My Adventures In Bento

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Adventures in Bento: November 2-7, 2014

Wow, talk about radio silence, huh? I’m so sorry I’m so late with this post. We’re still trying to get life back into some kind of routine now that my father in law is living with us. Also, I have finally finished my algebra class. Yesterday was the last day and I breathed a sigh of relief when I finished my final test. It’s been a very rough 7 weeks taking that class, along with everything else that has gone on, and I’m very glad it’s over. I’m also extremely proud of the A I earned in it. 🙂 Anyway, I’ve decided to take a 2 week break from school to try to catch up on other things that have fallen by the wayside, one being this blog. 🙂

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Monday was a day for penguins. Strange, googly-eyed penguins. The girls got a PB&J penguin sandwich, whale cheddar crackers, some pear slices with sprinkles, yogurt, and a few leftover Halloween candies. (Boy did they get a ridiculous amount of Halloween candy this year!)

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Tuesday was met with the last of the mini frozen waffles. My larders were low, so they got what I could find. There are four mini waffle PB&J sandwiches on the bottom tier and frozen edamame, applesauce, and some candy on the top. The girls have requested no more yogurt in their lunch, but they have said applesauce is A-OK.

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Wednesday is pizza day at school, so they begged for school lunch. I wanted them to have something slightly healthy, so I sent these small boxes with about a quarter of an apple and a few grape tomatoes in it. Oh, and more Halloween candy for a treat.

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Thursday was a rough morning for me. I had been up most the night with my FIL because he was feeling poorly and then had to teach a knitting class right after dropping the girls off at school. That meant that I had to actually get myself completely ready in the morning instead of just throwing some pants on to drop the girls off. So, since it was hectic and I was tired, I opted for a half can of ABC’s with meatballs. I also included a small box of applesauce and grape tomatoes.

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By Friday, though, things were starting to look up. We’d had a home health nurse come to see my FIL and help get his meds straightened out, which really made him feel better. I got a full nights sleep and was able to make a proper lunch that morning. On the bottom tier we have PB&Js in the shape of a pig, an apple, and a tree. Delaney especially likes it when she gets the rather small, two bite sandwiches. I like them because it helps to use up as much of the bread as possible. I also threw in some goldfish on the bottom tier. On the top tier we have a Babybel cheese, apple chunks with sprinkles, a few grape tomatoes, and some jello. I had made the jello for my FIL and went ahead and put a bit in silicon cups so they’d be ready for lunches that day. It worked nicely and I think I need to do it more. 🙂

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Adventures in Bento: October 27-31, 2014

Well, I’m late again with my weekly post. I shouldn’t be surprised I’m late. I shouldn’t even be disappointed in myself, really. I mean, everything has gone chaotic in our house, so the fact that I’m even still making bento lunches is probably enough, much less blogging about them, lol. Here’s how it breaks down:

You all know my FIL has been in the hospital and can no longer live alone, so we decided he should move in with us. We thought we had until Nov. 6 to get our house ready for him to move in. However, the nursing home decided he was well enough to go home and the insurance decided to stop paying for him to be there, so we got 48 hours notice that he was going to have to be picked up by noon on Friday. They didn’t care that we weren’t ready and wouldn’t even give us one more day to ensure we could get his stuff down from his house in time.

So, we scrambled, and, with the very generous help of some amazing church friends and family we were able to bring down his bed, oxygen, meds, and TV, and then I picked him up in time. However, our house is small and, since we didn’t have time to do it properly, it’s disheveled and super crowded. We’re in full chaos mode now, and it’s hard to maintain any normal routines. I know things will settle down eventually and we’ll learn to live fine in this new dynamic, but right now it’s a mess.

Because of all that went own last week, I only managed to get 3 lunches made. But, hey, 3 is better than none, right?

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Monday’s lunch included left over pizza. I just cut the piece into smaller triangles to get it to fit in the Bentgo lunchbox. I also added some yogurt with a few pumpkin sprinkles on that tier. On the top tier I placed some pear chunks, a graham cracker that had been sectioned, and a slew of Halloween candies that my great friend Cheryl sent me. Aren’t they gross and fun? In the little lidded container is some ranch dressing. Delaney likes to dip her pizza crust in ranch.

By the way, that is a Bentgo Sauce Container that the ranch is in. It’s a perfect companion to the Bentgo system. It holds enough dressing or sauce for dipping or a salad, and it fits in both tiers of the lunchbox, which makes it easier to fit it in a lunch. I like not having to reserve a special spot for it because that’s the only place it’ll fit. I can put it anywhere. 🙂

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By Tuesday I was quickly learning that I had not prepared well enough in my shopping and I was running out of lunch stuff. So I started scouring the fridge and freezer to try to make it with what I had on hand. That meant using the last of the Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs from the freezer with ketchup for dipping. I buy these meatballs for dinner and there are always a few leftover in the bag. They’re perfect for the girls’ lunches and are always well received. On the top tier I put apple slices, goldfish, and more ghoul-y candies. Delaney said the teeth scared her, so she couldn’t eat them.

