Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November Bento Catch-up

Tuesday, 11/8/11 - We had my Kids Cooking Class in the morning, followed by preschool.
Her lunch: string cheese nibblets, candy corn, PBHoney, more nibblets,
edamame pods, carrot flowers, apples
I threw this lunch together pretty quickly. Since my sandwich cutters are now handy and accessible due to my sister's awesome reorganization, I grabbed this one, just for fun. And since I had these cute little animal-head sandwiches, while digging through my tub of silicone cups to hold the cheese, I found my little animal head ones. So it looks totally cute and planned! Win!
The edamame beans started out frozen, but they thawed nicely by lunchtime.
My lunch: Onion bagel w/cream cheese, Ranch,
broccoli, apples w/PB
The yellow Tupperware Smidget with Ranch in it didn't fit sideways with the EasyLunchBox lid on, so I ended up cutting my bagel into quarters and eating one before we left. Omnomnom.

Gear: Animal face sandwich cutter, animal silicone bento cups, Tupperware Smidget, Easylunchboxes

Monday 11/14/11 - Last day of Barefoot Enrichment Fall Adventure Series classes, followed by preschool and then swim class.
Z's lunch: Ham and cheese heart pocket sandwich, ham and cheese rolls,
carrot, Apple Straws, apples
I just got the heart pocket-sandwich maker from Williams-Sonoma when we went trick-or-treating at the mall for Halloween. I initially went in to see if they had the Star Wars Vehicles cookie cutters, sandwich cutters, and pancake molds on sale for 50% off, like they were online. (They just had the two sets of cutters.) Since I would have bought it eventually anyway, I snagged the heart maker as well... and this way there'd be no shipping! The edges of the sammie are a little crookedy, since I chose to cut out each slice of bread separately first, added the filling, then tried to jam it back in to the mold to press.
I rolled the leftover cheese and another slice of ham together, and fastened them with animal forky picks.
The freaky-looking carrot is an organic one from our CSA share. Fun! I peeled most of it as best I could, since I wasn't able to get the dirt off as well as I would have liked.
My lunch: Onion bagel w/cream cheese, JoeJoe cookies,
radish and broccoli w/Ranch, apples w/PB
The radish was still good from my CSA share several weeks before, and I haven't had one in a while, so I tossed one in to see if I liked them. Eh. I'd eat 'em, but I don't particularly care for them.

Gear: Heart crustless sandwich press, cat and dog fork picks, green bunny fork pick, mini green silicone muffin cup (World Market, $2.99/12,) EasyLunchBoxes

Wednesday, 11/30/11 - After school snackerel.
At preschool snack she had wanted more cheese nibblets, but they were all gone, so I offered to get her more in between school and swim class. She wanted a 'long pull cheese' as well as 'little white cheese nibblets.'
String cheese, baby carrots, apples,
string cheese nibblets, pretzels
Since she wanted cheese nibblets too, I figured I'd slap together a quickie snack in a bento box, since I'd need something to put the nibblets in! She saved two baby carrots from her school snack, so I put them in as well. And I had two apple slices left over, so went ahead and tossed them in. I couldn't find the Annie's Cheddar Bunnies, so I put in some pretzels for variety... and to fill space.
The way she snarfed most of it down, you would have thought she'd had nothing to eat all day but half a PBHoney sandwich and some cheese, a baby carrot, and Pirate's Booty at preschool snack... Oh, no wait. That sounds right. Not one of my finer Mommy Moments.
She ate the entire 'long' cheese stick and most of the nibblets and pretzels. She gnawed on the carrots (she eats more if I cut them into flower coins, but I offered and she wanted them to stay as sticks) and didn't touch the apple slices (they were on their last legs, so she usually passes when they start feeling a little mushy.)

Gear: Hello Kitty bento box (Sanrio store at my local mall, $10ish,) red silicone muffin cups (World Market, $2.99/6)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

All Wrapped Up! - How to Recycle, Upcycle, and Re-Use Holiday Gift Wrap!

Things like wrapping paper just amaze me. While I love the brightly wrapped packages gleaming under the tree, or a pile of birthday gifts beckoning from the corner, it galls me to spend $5 on a tube of paper that essentially gets thrown away. It's like throwing away money. Toilet paper, Kleenex and paper towels are similar in that we buy them just to throw them out, but usually they're used for stuff gross enough I wouldn't want to bother washing and reusing. I use old hole-y socks, T-shirts and underpants (cut open or marked "RAG" with a Sharpie so there's no confusion in the clean laundry pile!) for stuff I'm willing to use again.

photo credit 
Here are some ideas for alternatives to store-bought gift-wrap, like using newspaper or fabric, or even ironing and reusing old wrapping paper! For Z's family we often use plain brown paper (like re-used paper bags) and have her color and put stickers on the package to jazz it up. Her cousins especially love having the puffy foam stickers I get at the Dollar Store on their gifts. I've started doing something similar for the grandparents using plain blank cards and having her make her own thank-you and birthday cards. (I don't bother with her aunties and uncles, since they have a plethora of their own children's artwork lying around already.)

