Lunch Box Ideas: Girl in a Car

For her lunch box, M had asked for “Cinderella’s carriage with a princess in a long dress”, but this is what she got instead — a silly spaghetti-haired girl in a little car….

For the sandwich I used cheddar cheese for the wheels, a mini buttered roll for the car, part of an organic turkey wiener for the girl, spaghetti for the hair and a food writer to draw on the eyes and mouth.

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Lunch Box Ideas: Pencil Shaped Sandwich

Something fun for the girls’ lunch — a pencil shaped ham and cheddar sandwich, an orange-cranberry muffin and some fruit.  I made the pick using some ABC washi tape and black card stock.

First Day Back

For M’s first day at preschool — an apple shaped sandwich with the words “Back to School” imprinted on it…..

And for H’s mid-morning school snack —  a little bunny peeking out of a strawberry field….


These are just examples of how you can spruce up any lunch box by using simple items such as sushi grass dividers and fun food picks.

Fish Shaped Fruit Skewers

I made these skewers back in June for a preschool class party, but thought I would share them with you as an idea for school.  Wouldn’t these be a fun treat for kids to find in their lunch boxes?  I’m not talking about making these everyday, but maybe for special occasions or holidays? Or even if your child is having an off week, surprising them with a little something special and out of the ordinary could help to brighten their day.

Mini cookie cutters are perfect for cutting out fun, bite sized shapes for kids.   If you don’t own any yet and would like to get some, start off with some basic shapes — stars, circles, hearts, flowers…. I use these shapes all the time for cutting fruits, cheese, sandwiches and of course, cookies.   If you’re looking for a variety of different shapes, you can get some really cute ones online from Foose Cookie Cutters or from Fox Run (Amazon.com).  Have fun with it and get the kids involved — kids tend to enjoy their snacks much more if they’ve taken part in creating it.

Too bad it’s almost time to say “good-bye” to summer…..

Monster Cookies

I love chocolate….

I love peanut butter….

Add in some oatmeal (along with a few other yummy ingredients)….

and you get an irresistible batch of monster cookies…..

A Mix of Emotions

My oldest child will be starting full-day kindergarten in September.  With that comes a mix of emotions for me — EXCITEMENT, as I’m thrilled she’ll be off to start a new chapter in her young life… SADNESS, as I sit and wonder where the time has gone…and DREAD,  as I think about the inevitable morning chaos and the daily lunches I’ll have to pack!

I can’t offer any advice on how to make it through the mornings without turning into Cruella De Vil (I’m still trying to figure that one out myself), but I might be able to provide you with some lunch box ideas that will hopefully inspire you, or at least make you and your child smile.

PS  My girls couldn’t wait to eat up these fun faces I made using Babybels and seaweed.  I’m pretty sure they’ll be seeing more of these in their lunch boxes this fall….

(Inspiration source: Family Fun Magazine.)

Blueberry Picking

I put the kids to work last week and took them blueberry picking after our trip back from the coast.   My kids had a great time — my 5 year old was hard at work searching for the biggest, bluest berries while my soon-to-be 3 year old had to be constantly reminded to not touch the green or white ones….

We spent about an hour and a half and picked 16 lbs worth of sweet, plump and juicy blueberries.  Don’t they look great?

They also looked (and tasted) great in the blueberry streusel muffins we made the next day (recipe to come)…..

Cool Treats – Honey Dew Popsicles

My kids love popsicles and although they’re one of the easiest things to make, we used to never make them because of the time it’d take to wait for them to freeze.  I don’t know about your kids, but it’s all about instant gratification with mine!  So when I saw the Zoku Quick Pop Maker last summer, I had to give it a try.

We’ve had the Zoku for two summers now and my kids and I are still lovin’ it.  The popsicle below was inspired by the “Summer Morning” recipe from the Zoku Quick Pop book.  The recipe called for honeydew, lime juice, basil leaves and sugar, but since I didn’t have any basil on hand, we made ours using honeydew, lime juice and some mint leaves — it was a fantastic and refreshing treat.

My two favorite things about the Zoku:  1.)  I don’t have to make the kids wait half a day to eat a popsicle they’re craving to have “now” (the pops are frozen and ready in about 10 minutes) and 2.) I love that I can use freshly blended fruits and make the popsicles as sweet as I want (or in my case, don’t want).

Below is another popsicle I  made a while back using pureed watermelon, lemon juice, pureed honeydew and a few little chocolate chips.  I love all the different types of pops you can make with the Zoku and the kids love watching it freeze right before their eyes!

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

If you don’t have an ice cream maker (or don’t want the extra chore of pulling one out), then this will be perfect for you!  It only requires that you have a food processor or blender, and that you have frozen strawberries and some heavy cream on hand.  The best part? It only takes 5 minutes to make (maybe 10 minutes if you include clean up time)!  How great is that????

I printed this recipe from the internet a year or two ago and just tried it for the very first time the other day.   I wish I’d tried it earlier because it was bursting with strawberry flavor and was delicious, not to mention it was a breeze to make.

5 Minute Strawberry Ice Cream

10 oz frozen strawberries

2/3 C heavy cream

1/4 C sugar*

Directions:  Add the sugar, half  the cream and half the strawberries into the blender or processor and process until it’s roughly chopped.  Add the remaining strawberries and cream and continue to process until it’s smooth.  You can enjoy it immediately or pop it into the freezer for a bit (that is, if you have the discipline to wait).

* The original recipe called for 1/2 C sugar, but I find that most recipes are too sweet and always end up reducing the sugar when I’m making it for my family.

My daughters love helping me make this and can barely wait to eat it all up afterwards!  Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as they do!

Recipe adapted from Pamela Euless-Barker

Shark Attack Bento

I don’t always have the time to make fun snack boxes for my kids, but when I do, I love to pull out my cookie cutters and see what I can come up with!  So far, this is one of my favorite creations so I thought I would share it with you…. isn’t he the cutest shark you’ve ever seen?  (And in case you’re wondering, he’s made out of a purple potato!)