Thursday, January 31, 2013

Diary of Stink Dog - By Elaine M Phillips

 Diary of Stink Dog

Diary of Stink Dog

by Elaine M Phillips


Follow along with Stink Dog, as he discovers why he is so different than his eleven litter-mates. Is Stink really half-poodle and half-pig? Discover the explosive truth about Stink Dog! Stink also uncovers his own top secret abilities! Has Stink discovered the truth about green energy?  Guaranteed to jump start your smell detectors! Created to attract new readers to the magical world of imagination and creative learning. Great for all ages. Guaranteed to burst into laughter! Fun for the whole family. Beware of sudden explosive giggling to follow!!

While hunkered down waiting out Green Monkey's Flu B quarantine, we sat together and read this hilarious book.  It's a quirky adventure of one mighty stinky dog. As you can imagine anything that centers around fart jokes is going to be a hit with 2 little boys. Not to gender-bias this at all, since all children will be giggling as he learns to use his special gifts. In a round about way he learns that just being himself is pretty special. Perhaps he can even solve the world's energy problem.

My monkeys giggled through every sound effect as I read. Green monkey loved the illustrations of burp boy as they reminded him of Johnny Test. Blue monkey said it was funny that Stink dog tooted all the time. The book is 50 pages long with lots of illustrations, perfect for early readers in 1st or 2nd grade.

I tried to get a picture but sitting still when you've been cooped up indoors, well that's just asking too much of 2 little monkeys. So instead I made a lunch in tribute of Stink Dog in our new Yubo.

In this lunch
  • Jelly pig with candy eyes
  • Peanut butter Burp Boy
  • Nutella Stink dog
  • Green Grape stink
  • Pirates booty and natural chocolate candy "Soya beans"

Diary of Stink Dog is available both as an eBook and book at You can find more books by Elaine Phillips at and Or follow her on Facebook.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Superbowl XLVII - Baltimore Vs. San Fransisco

While my Bears may not be in the Superbowl this year (Booo, there's always next year!) we still got in the spirit of the big game. So who are you rooting for?

We would like to thank Mamabelly's Lunches with Love for our new Yubo lunch box. My little monkey couldn't wait to take his lunch to school today. The flat ice pack keeps the whole box cold, each container has a separate lid (not pictured) so its spill-proof, and the whole thing comes apart for easy clean-up. While it didn't have room for his juice box we cleverly tucked it in the handle wrapped in his napkin which I always leave a little love message on.

Baltimore Ravens

In this lunch:
  • Peanut butter and jelly with cheese field sandwich and Ravens logo
  • Fruit leather XLVII
  • Chocolate dipped pretzel goal posts
  • Football brownie
  • Carrots
  • Grapes

San Fransisco 49ers

In this lunch:
  • Peanut butter and Jelly helmet
  • Football brownie
  • "49" watermelon
  • Chocolate dipped pretzel goal posts
  • String cheese and peanut butter celery field
  • Fruit leather XLVII
My big kid is home sick with the flu but that doesn't mean he has to miss out on the fun theme we had planned for today. 

Whoever wins may your food be fabulous, and the commercials be funny :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Through the looking Glass

Happy 181st birthday Lewis Carroll! Inspired by some of my fellow bloggers and the linky over at Bent on Better lunches we've taken our lunch down the rabbit hole and into the world of Alice in Wonderland.

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?”
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

In this lunch:
  • Strawberry smoothie - Drink me
  • Cheese Alice on a cracker
  • Babybel Cheshire cat
  • Teddy graham Mad Hatter party
  • Turkey and cheese with fruit leather - Eat me tart
  • Turkey and cheese white rabbit
  • Strawberry roses with fruit leather Q for the Queen
  • Celery and peanut butter garden with a gummy worm caterpillar blowing fruity cheerio bubbles

“I'm not strange, weird, off, nor crazy, my reality is just different from yours.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass 

“Where should I go?" -Alice. "That depends on where you want to end up." - The Cheshire Cat.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

  “Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Now hop on  over to see all the other beautiful lunches .


