Thursday, September 27, 2012

Generation TX Spirit Week

This was Generation Texas week at Green Monkey's school. So each day was a different theme. I decided it would be fun to theme our lunches to match. So each night we talked about the next day's theme and I asked him to describe to me what he thought of for each's what he came up with and how I turned it into lunch.

Monday -Rock Star Day - Rock stars play guitar (Imagine 5yo boy playing hilarious flailing air guitar) so we begin with a PB&J guitar sandwich with carrot stick strings and raisin nuts. Crackers and cheese music. cantaloup stars, and my favorite a cucumber drum set (Beatles of course). Yes he did get pop rocks for lunch, 1) he begged for them after he saw me putting them in a friend's 40th birthday party bouquet(40 rocks), and 2) because they do rock :o).

Tuesday - Super Hero Day - Avengers Lunch for 2. One for each little monkey representing 4 of their favorite avengers. Ironman PB&J sandwich, mini oreo eyes; Babybel cheese Captain America shield on whole wheat ritz cracker, Incredible Hulk cucumber with spinach shorts, and Thor's lil smokie and carrot hammer.

Wednesday - Neon Day - Ok so we didn't have any neon colored food so since it reflects on your future being bright I asked him to name things that were bright...

Green monkey answered a light bulb, the sun, and stars. So he got a turkey and cheese light bulb sandwich, babybel and mild cheddar sun which he helped to color yellow, star cut cucumber for the ranch on his salad, and star shaped cantaloup and honeydew melon.

Blue Monkey answered sun and stars so he got a turkey and cheese sun sandwich, honeydew stars, and star cucumber with ranch. he didn't have school but since we had back to back plans I packed him a lunch for the road.

Thursday - Cowboy boots day - Turkey and cheese boot with turkey and cheese spur, and turkey and cheese hat sandwiches. Strawberry desert roses, carrot camfpire with lil smokie bench. I also made them mini smores because you can't have a campfire without them. So 1 square of graham cracker, 4 mini marshmallows, and a Hershey kiss.

Other monkey got the same but I used the other half of the sandwich to a cactus. The monkeys had a really hard time deciding who got which one. Both ate them and especially loved the smores :)

So the monkeys and I had a great week dressing up and making lunches. Tomorrow is college shirt day but he gets to buy his lunch since he's gotten green days all week so that's it for this week.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Journey through lunch

This week was a ton of fun! We began our journey through time and space with a couple Doctor Who themes. The monkeys have been watching it a lot as we're catching up on the first few seasons on Netflix. I love having little whovians running around. Nothing like sitting at IHOP with 2 little monkeys saying "Exterminate" back and forth across the table in their best impression of a Dalek. So off we go then...

Monday - Doctor Who Exterminate! PB&J Dalek with cheddar cheese and a dried cherry. Another Dalek made from a baby carrot hovers above ready to exterminate the Doctor. The cucumber Slitheen have it out for him too. How will DW (Covering grapes and cucumbers) Doctor Who escape all these villains? Stay tuned!

Tuesday - Doctor Who TARDIS times 2. Both monkeys have school today so we continued our Whovian adventure. Traveling back many seasons with our graham cracker TARDIS. I frosted it like you would make a gingerbread house, halved some mini marshmallows for windows, and a jellybean for the light. PB&J K-9 modified because the monkeys hadn't gotten to this episode yet. I made it look like a toy version rather than as he appears in the episodes. Now that they've seen him then next would be a solid base not legs. Next I tried my hand and carving fruit so I carved strawberry roses for our favorite Doctor companion Rose (Thanks Youtube). Cassandra the last human is Monterrey jack cheese stretched over her carrot frame.This was a big hit and both monkeys wanted to keep going with the theme but there were other special days this week so look for the Doctor to return later, after all he can't just hang around here all day, Time Lords never stick around too long. Allonsy!