It's a Wrap!
In addition to replacing wrapping paper with something useful, you can also find some great ideas for re-using wrapping paper.

If you do a lot of shipping, you can re-use wrapping paper crumpled up as packing material!

Another use for used paper (regardless of wrinkliness) is you can hole-punch (or use shaped craft-punches) to make confetti. You can use confetti in envelopes for birthday cards, or as table scatter for a party. Little Z just loves squirting glue onto paper and tossing confetti on it. I bought a 3-hole punch that can do 20 pages at once and has a special one-hand push to make it easier. But if you punch too many layers at once the holes tend to stick together, which kind of defeats the purpose. But I punch holes in colored scraps of paper, junk mail, art projects not worth keeping, etc. I cannot punch confetti fast enough for her little glue-and-sprinkles projects!

If you have a wood fireplace you can burn the paper, but some of the inks may release harmful fumes. On the other hand, we often got colored flames from the chemical reactions, which was pretty exciting. You decide.

photo credit
Cards, tags, boxes and bows:
Your child's paintings and drawings can also be repurposed to make gift tags and Xmas/birthday/thank-you cards. You can scan or photograph them first to save them for posterity. Or just use the ones you don't feel are worth hanging onto for the next 50 years. A few brushstrokes of paint on a paper at preschool may not be a great work of art, or even worth hanging on the fridge, but cut it down and the sworls of paint and the texture of the brush become quite a lovely card for Nana. Although I usually don't bother with gift tags. I usually just us a Sharpie to write directly on the paper.

The adults in my family mostly give each other gifts in gift bags - then we save them and use them again the next year! We still do paper for the kidlets though, since they like ripping into their gifts! One of my nephews hates unwrapping, so we use bags for him too.

I also save the nicer bows (not those cheap 50/$1 ones) and re-use them. Same with cute gift boxes, and even the department store ones. You never know when you're going to buy your brother-in-law a sweater one year! Having a collapsed box from a previous year not only saved me some money, but also a trip to the store!
photo credit
I mostly don't bother with ribbon as a) it's a pain in the a$$ to work with, b) it's a pain in the a$$ to untie while opening presents, and c) my cats chew it off the packages and puke it up all over the house. They also try to eat the bows, but I just set those aside and put them on at the last minute (or put them and the packages into the bags we'll take to the family event and stick them on as I'm placing them under the tree or whatever.)

I save greeting cards and cut pictures and words off of them and we use them for crafts like collages and such (which can be re-made into new cards!) Same with pictures from wrapping paper remnants or used wrapping paper. Even the fancy holiday stamps with postmarks can be fun to cut off the mailing envelopes and use in art projects!

Do you have any other tips or ideas? Please leave a comment!

Added 11/27/11 - 
Start off with Re-Usable packaging!
Kelly from EasyLunchBoxes posted about using her re-usable lunchboxes as the gift packaging! Genius!
I've also seen trail mix, hot cocoa, cookie mix, or other baking mixes given in glass jars, so why not find a cute bento box or Tupperware-style container, or even a craft supplies box to house gifts! Avoid the waste altogether!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


At my 20-week ultrasound, the doctor said I had placenta previa (plus some other fun complications that weren't affecting me or the baby thus far,) and to come back for another look at 30-weeks to see if it had moved (as the uterus grows, the placenta can move with it.)
Newp. So at 30-weeks, he pretty much told me they're going to want to go with a C-Section. *shudder*

My doula sent me a link to a freaky horror show video about a 'natural' c-section... where they try and make it as much like a vaginal birth as possible, where they lower the drape after the baby's head is out, so you can see him/her being born and they bring the baby out more slowly, so the liquids can be expelled more naturally from the lungs, etc etc. After being torn between crying with joy for the couple on the video and gibbering in terror that they will want to put needles in. my. SPINE!!! this surgery will be happening to me, I thought about whether I'd be interested in trying it this way, and seeing the baby emerge. Here is how I envision that scenario... (with crappily drawn illustrations...)

(Click picture to enlarge)
Hmm... can't decide...

photo from the movie Alien. Masterful cartoon drawn by Yours Truly.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Once Upon a Dream - Sleeping Beauty Bento

Plum District, one of the group-deals sites I get emails from had a deal for 12 tickets to a Children's Theater nearby-ish, on Mercer Island. Since she did so well at Harold and the Purple Crayon and Pinkalicious, I bought the deal just in time to snag some Disney's Sleeping Beauty tickets! Since the deal was for a 12-ticket flex pass, and I only saw three age-appropriate shows for the season, I figured I'd make Grammelena go with us to use up the 4th ticket. So once I 'reserved' Grandma for that date, I called to get my tickets.
While ordering them, the lady told me that one of the other shows was also great for Z's age, but I couldn't tell from the description... but now I only have 8 tix left for 3 shows! Ah well. Will have to figure something out.