Thursday, January 24, 2013

January 21-24

Monday - Martin Luther King Jr. day so the kids were out of school. But that didn't stop us from packing lunch as we spent the afternoon at the Austin Shrine Circus. So we whipped these up real quick before heading out to our other stops before the show. Yesterday was Penguin awareness day and today is Squirrel appreciation day so we sent them to the circus too.

In this lunch:
  • Peanut butter and jelly star, penguin and squirrel with fruit leather and candy eyes
  • Carrot high wire
  • Babybel clown
  • Pirates booty "Popcorn" with teddy grahams
  • Big Top apple slices and grapes
In this lunch:
  • Peanut butter and jelly dog balancing on a wheel stars, with fruit leather and candy eye, balancing a fruit leather hoop
  • Carrot high wire
  • Tumbling Teddy grahams
  • Pirates booty "popcorn"
  • Big Top apple slices and grapes
Tuesday - Green Monkey's school is celebrating National No Name calling Week with a color week. Brave like Blue was today's theme so he got smurfed.

In this lunch:
  • Turkey and cheese mushroom sandwich with  Hefty Smurf
  • Babybel mushrooms
  • Salad - not pictured the ranch dip tupperware container has a blue lid
  • Heart strawberries and blueberries
Blue Monkey got to be demo kid with Lightening McQueen. The previous post was a tutorial for transferring coloring pages onto cheese. You can read about it here.

In this lunch:
  • Peanut butter and Jelly cars with Lightening McQueen cheese
  • Carrots
  • Strawberry hearts
Wednesday - Yippee like Yellow - Pac-Man for Green monkey 

In this lunch:
  • Turkey and Cheese Pac-man board with frosting, cheese dots, carrot ghosts, and pea power-ups
  • Banana with Game Title
  • Pac-man Babybel
  • Pease and carrots
  • Pirates booty - they remind me of Pac-man shapes
Dinosaur week for Blue monkey

In this lunch:
  • Peanut butter and jelly Dinosaurs 
  • Banana with Dinosaurs 
  • Carrots
  • Pirates booty

My second day of substitute teaching lunch. Yesterday I just grabbed a leftover, but I didn't remember to take a picture so just imagine Chicken "breaded" with Kraft Fresh Take - Cheddar Jack and Bacon, and broccoli with cauliflower. My 3rd day I didn't even know I was staying to sub I got asked while dropping my son off. Good thing they had a potluck since I had nothing with me. I was a a delicious collection of Superbowl Party dishes.

 In this lunch:
  • Salad with broccoli and cauliflower
  • Cheese "I" and "Teaching"
  • Tuna heart
  • Almonds and pistachios
  • Heart strawberries and grapes

Thursday - National Peanut Butter Day! Outgoing like Orange Day! Green monkey got Q-Bert.

In this lunch:
  • Peanut butter and jelly cubes - each is double stacked I just alternated which side I left up for effect. I realllllly wish I had a cube-it for this cutting by hand was a bit sticky.
  • Cheddar Q-Bert, and title
  • Babybel speech bubble
  • Carrots
  • Orange slices

Blue monkey wanted the Millennium Falcon cockpit and had been wanting his sandwiches cut with the apple corer/slicer, which I had never thought of using but he loves it. Sometimes he calls it a pizza, sometimes a flower, or sunshine, or like today the Millennium falcon.

 In this lunch
  • Peanut butter and jelly toast Millennium Falcon cockpit
  • Carrots
  • Orange slices
That was our busy week how did yours go? What do your kids love most about their lunches? What will they eat only if you make it cute?

Mine love the characters, and the special treats that sometimes go into them. They like picking out their fruits and veggies.  These monkeys will only eat yogurt frozen into popsicles.

If you made any lunches for National Peanut Butter day there is a linky party going on over at Bento for Kidlet and then hop over to Bent on Better Lunches for more linky fun. It's Peanut butter Jelly time!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Creating Cheese Art From Coloring Pages Tutorial

So awhile back I stumbled on a tutorial from Moey's Heart and Health for fancy cake decorating using coloring pages while scrolling through Pinterest. I pinned it for later use on birthday cakes. Then we began making bento lunches. I kept envying all these gorgeous bentos with fantastic character art. I have NO artistic talent and no food decorating experience. So I adapted Moey's technique into one that I could use on food. Using Americolor Edible markers, wax paper, scotch tape, coloring pages, and cheese. Now I am also very lazy so a lot of the time I google coloring pages and tape a piece of wax paper to my laptop screen and color while I'm watching TV. Here' show it would look if I sat down at the kitchen table to do it like a normal human being. Apologies for the poor choice in demo character, not that we don't love Lightening McQueen but he is a great example of what not to pick I'll get to that in a minute. :)

