Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Mighty Thor Bento Lunch & Birthday Party + Bonus Paper Bag Popcorn Recipe!

Here's another Marvel character lunch for Beanstalk! He's had Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man & the Amazing Spider-Man themed bentos... today his PlanetBox lunch is a tribute to the Mighty Thor !

I went with colours from the movie poster - red, silver, black and a little blue. The blue corn chips look kind of blackish to me! The salsa is red, as are the Gala apple wedges, and the ham is skewered on a blue star pick. Surrounded by garlic pepper popcorn - made in the microwave with plain kernels, olive oil, garlic salt, & pepper in a brown paper bag - is The Hammer of Thor.

The Hammer of Thor is two granola squares wrapped in aluminum foil on a popsicle stick! Beanstalk took a peek before he left for school, and his smile made getting up at 6 am to think up how to make a hammer from my picky kid's limited food choices well worth the effort    

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Mighty Thor Movie Party!

Last year for Beanstalk's birthday we reserved the balcony of the base theater and took him,  Pickle, and 10 of his friends to see Thor ! Sounds expensive, but it was so not! About $6 a kid which included their admission, popcorn, a drink & a candy selection. We had the balcony to ourselves to watch the movie, and the upstairs lobby for the cake and presents. Awesome!

I made "movie ticket" invitations with Beanstalk's picture on them and hand delivered them to the invitees in striped popcorn bags as envelopes: 

Movie Admission Ticket Party Invitations
They were so cute - the bar code even said RSVP and our phone # ! They were really easy to make - I found the free template here - all I had to do was drag and drop his photo, add my text, print on card stock and cut out :)

I used more popcorn bags (a pack of 12 for $1 at Dollar Tree) for loot bags. 

And since my baking is hit or miss and my cake frosting skills non-existent, I bought a grocery store bakery cake and added a Thor action figure and his accessories as cake toppers. Beanstalk loved it.

His 10th birthday Thor movie party was a hit! 

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By request, here is how I make
Easy Peasy Paper Bag Microwave Popcorn!


1/4 cup good quality popcorn
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt, the finer the better
Seasonings to taste - I like garlic salt, cayenne & cracked black pepper
Brown paper lunch bag
  1. In a small dish, toss the popcorn with the oil, salt and seasonings.
  2. Dump it all in the paper bag.
  3. Fold the bag over several times. Secure w/ tape if it won't stay folded.
  4. Microwave on high 2 or 3 minutes - until there are several second pauses between pops.
  5. Empty into a bowl and enjoy!
*If not eating right away, line bowl with tea towel or paper towel to absorb oil and cool before transferring to storage container.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Make Your Own Pizza Lunches!

Recently, I contributed a post on MOMables' blog, making my own healthier, fresh version of a packaged DIY pizza lunch. My girls loved my version and have been asking me to make it again just about every other day since.

Here's Bella's pizzable. She has ham, whole wheat sandwich thins for crust, marinara sauce in a little leak-proof container (lid not shown), a sweet mini pepper, shredded cheese, and a side of grapes.

Make your own pizza lunch!
Sprout & Birdie had a muffin tin version of the same thing:

DIY pizza muffin tin meal

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I overslept this morning, so we were running way behind, and I didn't have time to pack lunch for everyone or we'd be late for school. I packed Beanstalk's Lock & Lock (ham, grapes, Clif Kid Z bar & Gala apple wedges), but told Bella & Pickle to have the school hot lunch.

Tuesday is breakfast for lunch day at school - they sometimes do want that - but of course, not today. *sigh* I said I'd try to drop off some home made ones before their lunch periods, but if I didn't, to just have the school lunch.

After running some errands,  I did have time to make lunch for them. I made Bella's, then got out the peanut butter for Pickle's sandwich - but where was the bread? Sailor Boy had bought bread the day before... where could he have put it? Unfortunately he was on an airplane so I couldn't ask him. We did have hot dog buns, so I made Pickle some peanut butter dogs instead:

I dropped off Pickle's lunch in time, but I must have been confused about what time Bella went to lunch (she's at a different school) because when I got there, she was already at a table with a school lunch tray (and apparently they get to pump their own syrup, because her pancakes were swimming in a pool of it).

As soon as she saw me, Bella shoved her tray away. "Hang on," I teased, "you don't even know what I brought, how do you know it's better than what you have?" The girl next to her piped up "Anything is better than the school lunch!" The rest of the table agreed, and Bella excitedly opened her EasyLunchbox, squealing at the sight of her pizza lunch :

DIY mini pizza school lunch
Way better than Lunchables...  it's Pizzables!

I wished I could have brought lunch for her whole table :)
My friend Keeley of Keeley McGuire Blog did just that today - brought lunch for everyone  You have to read her heartwarming post - when you're done with mine of course :) Pay It Forward - Bento Blessings 

Back at home, it was Sprout & Birdie's turn to make their own mini pizzas:

DIY mini pizza muffin tin meals
Sprout piled half the shredded cheddar beside her plate right away, before spreading her sauce - she was worried her sister would eat all of it before she got any - a valid concern, Birdie's a cheese fiend!