Wednesday - International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Yo Ho Yo Ho a pirates life for me. The wee scallywags were in for quite a treat today. They set sail decked out in their pirate shirts as did I as their fearless Cap'n. It was early release day at school but he was not going to miss this adventure. So we followed our monterrey jack cheese map from the stormy graham cracker seas, defeating Davey Jones lil smokie. Ham and cheese ship is carrying our babybel pirate and the sail is carrot stick, ham and cheese skull and cross bones. On a distant aisle he tracks a red apple parrot (very rare indeed as it was my first time to ever try carving an apple thanks youtube) I adapted it to use apple slices and made the head 2 pieces because the separate beak looked better. Low and behold our brave pirate made it to the pirates booty full of carrot coins. The pirate flag was from Make and Takes blog. After school we took a blog hop journey through pirate themed bentos across the webisphere thanks to Bento Bloggers & Friends. We started our journey at Keitha's Chaos you need to check them all out they are too cute!

Thursday - Teddy Bear Picnic - Today is teddy bear picnic day at little blue monkeys school, so both monkeys got to go on a teddy bear picnic with their lunches today. Based on the book The Teddy Bears Picnic by Jimmy Kennedy.  Our PB&J little boys are in teddy bear disguises this morning, for when they went into the spinach and celery leaf woods today they were in for a big surprise. They followed the cucumber and cheese paw prints and saw a bunch of grape and fruit twist balloons. The Teddy grahams and Gummy bears were having their picnic on their graham cracker blanket covered in fruit roll up and mini marshmallow slices. What do they eat at their picnic? Why dried berries of course .

We had such a fun week, thanks for traveling with us! We'll be back next week for more fun. Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pick a pair

So this week we had pairs of characters requested. Rather than make small versions I opted to give each their own day. Especially since Tuesday and Thursday I make 2 lunches. By the 4th day Green Monkey even wanted to help make them. So now I'm brain storming some prep work he could help with after dinner before bedtime routine. We'll see how that goes. Who knows maybe by the end of this year he'll be making his lunch all by himself which would be awesome, but I won't hold my breath.

Monday - Mario lunch - Can you tell what game he just got for his DS this weekend? This is where my son really started having an opinion on how it looks before I close it up and pack it. Originally I had Mario at the bottom and a mushroom in each corner just for decoration. Then he sees it and rearranges it into this. "Mushrooms can't fly mom, and they should go in different directions like this because he just ran them over." The mushrooms are a little smokie (cocktail weenie) inside half of a babybel cheese. I poked holes through the red wax using a straw.Strawberry jelly toast with 1 mini oreo used for wheels. Ham head/nose on top of a Ritz cracker, with beef jerky for all the hair bits (hair, eyebrows, mustache) and dried blueberry on the marshmallow eyes, and dried cherry for the mouth. His hat is fruit roll up over left over toast from his sandwich. Cantaloup stars, gorilla gummy from a Mario brothers gummies box. Cucumber Yoshi, dried cherry mouth, marshmallow and dried blueberry eyes, and I dripped a little ranch down his chest for the white tummy.

Tuesday - Luigi (you saw that coming right?) - Pretty simple and I got to use my dinosaur which cuts a sandwich in half making 2 dinos at once, saving me time. Turkey and Swiss today with lettuce to make Yoshi green. Using the H cookie cutter halfway through a green/blue fruit roll-up for his body. I used a 3rd piece of toast for the heads since I was making 2, and topped with turkey, beef jerky, marshmallow, dried blueberry, and dried cherry. The hat is toast covered in leftover green fruit roll up. Yoshi gets to hit the nutrigrain brick and win a coin of Colby jack cheese. He reaches carrot castle to raise the cantaloup flag after jumping over the green rip strip pipe where a strawberry and grape leaf monster tries to bite them. Oh and a green gummy treat I think they were Yoshis.

Wednesday - Phineas -One of their favorite shows, and games on the Ipod. Plus I had a request from a friend on FB so that worked out well, everyone is happy. :) Super easy too. Jelly toast sandwich, cut the top piece a little for the mouth. Marshmallow and dried blueberry eyes, carrot stick hair. Colby-jack cheese on toast scraps t-shirt. For the tree I used leftover crust (no he won't eat it but it worked) for the grape tree and fruit twist uncoiled for the rope and mini Oreo tire swing. Cantaloup P on top of grapes. But wait where's Perry? He's on a cucumber rocket-ship! I cut 3 small slits into a grape and stuck in a little Colby jack for the tail, carrot stick for legs, and cantaloup for his bill, scraps from the other stuff already in there.

