Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holly Jolly Ho-Ho-Holiday Hop!

The fantastic group at Bento Bloggers & Friends are at it again, with another fun blog hop! The Ho-Ho-Holiday Blog Hop is in week two, and this time C&C is joining in on the fun. Be sure to click through the button at the bottom of this post to continue with the hop.

For Princess and Bean, it's a Snowman Snowball Fight!

Jolly and Jingle, the Snow sisters, have stockpiled a good bin of snowballs and have taken their corners to launch their attacks.

Who will make the first move? Will Jolly pitch out the first snowball, or will Jingle? These snowy sisters are ready to rumble!

The snowman sisters are ham and cheese sandwiches on whole wheat white bread, cut with two sizes of circle cookie cutters. The eyes, mouth, and buttons are drawn on with decorating gel and the noses are carrots. Their pretzel stick arms are poised to snag a mini marshmallow snowball to lob across the table. The cute hat picks I bought from BentoUSA.

Included in the lunches are peeled clementines, kiwi chunks, star crackers with baby carrot sticks, and holiday colored chocolate pretzels. Both lunches are packed in Easy Lunchboxes.

Now, hop on over to Healthy Eating Starts At Home (an excellent blog!) to see what Marie has going on!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Just a Quickie

Princess and Bean's lunches will be posted tomorrow for the BBF blog hop, so be sure to check back to see them!

For today, just a quickie post with Beaker's lunch plate and G-man's Jolly lunch.

Beaker wanted "tiny sandwiches and cut into squares and on sticks and I bite them off like this <CHOMP>!" for his lunch today. The tiny square Sunbutter sandwiches on picks fit the bill just right. He also has kiwi stars, baby carrot sticks with ranch, and star crackers.

I love the way kiwi looks when it's cut. The colors are beautiful!

For G-man's lunch, I packed a ham and cheese sandwich into an Easy Lunchbox. To save space, I simply cut the sandwich into quarters and then turned them on their sides. Perfect fit in half the space! He also has a few chocolate pretzels, some baby carrots (which he won't eat, but I still try), star crackers in a tree shaped red silicone cup, and a creepy snowman clementine.

Seriously, this face didn't seem so creepy when I was drawing it on. But the more I look at it, the creepier it looks. The face is just decorating gel with a tiny bit of carrot for a nose.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like...

Winter! Well, Winter for the PNW, anyway. Rain, rain, and more rain. Glad it isn't snow!

Princess and Bean are of a different opinion. Every morning they wake up and immediately look out their bedroom window, hoping to see the ground covered in a blanket of white. Instead, they see our soggy boggy backyard. Generally our area only gets an inch or two of snow each year, if that much, so they aren't likely to see their wish come true anytime soon. But it doesn't hurt to hope, right?

Since the sky isn't providing the kind of snow they can walk in and toss around, I've been trying to provide a little bit of that wintery spirit in their lunchboxes. 

Today Princess has snowflakes in her lunch. A snowflake turkey sandwich, snowflake pretzels, snowflake yogurt, and snowflake Ritz. Think that will hold over her wish for snow for a little bit longer?

We love the snowflake Ritz. They're so pretty! I also cut some cheddar stars, and tucked in a few grape tomatoes, a Princess favorite.

The pretzels are white chocolate covered with a sprinkle of crushed peppermint. They're delicious! Definitely going to have to try making some myself soon.

For Bean, I packed a fun bunch of Christmas trees. She has a tree sandwich, yogurt with sprinkles (trees, snowflakes, and candy canes), apple pieces, star shaped crackers, and some star pretzels with tree gummi candies.

The sandwich is made with whole wheat white bread and turkey, cut with a tree shaped cookie cutter. It's topped with a cheddar star and decorated with sprinkles and decorating gel.

Both lunches are packed in Easy Luncboxes.

My lunch today was too pretty not to snap a pic of. Greek yogurt over banana slices, topped with berry granola. So very delicious! The Greek yogurt brings a nice tang, the granola a bit of crunch, and the bananas round it all out by lending sweetness. My favorite lunch!

In other random news, our ducks are laying! I was starting to think they were going to hold off until Spring, but then the Dude went out to add bedding to their duck house and found a whole cache of eggs hidden there. Ducks roll their eggs in mud and hide them under grasses to keep them safe from predators. Their eggs are huge next to chicken eggs, and packed full of protein. They taste just a tiny bit more rich than a chicken egg.

In this picture, the big semi-white eggs are from our ducks, and the smaller darker eggs are from our chickens.

