Monday, August 25, 2014

A Birthday Lunch

A Birthday Party Lunch

I can't believe my daughter is going to be 8! This week her birthday is on the first day of school. We are celebrating it a little early. There are a lot of changes in our house this week. My daughter starts second grade and she turns 8 years old. We are doing a fun outing today so I decided to make her a birthday lunch for before we leave. This is a bittersweet one as one more year older means she's closer to...being a teenager! But as parents we treasure every moment, right? I plan to this week!

This looks complicated, but with the right tools it's pretty easy. I made it in a PlanetBox lunchbox and using a star shaped cutter and Lunch Punch sandwich cutters. I also included a Lunchbox Love note for fun. 

Remember to follow me on all my social media channels, including Pinterest. Have a great week with your kids.


A Birthday Party Lunch
Ingredients
Sandwich Bread
Fat-free cream cheese
Strawberry cream cheese
Peanut butter
Strawberry jam
Sprinkles
Organic Fruit Snacks
Blueberries
Watermelon
Strawberry Jello
Pink yogurt
Grape tomatoes
White cheese or tortilla
Kabob stick
Candle





A Birthday Party LunchDirections
1. Use cupcake Lunch Punch sandwich cutter on two pieces of bread. Spread strawberry cream cheese on the top and white cream cheese for the wrapper. 

2. Spread peanut butter on the slice underneath and a little bit of jam for the cherry. Drop a few sprinkles on top for a great finishing touch.

3. In side dish place grape tomatoes. Cut out the words "Happy B Day" out of white cheese or tortilla. Place on top.

4. In second side dish put yogurt and top with a number candle. Full disclosure, this particular lunch wasn't eaten at school because school hasn't started for us yet. You would probably want to use a Planetbox Dipper container for yogurt so it doesn't leak everywhere.

5. In another side dish place fruit kabob with blueberries and watermelon star on top for the wand. Surround with fun shaped fruit snacks if desired.

6. For the final touch you can place pink jello in one of the dishes if your child enjoys that. 


A Birthday Party Lunch

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fun and Fruity Oatmeal Breakfast Parfait!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, in conjunction with Quaker. I received compensation for participating in this promotion.

A Fun and Fruity Oatmeal Breakfast Parfait #QuakerUp #ad

When it comes to back-to-school time, there is nothing more stressful than trying to get your kids out of the house with a good breakfast. I am partnering with Quaker and their Creative Oatmeal Officer, Sam Stephens from the New York City restaurant, OatMeals to bring you some fantastic kid friendly (and easy) breakfast ideas this month. I will be guest posting the recipes on Sam’s blog each week. Every Thursday, I will introduce a new recipe here on Lunchbox Dad and then you can hop over to Sam’s blog where she will have exclusive pictures and step-by-step directions at www.oatmealchefsam.tumblr.com

As a parent, I have found that many times presentation is the key to your kids eating well. This week I made my Fun and Fruity Oatmeal Breakfast Parfait. This is a breakfast that combines the look of a dessert with the health benefits of oatmeal and fresh fruit. My daughter couldn’t keep her hands off of it! 

You will not want to miss checking out all the great recipes she has over on her site. See this week’s recipe and pictures at Sam’s blog: www.oatmealchefsam.tumblr.com

Monday, August 18, 2014

Simple Back to School ABC Lunch

Simple ABC Lunch for Back to School

Many times I tell people that you can start making fun lunches for your kids by just using cookie cutters on a sandwich. Today I took my own advice and did just that...with a back to school twist! I decided to make an ABC lunch, which is perfect for younger kids. For each part of the lunch, the food starts with the letters A,B, or C. 

The sandwiches are not only letter shaped but they are made from Almond butter, Bread, and Cranberries. I surrounded the sandwiches with Avocado, Bacon, and Cheese. In the smaller compartment I mixed Apricots, Blueberries, and Cheerios. As you can see this was fun, simple, and only took minutes to make. I put it all in a Planetbox Shuttle lunchbox. 

Remember to follow me on all my social media channels to get entertaining and helpful parenting articles, lunch tips, and insights from people much funnier than I am! All my social media buttons are in the right hand corner of this page.


Simple ABC Lunch for Back to School
Ingredients
Whole wheat bread
Almond butter
Dried cranberries
Cheerios
Dried blueberries
Dried apricots
Avocado chunks
1/2 slice bacon (cut up into pieces)
Chunks of cheese



Simple ABC Lunch for Back to School
Directions
1. Use cookie cutters to make the letters A, B, and C, out of bread. Repeat for a second set of letters. Spread on desired amount of almond butter and dried cranberries. Make a sandwich as shown in pic.

2. Place sandwiches in container. Surround with avocado, bacon or other protein that starts with "b," and cheese. I only had bacon in the house so I used just a little. 

3. In side dish mix apricots, blueberries, and cheerios for a fun and fruity trail mix. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Quaker Kid Friendly Oatmeal Recipe: A Bowl of Oatmeal Love

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, in conjunction with Quaker. I received compensation for participating in this promotion. 
Quaker Kid Friendly Oatmeal Recipe A Bowl of Oatmeal Love #QuakerUp #ad

I am so excited to be partnering with Quaker and Sam Stephens of the New York City based restaurant, OatMeals to bring you kid-friendly and easy to make oatmeal recipes for the back-to-school time. Every Thursday for the next month you will find something new so check back often! Read on to find out more about Sam and also about this week’s fun recipe, “A Bowl of Oatmeal Love.”

