constantly asking me for snacks…and I feel like their asking me immediately after having eaten a larger meal! (this could be because the three of them never ask me at the same time and I feel that I am constantly rummaging through the fridge!) So, I decided that snacks are going to probably be high on their priority list, come recess time. And a stashed away snack just might come in handy in their back-packs this fall– and why not have a convenient (and cute) place to keep them safe in their back packs? a Quaker granola bar or two are easy snacks to keep in here, as they can stay for a few days.. This way, they stay out of the bottom of their back pack, and are more accessible to them if their class has them store their lunch boxes away for lunch time (as Ivy did last year) Ivy was so thrilled with her new snack tote, that I thought I’d make a matching one, a little longer, for her to use as a little pencil pouch… These are seriously so fun to make, they’re quick and easy, and can be used for a jillion things! So, while we’re at it…lets talk snacks. I’m turning over a new leaf here, starting the first day of school. While I don’t want to have my kids going hungry in the hours between meals, I also don’t want to be creating mini meals all day long. I could get a little more organized in this department, for sure. But, the new rule over at our house come September 9th (the first day of school) will be that breakfast cereal of their choice must have at least 2 grams of fiber in it. There are tons of cereal choices out there that meet this requirement! One of my kids favorites is Quaker Life cereal–and we’re pretty stoked on trying out the newer maple and brown sugar flavor (2g of dietary fiber, woo hoo!) and the other fan favorite at our house is of course Quaker instant oatmeal. ( may or may not have survived wholly on peaches n cream instant oatmeal for the first 6 years of my life…mmmmm!) –and by the way, that meets our fiber requirement, also! You can even put some dry cereal in the your kids snack totes! (click here for more snack ideas from Quaker) So, the idea is that if they choose a cereal with a little more staying power in the morning, they’ll be able to last a little longer in class and make it all the way to lunch time with out dying of hunger! So, while you’re out school shopping at Wal-Mart, (who doesn’t school shop at Wal-Mart) take a stroll down the breakfast aisles, and pack a few Quaker products in your cart. (click here for more Quaker products and ideas from Wal-Mart) How to make my Snack Totes: Supplies: -cut 2 8″x10″ outer fabrics (floral) -cut 2 8″x10″ inner fabrics (black and white) -cut 1 4″x 10″ piece for strap–picture here is floral, but I changed to a zebra print in the tutorial) -1 zipper that is at least 10″ long…it can be longer as you can see! step 1: pair up 1 outer and 1 inner fabric piece, and sew along the 10″ side. Repeat for other pair of fabrics and press. step 2: Match up the two outer fabrics and the two inner fabrics, and sew, again, along the 2 10″ sides. this will create a continual circle of fabric. (you should have two outer fabrics matching up, and two inner fabrics matching up as seen below) step 3: Press in place so that the outer fabric seam is right in the middle, and you have a neat seam on either side where the outer fabrics meet the inner fabrics as seen below. step 4: turn your pressed piece over and fold the outsides towards the center, like shown. This is where your zipper will go. Now, I’m a rookie zipper puter-inner, but this is how I did it! step 5: unzip your zipper part way. Line the top of you zipper up so that the top of it is about 1/4″ away from the top edge of your fabrics. Place the nicely pressed seam long side the edge of the zipper, and sew a straight line right along the edge. step 6: When you get to the zipper, stop, life up your presser foot, zip your zipper up, and continue along to the bottom edge. This is what you should have: step 7: repeat for the other side! I start from the bottom this time, and start with it zipped up. Sew along until you have enough room to unzip your zipper, and then continue one with it unzipped. (I do remove my tote, and replace it into my sewing machine after I’ve unzipped the zipper to make it easier to finish sewing it on. It’s harder to sew when it’s bunchy.) This is what you are left with: step 8: the strap. Get your strap piece (4″ x 10″) and press it in half the long way. This will create a line in the center. Next, fold the long edge into that center and press. Repeat for the other side. step 9: fold the piece in half once again, and sew along that folded side to make a finished edge step 10: Turn your pouch inside out with the underside of the zipper facing up. step 11: slide your strap in between the zipper and the bottom of the pouch and line it up directly under the zipper, and exactly in the center of your bottom seam, as shown below. step 12: Pin it in place. step 13: Make sure your zipper is unzipped part way (SUPER IMPORTANT) and sew a seam right along that unfinished edge, right over the zipper, about a 1/4″ from the edge. Repeat on both sides. step 14: Trim off the extra parts of the zipper… step 15: This is the tricky part, but it’s the part that gives the pouch it’s great shape. Create a square side by poking the triangular edge out perpendicular to the zipper. Check out the image below for details on how to do this…It will create a small triangle: step 16: measure 1 1/2″ from the tip of the corner, and draw a line. I try to match up the seam with a line on my ruler to insure that it’s a straight line I’m drawing. step 17: Sew right along this line. You may trim off the excess fabric. Repeat this step for all four corners. Turn your tote right-side-out and you’re set! You can either have your handle on the underside, or on the top, whichever you prefer… …and then fill it with only the good stuff! Tell me your ideas for how to give your kids the fuel they need to start the day off right, with foods they actually enjoy! I’d love to hear your ideas! Are you a Quaker family, too?!