Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sunshine Sandwiches School Lunch

For this school lunch I used my daughters bento box from Bentology and inside I packed some yummy, healthy and adorable goodies!

First I made a couple of sandwiches with Sara Lee Honey Wheat bread, SunButter and chocolate hazelnut spread. I always lightly toast the bread first so it'll be easier to work with. Once I had the sandwiches made I used an "I <3 U" cutter, and a sunshine cutter that came with the Pop Chef set. I was able to make 1 "I <3 U" and 5 sunshine shapes. I used a red food marker to outline the "I <3 U" then I placed them all in a section of the bento box.

In the other sections I put:
- strawberries and kiwi
- a BuddyFruits strawberry apple pouch
- some cheese cubes with an adorable little zebra food pick stuck inside

Easy Cute School Lunch

Here I am with another idea for an easy, adorable, and healthy lunch you can put together rather simply. You can view my previous school lunches here.

In this bento box from Bentology I packed:
- a puzzle sandwich, made using a cutter from this pack. For this sandwich I used Sara Lee Honey Wheat bread, deli chicken, Colby & Jack cheese, and some mustard. You can use whatever you would like.
- cut up strawberries
- some halved grapes, on heart food picks
- a bag of Pirate's Booty

Friday, January 27, 2017

Blueberry Sandwich Kabobs

For this school lunch I wanted to put a twist on the typical sandwich squares on a food pick, I wanted to make it more like a little kabob by adding blueberries. 

So I made the sandwich (SunButter and chocolate hazelnut spread on lightly toasted Sara Lee Honey Wheat bread, but you could use any bread/filling you would like) and then I cut it into squares using a cutter from Fun Bites. Then I put the sandwich squares onto food picks, in a pattern with blueberries. So every food pick had sandwich square, blueberry, sandwich square, blueberry. 

I also put some fresh fruit (cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and strawberries), a Trader Joe's organic banana yogurt, an Annie's Organic Really Peely Fruit Tape, and some Annie's Organic Bernie's Farm Cheddar Crackers. To add some cuteness to the fruit I used a small cutter that resembled a cool looking sun on a few pieces and put those pieces on the top of the rest of the fruit.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sandwich Squares Bento Box

This bento box was super simple to put together, but it turned out simply adorable! 

See? All I did was make some sandwich squares with my FunBites cutter, and put them on some adorable butterfly food picks. You can make these with any thing you would like on the sandwich, then just simply use the cutter, or if you don't have one just use a knife to cut the sandwich into squares. Then in the other bento box spots I put:
- peaches
- RW Garcia 3 Seed Sweet Potato Crackers in a cute reusable baking cup and some Montchevre pumpkin goat cheese in a dip container, along with a little knife for spreading
- Trader Joe's Pumpkin O's 

There's what I used to put this lunch together! You can view my previous school lunch posts here.

Magical Butterfly Sandwich Lunch

Here's school lunch #14 that I have made, you can view the previous ones here. For this lunch I decided to make my daughter what I would like to call a Magical Butterfly Sandwich! Kids love sprinkles and adding them to something in the lunch box makes for a great surprise that is sure to make them smile. 

Magical Butterfly Sandwich:
- bread, I like to use Sara Lee Honey Wheat and I also like to lightly toast the bread first to make it easier to work with
- SunButter (or whatever kind of spread you would like)
- chocolate hazelnut butter (or another spread/jam/jelly)
- sprinkles, rainbow color is perfect
- a small cookie cutter, I used the butterfly one that came with my Pop Chef

Step 1: 
Lightly toast your bread, then take one slice and use your small cookie cutter to put the shape wherever you would like it.

Step 2: 
Put your spreads and jams or whatever you chose on the slices of bread, put them sandwich together.

Step 3: 
Shake the sprinkles onto the open spot on the sandwich where you made the cut out in one of the slices of bread. Once you have the whole cut out area covered, shake it over the sink or somewhere to remove the excess. You'll be left with an adorable sandwich! 

In this lunch I also included mandarin oranges, a Babybel, a Fruigees Organic Kalefornia Grape pouch, and some Annie's Organic Bernie's Farm Cheddar Crackers in a Slim Snack.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Super Bowl Sunday Activities Round Up

As you may know we love holidays around here! The Super Bowl is no different. So, we have done lots of fun Super Bowl activities to celebrate. Here's a round up of 11 ideas to help you and your little one have some extra Super Bowl fun, aside from watching the game of course! 

