Friday, January 25, 2013

100th Day of School

Last year, when I saw this post at BentOnBetterLunches, I knew that I wanted to do something special for the 100th day of school during my daughter's kindergarten year. So, I was very excited when my daughter's teacher asked me to make a snack for the class on the 100th day. They have been practicing counting by tens to one hundred, so I had the idea to give each student ten each of ten different items along with the number 100 made out of something edible. I wanted to package all of this in a way that the students would see the 100 items and in a manner that would be simple for my daughter's teacher to distribute and clean up. I decided to use ten well plastic art palettes. I was working on a short timeline, so I was thrilled when I found a local art store that had enough of these in stock, and happy that they were willing to give me a discount.

After obtaining the trays and deciding on food, I had to get to work counting out all of those items! I placed all the trays on a table and filled each well. I chose mostly dry foods because the weather forecasters kept mentioning the possibility of a wintry mix for the afternoon of the 100th day, which was a Friday. I would have incorporated fruits and veggies if I had not been worried about school closing on the 100th day and having to keep the food until Monday. Also, I used mostly "mini" items because I wanted to serve a reasonable amount of food to the kindergartners.

Beginning at the 12'o clock position:

1. Mini Chips Deluxe
2. Snowflake Sprinkles
3. Mini M&Ms
4. Yogurt Covered Raisins
5. Mini Cheez-Its
6. Fruit Loops
7. Mini Grahams
8. Mini Chocolate Chips
9. Cheerios
10. Mini Goldfish

The 100 in the middle was made of:

1 = a slice of apple treated with Fruit Fresh
0 = mild cheddar cheese cut with a cupcake corer
0 = strawberry Jello Jiggler formed with a mold for round ice cubes

As I neared the end of filling all of the wells, I became increasingly nervous that I would bump the table and spill everything in the floor. Luckily, that didn't happen, but the UPS guy looked at me like I was crazy when he dropped off a package! Here is a picture of the finished trays. I made 24; there are 22 students in the class and I wanted one for the teacher and one extra in case of an accident.

I covered these with Stor-It Cover Ups from the Dollar Tree. The trays fit perfectly in my square Lock&Lock bags. Twelve trays fit snugly in one bag so the food stayed in place.

For lunch on this day, I packed 100 bites of food each for my daughter and my husband, based on my inspiration from BentOnBetterLunches. My daughter's lunch was packed in our pink Lego box. She had ten bites of peanut butter sandwich created with our Funbites Cube-It, ten little crackers, ten cubes of cheese, ten yogurt-covered pretzel rings, ten peanuts, ten candy stars, ten slices of cucumber, ten sweet pepper rings, ten carrot slices, and ten blueberries.

My husband's lunch was packed in our Planetbox. He had ten blueberries, ten strawberry slices, ten cucumber slices, ten pepper rings, ten crackers, ten cheese cubes, ten peanuts, ten candy stars, nine pieces of sushi, one "piece" of wasabi, and ten pieces of gari.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Letter B Themed Lunches

My daughter is still enjoying letter-themed lunches, so for the week her class focused on the letter B, we planned bear, bunny, boat, bus, and ballerina lunches.

She took this bear lunch on Monday. I can tell because this photo has good lighting meaning that I packed the lunch and took the photo on Sunday afternoon, rather than late at night in a dark kitchen like usually happens on a weeknight :). She had three little bear-shaped peanut butter sandwiches, almonds in the little yellow bear cup, a few Cheez-Its, three little cheddar cheese bears , grapes with a bear pick, Cherub tomatoes with bear picks and a few pieces of celery and carrots. This was packed in a Sistema box.

Snack that day was packed in a single layer of a pink bento box. She had a raspberry Jello Jiggler in the shape of Phineas from Phineas and Ferb, strawberries with bear picks, and a few yogurt covered pretzels.

