Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lunch in a Pencil Box..... Part 1

Hi Friends! I have a really fun post for you today. As a busy stay-at-home mom, I'm always looking for ways to save money, especially when it comes to stuff for my kidlets. I'm sure you are, too. Did you know that the average cost to raise a child today to the age of 18 is $241,000. WHAT!!!! That's insane!!!!! And I have 2 kids to raise! Hard to imagine, huh? I try to take advantage of any sale I can find, and the back-to-school sales are no exception. Yep!! Just call me Frugal Fanny!

Back-to-school sales are in full swing here in the M-town, and I love them. I like to stock up on Crayola crayons (I can find the 24 pack for $.25 here), markers, and scissors (I have no idea what happens to all our scissors). My local Walmart had the Sterilite pencil boxes marked down to $.59, normally $.99. My first thought with them, of course, was that these would be great boxes to store lunch supplies. My wheels of creativity are always spinning when it come to Z's lunches, so upon closer inspection, I noticed that these pencil boxes were the perfect size for a bento lunchbox. A lunchbox for $.59.....definitely a Win-Win!! Score one for Frugal Fanny! Four of these little jewels came home with me.

Now, I do love some of the more (MUCH more) expensive lunchbox systems on the market today like the Yumbox, the Yubo, and the Planetbox. And I do have a Yumbox (we love it). However, I choose to use Easy Lunch Boxes (these are awesome) and the Munchkin Mealtime Bento Box as they fit into Frugal Fanny's budget much better. And now, I have a $.59 lunchbox to add to my lunchbox collection.

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I have made 2 lunches with the Sterilite pencil box, and I can honestly say that I love it. Again, it's the perfect size for a bento lunchbox (it's about 8"x5"). It has the hinged lid, which is something that I personally like in a lunchbox. It's deep enough that just about any silicone cup or plastic cup will fit in it.....even the jumbo 4" silicone cups fit. I like lunch bags that will carry the lunchbox flat or horizontally, and this pencil box fits in all of the bags that I have. These boxes come in a multitude of colors, and at $1.00 per box (average when not on sale), you can have a whole rainbow of colors. If this box accidentally gets lost at school or damaged somehow, Mama won't be crying a river of tears like she would be if this was a very expensive lunchbox. Ummm...been there, done that!! And, did I mention that these boxes are about a buck?!! 

Just a side note, Friends. Since the pencil boxes are not labeled food grade, I would be cautious and always use a silicone cup or some other container for the food so that it doesn't touch the plastic. In my second lunch, I placed a white napkin under the pretzels and baby carrots just to be on the safe side.

Below is the first lunch that I made in the Sterilite pencil box. My goal this year for Z's lunchbox is to pack more sandwich-free lunches. Both of these lunches are sandwich-free. I also used minimal supplies. Adding a few silicone baking cups to your pencil box lunch will make it super cute. The lidded cup with the applesauce actually came from Rite Aid. I found it in their dollar section...4 cups for $1.

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Lunch #1
*Natural Selects bologna rolls
*cheddar cheese Ritz Bitz
*Kraft string cheese chunks
*natural applesauce
*Sunburst cherry tomatoes with Ranch dressing in the rainbow box

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Lunch #2-
*Natural Selects hotdog slices
*Rold Gold honey wheat pretzel sticks
*green seedless grapes
*Monterey Jack cheese chunks 
*green olives 
*half of a Lucky Charms treat bar
*baby carrots

Again, I used minimal supplies with this lunch. Silicone baking cups add so much color and cuteness to a lunch, and they are very inexpensive. The long yellow container is a piece that I had in my lunch supplies drawer. So, you Frugal Fannies out there, grab a pencil box, a few silicone baking cups, and a $10 box of cookie cutters, and you will have some great and CHEAP supplies to make cute lunches for your kidlets. 

Some of the things, or similar things, that I used to make these lunches:

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