Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Fruity Faces Edible Stickers - Play With Your Food!

Studies show that kids given the exact same food in a plain package versus one with any cartoon character - even one they don't recognize - will not only prefer the one with the character, but say that the food tastes better and choose to eat more of it! We already know how powerful this is, with sugary cereals, fast food kids meals, and gummy "fruit" snacks - can you imagine the power we could wield if we apply this knowledge to fruits and vegetables?

My Fruity Faces edible stickers does just that - with generic faces and monsters and pets, as well as with the popular kiddie icons Dora the Explorer and Spongebob Squarepants!
For $19.99 (plus $6.95 shipping) you can get their 6 sticker pack assortment - with over 150 My Fruity Faces food tattoos, including 18 from Dora the Explorer and 18 with Spongebob characters! Imagine how fun these will be for back-to-school! A new classroom, new teacher, new kids, but super fun lunches to remind them that you're there for them and brighten up their day!

[Disclaimer: I was sent several packages for review]
I send larger stickers, like Dora, for wider items like apple slices and to go on dips!
  • Unique and fun
  • They motivate trying new things and encourage healthy eating choices!
  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • Gluten-free and free from most other allergens! 
  • Vegan and Certified Kosher
  • They dissolve quickly - not a choking hazard
  • Made in the USA (right near me, in fact!)
  • Zero calories

Either there were no directions included or else I totally overlooked them, since Hubby and I couldn't figure out how to get them to work at first. We went with the traditional temporary tattoo method of wetting the paper and trying to apply that way. When that failed, we tried rubbing a wet paper towel gently on the tattoo. Fail. 
  • They dissolve quickly, so are only good for using right before serving, or sending in an airtight container or baggie with a lunch or snack
  • The thought of licking them first might seem gross. Although if the child eating them licks, it's not really gross after all! And you can skip that for wet surfaces like apple slices or cucumber coins
  • You can only buy the 6 pack with one from each set. You can't buy specific designs only
Even with our first failed attempt, Z was thrilled with having a picture on her apple, and I got some very excited grins as she ate it.

I was stumped on how else to use these though, since if I put them on her fruits and veggies the night before or the morning-of, they'd be unrecognizable blotches of color by lunch time. And I was worried that she wouldn't be able to figure out how to get them to work. Once I decided to just go ahead and send them in a zip-seal baggie or small air-tight sauce container and give her a chance to try and apply, we were good to go! They were a hit!
I included a few small eye stickers for small carrot sticks, to make a "carrot monster!"
Including a few fruit stickers in her camp snacks this summer has not only been fun for her (and she gobbled down every morsel - including the veggies!) but also gave her and her peers something to socialize over. Z tends not to initiate social contact, so these were very helpful in allowing her and the other kids to get to know each other quickly. Plus the little baggie on top of the food in her boxes helps keep everything in place.

  • I keep my opened packages in a zip-seal baggie, to keep them air-tight, to avoid moisture dissolving the stickers before we ever get to use them!
  • Have them practice once or twice at home first, so they don't get frustrated or disappointed at school
Be sure to check out My Fruity Faces on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Lunchbots Back to School - Dip Containers Giveaway!

With August fast approaching, it's time to actually start gearing up for Back-to-School time, if you haven't already. Our biggest Back-to-School essentials are reusable lunch containers. I don't care how many pencils she has - if she's not eating colorful, healthy meals, she's not getting the basic building blocks she needs to learn and thrive at school.
One of the brands of lunchboxes I really like is LunchBots. They have several configurations, and it's hard to determine which one is my favorite. They're all perfect for different lunch combinations. But one thing that is good in any of them are the LunchBots "Dips" condiment containers.

[Disclaimers: I was sent a set of Dips to review, and LunchBots is also providing one set for the giveaway. This post contains affiliate links.]
These dippers are water-tight thanks to a silicone seal inside, dishwasher safe, and are rust and stain resistant. And thanks to their twist-on tops, no accidental spills because a lid got knocked off in transit!

