Friday, March 20, 2015

A Week of GF/CF Easy Lunches!

This school year I've been pretty lackluster in the creativity department. So here's a week of tried-and-true lunch favorites for my 1st grader and 3-year-old. Well. Most of a week.

Sausage for Big Sis
Organic apples, raspberries, carrots, and sugar snap peas; leftover pineapple-bacon sausage, organic ketchup and mustard
Monday, 2/2/15 - One day at Costco they had samples of this pineapple bacon sausage that my kids (and husband) went ape for. So we stock up whenever they have them. They're Z's favorite dinner option, and leftover sausage is a lunch favorite too! I put in a little sweets fork pick just for fun. And to keep fingers clean... She doesn't like to wash her hands... Ewwww.

 [This post contains affiliate links.

Little Sis Sausage
Pineapple-bacon sausage; organic peas, carrots, apples, raspberries, ketchup
A smaller version of the same lunch for my little one... Not sure what to call her. No longer a toddler, since she's 3, but not quite a preschooler, since she wasn't 3 when the current school year started. Podling? Oompa-loompa? Little Squirt?

Nuts and Bolts
Chocolate nut clusters; organic strawberries, carrots, and snap peas; multi-grain chips
Tuesday, 2/3/15 - For fun I packed chocolate-covered nut clusters as her protein (and a treat!) and some whole-grain chips for her grains. The nut clusters actually have surprisingly little sugar in them. I served them in a flower cup to add an easy fun factor.

Preschooler Lunch
Organic snap peas, apples, clementine; salted hard-boiled egg, GF pretzel twists
Same idea, but I opted for an egg for my little one. Less of a choking hazard. And we'll pretend that the gluten-free pretzels actually contain some grains...

DIY PB Cracker Stackers
Organic apples, snap peas, and carrots; PBCo Dark Chocolate Dreams, GF crackers
Wednesday, 2/4/15 - Z loves "building" her own lunches, and when I'm in a hurry, tossing in a squeeze pack of peanut butter and some crackers makes a quick and easy option!

PB Cracker Sandwiches
Chocolate PB and Glutino crackers; organic mushrooms, carrots, and strawberries
My little one can't quite be trusted to assemble her own PB cracker sandwiches yet, so I made hers for her. No worries though. She just licks off the peanut butter and leaves the crackers behind. *sigh* They're in a butterfly muffin cup because they're an easy way to make a simple lunch look fun. I tend to forget to add little touches like that to her lunches, since I've focused on making my older daughter's lunches fun for so much longer. But E really enjoys when I do add these little details.

Heart and Cheese Cracker Stackers
Glutino crackers, goat cheese, uncured ham; organic peas, carrots, raspberries
Thursday 2/5/15 - Ham and cheese Cracker Stackers are another favorite around here. And a mini heart cutter makes them so much more fun than the packaged lunch kits we can't eat anyway. The heart muffin cups just makes this lunch burst with love!
Goat milk casein is closer to the protein in human milk versus cow milk, and so doesn't trigger my intolerance or cause issues with my girls. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods have amazing selections of goat milk products!

Must not have packed anything for the 3-year-old. Which probably backfired, as then I end up making lunches twice. Once the night before for Big Sis and once the next day for Little Sis. Plus she demands her food be served in an EasyLunchbox anyway, even when she's eating at her little table. "I don' wan' a PLATE! I wan' a NUNCH!" Hahaha!

There was no school that Friday, so no packed lunches.

Tools of the Trade

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Who's Coming to #SoFabUOTR Seattle? #cbias

I am a member of the Social Fabric community. One of the best parts is their "SoFabU," a series of helpful online lessons and support for bloggers to help us hone our craft. Well now they're not just on the internet - they're taking it on the road! Normally I can't justify going to blogger conferences, since the price of hotel and airfare are prohibitive. But SoFabU On the Road is coming right to me; one of their events will be here in Seattle! If you're interested, you'd better act fast. It's less than a month away, on 4/18/15 at The Crowne Plaza, and spots are limited!

[Disclaimer: I am writing this post in exchange for a discounted conference ticket; however, all opinions are mine.]
The Seattle conference begins with a breakfast hosted by national sponsor Müller Yogurt, followed by a few informative talks about monetization and writing sponsored content. (Woop!) Then featured speaker Andy Hayes talks about building a lasting audience! This is probably worth the price of admission alone! He is the founder and creator of Plum Deluxe, the website that helps you create moments that matter. A published author, prolific writer, tea lover, and public speaker, he is based in sunny Portland, Oregon. Featured in sites and magazines such as CNN, Wall Street Journal, and National Geographic, Andy is known for his fresh ideas on living a good life.
After a short panel on how bloggers and brands can work together, there will be a lunch sponsored by Johnny Rockets. The agenda after lunch hasn't been finalized yet, but there will be plenty of networking, brands, and other learning opportunities. Maybe something with national sponsors Kraft and iBlog. I'm already excited to discover more about the city-specific Adventure! You can check out the agenda on the SoFabUOTR website!)

