Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Our Back to School Lunches

The kids are back to school and this year I will be packing lunches for all 4 kids and a Kindergarten snack. For the first day everyone wanted to keep it simple. They requested strawberries and sandwiches and this is what I end up packing:

My 4th Grader requested Easylunchboxes (of course) and:
  • a homemade Uncrustable with peanut butter and jelly decorated with melted chocolate
  • strawberries and
  • Annie's Homegrown Cheddar Squares
  • and a fun Lunchbox Love Card

My third grader let me pack "a cool lunch" in Easylunchboxes containing:
  • Annie's Homegrown Cheddar Squares
  • a homemade blueberry muffin
  • two chocolate spread Spider Man sandwiches
  • strawberries
  • and a fun Lunchbox Love Card

And my middle schooler packed lunch himself in Easylunchboxes:

  • Annie's Homegrown Cheddar Squares
  • strawberries
  • a Turkey and cheese wrap and
  • a cereal bar

  • My daughter is going to school for the first time and we packed our yumbox with a lunch full of love:

    Her yumbox contains a lovely lunch made of
    • Stonyfield organic cherry yogurt
    • Annie's Homegrown Cheddar Bunnies
    • two chocolate spread sandwiches with hear picks
    • cucumbers and star carrots and 
    • a kiwi

     Hope your kids all had a fantastic first day of school!

    What I used to make these lunches:

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

    Rock The Lunchbox 2014 {with Giveaway}

    Summer is nearly over and getting the kids ready for school is not an easy task. From school supply shopping to new clothes, teacher meetings and backpack searches it does not seem to end. In addition to all the supplies the kids need - packing lunches is just around the corner. To help you find healthy lunch ideas your kids will love Annie's Homegrown, Applegate, Honest Tea, Organic Valley, Stonyfield Organics and Rudi's Organic Bakery have teamed up with Rock the Lunchbox to bring you simple tips, lunchbox inspirations and downloadable coupons.

    I created a few lunch ideas here at Mamabelly and you can win a fun pack of lunch goodies at the end of the post to create your own rockin' lunches! 

    1. A drawing inspired lunch

    I asked my daughter to draw a lunch she would like me to pack. This is what she came up with:

    And this is how she explained her lunch. I love that she drew each individual Annie's bunny cracker! 

    And here is the lunch I made for her according to her drawing:

    It was fun to talk about healthy lunch options and let her be an active part in packing lunch. Even though she is only 5 it was great for her to participate in her food choices and she loved being included. This lunch was enough for lunch and her afternoon snack (she saved the yogurt).

    2. A Fun Lunch in a Laptop Lunches Bento Box

    This is another lunch we packed together in a Laptop Lunches Bento box. She helped pick the ingredients at the store and helped pack the lunch. Well, and taste some of the crackers while Mom was packing them :)

    3. Kid Konserve and Blue Avocado Lunch

    If you normally pack lunch in plastic bags in a lunch cooler, I have some more eco-friendly suggestions for you. I love using reusable containers instead of disposable bags and Blue Avocado Rezip bags are perfect! They are big and roomy (enough room for a big sandwich or wrap) and much sturdier then those flimsy plastic baggies. I also reused a small Laptop Lunches container to hold the bunny crackers and utilized our Kid Konserve container for the veggies and dip!

    This lunch is packed together with a reusable Matkins place mat and contains:

    You can win an amazing Rock the Lunchbox prize pack!

    It contains:
    (Items may vary) Giveaway is open to U.S. addresses only.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

    Matkins Reusable Placemats Review

    Matkins Reusable Placemat Review - mamabelly.com

    The first day of school is just around the corner for us and it will bring lunch rooms, sticky cafeteria tables and mystery goop. My kids love bringing cloth napkins to school so they can rest their lunch box, utensils and juice container on it instead of being subjected to the germs on the cafeteria table. I even bring them along to restaurants to save those off the plate chicken nuggets and dropped fries. BUT, cloth napkins aren't really meant for that, stain easily (ketchup anyone?) and are often not big enough. That is where MATKINS comes in!

    Matkins Reusable Placemat Review - mamabelly.com

    Matkins are reusable, stain resistant, portable and fun placemats that easily roll up to fit in your purse, diaper bag, backpack or lunch tote and will save your lunch from those icky sticky cafeteria tables!

    Matkins Reusable Placemat Review - mamabelly.com

    Matkins are about 10 x 14" big and made with one 100% cotton side and one highly stain resistant side. They are machine washable and dryer safe, come with a little pocket that holds a mini napkin and can hold utensils, a note or treat. And when you are done with lunch or dinner you simply roll them up and take them with you.

    Matkins Reusable Placemat Review - mamabelly.com

    They have lots of fun patterns and for a ketchup and BBQ sauce smear test head over to Lunchbox Dad. He put that stain resistant fabric to the test! And for $16 this is well worth it to me to prevent those sticky situations at school, work and while eating out!

