Christmas Lunch and Holiday Hop with Friends

Thursday, December 13, 2012

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

Monday, December 10, 2012

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

Friday, December 7, 2012

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

Thursday, December 6, 2012

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:

Hotdog & Peas

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

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

Monday, December 3, 2012

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

Saturday, November 17, 2012

"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

Friday, November 16, 2012

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

Thursday, November 8, 2012

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)

  1. Boil chicken breast in 4-5 cups of water. 
  2. Drain chicken and cool enough to shred and save the water/broth (if not, add a chicken bouillon cube w/more water)
  3. In a large stock pot, heat oil and sauté garlic and onions.
  4. Add shredded chicken. Stir often.
  5. Add carrots and potatoes.
  6. Add salt and pepper. Stir fry for 5-10 min. until potatoes are half cooked.
  7. Add macaroni. Stir.
  8. Add chicken stock and/or more water to cover everything. Keep in mind, the macaroni will cook 2x its size.
  9. Simmer while stirring occasionally until potatoes and macaroni are cooked.
  10. Turn off the heat and add 1 cup of milk. (Adjust water and milk if the soup had been absorbed by the macaroni)

There are a lot of variation for this recipe, this is mine: Simple and kid-friendly. Some people will add fish sauce (make it more salty), some add cabbage or celery, some use ground beef, use skim, whole or evaporated milk. My mom adds parsley in the soup and  quartered hard-boiled eggs on top as a garnish.  I like using shells or whatever pasta I have around.

This is my ultimate comfort food. As little kids, when we were sick, this was our version of chicken noodle soup.  It is filling and warm and not too complicated to make. I wish I can make a big pot of this soup and make bentos for all the kids affected by Hurricane Sandy. Instead, I made a donation to the American Red Cross, and I encourage you to do the same. The Red Cross is providing food, shelter, and other forms of support to hurricane victims. You can donate directly to the Red Cross or you can also text the word “redcross” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Other ways to donate:  The Salvation Army provides food, shelter, and support to victims, and takes donations for storm relief. Feeding America also provides food, water and supplies to those who need it as part of their disaster relief program.

Please check out other bento blogger friends joining this cause:

More CuteZCute lunches!

Friday, November 2, 2012

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!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

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' 
for more cute and/or spooky lunch ideas.

simple lunch

Thursday, October 25, 2012

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

 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!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

 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

Thursday, October 11, 2012

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

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

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 applesauce pouches. I'm not sure why kids have a thing with food in tube packaging, but they do; and the applesauce pouches more expensive than jarred applesauce. So I put some no-sugar added applesauce into these silicone ice mold that I use for "Gogurt" and she loved it! Plus it's reusable so no wasted packaging going into the trash and landfill!

one of our favorite lunch tools last year! 

mommy thoughts: chore chart and reward system

Thursday, September 27, 2012

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 toys and making her bed.  After searching online for printable chore charts and trying to make my own custom chore chart, I stumbled upon one at a local Once Upon a Child, a consignment store chain. It is a simple chore chart with reusable stickers: make bed, bath/shower, comb hair, brush teeth, pick up toys and be happy (good days vs. tantrum/whiny filled day). The only thing I had to customize on it was added an extra line on the brush teeth squares because we brush our teeth in the morning and at night.  
She gets a heart for every item that gets done.
On Sunday or Monday evenings, she counts the hearts she accumulated that past week. 1 heart = 1 pom. She then counts out the poms on the floor, and recounts them as she's putting the poms in the reward jar (Bonus: Miss C gets to practice counting numbers!)

Now the reward jar. There are 4 reward levels, each level takes almost about a week's worth of poms (if she gets most her hearts for the week.) Level 1 is a RedBox movie. Reward level 2 would be a local frozen yogurt store where you can pick your own flavor and add as much toppings as you wish. Reward level 3 is cash, I'm thinking about $5-10 (I haven't decided yet). Which is okay because she really wants to get to reward level 4 which is a bowling OR a movie night. If she wants to redeem a reward, we empty the jar and all the poms go back to the bag and she starts fresh. 
The poms are not just directly from the hearts. I'm trying to also catch her good behavior (doing extra nice things, being super good at different occasions) and add poms to the jar accordingly. On the contrary, we also threaten (and have taken away) poms as consequences for poor choices. A warning and a threat of taking poms (no more than 5 at a time) away usually curbs most tantrums or whining.

My husband and I are debating whether or not to tie in thumbsucking "rules/rewards". Maybe a pom for each hour that she's awake she's not sucking her thumb? I don't know yet, I just thought of this as I'm typing this.

Right now, she's trying to save up for that movie. Hopefully, she fills up that jar soon, because Mommy really wants to see Finding Nemo in 3D! :)

(Note: The reward does not replace any of our father/daughter dates, 
or mommy/me girls only days, or family fun dates.) 

So far its working for Miss C. I can't say that all morning and bedtimes routines go without a hitch, but there is a slight improvement in the "S" household! :)

What works for you and your kids? What do you use to encourage kids to do basic things like brushing teeth to household chores?

Panda Love

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

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.

Cheese "Pizzable" featuring Mini-Dippers with Lid in an EasyLunchBox

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

mommy's salads

 Salad with chicken and cheddar sausage 

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!)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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 amok with 39 pieces o' the map to collect! 37 pieces will guide you to the hidden treasure (by spelling out the URL where you can enter to win!) and there are 2 bonus pieces with the "secret passwords" to get two chances to win some pirate booty! 
(**see translation below)
This here's my piece o' the map! Good luck, Mateys!


Click on Jolly Rogerette's flag 
to find another piece of the treasure map 
from Bobbi's Bentos!

Like Mommy+Me Lunchbox on Facebook!

(** Translation: Every blog in the hop has a piece of the map to the bento booty treasure - a giveaway! As you go through the hop, collect the pieces and put them in the right order to find out where to enter! You'll probably need something to write with, because there are 39 blogs to visit, so 39 pieces to collect! 37 pieces will spell the URL, and 2 bonus pieces with words on them will get you 2 entries to win!) 

portable photo studio

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

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 is a pastel blue.

With the light box, no flash.
The background paper is closer to the true color. 
It's a little dark and noisy, but I'm pretty sure that's user error.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the Table Top Photo Studio Photo Light Box. The lamps get pretty hot quick, but I only need it for a few minutes in the morning anyway.  It can fold up and put away when not in use on the weekends.