Sunday, November 22, 2015

Smile for the Camera!

School picture day! Time to dress up nice, fancy up your hair, smile your brightest smile... and then look messy, awkward, and unkempt by the time the photographer snaps the pic. I do love to chronical their tense, faked smiles from every year though. 

Beaker's Smiling Lunch includes:

Happy bunny hard boiled egg with carrot disks
Starry watermelon and apple slices
Cheery gummy bears
Sweet yogurt
Smiling gluten free granola bar

When you lunch reminds you to put on a happy face!

Inside the Planet Box inner dish is tasty yogurt topped with brightly colored sprinkles. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Happy (Belated) Halloween!

Between sports and school and work and house and other work and a myriad of other, we have been keeping busy here. We're putting the Chaos in, for sure! I'm still packing lunches every day for Beaker, though I've slacked on the pictures and posting portion. A little back log to share!

This is how we Halloween:

Frightful lunch includes:

Grapes from beyond the grave
Watchful carrots (they're good for your monster eyes)
Meat rolls
Gluten Free mint chocolate cookies
Rice crackers
Soft cheese

The mint chocolate cookies are amazing. I forget the brand name, but they taste like Girl Scouts Thin Mints and are completely safe for Beaker!

The weather was monsterous this year. It poured rain for most of Halloween. We darted out to do a little Trick or Treating during a slight break in the clouds. My mini beasties still had lots of fun with their friends!

Bean was a dark fairy, Beaker was a little vampire, and Lulu was a creepy doll.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Sailing Away

Arr! More pirate lunches, ahoy!

In this lunch:

Watermelon pieces
Greek yogurt
Sandwich with Udi's GF bread
GF pie piece
Van's GF cheese crackers

Our little pirate friend is hanging out on a gluten free ham and cheese sandwich. X marks the spot in a square of gf pie, which Beaker declared the best EVER (not homemade though - I can't remember the brand name, but they are little individual pies sold at a local store). And a treasure chest of golden crunchy 'coins' is tucked in below the X.

I really love the silicone tray I used to make this frozen Greek yogurt skull. It gets a ton of use here! I keep a bag of frozen yogurt shapes in the freezer, and when the kids want a cold snack they can just pull a skull or some bones out of the bag and enjoy. I love how freezing yogurt makes it seem like a sweet treat dessert, but it has a nice pack of calcium and protein, too! And freezing it into shapes is just an extra fun bonus.

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bento Ahoy!

Autumn is rolling up fast here! The mornings are dark and cool longer, and racoons have begun theiving in my henhouse. Locking it up tight to keep those pests out!

Beaker and Bean are starting to count down the days until Halloween, and I'm eyeballing my favorite spooky bento gear already. September is barely half over, but I'm so ready for October! In the meantime, we're making do with more pirate lunches for Beaker.

I love these little bento dishes from BentoUSA. They're small and compact, great for little tummies or packing into smaller lunch tins.

In this lunch:

Van's gluten-free cheese crackers
Babybel mini cheese wheel
gluten free carrot mini cupcake


apple pieces

frozen yogurt
frozen blueberries
gluten free granola

Tiny pirate in his little boat, surrounded by golden crunchy 'coins'.

A pirate raft, with carrot planks and ham rolls.

Tasty pirate parfait. The fruit and yogurt thawed while in his snack tin, so when snack time rolled around it was still frozen just enough to taste like a dessert, but thawed enough to be easy to eat with a spoon. I froze Greek yogurt in a shaped silicone ice cube tray to get the fun skull-and-crossbones shape with a good kick of protein to keep my little guy going through the long day.

The small dishes pack up perfectly inside this cute Jake and the Neverland Pirates lunchbox and matching snack tin!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What is the Plural of TARDIS?

Is it TARDISes? TARDI? Or is TARDIS already pluralized? Hmm.

Anyway, here is a double TARDIS lunch for Bean!

In this lunch:

Two TARDIS sandwich halves
Peeled clementine
Rice nori crackers

I was seriously about 3/4 asleep when I made this lunch. I even had spinach (which she loves!) pulled out of the fridge, ready to go, right next to me and completely forgot to pack it. This is what happens when I try to get up fifteen minutes early to pack lunches in the morning instead of getting them ready the night before! Not quite enough food for an active 12 year old, but luckily Bean had a granola bar and a pack of seaweed snacks in her backpack to nibble. Lesson learned - zombie packing leads to lunch errors!

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hotel Transylvania 2: Baby Dennis

My kids love the first Hotel Transylvania and are looking forward to the sequel, which is being released this week. Beaker has been watching the previews, waiting impatiently until we are able to go see the movie. He was quite put out when I explained that we have to wait until the movie opens before we can see it. "Just tell them to open it now! Isn't that what you do?" Uh, no kiddo. Mama isn't a mover and shaker in Hollywood. I'm not quite magic!

