Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

To those of you who have chosen to spend your free time following my blog (ha!), I want to wish you a blessed and Merry Christmas!  Make time this year to celebrate the the One for whom this holiday is all about - Jesus.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

ANOTHER cold, rainy Saturday...

I think this is what the weather is going to do every weekend until the new year here in SE GA.  I'm really bummed about it.  So, in my misery ;) I made lunch bentos!  Well, sort of.  I put them on divided plates, but this is all stuff I'd put into a bento box if I wanted to go that far.  Do these count as bento? 

Counterclockwise from bottom left:
Meat and cheese roll ups with veggie cream cheese
Carrots and cucumber with ranch
bananas, strawberries and grapes
Asher has veggie straws, Timothy has pretzel grids.
Snowflake and star sugar decorations

As of right now, the fruit is gone, the sugar decor is gone (of course), and the pretzels and veggie straws are gone.  Trying to get them to eat their roll ups and raw veggies are a challenge some days.  :)


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Last day of preschool snack bento

Tomorrow is the last day of preschool for Timothy before Christmas break.  His teachers asked that we bring a 'good snack' for him as they're going to have meat and cheese trays, etc, after the school's Christmas program.  No childcare for younger siblings, so we'll see how long Asher and I last at this thing.  :)

Anyway, since I had to send something, might as well be a bento, right?  Timothy's teachers comment so often on his lunches.  "His are so cute!"  "You must get up at 5 to do these, right?"  "We're always excited to see what fun thing he has each day!"  Makes me proud.  :)

Snack bento for Thursday in our new LunchBot Pico box!

Angel hair pasta with butter and parmesan cheese
bologna snowman with cheddar hat, cucumber eyes, carrot nose and red pepper mouth
and mini chocolate chips for buttons
clementine segments and blackberries
blueberries and kiwi in silicone cup
Nestle crunch bell

If you had to eat a snack, wouldn't you want it to be fun like this?  Me too!!

I added this bento to's What's for Lunch Wednesday? blog.  Check out all the other fun bentos people are making!  So much inspiration in one place!

Bento Lunch


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rainy Saturday afternoon Bento snack

It's so cold and rainy here in SE GA.  It's been a dismal day, but we've had a lot of fun crafting reindeer shirts to wear and I've conquered Mt Washmore today, so it's been a great day! :)
We needed a fun snack for this afternoon, especially since in spite of the weather, my boys have played so well together and my little guy had a 2 1/2 hour nap!  :) 

Peppermint Peeps Star
Cup holds Fruit Loops and Oatmeal Square cereals
Half a Hawaiian roll with veggie cream cheese wth turkey and mild cheddar Christmas tree
with red and green Christmas tree sprinkles
Clementine flower with craisin center

They're very quiet right now while enjoying their snack.  But that might be because "The Grinch" is on. 


Friday, December 10, 2010

Brilliant Ideas

Over at Bento Lunch, Shannon is having a giveaway in conjunction with Chef Boyardee and BlogHer.  She asked "What brilliant idea makes your life run smoother?"

For me, it's having my kitchen cleaned up before bed.  I'm sure many of you do this already, but I spent the first 11 years of marriage not too worried about leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight.  It didn't bother me too much to wake up to last night's dinner dishes sitting around.  Didn't seem to bother my husband too much either, because he never said anything.

However, with my husband being deployed to Afghanistan this year, and me having to do both mom and dad jobs, I realized that I was getting completely overwhelmed with how the house looked.  To me, the house was a disaster area.  Toys everywhere, messy kitchen, grimy bathrooms.  I knew that my 2 boys (3 and 1) deserved better than what I was giving them.

**Please understand, this was my perception.  My friends who came over never recoiled at the sight of my house and gladly let their children play and use my bathrooms.  We're always harder on ourselves than anyone else would be.


So in August, I decided that the one thing that I needed to do to start getting my house (and my life) back together was to make sure I cleaned up my kitchen each night.  Being in my kitchen is like nirvana to me.  I love being in there, creating and making food for my family.  And I had gotten away from being creative in there because of how messy it was.  So each night, after the kids were in bed, I cleaned up my kitchen.  I even started doing the dishes during the day so it wouldn't be such an overwhelming job at night.  I scrubbed my sink.  I wiped all the counters down.  I even made sure I put the dishes away that I had washed and put the drying mat back in the drawer.  I left nothing out on the counters except the few things I chose to stay out (coffee pot, paper towel holder, bread box, utensil holder, etc).

And do you know what I've learned?  Keeping the kitchen clean spills over into the rest of the house.  Now, I don't keep everything dusted or scrubbed like I should, but each evening, the boys help me put all the toys and books away, I run my swiffer on my wood floors a bit more often, and I wipe off the sinks in the bathrooms, too. 

