Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Rainbow Week : Orange

Day 2 of  Rainbow WeeToday is Beanstalk's favourite colour...


Bella's orange lunch contains a ham & cheese sandwich on whole wheat bagel thins, with the bagel top underneath it - she can put the top on herself after the pepper flower makes her smile :)

Bagel thins are Bella's new favourite sandwich bread, they don't make her too full. I like them too, they fit the largest section of her Easy Lunchbox perfectly, and since they're thinner than a regular bagel, even with a sandwich stacked full I can still get the lid on. On the side she has mandarin oranges, and baby carrots arranged around a sweet potato star (made with an egg mold).
Beanstalk stayed home this morning, but was feeling better just before lunch. He got his own late breakfast (brunch?) of cereal, then I took him to school in time for his usual lunch period, with a snack of golden delicious apples and orange slices in his smaller Lock&Lock:


For my little sproutlet girls, I made rainbow muffin cup meals. They really do like this kind of nibbly meal best. Red strawberries, Orange carrots, Yellow parmesan cheese, Green spinach rotini, & Blue (ok Purple) grapes. Plus a White hardboiled egg cloud :) 

I only have one round orange muffin tin, the other one is pumpkin shaped.
 My 5 year old Sprout was sweet, she let her little sister have the round one :)

Birdie loved the "eggie" cloud. I used my star star egg mold, which needs an extra-large or jumbo egg to make a star - if you use a smaller egg it doesn't fill the mold, so you end up with a rounded star, which looks more like a flower to me and my girls - or a cloud :)

I wasn't really expecting Sprout to eat the spinach pasta, she has refused it several times in the past, but hoped the cup of parmesan and the spoon to sprinkle it on herself might get her to at least try it - and it worked! She covered it in parmesan and ate it all up! Even asked for seconds - which she ate without any fresh parmesan :) Today's Rainbow meal was a big success!

More Rainbow Fun!
Pickle wanted to be in on the rainbow fun too,
but without actually eating a rainbow of fruits or vegetables...
so I made him a rainbow peanut butter sandwich - kind of:

If only he'd let me colour on his sandwiches... I'll just have to admire the talented Caren of Bento-logy's beautiful and colourful Rainbow Smiles sandwich instead ♥
Gorgeous and inspiring, just like all her bentos!

One last thing!

Yesterday I reviewed The Rainbow Kit by from Today I Ate A Rainbow, but I didn't mention their fantastic website, http://www.todayiatearainbow.com/ & blog! You'll find great tips & ideas for picky eaters, suggestions for using the chart, meal ideas, fun rainbow cooking videos, there's even a Kid's Zone with fun activities and colouring pages! Even if you don't have a Today I Ate A Rainbow! chart, it's a great resource, don't miss it!

And don't miss my Rainbow Kit Giveaway!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Rainbow Week : Red + Today I Ate A Rainbow

Today is the first day of  Rainbow Week  for my sproutlets! 
Throughout this school week we'll go through the colours of the rainbow with a school lunch featuring foods in that colour, rainbow lunches for the little girls at home, some of my favourite rainbow bentos from other blogs, maybe even a rainbow craft. And a Review and Giveaway of The Rainbow Kit from Today I Ate A Rainbow! So here we go, beginning with Pickle's favourite colour:


Bella's red lunch contains grape tomatoes, a Red Rome apple, strawberries, and veggie pasta made with beets & tomatoes. I packed marinara sauce in a Thermos (not pictured) for her to pour over the pasta. Lots of red. Even her Easy Lunchbox lid is red :) I cut RED out of a heart-shaped slice of white cheddar and skewered the letters with a little heart food pick.


Birdie & Sprout's heart muffin tins hold a rainbow of heart-shaped fruits & veggies - strawberries, carrots, banana, grapes, raisins + a heart-shaped whole wheat peanut butter sandwich ball. Sprout loves eating raisins ever since she learned that they are purple grapes kissed by the sun!

More Rainbow Fun!

Rainbow Kit Review & Giveaway!

When I first received our Rainbow Kit from Today I Ate A Rainbow, just before Christmas, I put it aside to open after the holidays, because even though I was excited to try it and hopeful that it would encourage my sproutlets to eat more fruits and veggies, I was a little apprehensive too - what if they didn't want to try it, what if it didn't work for us? I decided to wait until after Christmas to do my review - give them a chance to eat all the candy in their stockings :)

What is The Rainbow Kit ?