1. Let your kiddo design their own football helmet! All you need to do for this is print out a football helmet template. Once you've got the template printed out you can give it to your little one with some crayons and fun stickers. You can talk about what the helmets look like for the teams that are playing, you can ask them to design the helmet they would like to wear if they were a football player, etc. 
2. Get festive and decorate! You can make your place look more Super Bowl themed with just a few items from the dollar store. I found the table cloth below at Dollar Tree. Decorating is exciting for kids so why not go for it and make the day more fun with an inexpensive table cloth, or some football paper plates to eat on, etc. 
3. Make a football craft.
All you need for this craft is a brown paper bag, some newspaper/magazine paper/something of the like, masking tape, scissors and a stapler. Draw two football shapes on a brown paper bag and have your kiddo cut them out, staple a little of the edges together, add in some crumpled papers, and then finish stapling it shut. You can show your child how to use the stapler and let them have some practice with it. Practicing fine motor skills such as cutting and using a stapler from a young age is very important. In fact, most of this craft is fantastic for building fine motor skills, including the final part which is ripping off some pieces of masking tape and putting them on the football you've made to decorate it like a real football.

4. Have a Super Bowl themed breakfast.
There's all sorts of things you could do to make your meal Super Bowl themed. You could make chocolate pancakes in the shape of footballs, and decorate them with whipped cream. (Something I'm planning to do this year!) But, pictured below, is the way I made breakfast Super Bowl themed a couple years ago. I just made pancakes and ages for my daughter like normal, but then I used little letter cutters to cut out the letters XLIX from a piece of dutch goat cheese. 

5. Super Bowl Interactive Literacy Board.
Learning new words and recognizing what letter combinations make what sounds is an important part of beginning reading. I often make a word wall with index cards on a bulletin board, but I like using the dry erase board sometimes to make it interactive. So I wrote some football related words on the dry erase board and then I would call them out for my daughter to find and circle.

 6. Make your favorite player from the team you're rooting for.
This is a really fun craft to make if you have the items around the house for it. Once your child has decided which team they are rooting for, show them all the players pictures online and tell them their names, maybe what position they play, what their number is, etc. Have them pick who their favorite player on the team is. Then you can begin making them out of some simple household items! We used a pancake mix box, construction paper, Sharpies, a paper plate, scissors and glue/tape. The box was the body, then we put blue construction paper on it since that was the color of the jersey. We made the numbers for the jersey with construction paper, and colored them in with a silver Sharpie. You'll of course want to use the appropriate colors for whatever player you pick. For the face use a paper plate, cut it like a football helmet, then attach a piece of paper to it for a face, you can draw the whole face, or use googly eyes, it's up to you and your little one. Color the top of the paper plate helmet to match the appropriate colors, then attach that on to the body and you'll have your super cute football player. Your little one can cheer their favorite player on during the game with it. 

Look how much she loved her little football player! We also added a little construction paper football onto our player as you can see, have fun with this project with your child and make it your own. 

7. Make a chart/graph of who you're rooting for. 
This is a fun way to bring some math into the Super Bowl fun, and include more members of the family. We just made a chart before, but this year we will be making a chart and then graphing the information as well. I wrote "Who do you think will win the Super Bowl XLIX?" on the top, then wrote the names of the teams. Then on another sheet of paper I wrote the names of people we had asked (a little bit funny because I wrote them down how my daughter said them), which makes this a cute thing to look back on. I cut the names into separate strips so my daughter could practice her gluing skills and put them on the right sides of the chart herself. 

8. Make a Lombardi.
I had found this super cute idea somewhere on Pinterest, and decided we just had to make it. All you need is a few things you probably already have around the house, a small box, a piece of cardboard you can cut into a football shape, foil, and a Sharpie. It's nice to have some cute and sparkly sticker letters, but not totally necessary. All you need to do to make the craft is take the cardboard football and the box and wrap them up with foil with your kiddo. Attach the football onto the box the way it is on the real Lombardi, we used some tape. Use a Sharpie to draw the laces on the football, and then either have your child stick on some letters or write them with a marker, to represent the roman numerals for the current year of the Super Bowl.