Thursday - Another dazzling duo morning. But alas our first creative disagreement so while they both got Ferb they wanted different scenes. Oh sure why not, wait let me just top off my coffee...ok all better. So Green Monkey wanted a science theme, and while I almost attempted doofenshmirtz but one character is enough so I made a babybel beaker  with fruitloop bubbles instead which he colored it green for the potion. This time Perry is on a case and is made out of fruit roll up, cheese and turkey. Ferb is ham and cheese his t-shirt is marshmallow and cheese sleeve marshmallow and blueberry eye and spinach hair. F is for ferbalicious fruit salad. He also wanted regular salad so I cut the center of the cucumber into a start and filled it with ranch dressing.

Blue Monkey wanted Ferb and a honeybee tree? we may have to discuss the word consensus soon but for now I rolled with it. So Ferb is the same as is Perry, but he wanted carrots not salad. The grape tree is the same as the Phineas one but I added a red grape as a bee hive and a cantaloupe with dried blueberry wings for a bee. I wish I had a reason for why I pick what I do but it's all completely random based on what I have on hand :)

There's a 101 ways to cut up a sandwich, I wonder how many characters they will think up. As long as they want them I'll keep on going. I also think it would be fun to take requests so when they run out of ideas I will attempt anything child friendly from the comments we get. Feel free to leave a comment below with your favorite characters and I'll run it by my little directors ;)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

More lunch fun

Ok so here's how week 2 went. I know you thought it was a cute gimmick that was special for the first week of school, for the first kid to hit elementary school...nope I've created a monster. Having control over who goes in his lunch finally makes lunch appealing to Green Monkey. Blue Monkey started Mother's Day out this week. So now every Tuesday and Thursday the monkeys must come to a consensus on who will be in their lunch. This week they decided on more super heroes. While this is all kinds of fun 1 theme is plenty for me especially if I'm going to make 2 so they will get identical lunches or as close as I can recreate. I know at some point they won't agree and I will probably give in, but so far it has been a non-issue.

 Monday was a holiday so no school, sorry :(

Tuesday - Green Lantern -  So Blue Monkey got the same goodies for his first day as Green Monkey, Hugs & Kisses pencil and Star Wars good luck postcard. I am nothing if not fair...but I'm not stupid either I made them at the same time and put his set away until his first day. Same thing for the teacher gifts I made 1 for each teacher and sent them with the boys on their first day. If you want the links to those they are in the previous post. That little Gingerbread man you use once a year...he can be anyone with a costume to a 5 and 3 year old. Today he was a ham and cheese sandwich with a green lantern suit made from lettuce, swiss cheese, and a kiwi symbol. Whole wheat Ritz cracker topped with swiss cheese and kiwi green lantern symbol. Yes I did actually carve a grape into a ring but seriously not difficult cut out a wedged from each side leaving a strip for the ring, poke a hole in the middle and poof it's a ring. And yes he of course wore it at lunch :) silly monkey. Cucumbers are just stacked to mimic the same symbol and the grapes are mostly whole just a couple rings tossed in for fun. I guess the green gummy bears are aliens but whatever they're green :)

Wednesday - Back to 1 lunch for Green Monkey. He picked Joker. Shocker... jelly toast, but really cool jelly toast :) a grape suit just seemed fitting. Yes I did attempt to cut a tie from a I'm not clinically insane just a little detail oriented with a penchant for self one-up-man-ship. The flower is left over colby jack cheese from the HA covering the strawberries and carrots and a seed from the kiwi. So I had some babybel cheese, but the little I totally pulled a Gallagher and smashed it with a meat cleaver HA! What can I say I was in tune with the subject. Anyway I added lettuce for hair, raisins for eyes, a mini marshmallow cut diagonally for a pointy nose, and drew on the eyebrows with edible marker. The pretzels were a great find at our local grocery store. Now while Pinners everywhere have done the smartie pants note for the first week of school I may be the first to get her kid scolded for having candy at snack time. There is a baggie of crackers behind the note but shame on me.