It's a rainbow-themed nutritional chart that encourages your child to "eat a rainbow" - a serving of fruit or veg in each of the 5 colours on the chart - marking them with magnets as they do, so they actively try to get the 5 servings of fruits & vegetables they need each day. It's much more than a nutritional chart! It's a game, a challenge, an incentive... and it's fun!

We've been using it about a month now, and I can emphatically tell you that I love it! It has been working for us! Within the first week Birdie & Sprout started asking for fruits & veggies to try to get all their colours! Bella, already an adventurous eater by our standards, was also inspired by it... she even tried the dreaded  brussels sprouts to "get her green". Every day after supper they ask if they can have just a little of any colour they are missing... !

Now, there's rarely a day when the 3 girls don't "eat a rainbow", or come close. I'm even using it to motivate my ultra picky Beanstalk to eat real food!  Sailor Boy is amazed and impressed by it too - I think he was the most skeptical, and most pleasantly surprised when last week, both our boys willingly tried new foods - yes, even Pickle! He isn't trying vegetables yet, but he's been inspired by his siblings getting so much enjoyment and positive attention for eating better to ask to try things he hasn't before. It's really wonderful :)
What's in The Rainbow Kit ?

1 Today I Ate A Rainbow! chart 
4 sets of coloured magnets
4 achievement magnets
2 fridge magnet strips 
(to secure your chart to your fridge)
1 colour-coded shopping list
The Rainbow Bunch Book
& a Rainbow Bookmark

Tip : The magnets come on sheets - after you pop them out, you can cut up some of the leftover magnetic bits to glue or tape to the back of the grocery list, or the chart :)
You want your own RainboKit, don't you?

Thanks to the generosity of the amazing Kia, creator of the Today I Ate A Rainbow! chart & kit, and author of The Rainbow Bunch, one lucky reader will win a Rainbow Kit of their own! I'm so pleased to be able to share the Today I Ate A Rainbow! love  ♥

All you have to do is leave ONE comment on this post!

If you like, share what fruits or veggies your little one won't eat that you hope a Rainbow Kit might help with - or just say hi - anything you like - it just makes reading the comments more fun :)

I'd also love it if you would visit the Today I Ate A Rainbow Facebook Page and Like them, even tell them I sent you! But not everyone has a Facebook account (It's true!)  so I'm not going to make that a requirement. And if you want to Like my Facebook Page or follow my blog the buttons are there for you over on the right ♥

The winner will be chosen (by comment # using Random.org) and announced on Monday morning, February 6th, sometime between when I get home from taking my sproutlets to school, and lunch. Good luck!

Don't forget - I need a way to contact you!  If I can't contact you to get your information to give to Today I Ate A Rainbow, they can't send you your prize.  So make sure your comment either includes a way to contact you or links to a profile with one. Thank you :)

Disclosure: I received a Rainbow Kit from Today I Ate A Rainbow! to review.  No other compensation or payment was given. All opinions & descriptions are my own.

The giveaway is now closed. Thank you for entering!

Lunch for the Man : Have a heart!

Whether you want one or not,  sweetie :)

There's just something about plump red strawberries that inspires me to make things heart-shaped  

Heheh, my poor Sailor Boy, he'll probably get teased if anyone sees all these hearts in his Easy Lunchbox.  Maybe he'll be quick to pull the heart pick from the hard-boiled eggs - and I did put the top on the bagel sandwich after I took the photo, so nobody will know about the ham, pepper-jack and pepperoni hearts inside... unless they follow my blog ;)

It's not surprising I have hearts on my mind - Valentine's Day is fast approaching, yesterday I went to the dollar store for Valentine goodies and made a Valentine-themed preschool snack, and I just did a some yummy heart lunches for my FunBites Luv it! tangram heart cutter giveaway...

... so who won the FunBites Luv it!?
Comment #31!
Peggy C. 
Knock knock
Who's there?
Olive who?
Olive you!
Congratulations Peggy! 
An email has been sent to you with instructions for claiming your prize! 

Thank you to everyone who entered for your lovely comments! If you weren't the winner but still really want your own Luv it!, you might like to take advantage of this special Valentine's coupon code:  WithLove 
Enter it at checkout on the Funbites website to save 15% off all orders ♥

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Got the Preschool Snack Rules Blues?