9. Play pin the football on the goal post. 
This is such a fun game for kids to play during the Super Bowl. This way they can score goals of their very own! You'll need a poster board to make the goal post on. I just used a yellow colored pencil to draw it, then let my daughter use a green one to color in the field on the bottom. I made footballs with brown construction paper and a silver Sharpie for the laces. I taped the poster board up onto the wall, and put some tape on the footballs so they would stick to the poster board. To play the game I tied a scarf around my daughters eyes, spun her around in front of the poster board and then let her try to score a goal. 

10. Take a football themed bath. 
This was super simple to put together, and a fun way to end the night for my little girl. I just colored the bath water green like a football field with some food coloring. Then I made some football bath paint, and put the bowl of that in a plastic football dish I got from Dollar Tree. This way it could float around in the tub, adding to the Super Bowl theme even more. To make the football bath paint all you need to do is mix shaving cream with brown washable/nontoxic paint, then add a few more squirts of shaving cream to the top to make the laces of the football. Add in a paint brush.
11. Football Ice Cream Sandwiches for Dessert.
Couldn't let the day go by without a sweet treat themed to match! I used Trader Joe's SoyCreamy non-dairy frozen desserts, and some white icing to make these. Just pipe icing onto the mini ice cream sandwich bars to make them look like little footballs. Yum!

Heart Themed Lunch

This lunch was all about the hearts! With Valentine's day approaching it's perfect this lunch is perfect to spread the love. 

 Inside the lunch kit I packed some goat cheese and strawberry heart skewers (recipe below), as well as some heart shaped reusable baking cups with Full Circle Organics Honey Graham Teddy Bears and Annie's Organic Cheddar Bunnies.

Goat Cheese & Strawberry Heart Skewers:
- Montchevre goat cheese, cut into little pieces. I normally use the honey goat cheese for these skewers, but this time I used pumpkin 
- diced strawberries 
- heart food picks

Once you've got your goat cheese and your strawberries all cut up, just put them onto the heart food picks. I do strawberry, goat cheese, strawberry on each one. 

I also made a heart shaped sandwich using a heart cutter that I have. You can do this with any sandwich you want, I used SunButter and chocolate hazelnut spread. 

Then I wrapped the sandwich in a heart patterned reusable sandwich wrap, from Keep Leaf. These are great because they are better for the environment than plastic bags because you can reuse them again and again, and they are super cute. 

I also added in a spoon, an apple, and a Zen Organic almond milk chocolate pudding cup.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Sandwich, Salad, and Mandarin Monsters

School lunch #12 is here! You can view my previous school lunches here. As always I'm keeping it simple, adorable, and healthy.  I love making lunches that give my daughter the nutrients I know she needs, and also make her smile. These lunches don't require a lot of time to put together, and I get a lot of joy myself from packing my daughters lunches. I see it as a way for me to be involved in her school day and show her how much I care. Then when we unpack the lunch at home it opens the door for many conversations about who she sat with at lunch, her friends, etc. Connections like these are important to form when your children are young, to keep the lines of communication open as they grow up. 
In this bento box from Bentology I packed:
- a puzzle sandwich, which I made using this cutter. It had SunButter and chocolate hazelnut spread on it
- some Mandarin Monsters, as I like to call these. Just some mandarin oranges with some cute eye food picks in them. Adorable!
- a salad, made of romaine lettuce and cheddar cheese. I used a couple super cute mini condiment containers to pack some raspberry vinaigrette dressing.
- a couple of Pinks & Whites cookies as a treat

I also added a Slim Snack with some Annie's Cheddar Bunnies to the lunch box. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Quinoa Bites Lunch

I've been wanting to do something other than a sandwich that would be yummy, filling and pack a lot of nutrients into the meal. We love quinoa and when I found this recipe for Apple & Banana Quinoa Bites on Pinterest I just knew I had to try them out for my daughters school lunch. She loved them!

Inside this lunch:
- the quinoa bites
- kiwi, with a cute little zebra food pick
- a Slim Snack filled with Annie's Organic Cheddar Bunnies
- a Kabrita goat milk yogurt and fruit pouch, mango peach with apple and pear flavor. These are packed with vitamins, perfect for our kiddos.

If you would like more school lunch inspiration you can view my previous school lunch posts here.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Heart Puzzle Sandwich Lunch

Here's my tenth school lunch post! You can view the rest of them here. Super simple, cute and healthy! All things that are a priority to me when packing my daughters lunch. I've upped the fruit in the last couple of lunches I have made to help boost her immune system during this cold and flu season. 