Step 1: Grab your supplies
  • Americolor edible markers or other food grade coloring dye, gel, etc
  • Wax paper
  • Scotch tape
  • Coloring page/Image you want to copy 
    • Stay within the size of your cheese, it's very annoying to piece together multiple pieces
    • Stay away from details that will be unreadable when flipped, as this is a transfer all images are mirror images. This is why Lightening is a poor choice, his "95" and "Rusteze" will be backwards
    • Avoid too many tiny details, the colors will just smear together and make a mess
  • Cheese - I find White works best, provolone, white cheddar, muenster, babybel, mozzarella, etc.
Step 2: Cut a piece of wax paper
  •  Cut off a little bigger than your piece of cheese
  • Do not trim the width, you'll need it to wrap the uncolored side
  • Tape it to your picture 

Step 3: Channel your inner child and get to coloring
  • Color in the solid colors first as tempting as it is to trace the outline save that for last
  • Outline and add details 
  • Check for dry spots if it starts to dry just go over it again

Step 4: Check your work

  • Carefully untape your picture
  • Place it over something solid color, preferably white, so you can see if you missed any spaces
  • Re-color any dry spots
  • This is when it will dawn on you that letters and number will be backwards


Step 5 : Place your cheese on top
  • Press firmly but don't tear it
  • Go over the whole picture to make sure its all in contact with the wax paper

Step 6 : Fold the wax paper like a present 
  • Fold all 4 sides over be careful not to move the cheese out of position or it will smear
  • You can reattach the tape over the flaps or just leave it creased

Step 7: Flip and rub
  • Flip it over and rub the image firmly like you were doing a crayon rubbing
  • See what I mean about being cognizant of mirror imaging

 Step 8: The big reveal
  • Untape, unfold, etc. colored side down on a flat surface
  • Carefully peel off the cheese
  • Trim the edges with a paring knife for a clean look or cut with a cookie cutter to match your sandwich
  • If you're working the night before (as I do) leave it wrapped tight over night
    • The colors have more time to saturate the cheese
    • It won't dry out if its taped shut

Here are some better examples from previous lunches:

And here's what happens when you don't color in the dry spots and select an image with too many tiny details:

In the end it's just food you can always eat your mistakes and start over :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

January 14-17 lunches

Another fun filled week has flown by. I swear as the school year rolls on time speeds up. I blink and the week is over. This may be due to the lack of sleep that comes with the early wake-up calls of public school making your week into 1 reallly long day, but I digress....back to lunches.

Monday  - Captain America

In this lunch:
  • Star Jelly toast sandwich with Captain America white cheddar cheese on top
  • Babybel cheese shield
  • Carrots "A"
  • Gala apple shield
Tuesday - Let's Eat Pooh! Happy Birthday A. A. Milne
Friday there will be a linky party over at Biting The Hand That Feeds You
At the end of this post you'll find the linky party for anything A.A. Milne related, not just Pooh.
 “It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
“You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh 

Green Monkey gets to eat Pooh (It never gets old)  -
  • Winnie The Pooh jelly toast with cheese and black olives on top
  • Hotdog tree with broccoli and cauliflower
  • Pooh in his honey pot made from a hollowed out gala apple and cheese letters
  • 3-2-1 cake from Duncan Hines with Teddy graham Pooh bears and cheese Pooh letters
Tigger: Hello, Rabbit! I'm Tigger. T-I double guh...
Rabbit: Please! Please! Don't spell it! Oh dear, will you just... just look at my beautiful garden!
Tigger: Yyyyyuck! M-messy, isn't it?
Rabbit: Messy? Messy? It's ruined! It's ruined, Tigger! Why won't you ever stop bouncing?
Tigger: Why? That's what Tiggers do best! Hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo! 

