Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Favorite Posts of 2013

2013 was a great year for my blog! Thank you so much for all your support, comment love and input! I looked back at the lunches and recipes I made this year and compiled my favorites from each month to share with you.


Whole Grain Pizza Pocket School Lunch in Easylunchboxes. This is not only a favorite post but a favorite lunch we pack a lot. For more info click on the picture!

Whole Grain Pizza Pocket School Lunch in Easylunchboxes - mamabelly.com


Valentine's School Lunch in Easylunchboxes packed with lots of love.

Valentine's School Lunch in Easylunchboxes - www.mamabelly.com


Kiss me! I'm Irish! We love St. Paddy's Day and of course I had to pack one in our ECOlunchbox for school as well.

St. Patrick's Day School Lunch in ECOlunchboxes - mamabelly.com


My daughter loves her Din Din Platter from Innobaby and we both loved this Mouse lunch! 


Instead of going through the Drive-thru we packed this breakfast to go in our Laptop Lunches bento box!


We love Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar book and on his birthday we packed a special lunch in our Innobaby bento box!


We love Mickey Mouse and after finding these adorable cutters on Ebay we packed a fun Mickey lunch in our yubo!


The first day of school was filled with excitement and a Snoopy lunch in our Laptop Lunches bento box!


Argh! International Talk Like A Pirate Day comes only once a year, Mateys! We loved celebrating it with a Jake and the Neverland Pirate Lunch in our Planetbox Shuttle!


A spooky Halloween lunch in our Planetbox Shuttle!


I started contributing to a fabulous new blog this year: The Little Crooked Cottage! This is my favorite Literary Lunch - again in Easylunchboxes - so far! A hilarious book that portraits what happens when some of the world's best known carnivores - the lion, great white shark and wolf - share that their feelings get hurt when they are labeled as meanies. 


I love making Christmas lunches so it was hard to pick but I do love this Christmas bento in our Laptop Lunches!

Which one was your favorite? I would love to hear!

Have a very happy 2014 and may all your dreams for the new year come true!

Monday, December 30, 2013

New Years Cards from Minted.com {Review}

photo courtesy of www.minted.com
Every year I promise myself to be better organized and actually start thinking about Holiday Cards in November. With four kids it requires some planning if you would like to get a picture in which all kids are looking into the camera, no one is crying or pouting and if possible there is actually a holiday background in the picture. And every year I am late and am pondering if it is still worth sending them anyway now that I finally found a picture or four that would be great for a card.

photo courtesy of www.minted.com

Feel the same? How about New Year's Cards? You still have time to get them out, wish all the relatives and friends a Happy New Year and look so together (because you planned New Year's Cards all along, right?)

Minted.com approached me to check out their site this year and I am in love! Their cards are so unique and fun and I cannot wait to send them to my family and friends.

It is not too late to send out some fabulous cards and right now with code FLURRY15 you get 15% off all holiday and New Year's cards! 

Don't need any Holiday or New Year's Cards? {Lucky you!} But have a birthday coming up? Check out their amazing Birthday Cards Selection!

photo courtesy of www.minted.com
photo courtesy of www.minted.com

Minted offers so much more then just cards! For example kid's stationary (for those thank you letters to everyone!)

A few things I loved when using Minted:

  1. You can upload a photo (or more) and see how your creation looks with all the designs you choose. This makes choosing the perfect card so much easier and faster!
  2. The site offers choices like different color and shape options for many of their cards which makes personalizing your cards a lot more fun and the end product a really personalized card. Your style all the way!
  3. You can also sort by graphic artist. That is great if you like one design but want more options of the same style. I found this very helpful!

So, if you are still debating what to do with your holiday pictures: Send a card! And until 1/1/2014 if you use the code FLURRY15 you get 15% off the amazing cards!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Minted.com provided me with a store credit in exchange for the post but all opinions are 100% mine!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Our last Christmas lunch for 2013 :)

We packed our Lunchbot Trio festively with:
  • candy cane stripe apples
  • Christmas Goldfish crackers with Stockings and Christmas trees
  • four mini Nutella Gingerbread Men sandwiches and
  • a few green grapes
We also (as always) found the perfect Lunchbox Love Card to match our lunch!

Happy Holidays to all of you! This is our last lunch box before Christmas and I will be enjoying some time off with my family!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Santa Lunch

One more Santa Lunch before Santa is here!

We packed a stamped Santa peanut butter and jelly sandwich with extra jelly and a little chocolate Santa!

Having a child who loves peanut butter sandwiches with lots of jelly, I LOVE (yes, LOVE) the Smash protector of this Nude Food Movers lunchbox. No more squished sandwiches!

