Friday, August 22, 2014

The Clock Strikes Twelve

Hello, new Doctor! Tomorrow premieres Deep Breath, the new episode of Doctor Who, kicking off a new season, with a brand new Doctor!

Peter Capaldi stars as the Twelfth Doctor, newly regenerated and all set for a brand new start!

What will this new Doctor be like? Will he be serious and strict? Will he be funny, silly with a wild sense of humor? Will he be adventurous, or stick to familiar ground? And what will become of Clara, now that Eleven is gone?

So many questions, and we'll just have to watch to find out! Here in the Chaos house, we are counting down the minutes until we see Twelve again. Can't wait until Saturday night!

And with every new Doctor comes a sad good-bye. We look forward to seeing what the new Doctor will bring, but with a tinge of sadness, thinking of all the Doctors who came before. We've already said good-bye to Matt Smith, when Eleven regenerated at Trenzalore in the last episode, but we couldn't say hello to the new guy without remembering the last.

But don't dwell on sadness - there is a new adventure ahead! After you watch the episode, come back and let me know your first impression of the new Doctor. And that's not the only adventure - keep going on the hop to see what's next! Click the button below to visit Biting the Hand That Feeds You to see what Whovian deliciousness is waiting:

* Lunch Details *

This lunch contains a simple open faced sandwich made with gluten-free bread, thin sliced roast beef, and provolone cheese, surrounded by kale. The hands on the clock are clipped from a cucumber peel. The lunch also has thick cucumber slices and halved grape tomatoes, and orange triangles. For a bit of sweet, the lower portion holds vanilla pudding with a raspberry fez.

Affiliate links to items used:

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Top Five Back to School Essentials

(*Note: This post contains affiliate links.)

I cannot believe it's that time again already! It seems like summer just started, but already it's just about time to pull out the school supply lists and peruse back-to-school ads. Getting five kids ready to return to school is a pretty massive undertaking, and I really have to be organized in order to pull it all off successfully. Having a list ready in advanced, or at least a pretty good idea of what I'm looking for, is crucial!

To help get you started, or maybe just give you some good ideas, here are five things which I find to be essential for making going back to school as smooth as possible!

#1: A great lunch dish.

As a bento-packer, having a great box to pack lunches in is definitely my number one essential school supply! A good bento box can make lunch packing both easy and fun. Some of my favorite bento boxes are pictured below:

Clockwise from the upper left: Laptop LunchesLunchbots TrioEasy Lunchboxes, and the Planet Box Rover

#2: A few fun tools.

A good sharp knife is the best bento tool, but there are a few other common kitchen items that can make lunch packing vastly more pleasant! Colorful silicone baking cups, a few sturdy shaped cutters, and a variety of fun cupcake picks are great ways to brighten up any lunch.

#3: A sturdy backpack.

The higher kids climb in grades, the heavier their backpacks seem to get. I remember lugging around a bag that seemed to be filled with bricks when I was in school, and they haven't gotten much lighter since! A strong backpack with sturdy straps is worth the extra cost over those made with flimsier materials. I am still hunting for a great backpack brand that can stand up to the beating my kids put them through.

#4: A good water bottle.

Yes, for us this is a school must! Water fountains and breaks to visit them can seem few and far between, so to keep hydrated we take reusable bottles filled with cool water with us everywhere. They are easy to wash with hot water and a good bottle brush, and by using reusable bottles instead of buying bottled water we are reducing both our spending and our impact on the environment. My favorites for the kids are the Reduce Water Week bottles.

#5: Your own style.

This one is the most fun! Whether you're reinventing yourself with a whole new style, or just adding a few new pieces to spruce up an outgrown wardrobe, back to school clothing and accessories shopping can be a blast! It can also get crazy expensive. Try going in with a list of specific items to avoid impulsive over-shopping, and watch for sales! A lot of retailers offer good clothing deals right before the new school year starts. Our favorite accessories this year are brightly colored shoes, backpacks with patches, and super fun Jamberry Nail Shields!

The special letter for the Bento Bloggers & Friends Back to School Basics Hop & Giveaway code is...

Keep going through the whole hop for a chance to win! Collect all of the letters for the code, unscramble the secret message, and follow the instructions to enter to win an amazing prize. Click the pic below to continue through to the next post in the hop:

Thanks for playing with us, and good luck!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Food Allergy Awareness Week

Did you know...?

(Graphic courtesy of FARE, - Check them out for some great info, resources, and support for food allergies.)