-A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too

Blue Monkey gets Rabbit tending his garden
  • Rabbit Jelly toast sandwich with cheddar cheese and ham on top
  • Hotdog with broccoli and cauliflower
  • Tigger bouncing in the carrots and grapes
  • 3-2-1 cake for dessert with cheese letters. 
“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.”
A.A. Milne

Wednesday - Happy Birthday Martin Luther King Jr. !
 I posted this separately on Wednesday but wanted to keep it in the weekly round-up for this week. Here's the original post.
In this lunch:
  • Heart Jelly toast heart sandwich with  Martin Luther King Jr. cheddar cheese on top 
  • Carrots with fruit leather letters
  • Grapes
  • 3-2-1 cake with frosting peace sign
Thursday -Penguins
Blue Monkey was learning about penguins at school today. When I mentioned it for lunch Green Monkey wanted one too instead of a Benjamin Franklin birthday tribute. Happy Birthday Benjamin Franklin I hope you liked penguins.
In this lunch:
  • Igloo waffle - after cutting the igloo, I buttered it and added syrup then flipped it over so the gooey bit was unseen. Powdered sugar and marshmallows for snow and of course he eats goldfish.
  • Chocolate waffle Penguin - I added 1 tsp of unsweet cocoa and a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips into the waffle batter. Sprayed a penguin cookie cutter and cooked on the skillet like a pancake. Added a little frosting and candy eye.
  • Goldfish
  • PB celery
  • Grapes
  • Babybel cheese
  • Black Olive Penguin - I used this tutorial from Serious Eats, large olives, babybel cheese, and baby carrots
In this lunch:
  • Waffle Igloo with powdered sugar and marshmallow snow
  • Chocolate waffle Penguin with frosting and candy eye
  • Goldfish
  • Carrots
  • Grapes
  • Babybel cheese
  • Black olive penguin
Now for more A.A. Milne fun let's check out the linky party over at Biting the Hand That Feeds You

Healthy after school snacks

So you've got them the eat good breakfast, lunch, and school snack but what about the dreaded after school to pre-dinner hours? For the most part I have an open all-you-can-eat policy with fruit or vegetables. occasionally their sweet tooth kicks in and they can have a piece of leftover Halloween/birthday party candy if they got "green" days at school. Popcorn, veggie straws, goldfish, etc the usual toddler snacks in most pantrys. However, what if I could turn their "treats" into something healthier? I was lucky enough to win some give-aways recently and the monkeys are having a blast trying out the new goodies. A big thank you to my fellow bloggers for the goodies

Skeeter Snacks makes nut-free cookies. They are not your average "I can totally taste the healthy in there" type snacks. They come in 4 flavors Chocolate, Chocolate chunk, golden oatmeal, and Skeeter doodle. I won some samples over at Keeley McGuire's Allergy Free Fun Lunch boxes. The monkeys chowed down! Chocolate and chocolate chunk were scarfed down over Christmas break, sadly I missed taking pictures but trust me they loved them. I grabbed the golden oatmeal and they were delicious. This week they got the Skeeter doodles and they loved them as well. I asked which was their favorite and they said chocolate or chocolate HA!.

In this snack:
Next we tried Chobani Champions greek yogurt for kids. We have tried a few kinds of yogurts over the years and the monkeys never really took to it, never clarifying if it was taste or texture. But thanks to A Boy and His Lunch we were able to try something new. They come in 4 flavors Banana Honey, Orange Vanilla, Chocolate Chunk, and Very Berry. we are excited to try them all but the first ones up are Very Berry which we have made into popsicles and they love them! I tried sending a popsicle to school, but it thawed despite the ice pack and though still cold it didn't hold this shape so Green Monkey licked the stick and wouldn't eat it. However once he got home he and Blue monkey fought over them wanted seconds.

This lunch was originally posted on our first week back to school after Christmas break, I bought some in anticipation of our give-away getting delivered patience is not my virtue, you can see it here.
In this lunch:
  • Chobani Champions Very Berry popsicle
  • PB&J Incredible Hulk sandwich with white cheddar on top
  • Grape hands with cheese fingernails
  • PB celery
After the awesome shipment arrived we had more popsicles. I love saying yes when they ask for ice cream.
They are so excited to try all the flavors they can't wait for one set to be eaten before requesting another flavors.

Lastly we tried a new healthier candy called Unreal it is candy unjunked. It's carried by our Target so that made it easy to pick some up and do some serious scientific research...a taste test.  We tried 4 out of the 5 varieties - Unreal 41:compare to M&Ms, Unreal 5:compare to Milky Way, Unreal 8:compare to Snickers and Unreal 77:compare to Reese PB cups. There's also Unreal 54:compare to Peanut M&Ms but we didn't try that one.
These Hungry Hungry Hippos loved playing to win Unreal 41 and gobbled them up.
Next we tried Unreal 77 and it was just as delicious as a Reeses, they gave it 2 thumbs up.
Then they tried Unreal 5, definitely a good substitute for a Milky Way, 2 more thumbs up.
Last but not least was Unreal 8 and it was as yummy as a Snickers, 2 more thumbs up.
They wanted more of course but we saved some for later. They are priced about the same as the other brands and better as far as sweet treats are concerned.

None of these reviews were paid for, or asked for, they are just some new snacks we've tried and liked and wanted to share our opinions on.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Happy Birthday Martin Luther King Jr.

Happy Birthday Martin Luther King Jr. One of the most pivotal men in history. He preached about love, about equality, and above all respect for all people. In a tumultuous time he stood strong to stand up for those who couldn't. With a little help from my friends at Bento Bloggers & Friends  I sent my son to Kindergarten with this lunch today.

In this lunch: Turkey and cheese heart sandwich. carrots, fruit leather, grapes, and 3-2-1 cake for dessert. I used the cake as teacher gifts and the kids just love to make it, and since the cooking time is 1 min it works perfect for a lunch time treat. You can find the recipe at Duncan Hines.

Here is an excerpt from one of his most famous speeches. "I Have a Dream"
"I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." - Martin Luther King Jr.

You can read the full text here from U.S. Constitution for Kids.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy New Year! + 1 week

I know it's already the second week of 2013 but we were on break last week so it's our first week back to school...and back to bento! Gotta admit I missed coming up with themes, but enjoyed our snacking, sleeping, relaxing lifestyle. None of us missed getting up at they aren't the finest lunches ever made but we'll get back in the swing of things eventually.

I did make lunches for our one outing to Austin Children's Museum. A bit slapdash as I was planning on going out to eat, but our friend was packing lunch so I whipped these up just before we left. The jelly got messy and spilled out of the Texas star and I smeared a snowball during packing, but still better than a lunchable ;)

Monday - The Incredible Hulk - PB&J with white American cheese face, peanut butter celery being crushed by his big grape hands with cheese fingernails. While awaiting our samples I bought some Very berry chobani champions to see if my kids will eat yogurt yet, and froze it into popsicles. He was so excited to get to have froyo in his lunch, but was sad when it had melted by lunch time despite it being a cold day, insulated lunch bag, with an icepack. Since it wasn't "cute" anymore he wouldn't eat it but he did lick the lid and liked it so when he got home he ate 2 more popsicles.

Tuesday - Green Monkey's Thor - White cheddar that rejected my Americolor markers (Boo), on top of jelly toast, Thor's hammers cheese sticks on pretzels, strawberries and PB celery. Brand new pack of markers so it may have been the wax paper or too many details which let the ink dry too much before transferring, or the kind of cheese, who knows, kid ate it :)

Blue Monkey's Loki - Also not great marker transfer onto cheddar, on top of PB&J sandwich, Scepter cheese and pretzels, strawberries and carrots. 

Wednesday - Happy New Year! 2013 cheese and crackers, moon and star jelly toast, Baby new year cocktail weenies in crescent rolls, carrot arms, and babybel head, and 12 grapes for good luck.

Thursday - Green Monkey's Off and running - Jelly sandwich feet with ham and cheese on top, PB celery hurdles, and strawberry hearts. 

Blue monkey's Where are my mittens? His class was playing with winter clothes, reading a book about mittens, and making a mitten craft today so I made him PB mittens with jelly accents, strawberry and carrot hearts. 

It was not easy getting up early again, without travel we were spoiled with sleeping in. Hopefully next week will run a bit smoother. I hesitated posting the failed lunches and then came to the realization that they are still healthy,  my kids ate them, and its ok to fail because at least I tried and they love me for it.