Wednesday was a bust for lunches. You see, Wednesday is pizza day for school lunch and the girls love pizza, so they often beg to buy lunch on Wednesday. This Wednesday I simply did not have the energy to fight them, so I let them buy lunch.

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Thursday I discovered that I had no bread for a sandwich, no frozen stuff to put in place of a sandwich, and no energy to come up with something clever, so the girls got graham crackers with peanut butter. I expected groans when they saw it, but they were actually pretty keen about having that for lunch. Go figure. I surrounded the crackers with more crackers, as any mom would, LOL. It actually looks like a lot more than it really is. That tier is rather small and it’s only a small handful of goldfish in there. In the larger tier I put two silicon cups filled with apple chunks and a scarecrow pick for easier eating. I also included the last of the ghoul-y treats.

Friday was a complete wash. I was stressed out about having to get my FIL by noon and still didn’t have any bread in the house. Plus, I was running the Fall Fun Festival at our church that night and had a million things to do to get ready for that. I declared a “Mommy will go insane if she has to make lunch on top of everything else” day and let the girls buy lunch.

So, that’s my week in bento. This current week is going a wee bit better, at least as far as bento goes. I look forward to having better lunches to show you later on. Enjoy the rest of your week!

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Adventures in Bento: October 20-24, 2014

It seems a little weird to be posting a weekly bento post after just posting one yesterday, but I guess that’s what happens when you’re dreadfully late. 🙂 However, this post is on time, so score one for Cristi!

This week’s bentos are fairly simple because I am still having to dedicate a great deal of my time and energy to the needs of my FIL. But, I did manage to make lunches each day this week, and that’s always a good thing. So, without further ado…

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Monday’s lunch was met with dinosaurs! I pulled out my EvriHolder DynoBytes Sandwich Cutter and gave the girls each one dinosaur PB&J. He must be an ex-dinosaur, though, because he’s swimming with the fishes. (See what I did there? Wait, it gets worse…) I guess you could say he was….extinct. (Nope, the jokes don’t ever get any better):)

I also threw in some yogurt in the rectangular container, but I was not put together enough to take the photo with the lid off. Sorry about that. On the top tier there are some green grapes with a scarecrow pick and blueberries in the silicon cup. I’m a little sad that the blueberry season is over because blueberries are awesome for bento lunches. On the other side of the tier, I placed a few skeleton cookies. The box said they are skeleton cookies, but, if I’m really honest, they look like a butterfly and dog bones.

(Side note about the yogurt. I was a dunderhead and forgot to include spoons in the girls’ lunchboxes, so they both brought home their yogurt uneaten.)(And then lectured me on how I need to make sure I include a spoon the next time 🙂 )

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Tuesday we had bats. I used the bat from my Wilton 4-Piece Grippy Halloween Cookie Cutter Set for the main bat. Because I could, I made him a vampire bat, complete with teeth and a little blood. This was done with my Wilton Food Writer Edible Color Markers and Wilton Candy Eyeballs. I find it can be hard to write on this kind of bread because it tears, but if I’m careful I can manage it. If you’re a detail oriented person, you might have noticed that there is another small bat sandwich in there. I don’t know where this cutter came from, but it’s the perfect size to ensure that I don’t waste any bread. In the top tier I used a few of my fruit shaped silicon cups that I got on my last trip to Daiso and filled them with blueberries and raspberries. (Ralphs had raspberries for $1, so I bought several cartons. Be prepared to see a lot of raspberries in the rest of this week’s lunches) In the little blue silicon cup are Haribo Gold-Bears Minis. Some of you may know that I’m a knitter and there is a German yarn dyer that includes a bag or two of these in every order. Whenever I get them, I let the girls have them. One package is perfect for their lunch treat. Lastly, I tossed in a few of Trader Joe’s Ritz-like crackers.

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Wednesday was a hard day to make lunches for some reason. I was lacking inspiration, so things are simple. I used a pumpkin cutter for the PB&J, added a container of yogurt and some Lotte Koala Cookie in an apple silicon cup. On the top tier there are the last of the blueberries and a large-ish amount of raspberries with a leaf pick. The other side holds some pretzel sticks and the last of the grape tomatoes. Thankfully, this day I remembered the spoon, so the yogurt was eaten.