The star of this lunch was for sure the heart puzzle sandwich, although our puppy tried to sneak into the picture and steal the spotlight, too cute! I made the heart puzzle sandwich using a really cool sandwich cutter that I purchased from FunBites. I always lightly toast the bread a little bit before adding on the spreads, so they are easier to spread, and so the bread is easier to use with different cutters. For this sandwich I used SunButter and chocolate hazelnut spread, because that is my daughters favorite combo to take to school at the moment. 

Besides the sandwich I included some peaches, blueberries, and kiwi. For a sweet treat I put in some Full Circle Organic Honey Graham Teddy Bears. I put those in a cute reusable baking cup for added cuteness in this bento box, which I got from Bentology. Then although all the spaces in the bento box were full, I felt like this lunch was missing some savory flavor, so I filled up a Slim Snack with some Annie's Organic Cheddar Bunnies and stuck it in the lunch box with the bento box. 


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Elephant Sandwiches & Turkey Wraps Lunch

So for today's lunch I decided to try out something new that I saw on Pinterest, (the turkey wraps) as well as throw in some usual favorites I knew my daughter would love. You can view my previous school lunch posts here.

I used the bento box that I purchased from Bentology to make today's lunch.  I included:
- elephant sandwiches, always a favorite. I use this sandwich cutter from Munchkin to make them. I just lightly toast the bread, and then spread on some SunButter and some chocolate hazelnut spread on, put it together and then use the cutter to make the elephant shapes
- for a little treat I put some Full Circle Organic Honey Graham Teddy Bear Cookies, for added cuteness I put these in a pink reusable baking cup
- a kiwi, diced up for some extra vitamin C to fight off a little cold she's got going on. There is 5 times the amount of vitamin C in a kiwi than there is in an orange!
- 1 turkey wrap. I only included one in this lunch because I was putting a sandwich already, and this turkey I bought already in a package, not straight from the deli so I didn't get to decide how it was cut and it's a little bit on the thick side. With thinner turkey I would have made a few instead of just the one. All you do to make these wraps is lay out a piece of turkey (or a different lunch meat), put on a little slice of Colby Jack cheese (or a different kind if you'd prefer), and a slice of apple. Then you wrap the turkey around the cheese and the apple so they are still sticking out at the top, but it is wrapped up around the bottom. I stuck in a heart food pick to help keep it together and make it cute!

 Here's what I used!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Throw a Shopkins Birthday Party

So I realized I never got around to posting about my daughter's 4th birthday party! For her 4th birthday party I threw her a Shopkins party that also featured her first art gallery. For details on how to throw an art gallery party, click here

(These were the invitations, I ordered them off on Etsy. I would give you the name of the shop, but I don't remember which one I used!)

I rented a party room that had art framed all over the walls, which gave a lovely backdrop to the birthday party, especially seeing as it was also an art gallery for my daughter. So, we had that for some of the decor, as well as easels all around the room with poster boards featuring my daughters artwork. For a bit more Shopkins themed decor I taped up a poster with some of the Shopkin characters on it to the door where people entered the party, and then they saw this table

I put pink table cloths on all the food/gift tables. This table was the one guests saw as they walked in, inviting them to grab an adorable Poppy Popcorn Shopkin container of Skinny Pop. I also purchased the pdf for those from an Etsy shop. Then I just had to print them out onto card stock, cut them out and tape them together. I made a little sign saying "Welcome to Charlie's 4th birthday party and first art gallery! Grab a Poppy Corn and enjoy the art!" That was my way of giving everyone some idea of what to do when they got to the party, which was to go around the room and look at the easels full of my daughters art. I made the little sign out of card stock, and folded it so it would stand up. I dressed it up with some Shopkins stickers. I also had a big bowl of Skinny Pop in the middle in case anybody wanted seconds, they could just use their Poppy Corn container to scoop up some more. 

I also love to use food as decor, so I kept the food within the Shopkins theme! 

