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Christmas Lunch and Holiday Hop with Friends

I'm joining my bento blogger friends for another fun hop (you hop from one blog to another.) This is week 2 of 3 of the Holiday Hop. Our bento circle of friends is growing so we thought we'd split into 3 smaller hops. (Check out Holiday Hop Week 1
Miss C's lunch: Cucumber Christmas Tree with Carrot Ornaments, ranch in a Gift, cheese Star and a peanut butter Snowman Sandwich  with caramel marshmallow hat and blackberries.
(packed in less than 15 minutes using a 2-tiered red bento box)
Check out Bento Days below and hop around to see other  Holiday/Christmas lunch inspirations.



Sweet Cupcake Sandwich

Miss C's lunch: Ham and cheese sandwich w/veggie straws (with some mini M&Ms) applesauce w/heart and strawberries
I used the cupcake cutter in the the Lunch Punch Sweet Set  using wheat and white bread for contrast.  To make the heart on the applesauce, set a cookie cutter on top of the applesauce and spoon in some colored applesauce then gently lift the cutter up. The idea came from one of my Bento Blogger Friends, I honestly can't remember which one, but check all of them out... click here! "Like" our Facebook page for updates of giveaways and cool themed blog hops and "linkies". 

Ham Sandwich

Miss C's lunch:
Ham & Cheese sandwich with carrots (w/ ranch), strawberries, yogurt and graham crackers. Packed in a Laptop Lunchbox

Leftover Steak - Mommy Lunch

Mommy's lunch: leftover grilled ribeye steak green bean almondine, brussel sprouts, and strawberries packed in an EasyLunchBox 

Pizza Kabobs

Miss C's lunch: 
Pizza Kabobs  with green peppers and ranch for dipping tomatoes, pineapple and chocolate chip granola (Clif) bar
packed in an EasyLunchBox

Pizza kabobs are another neat way to serve leftover pizza.  You can serve it with extra pizza/marinara sauce or ranch for dipping.

Check out these other pizza kabob ideas: Zoe's Lunch Box
Biting The Hand that Feeds You
Crystal's Ramblings
Momables

Hotdog & Peas

Miss C's lunch:
Hotdog and Peas a cheese stick, strawberries & graham crackers packed in a 2-tier bento box

Blue Hake Fish - Mommy Lunch

Mommy's lunch:  baked blue hake fish (baked with lemon, butter and dill) over carrot strings cauliflower, snowpeas and carrot blend, and an apple packed in an EasyLunchBox

Pumpkin Patch Field Trip

Miss C had a field trip to the pumpkin patch last month. A disposable sack lunch was required. I used a container I saved from leftovers from a restaurant. She requested 2 PBJ sandwiches (must be going through a growth spurt.) I used the CuteZCute pig cutter and a pumpkin cookie cutter. Angry Birds graham crackers, a clementine, cheese stick and a candy from her Halloween stash rounded out this lunch.

Quick Easy Lunch

"Ice Cream" ham sandwiches using Lunch Punch Sweet Set carrots and tomato hearts w/ranch clementine, mini banana and an oatmeal cookie packed in a Goodbyn Bynto

Simple lunches

Miss C's lunch:
Turkey, Cheese & Lettuce Wrap (using Laughing Cow Cheese as spread) Cucumbers & Ranch, Grapes, & Applesauce (in silicone ice pop mold) packed in a Laptop Lunch Box
Mommy's lunch: Grilled porkchop with roasted zuchinni, rice and grapes packed in an EasyLunchBox

Chicken Sopas - #FBS4Sandy

Today I am joining two awesome food bloggers, Jenn of Jenn Cuisine and Barb of Creative Culinary, who have teamed for "Food Bloggers Support For Sandy" along with other food bloggers to raise awareness to those who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. I don't really classify myself as a "food blogger", I'm just a mom who blogs about my kid's lunches... but my heart breaks to the children affected by this crisis.