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Yesterday we continued on the Halloween shaped PB&J sandwiches with a Frankenstein head and two small bats. I filled in the leftover space with a few pretzel sticks. Tatem requested applesauce with lunch, so I put some in a rectangle container. Next to the applesauce is a half of a fruit leather from Trader Joe’s. The other side holds a slew of raspberries. I bought, I think, four containers of raspberries because the price was so awesome, but I forget every time that they will only be good for a few days. So, the raspberries needed to get eaten before they went bad. That’s why there are so many. For a treat I gave the girls a few of the citrus gumdrops from Trader Joe’s in a small silicon cup.

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Today I am exhausted, so I went super easy with lunches. I opened a can of Chef Boyardee Whole Grain Abc's & 123's with Meatballs and split it between the girls. This meant that I could use some of those small bento boxes I got from Daiso finally. In the small box I tossed the last of the raspberries and a few green grapes. I added a Halloween pick and put a few raisins inside it. Then, as a treat, I tossed in two Milkita Strawberry Milk Candy. The girls love these and I have to admit that they are really tasty.

So, that’s lunches for this week. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

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Adventures In Bento: October 13-17, 2014

Wow, I am so sorry this post is so late. For those of you who do not know me in real life, my father in law has been in the hospital because he’s got end stage COPD and got pneumonia again. While he was in the hospital, they found a precancerous polyp in his colon and wanted to take it out ASAP, however because of the COPD and pneumonia, he is very high risk for surgery. So, under the advice and council of all his doctors, we agreed to wait a few months to see if his lungs improve any. Another side effect of his hospital stay was that it was determined that he can no longer live alone. Since we are the only family he has, he is moving in with us. However, we only have a small 2 bedroom house, so we are moving into a bigger one in a month to accommodate him. These are all the incredibly hard decisions we had to make last week, paired with making the 1.5 hour drive from out house to the hospital several times.
So, as you can imagine, posting last week’s lunches in here has taken a back seat to all of this. However, I finally have a few minutes this morning, so let’s get to it, shall we? 🙂

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On Monday I pulled out some of my Halloween cookie cutters and made the girls a Frankenstein and jack-o-lantern PB&J sandwiches. I also stuck a small tub of yogurt with on a minimal amount of sprinkles. (The girls have complained that the sprinkles look gross by lunchtime, so I have been asked to limit sprinkle-age 😦 ) Also on the bottom tier is a small handful of goldfish. On the top I went fairly simple with grapes, grape tomatoes with fall leaf picks, and edamame in a silicon cup. This lunch is packed in our Bentgo boxes.
I am actually really proud of myself for even making lunch this day. My FIL was admitted Sunday afternoon, which meant we drove all over God’s green earth Sunday night trying to find out what was going on, visit with him, and getting his necessary items from his house (which is 30 minutes from the hospital). By the time we finally got home, it was after midnight and I was fully running on fumes. So, the idea that I managed to get up the next morning and made something even halfway cute blows my mind. 🙂

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By request, I made do it yourself pizzas again. The girls have requested these once a week, which is fine with me because they are dead easy to make. I just throw some sliced mozzarella and pizza sauce into lidded containers and cut up flat bread into strips. In the top tier, I added some crushed pineapple to put on top of the pizzas. If you recall from the last time I made this, the girls complained that they ran out of time to each everything, so I made this lunch lighter. I gave them half the amount of flat bread and limited the amount of non-pizza items. So, on the top tier, I just tossed in a few grapes, tomatoes and Hello Panda .

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Wednesday’s lunch brought us some more fun Halloween cookie cutters, another jack-o-lantern and a cat. I also put a few Stauffer's Whales in a silicon cup and some fruit snacks on a star wand pick. Delaney loves these wand picks and often pulls them out to turn her sister into a frog. 🙂 On the top tier, I have some applesauce in a rectangle container, grapes and tomatoes (of course), and a few Halloween themed chocolate coins I got the dollar spot at Target.

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Wednesday night was when we learned of my FIL’s cancer issue, so the night was chaotic. I slept poorly, so I went the easy route with lunches. The girls got leftover pizza (which they cheered about), some popcorn, tomatoes, a cookie, and apple slices. Quick and easy and one less thing i had to worry about that morning.

Unfortunately, by Friday I had to give up something because I was completely overwhelmed, so I let the girls buy lunch. It was the right decision that day, but I don’t want it to become a habit.

And, as it is Thursday, I have a whole other week’s worth of lunches to show you tomorrow. 🙂 Enjoy your Thursday.

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Special Saturday Family Bentos: 10-11-14

Today was the day we go to my father in law’s and do his shopping and whatnot, so I packed some bento lunches for Ron, the girls and myself. And, since I now have the full set of Bentgos, I packed us all lunch in coordinating lunchboxes. 🙂

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I was completely out of bread, so I got creative and made the girls apple PB&Js. I got the recipe from Weelicious Lunches and it’s a favorite of my girls’. Also included were some grapes, whale cheese crackers, a cookie, some yogurt in the rectangle cup, and fruit snacks (wedged in next to the yogurt). Unfortunately, Delaney apparently cannot eat yogurt in the car because she spilled it all over herself. Since I was driving, I’m not sure how she managed it, but she did.