Thursday - Yep back to Green and Blue lunch so twice the fun , in the same 1 hour before school. :) It's a bird, it's a plane, no it's superman lunch time! Proving once again it doesn't have to be complicated to be cute and fun. Superman symbol strawberry jelly toast, fruit roll up cape, kiwi kryptonite in the corner Watch out! Fruit fortress of solitude apples hiding a strawberry pod. Superman shaped ham on whole wheat Ritz crackers.

Friday was grandparents day at Green Monkey's school so he got to buy his very first lunch and go through the line with his Mimi he was Stoked! I brought cheese pizza and greek salad for me and Blue Monkey from our favorite local shop, what does Green Monkey choose to buy... cheese pizza. We did surprise their Grandmas with a cute gift made the night before...oh come on you know I got it from pinterest :) Here's the link to the super cute Handprint and poem. We did ours after dinner, 1 kid at a time while daddy distracted the other with legos, then tossed them in the bath and bed while the masterpieces dried over night. They signed them the next day.

Stay tuned every week is a new adventure :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bento...well kinda ;o)

I am a stay at home mom of two crazy but loveable monkeys currently ages 5 and 3. Now before we go on I am not a crazy over achiever. I do not care if you choose to send lunchables every day for your child, buy them the cafeteria food, or send plain old PB&J every single day. My goal is and has been to get my kid to eat, and then work on something not too terribly unhealthy. So don't judge me, I won't be judging you, in fact any and all tips are appreciated as I am learning as I go.

Our journey has evolved each year since Green Monkey Boy started going to mother's day out when he was 2. It was just 2 days a week for 4 1/2 hours a day, so I sent peanut butter and jelly, cut in half, maybe diagonally if I felt fancy LOL, a baggie of fruit, a sippy of juice, and a cute note with a sticker on his napkins even though he was far from being able to read. About halfway through the year he HATED PB&J, and developed a hatred of crust. Oh great, now I have to be THAT mom, cutting crusts off my picky kid's sandwich. After watching at least half if not more of his lunch come back every day and get thrown away I started asking him more and more questions to see if there was anything I could do to get him to eat lunch.

The next year I evolved again. I kept the napkin notes, just something I picked up from my mom who always drew a fantastic cartoon on our lunch napkins with an encouraging message. I can't draw so they get the love notes but I buy character stickers :o). For sandwiches I bought a few sandwich cutters, trains, dinosaurs, and bats. Kill 2 birds with one stone right? Gets rid of the crust and makes it more fun. That worked for a little bit but then Green Monkey gave up peanut butter so now he would only eat jelly toast, every day, even on whole wheat bread and a good jelly still not covering those food groups. Then he discovered ranch made some veggies ok and we ran with it.

The next  year we added to our sandwich cutter collection with a Millennium falcon and a Tie fighter and I figured out cookie cutters work too so I added in holiday shapes. Sadly only little Blue Monkey wanted the trains and dinosaurs so each picked from his 3 favorites every morning. Still stuck on jelly toast for Green Monkey, at least he would eat real fruit and real vegetables. Kept the napkin notes and stickers. I think I entertained his teachers more than him with those, but it made me feel good to tuck them in there so I did it. By this year I had 2 monkeys in MDO. So double the lunch making, but hey that's only 4 lunches a week so not too overwhelming. The little Blue Monkey of course adopted big Green Monkey's picky-ness, and started off with crust-less shaped sandwiches, lucky kid.

