Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bologna Heart and Arrow lunch...

Hi Friends! It's hump day! Yay!! I hope you all are having a good week. I've got a lot going on this week, so today's post is short, sweet, and to the point.  Get it?...arrow -- to the point. Ok, I'm no comedienne. Anyway, I really like how this lunch turned out. These long heart picks are so cute and have so many uses. You can see another lunch that I made with them HERE. I like how the arrow through the bologna heart adds a bit of cuteness to Z's otherwise boring sandwich. Little things really can add a big punch to the cute factor of a lunch.

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This lunch is packed in Easy Lunch Boxes.
*Applegate bologna sandwich with cheddar cheese slice- I cut an additional slice of bologna into a heart shape and stacked it on top of the cheese. Then, I stuck the heart pick through the bologna and added a piece of red bell pepper that I cut into the barb shape.
*Rold Gold pretzel rods
*green beans with ranch dressing in the heart box- I found these little heart shaped boxes at my local Dollar Tree.
*strawberries- It's hard to tell in the picture, but the strawberries on top are cut into hearts.
*linked to: Eats Amazing/ Fun Food Friday
         What's for lunch Wednesday

Some of the things, or similar things, that I used to make this lunch:

The cute heart picks/skewers can be found HERE.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Bologna spirals lunch...

Ugh!!! Woke up this morning to a torrential downpour outside, severe thunderstorm warnings, no electricity, and my backyard a flooded swampland. Thanks to the hubs (hmmm...'thank' may not be the right word) and his cell phone alarm for waking me up on time. My first instinct was to leave the kids in bed, roll over, and go back to sleep. This would have been a reality if my oldest had not had TCAP testing today and if my poodle had not been nudging me to go out. Nothing like a cold wet poodle nose to getcha going! Thankfully, my oldest is easy in the morning before school....throw on some clothes, brush teeth, grab a protein shake, and he's ready to go. My hubby offered to hop in the ark (haha) and take him to school, so, yep! I let him. This gave me a few extra minutes to lounge in the bed  get Z ready for school. It's mornings like today that I am so very glad that I take time at night to make Z's lunch.

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This lunch is packed in the Munchkin Mealtime Bento Box.
*Natural Selects bologna roll ups
*cheddar cheese Ritz Bitz
*carrot rounds and green beans
*Red Delicious apple wedges
*Yoplait yogurt
*mini cinnamon rice cakes
I added a few spiral shaped picks to go with the bologna spirals.

Some of the things, or similar things, that I used to make this lunch:

Sunday, April 27, 2014

I ❤️ U lunch...

There's a little bit of love in Friday's lunch. This was a very easy lunch to make. It took me about 15 minutes to make it. I usually spend about 20-25 minutes making Z's lunches (if it's a really special lunch, I might spend a little more time on it). As a rule, I don't make lunches that have really intricate details, and most of the things I do in Z's lunches are pretty easy.

 I've gotten comments before like, "Who has time to make a lunch like that!" or "That mom has too much time on her hands." Comments like that really don't bother me. I have 24 hrs in the day just like everyone else. I have the same "duties" around my house that have to be done. I'm actually a very busy mom, like most moms. However, when you enjoy doing something, you usually will make time to do it. I always make lunches the night before. I'm not much of a TV watcher, so this is what I do at night after the little guy goes to bed. It's my hobby, I guess. Z loves his lunches, too, so we both benefit from my "hobby".

So, I hope some of you will be inspired to make some fun lunches of your own. It really does not take that much time. And, it is such fun to do!

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This lunch is packed in Easy Lunch Boxes.
*Natural Selects turkey and Colby-Jack cheese sandwich with "I ❤️ U" letters cut from Colby-Jack cheese
*Rold Gold cheddar cheese pretzels
*baby carrots with ranch dressing for dipping in the green cup
*Yoplait yogurt with heart sprinkles

Some of the things, or similar things, that I used to make this lunch:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day lunch

Happy Earth Day, Friends!! Yes, today, April 22, is Earth day. Earth Day began on April 22, 1970 and has been an important day ever since. Earth Day aims to inspire awareness of and appreciation for our wonderful planet and environment. It's a day to contemplate the small steps we all can take to protect and keep them healthy.