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Ron and I didn’t use any bread either, and instead had PB&J graham crackers. I also included grapes, like with the girls, but the top tier is a bit more adult. There’s some apple slices and cheese and crackers. I am not a fan of mini tomatoes, so my lunch didn’t have any in it. I gave myself extra apple slices instead.

All in all, yummy lunches for the long drive home from Grandpa’s house.

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Adventures In Bento: October 6-10, 2014

Well, this week was…different. Monday went like normal until the girls got ready for bed. Then Tatem noticed all these red dots on her feet, which we discovered to be hand-foot-mouth disease, a fairly minor virus that causes fever, sore throat and a rash on the hands, feet and face, hence the name. Because it’s pretty contagious, I had to keep her home from school most of the week. And, because she shared the germs with her sister, Delaney got sick and stayed home too. So, lunches are different than normal for this week.

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As I mentioned, Monday was normal, so the girls went to school and took lunch. I opted to try out a recipe the girls were really excited about in Everyday Bento by Wendy Thorpe Copley, the build-it-yourself pizza. The girls loved the idea of this when they looked through the book, and I was keen because it is really easy.

In the bottom tier, I put flat bread cut into rectangles (circles wouldn’t fit), some pizza sauce in the round container, and shredded mozzarella in the rectangular container. I also threw in a few Pocky for a treat. Because my girls don’t really care for pepperoni, I opted to give them pineapple, since Hawaiian is their favorite type of pizza. (I meant to put some ham in there too, but forgot to buy it at the store.) So, the shaved pineapple is in the little silicon cup on the top tier. Also on that tier are some mini heirloom tomatoes and apple chunks. At the begging of my children, I used the Halloween pick and put a few raisins in it. Both girls came home and sang the praises of the pizza lunch. However, neither had time to finish their lunches because of the extra time it took to make each individual pizza. I think in future I will have to pack smaller lunches, or less pizza.

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Tuesday was the first day I kept them home and they practically begged me for Chef Boyardee Whole Grain Abc's & 123's with Meatballs. As I’ve mentioned before, I do not give this to them often, but they were both home sick and it’s comfort food. They split a can, so I added some grapes, a half avocado, and cucumber slices. Delaney doesn’t like cucumber, so I only gave her two small slices. Tatem absolutely loves cucumber, so this is her tray with a whole bunch.

Even though Tuesday morning Delaney felt fine, by the afternoon she had the fever and was feeling poopy. In fact, she opted to go to bed at 6pm without any dinner. That is something this child never does, so I knew she really felt poory.

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Delaney woke of Wednesday feeling slightly better, but she still had the fever all day and a small appetite. For this reason, I made soup. I know, I know, Maruchan Beef Ramen isn’t really any better than the Chef Boyardi, but it helps me feel better when my throat hurts and both girls had sore throats at this point. I also added a half PB&J and avocado. Tatem ate everything, but Delaney only managed the soup. You’ll be happy to know, though, that she was feeling much more herself and hungry by dinner time. 🙂

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Yesterday, both girls felt fine, but I had to still keep them home because they were still contagious. When lunchtime came, they begged for something fun and Halloween-y, so I made ghost and bat turkey sandwiches, adding faces to the ghosts to add a bit of flair. I used Wilton Food Writer Edible Color Markers for the faces, and Wilton 4-Piece Grippy Halloween Cookie Cutter Set for the big ghost and bat. The little bat was made with a cutter Tatem found in my drawer and the little ghost was made with a tulip cutter I found at Daiso that I turned upside down. I threw in some Koala cookies, tomatoes, and cheese sandwich crackers for Delaney, pretzels for Tatem. Even though both girls were feeling good, the tomatoes were too acidic for their throats, so they were left uneaten.

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I had hoped that both girls would be able to go back to school today, but Delaney still has the rash, so Tatem went alone. And she was not happy about that, let me tell you. In an effort to make up for that, I gave her the last of the Trader Joe’s mini tacos, and sour cream for dipping. I also included some graham crackers, grapes, mini carrots, and a half Pepperidge Farm Nantucket Cookie. Delaney started to complain that it wasn’t fair that Tatem got a cookie, but then I reminded her that she gets to spend all day at home with no one to fight over the TV with and she clammed up. 🙂

While it has been nice to spend this extra time with the girls this week, I’m glad they’ll be going back to school Monday. And, while I haven’t enjoyed their having H-F-M, it is much better than the stomach flu, really.