The Dips are a little pricey at 3/$19.99, but they're stainless steel, so pretty much last forever.

They hold 1.5 fl. oz. each; around 3 Tbsp. Perfect for dressing, sauce, or a small amount of dip! Or small nibbles like trail mix.
Or an ideal size for a dessert treat - I'm a big proponent of serving small amounts of treats in smaller containers, to make them look full and satisfying. A mini muffin cup - or LunchBots Dips container - is the perfect size. Won't fill them up before they get to their healthy foods, but still allows for a sweet treat!
Assorted cheeses, gluten-free crackers, nuts and dried fruit, apples
I know most of you are probably clamoring for a LunchBots lunchbox to win instead, but trust me - you'll love these too! They're so durable and timeless - they're not too grown-up for the littles, and not too childish as they get older. But we adults are above all that nonsense anyway, right? *wink*
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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer Camp Snacks! VBS Week 1

Z really seemed to thrive on the structure of having preschool every morning and afternoon this past school year, so I was really worried how she'd do over the summer. I resist schedules and am not neat or organized enough to plan structure. Nor am I good at following through. So since we couldn't afford three months of day camps, I signed her up for some VBS for the first time. It's cheap to free, depending on the church. And in past years she's said she wasn't interested in going, and I didn't push it, due to her issues with new people and having anyone touch her or sometimes even look at her. But this year she was game!

Snack Baggery
The zipper pull had broken off the cheap hot pink (with white polka-dots!) snack bag I'd gotten from Daiso for the past school year, so when I found this insulated owl lunch bag at Dollar Tree, I bought two! It's just too adorable! It's definitely cheap and flimsy, and the zipper is annoying, since the whole thing comes out of the bag at either end and you have to keep tucking it back in. And the "insulation" is just a little foil lining inside, which is somewhat negated by the gaping holes at the ends of the zippers. But for $1, who cares? She can open and close it herself, and it is perfect for her snack boxes! 

Plus it's good for her to have the predictability and familiarity of bringing the same snack bag each time. This allows her to only have to remember this particular bag before she leaves, rather than forgetting the one of a thousand different little boxes that I might have sent her snack in. 
This past school year, Z only took snack to one of her preschools, and Parent Nights Out at Little Gym, and she was the only one who brought snack to either, so I didn't really need to personalize or label her bag. But I didn't know how this place handled stuff, and I had this bag-tag on her backpack from her other preschool class last year. (I got mine a while back from Mabel's Labels, when they had a Groupon for it, but there are loads of other great companies you can find deals for as well, who also make dishwasher-safe labels for lunchboxes!) 
I had her full name put on my label order, but in hindsight, I wish I had just put her first name and last initial, and then my cell phone number. That way they aren't just there to tell the teacher who it belongs to, but helps us get stuff back if it's lost somewhere! So learn from my mistake!

We also had a few afternoon camps scheduled at Little Gym, since it was their Fables and Folklore week (aka: "Princess camp,") which is on of her favorite themes. So here are all the snack from both camps, Monday through Thursday that week. I did special ones on Friday, and it's getting crowded in here already, so I'll save them for another post!

Monday, 7/15/13
Organic baby carrots with My Fruity Faces edible stickers (more info and review coming Wednesday!) Plus some Cosmos Creations Sea Salt and Butter corn puffs. Like Pirate's Booty meets movie popcorn! Yum!

[This post contains affiliate links.]

Tuesday, 7/16/13
More My Fruity Faces "stickers" to go on the organic apples, plus some organic cherries. I also included some gluten-free cinnamon graham cracker-type chips to dip along with the apples in the SunButter-yogurt dip (recipe coming soon on the MOMables blog!) that I put in our Lunchbots Dipper (a exclusive.) All packed in our Lunchbots Duo.

