Sorry its been so long since I’ve posted… my computer imploded and I am posting this from my kindle fire as it is. Needless to say I will be out of commission until we can get a new computer… until then I will be trying to put together some new ideas and have them ready to go. Thanks for your patience!
Yesterday it was 70 degrees and sunny and wonderful so Bubba, the Pork Chop and I all headed out to the deck to catch some rays. I grabbed my camera and got a couple really cute pictures of my littles. Then I had a sad moment when I realized that next year, Bubba will be in school and I will just have Pork Chop at home. The time goes so fast!
My father recently had a stroke so I’ve been out of town helping to care for him and to be with family. I’ll be back next week with all kinds of fun ideas and stories.
Bento… have you heard the word before? Yes, it’s a fun word, but it’s also an amazing way of doing lunch (or snacks). I’ve been so inspired recently by blogs like Bento-logy, Meet the Dubiens and Another Lunch seeing how other moms make lunches for their kids. Bento is basically a Japanese concept of a visually appealing meal packed into a single container. What that means for me as a mother is making healthy lunches that look as good as they taste. At first I was intimidated by the concept. I thought it would take a lot of extra time, but in reality it’s not time consuming as long as I plan the weeks lunches in advance so I know I’ll have the different elements on hand.
My first step was buying some boxes. I found some great square containers at the dollar store. All four sides lock down and they are deep enough for what I need. These boxes fit in the bottom of the kids’ lunchbags so they were perfect to start with. If you are looking for bento boxes, Amazon has some fun choices as does All Things for Sale. I also purchased these EasyLunchBoxes from Amazon, but they are too big to carry in the kids’ lunchbags. I want to buy the EasyLunchBox carrying bags (which are really inexpensive) but I haven’t got around to it yet so we just use these for the weekends right now. Basically when you are choosing a box you want something that will be able to fit upright in your lunch container. You don’t want all your hard work to be tipped up and mixed up. I’m totally wanting these Lock and Lock boxes which have four removable trays and this Nibble Tray for my one year old.
Then I started getting the fun stuff. I have a huge box of cookie cutters that I’ve collected over the years and although these are great for cutting sandwiches and lunch meats, they weren’t that great for the small stuff. I ordered some smaller metal cutters (you could even use the ones they sell for fondant at Walmart or craft stores). I also found that silicone and paper baking cups are my friends. These are great to keep things compartmentalized which is kind of the point of bento. I’ve also collected different picks, sauce cups and other fun things to make the lunches more interesting. Again, All Things for Sale is a great resource, but you can find things at craft stores or Amazon. I found these great Star Wars cookie cutters at Williams-Sonoma. I was extra excited because they were 50% off and they make awesome sandwiches!
Can you see now why it’s easy to get a little obsessed? There are so many cool things out there!
Let me just say that my kids LOVE bento lunches! They’re so excited to open their boxes every day and even my picky 4 year old begs me “can we make bentos? Can we can we???”. I love seeing empty lunch boxes at the end of the day, knowing my children were happily gobbling up whatever was inside.
Some of my recent bentos are pictured below:
As you can see I’ve been having fun experimenting (sorry the photography is awful… my new camera and I are currently fighting each other).
One of the first issues I had with bento is what to do with the extra bits… when I cut sandwiches or veggies, there were all these little pieces. How could I forget that I have a human black hole? The Pork Chop loves all the little bits (and they’re all pretty much cut to toddler size anyway). I found out she’s a big fan of sweet pepper. If you don’t have a Pork Chop in your home, you could always use the little bits of veggies and cheeses in omlettes or scrambles, the bread makes great croutons (or feeding birds with your kids). Basically if you put your mind to it, you won’t have to worry about any waste.
I hope that you’ll give bento boxes a try in your home. It’s an easy way of making healthy food fun. My kids would rather have a handmade bento than a McDonald’s Happy Meal, and that makes mommy happy!!
Let me just start by saying that I am a lazy person when it comes to keeping a clean house. I blamed it on my kids for a while, complaining that I was just so exhausted trying to keep up with their snail trail of clutter. This was not a valid excuse however. Ask my mother. My childhood bedroom was a pit… a toxic waste dump… a black hole where my belongings went to die. My roommates lucked out because I tended to keep my clutter to my bedroom. My husband (Mr. Mild Case Of OCD) found out that my side of the bed was almost never clean and dishes seemed to stack up into little towers beside the sink.