But, wait, there’s more! As I had stated in my post earlier this week, Ron has a new Bentgo lunch system. Well, since he has the pretty box with two tiers to fill up, I guess I will have to fill them both up each night. 🙂 I showed you what I made for Tuesday, here is what he ate on Thursday and today.

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First off, I have to apologize for the poor quality of these photos, but I make his lunch at night and so have no natural light with which to photo them. Thursday’s lunch included some crockpot macaroni and cheese from this recipe over at 101 Cooking For Two. It was very yummy and super duper easy to make. In the top tier, I included grapes and a Wholly Guacamole mini. There were chips too, but they didn’t make it into the photo. See that little green container? That’s a Bentgo Sauce Container filled with Sriracha to put on the mac-n-cheese. It’s a great combo, let me tell you! 🙂

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Today Ron got the last of the leftover One Pot Chili Pasta, recipe from Budgetbytes. When I first made this, there was so much extra that I put it in single serving containers in the freezer. It’s been great these past few weeks to be able to pull out a serving for Ron’s next day’s lunch on nights when there isn’t enough leftover dinner. I also tossed in a few mini heirloom tomatoes and carrots to dip on the hummus that is in the rectangular container.

So, that’s the lunches I managed this week. How did your week go?

PS- I recently purchased the domain MyAdventuresInBento.com, so if you’ve subscribed to MyAdventuresInBento.wordpress.com, you might want to change your subscription so that you can continue to get my blog posts. 🙂

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Special Daddy Bento

So, I think that I have made it pretty apparent how much I love the Bentgo system. I have simply fallen in love. So, when I received the green Bentgo box for free, I thought it would be perfect for my husband, Ron, to use for work. That night I packed him up a great lunch, putting the leftovers from dinner on the bottom tier and the cold foods on the top tier. I explained that he could just put the bottom tier in the microwave and be ready to eat. (He doesn’t like it when he has to separate the foods that need to be warmed up from the foods that are eaten cold, especially since he has to trek out to his car to eat.)
I patiently awaited his return from work, fully expecting him to also sing the praises of this new lunchbox system. However, when he come home, he said he didn’t like it. I was flabbergasted. How could he not totally love this perfect lunchbox system I had found? So, I asked him why he didn’t like it. He said that heating it up was fine and easy, but when he put it all back in the plastic grocery bag that he carried everything in, the whole thing came apart and the food fell out. So, of course I asked him if he’d bothered to put the box back together and the belt back on before he went out to his car. At which point he admitted that he had not. Apparently, he does not have time to do this simple step, and, yes, I fully understand how silly that sounds. 🙂 But, that is Ron and I love him.

So, I lamented for a bit, trying to come up with a solution. And then I remembered that Bentgo makes insulated lunch bags that keep the boxes upright. So, I went ahead and took a chance and bought the whole system in grey for Ron.

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I know that I didn’t need to buy a box since I had the green one, but, if I’m truly honest, I want the green one for myself. 🙂 I went back and forth about buying the cup. Ron takes a bottle of water to work, so he doesn’t really need it for water. However, I sometimes make soups and it would be great to be able to send him soup for lunch. (that being said, we are currently using it for water)

So, I went ahead and packed him lunch for yesterday and showed him how easy it would be to heat up what needed to be heated up and place it back in the bag without worrying about putting it all back together or his food spilling all over. Here’s the lunch he took:

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In the bottom tier I put some leftover creamy chicken enchiladas, recipe from Budgetbytes. (And so totally yummy!) Then, in the top tier, I added a handful of grapes and a WhollyGuacamole mini. You see, I recently one a contest on BentOnBetter Lunches (great bento blog!) and received a plethora of guacamole minis for us to enjoy. (They’re also very yummy! And I love that each mini is only 100 calories. A perfect sized snack) There’s also some tortilla chips for the guac and sour cream in the round container to put on top of the enchiladas.

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As you can see, it all fit in the bag nicely. Since the box comes with silverware that fit in between the tiers, I didn’t have to figure out how to fit them in there. The bag has a strap that holds the cup in place, which is genius, IMO. It wasn’t an issue with this lunch, because I filled that extra space with chips and a cup of sour cream, but even if they weren’t there, the cup would have stayed in place. And, I love that they give you some extra space to put something like chips in the lunch. When I buy these bags for my girls, and I will eventually, I will be able to put their morning snack in that spot. Plus, you can see there’s a mesh slot in the lid. This is perfect for an icepack, napkin, or other small snack.