Chicken Sopas (Chicken Macaroni Soup) 1-2 chicken breasts (bone in) 1 T oil 2 cloves Garlic, minced 1 onion, diced 2-3 small potatoes, cubed (about 1-2 cups) 2-3 carrots, cubed (about 1-2 cups) Appx 1/2 lb macaroni (half of box or so of macaroni) Salt and Pepper Milk (2% or evaporated milk or cream)
Boil chicken breast in 4-5 cups of water. Drain chicken and cool enough to shred and save the water/broth (if not, add a chicken bouillon cube w/more water)In a large stock pot, heat oil and sauté garlic and onions.Add shredd…

More CuteZCute lunches!

I've mentioned before how much I love the CuteZCute cutters.  Turkey and Cheese sandwiches (using cheddar and swiss cheese) using the kitty face cutter Pineapple upside down mini cake, raspberries and carrots.
leftover spaghetti, blueberry yogurt raspberries and cinnamon raisin bread using the froggy face cutter 

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  PB Ghost and Jack o'Lantern sandwiches over veggie chops and tomatoes and bat Strawberry yogurt with zombie hands Pineapple with  black cat


Check out my Bento Blogger and Friends'  HALLOWEEN BLOG HOP and HALLOWEEN LINKY PARTY for more cute and/or spooky lunch ideas.

simple lunch

I threw this lunch together in less than 10 minutes. PBJ pocket sandwich using CuteZCute cutters (does it look like a lion? Kinda?) Grapes balloons and Cucumber flowers. Yogurt with sprinkles
packed in an EasyLunchBox

Soup lunches

Fall is in the air! Leaves are turning color and falling. Pumpkin patches and hayrides. Halloween and Thanksgiving right around the corner. And it's soup season! 
Chicken Macaroni Soup (Filipino style) applesauce, grapes, Cheez-Its

Italian Wedding Soup w/mini meatballs and spinach waffle with strawberry cream cheese, grapes

Mommy's lunch: Chili, w/shredded cheese, sour cream and cucumbers


We Love Fall!

It's a short week at school as Miss C has a day off for Fall Break tomorrow.  Toasted Leaves peanut butter and jelly sandwich veggie chips, mandarin oranges, and a maple leaf brownie

Disposable Bento for a Field Trip

Miss C had a field trip on Monday to a local fire station. She was supposed to bring a disposable sack lunch. I reused a plastic clamshell box that the strawberries came in. I lined that with a napkin and added cupcake cups as food dividers. 
 PBJ panda sandwich using CuteZCute animal cutters with veggie chips, carrots, chocolate panda cookies, grapes and strawberries

Ham and Cheese Roll Up

Ham and cheese roll ups  salad (mixed greens, mushrooms, and tomatoes) mini banana and cherries strawberry yogurt
I think this Lunchbots Trio is one of my personal favorites. It is small and compact.  It doesn't look like a lot of food, it packs a lot especially when you stack and line up uniformly cut items.
Some "compact" lunch ideas:  Cut up a sandwich in small squares and line them up.  Sliced crackers and cubed cheese.  Small berries or cut (melon, pineapple) fruit in uniform squares. Salad or crudites (small cut up veggies) "Lunchables" with meat/crackers/cheese Chicken salad & pita wedges. Sushi rolls

pocket sandwich and applesauce

pocket peanut butter sandwich carrots with ranch, cherries and fruit snacks "applesauce on the go"

Over the summer, I saw the applesauce and other fruit squeeze things that come in these pouches. The fruit squeeze pouches intrigued me. Miss C loves applesauce and it was great to take on vacation, I didn't have to worry about washing fruit, bruising, forgetting its in the suitcase and rotting. When we saw some organic fruit pouches in Florida, we snagged a few flavors to try. Applesauce was a definite favorite. I wish I can say about the rest... well, because they tasted like baby food, like fruit purees in those teeny jars. When Miss C was a baby, we sort of did this baby-led weaning thing where we skipped purees altogether and had table food that was mashed or diced or chunked. So she never really had a lot of jarred "baby food".  Miss C did not like the other fruit puree flavors, and I don't blame her. She was, however, totally in love with the applesauc…

mommy thoughts: chore chart and reward system

I don't know about other moms, but I was having such a difficult time getting my daughter to brush her teeth in the morning. I can ask Miss C to brush her teeth and remind her a bazillion times. She'll retreat to the bathroom and 10 minutes later, still not be done. "Oh, I have to go potty," "I'm just washing hands!" "I have to rearrange my bows in my bow holder" "I have to wash my barbie's hair!" After many many mornings of expasperation, I looked online for reward charts and methods. There are a ton ideas out there on different mommy or craft blogs. Here are a few ideas that inspired me: Pom Pom Reward Jar from Busy Kids = Happy Mom
DIY washi tape reward jars by Omiyage
Reward System by Signature Moms