This has been a lifesaver for me since my husband deployed because it brings me a sense of peace each night before bed and each morning when I get up.  With a clean kitchen, I feel like I can conquer the day...well, and a big cup of coffee in my hand doesn't hurt either.  :)

If you'd like to enter this contest, check out Shannon's blog (link at the top) and tell her what brilliant idea makes your life run smoother.  If you stop and think, I bet you'll think of more than one!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

So unexpected...

Where we live, we're about 40 minutes away from 'town'.  We live in a small town in SE Georgia where my husband works as an Army Chaplain at the post here.  One of the surprises of this town is that there's a large health food store here.  They have a juice bar and cafe inside, in addition to all the kinds of things that you would expect to find in a health food store. 

I went in to get some fruit leather because I've bought it there before and it's really good stuff.  I also went in to see if they carried veggie straws, because the bag that I bought and blogged about last week is gone.  Gone.  The boys and I finished it in 3 days. 

I found the fruit leather and was happy to find some veggie straws.  With my goodies in one hand and my toddler in my arms, I started toward the register when THIS caught my eye:

 I couldn't believe it. my little something that I'd only seen online.  I never thought that I'd ever lay my hands on one of these.  It seemed untouchable, like only serious bento makers have these.  (Ok, so I'm exaggerating)  :)

I picked it up and noticed this is the Pico size - the snack size lunchbot.  They also had the Duo size, the one larger than this.  The saleswoman was standing there with me and I exclaimed: "YOU HAVE LUNCHBOTS?!"  Ok, I didn't yell at her, but the decible level was louder than a normal talking voice.  She said, yes, and she thought they had others in the back.  She showed me that they had 2 more Duo size, but I picked this one.  It was calling to me.

Seriously, I can't believe that I found this in our little town.  It really seemed that it was unattainable other than online, and I don't like online shopping.  I have to be able to pick things up and touch them and carry them around for awhile before I purchase them.

This is the niftiest little container.  I love that it's stainless steel, I love that it's shiny, I love that the top is yellow.  I love that it's small enough to carry around and it holds enough food for my toddler.  He had his morning snack in it today when we got home.  

This is a typical snack for Asher - meat on picks, string cheese cut up and veggie straws.  He devoured all of it but maybe 5 straws.  Even silicone baking cups fit inside.  That is a definite plus.

The only thing about it is that it's not leakproof.  The packaging says so, so no applesauce, pudding, yogurt, etc unless it's in it's own container.  The Lunchbot is weighty because of the stainless steel, but it's not so heavy that it's hard to carry around.  My 15 month old carried it around and had no problems. 

Do any of you have a Lunchbot box?  What size do you have and what are your favorite things about it?  What do you pack in it? I'm always needing new ideas for lunches/snacks.  Is there a size you wish you owned but don't?  Share with me!!

I love this box.  I'm excited that I found it here in my little town.  I'm going to have to save up to get the Duo size.  Maybe if I'm good, Santa will bring me one! :)


*Disclaimer - All opinions are mine.  I've not been reimbursed for this blog post.  I like what I found and want you to know about it.  Lunchbots have no idea who I am.  I'm just some small town mom looking for fun things to pack her sons lunches in.  :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

New lunch box and another Fun Food Find!

So, a few weeks ago, Shannon at shared that was having a nifty sign up special.  If you registered with them, they'd give you a $20 credit to your account.  She told us about it, because they were offering Goodbyn Lunchboxes on the site, and with your $20 credit +tax, you could get one for about $3.00.  Sounded good to me, so I ordered one.  I wasn't expecting it until after Dec. 22, but I got an email over the weekend that told me it was on its way!  Oh joy!

I hate to even mention the deal at because it's already over.  Sorry.  :(

When we arrived home this afternoon, it was at our front door!  :)

We ripped open the box and took a look.  I got the blue one and Timothy loves it.  Here's what came inside.

It comes with stickers to decorate the outside.  Timothy immediately wanted to take the stickers and stick them one to another, because that's what he does with all his stickers.  I told him we'd use them to decorate his lunch box later.  :)

It also comes with a reusable drink bottle, which Timothy carried around for 30 minutes before he released it long enough for me to wash it.

This thing is HUGE.  I imagined it would be deep, but seriously, it will hold A LOT of food.  More than my preschooler could ever eat in one sitting, but I don't think that will deter him in the least from carrying it to school. 

Here's a shot of a 'standard' size banana (is there such a thing?).  It fit in the top portion, and another could sit on top of that and still have plenty of room to put the top on.

He wanted to eat his dinner from it, so here's what he had.  What you see is pretty much what he would take for lunch on any given day.  You can see that it nowhere near comes to filling up the box.  But that's the beauty of the Goodbyn - the lid completely separates each section, so nothing would leak, even if I opened that container of mandarin oranges and dumped it into a section.  That's pretty cool in my book.