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And there, all packed up and ready to go! I went ahead and packed it all up and put the whole bag and everything in the fridge, so all Ron had to do is grab it and go. (He leaves ridiculously early in the morning. If I can save him a step in the a.m., I do)

The verdict? Well, when he came home from work yesterday, he said it worked perfectly! So, yay! Success! Now he can appreciate the amazing-ness that is Bentgo! 🙂

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Adventures in Bento: Sept 29-Oct 3, 2014

Whew, this has been a rough week. I spent nearly all of my time trying to understand my algebra class. Thankfully, though, after hours of work and the amazing help of some awesome friends, I made it through the first week with a decent grade so far. 🙂 But, even though I didn’t have time to do anything like housework, I did manage to get out some cute bento lunches. And here they are.

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Monday’s lunch was fairly simple. I found some fresh baked banana bread at the farmer’s market last Friday and thought the girls would love it. However, I was wrong. It wasn’t that they didn’t like it, but they weren’t over the moon about it and by Tuesday afternoon, they were asking me not to put it in their lunches anymore. It’s all good, really, I ate it happily for breakfast all week. 🙂 Besides the banana bread, I sent some celery sticks with peanut butter to dip in the small round container. You might recognize the container from my last post. It’s one of a four pack I got at the Daiso store. I also threw in a Halloween chocolate coin and eyeball. On the top tier, I cut up some strawberries and the other golden kiwi. Delaney has informed me she doesn’t care for the kiwi. I think it’s a texture thing, because it’s exactly the right kind of flavor for her. Tatem informed me, however, that she will be willing to eat all of Delaney’s portion of kiwi in the future. 🙂 Lastly, there were mini heirloom tomatoes. The girls complained that the skin on the green ones was too thick, so I cut those in half to make it easier to eat them and put them in the apple silicon cup.

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For Tuesday, you’ll notice that I put several of my new toys to good use. I sent the girls with a smaller portion of banana bread that I made into a face using the candy eyes and food safe markers I got from Amazon last week. The girls thought that was the coolest thing they’d ever seen. Delaney didn’t eat any of the bread, but she was sure to inform me that she ate the eyes. 🙂 To ensure the girls got some protein, I tossed in a few turkey rolls on leaf picks, and then sent some yogurt in the rectangle container. These are also from my Daiso trip and perfect for the yogurt. Each one held half a Yoplait cup, so it was easy to split between the girls. I tossed a few autumn-y sprinkles that I got at Target’s Dollar Spot on top of the yogurt. The whole yogurt thing was a complete success. The containers were easy enough to open and close, so there was no yogurt mess in their lunches. On the top tier, I put some very yummy cantaloupe balls from a melon I picked up from Trader Joe’s on a whim. It was the best tasting cantaloupe I’d had in years, so very sweet. I also tossed in some grapes and mini heirloom tomatoes. Oh, and a wee fork for the cantaloupe. (Delaney really hates to get her fingers wet.)

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A couple of weeks ago I was doing the grocery shopping with both girls and we passed the isle that holds the Lunchables. Both girls begged and begged for me to buy them. Tatem even said, “All the cool kids at school get Lunchables, it’s not fair!”, when I told them that I wouldn’t buy them. We then had a nice talk about how expensive Lunchables are and that they’re not really healthy for the girls. And, besides, I can make them something even better at home. So, I picked up Ritz type crackers and planned to make a Lunchables-like lunch. Well, Wednesday was the day. I used a circle cookie cutter and cut a few slices of deli turkey meat into rounds and put that into a silicon cup. Then I added a few round crackers. The cheese I had wasn’t wide enough to cut into rounds, so I opted for small flowers. In the other tier, I tossed in a half apple cut into slices, some grapes on heart picks, and a few blueberries in a super cute cup I got from AllThingsForSale. I also added a fruit jelly that I got from 99 Ranch for a wee treat. These lunches were in the new strawberry bento boxes I got from Daiso. They hold a very nice amount of food.

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Thursday I noticed the kitchen was pretty bare and so struggled a bit in making a good lunch. I remembered that I had some mini tacos in the freezer, so tossed a few of those in and put some sour cream in the rectangle container. Then I broke up a graham cracker to round out the tier. On the top tier, I put some frozen edamame in a silicon cup. I didn’t bother to heat them up since the girls like them cold and I knew they would thaw enough by lunch time. I also tossed a few blueberries around the edamame cup. And that was the extent of the fresh fruit I had in the house, so I opted for canned peaches and pears that I drained and rinsed and then topped with a few Halloween-y sprinkles.

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Friday’s pantry was even barer than Thursday’s, but I managed to throw something together. The girls have money in their school lunch account, and I seriously considered just having them buy lunch that day, but I want to save that option for days when I really need it. Besides, I haven’t had them buy lunch yet this year and didn’t want to break my bento lunch streak. 🙂 In the main tier, I made a little man PB&J sandwich, decorated with food safe markers, surrounded by goldfish and a few coconut flavored and very properly labeled animal crackers that came from 99 Ranch. On the small tier, I put some more cut canned pears in two silicon cups and added some mini heirloom tomatoes to fill the tier out.