The dessert table started off with some Shopkins napkins and plates, I also had large Shopkins character erasers out on the table for some added cuteness! Then I had the little doughnuts, pictured above, on a silver tray. I ordered doughnuts from a doughnut shop near me, and requested for them to have pink icing and blue sprinkles, just like the Shopkin D'lish Donut. Then I made a little sign for them, again out of card stock and with a matching D'lish Donut sticker. I just thought the stickers on the labels for the food was such an adorable touch!

I also got cupcakes from a cupcake place near me, and ordered some off of their menu that reminded me of certain Shopkins. The first group had little food picks that looked like lollipops coming out of them, reminded me very much of the Shopkin Lolli Poppins so I made a sign saying "Lolli Poppins Cupcakes" out of card stock, along with a sticker of the Shopkin and put it in front of those cupcakes. I did the same thing for the next group, calling them the "Kooky Cookie Cupcakes" 

The best Shopkins decor we had at the party though was probably the center pieces, made by my daughter's super crafty grandma! They turned out just amazing, I was so impressed.



She made the Shopkins: Netti Spaghetti, Gran Jam, Bread Head, Posh Pear, Apple Blossom, and Strawberry Kiss. Aren't they just spectacular?!

To make the Netti Spaghetti, Posh Pear, Apple Blossom and Strawberry kiss she used balloons. After pumping up the balloon, she either did some paper mache over it, or put some layers of tape on the balloon in certain spots to make the shapes and additions that she wanted for the Shopkin, and then paper mached over that. After the paper mache dried she popped the balloons. The next step was painting them, and then adding on their details. I know she painted some of the details on, and used felt for other details. She then made the stands for the ones that were once just balloons, using Styrofoam circles and the same tulle she used to make my daughters birthday tutu, so it all matched perfectly! She attached the Shopkins onto their stands with toothpicks, and glued the tulle onto the Styrofoam circles. For Netti Spaghetti she added on yarn for the noodles, and made the meatballs/sauce by putting pom poms in red tissue paper and wrapping/crinkling them up in to it and then attaching that on. The fork was made from paper, and silver paint. For Posh Pear her glasses were made out of pipe cleaners, and her purse was tissue paper.

Now Bread Head and Gran Jam were both made a little differently. Gran Jam was made from cutting the top and the bottom off of a 2 liter bottle, so you just have the middle to work with. She then covered that with purple wrapping paper, added on some layers of different colored paper from the Gran Jam face, that she drew on with a Sharpie. The glasses were made of yarn, and there's a checkered piece of fabric put around the top of her. Bread Head was made from a cardboard box, and layers of colored paper, as well as some drawing with a Sharpie for the face. The top of him was made with blue tissue paper, and there are blue polka dots added to it with paint, and it's twisted up and held together with a pipe cleaner to look like the twist tie. Too cute!

Those were a major part of the decor because they were the center pieces for all of the tables the guests were sitting at. They made the party so cute, and we actually still have them in our basement.

Now for the cake!

I made a birthday cake to resemble Wishes the Shopkin. It didn't look like some professional cake by any means, but it was made with all my love, which is what counts in my daughters eyes! For this cake I just made a couple of strawberry cakes in the small round pans. Once they were cooled, I iced them together and then I was able to start icing the outside to look like Wishes. I was also picking some colors for what my daughter specifically wanted. I made the bottom/the part that was her face yellow (which I made by adding just a little bit of yellow food coloring to some of the white icing I had bought), and then put white icing all on the top of the cake. I used one of those Betty Crocker spray icings in pink and put that around the cake where the yellow and the white icings met. I made the 3 white little swirls of icing on top by putting some icing in a piping bag and squeezing it out the way I wanted! To make the face I just used the pink spray icing again for the lips, and then a little black gel icing tube for the eyes. Stuck in four regular candles, and one number 4 candle and it was done!

For the favors I wanted them to still be Shopkins themed, and be something the adults and children both could enjoy, and just take one of on their way out. So what better than...

Some Cheeky Chocolates! Aren't these just adorable?! I also found these little Cheeky Chocolate Shopkin wrappers on an Etsy shop and purchased them for printing, cut them out and wrapped them around some little mini chocolate bars. I had them out on this silver tray, on a table near the dog to leave. I made a little sign (with, you guessed it, a Cheeky Chocolate sticker!) telling people "Thanks for coming, grab a Cheeky Chocolate!" and then a key telling them which type of chocolate bar was wrapped up in which color of Cheeky Chocolate.

Most importantly, my daughter loved her party and had a great time!