Wednesday, January 22, 2014

100th Day of School Lunch Ideas

In a couple of weeks my children will be celebrating their 100th day of school at their elementary. Most of the day will be devoted to 100th Day activities in the classroom (at least, in the lower grades). They can bring a collection of 100 things and wear t-shirts with 100 objects or pictures on it. (Note to self: I really need to get working on my son's 100th Day of School shirt soon.) But, today I wanted to share a couple of ways I made my daughter's past lunches special for her on the 100th day of school.

It can actually be pretty easy to change your regular lunch into a fun, 100th Day lunch!
  • Make the number "1" with simple food items (Pretzel sticks, carrots or veggie sticks, Twinkies, string cheese/cheese sticks)
  •  Make the number "0" out of everyday foods (Mini donuts, Ritz crackers, cookies, peanut butter crackers, Cheerios or Fruit Loops) 
  • Find snack packages with the number "100" on it (100-calorie snack bags are perfect for this or treat them with a "100 Grand" fun-size candy bar)
  • Use your cookie cutters, shape cutters, or a knife to shape food into numbers (Sliced cheese, cold-cuts, strawberries & Kiwi slices.etc)
  • Make a snack mix of 100 pieces of different snacks (Goldfish, marshmallows, raisins, Cheerios, Rice Chex cereal, pretzels, M&Ms or Skittles, Cheeze-Its, peanuts, etc.) Our kids usually do this as one of their classroom activities, so I don't add that to their lunches.
  • Add a "Happy 100th Day of School" note or make cute cards with the number"100" on it.
  • Include a treat of 100 mini-stickers for later!

My son has already chosen what he wants to take for his collection of 100 things. We counted it three times! 100 army men. I didn't know he had that many, but that explains why I am perpetually finding army men in the house!

Does your child's school celebrate the 100th day of school? If a 100th Day celebration is in your child's future, don't forget to pack them a lunch and send them off with 100 kisses!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Delicious Green Smoothie

Some of my favorite drinks to make are smoothies. I love the taste and the health benefits from a good smoothie. The color of your smoothie will turn a bright green once you start blending in a green vegetable like spinach or kale. Personally, I prefer the taste of spinach over kale, but I still try to vary my vegetable and fruit intake. I think the frozen mixed fruit really adds to the flavor, too. Today I made my smoothie using a package of frozen mango, papaya, and strawberry fruit. Here is my own, favorite recipe that I love to make in the mornings. 

1 Cup Almond Milk
1 Ripe Banana
1 Cup Fresh Spinach
1 Cup Frozen Mixed Fruit
1 Tablespoon Milled Flax Seed
1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
1 Teaspoon ground Cinnamon

All the ingredients are approximate because I usually just throw everything in without even measuring. The great thing about homemade smoothies is that you can add in whatever you have on hand. If there is something that you don't like or you are allergic to you can omit it. Blend all ingredients together.

A smoothie is a perfect way to get in your fruits and vegetables each day. Some kids (ahem, my son) find a bunch of spinach leaves intimidating and "yucky." I am still trying to convince my six-year old boy to drink this, but he does not want to try it because it has "vegetables in it." My little boy prefers that I stick to the milk, banana, peanut butter, and cinnamon smoothie. Whatever least, he is a fruit lover! On the other hand, my seven and three year-old daughters drop everything when they hear my blender running. This is one of their favorites!  My busy husband is also a fan of this smoothie, and this is a quick way to squeeze in breakfast before work.

What are your favorite add-ins to your smoothies?

Friday, January 10, 2014

FunBites Review and Ideas

I first saw the FunBites cutter on Pinterest a couple of years ago. I am such a sucker for Bento supplies and tools to make cute lunches for my kids. So, of course, the Fun Bites caught my eye! I emailed FunBites to ask if I can try out a FunBites cutter. FunBites was kind enough to send me the new FunBites Triangles to try out and review. I couldn't wait to see what I could come up with and how I could use this in my lunch preparations.

If you are unfamiliar with the FunBites product, let me tell you a little bit about it. It is a cutter designed to make bite-sized pieces of food. There are two pieces: the "curved blade cutter" and the top puncher to "pop out" the fun designed pieces created by the cutter.

FunBites currently  has three shaped cutters. The first is the original cutter that punches out bite-sized square pieces. The pieces are just right for little hands and they make food fun and fancy. The next shape is the heart shaped cutter. I love this design because it can be used year round, but makes birthdays and holidays (like Valentine's Day) extra special. The newest cutter is the FunBites Triangles. Punch your lunch through to create several sized triangle pieces. I was hoping for this design because I think it allows for a grand imagination from parents and children alike. Put the pieces together like a puzzle or make different and fun shapes out of the many triangles.