So, that’s the lunches for this week. But before I go, I’d like to share a story. While I know that the girls’ lunches will be seen by the kids that sit next to them, I never really think about anyone besides my girls and those who read this blog seeing these lunches. That being said, the girls have told me once or twice that some kids think their lunches are cool. However, this week I got a very nice note from one of the lunch supervisors. When I was helping Delaney unpack her lunch on Friday evening, I saw this inside her lunch bag:

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It’s just a simple note, but it really made me feel good. It’s nice to know my work is being appreciated. LOL!

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New Bento Supplies!!!

So sorry for the radio silence this week. As some of you may know, I am currently a full time online college student through Grand Canyon University, working on my Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. Yes, if I had been smarter, I would have listened to my mother and gone to college right after high school. However, I did not listen to my mother and am now working towards my degree at the age of 37. 🙂 Anyway, most of my classes have not been much of an issue since I have a large amount of time throughout the week to work on homework. However, I started algebra this week and it is kicking my tail end for sure. I have had to devote so many hours this week just trying to figure out how to do the homework. Algebra is taking over my life at the moment. I am even dreaming about it! Hopefully things will even out soon as I am starting to understand the foundations more. Wish me luck in this 7 week class!

Besides drowning in equations, I have been enjoying all the new bento supplies I happened to get over the past few weeks. I hadn’t planned to amass such bento treasures last week, but it just worked out that way. 🙂

First I headed over to Amazon, which is often my go to place when I am looking for something. I actually went there to buy a lap desk for my laptop. I normally work on my computer while sitting in a recliner and I have the computer on a small table in front of me. But I find that it’s not the most comfortable when I have to do a lot of writing, so I ordered a lap table. I’m not sure if the one I got is the perfect solution, though, as I cannot fit the computer and the mouse on it, but I am using it now and it’s ok. It’s better than the set up I had before, and was less than $10, so I’m calling it a win.

Anyway, while I was trolling my wishlist on Amazon, I remembered how much I have wanted to get some food safe markers. I often see them in use on bento blogs and love how their simple touch can really spruce up an otherwise boring lunch. And then, like when you give a mouse a cookie, things snowballed. I realized that if I ordered food safe markers, I would need some candy eyes to go with them. Only the cutest faces are made with candy eyes.

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Then I realized that I would need new picks since Delaney managed to throw 2 of my 6 existing picks away. (she went over a year without tossing any supplies and then just forgot one day and tossed them) And I remembered how I wanted to get some cuter baran (food dividers) so I trolled Amazon for those too. However, I found the selection for picks and baran to be lacking so, even though I put a few in my cart and ordered them….

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(please ignore the fruit cups in this photo. I did not get them at Amazon and will talk about them later)

….I decided to go over to AllThingsForSale and order some better baran. And that’s when I remembered how much I have wished that I had some longer picks. So, I located those and put them in my cart too. And that’s when I discovered they were having a sale. (See what I mean about snowball?) So, I found all manner of cute things for sale, but I made sure to limit myself to only a few. I got some super cute picks, including some autumn and Halloween themed ones and longer ones:

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And I got some adorable baran.

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And, if your eyes are keen, you might have noticed there’s some cute silicon cups in there two. I’m not quite sure how those managed to jump into my cart. (*wink)

So, I made those two orders and figured I was done with bento supply buying for at least a little while. However, then my friend who lives very close to a Daiso store, invited me to come out to her neck of the woods to go indoor rock climbing. Well, I couldn’t drive all the way out there without stopping by the Daiso, now could I?

Now, I’ll admit that I went a little bit crazy in the Daiso store. But, in my defense, it was my first time in one and I was a little overwhelmed, and everything is only $1.50! Anyway, here’s most of what I walked out with:

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(Just the silicon cups from this photo I posted up above. There’s apple cups too, but it was in use when I took this photo)

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Little snack sized bento boxes with clip lids. I got these for those days when I send the girls lunches in a thermos and they just need a few grapes and tomatoes or something on the side.

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Wee cups for holding sauces and such. I have the teeny cups I use for ketchup, but needed something a bit larger for yogurt and such. Please note, I only got the clear ones from Daiso. The green ones were a gift from Bentgo. In one of the Bentgo boxes I ordered 2 weeks ago was a coupon for free sauce cups. I sent them the required email to get them and the sauce cups were on my doorstep 2 days later! They’re adorable, just like the whole Bentgo system. Seriously, this is my new total favorite bento lunch system.

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And, lastly, super cute strawberry stacking bento boxes! I just couldn’t pass them up. They’re not quite as easy to pack as the Bentgo, but they’re good for a lunch now and again. Daiso had a plethora of boxes to choose from, but many were very small. While I can do somewhat small for my girls, they are getting older and wanting to eat a bit more for lunch now. However, if you have a preschooler, Daiso would be an amazing place to buy bento boxes.