Allergy-Safe Special occasion Snack Packs for Class Parties

If you have a kidlet in a preschool, daycare, or kindergarten with strict rules for snack days, you know what I'm talking about. Your little one wants to bring in something fun. You want to bring in something fun and healthy. But what you are allowed to bring in must be store-bought, in it's original packaging, meet nutritional guidelines, and allergy-safe...
For the record, I'm not complaining - I understand why some schools have these rules, and I'm glad they are concerned about the nutrition and safety of our children - I'm just admitting it's bit of a bummer to not be able to make cute homemade food for my kids to share with their friends, especially with all the adorable ideas on Pinterest! :)
That said, it's a very minor bummer compared to the bummer it is to have to tell a child they may NOT have any of the cute snack at school because they don't know for certain if it is SAFE for them to eat... so... Hooray for storebought, packaged, allergy-safe food! 
So, how can I make it fun?  Individual packets are fun for my kids, a treat since they rarely get them, and they seem to love miniature versions of anything. Single serving snacks aren't the most economical or environmental, but for special occasions they are okay with me (and if your 5 year old is like mine, a snack day is most definitely a special occasion!)

These kid-friendly snacks are all on our Safe List* 

There are heaps of crafty and creative ways to decorate packaged snacks, but if you're a busy parent like me, you might not have time to individually embellish each juice box and string cheese... that's OK, dollar store to the rescue! You can usually find printed plastic (or paper) treat bags for every occasion,  plus ribbons and stickers galore to make things even more festive :)

So for less than $5 more than the cost of the snacks themselves, and very little time and effort, you can easily put together cute, fun, somewhat nutritious, allergy-safe snacks for your kidlet to share with their class - like these ones I made with some of the above ingredients and supplies:

In each bag I put an applesauce & spoon, or a box of raisins, 4 oz juice box, string cheese, and graham snack. I took the staple out of the curly bows and used the curled pieces of ribbon to tie each bag with a half-knot, then covered the knot with the sticker to secure it. All the kids need to do is pull the sticker off and the knot will untie with it :)

Happy snack days!

*Check with your child's school or daycare about what is & isn't on their Safe List

Thematic Thursday

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Evening Post: Pickle's Pick + Uforya Giveaway Winner

I was totally going to post about something else this evening, but I forgot I had plans and wouldn't be home to make a post, so, this is actually a Saturday Night Post, and I didn't get around to doing what I was going to post about, BUT it does happen to be lunch-related, so maybe I'll post it tomorrow.
Drop by and see  :)

Anyways... earlier today Pickle asked me: "What about my supper express?" 
Me: "Your supper what?" 
Pickle, exasperatedly: "My supper express! You know! Remember!" 
Me: "Hmmm, I think I might need more of a hint to remember..."
Pickle: "Mamaaaaa - you know, that you made me, with a dessert car! Did you post it on your Better Lunches website?"
Me, remembering: "Oh, that! No, not yet..." 
Pickle: "Come ON, just do it! You can do it, I know you can. You just have to try harder."

It's so funny hearing him repeat the things we say to him. And cute. 
This is what he's talking about:
New Year's Day, he went with his dad and siblings over to our neighbour's for football and black-eyed peas. Except, Pickle would never not ever eat black-eyed peas :) So I packed him an Easy Lunchbox to take with him, with a familiar peanut butter sandwich, yogurt and oatmeal cookie.
I cut the sandwich into a train shape with my Train Bytes, and just for fun, wrote on the lid with a dry erase marker, above each section : "Super Supper Express" "Dessert Car" and "Yogurt Side Car". Pickle insisted I take it's picture - this is him holding it up:

He was so pleased with that supper! "Yesssss! My Super Supper Express!" 

I can't believe I forgot about it. I told him I would post the pictures soon. He wanted to know when. I told him tonight. "Yes! You are going to post my pick!" So, here's a blurry shot of him with his Super Supper Express, that he picked for me to post. If you leave a comment on this post, please say hi to my Pickle, he will be asking me to see it when he wakes up tomorrow :)

Now, who won the Uforýa Giveaway?

Comment #15 was made by KB: "Chocolate covered strawberries body butter,,, yum!" Congratulations KB! An e-mail has been sent to you with instructions for claiming your prize :)

Thank you to everyone who entered, for visiting my blog, and checking out my friend's most excellent products! If you didn't win but would still like some Uforýa bath salts or body butter of your own, visit the West Road Candles & Uforýa website on February 1st, which is the day the new catalog launches! I don't have any details yet but I know there will be a Sale :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Bunch of Lunches...