Most of the chore charts I've seen are too complicated or too simple for my 5 year old. She does help us clean on cleaning days (typically Saturday morning), and she does not have chores yet with the exception of picking up her …

Panda Love

This is a set of brand spankin' new cutters called CuteZCute. This versatile cutter can be used as a sandwich cutter, cookie cutter/stamp, rice mold and more! Each set comes with the head and panda, kitty, frog and piggy faces. It also comes with that handy dandy pick to push out the food from the little detailed holes. Miss C absolutely LOVED this!


Panda Grape Jelly Sandwich with hard boiled egg whites,  cheese cubes, blueberries and raspberries
Banana bread, tomatoes, turkey rolls and cheese cubes, grapes and peanuts in a Panda container.

We also love our new Trio Lunchbot!  It is stainless steel, a great alternative to plastic boxes. It may look small and compact, but it holds a lot more food than you think it will!

For these lunches, I used:

Pizza "lunchables" featuring Mini Dippers

In lieu of buying a Lunchables Cheese Pizza, I made Miss C the our version using Pita bread, cheese and pizza sauce. Complete with green peppers and cherries.
EasyLunchBoxes introduced a new product called Mini-Dippers. Because of the easy-to-open-by-little-kiddos feature of the ELBs, they are not leakproof, but these Mini-Dippers are both leak-resistant and easy to open by little hands! A set of Mini-Dippers contain eight (8) BPA-free, dishwasher-safe sauce/dip containers with lids.

Edited to add that this in my 100th post!!! :)

mommy's salads

Salad with chicken and cheddar sausage  packed in Lock&Lock rectangular divided container
Salad with turkey roll ups  and miniature bananas with tomato hearts ♥ packed in EasyLunchBox
Salad with pork dumplings packed in a disposable Gladware bowl.

Talk Like a Pirate Day (and a huge giveaway!)

ARGGH!!!  AHOY THERE, MATEYS! Okay. And that's pretty much all the Pirate I know. In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day, my bento friends and I put together a fun hop with an opportunity to find some booty--a giveaway! But you must go through the Hop's instructions to find out what that treasure (prize) is! 
Miss C's lunch: Ocean: blue spaghetti (buttered pasta w/parmesan cheese) with goldfishies
with extra parmesan cheese inside Pirate Pig
Pirate Ship: Ham ship with breadstick mast, turkey sail, and cucumber portholes Cucumbers with a gold chocolate coin and pirate sword skewered grapes
(packed in an EasyLunchBox

We love pirate themes. Miss C's 4th birthday party last year was a girly pirates!
Every Blogger Buccaneer in this here Hop has a piece of the treasure map! Collect each piece and put them together in the right order to find the treasure! You'll want some parchment and a quill, to keep a log with each clue and each number, because there are 39 scurvy pirates running…

portable photo studio

Last year, I had perfect lighting, at 8am, the sun was up giving me natural light to take pictures. I had a perfect setup in our master bedroom, the only southeast window at our house, and I was able to take pretty good pictures despite my lack of photography skills and knowledge. This year, Miss C gets on the bus early and the sun is not even up yet! I have no natural light at 6:30am, so I have to take indoor pictures with a flash. Also, I just don't have time to edit pictures, I have to take pictures straight from the camera and upload them the watermarking software (that watermarks in batches-which is a time saver!) I finally invested in a Table Top Photo Studio Photo Light Box. It was inexpensive and would have been cheaper than a DIY light box. Notice the EasyLunchBox Mini Dippers I got in the mail the same day as the light box! It was like Christmas morning! :) 
No flash, no light box
With flash, no light box.  Notice how greasy the brussel sprouts look and the background i…