To give a better idea of size... the egg on the far left is from Chick, our "mystery hen", or might be from Buffy the brahma. The one in the middle is either from Princess, Lady, or Peach  (the buff orpingtons), or Hawk-Stripe or Rosebud, the Americaunas. And the egg on the far right, and the three behind, are all from Olivia and Nut, our duck hens. Nut is a Pekin (she looks just like the Aflack duck), and Olivia (and her mate, Annie) is a mystery breed.

The story of how we came to have ducks, and our 'mystery hen', is actually kind of interesting. The short story is that a friend of mine posted to Facebook that a friend of hers had found a pair of ducklings and a chick abandoned in her yard. She couldn't keep them, so they were trying to find someone who could take the trio. I lived just a few blocks away and had just recently moved my hens from their brooder pen in the garage out to the chicken run in the backyard. I still had the brooder pen set up, and the Dude and I had been talking about getting a few ducks eventually. I picked them up the next day! 

We named the ducklings Annie and Oliver, and the chick... Chick. A few days later we picked up Cutie and Buffy, our brahma chickens, and added a Pekin (Nut) and an Indian Runner duckling (India). They all grew up together in the brooder pen and moved to the yard together. 

Raising ducks and chickens in the suburbs has been interesting. They're loud, but luckily none of our neighbors has complained (yet). We keep them from smelling by keeping the coop and duck house clean and well stocked with pine shavings and straw. Occasionally I take eggs to the neighbors, to help keep the peace. Shortly after we got our ducks, the couple next door started raising a pair of ducks, too, so definitely no complaints there! It's fun to go hang out in the backyard on warm days - our ducks and the neighbor ducks "talk" to each other through the fence. We can hear them quacking and gabbing back and forth.

Chickens are very easy to care for. Ducks are more work, and they're louder and smellier than chickens. But they're also adorable and a lot of fun to watch. Worth raising, if you're able!

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Cold Weather Friends

I am having a lot of fun with the winter themes right now. Up here in the PNW, we don't get much snow. The temp is still frequently in the 50s here, and all of those jokes about constant rain are pretty accurate. We haven't had so much as a snowflake here yet this year, not a single morning when an ice scraper was needed, and only a couple of days when there was even frost on the ground.

Now, I'm not complaining. I am not a fan of cold, wet, slippery snow. It's pretty to look at for a few minutes, but then it's just cold and wet and slippery. However, I do enjoy winter stuff.  All of the glittery and shiny, the happy and joy, the snuggly and cuddly. All of the accessories of winter make me smile, even if cold isn't high on my list of Things I Enjoy. Winter theme lunches mean I get to play with all of the stuff I love most about winter, without the stuff that I don't. Win-win for me!

If I had to choose one animal which represents Winter for me, it would be the penguin. I love penguins. They're so adorable, with their sweet little faces and the way they waddle across the ice. And baby penguins? Squee to the Nth degree.

For lunch today, Bean has a penguin lunch. Her little penguin sandwich has black olives and carrot bits to snack on, with sprinkle-topped yogurt, clementine segments, and Goldfish crackers, too.

Little fishies - perfect lunch for a penguin!

The little penguin sandwich is made with whole wheat bread and smoked turkey, topped with nori (seaweed) and provolone cheese. The eyes are Wilton's candy and the beak and feet are made with bits of carrot, held on with decorating gel. The little bow tie makes him extra fancy - he's all dressed up for dancing!

Today Princess is watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in class as part of a unit studying habits for success. I'm not really sure how they're going to work those two together, but it will be interesting to hear from her what she learned.

For her lunch, I packed... Rudolph, of course!

She has a Rudolph sandwich, with black olive "black noses", like the fake nose Rudolph wears over his real nose to hide the shine when he is trying to fit in with the rest of the reindeer. Rudolph also has a small bucket of carrot bits to nibble on, some snowy yogurt, and a clementine-and-grape-tomato ornament to hang on his antlers.

The snowy yogurt is just regular yogurt with a candy snowflake and snowflake/blue sprinkles for decoration. Looks and tastes like dessert, but it packs in a bit of protein and calcium for a nice bonus.

Rudolph is made with whole wheat white bread and smoked turkey, with Wilton's candy eyes, an M&M nose, and pretzel antlers.

Hope your December is going beautifully so far!

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hello, Minecraft!

Princess took a Hello Kitty lunch to school today. She has apple slices, a HK ham sandwich with pretzel sticks, HK fruit gummies, a cheese stick, and yogurt with sprinkles and a sugar HK for dessert.