You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” —Jane Goodall

Wow!! What a great quote from British anthropologist Jane Goodall. Yes, the little things we do every day have a big impact on our planet. We can make a difference in how healthy the Earth is. Something as simple as turning the water off when brushing teeth, using cloth grocery bags, or recycling aluminum cans can make a difference. If we all make a conscience effort every day to do one thing to help the planet, just think of the cumulative effect this will have on the health of our Earth. 

I have made a list below of some additional ways we all can contribute to a healthy Earth. Many of these are things we may not immediately think of as helping our planet. No doubt, there are many more ways we can show respect for the wonderful earth. What else would you add to the list? Leave me a comment below and I'll add it!
___Eat more veggies.
___Ride your bike or walk for errands instead of driving a car.
___Wash clothes in cold water.
___Go meatless for dinner 2-3 times a week.
___Use baking soda and vinegar for will make tubs, sinks, and toilets sparkle.  

 ___Print on both sides of the paper.
___Shop at thrift stores (or upscale consignment shops). This is a favorite pastime of mine.
___Seal up your windows and doors for more energy savings.
___Sign up for online banking and go paperless with your other bills.
___Use ceiling fans in the spring to help cool (and for that matter, open a window on a breezy day).
___Clean the fridge coils often for better productivity from your most energy-guzzling appliance.
___Bring reusable bags with you to the grocery store.
___Recycle everything you can.
___Reuse Ziplock bags when possible (I totally do this, it drives my hubs crazy)
___Plant a garden or plant trees. 

___Don't idle your car when in the drive-thru at the bank or restaurants. Turn it off while you wait.
___If you see litter, pick it up even if it’s not yours.  We can all pitch in.
___Use cloth napkins at home.
___Install dimmers or motion-sensor lights.
___Before you throw out something perfectly good, post on Facebook and ask if anyone is interested in it.
___Fix leaky faucets.
___Skip the elevator and take the stairs. This will add to the health of your body, too.
___Donate old clothes to charity.
___Give your car a tune-up so it will run more efficiently.
___Start a compost pile.
___Pack your child's lunches with reusable containers. 
So, to support Earth Day and to show appreciation for this wonderfully amazing planet we call home, I have made a very "earthy" lunch for Z today.

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This lunch is packed in Easy Lunch Boxes.
*Natural Selects ham and cheddar cheese sandwich under the earth cake topper. I was so excited when I found this at Hobby Lobby the other day. I thought it would be perfect for an Earth Day lunch. It very quickly found it's way into my shopping cart.
*The "LOVE" is a cupcake icing decoration and "the earth" is cut from Colby-Jack cheese
*Rold Gold pretzel Spoonz under the sandwich
*carrot rounds and baby corn with rainbow baran and blue bird pick
*red seedless grapes and Craisins cranberries
*baby dill pickle
*linked to: Bento Bloggers and Friends/ Earth Day link up

Some of the things, or similar things, that I used to make this lunch:

Sunday, April 20, 2014

FUN sandwich-free lunch ideas

Do your kids like sandwiches? Sandwiches are neat, portable, and nearly a no-brainer, aren't they? My little guy likes sandwiches, and he would eat them every day if that's what I packed for his lunch. Z is a good eater, and will eat just about anything that I put in his lunch. So I admit, it's easy for me to fall into the 'sandwich, pretzels, fruit, done!!' rut. When Z started first grade last year, I decided to change up his lunch a couple times a week to break the monotony of a sandwich lunch every single day (um, yeah, I know, this is probably more for me than for Z). 

Many of you, however, have kids that don't like sandwiches, or that tire of them quickly in the lunch box. So, today, I've pulled together 12 of Z's favorite non-sandwich lunches that I've made. Yes, we're liberating ourselves from bread and breaking free from the monotony and boredom of the sandwich lunch.

Below this collage, you will find the links to each sandwich-free lunch numbered 1-12. Click on the link to find out more about each individual lunch. 