Now, that’s not all that I got from Daiso, but the rest I haven’t photographed and isnt’ really bento supplies. I got some storage jars for lunch food and some more treats like Hello Panda and Pocky, among other things. I can say, though, that Daiso is awesome and it’s probably a good thing there isn’t one close to me because I would be there all the time. 🙂

One other thing before I go. Above I mentioned how one of the Bentgo boxes had a coupon for free sauce cups? Well, on Monday I got an email from Bentgo saying I had been randomly selected to give them product feedback, and that, in return for my feedback, they’d sent me a free bento box! Well, you know I jumped on that opportunity and wrote back to them quickly with a long email singing their praises. Tuesday morning my mail carrier greeted me with a box containing the green Bentgo box!!! I’m so excited and it’s so pretty! Bentgo just keeps going up and up in my book!

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Adventures in Bento: September 22-26, 2014

I know it’s late in the day for this post, and I apologize. I went indoor rock climbing with a friend at a gym that is a little over an hour away. We normally climb at a gym by my house, but she lives closer to the other, so I thought it was only fair that I share the traveling and go to hers this time. Besides, she lives right near a Daiso store, so I was excited to swing by there after we climbed. And, let me tell you, I thoroughly enjoyed both the climbing and the shopping. 🙂 But, on to this weeks lunches!

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Monday’s lunch wasn’t all that pretty, but it tasted good. It was leftover Creamy Vegetarian Enchilada Pasta from BudgetBytes. This is a great recipe. Not only is it inexpensive and very quick and easy to make, but it’s also a favorite with my whole family. Sunday night I made more than normal, apparently, so there was enough for all of us to have it for lunch on Monday.

In the side box, I put some pretzel sticks, strawberries, yellow tomatoes, and a few Hello Panda cookies. I got the Hello Panda from 99 Ranch and the girls flipped over them.

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You saw Tuesday’s lunch already as I talked about our new Bentgo boxes. You’ll also quickly notice that I used these same boxes for the rest of the week. I couldn’t help it. I think they’re so awesome! Since I gave you the intimate details of Tuesday’s lunch before, I’ll just quickly list what was in there. They got mini tacos with sour cream to dip, herb popcorn, carrot coins, yellow tomatoes, dates, golden kiwi, and grapes to fill the holes.

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Wednesday I pulled out some of my autumn supplies and made the girls pumpkin and leaf sandwiches. The big pumpkin was PB&J, the little pumpkin was cookie butter, and the leaf was Nutella. I also threw in a small amount herb popcorn and a few Pocky sticks. On the top tier, I put some honey tangerine, grapes, carrot flowers, and golden delicious apple. This lunch was a great success and was pretty much completely eaten.

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Wednesday night, I ran to Trader Joe’s and got some fresh fruit. So Thursday’s lunch was pretty. In it, I put a mini bagel with strawberry cream cheese, along with a healthy amount of fresh strawberries in the bottom tier. The top tier held cheddar whale crackers, blueberries, Hello Panda cookies, mini heirloom tomatoes, and homemade trail mix. This is really simple to make, but Delaney loves it. It’s only cashew pieces and dried cranberries from Trader Joe’s, one package of each, and a handful or so of chocolate chips. I only had mini chocolate chips on hand, so that what I put in there. Delaney fully squeed when she saw it. She gave me a huge hug and said, “Mom, you’re the best!”. High praise, indeed. 🙂

For some reason, though, Delaney ate only one of her strawberries. She said she ran out of time, which is totally possible, but still disappointing. She did, however, eat every bit of the trail mix.

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Today the girls wanted slightly different lunches, so Tatem had turkey sandwiches on mini hamburger buns, pretzel sticks, and Babybel cheese on the bottom tier. On the top tier was some more blueberries, trail mix, grapes, heirloom tomatoes and Hello Panda cookies. She ate most everything.

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Delaney came in as I was making the sandwiches and begged me for two. You see, turkey sandwiches are her most favorite, but she feels I make PB&J too often. She felt having two turkey sandwiches would even the score. 🙂 I also tucked in some whale crackers and Babybel cheese on the bottom tier. The top tier held the same as Tatem’s, mini heirloom tomatoes, grapes, blueberries, trail mix, and Hello Panda cookies.

When I opened her lunchbox this evening, however, I discovered that, while she had eaten everything on the top tier, she had only taken a single bite of one sandwich on the bottom and nothing else. I was understandably upset. I mean, she specifically requested the extra sandwich and didn’t eat either! Apparently what happened was she had completely forgotten that there were two tiers until lunch was nearly over. Silly child.

So that’s this week’s lunch. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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