Birdie took some ham! She rarely eats any meat - but sometimes likes ham (thanks to Ponyo!) Nobody touched the yellow pepper - not even cutting it to look like little flowers enticed them today.

After eating half her pizza, my funny little Birdie decided what it needed was a grape on top, "like a cherry".  Silly sproutlet :)

The DIY Pizza lunch that inspired today's was just one of a series of healthier lunch remakes I'm collaborating on with MOMables for our Lunchbox Wars series - a this vs that of the lunchbox.  If there's a packaged lunch you'd like to see remade,  head over to MOMables and let us know!

Find Me Blogging At MOMables

Following In My Shoes Bento Lunches

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday Evening Post : I'm Feeling Comical

This Calvin & Hobbes comic is so funny to me, because it's so true!

I love Calvin & Hobbes. I usually totally relate to Calvin :) But sometimes, I relate more to Calvin's mom! Like in this comic:

Thanks for stopping by my blog on the week-end! 
Have a great S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y NIGHT!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Just Lunch

No themes, nothing cute or creative today, it's just lunch :)

Cheese crackers, honey ham, grapes & granola bar in a LunchBots Quad.

Fig Newtons, carrot sticks, apple wedges, bunny fruit snacks & a peanut butter sandwich, in an EasyLunchbox :

Okay, so I did use a Lunch Punch to make Bella's sandwich, so it's a little bit cute... She asked me to cut her crusts cut off, and the Lunch Punch does that in one step, the cuteness is a bonus :) And Pickle is still demanding his sandwich be plain with the crusts on - there's no fun for me in that!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man PlanetBox

With Beanstalk's upcoming Avengers themed birthday party on my mind, I'm on a bit of a Marvel streak with his lunches - he's had Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, & Iron Man bentos, & today,  the Amazing Spider-Man :

This PlanetBox lunch contains NatureBox Zingy Currants (Beanstalk calls them mini-raisins), blueberry-pomegranate fruit leather squares, Granny smith apple wedges, a peanut almond granola bar, and in the PlanetBox Big Dipper, a web of ramen noodles (with a Spidey cupcake topper). He has the hot broth for the ramen noodles in a Thermos (not pictured). I pack them separately so the noodles don't turn into a soggy pasta brick in the Thermos (that's happened before); he can mix them when he's ready to eat.

If my arm wasn't in a sling I'd have attempted carving a web into an apple peel or fruit leather or something - I may have to do a sequel lunch at a later date :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lunch for the Man & a Gumball Sandwich ;)

I wrote a little note on the lid of Sailor Boy's EasyLunchbox, with Dry Erase marker: "Have a great day! Love from your favourite chick!", and inside there is a little yellow chick pick in his strawberries - heh heh :)

He got pizza dippers - a leftover slice of Papa Murphy's cheese pizza cut in bite sized pieces, with some marinara sauce to dip them in - a couple of peppers, and a pepperoni butterfly. On the side he has fresh strawberry slices (with a chick pick) and some NatureBox Cranberry Jubilee snack mix.

Gumballs for lunch for Pickle! Ha ha, not really - he has a peanut butter sandwich made with a gumball machine shaped Lunch Punch, embellished with bread crust gumballs (stuck on with peanut butter).

Bella had ham & cheddar on wheat sandwich thins, mozzarella bites on heart picks, celery & peppers, Kashi Fire Roasted Veggie crackers, and a couple of whole wheat Fig Newtons.

Beanstalk's PlanetBox contained some honey ham, red grapes, a Clif Z Bar, raisins, and pomegranate & blueberry fruit leather.

Beanstalk also got a yogurt drink, not shown. His Nalgene cup has gone missing so I let him pick out some convenience drinks to take until we get a new one, and he chose yogurt shakes. 

Anyone with older kids have a favourite reusable drink container? Recommendation comments welcome!

Stuff used for these lunches:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Iron Man Bento & Matching Muffin Tin Meal

Last week Beanstalk had Captain America and the Incredible Hulk lunches, so in keeping with the Avengers theme, today he has a red & gold Iron Man bento in his LunchBots Quad. He has red grapes, cheddar & mozzarella cheese crackers, honey ham rolls (one secured with a homemade Iron Man pick), granola squares, and raisins.

It's Muffin Tin Monday! I made matching red & gold muffin tins for little sisters Sprout & Birdie. They had raisins, Annie's Homegrown cheddar bunny crackers, cheddar & mozzarella cheese, strawberries, red grapes (one with a ring pick - they loved that!) and celery sticks with peanut butter dip.