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1.     Egg Muffins-  The recipe for egg muffins can be found under my "Recipes" tab above. These are great in a lunchbox because they are still very tasty at room temp.
2.     PB&J Rollups-  Tortilla roll ups are a great lunch idea. You can fill them with PB&J, meat and cheese, veggies, chicken or tuna salads, or whatever fillings you like best.
3.     Quesadillas-   Quesadillas are good in the lunchbox if your kids don't mind them room temp.
4.     Leftover pasta-  I like to send a Thermos in Z's lunchbox for items that need to be served warm. The possibilities are endless with a Thermos.....leftover spaghetti, lasagna, macaroni & cheese, soups, stews, dinner leftovers all work great in a Thermos. Z even likes to have oatmeal in his Thermos for lunch.
5.     Hotdogs-  OK...what kid doesn't like hot dogs! I buy either Natural Selects or Applegate brand nitrate and preservative free hotdogs and lunch meats so I don't feel so bad about sending these in Z's lunch often.
6.     Pasta dippers-  This was an idea passed on to me from another lunch blogger...sending pasta and sauce separate in order to allow for dipping. Z loved this in his lunch.
7.     Pizza Rolls-   Z loves the store bought pizza rolls, so on occasion, I will send them for his lunch. He likes them fine at room temp.
8.     Potstickers-  Potstickers are a new item that I've recently sent in Z's lunch. I can't say that he was overly thrilled with them. But, if your kids like potstickers, they are great in the lunchbox with a side of dipping sauce.
9.     Pancakes-  Pancakes are always a hit with Z in his lunchbox. Served with a container of real maple syrup, they are always a winner.
10.   Pizza stuffed biscuits-  I bought these little biscuits stuffed with pizza sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese at the grocery store. These would be easy to recreate using a can of crescent rolls.
11.   Tuna salad-  Chicken, ham, tuna, and egg salads are all great in the lunchbox.
12.   Corn dogs-   Z loves the mini corn dogs. These are the Morningstar Farms brand veggie corn dogs.

Here are some other great sandwich-free lunch ideas:

**Diced rotisserie chicken or turkey, lunch meat roll ups
**Rice or Pasta salad
**Chicken nuggets-  My kids don't mind them at room temp.
**Savory muffins-  There are all kinds of yummy recipes on Pinterest for pizza muffins, ham and cheese muffins, and chicken pot pie muffins. I have not made any of these, but they sound delish!
**Boiled eggs-  Z is not a fan of boiled eggs, but they are great in a lunch, especially if you mold them into super cute shapes with an egg mold.
**Oatmeal-  Oatmeal is great in a Thermos.
**Milk and cereal- Yes, you can send cereal with milk for lunch if the milk is sent in a Thermos to keep it cold. Send the dry cereal in a container that will allow for the milk to be poured in.
**Slice of pizza
**Macaroni and cheese-  Who doesn't love mac & cheese for lunch?? It's great if sent in a Thermos.
**Tacos-  Z is not a huge taco eater (what!! A kid that doesn't like tacos?). He will on occasion eat a chicken taco if I send the meat, cheese, and other fixings separate and he gets to "build" his own.

Here are 5 great lunch packing tips to keep in mind.
  • Pick the right container. I typically use the Easy Lunch Boxes which are divided into three sections or the Munchkin Mealtime Bento box which also has three different compartments with lids. Fun and unique Bento boxes would be great, too.
  • Be sure your lunch boxes are BPA-free and are microwavable and freezable (if you think you’ll be reheating or freezing the food). 
  • Maximize your leftovers. Leftovers are a beautiful thing! Dinnertime leftovers are great in the lunchbox because they make lunch packing quick and easy. I often plan my family's meals so that I can have leftovers for lunches. A Thermos is a great investment to add to your lunch making arsenal. 
  • Mix up the lunchbox. So what if certain foods don't "go” with each other. Kids don’t care! PB&J with pasta salad? Why not?
  • Go for convenience. You don't have to pack a gourmet lunch to have a healthy and nutritional lunch. Many convenience food items now are very healthy and are great choices for kids. My kids love the on-the-go fruit and veggie pouches and portable fruit snack cups. They’re high fructose corn syrup-free and taste great. My kids also love the packages of freeze dried fruit. They're 100% fruit and are preservative and additive free. 

I'd love to know what your favorite sandwich-free lunch foods are. I'm always looking for new food ideas for the lunchbox.