Her bunny lunch was packed in our new pink Lego bento box. The bottom section held pieces of orange pepper with a pink bunny pick, sugar snap peas, carrots, pieces of celery with a blue bunny pick, grapes, and slices of apples cut into the shape of bunny heads. The top layer held a bunny-shaped peanut butter sandwich, a few Cheez-Its and a bunny-shaped pieces of cheddar cheese.

Wednesday's lunch included carrots, celery, red pepper slices, strawberries, grapes, boat-shaped peanut butter sandwiches, yogurt covered pretzels, a piece of cheese stamped with "boat", and a few pieces of fish-shaped candy in the little green container.

Snack that day was simple. It held popcorn, almonds, and a mini chocolate chip muffin.

Since I had the boat cutter and stamp out, I decided to use it for her dad's lunch that day too. His lunch was packed in our Planetbox. He had carrots, a sweet yellow pepper, celery, grapes, strawberries, Cheez-its, the same fish-shaped candy, and chicken salad in the little dipper container. I stamped the bread for his sandwich; it read "Rock the Boat" which is a little game he plays with our kids.

I also used a sandwich cutter/stamp for the bus-themed lunch. She had bus-shaped cheese, a little bus sandwich, Cheez-Its, and almonds along with pepper rings on a bus pick with apple slices, grapes, sugar snap peas, carrots, and celery. I also used picks to spell "bus".

For the last lunch of the week, I used the new pink Lego box again. My daughter had cucumber slices, carrots, apple slices, grapes, yogurt covered pretzels, Cheez-Its, cheddar cheese cubes, and turkey slices. I had a couple of ballerina picks from a cupcake set and made a couple more by cutting the wings off of two from a fairy set.

Looking back at these lunches altogether, I notice that I packed a lot of the same foods repeatedly. I try to avoid that usually, especially in terms of the types of crackers and pretzels. But, the boxes kept coming home mostly empty that week. So, I kept packing was she seemed to be eating.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Packing with Some New Bento Gear

This post will highlight products useful for creating healthy, cute, attractive lunches with minimal time investment.

This snowflake-themed lunch was packed in one of my new Easy Lunch Boxes. I packed matching lunches for me and my husband. This one was for my husband and it has one of the Classic lid colors. Mine was packed in one with a purple lid from the new Brights collection. The lunch includes a mini Hawaiian sub roll with turkey, muenster, tomato, and lettuce along side some snowflake Ritz crackers and cheddar cheese. A snowflake cookie my daughter and I made and decorated is also included in the main compartment. The upper side compartment contains blackberries and strawberries with a mitten pick and the lower side section holds some pasta salad with a snowflake pick. The Easy Lunchboxes are very sturdy and a great size for packing food for adult and child-sized lunches. They are a great deal; you can't beat four boxes for under fifteen dollars. Plus, these boxes are incredibly versatile; you can click here to see how others pack with Easy Lunchboxes.

Tonight, I also used a new piece of bento gear when preparing my daughter's lunch. I used my new CuteZCute Cutter. Since my daughter's kindergarten class is doing letter review this week, anything goes (rather than her usual request to match the lunches to the letter of the week). So, I decided on a frog theme for this lunch. The CuteZCute cutter was perfect for this. I used it to create a very quick and adorable frog-shaped peanut butter sandwich. Goldfish pretzels with a frog pick are next to the sandwich. A couple of gummi worms and a little container of sunflower seeds are also tucked in the top layer of this box. The bottom layer holds carrots, celery, Cherub tomatoes, cucumber slices, blackberries, and a few pieces of cheddar cheese on frog picks. Like the Easy Lunchboxes, the CuteZCute is a great deal. It includes four different plates to create a bear, pig, and cat in addition to the frog. You can stamp the sandwich or flip the plate over to use it as a cutter. The options are endless and you can click here for lots of examples of how to use it.

My daughter's snack for tomorrow is to the right. She will have a few pretzels, an applesauce pouch, and a cookie that she made and decorated.