Monday, April 30, 2012

Animal & Word Fun Bento

F&B and I finally got to go to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo this weekend! Faith has a sleepover there on Saturday night with her Girl Scout troop, then on Sunday, Ben and I met up with her for Girl Scout Day. It's a really pretty zoo, up on the mountain (hence the name), and you can feed giraffes. My girl seems to have a knack with animals and I got a great picture of her with giraffes and a bear (the pictures are here, including some old Faith & animals ones).

Since we had a zoo day, we went with zoo themed bentos, though in retrospect, I don't think we saw camels and the fish were in the bear enclosure.

Both kids actually had the same lunch--ham and provolone cheese sandwiches on multigrain rounds, carrots and cucumber flowers (Ben finally likes cucumber, yay!!!!), and apple slices.  Faith's is decorated with a cheddar camel, with his blanket made from provolone, a sugar eye, and the letters CAMEL cut from Stretch Island Fruit Company grape fruit strips.

Ben has a cheddar fish with provolone strips, a sugar eye, and the word fish cut from grape fruit strips.  (Side note, I bought myself new mini alphabet cutters.)  The rest of the food is the same as Faith's.  Their lunches are packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon).

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hormel April - Earth Month Ideas

April is Earth Month, but we're pretty big fans of the earth during the other 11 months too!

If you hadn't figured it out by now, the bentos, the cloth napkins, and the stainless steel water bottles are just a hint of how we do things. Even on the days we absolutely have to use disposable items, we try to at least reuse something recyclable first.  We were thrilled to find out we live on one of the Net-Zero Energy installations, and have to admit the Colorado climate makes using less a/c energy much easier than back home in Texas.  After living here 7 months, we have yet to pay an electric bill, since it's quite easy to stay under our allotted amount.  We also raid the recycle bin for crafting materials, projects, etc.

Thanks to Hormel, we've got some great Earth Month facts and ideas to share!

Did you know that about 80 percent of Hormel Foods’ product packaging by weight is recyclable and/or made from recycled materials? Over the past few years, Hormel has found many ways to reduce, revamp and change the size and material of their packages. In 2009, a half-inch in height was removed from each Jennie-O Turkey Store turkey burger carton, generating an annual paperboard savings of more than 68,000 pounds!

 There are plenty of simple ways that you and your family can help out without completely overhauling your lifestyle!
  • Plan an eco-friendly picnic! Skip paper plates and bring along utensils and dishes from home. Pack products that are known for their eco-friendly and sustainable packaging. One example is Hormel® Natural Choice® deli meats. As part of its commitment to be 100 percent natural inside and out, Hormel® Natural Choice® deli meats now has recyclable packaging made of 100 percent recycled material and they are the only national brand that features 100 percent recycled packaging. 
  • On your next trip to the grocery store, avoid the plastic by bringing along a cloth, reusable bag. Not only are they inexpensive, but they are a lot stronger than regular plastic bags! We do this all the time! 
  • Take a shorter shower or brush your teeth without running the water. Not only will you reduce water consumption, but the energy costs associated with heating the water. We do this one too. 
  • Contribute to an online campaign through the Earth Day Network! There are also plenty of opportunities for you to volunteer on the actual day in your communities! 
Another fun fact: Last month, Hormel introduced a brand new eco-friendly package for Hormel™ Country Crock® sides! This new “in-mold” package design replaces the paper sleeve, placing the printed information directly on the tub, which saves more than 8,500 trees a year!

What are your favorite eco-friendly tips?  We'd love to hear them, especially for ones with kids!

Disclosure: I have received product and information from Hormel Foods in exchange for being a Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger. All opinions expressed within the post are my own.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

One Last Crazy-Week Bento

I must say, I am so glad this week is over. The last two weeks, the husband has been at a class that started at 5am and ended sometime between 6 and 8pm. In these last two weeks, we've had spelling bee, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, math club, science club, field trips, basketball practice and games. I am just thrilled next week returns to normal (lots of activities, but the husband will be home again).

For lunch, the kids had croissant sandwiches, with ham and cheese, homemade banana muffins, honeydew, and carrots & cucumber. The boy has finally decided he likes cucumber, as long as I peel it. It's packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon).

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Quick Morning Bento

Today, I needed to pull F&B out of school a little after noon, because we had an afternoon event to attend for the husband. But since they were still both going to be in school during their lunch periods, they still needed lunch. Darn kids, always needing to eat when you least feel like feeding them, lol!