From the top L corner, going clockwise:
Christmas tree shaped cucumber and carrot sticks with ranch, gingerbread marshmallows,
mandarin oranges with fork, water bottle, string cheese and pretzel grids,
 ham and turkey picks with Christmas tree shaped cheddar

Timothy did end up having to sit on his knees at the table to eat tonight, simply because he couldn't see inside the Goodbyn to know where everything was.  That's the only 'downer' I have about this thing.  I'm so glad I purchased it and am looking forward to getting the one that I won the other day from The Goodbyn Girls.  :)

I found these at WalMart today for a dollah. 

They are too cute and too fun.  Timothy had 4 in his Goodbyn at dinner and ate them right up.  Asher had 4, then I snuck him a few extra after Timothy left the table.  Don't tell him.  ;)

I hesitated about getting them because I was getting them for the boys and they can be kind of picky about stuff like this.  I had some fruit flavored marshmallows once (yuk!).  Timothy wouldn't eat them, but Asher didn't care.  I shouldn't have worried about these gingerbread ones.  No cajoling, no begging, no pleading with them to eat them and not make me regret spending $1 on them.  They'll be gone before Christmas, I'm sure.


*Disclaimer - this blog post is strictly my opinion about Goodbyn Lunchboxes and Jet Puffed Gingerbread Marshmallows.  I wasn't sent anything in the mail to try.  I bought all of these things myself.  They don't have any idea who I am, but Goodbyn and Jet Puffed, if you're reading and need someone to try something out, I'm your girl!  Call me...we'll talk.  :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fun food find

So, we're not really health food nuts here in our house.  I cook healthy, good food for my family, but I'm not going to give up using butter, or eating something that has a lot of fat and calories in it.  Quite frankly, butter isn't all that bad for you, and since I use MAYBE 2 tablespoons a week, I don't think I'm hurting myself using the real stuff.

*Climbing down off of soap box*

That being said, I DO look for and will buy things that are suggested from other blogs/websites for no other reason than someone said they use it, they like it, so why shouldn't I try it?  I do cringe sometimes at the price and will slowly step away from the product.  But every once in awhile, I find something that is completely worth the cost and my evidence is that my children will eat it.

Enter Mediterranean Snack Food Company.  I saw on a blog (don't remember which one - I look at 20 a day) and this mom had purchased veggie straws for her kids to eat.  I thought the straws were interesting and wanted to find some.  I headed to The Fresh Market in Savannah, because it's  a specialty food store, and they always have something fun and nifty to look at. 

I found this bag of veggie straws and was immediately drawn to the fact that these straws are made from potato, carrot and spinach and that they're seasoned with sea salt.  That seems fancy to me, like it's going to taste so much different than table salt.  The only difference is the size and shape of the grain of salt.  Table salt is pretty uniform in shape, sea salt is actually flakes of salt.  But I digress...

I bought them and Asher and I broke out the bag when we got in the car.  (So much for restraint)  I can't begin to tell you how yummy these things are.  They taste, no kidding, like french fries, but crunchy.  I think that's why the boys love them so much.  Plus, they're fun to eat.  They are literally straws, with a hole in the middle, so I've spent many minutes blowing on the kids through a straw I was holding.  :)  They kind of melt on your tongue too, so that's a fun texture thing.   They also have veggie chips, Baked Lentil Chips and Muiti Grain Chips, none of which I have tried yet, but plan to soon!

If you have the opportunity to try this particular brand, or find some veggie straws of some other persuasion, please do.  It's a great way to add some crunch to your meal, but to ensure your family (read: kids) are getting a few more bites of veggies in their tummies.


*Disclaimer - Mediterranean Snack Food Company has no idea who I am.  I'm just a mom looking for some fun things to add to her children's lunches so they'll want to eat them.  This is not a paid endorsement.  The End. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

I won, I won!!

Ok, so I'm a little over the top about this.  :)  The girls over at The Goodbyn Girls had a giveaway during November, and I won!  Their blog is all about using the Goodbyn box for lunches (or any meal) because they're reusable and they hold a lot of food! 

The concept of the Goodbyn is a great one - everything, even down to the drink, fits inside the box.  There are six compartments and they're all covered with a tight fitting lid, which keeps things separate.  I LOVE this concept.  Timothy has a lunch box that he loves, but it would be so nice to send a Goodbyn and not have to worry about wiping out his lunch box every day after school because something has spilled.

This is the lunch that I submitted as part of the contest:  My Contest Submission.  Of the contest entries, they chose my name randomly. 

Thanks, Goodbyn Girls, for this contest and that I won!  I'm looking forward to filling my Goodbyn with yummy lunches for my family!