In the meantime, he loved this Baby Dennis lunch I made for him!

In this lunch:
Gluten-free open face (get it? face? ha!) sandwich
Rice crackers
GF mini pretzel bites
GF chocolate chip cookie

Baby Dennis is a simple sandwich built on a base of Udi's gluten-free bread and cheese with thin sliced turkey lunchmeat. His bright orange curly hair is made with carrot coins, and his eyes are mozzarella cheese with food dye details painted on.

Next, creep on over to Bento Monsters by clicking the button below, and see what is lurking there for you:

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Yar! Pirate Lunches Ahoy!

As many of you already know, September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Since it was on a Saturday this year, we celebrated with a whole week of piratey lunches for the littlest of the Chaos Kids. He is digging this whole lunch at school thing!

For Monday, Beaker had a little pirate sailing away in an allergy-safe dinghy to find the treasure on the fruity isle.

This lunch includes:
Gluten-free half sandwich on Udi's bread
Baybel mini cheese pirate
Schar gluten-free shortbread cookie sun
Orange island with carrot sticks
Gluten-free cracker crisps

(The cheesy letters covered up the place were I dropped a little food paint on the bread...)

How do you celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day? Share below!

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Friday, September 11, 2015

First Day of School

Time to break out the books, bags, and bento gear - it's back to school they go!

Every year I marvel at how fast the time went. This year is not really different! Beaker is in full day school for the first time, so this is his first experience with having lunch at school every day. Of course, with his allergies that means taking a lunch every day. So far it looks like the biggest challenge is going to be getting him to sit still and eat his lunch, instead of shoving a few bites in his mouth and then rushing out to play at recess with his new friends!

For the first day of first grade, Beaker took a Planet Box Rover full of deliciousness for lunch and snack:

Schar Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies
Schar Gluten-Free Cheese Bites crackers
Carrots and cucumbers with dip
Gluten-free ham and cheese sandwich with Schar bread
Mini grapes from our garden
Starfruit slices

Lulu is in fourth grade now, and still thinks she is too grown up for cute lunches, so this may be one of the few I get to make for her this year:

Snack mix
Mini grapes
Starfruit slice
Carrots with ranch dip
Turkey sandwich
Brownie bits

Luckily for me, Bean still loves decorative lunches! Bean also cosplayed Hermione Granger for her first day of seventh grade. This kid is all sorts of awesome!

Brownie bits
Snack mix
Carrots and cucumber with ranch dip
Turkey sandwich
Mini grapes
Starfruit slices

Of course, Brick and G-man are big high school kids now. Neither of them wants lunches packed - apparently the high school has a pretty decent cafeteria and both prefer to buy lunch rather than carry a lunch kit with them daily. G-man is a Freshman now, and Brick is a Junior (and talking about colleges and jobs!)

Okay, but seriously though... where did the summer go?! How is it already September? And how did my itty bitty babies get so big and grown up so fast?!

This year I have two kids at the elementary school, one at the middle school, and two in high school. HIGH SCHOOL, people. That's like, almost an adult! How is it even possible for my kids to almost be adults? I'M not even an adult! Okay, technically I might be an adult, but whatever, yo. You can't make me adult. If you need me, I will be hiding in my blanket fort with my coloring book and a fresh box of crayons.

Anyway. This is what the Chaos Kids look like now!

Looking forward to another fantastic year!

If you want to wander down memory lane with me (*sniff * they were so small!), CLICK HERE to see a few blog posts from previous First Days.

Also, Beaker and Bean picked out the BEST backpacks for this year!

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Zoo Day

As the last school year came to a close (yeah, yeah... I'm more than a little behind in sharing these lunches!), Beaker's small school had a field trip to the zoo for the entire school. It was pretty neat to see all of the students from the whole school, kindergarten through high school, there together with their families! Lulu tagged along with us, and Beaker was thrilled to introduce her to his kindergarten teacher and the friends he had met at school.

And of course there was lunch...

Beaker has a cantaloup field for a friendly giraffe, and grape and strawberry stripes for a silly zebra. Enter the zoo through a gluten free sandwich on Udi's bread, with cheesy letters and animals greeting you at the carrot stick gates. Smoked gouda cheese with rice crackers are hanging out in the foliage.

He thought a few of his animal friends should check his lunch out to make sure it was safe before we could close it all up. The zebra approves, but the lion needed a closer look.

Lulu prefers her lunches with a little less flair, so she has a pretty toned down version for hers. Carrots with ranch, cantaloup, strawberries, a sandwich, and rice crackers with both smoked gouda and spreadable cheese make up her meal.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

We Love a Parade!

Before the summer officially started was Parade Season. G-man and Bean were in three or four parades with their middle school band this year. Which of course meant that Beaker and I were there in the crowds to cheer them on!