Bella and Pickle took peanut butter sandwiches, Pickle's with yogurt, and Bella's with grapes, celery sticks & PB dip, but I didn't take photos of their lunches today.   If you want to see how I made Beanstalk's Iron Man pick, click the link to: my DIY cupcake pick post :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Soup & Superhero

Beanstalk's lunch was inspired by another member of the Avengers, the Incredible Hulk! It's hard to do a theme lunch when A) your kid is super picky, B) cute is not allowed, C) you didn't plan ahead and have to use what's on hand, and D) one of the colours is purple! Fortunately I had some Annie's fruit snacks in a purple pouch and some alphabet biscuits :)

The grapes, silicone muffin cup, & pick the ham is skewered on are green like Hulk, and the fruit snacks, blueberry pomegranate fruit leather, & the muffin cup it's in are purple like his pants. The alphabet biscuits spelling HULK are not stuck to the fruit leather with anything so they will just be in a jumble when he opens his lunch, but that's OK, destruction and the Hulk go together :)

Bella has tomato soup in her iCarly Thermos Funtainer today, with sides in a small Lock & Lock, and her special pink Spork:

Her sides are grapes, tomatoes, whole wheat fig newtons, and roasted vegetable Ritz crackers. Bella wouldn't want the seasoning from the crackers on her cookie, so I used little silicone "walls" called baran to separate them:

Pickle took a plain "not creative" peanut butter sandwich today, again. I hope he lets me make him a "creative" sandwich again soon, I still have unused ideas from when I was doing my 101 peanut butter sandwiches challenge!

Stuff I used:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Avengers Lunch, Assemble!

Well, one of the Avengers, anyways :) It's a Captain America bento in a LunchBots Quad for Beanstalk - a reminder of our weekend plans to see Avengers! Gala apple wedges, Clif Kid Z bar, Craisins, & fruit snacks, as he requested, plus an A cookie and a fruit leather star to make it more fun :)

Also by request, a turkey & cheddar sandwich for Bella, with fruit snacks, berry rice cakes, and whole wheat fig newtons.

Beanstalk has a birthday coming up! He'll be turning 11! He's chosen an Avengers theme for his party, so I made an Avengers Birthday Ideas Pinterest Board for Avengers and Marvel character decor, treats, & eats. One of my favourite pins so far is the healthy superhero snack buffet pictured below:

I'd love for you to share your links to Avengers party ideas! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It's Not Always Pretty...

Lunch is not always pretty. Some days I just don't have it together. Today was one of those days. I got up on time, but there was no coffee waiting for me (boy do I miss that when Sailor Boy's on a trip) and I just wasn't moving very fast. It's so light when we get up these days too - this morning I just had this summery Saturday-ish feeling that was hard to shake off and get moving to get the sproutlets off to school. I made it though, with adequate lunches in their bags, but only just :) One more month of school, wow!

Here is Bella's lunch, the only one I took a photo of - taken last minute, at her request,  with my iPhone :)

Heh, OK, so it doesn't look half-bad now - but this morning I was apologetic to her... I guess I felt bad that it was so thrown together, theme-less, and full of snack-y things. She has a mango fruit leather bar, a few grapes, some chocolate-covered pretzel rings, 3 fig newtons, some celery sticks with a  little container of peanut butter dip, 4 baby carrots, and a handful of tomatoes I stuck some flower picks in, attempting to add some pretty :)

Oh, I just remembered something! I was looking at my blog stats recently, and someone found my blog with the search "mom who looks like they have it all together". Honestly, it was so funny to me (because I am so not that mom),  that I had to take a screen shot!

So for the person who found me with that search,  thanks for the smile, but I assure you, I'm just a regular parent who doesn't have it together most of the time - but it's nice to know it looks like I do - it reminds me not to compare myself to others and find myself lacking, because what I see is only part of the picture - and with blogs, and facebook, only what people want me to see!

The truth is, some days I'm so scattered or rushed, that as much as I aspire to give my sproutlets better lunches, I could totally just throw a pop tart and a juice box in their bag, if I had those things (which is exactly why I don't buy them anymore)!  I don't bother taking pictures on those days, but believe me, there are plenty of boring, not so pretty, sometimes barely nutritionally adequate lunches that never make it to a post :) And sometimes I do make lunch with convenience snacks :

Monday, May 14, 2012

Birdie's Elephant Garden

I asked Birdie if she wanted to make her own muffin tin meal for lunch today, since Sprout did, for the Mom's Day Off blog hop - but she said "no thanks" ! Strange little girl.  She's probably too tired, she was up several times throughout the night. I bet I'm more tired though! Between Birdie and Sprout, I've been up ALL night! Cross your fingers for us all to get a nap in today, that would be really nice :)

I made her muffin tin with pretty much the same things Sprout chose for her bento lunch for the blog hop, since they'll be eating together - grapes, celery, carrots, and a homemade Butternut Squash Oatmeal Ginger Coconut muffin. And she loves elephants, so I added some of those too. 

Birdie's Elephant Garden

Birdie also has a couple of things Sprout doesn't - banana, which Sprout dislikes, and freeze dried mixed fruit, which Sprout refused to try. No clue if Birdie will try it or not - I'm going to call it "fruit chips" and we'll just see :) 


Beanstalk also has a muffin, in his LunchBots Quad, and grapes, some NatureBox Zingy Dried Currants, and a treat of Captain America fruit snacks - I'm hoping this reminds him to have a good week at school so he's allowed to see The Avengers this weekend!

Pickle requested a plain peanut butter sandwich, not creative, crusts on - no point in taking a picture of that! :)
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