Plus our Funkins reusable Napkins fit perfectly in the spot between the smash protector and the lid!

We also packed pears, crackers, a tangerine and a breakfast cookie.

Only 2 more sleeps!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Easylunchboxes {by Request}

What do you get when your fun loving 3rd grader gets involved in lunch packing?
Some pretty amazing and creative school lunches!

My son helped me pack this Superhero lunch for school in his Easylunchboxes filled with:
  • candy cane stripes apples
  • fresh popcorn
  • and a wintery Hulk pepperoni sandwich. He stamped the bread with our Hulk cookie stamp and added snow flake sprinkles and a winter hat.

For this puzzling Christmas lunch we packed:
  • Grinch Fruit Kabobs as seen on MOMables (several were eaten while packing this lunch box)
  • veggie sticks
  • a puzzle sandwich (because it is cool)
  • and some Christmas-y Gingerbread Men cookies

He was on a roll for this lunch (pun intended) and packed:
  • strawberries
  • veggie sticks
  • a snowman pepperoni roll with candy eyes, a carrot nose and a mini chocolate chip mouth
  • and a mini chocolate snowman treat
He also brought one of our new Funkins napkins and chocolate milk in a thermos (must-have for a snowman lunch!)

Things I used to make this lunch (contains affiliate links):

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Goodbyn Christmas Lunches

I didn't get to share all of our packed lunches with you from last week and decided to do a round up instead! Three Goodbyn Christmas Lunch ideas with our new Funkins napkins! {Giveaway and Review coming in January!!}

Our first lunch is a Santa lunch:
  • vanilla yogurt with sprinkles (in small green container)
  • a Santa pepperoni sandwich
  • a cereal bar
  • carrots
  • a clementine
  • and a drinkable yogurt smoothie
Packed also is ice water and a Christmas Funkins reusable napkin.

This lunch is Gingerbread themed:

  • a half a Nutella sandwich
  • strawberries
  • Gingerbread cookies
  • Veggie sticks
Also packed are chocolate milk in a thermos and a Funkins napkin.

And last but not least a Christmas Goodbyn:
  • yogurt
  • a cereal bar
  • a small container with sprinkles for the yogurt
  • a present nut butter sandwich
  • a clementine
  • a mini snowman chocolate
  • a breakfast oatmeal cookie
Also packed is ice water and a Christmas Funkins napkin.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Laptop Lunches Bento Box

Happy Monday! Only 9 days until Christmas!

I pack our Laptop Lunches bento box for my middle schooler every day but because he leaves for school relatively early I never get a chance to get a good picture. He was leaving later today so here is his Christmas Laptop Lunches bento box:

We packed:
  • candy cane stripe apples
  • snow popcorn with blue snowflake sprinkles and a mini chocolate Santa
  • cucumbers and peppers
  • a Santa peanut butter sandwich
  • and a cereal bar tucked under our Funkins candy cane napkin

Friday, December 13, 2013

French Toast Casserole Muffins

French Toast Casserole Muffins {recipe} - great for re-purposing bento scraps! - mamabelly.com

Packing lunches and making bentos every day leaves me with a lot of bread scraps every week. What to do with them? I save them in a big gallon size Ziploc bag in the freezer!

French Toast Casserole Muffins {recipe} - great for re-purposing bento scraps! - mamabelly.com

Is that really worth it? Yes! Yes it is because I love making French Toast Casserole {Recipe HERE}

French Toast Casserole Muffins {recipe} - great for re-purposing bento scraps! - mamabelly.com

But this time around I had so many bread scraps I had enough for a casserole and some. 

French Toast Casserole Muffins {recipe} - great for re-purposing bento scraps! - mamabelly.com

I had a whole large bowl worth of bread scraps. Enough for another dish. I decided to simply make muffins with the left overs with a few changes to my original casserole recipe.

French Toast Casserole Muffins {recipe} - great for re-purposing bento scraps! - mamabelly.com

French Toast Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar were the result!

French Toast Casserole Muffins {recipe} - great for re-purposing bento scraps! - mamabelly.com

A delicious way to re-purpose those bread left overs or a forgotten slightly stale loaf of bread in the back of your pantry!