As most of my regular readers know, my four year old is allergic or sensitive to six of the Top 8. He is also highly allergic to garlic, which isn't in the Top 8 and isn't required to be labelled for in the US, and he has cold induced cough variant asthma and cold uritcaria (which causes hives in response to exposure to rapid changes in temperature from warm to cold). We keep him safe by being very careful with his food - always reading ingredients labels, never giving him anything we aren't sure of, carefully washing hands and surfaces to prevent cross contamination - and by carrying a pair of Epi-Pens, his inhaler, and allergy medicine with us wherever we go. We also make sure that his skin is covered fully anytime it is cold and use extra coverage if it's raining.

My 11 year old also has some allergies - most notably an allergy to latex, and to multiple fruits and vegetables (strawberries, mangoes, pineapple, cantaloupe, and cucumber in particular). She has been loosely diagnosed with oral allergy syndrome - a condition which causes mouth burns and rashes with exposure to raw fruits. Anti-histamines are very helpful for her when she is accidentally exposed, and we take care to watch for natural fruit juice flavorings in food ingredients to help prevent reactions. Luckily she is pretty proactive about her own health and is able to read ingredient labels on her own now.

Ever since Beaker and Bean were diagnosed last year, I have tried to use this blog as an example to other parents of how you can still have fun with food and keep kids safe, even with multiple serious food allergies. I post some of the lunches that I make for Beaker, both as a creative outlet for myself and to give others ideas for preventing allergies from taking all of the fun out of food. I also love to share any new tips or good products that I come across that might help others out.

Here are a few of my personal favorite posts from the last 15 months, in no particular order (click the pic to go to each original blog post):

Food allergies can be scary. They can be life threatening, and the severity can change with little or no warning. And accidents can sometimes happen, even when the utmost care is taken. But generally, with care and precaution, people with food allergies can be kept as safe as possible. And with a little extra effort, the diet doesn't have to be boring or bland - it can be delicious, and fun too!

Have any questions about food allergies? Want help navigating the world of allergy testing? Feel free to drop me an email using the form on the right side of the blog, or leave me a comment here. I would be happy to help in any way that I can!

For more ideas, check out the great posts from these bloggers:

Keeley McGuire Blog -
Bentos on the Bayou -
Biting the Hand That Feeds You -
Following in My Shoes -

Want this cool bento gear for yourself? Check out my affiliate links below!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Gluten-Free French Toast

No fancy pictures, as it's not really a recipe. For this gluten free French Toast, I used UDI's GF cinnamon raisin bread (which is also free of soy, nuts, and dairy ~ we love this stuff here!), eggs from our chickens, and coconut milk. I whipped the eggs and coconut milk* together and dredged the cinnamon raisin bread through the mix. Then I cooked it with a little dash of coconut oil. They were utterly delicious! Beaker said, "These are the very best dinners EVER!" and then he ate several pieces for dinner, another for breakfast, and insisted I pack them for his lunch, too. High praise, indeed!

(*Tip: Using a sweetened coconut milk, like So Delicious Vanilla or Chocolate flavored coconut milk, adds a perfect sweetness to your French Toast! You can also use soy milk, if soy isn't an issue, and we have had great success in the past using a flaxseed-water mixture instead of eggs. Mix it up and try different things - French Toast is a great forgiving meal to play around with!)

For his lunch, I sliced two pieces of the toast into strips and packed in a small cup of syrup on the side for dipping. He also has another little cup of roasted sunflower seeds mixed with allergy safe chocolate chips. There is a small cup of breakfast sausage sliced up into bite sized bits, as well as some broccoli and peas. To round out the lunch, Beaker has watermelon balls and blueberries.

Simple, easy, delicious ~ our favorite kind of lunches!

Want this cool bento gear for yourself? Check out my affiliate links below!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Star Wars Day, Part IV: A New Lunch

It's May 4th, and in our home that means one very special thing. No, not that tomorrow will be mock margaritas and tacos day (although that will probably happen, too).

It's Star Wars Day!

Hope you have had a wonderful weekend, and May the Fourth be with you!

Took Beaker, Bean, and Lulu on a road trip across the state to visit family for the weekend. Since "road food" isn't really an option for a kid with so many allergies, I packed this yummy lunch up for him to eat on the trip. Four hours in the car with three kids, leaving straight from a soccer game, means a hearty lunch is a must!

Darth Vader is nestled in a pile of delicious mango pieces, next to a looming Storm Trooper.

He also has Canadian bacon with applewood smoked Gouda, and baby carrots. Yoda and R2D2 are carrying raisins and sunflower seeds.

And for dessert, a delicious Enjoy Life allergen free S'Mores bar! Free of soy, gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, and utterly delicious. Beaker LOVES them!

Now, click on through to see what is up next on the Star Wars Day hop!

Want this cool bento gear for yourself? Check out my affiliate links below!

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