About SoFabU on the Road
SoFabU on the Road is a unique event that allows influencers to take advantage of educational opportunities that will help set them apart from the rest.
SoFabU on the Road features hands-on, interactive sessions for influencers to implement what they're learning on the spot. The sessions are paired with fun city-specific adventures where attendees get to practice their newly learned skills.
Events are open to all bloggers and influencers!

Jan – Los Angeles
Feb – Miami
March – Phoenix
April – Cincinnati
April – Seattle
May – Dallas
June – NYC
July – Chicago
Aug. – Minneapolis
Sept. – Atlanta
Oct. – Bentonville

About Collective Bias and Social Fabric
Collective Bias® is the only shopper social media company that solves shopper marketing problems by weaving together organic social content with engaging, real-life stories to generate millions of impressions, increased share of voice, SEO and retail sales for brands and retailers. Top brands such as Tyson, Nestlé and Duane Reade rely on Collective Bias to sell their stories socially. Based in Bentonville, Arkansas, with satellite offices in New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Cincinnati and London, Collective Bias was named one of America's 25 Most Promising Companies by Forbes and a part of the Inc. 5000.

Social Fabric® is Collective Bias’ proprietary community of nearly 3,000 shopping-focused influencers with an aggregate multichannel reach in excess of 130 million.
For more information, please visit or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Simple St. Patrick's Day Lunch

I almost forgot to do a festive lunch for St. Patrick's Day. Oops! So I managed to whip this together for Z last-minute and gave her original lunch (leftover fish sticks) to Little Sis. Boom!

GF ham and goat cheese with mustard sandwich bites, dye-free chocolate candies, leftover roasted potatoes, organic strawberries 
I used a mini heart cutter to make double-decker uncured ham and sliced goat cheese sandwich bites which I skewered with shamrock picks and clear green picks and arranged into a shamrock shape.

I originally grabbed the dye-free chocolate candies to cull out some green ones (Simple Truth brand from Kroger stores - I've seen them at Fred Meyer and QFC.) But then I figured, hey, make a rainbow! I did go heavy on the green though. I put them in a mini muffin cup because I try to limit treats to that size, but also because smaller servings are more visually satisfying when they're in a smaller dish that looks full, versus a larger dish that looks empty.

 [This post contains affiliate links.

Some leftover roasted potatoes and a few organic strawberries finish it out. It's not a lot of food, I know. But she hasn't been eating much lately (she seems to be in between growth spurts,) plus she gets two (usually healthy) snacks before lunch since her teachers discovered that snack was a great motivation for her to focus and get her tasks done. So they can get her to do some of the tasks on her list, eat a snack, more tasks, second snack, finish her work, then lunch. Yay! I love her new school, and I love that they can be flexible and work with each individual child to help them each flourish in their own way!

Tools of the Trade

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful... "Cinderella" at the Paramount!

If you haven't seen the new twist on the classic Rodger's + Hammerstein's Cinderella, you're missing out! The colors, the set, the costumes! The powerful voices and superb acting! It was an enchanting few hours (literally!) and I had so much fun!
I invited my mom, since she loves musicals but doesn't enjoy going by herself. Plus I didn't want to have to cajole my own kid into going (even though I knew she'd love it) and make her stay up late on a school night.
[I was provided with complimentary tickets. All opinions are my own]

I hadn't liked the original 1965 movie version, since they cast their Cinderella based on her dancing ability, rather than her voice. That's a major pet peeve of mine. (I'm looking at you, Russell Crowe in Les Miz!) Well, this director did not make THAT mistake, let me tell you! And while I wasn't sure how I felt about the "cheeky new script" during the first few scenes, by the first dance number for "The Prince is Giving a Ball," they won me over! Choreographer Josh Rhodes did not "play it safe" with the dances. I have watched every season of So You Think You Can Dance, so I have pretty high standards for choreography. They did some amazing tricks and lifts!

The sets were so beautiful and full of detail, and the costumes were colorful and very well done. So amazing, in fact, that costume designer William Ivey Long won a Tony Award for them! An honor well deserved! I'm pretty blase about stuff like that usually, but even I was impressed!

And that was BEFORE I saw the transformation scenes! Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother literally transform right before your eyes! No double hiding offstage switching places during a puff of smoke or a flash of light. A twirl and a tug, and rags turn into a beautiful ball gown! Shoulder-length ringlets and a head scarf become an updo and a tiara in the blink of an eye! I saw it happen and still couldn't tell you how it was done. Truly incredible!

While I was delighted by the gorgeous costumes and sets, and loved the beautiful singing, it was the character dynamics of the stepmother and stepsisters that kept me entertained the whole show. The sarcasm, the attitude, and the "asides," all had me chuckling in my seat, and it's hard to get me to laugh out loud.