The Hello Kitty sandwich was made using a special HK head cookie cutter, black decorator gel, a piece of edible confetti for the nose, and a flower pick for the top. She is separated from the pretzel sticks by a silicone baran shaped like a heart-topped fence.

Bright and colorful yogurt dessert. Not terribly healthy, but she was utterly thrilled with the pretty factor!

Bean has a holiday-themed lunch. A pretty Christmas tree sandwich with decorator gel light strand (the 'lights' are candy coated sunflower seeds) and a M&M 'star', pretzel sticks, green kiwi, and a chocolate cupcake with an edible confetti tree farm.

The edible confetti trees... I can't decide if they're cool or a little bit creepy. They feel like styrofoam and are made with potato starch and corn starch. I did not taste one myself, but Beaker tried one this morning and was not impressed. "It makes my mouf taste like paper." But they look cute!

Last night at dinner, G-man proposed a challenge. He asked if I thought I could make a Minecraft lunch. Now, I know nearly nothing about Minecraft. I should, since my two oldest kids are mad for the game, but I pretty much let the Dude monitor their games for appropriate content and trust his judgment in the matter. I've picked up a little bit just by listening to them chatter about it, but mostly I'm clueless. So this morning I got up a little early and hit up Google to see what the game is all about. I'm still not entirely sure I understand the game, but I know more now than I did this morning. And G-man was very impressed with what I came up with for his lunch.

For those who are curious, here is the Wiki link for Minecraft. It's a building and crafting game using textured cubes. The graphics are very basic, pixelated cubes, and the game play can be as complex or simple as the players choose.

For G-man's lunch I made a 'cake' ham sandwich and 'grass block' cupcake, 'stick' pretzels, and an 'apple' (um... apple).

The pixels on the grass block cupcake could use a little more work. I'll need to work on that before his birthday - he wants a Minecraft party with a grass cake. 

Brick took a Thermos of tomato soup (his favorite lunch), with a ham sandwich, green chocolate cupcake, and pretzel sticks. No cutesy themes for the too cool 8th grader.

Dip-ity Doo Dah

Get it? Because today's lunches are dips and dippables? Heh. Yep. I really am that cheesy.


Bean and Princess both took leftovers from a little get together for their lunches. They each have spinach dip with sourdough rounds, carrots and celery with a thick creamy ranch dip, apple slices, and pepper jack cheese.

Their lunches are tucked into our favorites, Easy Lunchboxes. To keep everything neat and tidy, I used silicone baking cups and a couple of little plastic tubs with lids. In one I used regular plastic baran to hold the spinach dip in place, and in the other I used silicone baran.

A few random food picks make everything easier to eat, by providing a skewer for holding the foods while dipping.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Corn Dog Muffins

Tried these out and they were a rousing success. The kids all loved them! They're just beef hot dogs, sliced up, baked inside of cornbread muffins. Delicious, better than chemical-filled corn dogs, and easily portable.

Bean and Princess took leftover corn dog muffins for lunch. Bean asked me to draw snowflakes on hers. At 8 in the morning, with a mean sore throat and fever (me, not Bean), after almost no sleep the night before... They look more like starbursts or fireworks than snowflakes. But she was thrilled with them, so I'll call them a success!

Bean has corn dog muffins, blueberries, Annie's Organic cheddar bunnies, a chunk of cherry cheesecake, and purple grapes.

Yep... I still see starbursts.

Princess has the same food, but with HelloKitty decor.

If I can find it again, I'll share the corn bread recipe I used to make these. I think any basic cornbread recipe would work. Just place pieces of hot dogs or mini sausages in a muffin tin and pour the cornbread batter over top, and then bake. Super easy!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hey, Where's Perry?

Not here!

When Beaker woke up this morning, the very first thing he said was, "Can you make me Fee-Ferb lunch today?" Like, immediately. Before he even got out of bed. And then five more times before he had breakfast. Clearly today was going to be a Phineas and Ferb kind of day.

I've made Phineas lunches before, but I wanted to try something a little more challenging today. I thought hey... why not Perry?

Um, this is why not:

Not exactly my best effort! The Perry sandwich looks more like... um... a brick with eyes? I will have to try again soon, see if I can do it up better. Feel free to laugh at my first sad attempt!

The details: "Perry" sandwich is sun-butter on homemade bread with cheese bill and tail and candy eyes. Beaker also has purple grapes, outer space Goldfish crackers, baby corn, Perry fruit snacks, and a little cup of red beans and rice. A pretty big and hearty lunch, but Beaker ate almost everything. Hungry boy today!