It’s not that I’m a messy person. I have the desire and the ability to be neat and tidy. I just struggle with being lazy. I can find a million excuses not to clean. Unfortunately, living in a cluttered house causes me to be incredibly stressed. I get frustrated and angry and I find no peace. My bedroom is not a retreat for rest, my kitchen is not a pleasant place to cook meals for my family. My living room is living it’s own life.
2012 is my year though. I started the 52 Week Challenge to and Organized Home which I found on Pinterest (which by the way, if you are not on Pinterest, you should be!!). Week 1 was kitchen counters and sinks. I followed the advice of the challenge and defined the purpose of my space. I was using valuable counter space as a catch-all for the kids’ school work, the mail, and little odds and ends. Once I put everything where it belonged, I noticed I had TONS of counter space!! Week 2 just started and I’m working on my cupboards and pantries. It’s great because someone has given me a defined task and a defined time frame. I’ve found I can accomplish a lot in a small amount of time because I’m just focusing on one thing, not getting distracted by tons of other tasks.
I’m already less stressed which is WONDERFUL! It’s nice too because now that it’s been really cleaned, it doesn’t take much to maintain the space. Plus I’m being a good example to my kids (who I constantly hassle to keep their rooms clean and help pick up around the house). I’m noticing I have the desire to do other small tasks too. Like today, instead of worrying about cleaning the whole bathroom, I just cleaned the toilets. It was small, but it was an accomplishment.
Part of my desire for 2012 is to live a healthier lifestyle. A clean house = less stress = less cortisol. Cortisol is a basically a “stress hormone” which can really negatively affect your health and even contribute to increased abdominal fat. INCREASED. ABDOMINAL. FAT. That is definitely something to avoid!
So here’s so a year of less stress, a cleaner house, and maybe even a little less belly to jiggle come next Christmas.
Interested in joining the 52 Week Challenge? It’s not too late!! Either click on the link in the post (it will open in a separate window) or click the button on the sidebar of the blog.
Parenthood is a long, bumpy road… ok, those of you who are parents know that’s an understatement. Some days it feels like you hardly have time to take a breath! My husband and I have been so frustrated lately, feeling like we haven’t had any success with our children. Sportie is struggling with taking time on his school work leading to lots simple mistakes. Bluebird has a toxic waste dump for a room and we can’t seem to get her to remember to make her bed or brush her teeth in the morning. Bubba is STILL having bathroom accidents out of sheer laziness. The Pork Chop is doing well, but she has developed that familiar mischievous glint in her eyes, one that indicates we are in for quite a time as soon as she starts walking. All the kids are suffering chronic laziness and severe brain fart-itis when it comes to taking care of the few little chores they have around the house.
It just feels like we’ve been yelling at them every 5 minutes. I HATE feeling like that. It seems like nothing we are teaching is actually getting through. Between the kids and the normal stresses of life (bills, laundry, dishes) and the major amount of clean-up we still have to do from the hurricane I am at the end of my rope. I wake up tired, I go to bed tired… there is no rest, there is no peace.
One thing I seem to be doing well at is working out. I’ve been able to fulfill the commitment I made to myself. I was hoping that it would help to make me feel renewed and energized at the same time, but I just find myself being even more exhausted. I’ve continued to stick with it though, so that’s something at least.
Today I took my frustration out on a big pot of potatoes. I had a bag of them that I’d been needing to use so I decided to make mashed potatoes for dinner tonight. I mashed the ever living schmidt out of those potatoes. I may or may not have cried a little as I mashed… I’ll never tell. When they were done I had a little taste and I swear I almost ate the whole big pot. Comfort food rocks my world.
Well, here’s hoping that the weeks to come bring some rest, some peace. I could use a fluffy place to land.
I have lost my twinkle and I’m not really sure how to go about getting it back. As a stay-at-home mom, this is bound to happen now and again. Spending days on end immersed in baby poop, doggy poop, three-year-old-who-refuses-to-use-the-potty poop tends to take the shine off a lady. Dishes, laundry, sweeping, dusting, bath times (why can’t it ever be MY bathtime??), story time, dinner time (don’t forget breakfast time and lunch time) time and again… This loss of twinkle is one of the few things that a new pair of shoes won’t solve. I know, I tried. My skin isn’t glowing, my hair is lackluster and the bags under my eyes look more like steamer trunks. I have not had a good hair day in months. When I smile it feels like a sad smile, like I don’t know when I’m going to smile again so I can’t really enjoy the smile I’m having at the moment.
My lost twinkle is starting to become a problem and I must find it as soon as possible!! Have you seen it? Do you know how I can get it back? Desperately searching…