While eagerly awaiting the day of the show, it occurred to me that my 4-year-old niece Tually might enjoy the play. And since Gramma was coming, we'd have a 1-to-1 adult-to-child ratio, which is the minimum required for my sister's peace of mind. For public venues anyway, without her present. The only downside would be that Tually would be using my husband's ticket. Let me tell you, he was just ecstatic heartbroken.
Since my niece had a birthday party to attend earlier in the day, my sister (Auntie Kayneen) asked if I could have a healthy snack ready for her. No problem! And while I was at it... one for Z as well!
Top (Z's lunch/snack): PBHoney 'Aurora,' pretzel stick and string cheese 'spindle,'
Colby Jack crown and string cheese, carrot flowers, apples and blueberries
Bottom (T's lunch): Just Jelly sandwich, Colby Jack crown and scraps, pretzel sticks,
carrot flowers, apples and blueberries
Tually is one of the pickiest eaters I know, stealing the crown from even me! When she was over last, she didn't like the sandwich I made using store-bought strawberry jelly, so I made sure to use my homemade raspberry-blackberry freezer jam, which is closer to what she's used to (my sister makes and jars her own jam, using berries from her raspberry bushes and wild blackberries that grow behind her yard and down the lane. And she does it RIGHT, with boiling water and some special tool, so she doesn't HAVE to go the lazy freezer-jam method.)
And she doesn't usually eat a lot, so I was skimpier on the food than I normally would be. Plus it was supposed to be more of a snack, since I had no idea what she'd eaten at the party.
Aurora: I used my princess/bride cookie cutter, which was too tall for the bread, so I just made her a little shorter. Looked fine to me! On Tually's sandwich I cut the bread individually first, since it's such a skinny cutter I didn't want to tear anything. But for Z's, putting PB and honey on skinny princess-shaped bread is kind of a pain, so I made her sammie up first, then cut it. Lo and behold, it split her head wide open, oozing honey and PB everywhere. ("Not tonight dear. I have a splitting headache!")
So I flipped her and had her face the other way. Luckily the bottom slice was fine. And the bit of crust that was on top looks kind of like a crown!

Royal Bouquet: For the carrot flowers, I just cut ridges along a large carrot and coined it up and split it between them. Normally I'd give Z most of one, and save the extras in the fridge for another day.

Fairy Berries: I had an open packet of apple slices (Z really likes the organic ones from Costco, and I don't ALWAYS have time to chop one up and slop it in juice to prevent browning, so it's nice to have some on hand. And I must say, they are pretty darn tasty! And some blueberries. I added jewel bow picks, since both girls are fans of stabbing their kill food before eating, and tend to eat more when they get to do this.

Spindle and Needles: I added some pretzel sticks (in cute butterfly cups!) for a little more grains, since the white bread my husband had bought for stuffing was all but nutrient-free. But Tually likes white bread the best, and I figured Sleeping Beauty would look prettier without seeds poking out all over. I had the idea to make one into a spindle somehow, using bits of peeled string cheese. The cheese was not a fan, so I only did one, and put it in Z's lunch.
Royally Cheesed: I used my Wilton crown cutter and managed to squeeze out two crowns from one slice of Colby Jack cheese. I tucked the scraps ("puzzle cheese") in a red silicone cup (her favorite color) for Tually and set the crown on top. I chopped up the rest of the cheese stick for Z (in a pink cup, of course!) since I wasn't sure she'd eat the 'orange and white spotty cheese,' since she hadn't been lately.

The girls loved the play. But Z at least was a little confused. The plot rushed by kind of quickly, so she kept asking where the baby Aurora was while the grown-up Aurora was prancing around the forest mooning over imaginary princes. She didn't understand that the fairies had changed her name, or that it was supposed to be her all grown up.
There was actually a lot she didn't understand. But she enjoyed it nonetheless. Except the 'wicked queen.' She did not like Malificent at. all!
I was kind of disappointed, since I thought these would be plays FOR kids, not plays BY kids. The oldest cast members were 17 (Malificent,) 16 (prince,) and 14 (Aurora.) And they broke for intermission once she touched the spinning wheel and fell asleep. I (foolishly) assumed they'd stretch out the stuff after that, but no. The last bit of the play (Malificent dragging the prince off, the fairies giving him a sword, Malificent turning into a dragon, slaying the dragon, kissing the princess, everyone dancing around) took almost less time than the intermission itself! Although they did the dragon pretty well. They did a silhouette scene with a large paw, tail, and a head and neck with smoke all being operated from offstage. And after the show they got out the parts and showed the audience what it had really been, so they weren't scared.

We busted out the snacks during intermission, then again after the show while we waited for Auntie Kayneen to meet back up with us. The original plan had been for Tually to go with Gramma, but since the play only lasted, like, 5 seconds, my sister was still nearby checking out the local thrift shop.
The cheese crowns were a bigger hit than the Princess sandwiches, surprisingly!
By the time we left the theater, they'd each eaten their sandwiches, some carrot flowers, some fruit, both the cheese crowns, and all the pretzels. There were some cheese nibblets left, and a few CoJack scraps, plus carrots and fruit. Which turned out great, since we went to one of those conveyor belt sushi places after, where I set out the leftovers (condensed into just one EasyLunchBox, with all the picks and extra silicone cups removed) for Pilu. She polished off the cheese, and made a dent in the blueberries and carrots (as well as some edamame and rice from the restaurant.) The rest of the fruit and carrots got absorbed into the collective at Grammelena's house, where I left Z with Auntie Kayneen and Z's favorite "sister-cousins" for a sleepover! Huzzah!
Hubby and I, giddy with our child-free night, went out and saw The Help! Worth it! Not quite as good as the book, but pretty darn close!
Bento Lunch

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Water Bringer

So we're all downstairs in the TV room watching a show (on TiVo.) And since I'm lazy pregnant and easily exhausted by stairs, I asked my husband if he would please get me some ice water. A little voice stops singing and says "I'll go get it Mama!"
And off she pitter-patters up the stairs. I can hear her voice trailing off... "I'll go get a cup from my cupboard, and then..."
My husband and I look at each other, shrug, and un-pause our show.
What felt like ten, but was probably really only five, minutes go by and then we hear a call from above...
"Daaaaaaaahduh! DAAAAAAAAAD-UHHHH! Can you help me get some ice please?"
He pauses the show and heads up the stairs. A few minutes later, I am presented with a very proud little 3-and-a-(almost)-half-year-old holding a little blue plastic cup filled with ice and water!*

I will never go thirsty again!
photo credit

*No clue how she got the water; my husband says it was already in the cup when he got up there. I'm guessing the bathroom, since it didn't taste like kitchen water, and the faucet was drippy when we came back up for bath time. But who cares? It was adorable, and a little metallic-tasting deee-licious!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - Magic School Bus Gets Caught in a Web

Since we had no other plans for the day, I decided we could make a Muffin Tin Meal! Yay! It's been soooo long!
We got a new book in our last Scholastic order, and even though it's aimed at a slightly older crowd, it was one of their monthly $1 selections, so I decided to go ahead and snag one for later. And somehow it got mixed in with her bedtime stories, so she chose it last night. And when I went in to kiss her goodnight, and asked if she'd like a 'beautiful lunch' for the next day, before I could start suggesting themes *I* wanted to do, my husband suggested The Magic School Bus Gets Caught in a Web.
Thanks, honey. A flying school bus and spider webs. No problem on short notice. Sheesh.

PBHoney 'bus,' cheese 'web,' edamame 'spider eggs,' yogurt w/frosting web,
apple slices
Since we missed our regular Little Gym class the day before, we decided to do a make-up class this day, and then make our 'beautiful lunch' after. On the way there she helped me brainstorm what we'd include in the lunch.
Magic School Bus-Moth - I figured I could fake a bus using one of the Vrrrrm! Lunch Punches on a PBHoney sandwich, but wasn't sure how I'd do wings. (In the story, the bus becomes a bus-moth.) I ended up forgetting the wings until the last-minute, and dug out one of my wing picks (eBay.) I used a frosting tube to reinforce the wheel and front window outlines, and added back windows to make it more-bus-like. Z chose the green-colored frosting.
Spiders - I used my silicone spider muffin cups and put frozen edamame (I ran it under some water to wash off all the frost first) and organic apple slices in them. We're kind of low on veggie selection right now, so when I asked her if she wanted carrots, edamame beans or edamame in the pods, she chose the beans and said they could be spider egg pouches "where the baby spiders come out." Just like in the book! That made the apple slices "cradles for the baby spiders." Awww!
Webs - I used my green frosting tube to draw a sloppy web on some Greek honey yogurt. She wanted pudding, but I told her I wasn't putting sugar on her sugar, so she could have a frosting web on yogurt or nothing on pudding (I probably would have figured out some way to get a web on there though...) And I pulled apart some string cheese to make web strands, and included her safety scissors to cut them. In the story, the kids use scissors to cut the bus free from one of the webs.
Since she's still got her cold (it's been a few weeks!) she still isn't eating a lot, so I wasn't hoping for too much here either. She ate the top off her yogurt, about half her sandwich, chopped up all the string cheese with the scissors, and cut up some edamame and bread with them as well. As far as I can tell she didn't actually EAT any beans or apples, but she had some olives, feta cheese and a few leaves from my husband's Greek salad, along with the slice of plain bread my husband gave her while I was making lunch.

In the story, the class goes on a field trip to learn about spiders, and they visit a spider museum. But no one's there, so the bus shrinks and turns into a bus-moth and flies around the yard and sees spiders, egg sacs, and webs up close, and the kids and teacher share spider facts along the way. Then they get caught in a web, but the spider isn't interested in eating them. So they use scissors to cut themselves free. The bus returns to normal size just as the museum lady gets back, so they get to go in and see more spiders. It actually turned out not to be as far above her level as I had originally thought. I don't like that it has information all over the place - there's the story text, speech bubbles, and kids 'reports' on little lined papers throughout the book. But the factoids weren't too long or boring or anything. Just the right amount, for this age (3-and-a-half.)

Meal Planning MagicMuffin Tin Monday at
5 a day books

Shibley Smiles

It's Playtime at hands on : as we grow


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hello? Are You There?

I just wanted to let you all know I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth. I'm still here. But I haven't been making a lot of lunches lately, and we haven't been making or doing anything awesome or fun, so I haven't really had anything to post about. I've had this cold for over 2 weeks now, plus being pregnant has kind of pulled me into myself the last seven few months. And now that I've hit the 'everything feels uncomfortable' stage, I'm dropping things right and left, since I just don't have the energy to do it all anymore.
Since Little Z has been sick too, for at least a week, I've used that as an excuse to drop even more things. And since I only need to make a 'real' lunch if we're eating on the go between activities, when I cancel the activities she needs to eat between, there's no need for me to make lunch! Plus she's barely eating anything. Sadly, this means neither of us has been eating as healthy as we normally would, or as healthy as we should. But I'm finding it hard to even bring myself to care, that's how laid-low I am by everything right now.
My sister even came over and cleaned my kitchen, and built shelves to house all my bento and MTM supplies... and I could barely even bring myself to get excited about it. I know I'm really grateful, and I know how much I'm going to love all my stuff being better organized and more accessible (already I'm using my Lunch Punches more!) But I'm just so tired/depressed/hormonal/low-iron that I couldn't even pretend to be excited and/or whatever-other-reaction my poor sister was hoping for. I just want to go back to bed.

Before Z got sick, I could at least force myself to make fun lunches on the days I *had* to (even though my husband would probably have preferred I do dishes...) But now with no need to make a packed lunch this past week, we're eking by on late PBHoney sandwich 'breakfasts' and whatever they feed her at preschool during snack. And occasionally I remember to toss a carrot and/or some apple slices at her. I couldn't even tell you what I've been eating... My brain is such a fog!
So hopefully this 'dry spell' will end soon, since making these cute lunches and blogging about it are some of the few things I still actually enjoy doing. I even stopped playing Farmville! [*gasp*]

I apologize if I bummed any of you out. But I wanted to let everyone know that I am still here, and I do still plan on being here... Although I'll probably take a 'maternity leave' come the New Year!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ham and Vegetable Casserole, Take 2

Since my veggie-ham casserole was such a big hit last time, and, other than the kohlrabi, I had all the same ingredients, I decided to do it again!

I did change it up a bit though. I had 5 small organic blue potatoes that we bought at the farm in September that were sprouting, so I cut off any sprouty-bits and cubed them up instead of the kohlrabi*. And we added** in 1/4th of an onion (for some reason we have 3 onions lying around.) Otherwise, it's mostly the same recipe.

some amount of blue potatoes (cubed)*
1 lb yellow potatoes (cubed)
2-3 carrots (cubed)
1 small head cauliflower (chopped into bite-sized pieces)
1/4 medium yellow onion (diced)**
2 cups diced ham
2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tsp minced garlic (roughly 2-3 cloves. I used 3.)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp each salt and pepper (based on your taste. I left out the pepper.)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

I followed the same cooking directions as last time:
Mix the cut veggies in a large bowl; mix the oil, garlic and seasonings in a small bowl, then combine to coat the veggies.
Bake in a large casserole pan at 450 F for 30 minutes, stirring every 10. Sprinkle cheese on top and cook for 5 more minutes. Another change I made was that I only stirred the parmesan in a little bit. I mostly left it on top to brown this time. And I added closer to 1/4 cup, which is more than I used last time.

I chose to try and cube the carrots this time, since my husband didn't like all the different shapes last time (the carrots were coined, the kohlrabi was coined and cut into smaller bits, while everything else was cubed.) It doesn't really matter, except for how soft they get while cooking. And depends on your aesthetic views. But with all cubed, it was much easier to spoon (or fork) up a variety of tastes together.
While digging through the produce drawer to see what else I might want to add, an "Oooh! A zucchini!" quickly became "Ewwww. Moldy zucchini." So I won't know how that would have tasted unless I try this again. The purple pepper that my husband had promised he'd eat and one of my eggplants (from, like, 3 weeks ago) were also beyond salvaging. Ah well. At least I got to use the blue potatoes my sister and husband ridiculed me for not throwing out a few weeks ago! (I did chop off any section looking remotely sprouty, since I think I read somewhere that the parts where the sprouts come out are poisonous... something about being related to the deadly Nightshade family!)

The verdict:
I didn't really notice the onions, which is good, since I hate the taste of onions. The cauliflower was mushy, and the carrots were a little firm, but the taste was great.
Z told me about 50 times that she hated it and it was yucky and the worst ever, without actually having tried it yet. When she finally realized I was serious about her eating the dinner I made or nothing, she ate the ham and raved about how delicious it was. (We are trying out a new policy, starting tonight. Eat what we make and get dessert. Have us make something else instead and no dessert. We've all gotten into the habit of just making her a PBHoney sandwich or mac-n-cheese or something instead of having her eat what we're eating, which all the books/blogs/articles say is a bad habit to get into. We do have one exception, which is that if the food is really too spicy for her, then we'll make her something else upon request. And since she's more tolerant of spicy hotness than I am, I can gauge whether or not I think it's really too spicy for her or if she's just trying to work the system.)
My husband kept hollering from the other room that it was good and he really liked it. I know he had seconds, and probably thirds, since there's not enough left to make more than a snack for Unka Seesee when he gets home! (Sorry Seesee!)

Monday, November 7, 2011

'Pinkerbelle' Pinkalicious Lunch

On Sunday we went to see Pinkalicious the musical at Tacoma Children's Musical Theater. She did so well at  Harold and the Purple Crayon, so I was excited to take her to something else I knew she'd love. 
I've discovered that while I loved children's plays when I was a child, I have little tolerance for them as an adult. At least not while pregnant. Maybe without all these hormones turning me into a raging bitch making me less patient and a little crankier I'll feel differently. I still feel it's worth sitting through, for her. But I will start making sure I have something good to read on my iBooks app on my phone from now on!
Pinkalicious camouflaged by all the matching flowers
Naturally my child was the only girl there under the age of 9 with not a stitch of pink on her! Ah well. She chose to wear her blue Cinderella crown ($10, Disney store. Worst quality ever. Bought it on Halloween, the trim started coming off within a few days. Actually, we discovered the original one we bought was missing a gem when we got back to the car and my husband went in and exchanged it. Gah!) She also chose her off-white/red/navy sweater dress (GAP last year, on clearance plus I had a Groupon for $25 off a $50 purchase. Bought matching tights and a quilted jacket too) over a plethora of pink dress-up and fancy dress options!
She did end up schmearing pink frosting from one of the cupcakes they were selling at the concession stand ($2 each. Yummy, too!) on her sleeve though.
Making fun faces during intermission!
(My husband is not a total bum. He looks scruffy-faced because he shaved for
'Movember' to support prostate cancer fundraising and awareness.
He's growing his 'stache and goatee back in.)

Since we'd just gone to see the play (the day before,) I had been toying with the idea of a Pinkalicious lunch But since I hadn't made it the night before, I didn't really have the time to do much more than a themed sandwich before we had to leave in the morning. And I'd need pretzel sticks for (for the hair.) Which I didn't have. Ah well.
PBHoney w/ icing star, macadamia nuts w/almonds, string cheese
nibblets, carrot flowers w/broccoli, a
Pinkerbelle! - Since I couldn't do Pinkalicious, I was just going to slap out a quick and easy sandwich for Z and use one of my simple sandwich cutters, which, thanks to my sister coming over and cleaning my kitchen, are now more easily accessible. While digging through the tote of 'other' sandwich cutters, I thought that maybe I could use the fairy Lunch Punch cutter to make a Pinkalicious somehow (since she prances around with a crown and wand for part of the story.) The wings didn't quite fit the story though, so I didn't bother trying to make her pink. But since, when she turns pink in the story, she exclaims that she's "Pinkerbelle!" I could just name it that and call it good! I used blue jimmies stuck in endwise for the eyes, and a pink one for the mouth. The star 'wand' is from a Wilton Hannah Montana icing decoration set I got on clearance from Party City.

The Rest of the Story - I was going to use green beans, since Pinkalicious has to eat green foods to turn normal again, but they had gone bad. Since Z's not a huge fan of broccoli (the only other green food I could use in a hurry,) I made some carrot flowers to go with it, and there's a mini organic carrot from our last CSA share tucked underneath.
The apple slices are kind of pinkish, and we were out of raspberries.
I used a little pink silicone triangular bento cup to hold some macadamia nuts and almonds that she had asked for from the bulk section of the grocery store the last time we went. Mostly to fill space, and I thought she might actually eat them.
I used a flimsy rectangular silicone bento cup for the cheese nibblets, but it's orange, since my pink ones weren't the right size.
My Lunch
PBHoney, Halloween JoeJoe cookies, apples w/
PB, broccoli (Ranch in Smidget underneath.)
I ate everything. And yes, that's three JoeJoe cookies in there (Trader Joe version of Oreos.) I have the willpower of a mollusk. The only shocker here is that I didn't stuff a few more in my gob while I was making the lunches!

