Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Frog Princess Bento

Thursday, 7/19/12 - First Z's Gym class at one location, then Baby E's class at another. Immediately following E's class is another day of "Fables and Folklore" camp at Little Gym. So I did another Princess-y fairy tale bento.
(When the new Little Gym location opened up, they offered free classes to current enrolled members from the other location owned by the same owners. Z liked the teachers there better, so we've been driving out there ever since, even though it's 10-minutes further. We do Baby's class at the closer gym because a) it's closer and she doesn't seem to care who teaches it, and b) in the Summer they consolidate to just one class between the two gyms, so we have no choice anyway. :)

The Frog Prince(ss)
I apparently remembered the story slightly wrong, so some of my story elements were based on a faulty vague recollection. I remembered something about a golden ball falling into a well or spring or something, and the Princess making a promise to kiss the frog if he'd get it back for her, then reneging. I thought this happened three times, and then the frog ratted her out to the King who made her honor her promise. Then he turns into a Prince, and of course the shallow little Princess falls madly in love with him. Why he would want fickle, unfaithful little her, though, is beyond me.

The Prince: I used the frog prince cutter from the Lunch Punch Sand*Wishes set on two slices of bread first, and then used it to crop some sliced pickles (dye-free, from Trader Joe's) to fit inside. I saved the crown-shaped pickle to go on top. I spread tuna fish (mixed with mayo) inside.

For the mouth I used dried currants (from NatureBox - use code CRISTI to get 25% off your first box!) and cheese circles with raisins for the eyes. For the circles, I couldn't find the cutter I was looking for so ended up just pushing the cheese up further to the eye-outline imprint cutters in the Lunch Punch
I used uncooked spaghetti noodle bits to secure the raisins and cheese to the bread. They softened in the sandwich overnight so weren't poking her while she ate, but still kept everything held in place.

The Kiss: I used a cupcake pick in the shape of lips to represent the kiss, which apparently wasn't a big deal in the original story. Oh well. At least I have some fun new picks! You'll be seeing a ton of new cupcake picks and toppers found by my bento-blogger buddies at Molly's Lunchbox and Zoe's Lunchbox. These were a find from Sarah at Zoe's Lunchbox. :)

Love: In the littlest compartment, I put some Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt (all-natural! Yay!) Z likes hers with cinnamon mixed in versus fruit or jam, now that I ditched all the dye-filled sprinkles. So I used a small cookie cutter as a guide and sprinkled some in the cutter to make a heart. I put more cinnamon in the little frog-headed bottle in the larger compartment. I was a little heavy-handed in the heart shape, so it didn't turn out well at all. *sigh*
On a side note, cinnamon apparently fools your brain and satisfies your "sweet tooth," even though it isn't sweet. So we started sprinkling it on plain cereal instead of sugar too. Tastes great, and kids can see it better, so they know it's there and don't demand so much sugar that it literally piles up.

Fun Stuff: The cherries were really just to fill space, but I was thinking they were kind of like the golden ball that fell in the well (three times, I thought. Three cherries. See? If I'da been right, it would have been perfect!)
The snow peas are kind of a lilypad or something. Whatever. 
And if you want to go the Disney route, then the little bottle frog is Tiana. But really I just put it in there because it had a frog on it, and I had something to go in it that actually went with the food.
*As a side note, the scrapbook paper I used as the backdrop actually has the Frog Prince story printed (artistically faded-ly) underneath the EasyLunchbox!

After taking the photos, I packed a little BPA-free spoon (Dollar Tree, baby section) and a Cool Straw reusable silicone straw inside, for the yogurt. She always says she wants both, but then only uses the spoon for stirring, and the straw for eating. I love that the straw is reusable, and it breaks down into two pieces, so it fits in the box, no problem. It's also wide, since it's designed for smoothies, so it's PERFECT for slorping up yogurt (even with sprinkles or chunks of fruit in it!) And since she's not trying to move globs of yogurt around via a spoon, it's mess-free!