We kept it simple--spaghetti and meatball cupcakes, honeydew, carrots, and vanilla crisps. Since they were already dressed to go out with me, the less messy, the better. In retrospect, I'm not sure I should have sent the spaghetti cupcakes, but everyone was clean when I picked them up, so calling that a win!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 100!!!!

What's for Lunch Wednesday
Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday!!!

Thanks so much for joining in last week if you did and looking forward to seeing all the fun lunches this week!

Want to join in?

Just choose a bento (please, just one bento or post or link) you've made from the last week you want to share, copy the URL of that post from your blog (you may need to click on the title to get it), and enter it into the linky below.

Click on the "Add Your Link" button to add yours and follow the steps, it's simple, I promise!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

One More Disposable Bento

Faith had a field trip today for an Earth Day event on post. She asked if I had one more recyclable container since it was easier to get rid of a container than to have to bring things back home afterwards. Thankfully, I had one last takeout container, so I used it for her.

We had leftover roast beef (last night's dinner), so I hollowed out some more of yesterday's baguette to make stuffed sandwiches. Inside, there is roast beef, provolone, mayo and lettuce. She had a few strawberries, a banana muffin, some carrot sticks, and some fruit leather we are trying out from Stretch Island Fruit Company. She picked mango for that.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Baguette Mini-Sandwiches Bento

When we were shopping the other day, we picked up some fresh baguettes and realized they are perfect for mini 2-3 bites sandwiches! Faith was set that we had to have them for lunch this week, and she really really wanted egg salad with them. (Side note, I was craving egg salad after Easter and mentioned how I had made myself an egg salad sandwich while they were in school.)

Faith had three mini egg salad sandwiches on her baguette, along with a homemade banana muffin, strawberries and honeydew. I meant to add carrots or cucumber, but couldn't figure out where to fit them in.  It's packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon).

It's interesting.  Combined, the baguettes are around half to 3/4 of a normal sandwich, but the kids were so much more intrigued with these than with regular ones.  Nice change up too, and I have one more baguette idea for tomorrow!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Croissant Bento for Ben (I think)

My camera is in the car, but thankfully, I have lunches on my computer! It's really a good plan, having extras saved for those days where I forget the camera, lose the camera, or just think "Ack, that looks really bad."

By the box color (and only the box color), I can tell this is Ben's lunch.  These are Disney Store boxes and the yellow one has Mickey Mouse on it (the turquoise one that is similar is Faith's, it has Fairies on it).  Ben had a croissant-wich with turkey and cheese, along with carrots, strawberries, blueberries, and a cutie orange.  The kids have been taking either yogurt with granola or granola bars for snacks most days too, so they have their treat at snack time instead.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 99

What's for Lunch Wednesday

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday!!!

Thanks so much for joining in last week if you did and looking forward to seeing all the fun lunches this week!

Want to join in?

Just choose a bento (please, just one bento or post or link) you've made from the last week you want to share, copy the URL of that post from your blog (you may need to click on the title to get it), and enter it into the linky below.

Click on the "Add Your Link" button to add yours and follow the steps, it's simple, I promise!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Another Leftover Lunch Bento

Today was Faith's spelling bee, so we needed quick and easy lunches this morning. Since it was just F&B and I the other night, we had lentil soup and homemade BBQ pizza. There was pizza leftover, so I sliced it up and it was perfect for a bento.

Ben had two small slices of BBQ pizza, sliced strawberries, carrot sticks, and two powdered sugar donuts that he really really wanted at the grocery store the other day. I really need to slice up a honeydew I have, thinking the kids are probably bored with berries.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Mixed-up Bento!

Had I actually planned better, I would have done this for April Fool's Day, because we've got spaghetti & meatball cupcakes and cheeseburger cookies today.

For those new to the blog, spaghetti and meatball cupcakes are an entree, mini spaghetti pies topped with sauce and a meatball "cherry". Cheeseburger cookies are a favorite of F&B's and an assembly only cookie with Nilla wafers, Keebler Grasshoppers, coconut dyed green for lettuce and icing dyed orange for cheese. The kids and their friend made a big batch of cookies on Saturday and took some to a few of the neighbors.

This would be Ben's box (Faith hates blackberries). He has two of the spaghetti and meatball cupcakes, two of the cheeseburger cookies, strawberries, blackberries, a cutie orange, and a few veggie straws. Faith's was almost the same, but no blackberries and she wanted carrots instead of the cutie.