This lunch post is linked What's for lunch Wednesday

Friday, April 18, 2014

Hotdog on a stick...

I love how this lunch turned out. My little guy loves food served on a stick. And why not?? Food served on a stick is so much more fun to eat, right? So, I decided to change up the usual boring sliced hotdog lunch by putting the hotdog slices on these cute heart skewers. It's hard to tell in the picture, but the strawberries are are cut into hearts and are on a food pick, too.

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This lunch is packed in Easy Lunch Boxes.
*Natural Selects hotdog served on heart skewers
*cheddar cheese Ritz Bitz
*Colby-Jack cheese cubes
*baby carrots and baby corn with ranch dressing in the green cup
*strawberries and red seedless grapes
The cute heart skewers can be found HERE.
*linked to : Eats Amazing/ Fun Food Friday

Some of the things, or similar things, that I used to make this lunch:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday night leftovers...

Leftovers are a beautiful thing....especially when you are in hurry and need to make lunch FAST!! Monday night was crazy busy. It was a special night for my family as we attended the annual celebration of the Lord's Evening Meal at our place of worship. Kids came home from school, and it was like a tornado around our house getting homework done, dinner prepared, and lunches made. Dinner ended up being quick pizza quesadillas which my kids love. I intentionally made a few extra so I could send them in Z's lunch.

My pizzadillas are very easy and quick to make as I serve the marinara sauce on the side instead of layering it on the quesadillas (cuts down on the messiness, too). When I make these, I layer  Monterey Jack cheese, pepperoni slices, mushrooms, and onions and then cook them in a large skillet on medium heat until the cheese is melty goodness, and the tortilla shells have crisped up.

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This lunch is packed in Easy Lunch Boxes.
*leftover pizza quesadillas
*sweet corn on the cob
*black olives
*marinara sauce for dipping
*strawberry and blackberry mix
I added a few fun picks to "cutify" the lunch a bit.
*linked to: Becoming a Bentoholic/ Leftovers on Friday

Some of the things, or similar things, that I used to make this lunch:

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Buncha bears lunch...

Broke out the Pampered Chef Cut-n-seal for today's lunch. This is such a neat tool. My kids love the store bought peanut butter and jelly Uncrustables, and the Cut-n-seal makes the perfect sealed pocket sandwich. I turned this sammy into a bear with a bit of Swiss cheese and some olives. This box is very small, so I added some yogurt in the bear snack container (this little container came from my local Dollar Tree.). I also included a package of Brothers-All-Natural freeze dried peach fruit crisps. We love the BAN freeze dried fruit. The fruit crisps are all natural, preservative free, and gluten free. There's no added sugar or artificial colors. They are 100% fruit, nothing else. They are a healthy and convenient alternative to fresh fruit. The fruit crisps come in several varieties of fruit.....peach, strawberries, apples, bananas, pears, mixed berries, pineapple (there are other fruits, too).  My kids love these packages as snacks.

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In this lunch:
*chicken salad sealed pocket sandwich with Swiss cheese and black olives for nose, eyes, and ears
*Rold Gold pretzel snaps
*sweet corn and red cherry tomatoes
*black olives
*Yoplait yogurt in the bear cup
*Brothers-All-Natural freeze dried peach fruit crisps
I added a couple of fun bear picks for some additional cuteness.

Some of the things, or similar things, that I used to make this lunch:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Happy hotdog man

My little guy loves hotdogs. I could pack him a hotdog in his lunch every day, and he'd be very happy. I realize that hotdogs are not the healthiest option for him to eat, especially not every day. So, I have been buying Applegate and Natural Selects brands of hotdogs (and lunch meats), which are uncured, nitrate free, and preservative free. They're actually very tasty, too.

Today's lunch features a happy hotdog man.
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This lunch is packed in Easy Lunch Boxes.
*Natural Selects hotdog on whole wheat bread- I added a cute hat pick and drew the face with a food safe marker.
*Snyder's Spoonz pretzels
*Cheddar-Jack cheese cubes
*blackberries and half of a Halo mandarin orange
*carrot rounds and baby corn
I added a couple of fun face picks for some additional cuteness.
                  Eats Amazing/ Fun Food Friday

Some of the things, or similar things, that I used to make this lunch: