Wednesday, March 31, 2010

attack of the plentiful strawberries

My boy asked for strawberries "with seconds" for his lunch today.  I smiled on the inside remembering asking "for seconds" of my favorites when I was kid. :)


He has a double portion of strawberries on the left (with my favorite giraffe pick/fork!), Wheat Thin crackers with cheddar cheese stars on the top right and pickles on the bottom right.

This is packed in a 4 square Lock and Lock box with only two of the four inner boxes used. :)
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

itza preschool pizza bento

I found this photo when I was organizing some of my pictures. It's a bento from a couple weeks ago that I forgot to post! 
pizza cuke fishie fruit bento

On the left is pizza cut into small bite sized pieces, and Goldfish crackers.
On the right side is strawberries, organic yogurt covered raisins (I only buy organic ones because they are the only ones I can find without partially hydrogenated oil *shudder*), and in the dish are slices of cucumber with a drizzle of low-fat parmesan ranch dressing (Trader Joe's, it's my favorite!), which unfortunately, makes the cucumbers look pretty unsightly. Sorry 'bout that. ;-)

This is packed in a Sassy box with just one of the inner dishes used.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday

Last week I my Muffin Tin for Monday was blue and purple themed, which was apparently a mistake! I had assumed the blue & purple week would follow green week, which was the week prior (silly me!). But apparently last week was actually No Theme and this week is blue & purple. Soooo... my weeks are a bit mixed up here, but today I did the No Theme meal for MTM.

MTM with no theme!

Across the top are strawberries, cheddar cheese flowers, blackberries.
The bottom row has peach yogurt, waffles with blueberry syrup, and a couple pieces of cereal bar (she insisted on that!).

If you'd like to check out more from MTM, visit: Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

I hope everyone is off to a great week! :)
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Friday, March 26, 2010

a bento lunch for somebunny special

This is a special bento box for my very lovely little girl who turns three today! She's somebunny special, for sure. :)
Let me tell you, the bunnies in this box were just multiplying like rabbits. ;-)

3rd birthday bunny themed bento lunch for preschooler

On the left side of the Sassy bento box is a bunny shaped hard boiled egg in a pale yellow silicone cup, a pink bunny pick with colby cheese cubes, a small green heart cup with strawberries (can you tell I tried to arrange the pieces to look like a bunny head?), and of course rabbits need a couple carrots. :)
On the right side is a little pink silicone cup of Annie's bunny cookies, a peanut butter sandwich cut in the shape of a bunny (ears are fruit leather, features are sprinkles - "glued" to the bread with dots of honey), with some bunny shaped marshmallows around the sides.

So I am off for a weekend of soccer games and birthday parties, cheers and some tears too, I'm sure. It's so bittersweet, these birthdays! (and as I type, my tears are flowing - I'm such a sap!) :)

Happy weekend, everyone!

Supplies used to make this lunch:

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

preschool lunch

It was a very dreary dark morning, and I apologize for the photo quality here.
Preschool lunch for my 2-year-old little girl (and it's the last time I'll ever be able to say that again!).
preschool lunch

On the left side is chopped cucumber, a pb&j biscuit, veggie straws.
On the right side are chopped strawberries and deli rolls of ham and provolone cheese.

It's packed in a Sassy box using just two of the small inner dishes.

Tomorrow I will have a very special bento for a very special someone on her very special day.
Hint: the two's were not at all terrible, and can only hope her three's will be just as much fun. :)
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

starstruck Goodbyn

My 8 year-old son is apparently going through a growth spurt. He is half starved half the day. So this Goodbyn is stuffed to the gills!

starstruck Goodbyn
In the large right side compartment are 2 strawberry kabobs and 2 grape kabobs (like last time), plus two thick slices of granny smith apple. I cut the apple horizontally through the core, which leaves a cross-section of core in the middle of the slices (does that make sense?), I used a star shaped mini cookie cutter to cut out that core section.  The apple was dipped in apple juice to prevent browning (lots of people know that dipping in lemon juice keeps fruit from browning, but actually any juice with ascorbic acid, or Vitamin C, will work - no need to dip in bitter sour lemon juice!). There are tiny ice packs under all the fruit, cut from a larger ice blanket (six cells of the ice blanket fit flat in this space).

In the middle he has ice water and a couple baby carrots.

On the left, the two smaller side compartments have Wheat Thins and pretzel rods. The middle square spot has a reusable sealed monkey cup of strawberry yogurt and little kabobs of cheddar cheese cubes and peppered turkey. Did you hear that? Turkey! This growth spurt business is doing really good things to Magoo branching out and trying new things. I had him try a small piece of it last night and while he didn't say he liked it, he didn't say he didn't like it either and I could tell from his expression he was pleasantly surprised by it. Yes! Boar's Head peppered turkey, folks, it's the best!  After taking the picture I added some more pieces of ice packs into this section to keep it well chilled.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

ho-hum preschool lunch

Nothing too super exciting going on with my little one's lunch today.
ho hum, not hum bug ;-)

On the left she has a peanut butter sandwich on super seedy wheat bread (three cheers for fiber!), a couple pretzel rods, a bit of cheese crackers. On the right side is obviously a heaping portion of strawberries and blackberries. We have a lot of fruit in the house at the moment. Sure sign summer is around the corner (thank goodness!!!).

This is packed in a Sassy box and I used a Sweetbytes cutter on the sandwich. The other half of the sandwich was my breakfast. ;-)
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Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday's bento: a jumbled lunch

Magoo's lunch for today -
busy lock & lock lunch

In the top boxes he has strawberries and a pickle and carrots (separated by a piece of barran).
On the bottom left there are Wheat Thin and cream cheese cracker sandwiches with a few Teddy Grahams in the corner, in the bottom right box is a granola bar and cheddar cheese (separated by another piece of barran).

** note: "barran" is a little separtator used to keep foods from touching in a bento box. :)

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Muffin Tin & purple

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth
It's my second edition of Muffin Tin Monday! This week ends the color series theme MTM had going on with blue & purple. I decided ahead of time my supply of blue and purple foods was best suited for breakfast.

In a desperate attempt to get some decent light I headed outside to the deck...

Across the top are grapes, blue & purple Fruit Loops, frozen blueberries.
Bottom row: blackberries, waffles with blueberry syrup and finally, blueberry yogurt.

It was a hit! Little girl chowed down. The only think left were the Fruit Loops, lol. (Those are actually mine, the kids never eat them ;-) ).  She said, "I don't like those poople poops, mama". She meant to say "purple loops", but I definitely laughed at her pronunciation. :)

Like last time, if you are interested in seeing other posts of people participating in MTM, just click on the button at the top of this post. :)

** okay, so apparently today was "no theme" and the blue & purple theme is scheduled for next week (???). I guess I messed up.
So sorry!
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Friday, March 19, 2010

beary nice snack bento

We are going to make the most of this sunny day and heading out.This is my little girl's snack/mini-lunch to have while we are away for a few hours. :)

primary bear bento

On the left side are cucumber slices with hummus and strawberries.
On the right are little deli rolls of ham and provolone cheese in front, with Goldfish crackers in the back. A little silicone barran keeps the crunchy things separate from the moist things. :)

Happy Friday everyone!
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another Goodbyn lunch for my fruithead kid

Today my 8-year-old (let's just call him Magoo ;-) ), Magoo, wanted a "big orange" and apples in his lunch. Big oranges and apples don't fit very well in a regular sized bento box, so..... (da da daaaaa!) Goodbyn to the rescue!
Goodbyn with orange fan
On the left side he has slices of cheddar cheese, multi-grain crackers, granola bar, granny smith apple slices.
In the middle is ice water, and after I took the photo I remembered to stick some baby carrots in the tiny space, but obviously, they didn't make the picture!
On the right is an orange, placed on a swizzle stick so it doesn't flop around too much. Under the orange are some mini-sized ice packs (cut out of a larger ice blanket).

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

good day, Goodbyn

It was a Goodbyn lunch day for my 8-year-old.

goodbyn bento 3-18

On the left side he has bear crackers, popcorn, and a cereal bar.
In the middle is ice water and baby carrots.
The large compartment on the right has 4 fruit kabobs, two with strawberries and two with grapes (a small segment of mini-ice packs are under them).

It occurred to me when I was cropping this photo to be uploaded that my son is pretty much a vegetarian at school. And actually, from the time he was very young, I always suspected that at some point he WOULD become a vegetarian. He has never cared for meat, not ever. However, as he's aged we've come across a couple meats that he does like:  chicken, ground beef in spaghetti (as long as it is in tiny pieces), ground beef (heavily seasoned) in tacos or enchiladas, and pepperoni (if it's on pizza). That's it, and even then, he eats it in extreme moderation.  And he's very temperature-picky when it comes to it. Everything needs to be warm. Which is a pity when it comes to the chicken, especially, because I think if he could get past his temperature issues, grilled chicken would be a nice addition to his lunches (we have discussed warming it in a thermos, but he's not interested). I still wouldn't be surprised if he eschews meat altogether in the future though, honestly.

What he lacks in the meat department he makes up for in the fruit aisle. This boy could eat his weight in fruit every day. ;-)
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day bento!

This bento is brought to you by the color green! :)

My little lad will surely have the luck o' the Irish with him today with this lunch in hand.... and he's going to need some luck because he insisted on not wearing any green today!

st. pat's day bento

He has sliced green apple and kiwi fruit on the bottom; pickles, Wheat Thin crackers with green cream cheese, a little lucky silicone cup of green treats in the corner (gold coins, green gummy worm, green Skittles).
The little silicone cup is very cute - it has a shamrock imprint inside! :)  I am lucky to have an Irish lassie of a friend who acts as my personal bento shopper in California. This was from her last shopping excursion. Lucky, right? Very.
st. pat's day silicone cup

My boy has green ice water (green ice cubes too!) to drink...
st. pat's day green water

I also made green garlic bread (coloring the butter green), but once it was toasted it looked really yucky. I was certain he wouldn't eat it, so I left it out and added in more fruit. I tucked a cereal bar into his lunchbox aside the bento box for good measure in case he needs more to eat. I have a feeling today's lunch is going to be heavy on the goofing off and light on the actual eating, though. ;-)

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

over the rainbow bento

Soooomewherrrre, overrrr the rainbow, way up high.... there's a land that I've heard of....

Happy St. Patrick's Day eve! :)

Today my 8-year-old son is getting a rainbow of a bento box.
taste the rainbow bento

Strawberries for red, cheddar cheddar cheese shamrocks for orange, Wheat Thin crackers in a yellow silicone cup, pickles for green, and the blue dish holds purple grapes.  And of course everyone hopes to find a little gold at the end of the rainbow, so there are a couple gold-wrapped chocolate coins tucked in the bottom! :)

My shamrocks are a little wonky, I admit. I only had a club shaped mini cutter, so I improvised with that by cutting off the wide stem into a more shamrock-like stem. :)

Everything is packed in one of those superific Sassy boxes using Sassy inner dishes (other than the yellow silicone cup!).

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Monday, March 15, 2010

introducing...Muffin Tin Monday

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth
I came across this thing called Muffin Tin Monday (MTM) a few years ago and promptly forgot all about it. Actually, come to think of it, I'm pretty sure I was pregnant with my daughter at the time, so I think the forgetting is perfectly understandable. ;-)  But I recently was reminded about it when I saw my fellow bento-making mama pal, Alie, participating in MTM on her blog, Food for the Boys.

It's pretty straight-forward, you make a meal using a muffin tin to hold the food. The fun is in the weekly themes. This week the theme was the color green.  Green food is a little challenging. My first obstacle though was the the muffin tin itself. My cupcake-sized pans all have 18 spots, my mini-muffin pan has 24. So I had to use the jumbo-sized muffin pan. It worked. I'd like a normal sized muffin tin for future use (I covet the pan Alie uses, it's perfect!).  Anywho, without further ado, I present to you my girl's brunch today....
She has (clockwise from top left) pasta with pesto sauce, pickles, green Veggie Straws, green Fruit Loops, green applesauce, kiwi fruit.

When my daughter saw her food in the muffin pan she said "oh, did you cook it all up, mama?" hee hee! :)

I think this will be a fun activity for summer lunches for all my kids (well, maybe not the baby!). I think my 8-year-old would enjoy helping out with it, too. :)

p.s. you can click on the MTM button at the top of the post to go to the host's blog and get links to other people participating in MTM. :)
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pathetic bento

If it wasn't bad enough being an icky, drizzly, cloudy March morning, to add insult to injury it is also the first Monday following Daylight Savings Time. The result is a bento that looks something like this:

Such a pathetic sight. Strawberries, cheddar cheese, crunchy garlic toast yummy things (Costco sample that sucked me in - delicious!), granola bar & cereal.
The bus was already rumbling down the street behind us, so I didn't even have time to grab a pretty background paper. Or even to check that the camera was focusing. Or maybe the lens is smudged? I don't know, but it does add to the overall pathetic look of the thing.

I promise something fun and much more sightly tomorrow. Pinky swear.
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

an arctic bento?

This bento was decorated by my 8-year-old son. He wanted to pick out which picks were added and chose these ones, a dolphin and a penguin, saying that it was "a little arctic theme". I had a little OCD twitch happening with this selection, but I managed to keep my mouth zipped. I asked how the yellow bear tied in and he replied it was a polar bear. Oh, of course. I asked if dolphins really lived in the arctic and he assured me that they did. I'm quite sure they don't, but I wasn't interested in arguing so early in the morning. ;-)

L&L arctic pals
He has carrots with ranch dip in the polar bear cup (ha), strawberry cereal bar, arctic fish and strawberries.

Next he wanted to pick out the paper for the picture. I didn't notice until I uploaded it that it was robot paper. Arctic robots I'll assume. Of course.
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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

roses are red, violets are blue

This bento's pink,
that bento's blue,
Sassy box lunches for me and you!

Sorry. I couldn't help myself. ;) They are not for me and you, but they were for my son and daughter. :)

Preschool lunch...
My girl had roll-ups of deli meat - turkey, ham, bologna (hey! it was Boar's Head at least!) and cheese - havarti, swiss and provolone. On the right side she has strawberries and SunChips.

It would have been fun to cut the roll-ups into smaller pieces and skewer onto cute picks, but I can't send those to preschool.

2nd grader lunch...
On the left side he has a cereal bar in the dish at the top, Wheat Thins with cream cheese, and a granola bar. On the right side he has strawberries and a little dish of jello (made in a spare Sassy box dish).

Along with a heaping side of shadows! ;) I apologize for the shadows. They were terrible this morning. I would have ducked outside for a quick photo but it started sprinkling!
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fruit leather fun!

The fruit leather I use most often is Stretch Island Fruit Leather. I really like the wide variety of flavors they offer.
Here I have autumn apple, orchard cherry, abundant apricot, mango sunrise, summer strawberry, and ripened raspberry. I used to also buy grape until my son told me one day "this tastes just like raisins". That was a big "Duh!" moment for me and I stopped buying grape since then. Don't let that stop you, but I figure we already have raisins and there's no need to repeat that flavor! :)

I sometimes will buy the Trader Joe's fruit leather too. I think all their flavors are apple blends though, like apple-strawberry, apple-raspberry and I think one that's apple- mixed berry blend.
I only have one of these on hand at the moment -

I most often will cut these large strips into smaller pieces. I like to use mini sized cookie cutters to make cute shapes, but if I'm in a rush I'll just use a knife or kitchen shears to cut into smaller pieces. My daughter can manage to eat a full piece of fruit leather straight from the package (I keep one in my purse and another in the diaper bag for emergency snack purposes), but she makes a big drooly sticky mess of herself with it which I prefer to avoid. :)

To cut the fruit leather into cute shapes is easy - just place the mini cutter on top of the fruit leather piece and press firmly. The pressing firmly part can be painful to fingers so I will usually fold a clean dishtowel over the top of the cutter to push on. Metal cookie cutters work best.




The positive part of the cut-out image is what you will most often see in my bento pictures.

The negative part of the image I keep in a sealed snack-sized zip-top baggie to keep for later. I've tried using just a sealed container, like a small Lock & Lock box or Tupperware, but I was finding the fruit leather would dry out pretty quickly (like in just a day or two!), but in a zip-loc type bag with all the air pushed out they keep for a long time. Sometimes I'll grab my snack bag of these pieces when I'm headed out for some quick errands to keep her occupied and content at the grocery store or I'll add these pieces to her home snacks and meals.

Nothing goes to waste! :)

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Monday, March 8, 2010

snack bento with pb&j biscuit

My kids didn't have school today (yay!) and my little girl took a longer-than-normal nap. Knowing she'd be hungry as soon as she woke (she was!), and figuring she was going to wake at a hectic time (she did!), I got this little bento together to be waiting for her.

She has a peanut butter & jelly biscuit sandwich, a flower shaped piece of fruit leather, a silicone cup of grapes and organic yogurt covered raisins, veggie straws, and tucked in the back corner is a tiny piece of granola bar.

The peanut butter & jelly biscuit is a funny thing. I make them in a batch of about 8 or so and keep the extras in the freezer to pull out here and there. My daughter loves them as long as she thinks it's a cookie. If she thinks it's a sandwich then she won't eat it.

I've made a batch of them about four times now and out of each batch I can only get half of them to turn out. This was one of the better ones from my last try. Because they are freezer friendly, it's nice to pull one out and let it thaw in a bento box and be ready to eat by lunch time. You can find the recipe here, but be warned, they are trickier to have turn out well than the photo there and directions would indicate! ;-)

(Or maybe I'm just lousy at making them. That is entirely possible.)
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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Laptop Lunch

This was packed for my little girl. We had a full day being away from home so this was lunch and snacks, all packed in a Laptop Lunches box.
laptop lunch

Clockwise from top right she has Trader Joe's corn puffs, strawberries, veggies to dip (cucumber, carrot and mini-corn), and in the large blue container she has 3 mini jelly sandwiches, 3 pieces of cheddar cheese in ruffly heart shapes, a little peppered turkey kabob.

The Laptop Lunch can be really handy when out and about with little ones because you just lift out one of the inner boxes for a snack. My daughter had the corn puffs while riding in the stroller, it was very convenient to just hand her that one box they were packed in. :)
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Thursday, March 4, 2010

a good day with Goodbyn

My 8-year-old insisted he have a Goodbyn lunch today.

Goodbyn waste-free lunch

On the left - cheddar cheese, popcorn, granola bar
In the middle - ice water in the reusable bottle, baby carrots in the little spot
On the right - strawberry kabobs (on swizzle sticks!) and there is homemade jello in the little koala cup.

I bought a bunch of those little animal cups a couple years ago at Dollar Tree. They have been so great! We use them all the time for making jello in, carrying small snacks, holding yogurt, etc. They have held up wonderfully and are such a useful size. If you have a Dollar Tree, it might be worth a peek. I actually found these koala ones there only five months ago (give or take). :)
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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

sorta-sushi sandwich rolls snack bento

This was a snack made for my girl. I wanted her to dawdle over her snack as much as possible so I could enjoy some Starbucks and mind-numbing magazine as long as possible today, so I put more effort into her snack bento than I usually do! ;-) And I think it turned out pretty darn cute!

butterfly Sandwich Sushi bento
On the right side are some sandwich-rolled "sorta-sushi" bites, made of bread (whole wheat white bread - the closest thing to wheat my husband will eat willingly) with cream cheese and strawberry preserves. Behind those are some cheddar cheese butterflies decorated with sprinkles. :)
On the left are raspberries, silicone barran to provide a barrier for the crunchy things in back - a piece of granola bar, mini saltine crackers and a few almonds.

My trickery worked! My little miss oohed and awed over her little snack, happily nibbling away and I got to relax while enjoying my coffee. :) Yay!
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happy dance bento

When my 8-year-old saw I was packing his lunch in a Lock & Lock box instead of the Goodbyn today he was visibly disappointed...until he saw what he was getting to eat.


Raspberries? (his favorite!), mini saltine crackers (another new fave), and Jello too? He was doing the happy dance. :) Rounding out the box is some cheddar cheese and he took milk in his Thermos Funtainer straw cup.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

it's a (nameless, numberless) bento

Goodness, now I know why so many people just use numbers for their bentos. It's hard to come up with titles. "Bento #17", "Bento #51", "bento #237" are all looking really appealing right now.

Actually, I'm just now reminded by an old friend of mine who would label her VHS tapes with random names like "Fred" and "Victor". The tape (remember those?!) might be full of Friends episodes or old A-Team reruns, and you'd never know it by the title she'd put on the tape. I thought she was a little nuts. [okay, more than just a "little", but she reads this blog, so I've got to be nice ;-)]. Anywho, maybe I'll have to start doing something like that for these bento posts. "A bento named Betty" does have a nice ring to it.

Back on subject, this was my little girl's bento lunch from today. It was a preschool day, so no fun little picks or forks.
sausage/cheese/booty bento
On the left are pieces of Polish sausage and cheddar cheese. The sausage was leftover from dinner the night prior.
On the right is a silicone cup of clementine orange segments and small grapes, corn puffs (faux Pirate's Booty) fill in the rest.

Packed in that handy dandy Sassy box. :)
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two times the Goodbyn fun!

Lookie here, Byndi made a friend!
Goodbyn makes a friend

That's right, we got another Goodbyn! :)
I thought Goody would be an appropriate name for Byndi's pal, but I think my 8-year-old son has other ideas. ;-)

Today both my big boys took a Goodbyn to school and they were SO excited! :)

Goodbyn x2

The Goodbyn on the left is for my 6-year-old son. He's the one I shared about before, with his anti-bento lunchbox. I was very unsure of how he'd like the Goodbyn because he can be set in his ways, but he loved it right away! :) The contents of his lunch are pretty much the same as before:
In the top container he has his natural applesauce and peach yogurt. The blue pieces in there are tiny ice packs. They came as part of a larger ice "blanket" and I just cut out the size segments that I needed for this space. In the middle space is his beloved Horizon milk box, a spoon, and his mini fruit roll-up. The bottom spaces hold Goldfish crackers, popcorn, pretzels.

The Goodbyn on the right is for my 8-year-old son. His top container got popcorn, his water bottle holds ice water, in the bottom spaces he has mini saltine crackers, strawberries and grapes, and a cereal bar & granola bar.

Both boys were THRILLED to take popcorn in their lunches. That is something I don't pack often because it just takes up too much space in their regular lunchboxes. But popcorn is a perfect fit for the Goodbyn. :)

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Monday, March 1, 2010

tummy party bento

My two middle kids, 2yo daughter and 6yo son, have been really enjoying the kid show Yo Gabba Gabba lately. As soon as my little girl saw her lunch today she said "I'm going to have a party in my tummy!". If any of you out there have watched Yo Gabba Gabba, you know the song she was referring to quite well, I'm sure! :)

On the left she had a sandwich with fruit leather stars on top and Goldfish crackers on the side. On the right are orange wedges and strawberries, with cucumber slices (cut into flower shapes) in the small orange dish.

This is packed in a Sassy mealtime box, with only one inner container being used.
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