If you have a moment, check out our new sponsor Otacute as well! They are currently stocking bento boxes and all sorts of other bento supplies!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Disposable Bentos for Field Trips

Both F&B had field trips today! Faith was going with her science club to a gold mine out in Cripple Creek and Ben went to see their middle school buddies at another school. For this, both kids needed a sack lunch. Check! A disposable sack lunch? Um ...

So we went to work looking for containers and bags in our house (here's an older version I made when Faith went camping at NASA back in Texas). We came up with a few recyclable containers, and I did have brown paper bags (which I bought for a scrapbooking project, not lunches). I did have to suck it up and buy a 6 pack of water bottles because we didn't actually have any options for disposable drinks and I didn't want to risk a stainless steel bottle being lost.

This would be Ben's lunch. I have it packed in a washed out container from blueberries He had a black pepper turkey and colby jack cheese sandwich on multigrain rounds. After slicing it to fit in the box, and adding a raisin granola bar, I discovered it kind of looked like a mushroom, so added a cheddar butterfly with muenster accents to it (the antenna is a carrot sliver). Ben also had a cutie orange and a big strawberry.

For Faith, I had a styrofoam container leftover from a restaurant the other night, so I washed that out as well. Faith has the same general foods as Ben, but added carrots and took away the orange. Her sandwich is decorated to look like a bear because I couldn't figure out what else I could see in the sandwich and it was 11pm when I made it.

And brown paper bags are boring, so I drew Perry the Platypus from Phineas and Ferb on both. Faith had him as Perry and Ben had him as Agent P. I am typically not an artist, but I can draw flat characters halfway decently.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Freezer Stash Bento Time!

Do you ever wonder about the "what-ifs" of your own love story? For us, so many little things played into ours, dating back years before we even met, even into high school for me. One little choice, which could have gone either way for me, put us on the path to meeting each other. Click here to read our love story. In the movie The Lucky One, based on the Nicholas Sparks book of the same name, a US Marine Sergeant falls for a woman whose picture helps him make it through his deployment - watch the trailer now and see the movie in theaters on April 20!

So what's for lunch's today? After yesterday's bout with the headache from Hades, we woke up to rain. At least I know where the headache came from. I also delved into my freezer stash of food so my brain didn't have to spend too much effort thinking of what to make for lunch.

Both kids had a corndog muffin (thank you freezer stash), carrot sticks, a cutie orange, and a bevy of fresh fruits from their Easter basket (thank you Nana). They also had granola bars not in the box that were from an online review (thank you Cascadian Farms for that one). I'm thinking I need to whip up a few more batches of freezer stash food. It does come in handy on days like today.

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 98

What's for Lunch Wednesday

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday!!!

Thanks so much for joining in last week if you did and looking forward to seeing all the fun lunches this week!

Want to join in?

Just choose a bento (please, just one bento or post or link) you've made from the last week you want to share, copy the URL of that post from your blog (you may need to click on the title to get it), and enter it into the linky below.

Click on the "Add Your Link" button to add yours and follow the steps, it's simple, I promise!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Leftover Bento

I had no inspiration this morning. Actually, I had a rather bad headache and ended up falling asleep on the couch about an hour and a half after F&B left for school. Thankfully, there were leftovers in the fridge, as well as already cut up fruit.

Both kids had some cheese nachos and a quesadilla, leftover from Mexican food the other night, along with some carrots, strawberry yogurt with sprinkles, and cantaloupe. It helps to have food ready to go.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Goodbyn Bento for a Long Day

We don't use our Goodbyns as much as I'd like. For the average day lunches, they hold quite a bit more food than F&B eat. They do however work well for the husband or for long road trips, and I really really want a Bynto or preferably two, which seems to be the right size for the kids, but I digress.

Today, F&B both have something after school which means neither of them will be home till 4:30. School starts here at 7:30am (don't ask me why, I consider it horrifically early and none of us are morning people). But due to this, we're using our Goodbyns today.

Faith has a sub sandwich made on some leftover buns we had when we barbecued sausage. I think it's ham, muenster, a bit of pepperoni, maybe something else. Nana sent them an Edible Arrangement for Easter, so she has cantaloupe, honeydew, grapes and strawberries. In on of the lower side compartments, she also has a piece of carrot raisin cake (the other pocket holds her napkin). I also added a granola bar after the picture for her. Hopefully, it's enough to keep her going till dinner.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Another Bunny Bento

We are still enjoying a bunny lunch or two this week, it's almost Easter after all. And well, I like bunnies. This lunch, however, is apparently a bunny and orange theme. Didn't realize that till I looked at the picture.