Use your FunBites to:
  • Spell out Words
  • Create faces with your food
  • Make different shapes
  • Put your lunch together like a puzzle
  • Get your picky eaters to eat
  • Teach your toddler to feed herself
  • Mix and match different colored foods (i.e. wheat and white bread, cantaloupe and honey dew, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, etc.)
  • Make your child's meal fun and inviting

Triangle Quesadillas and Triangle Strawberries

Triangle Mini-Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

Triangle Peanut Butter Sandwich Kabobs and Stacked Triangle Bell Peppers on a toothpick 

What Did I Think of FunBites?

I was sent a FunBites product to try out for free, but all opinions about this product are opinions of mine alone. I only post and recommend products that I honestly believe in and want to share with others. This post does contain affiliate links to FunBites and a coupon code below for 20% off your entire order.  

I was quite impressed with the FunBites Triangles cutter. Here is what I loved best about it:
  • Easy to use! (Rocking back and forth on the handle ensures your pieces will be cut nicely)
  • Easy to clean (Hand-washing is best, but it is also dishwasher safe. Yay!)
  • Safe to use, but sharp enough to slice the food into fun shapes
  • Food does not get stuck in the cutter (the top popper pops the food right out of the cutter)
  • Reasonably priced for a great product
  • Makes meals AMAZING for little hands and little eyes!
I think putting a big sandwich on my three-year old's plate is a little intimidating...and, boring. When I started using FunBites, she was excited about her lunch and she easily cleaned her plate. Happy mom and happy kid!

If you are as impressed with the FunBites cutter as I was I recommend you order one of your own, too.

  Click here to order your favorite shape FunBites cutter today!
 Use coupon code below for an EXTRA 20% off your entire order!

COUPON CODE: FunBitesValentines

Do you own FunBites already? What is your favorite shape to use? How do you make your kid's meals fun and exciting?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Forgotten Christmas Decorations

I spent this weekend putting away boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations. It is my one time of year that I like to go all out and decorate everywhere. Now my house is looking a little bare because I said good-bye to December and welcomed a new year! I am sure many of you did the same. (Assuming you're not the person that leaves their Christmas lights out all year round in order to avoid the "taking down and putting back up again" routine.) Then, you shut the attic door and dusted off your hands. Mission accomplished!

But, wait...what is that hanging on the door? What rolled under the couch? A "Noel" door hanger..a shiny, round ornament that fell off the tree? It happens to everyone. Just when you thought you have put everything Christmas related away, you find the forgotten Christmas decorations.

What do I do with these leftover Christmas decorations? I choose a pretty box that I don't mind seeing all year long or at least until my next trip to the attic. I stick it on the top shelf in my closet so it will be out of the way. (I lost my "under the bed" storage when we purchased our bedroom set. But, those roll under the bed containers work great for this type of storage, too.) It's true that for the next couple of weeks or so I will continue to find small reminders of Christmas throughout the house. But, I don't worry much because now I have a designated spot just for them. I also use this box to house any small Christmas items that I may find on clearance this month.

Find a cute box, container, or even a simple shopping bag to store these forgotten Christmas decorations and save yourself several trips to the attic or basement!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Taco Soup

Happy New Year!! January 2014. I may have to write that a few hundred times before it sticks in my mind. I can't believe another year has passed. And, Christmas Day? I think it came and went way too quickly this year! At least we still have the rest of the winter season to enjoy. This means soups, chili, and comfort foods! I have a few favorite winter recipes, and this is one that I just had to share with you! It's super easy, delicious, and a sure crowd pleaser!

A co-worker gave this recipe to me when I was engaged to get married. I will love her forever for introducing me to this meal. The best part about making this soup is there are no fancy ingredients, and you don't have to slave over the stove all day! (But, it will taste like you did!)

Here is the super-simple recipe for Taco Soup.

Taco Soup


  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 can small black olives (sliced)
  • 1 can tomatoes (I use whole, peeled)
  • 1 lb. ground beef (browned and drained)
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 package (dry) Ranch dip mix
  • 1 cup water (more or less, depending on how soupy you want it)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Turn heat down to low and allow it to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Serve in bowls. Top with shredded cheese, sour cream, cilantro, and/or any other desired toppings. Serve with tortilla chips.

I told you it was simple! I have doubled and tripled this recipe when I have served it for guests. This makes great leftovers, and it freezes well, too. 

Try it out, and let me know what you think! I hope it will be one that you add to your favorite recipes as well!