These are a couple of our Parade Picnic Lunches from this year. Including the Junior Rose Parade, where my kids' middle school took top honors and marched off with the award for first place in their category!

Orange slices, ham and cheese sandwich, crackers, and chocolate cookies.

Apple chunks, Glutino pretzel sticks, ham and cheese rolls, carrots and cucumber with ranch.

Because of course Pandas should be invited to a Parade Picnic!

Beaker loved eating this one while watching the parade. He couldn't decide which part of the parade was his favorite!

And for Mom, cucumber slices with ranch, ham and cheese rolls, crackers, and apple chunks.

All of the above were packed into Easy Lunchboxes. They are our favorites! Fast, easy, convenient, and they make a great solid surface for eating with your lunch on your lap.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

We Heart (Gluten Free) PIzza!

Like nearly everyone ever, Beaker loves pizza. LOVES. The kid would happily eat pizza for dinner every night for the rest of forever. And who can blame him? Pizza is awesome! Hot slices of doughy, saucy, cheesy deliciousness.

We are shin guards deep in soccer/cheer/band perfomance season here. G-man is a freshman this year, and his high school band plays all of the football games. Bean and Lulu are in cheer, and Beaker is in soccer. We have practice four evenings a week and three to five games every Saturday. Plus the Dude and I both work, and occasionally have to shovel out from under the mess of seven people at home. So dinners can get pretty hectic and rushed around here! Every now and then, it's pretty tempting to just swing by a pizza place and pick up a few pies on the way home. So fast and convenient!

Except takeout pizza isn't an option when you have a kid who is allergic to wheat and garlic.

Thank goodness for ready made gluten-free pizza crusts!

I keep packs of gluten-free pizza crusts in the freezer. I haven't yet perfected making homemade pizza dough (translation: All of the ones I have tried so far have been inedible lumpy messes), so having these ready to go is a huge help. I think his favorite are these from Schar! On nights when I know we will be especially rushed, I pull one out before heading out for practice and tuck it in the fridge to thaw. They thaw pretty quickly, so by the time we get home from practice and picking up a take-and-bake pie or two for the rest of the family, the crust is ready to go.

Beaker can't eat commercial pizza sauces, so I usually make one for him using crushed tomatoes and a bit of pepper, rosemary, and oregano. Or sometimes I just brush butter and parmesan cheese on the crust, his favorite. Then top with shredded mozzarella and sprinkle grated parmesan along the crust.

Okay, so I don't always cut heart shapes in the ham slices, but he does love the extra special touches. To make your pizza super cute like his, use two sizes of heart shaped cookie or fondant cutter to cut out the shapes.

Arrange your toppings on top and sprinkle just a little bit more cheese over that. Beaker's favorite pizza toppings are Canadian bacon and pineapple. I like pepperoni, spinach, and mushrooms on mine!

Bake at 425 degrees. And like magic, eight to ten minutes later you have dinner!

One pizza crust makes enough pizza for Beaker to have dinner plus lunch the next day, so BOOM, two meals in one shot. Pop the rest of the pizzas in the oven and dinner is served. Easy and fast, perfect for busy nights!

What are your favorite pizza toppings?

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Perfect Parade Lunch

#throwbackthursday much? Ha!

I actually made these lunches close to a year ago, and never got around to posting them. I was just poking around, trying to convince myself to get back into the swing of blog, and stumbled over this draft from last summer.

It's Parade Season again here, which means several lunches on the run for Beaker and the Chaos Leader (aka Me). Bean and G-man are both in the marching band at school, which makes Beaker and I their personal cheering section.

The first Parade Season after Beaker was diagnosed with food allergies, I misjudged how long the parades can be and only packed Beaker a light snack. Hours later he was hot and starving and miserable, and there was nothing anywhere nearby that I knew was safe to feed him. Never making that mistake again! 

These tasty on-the-go lunches I packed up for a parade last year:

Each has a cup of tuna fish tossed with sour cream and mayo, topped with pepper. The little spoon is perfect for scooping the tuna onto the rice crackers - delicious, and way more fun than a boring tuna sandwich!

The lunches also include mini pickles, blueberries, orange slices, and cut fruit bars - an allergy safe Enjoy Life bar for Beaker and a NutriGrain bar for me.

As you can see from the pic, the Easy Lunchboxes are completely perfect for a curbside picnic! They fit easily inside a regular insulated lunch bag, with an ice pack tucked inside to keep the tuna salad nice and cold. The whole lunch was easily balanced on Beaker's lap, so he could watch the parade while happily eating his lunch. This is one of my favorite things about Easy Lunchboxes - they're perfect for on-the-go meals and fit everything neatly in one container, without a bunch of fiddly pieces to juggle.

SO much better than hauling a hangry kid around!

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