Either way, the kids had bunny boiled eggs, Ben's favorite cheesy zucchini bread (bottom right), carrots, cutie oranges, and cantaloupe. They also took Greek yogurt for snacks as we have some yummy ones from a review (coconut and cherry-pomegranate).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tracing back the what-ifs...

Tracing back the what-ifs...

I met my husband while I was still in college. I had met some other friends online and headed to visit one of them on a long weekend. He also knew the girl I was visiting and had come up to visit as well. Though he had been part of the same general group, I had minimal knowledge of him, besides his name.

But so much of this traces back to a series of what-ifs, several decisions made along the way that led to meeting him in June of 1996.

I graduated high school in June of 1994 in southern Ontario. At the time (this has since changed), there was an optional Grade 13 year, where students would take the equivalent of first-year college classes in preparation for the first year of university. A minimum of six of these credits was required for admittance to university from high school, and most students took them in the 13th year. However, I graduated from 12th grade and already had 6 of those credits. I had applied to several universities I was interested in, and had decided if I liked where I was accepted, I would go on to university that fall. If not, I would head back to high school and pick up another group of the 13th-year credits.

In the fall of 1995, I went to university, took classes, and all the typical stuff. My friend Katherine (whom I met that year) also insisted that I set up email. Of course, in 1995, most email and internet-based media were localized to colleges and tech people. However, it provided a fun diversion, and I joined a couple of mailing lists that allowed me to meet some nice people.

In the spring of 1996, one of the girls I had met through a mailing list offered to host a gathering at her house over a long weekend. I wanted to go, to meet her and a few of the other girls I had gotten to be friends with.

Now the other side: My husband actually hadnĂ­t been planning on attending that weekend. He had to work, but at the last minute he ended up taking a couple of comp days, flying to another city completely, where a couple of friends of his lived, then driving overnight with them to head up there for the weekend.

And that was almost 16 years ago, 12 years of marriage, 2 kids, 2 apartments, 2 houses, and finally a military move to Colorado to start over one more time.

What about you? How did you and your husband meet? Is there one moment that changed everything?

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What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 97

What's for Lunch Wednesday

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday!!!

Thanks so much for joining in last week if you did and looking forward to seeing all the fun lunches this week!

Want to join in?

Just choose a bento (please, just one bento or post or link) you've made from the last week you want to share, copy the URL of that post from your blog (you may need to click on the title to get it), and enter it into the linky below.

Click on the "Add Your Link" button to add yours and follow the steps, it's simple, I promise!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Bunny Hop Bento

Since the blog hops for Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day and Dr. Seuss's birthday were so much fun, it's time for an Easter "Bunny Hop"! Bunnies are awesome, hops are fun, and with a few days left till Easter, there is plenty of time to borrow a few ideas.

We opted for a simple bunny today--he rests on top of a ham and cheese sandwich (ham is Eastery and Eastery is a word in my world). Besides the obvious cut out, his whiskered area is made with an inverted heart, the nose from a small oval cut of pepperoni, and his eyes are dried blueberry bits. We also have a bunny boiled egg and carrots, because bunnies + carrots = love. ;o) To the right, there's yogurt with Easter sprinkles, thanks to Nana for those, along with cantaloupe and a strawberry with a bunny pick. Check your Dollar Tree for the bunny picks, they are actually from a little peg game, but too cute not to use!

Still want more ideas? Follow the linky over to Crystal for more Easter lunch ideas, then hop around to the other participating blogs!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Back from Spring Break Bento

F&B were on Spring Break last week, and my mom and dad came to visit us in Colorado. With all that happening, I made the executive decision to take a blogging break for a week and just enjoy the time to relax. I have to say, from a mental perspective, it was a great idea.

I did still post last week's What's for Lunch Wednesday, I bought F&B two new boxes (because *I* love Max and Ruby!) and I taught a kids' cooking class at our base housing office, which seems like it may turn into a monthly event. We made the easy version of corndog muffins to keep things simple, which were a hit with the kids. Since we didn't have leftovers there, I made a batch at home for F&B as well.

For their first day back, both kids had a corndog muffin, some cantaloupe (finally found reasonable prices for melon), a mini cupcake from my freezer stash and some carrots, in the new boxes. They also took some cheese sticks for snacks, since I needed to run to the store for some other options.

Yes, I know, we don't need boxes, but it's Max!!!

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