Camp Snack Fit for a Princess
Veggie Straws, raspberries, sugar snap peas
Purple Princess snack box was a gift from my pal at Bentoriffic. I think she found it at Target's Dollar Spot. I haven't seen them at any of the three locations I frequent, though. The silicone crown cup is a little tall for it, but the top folds down the little bit needed, which made me very happy. I love these crowns, but they're way too tall for any of my regular bento boxes!

Z worked on her lunch in the car on the way to her class that morning, but wasn't interested on the drive to E's class. I usually leave her lunch out with my iPad in the lobby during E's class, so Big Sis can munch on it and play and leave us alone, but because it had tuna and yogurt, I left it in the cooler bag since Z had said she didn't want to eat it while we were in class either.
Lo and behold, she comes into class, saying she's hungry. One of the backup teachers in the lobby comes in and offers to help her get her lunch out of the cooler. Yay. No worries. Since Baby's class and Z's camp are back-to-back, she'd already started in the side room as we were trickling out of the gym area, so I didn't interrupt her to say good-bye. If she's in and engaged with the camp teachers, I don't want to mess with it, and we had already talked about how I was leaving after class and would be back to get her at the end of camp, so I'm not "sneaking out" on her.
I do a quick search of the lobby for our stuff, but don't see her lunch box. Her snack and juice box are still in the cooler, but no lunch box. (They serve a powdered drink mix to the kids, which Z loved last Summer, so I let her have a juice box so she doesn't feel as left out.) I hand her dye-free snack and drink to one of the teachers, and ask around about the lunch box. No one's seen it. Someone even goes in and asks the teacher who had helped her, but apparently she had only seen the snack box. Oh no! Where's my beautiful lunch?!

The only thing I can think of is that I set it on my car somewhere while unstrapping Z for her class, and didn't notice it as we got back in after, and drove off with it flying off somewhere. I call the other gym, but it isn't anywhere they can see from their window. *sigh* Well. I have 11 other Easylunchboxes, at least. Thank goodness there weren't any picks. Oh no wait. The lips. Well, they weren't imported from Japan, and I have a few spares. Whew.
Oh no! My Cool Straw! Waaaaaaaaaah! The spoon is totally replaceable, and only $1 for 2 (plus 2 forks and a carrying case, so I have a ton of them.) Well, the straws are only $10.95 (Prime eligible) on Amazon, or $9.95 for four from GreenPaxx (use coupon code SUMMER to get 20% off through mid-Sept,) plus shipping, so I can get more. *sigh*
But the soul-crusher was when I remembered the froggie bottle. Ughhhhh. I'd have to get a whole new set. They're really only useful for soy sauce, which I don't see a lot of need for in a 4-year-old's lunch, and small granules, like salt or sugar (or, in this case, cinnamon.) So I can't really justify buying a set of mostly duplicates for something I rarely use... Especially when there are so many other awesome things I want to buy more! Waaaaaaaah!

I cried. Yes, they're just things. But... they're bento things! MY bento things. In the two years I've been doing this, we've lost exactly zero items due to child carelessness or husband negligence (ie: garbage disposal.) Until now. And this was all my fault, somehow!

   Japanese Bento Box Accessories Soy Sauce containers with FunnelJapanese Bento Accessories Ham Cheese Cookie Cutter Set of 6

Did you think that was the end? Apparently they found my box at the second gym. Either the teacher helping me had misunderstood the teacher who had gotten in out for Z, or else Z got it out herself. No clue where they found it though. And they thought it belonged to someone else, since apparently Z had been sharing it with another Big Sister waiting in the lobby during class. (Which is only fair, since the other girl shares her collection of "shinies" with Z and they often play together.) Luckily we were back the next day for a last-minute camp instead of a concert in the park, due to rain. And Baby E's teacher remembered me being upset about it.
Naturally, I had packed the absolutely grossest possible lunch to have been left out of the fridge on a hot Summer's day. Ewwww.

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