Bean, Brick, and G-man all wanted to get their lunches at school today, so I only packed a lunch up for Princess. She took a Thermos full of cheese ravioli with a butter-garlic sauce, and a small bento dish with baby corn, a few mini Hilshire Farms beef sausages, apple slices, and some chocolate rice cakes.

Bean packed her own snack today. I had some qualms about the peanut butter - one of her friends at school is allergic to nuts, which is why I never send nuts to school with Bean. However, I was assured (and the girl herself has told me the same) that nuts only affect her if she eats them herself, that she's okay to be around them. I let it go. Apparently she thought she would be very hungry today ~ this is more than twice as much as I usually pack for her snack. She packed herself peanut butter with apple slices and crackers, and two mini sausages.

My lunch yesterday was simple. Pepper jack cheese spears with chunks of homemade bread (YUM!) and two tiny Chips Ahoy! cookies.

Lunch today was way better. Leftover red beans and rice with spicy sausage and chunks of homemade bread on the side. Delicious! Spicy and hot and so yummy. Worth the heartburn.


I love it when the sun shines. Especially when the day starts with a layer of icy frost on the ground. That shiny bright sun melting the cold away always puts me in a happy mood.

It was still a cold morning, even with the sun. Brick wanted a hot lunch, and I was happy enough to put something together. He took a Thermos of hot bean and, goop? What do you call something that isn't quite a dip? The Dude made bean burritos for his dinner the night before, and the leftover bean-cheese-Rotel thick goop is what Brick took for his lunch. Filling. I'll call it filling. Anyway, Brick took a Thermos of filling for his lunch, along with a small salad with shredded cheese on top, some ranch dressing and a big tub of fresh salsa, some crispy tortilla strips, and a small handful of trail mix. Everything he needed for a taco salad, or a salad with chips and dip - his choice.

G-man doesn't do beans, so he took leftover egg nog pancakes for his lunch, along with ham rolls, a couple of strips of leftover bacon, a cheese stick, some trail mix, and some canned pears (drained, rinsed, and patted dry to remove some of the excess sugar and liquid) with a dash of colorful sprinkles on top.

It's the little touches that makes lunch special. Like rainbow sprinkles (or jimmies, if you prefer) and a couple of music note picks.

Princess, on the other hand, loves bean filling goop. I made her a quick happy bean burrito - see how happy he is? Full of glee, that little burrito. Glee, and beans. Glee, and beans, and cheese. With a little snow hat on top! She also has some black olives, a cup of fresh salsa with crispy tortilla strips, and canned pears with sprinkles. I was a tiny bit nervous about sending a bean burrito for her lunch. She loves them, but she usually eats them hot and this would be served cold. I was pleasantly surprised to see that she ate more than half of the burrito at school, and then ate the rest as soon as she got home!

For Bean, who likes beans but only hot and only sometimes, I sent a sandwich made with leftover tuna salad and yummy homemade bread, one of her favorite sandwiches. She also has some black olives, a couple of mini Oreos, some canned pears with blue and white wintery sprinkles, and pepper jack cheese slices with crackers.

Love these snowflake picks!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Seasons: Autumn and Winter

Two simple, basic lunches from today, and a muffin tin, too.

Princess has a loose Autumn theme, with a lot of browns and yellows and some leafy picks for decoration. She has a cup of applesauce with cinnamon, corn kernels, frozen blueberries (which were thawed in plenty of time for lunch, though apparently the juice leaked a bit, turning the corn a purple-orange color. Her friend told me it was "very cool and Fall-like" but Princess was not happy and requested frozen blueberries be very carefully sealed off from now on.), ham rolls and a cheese stick. For dessert and snack she has chocolate rice cakes and a homemade trail mix of honey rye crisps, sesame sticks, sunflower seeds, M&Ms, and candy coated sunflower seeds.

Bean had a similar lunch, but with blue snowflake Winter-y picks and peas instead of corn. Yes, the peas are frozen. They were thawed in plenty of time for lunch, since I put the lunch together the night before. Bean said they were pretty good, and easy to eat (she has a loose tooth; makes crunchy foods a little difficult to navigate, though she did say she liked the trail mix anyway).
Both lunches are in Easy Lunchboxes, our favorite boxes.

Beaker had a muffin tin lunch, in honor of Muffin Tin Monday.

He has a loose star theme, with trail mix in a star shaped silicone cup, pineapple "Saturn" rings with dried cranberries in the center (the planet core, of course), some Club crackers for dipping in the star shaped cup of tuna-pickle salad, outer space Goldfish, and a small chunk of German chocolate cake.

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