.... with nothing in common but the orange paper beneath them :

Handwiches for my Pickle. Did I really just type that? That's terrible :)

Bella's lunch is all green & yellow, with golden delicious apple slices, sweet yellow peppers, celery sticks, and peace sign macaroni & cheese. I packed the noodles in the EasyLunchbox and the cheese sauce in her Thermos to keep warm until lunch time.

I'm so proud of my Beanstalk! He finally "ate his rainbow" of 5 fruits and vegetables all in one day, for the first time since he was a spoon-fed baby - thanks in large part to Today I Ate A Rainbow!  

I gave him the oranges he wanted yesterday, ham roll-ups, Clif Z Bar cut in half, and an apple carved with a lightning bolt - for my Harry Potter fan :)

These are yesterday's lunches - I forgot to publish them! 

There are still a little over 24 hours left to enter my Uforýa Giveaway - don't miss it, this is good stuff! My FunBites Luv it! Giveaway will be open until Monday morning. Happy week-end :)

Heart to heart to heart...

Happy Friday! It's a beautiful sunshiny day today, and I woke up feeling happy and rested and ready to tackle the day - what a great way to start the weekend! I hope my sproutlets have a happy school day...  in any case their lunches should bring smiles to their faces  ♥

Bella's hearty bagel lunch especially makes ME smile... it's where the title of the post comes from: My lunch was inspired by the one below, by my fellow bento maker, Chef Corey of Family Fresh Meals, who was herself inspired by the one below hers, by our friend Keeley of Keeley McGuire Blog ... 

and not only did we all use FunBites, but I copied Chef Corey's switched up apple, Corey and Keeley both have a heart-topped spinach salad, Keeley and I both have a ham FunBites heart and smaller ham and carrot hearts,  and Corey and I both have purple cabbage in our salads...

You know the saying, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? ... well, I hope both Corey and Keeley are flattered by my copy of tribute to theirs :)

Oh, and Family Fresh Meals and I are both doing FunBites giveaways this week - so if you hurry (hers closes tonight at midnight) you can double up your chances of winning! 

Okay, back to my family's lunches :)

Beanstalk's Lock & Lock bento box contains parmesan goldfish, raisins, ham and an orange. I've mentioned before that he doesn't like me to make his lunch cute... well, I snuck a heart in there today, heheh... but only if you know to look for it, and maybe not even then, maybe only I can see it because I know it's there :) Leave a comment if you can see it too!

Pickle has FunBites Luv it! heart shaped peanut butter sandwiches.  And to make sure they make it to lunch still in the shape of a heart,  the bottom slices of bread are solid hearts spread with PB, with the tangram heart pieces stuck on top like stickers :)

No love for Sailor Boy! Well, no hearts anyways...

His EasyLunchbox contains spiced almonds, kiwifruit, and spicy chicken & mandarin kebabs.

That's all folks! No pic of MY lunch - but if you're curious - I'll be having a salad full of all the scraps from these :)

Have a great weekend, and don't forget to enter my Uforýa Giveaway, ending tomorrow night, and my FunBites Luv it! Giveaway, ending Monday morning.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Hearty Snack, Sticker Fun & A FunBites Giveaway - You'll Luv it! for Valentine's Day

"Roses are red, violets are blue, 
FunBites make fun lunches easy to do!"

A hearty thank you to the lovely Bobbie from FunBites,  who generously offered me this opportunity to share the FunBites love with one lucky BentOnBetterLunches reader, with a Luv it! giveaway ♥ Just in time for Valentine's Day too! What could make Valentine's Day themed lunches and snacks more simple than the heart-shaped Luv it! cutter from FunBites?

With a Luv it! you can make an ordinary sandwich much more loveable ♥

All you need is 1 or 2 slices of bread, depending on size, toothpicks & sandwich filling. I used ham & white cheddar - because they are pink & white :) And if you want to decorate yours like I did, some stickers for the ends of the toothpicks. And a Luv it! of course!