She could not have been more thrilled. She saw the 'candy star' and said that I was the best mommy ever. After months of hearing 'you are a bad mommy!' it was like music to my ears! (Whenever she'd say that, I'd offer to trade her for her cousin Tually, and she could live with Auntie Kayneen as a mommy instead. I'd tell her that I love her and wanted to stay with her, but that I loved her enough to let her have a better mommy. She'd always reply that she loved me best and wanted to stay with me. Even though I'm a bad mommy. *sigh*)
She was not a fan of the nuts, and screeched for a few minutes about how she didn't want them. And then popped a macadamia into her gob, first thing. Sheesh. Kids!
She ate the sugar star, all her apples, some carrot flowers, and some cheese between Barefoot Enrichment class and preschool. Then she ate her sandwich, and the rest of the carrots (and the little whole one) between school and swim class. She may have eaten a broccoli floret, or else she lost it somewhere.
She played with the little silicone cups, and gave them names, and brought them in to both preschool and swim class to show her teachers. What a nut!

Bedtime story was, of course, "Pinkalicious!"
I'm sure this story has more of a moral (something about how you can have 'too much of a good thing,') but my takeaway from it is the line "You get what you get, and you don't get upset." We use that one with Z a lot!

Both lunches packed in EasyLunchboxes.

Shibley Smiles
Classified: Mom
Bento Lunch5 a day books


Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Gratitude Project - 2011

For the last few years on Facebook people posted every day in November one thing (or more!) that they were grateful for. I did this last year, and re-reading it has been a real treat. So I'm going to try and do this again, and then add each day's post here and on Twitter. (You can wait until the end to read it all, or follow me on FB and/or Twitter, or check back on this post periodically!)
I totally forgot about doing this earlier, so I'm starting today!
(Sporting her post-Halloween clearance Dorothy wig)
11/6/11 - Today I am thankful that my husband loves me enough to do the laundry now that I can't waddle the baskets up and down the stairs.

11/7/11 - Today I am thankful that my friend Carson reminded me about my Kids Cooking Class tomorrow... I thought it was next week! Doh! I am also thankful that my husband was willing to run to the store and buy some last-minute ingredients for me!

11/8/11 - Today I am thankful that my daughter likes me the best, even when she calls me a bad mommy.

11/9/11 - Today I am thankful that my husband came with us to Disney on Ice. Apparently my intolerance for kiddie plays extends to normally-awesome ice skating shows as well. It must be the hormones. Plus he was able to carry her the 4 blocks back to my car. Scoooore!

11/10/11 - Today I am thankful that my daughter has halfway decent nail polishing skeelz. And by 'halfway decent,' I mean that the polish is mostly contained to my actual nails.

11/11/11 - Today I am thankful for all the men and women (and their families) who serve and who have served in the US Armed Forces. Thank you for risking your lives in support of our country. Love You Willie and Chris. Thanks Gampa Turt, Gampa Boose and my Grandpa (dec.)

11/12/11 - Today I am thankful that I finished my "Z - Age 1" photobook before the Buy 1, Get 2 Free deal expired! Wooot!

11/13/11 - Ooops. Forgot to post something that day! So, yesterday I was thankful that my husband and daughter were real troopers at the 4-hour Magical Night of Giving shop-a-thon at the Supermall. Got a TON of stuff, and some great deals... but virtually none of my holiday shopping list got marked off. Doh!

11/14/11 - Today I am thankful that it was the last day of Barefoot Enrichment class for this series. Not that she doesn't love it, or that I hate it. But it's been exhausting schlepping out for a 40-minute drive every Monday morning, after getting up early to pack a lunch, often having to wake her up and get her dressed in a hurry with no time for breakfast before hopping in the car. We have preschool an hour after, so no time to stop for fast food, even (since it takes time to coax her out after class, then walk back to the car and get in and such.) And then swim class an hour after preschool, so that packed lunch is often her breakfast, lunch, AND afternoon snack!

11/15/11 - Today I am thankful that my daughter is such a hoot! And she's not even TRYING! From pulling down my shirt collar at the DMV and announcing loudly that she likes to drink my boobies [back when she was still nursing at night,] to telling the guy on the phone that Mommy's pooping, not many days go by without me getting a good belly laugh at my own expense.

11/16/11 - Today I am thankful that I love my child. Because today was one of those days.
Today I am also thankful that my husband will pause his new video game and go get me ice water (with ice in it, please) because he loves me so much and it's hard for me to scale the baby gate in the hall with my short legs and newfound lack of agility.... please?

11/17/11 - Today I am thankful that when she picked my pocket (after I fell asleep while we were reading together on the bed this afternoon) to get my iPhone and use it to watch her 'shows' (free kiddie shows downloaded from iTunes) she put my debit and credit cards back into my pocket! And squared them up neatly!

