Wednesday, May 11, 2016

When the kid throws a curveball

"I want something different."

Miss Mads uttered these words during our daily rush - that flurry of activity that comes as she finds her outerwear paraphernalia for school and I work to assemble a winning lunch in 3 minutes or less. I had a feeling I knew what she was talking about, but I hoped I was wrong. Most of the morning school drop-offs of late had been inching closer and closer to the "have your kid here by this time, we totes mean it" threshold, and I was really hoping to buck the trend today.

So, I asked for clarification from her, my fingers mentally crossed.

"I mean I want something different!"

Ok... How so? Something different to wear? To drive to school in? Something different in terms of weather pattern? In the color of the walls?

I listed off anything I could think of, finally ending with what I knew and feared to be the answer. Something different for lunch?



And, after the line of questioning, I was now down to 2 minutes.

Fortunately, I had picked up a package of hard boiled eggs at the store yesterday. Hmm. It sounds schmaltzy, but this curveball was turning into an opportunity. An opportunity to pull out a little bento tool I hadn't used in awhile.

It worked! The combination of hard boiled eggs and cashews, along with some pea puffs and a strawberry, was different enough to pass muster with Miss Mads. Mission Success!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Strawberry Ice Cubes

The weather is warmer, which means it's time for cold drinks. The problem with ice cubes, though, is that they melt. Melty ice cubes mean watered down drinks. Yuck.

This is why I love Strawberry Ice Cubes. When they melt, they add a zing of strawberry!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

I Dream of Strawberry Water

Look what I have...

Look what else I have...

What if I did this?

And this?

And this?

I bet it would lead to this:

Mmm. Tastes like summer!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Sandwich Cutters

Sandwich cutters add variety to the average sandwich. And, if you're like me and have a kid who's "allergic" to crust, it cuts it off in one go. Now, there's a chance she'll eat the whole thing, instead of taking 2 bites before declaring the rest "crust".

They're so easy to use - 2 steps, less than 30 seconds required.

Step 1 - Position Cutter on Sandwich

This apple cutter is the one I use the most. It perfectly fits the brand of sandwich bread we usually buy.

Step 2 - Push down on Cutter

Roll the cutter around a little as you push, being sure to push firmly on all the outside edges. You may have to use your hand to separate the bread along the cut lines. 

And that's it!!

If desired, you can decorate the sandwich on the outside, or just leave it as-is. 

Cutters can be found in lots of stores. I've had best luck in Target and Supermarkets around back-to-school time. 



And Triangles! Oh my!

This triangle one cuts sandwiches a little differently, but that's something for a different post...

Monday, May 2, 2016

3 Ways to Pack a Sandwich Without Using a Plastic Baggie

3 kinds of reusable sandwich containers

I'm a big fan of using lunch containers that can be easily washed and used another day in another lunch. Sandwiches are in heavy rotation in Miss Mads' lunch, so all of these methods of sandwich packing see regular use in our house.

1 - Plastic Sandwich Case

This case was given to me in a swap a number of years ago, but I've seen similar ones in Target and supermarkets. Other than the brand name being gradually erased from the top due to repeated washings, it's held up well.  

The case is deep, so you can put other foods in there aside from the sandwich.

2 - Bento Sandwich Cases

Sandwich cases I've gotten through import stores are a little different than ones I've seen in local stores - they have vents!

The idea is that the vents will prevent the bread of the sandwich from getting overly soggy. 

Some have additional compartments - the pink one above has a lower level to hold sides - so they would require a band or belt to hold them together (unless you like to live dangerously).

My favorite part is that they collapse down when empty; easier to carry home, easier to store. 

3 - Fabric Sandwich Cases

These are the cases that get used most often for Miss Mads' lunch. It's only been more recently that I've started trusting her with some of the more "fragile" pieces I've acquired over the years. 

These cases are more than just cotton - most of the ones we have are made by Lunchskins, which have a velcro close and are made of a fabric originally used for pastry bags. They're dishwasher safe and pretty durable. Some ours have been in use for about 4 years and are still kicking. I've found them on clearance at various points at Target, which is nice, since our supply has been depleted from bags wandering away. (I'm not affiliated with Lunchskins or compensated in anyway, just had a good experience with the product)

We have one from Skip Hop as well, but it doesn't get used as much. It's not dishwasher safe, because of the printing method, I guess, and who has time for that?!