  Cut 2 Luv it! hearts from your bread, and if necessary, your sandwich filling. I was able to cut both top and bottom from 1 slice of my large loaf of whole wheat. If you are using a spread, you could make the sandwich before cutting it to save time, but you'll end up with a much neater, prettier pieces if you cut the bread out first, then spread.
♥ Stack or spread your filling(s) on each piece of 1 of the hearts, top with a matching piece from the 2nd heart, and secure the stacks with a pick.
Sticker Fun! If you don't have fancy party picks, only ordinary toothpicks, you can turn them into party picks with stickers! Let the kids help! All you need is stickers that are mirror images, so they are the same size & shape and line up exactly when you stick them together back to back on the end of a toothpick.  Easy peasy! You could even use paper and a glue stick if you don't have stickers. I got a big bag of heart shaped foam sticker from the dollar store, and since they are foam, I can surface clean them and re-use them :)

See how how festive my Sprout's ham & cheese sandwich looks!

She was pretty pleased with it ♥

Luv it! for fruit leather! I also used the Luv it! and a sheet of fruit leather roll-up to add some extra sweetness to an otherwise pretty plain snack in a plastic Snapware container, by decorating the inside of the lid with the sticky fruit leather heart pieces to make an edible mosaic window  

It's a great way to send fruit leather roll-up to preschool, since Birdie needs assistance opening and unrolling it. If it's already unrolled, cut into bite-size pieces and stuck to the inside of the lid of her lunch container, she doesn't need to wait for help. If you didn't see my first FunBites review, here's another example, also using the Luv it! cutter, but arranging the pieces to make a garden scene rather than a heart:

Visit www.funbites.com for more information about FunBites, to see how they work, or if you just can't wait for a giveaway and want to BUY FunBites NOW! If that's the case, I'm pleased to be able to share a special Valentine's coupon code with you! Enter WithLove at checkout on the Funbites website to save 15% off all orders ♥

Want to win your own Luv it! from FunBites?

All you have to do is leave ONE Valentine-y comment on this post. Share your favourite Valentine's Day treat, a Valentine's Day joke or trivia, the sweetest Valentine you ever got, or a fun idea for a Valentine's craft - anything you like - it will make reading the comments fun for everyone ♥

I'd also love it if you would visit FunBites on Facebook and Like them. Even tell them I sent you! But not everyone has a Facebook account (It's true!)  so I'm not going to make that a requirement. And if you want to Like me or follow my blog the buttons are there for you over on the right ♥  

The winner will be chosen (by comment # using Random.org) and announced on Monday morning, January 30th, after I get home from taking my sproutlets to school. Good luck!

Oh, I almost forgot - don't YOU forget - I need a way to contact you!  If can't contact you to get your information to give to FunBites and they can't send you your prize.  So make sure your comment either includes a way to contact you or links to a profile with one. Thank you :)

Disclosure: I received a FunBites Luv it! to review.  No other compensation or payment was given. All opinions, descriptions and photos are my own.

The FunBites Giveaway is now Closed. Thank you to all who entered!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Elephants & Peanut Carrots

Lots of elephants in today's lunches! Birdie has a birthday coming up, and last weekend I asked her what kind of party she wanted to have. She said "a elephant one". She told her grandma the same thing on the phone last night too. Elephants huh? She's such a funny kid. I expected to hear "princess" or "LaLaLoopsy" or "Tangled"... elephants is great though, and will be fun to think up games!

I packed her an elephants Sassy box for lunch:

An Elephant Mama & Baby Lunch Punch peanut butter sandwich, 
white cheddar elephant, grapes, and peanut shaped carrots :)

Bella got elephants too, 2 little elephant pics stuck in her red grapes, and a couple cut from ham. Under the ham are 2 wedges of cheese quesadilla. In the flower cup are cucumber slices, and she also has carrot peanuts.

Pickle got an elephant mama & baby peanut butter sandwich as well but I used too much peanut butter and made kind of a mess of it. He won't care! Not pictured is his usual yogurt and oatmeal cookie :)

No elephants for Beanstalk. He doesn't like things too cute. I'm just so happy he's asking me to make him lunches lately instead of just grabbing a Clif bar and a Boost. He actually asked for an orange as well but the ones I bought weren't ripe, boo. So I gave him a bagel cut to fit his Lock&Lock box.

Beanstalk was a little disappointed about not getting an orange, he's trying to "eat his rainbow". His Dad and I are so impressed with the Today I Ate A Rainbow! Kit - I even overheard my husband talking about it to someone on the phone last night, about how brilliant it is :) I'll be doing a review and Giveaway of one next week, don't miss it!
Disclosure: My posts contain affiliate links to products & services I've used & approve of  :)  If you make a purchase after clicking one of those links, I earn a small commission. Thank you!

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