11/18/11 - Today I am grateful that the OB's office I had to switch to (from the midwives) FINALLY CALLED ME BACK after 2 weeks of leaving messages. Not so grateful that it was her nurse, who had no idea why I had called, so she wasn't prepared, and she called AFTER the doctor had gone home, and AFTER Labor and Delivery scheduling was closed FOR THE WEEKEND. But now I might actually know my Monday or Tuesday what the plan is. Since the earliest she could even see me is still THREE WEEKS AWAY. But I'm grateful that I have a rough idea of maybe what the plan is. Gah!

11/19/11 - Today I am thankful that my husband not only agreed to see the movie "The Help" with me, but he also found it playing at a different theater when I didn't get home in time for us to see it at the $2 theater (a second-run theater.) AND he paid over $20 for the tickets at the other place! PLUS another $20+ for concessions (Mama needed some Raisinettes. And an ICEE.) 

11/20/11 - [forgot to post yesterday!] Yesterday I am grateful for the gift of song. My little girl spent all day singing and making up songs. About everything. And she'd even work to make them rhyme, even though they mostly didn't make any sense. It was a real treat!

11/21/11 - Today I am thankful for Santa Al! I totally forgot to see if he was available back in October when my MOMS Club calendar planner was putting together the December events calendar! So here I am, faced with a finalized event date and booked venue, hoping that Santa Al would be available to come for our annual holiday potluck brunch! And he IS! How perfect is that!? Best. Santa. EVAR!
11/22/11 - Today I am thankful that I was able to go to Z's Fall Feast party at preschool (her drop-off one.) It was SO stinkin' cute, and they sang four songs for us, with their little paper vests and hats. I could barely hold the camera straight. The cuteness was almost too much for me! And one voice DEFINITELY shouted rang above all the rest! Worth waddling around in the torrential downpour to see!
11/23/11 - Today I was going to be thankful for my husband taking a half-day so that Z didn't have to miss the Children's Theater play I had bought tickets for, so I could go to my OB appointment. But he decided her just-woke-up cough was too bad and didn't go. But he is her parent too, and I support his right to make parenting decisions, and I support the ones he makes. Even if they're wrong. Anyway, so today I am thankful for my prenatal-massage therapist. Too bad I don't get to see her again until next week Thursday. My back hurts so bad, I can't even sit and veg at the computer! ARRGH!

11/24/11 - Today I am thankful for my friends and family: You bring me joy, you bring me pain. You drive me crazy, but keep me sane. I dread events and gatherings, but then I go and have a ball! I love you all so much, Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

11/25/11 - Today I am thankful for Second Thanksgiving! It's something my family started doing a few years ago, when one of my sisters was out of town on Thanksgiving Day. But since it's her favorite holiday, she had us all get together the next day. It was heaven! No racing between families. No 90+ minute drive from my sister's to his grandparents'. No slaving away trying to make dishes for two families the night before. No turning down food since you were already stuffed from the OTHER family's house, or to leave room for more at the NEXT. Two great families. Two great meals. Two days, where we can focus on the ones we're with, instead of watching the clock.

11/26/11 - (Didn't get home before the 27th, so didn't get a chance to post.) Yesterday I am thankful that Albertson's was still open, so that we could go in at almost midnight to buy the stupid stuffed bear she had spent the hour+ drive back from Auntie Keesee's house crying about wanting. Just to find out that we had to buy 4 greeting cards to get it (for free.) Gah. She had better LOVE that stinkin' bear FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE!

11/27/11 - Today I am thankful for nifedipine. Even though it gives me mild headaches sometimes, it's preventing the contractions, which might actually keep baby in until we're ready for her. Plus they were pretty painful, even if they were just Braxton-Hicks. Not a fan of the 'every 6 hours' part, which usually involves having to wake up 1 or 2 times in the middle of the night to take my dose.

11/28/11 - Today I am thankful that we found our missing cat... even though we didn't realize he was missing until almost 4 days after he escaped! (Someone [not me!] left the back door open on Thursday, which is when he must have escaped. Sunday night, my husband realized we hadn't seen him all weekend...) I am also thankful that we found a home for our other poor, sweet, picked-on cat. Maybe with one fewer, we can actually keep track of who's in the house and who's been missing all holiday weekend...

11/29/11 - Today I am thankful for my family. The ones I got stuck with at birth, the ones I married into, and the ones who are technically only family in my heart. You're there when I need you most. You accept me as I am. And, quite frankly, if you love my kid even HALF as much as it seems, you've won me over forever! Plus soon she'll be old enough for sleepovers... Be afraid...

11/30/11 - Today I am thankful for my husband, and all the support and insight he gives. I love you one Cheerio. But I am most thankful for my Little Miracles. The one I've gotten to meet and watch grow, and the one still trying to burrow her way out via my rib cage. It has been an amazing journey, and one that I continue to treasure each day (even the days I want to pitch one out the window and dig the other out with a spoon!)