    The only thing I wish was different are the mini napkins. The napkins are made out of polyester fabric and we simply prefer cotton napkins for the feel. 

    Matkins Reusable Placemat Review - mamabelly.com

    Overall, we loved trying the Matkins placemats and enjoyed germ and stick free lunches like the one above. To see what we packed for lunch that day click HERE.

    To get your own Matkin Placemat head to www.mymatkins.com.

    UPDATE: Matkins offered to send one reader their Matkins of choice! Enter below:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    US Residents Only. Winner will be notified via email and has 24 h to claim their prize.

    Disclaimer: Matkins sent me samples to review. All opinions are my own.

    Monday, August 18, 2014

    Baking Day at Grandma's - a Literary Lunch

    Baking Day at Grandma's - written by Anika Denise and illustrated by Christopher Denise - is a beautifully illustrated children's book telling the story of three little happy bear cubs on their way to Grandma's on Baking Day. The illustrations and rhymes in the book portray coziness and love and you can almost smell the cake turning the pages. But this cake is not for eating! The little cubs cut the cake in neat squares, load up the sled and spread some love delivering treats on this winter afternoon!

    And yes, the recipe for the mouth watering chocolate cake the three little cubs help Grandma bake is in the back of the book! A must try no matter if you are intending to share or not.

    For the occasion we packed a delicious Baking Day lunch in our Planetbox Shuttle holding:
    • a piece of Grandma's chocolate cake (recipe from the book!)
    • apple slices
    • one little bear chocolate spread sandwich with a spinach leaf apron and a peanut butter filled spoon

    This lunch is easy to make with the help of the CuteZCute Cuddle Palz. See what I used to make this lunch here (contains affiliate links):

    Sunday, August 17, 2014

    5 Easy Steps to Making Lunchboxes More Fun

    This post was previously published at Diana Rambles as part of the 4 great Bloggers, 4 great tips for the Back2School Bentoing series.

    5 Easy Steps to Making Lunchboxes More Fun - mamabelly.com
    This post contains affiliate links.

    Packing fun lunches is not as hard as you think and doesn't necessarily require a cabinet full of bento lunch supplies or artistic skills. With a few (and inexpensive) touches you can change your child's lunchbox into a fun lunch!

    1) Cupcake decorations

    5 Easy Steps to Making Lunchboxes More Fun - mamabelly.com

    In the picture above I added a reusable silicone straw and a cupcake decoration from the party store to dress up the lunch. My kids were thrilled to slurp their applesauce through the straw and with a quick cupcake decoration I made this simple lunch more exciting. And as you see the lunch came back completely eaten!

    5 Easy Steps to Making Lunchboxes More Fun - mamabelly.com

    Same with this St. Patrick's Day lunch. I added three St. Patrick's Day themed cupcake rings from my local cake store and made this simple lunch festive and fun!

    2) Silicone Cups

    5 Easy Steps to Making Lunchboxes More Fun - mamabelly.com

    To add some color and fun I simply added a cute orange mini silicone cup to hold some Almonds and dressed up this simple Laptop Lunchbox.

    5 Easy Steps to Making Lunchboxes More Fun - mamabelly.com

    Silicone cups can also serve as dividers and enable you to pack smaller portions and a larger variety of food which especially appeals to younger children and picky eaters.

    3) Sandwich Cutters

    5 Easy Steps to Making Lunchboxes More Fun - mamabelly.com

    This lunch was made more fun with a cute plane sandwich. It was made using a Lunch Punch Cutter. The cutter is easy to use (just press down and done) and removes the crust while making your kids sandwich exciting and fun!

    5 Easy Steps to Making Lunchboxes More Fun - mamabelly.com

    These mini sandwiches were transformed with a sandwich stamp from All Things For Sale. No artistic skill required. But the outcome is an adorable and appealing lunch.

    5 Easy Steps to Making Lunchboxes More Fun - mamabelly.com

    Another fun to use sandwich cutter is the CuteZCute animal sandwich cutter. It cuts the crust off (again, great for picky eaters) and you can choose between four different animal faces. Quick, easy and fun in no time at all.

    4) A Lunchbox Note

    5 Easy Steps to Making Lunchboxes More Fun - mamabelly.com

    Adding a fun Lunchbox Love note - no matter if homemade or similar to this store bought Lunchbox Love Card (joke edition) - sure will put a smile on your child's face and make lunch a little more special.

    5) Food

    5 Easy Steps to Making Lunchboxes More Fun - mamabelly.com

    But even if you don't have any of the tools above you can still make a cute lunch. This summer BLT lunch was simply made special by adding three Goldfish crackers and with two deli sandwich picks. Similar ones are available at the Dollar Store.

    I hope I could show you a few tips and tricks on how to transform you child's lunchbox from drab to fab with a few simple steps. For more product ideas visit my bento basics page.

    Here is what I used to make these lunches fun:


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