I had someone ask me if this show would be appropriate for kids, and I'd have to answer with an emphatic YES! (Obviously, depends on your kids though, and whether they can sit still-ish through a show without too much fidgeting or talking.) I got to witness this first-hand, since even though I opted to bring my mom instead of my own 6-year-old, I happened to be seated right next to a girl around the same age. There was only the normal amount of fidgeting as she tried to stay comfortable and see while sitting on the "booster cushion" provided at the Paramount. And I think I whispered more to my mom throughout the show than this kid did with hers!
The costumes and sets gave enough to occupy the senses during any dialog that went above their heads, and the humor and delivery were perfect, making things fun even if you didn't "get" the joke. Plus the woodland creature puppets in a few scenes would have been my girl's favorite parts! I saw dozens of little princesses in a variety of ages all up past their bedtimes, and they all behaved smashingly well!  This would be the perfect Mommy and Me experience, no matter how old you are!

Cinderella is currently playing in Seattle (it's not too late! More details below, or click here to get tickets!) But for those of you who don't live near me, they're only on the third stop on their tour, so be sure to hurry and get tickets near you!



RODGERS + HAMMERSTEIN'S CINDERELLA, the 2013 Tony® Award-winning Broadway musical from the creators of South Pacific and The Sound of Music, will play The Paramount Theatre for a limited engagement from February 24 – March 1, 2015. Tickets are available on-line at and, by calling 877-STG-4TIX (784-4849) or in person at select Ticketmaster locations and at The Paramount Theatre Box Office (Monday through Friday, 10am to 6pm).

With its fresh new take on the beloved tale of a young woman who is transformed from a chambermaid into a princess, this hilarious and romantic Rodgers + Hammerstein's CINDERELLA combines the story's classic elements – glass slippers, pumpkin, and a beautiful ball along with some surprising twists. More than just a pretty face with the right shoe size, this Cinderella is a contemporary figure living in a fairytale setting. She is a spirited young woman with savvy and soul who doesn't let her rags or her gowns trip her up in her quest for kindness, compassion and forgiveness. She longs to escape the drudgery of her work at home and instead work to make the world a better place. She not only fights for her own dreams, but forces the prince to open his eyes to the world around him and realize his dreams too. 

CINDERELLA has music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, a new book by Douglas Carter Beane and original book by Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical is directed by Mark Brokaw and choreographed by Josh Rhodes. Music adaptation, supervision and arrangements are by David Chase and orchestrations are by Danny Troob.

One of Rodgers + Hammerstein's most popular titles, CINDERELLA was written for television -- debuting in 1957 starring Julie Andrews. In 2013, the show made its long-overdue Broadway debut. Along with CINDERELLA, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's legendary musicals include OKLAHOMA!CarouselThe King and ISouth Pacific and The Sound of Music.

Mr. Beane's book for CINDERELLA blends masterfully with the musical's cherished score with songs including "In My Own Little Corner," "Impossible/It's Possible," "Ten Minutes Ago" and "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?"

The creative team includes scenic design by Tony® Award nominee Anna Louizos, costume design by six-time Tony® Award-winner William Ivey Long, lighting design by Tony® Award-winner Kenneth Posner and sound design by Tony® Award nominee Nevin Steinberg.

The CINDERELLA tour is produced by Robyn Goodman, Jill Furman, Stephen Kocis, Edward Walson, Venetian Glass Productions, The Araca Group, Caiola Productions, Roy Furman, Peter May, Sanford Robertson, Eric Schmidt, James Spry and Blanket Fort Productions.

CINDERELLA will be at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre for 8 performances. The schedule for the Seattle engagement is:

Tuesday, February 24                        7:30 pm
Wednesday, February 25                   7:30pm
Thursday, February  26                      7:30pm
Friday, February 27                            8:00pm
Saturday, February 28                        2:00pm and 8:00 pm
Sunday, March 1                                1:00pm An ASL / AVIA Interpreted performance
6:30pm – An Open Caption performance
*For tickets to the ASL- Open Caption performances, call the TTY line at 888-331-6774.

Tickets for CINDERELLA start at $25 and are available on-line at and, by calling 877-STG-4TIX (784-4849,) or in person at select Ticketmaster locations and at The Paramount Theatre Box Office (Monday through Friday, 10am to 6pm).
CINDERELLA is part of the 2014/2015 KeyBank Broadway at The Paramount series, presented by Seattle Theatre Group, with support for the fifth year from KeyBank as the series title sponsor. Brotherton Cadillac is the official auto sponsor, The Roosevelt Hotel is the official sponsor hotel and Alaska Airlines is the official sponsor airline of KeyBank Broadway at The Paramount.

For more information please visit
Twitter: @CinderellaBway