Which brings us to this year. Green Monkey has entered the matrix, public school, Kindergarten! I have been watching a friend create these adorable bento lunches every day for her son, themed with a book they read every morning before school.  You should check out her blog (Keitha's Chaos) too, even the  book authors have been in awe of her lunch art. Once you see her stuff there's a whole circle of bento lunch artists that link to each other so prepare yourself for a Pinterest kind of afternoon. I however am a noob. My goal is to get my picky eater to try new food, eat a reasonably balanced lunch, and have some fun in the morning. So every night before he goes to read bedtime stories with Daddy and little Blue monkey, I ask him what kind of sandwich he would like (jelly toast usually wins but occasional ham or turkey), what kind of fruit, and what kind of vegetable he is willing to eat. I also ask him this at the beginning of each week so we have the favorites on hand and don't have to run out to the grocery store for some random request. Next I ask him who or what he would like to see in his lunch. While the boys get tucked in I chop, peel, prep whatever won't go bad in the fridge over night, usually fruit and veggies, sometimes meat and cheese, bread is always saved for morning so it doesn't get gross. So by morning I have my picture in my head, some prep done, the coffee brewing ( I prep that the night before too so I don't make fabulous steamed water), and 1 hour to make lunch while also orchestrating the morning routine. It took 3 days for Green Monkey to find the snooze function on his alarm clock, we are NOT morning people. I will say, once up, we do quite well with time management. His clothes are laid out the night before and he dresses after he eats, no arguing, just simple easy routine.

Ok so first week of school I started with something tried and true the Millennium Falcon jelly toast. I played with the apples but not really sure what I was making a smiley face maybe? Definitely over shot the ranch, but the separate compartments made that ok. I was focused on the cute Pinterest ideas for his first day not his lunch. I  made a hershy kiss and hug pencil for his treat, Star Wars postcard for his note, and gave his teacher a helping hand soap in case they needed a room mom. Then of course were all the 1st day photo ops and getting the whole family ready in time to walk him in the first day.

 Day 2 I got braver and went for an under the sea theme. Our grocery store carries the goldfish bread so why not? The orange octopus was easy just cut the bottom skin like pizza slices about halfway up then peel each triangle up, draw on a face. The "sea cucumber" is just slices with a face and 1 cut into fins. Another Pinterest moment for the snack note and tried my hand at now know why the previous notes were stickers :o).

Day 3 - Green Monkey gets involved beyond ingredients and picks his first theme. I want Batman 2 Xbox game. Oh sure coming right up, wait what? So I looked at his controller, the game system, the box, hmm. Then it hits me we have Hershey kisses (remember that 1st day of school pencil), fruit twists which when unraveled look just like cables, and there were M&Ms in our trail mix. So to incorporate Batman I just cut the top apples to look like B and M, then used edible markers to draw bat signals on babybel cheese and stacked them with ham and whole wheat Ritz crackers. So Green monkey has to get on the bus because he has been dying to ride it since he first saw one, but that means his lunch is done in his bag by 7am, they eat at 11:15am, so how do I keep this from being gross? I freeze his juice box. By lunch time it's perfect and his lunch is refrigerator cold. Now we tried this with chocolate milk (his favorite drink ever) but it didn't thaw in time. So if you want a disposable ice pack stick to juice. Oh and here you can see my typical napkin sticker type notes. Most days he gets a paper note taped to his snack baggie though.

Day 4 I know what you're thinking I don't sleep and I spend hours carving food while my family sleeps, nope thinking is the longest effort and that is done the day before or wherever inspiration hits. So I found a set of 101 cookie cutters by Wilton at Walmart for $10 so that gave me tons of options, and don't just look at the shape look at what you could do to it. For example I took an open face sandwich cut one side with the award shape and only spread jelly far enough to look like and arm and 2 fingers then shredded a piece of string cheese for webs. Simple oval for the head and left over pieces of toast for shoulders. Crackers with swiss cheese and turkey webbing, apple slices S and M, and a cucumber spider.

Stay tuned for week 2 we took him lunch Friday so we could have a family picnic and meet some of his new friends. After getting what he asked for that morning he was disappointed he couldn't go through the hot food line. So our new Friday deal is he gets to buy his lunch on Fridays if he gets green days (good behavior) all week, and me and little blue monkey bring our lunch to come eat with him. For now I must rest because I still haven't been able to hire house elves to do all this for me  and 6am comes quickly. Night!