Tuesday, 7/16/13 - Afternoon Camp
This one's not technically gluten-free, since they don't make GF Cheddar Bunnies (umm, why not?!) But we decided to try the girls on gluten again, once school was out, to see if any symptoms came back. I definitely saw the same symptoms in Baby as I had, so we'll keep her on a gluten-free diet. But Z hasn't complained of any stomach pains, so she seems to be okay on at least a little gluten a day. 
So while I'll still cook GF at home, I'll let her have some gluten-y treats when she's not eating around her sister. So, perfect for camp snack!

The little bow-shaped box came from Target's Dollar Spot. Probably intended for trinkets, but I see everything with "bento-colored glasses!"

Wednesday, 7/17/13
Both girls love the Naturebox Ranch Peas, and since we'd just gotten more in our July box, into the snack they go! I included a few organic cherries and baby carrots to fill out the Phineas and Ferb snack box a friend found for me in Japan (we miss you, Daisy!)

Thursday, 7/18/13
Organic raspberries, some more of the Cosmic Creations corn puffs, and some gluten-free HomeFree mini chocolate chip cookies. These little guys are not only adorable - they're tasty too! And one of the few small packaged food things I... *ahem* the Easter Bunny could find to put in their Easter baskets. (I didn't want to just plop in a package with one or two bigger cookies.) I got this packed from one of my monthly foodie boxes. I'm so excited to see all the new allergy-friendly ones out there!

Panda box came from a nesting set also sent from Japan. Yes, I know. Squeee! They're adorable!

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Similar but Different - Making Everyone Happy, One Lunch at a Time!

Wednesday, 5/8/13 - Another set of lunches that I pulled together from mostly the same ingredients, with a few changes to accommodate personal tastes.

Both girls got organic corn chip dippers, Sabra Guacamole, cucumber flowers, and strawberries.

Ham and Pink Dip pinwheel rejects, corn chips, guacamole; organic carrots, cucumber, green beans, and strawberries
Thanks to having fed these to 11 different teachers, we had a lot of "ends" from ham and Pink Dip pinwheels on Rudi's gluten-free tortillas left over from our Teacher Appreciation lunches the day before. And thanks to a miscalculation on my part of how much green garlic to use when I subbed it for garlic in the dip, these packed quite a punch. I didn't know if Z would go for them or not, but we needed to use them up, and she surprises me sometimes with weird stuff she's willing to eat (don't even get me started on freaky-Baby. I can't chop sweet onions or green garlic fast enough for her. Raw!)
I stuck the pinwheel rejects onto a star skewer to help keep them together, and hopefully make them seem more exciting. (Didn't work. The garlic was too strong. But she tried and ate one at least!)

I also had some Sabra Guacamole that needed to be used right away, since I'd put some in the lunches for the two teachers I had packed lunches for that morning too. So when I finished with theirs, I packed the rest into Mini Dippers for the rest of us. Which meant needing to add dippables!

For "dippables," I included the organic corn chips, of course, and tried the girls out on some cucumber flowers that were left over from putting carrot flowers into the cucumber coins for the teachers. Z also got some of the leftover carrot coins (for making the flowers for the teachers' cucumbers... the Circle of Bento Life!) Baby wasn't ready for raw carrots yet, or raw green beans, so she didn't get any of either.

[This post contains affiliate links.]
GF cheese crackers, guacamole, freeze-dried oranges, corn chips; organic cucumber, strawberries, and blackberries
I figured the pinwheels would not only be too strong a flavor for E, but also very messy, with her liking to dissect her food. So she got gluten-free Van's "Say Cheese" crackers, to dip in her guacamole also, or just to eat plain.

Baby also got some freeze dried orange slices from Trader Joe's. So yummy! Almost like candy! Z doesn't like any freeze-dried fruits, although I keep trying. So none for her. I also gave E some blackberries, since Big Sis was in an "I don't like blackberries" phase that week. Pretty much whatever berry she had been begging for is no longer acceptable once I actually buy some.

Not the most balanced lunch ever, but she ate it. Well, except the cucumbers. Neither girl really ate their cucumbers. Punks.

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