French Toast Casserole Muffins {recipe} - great for re-purposing bento scraps! - mamabelly.com

  • 5 cups of left over bread (about one gallon sized Ziploc bag full) - cubed
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • 2 tablespoons home made vanilla sugar (or substitute sugar + 1/4 teaspoon more vanilla)
  • 1/3 cup of pancake mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • cinnamon sugar to taste
  • if desired butter for crispier muffins

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Rip or cut all bento bread scraps into same size small cubes.
  • Spray muffin tin with oil or use aluminum or silicone muffin cups (paper muffin cups will get soggy!)
  • In large bowl mix eggs, milk, 2 tablespoons of vanilla sugar, and vanilla together.
  • Then add 1/3 cup of pancake mix and mix well until only a few lumps are left.
  • Carefully add the liquid to the bread cubes and coat well ( I use my hands to make sure it is evenly coated).
  • Let bread mixture sit for one minute.
  • Spoon with a tablespoon into muffin cups. Fill about 3/4. DO NOT OVERFILL! They will rise!
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar to taste and add a small piece of butter on top if you like your french Toast muffins to be crispy on top (can be omitted).
  • Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 - 20 minutes or until brown and crispy.
  • I serve mine with applesauce or fruit (or even a drizzle or maple syrup).

Thursday, December 12, 2013

ECOlunchbox Tri Bento Accessories Review

ECOlunchbox Tri Bento bag and spork Review - mamabelly.com

I mostly pack lunches for the kids but I usually also pack for my husband and me. It helps greatly with portion control for me - especially when at home - where snacks seem to be readily available all the time. I am a typical on-the-go Mom and I love having a healthy packed lunch I can grab to-go or simply eat at home depending on what my day looks like. That is why I was very excited when ECOlunchbox agreed to send me their Tri Bento Bag and spork to review that matches our new Tri Bento lunch box! {you can find my Tri Bento Review HERE} Now I can carry my own lunch in this beautiful Ecolunchbox bag!

ECOlunchbox Tri Bento bag and spork Review - mamabelly.com

And this is what I packed for lunch today:
  • Tier 1 has a pasta salad with left over spaghetti, feta cheese, corn, tomatoes and a simple homemade vinagrette
  • Tier 2 has carrots, lightly buttered toast and a mandarin orange and
  • Tier 3 has a German Gingerbread cookie, almonds and a chocolate snowman

ECOlunchbox Tri Bento bag and spork Review - mamabelly.com

The bag - aren't the colors just beautiful? - is made out of colorful cotton and sewn out of artisian handmade textiles. Ecolunchboxes offers 6 beautiful color combinations. I love that the cotton is fair trade sourced and did I mention the colors? 

ECOlunchbox Tri Bento bag and spork Review - mamabelly.com
The bag is about  8 1/2 inches tall and the base is 6 inches in diameter.

ECOlunchbox Tri Bento bag and spork Review - mamabelly.com

It fits the Tri Bento perfectly with room for a cloth napkin, spork and a piece of fruit or small snack container. 

ECOlunchbox Tri Bento bag and spork Review - mamabelly.com

I am in love with this bag to say the least and happy that it is both machine washable and able to go in the dryer. I am after all a Mom of 4 and I honestly wash very little things by hand. 

ECOlunchbox Tri Bento bag and spork Review - mamabelly.com

The ECOstainless spork is a great accessory! I love the versatility of having both a spoon and fork and it is very easy to eat with (and dishwasher safe!). I love the stainless look ( it is made with 18/10 stainless steel) and compact size (it measures about 3 1/4 inches) which makes it easy to tuck into the Tri Bento bag, purse, lunchbox, or glove box (for those times you actually forgot your utensil and have the choice to eat your salad with your fingers or run to the car and grab your spare ECOstainless spork :)

{Please excuse the smeary look on the spork. It is very hard to photograph without being reflected in the spork so I blurred it a little. It is however shiny and beautiful!}

(image courtesy of ecolunchboxes.com)

I like both items and they compliment the Tri Bento perfectly. Plus, if you purchase both the Tri Bento and bag together from ECOlunchboxes.com the bag is only $5! A great deal in my opinion! Plus, this spork rocks!

Yumbox Holiday Guessing Game

Yumbox is hosting an exciting Holiday Guessing Game that will give you the chance to win 1 of 3 $50 VISA gift cards (U.S. participants only)!! Every day this week Yumbox posted or will post a Yumbox with one of the sections hidden. If you guess correctly what is under the graphic you will be entered to win!

One of my lunches is being featured in the Holiday Guessing Game today! Head on over to Yumbox and check it out and see if you can guess what is in the mini round container!

Would you like a HINT?

Click the Yumbox label under this post to see all my Yumbox lunches (or click HERE). I made this lunch for the 100th day of School which normally happens around Valentine's Day ;)

And Yumbox has generously offered you a 15% off discount which is good through the end of this week. Enter code HOLI15MB at checkout on the Yumbox site!


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