"Hello, I'm Sam Stephens, chef/owner at OatMeals, the world's first oatmeal bar, in New York City. I'm also Quaker Oats' Creative Oatmeal Officer. I'm working with Quaker to help people see oatmeal in new and exciting ways! I was so glad to be introduced to the Lunchbox Dad blog and all the innovative meals Beau is whipping up daily. Seems Beau and I both like to have fun and get creative in the kitchen using wholesome, fresh ingredients in inspiring ways! OatMeals is all about experimenting with your oatmeal...whether it's my staff and I coming up with new ideas for the menu or customers creating their own oatmeal masterpieces, the options are endless. You can have something as simple as peanut butter & banana on your oatmeal, a savory option like sun-dried tomato, pesto & parmesan, or something sweet, like a s'mores bowl!

While I don't have children of my own just yet, I'm an auntie to my beautiful niece, Sydney, and two awesome nephews, Aydan & Braedon. I'm aware of the challenges when it comes to getting children to see that mealtimes can be fun and exciting. Kids love OatMeals because of the nearly 100 topping choices...they can choose their own adventure and create their own special bowl of oats. My staff and I try to make our customers' bowls of oatmeal as visually appealing as possible but I'm thrilled to see what Beau will be designing and sharing this week using some of the kid-friendly recipes that I've created for Quaker Oats! I'm sure it will be nothing short of extraordinary, check back often to see the delicious recipes come to life, I’ll be sharing his creations on my social channels as well, check me out on Instagram @OatmealsNY, on Facebook and at my blog Thanks Beau!"

Quaker Oatmeal Kid Friendly #QuakerUp #ad
This quick and easy breakfast with Quaker Oatmeal can show your kids that you want them to have a healthy breakfast, but also that you love them! See exclusive step-by-step directions and pictures of my recipe as I guest post over at Oatmeal Chef Sam’s blog: CLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE!

You will not want to miss checking out all the great recipes she has over on her blog. She has tons of great ideas for how to start the morning right, enjoy!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Need to be a Parenting Multitasker? This T-Mobile 4G Tablet Can Help!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

Trio AXS T-Mobile 4g Data Free For Life #TabletTrio #CollectiveBias #Shop


That PTA email won't send itself. The e-vites for your five year old's princess party? They have to get sent out too. Don't even mention the bill payments that need to be scheduled. Being a parent these days can sometimes make your head explode from busyness. If you're like my family, you have to schedule meetings to talk about the family calendar because your days are so full. How are you supposed to get the recipe for dinner while you are at your oldest child's soccer practice? T-Mobile's new free data plan for tablets might just be every parent's dream invention.

T-Mobile recently introduced a new plan for the Trio AXS tablet that gives us parents free data for life. Okay, the plan is for everyone who buys the tablet, but it just feels like this data plan is meant for busy parents like you and me. I have always wanted a tablet that has the option of connecting wherever there's a data signal, but I never wanted to spend the money. When I saw that Walmart was selling the Trio AXS, I had no choice but to check it out for myself.


Trio AXS T-Mobile 4g Data Free For Life #TabletTrio #CollectiveBias #Shop

Finding the tablet was easy. I just headed to the electronics department and looked for the T-Mobile banner by the tablets. The "Free Data For Life" sign told me I was in the right place. I was in and out in a matter of minutes because I didn't have to fill out any lengthy forms or sign any contracts. I also found out that although you get 200mb for free, you can also upgrade to another affordable data plan from T-Mobile if you need to.

I put this tablet to work right away. For example, my wife was sick so I had to work from home and take care of our kids. I also needed to take them to swim lessons. I was able to do work online with the Trio AXS and 4G data speeds while my kids were at their lessons. It was efficient and fun.


Trio AXS T-Mobile 4g Data Free For Life #TabletTrio #CollectiveBias #Shop

I then started to think about what a day would look like for a busy parent who doesn't have a tablet connected with 4G data.

A Day of Parenting without a T-Mobile 4G Tablet:
Wakeup (if it's before the kids and you get a shower then bonus points). Get kids dressed and take oldest child to school. Realize you left shopping list at home on computer. Drive home with youngest kids, run into get shopping list. Head to grocery store. Barely get to checkout line without a child meltdown. Pin toddlers arms to their sides to prevent them from grabbing every candy bar and magazine within reach. Think to yourself "I wish there was a way to distract them while the line moves at a snail's pace." On the way home the baby falls asleep. Sit in the driveway with no wifi until the baby wakes up. Pick up the oldest from school and take to soccer practice. There was no time to send important work emails before. Now there is time, but there is no wifi. Guess emails will have to wait. Make dinner and get kids into bed. Exhausted, ready to pass out, but unfortunately there are way too many things that still need to be done online.

Then I thought about how a 4G tablet could make a busy parent's day much easier.

A Day of Parenting with a T-Mobile 4G Tablet:
Wakeup (get a shower after a good night's sleep). Get kids dressed and head out the door. Wait in drop off line at school and give younger child your tablet to play with while you do last minute spelling test quizzing with the oldest child. Head straight to the grocery store. You forgot your list but you can access it on your 4G tablet. Lines are long, but its cool, you let your child play a learning game on your tablet. You have extra time so you stop for coffee on the way home. You must transfer money to another bank account and you don't want to use unsecured public wifi. You just use your 4G connection on your tablet while you wait for your coffee. Later in the day you are able to send important emails while at soccer practice. You get the kids to bed, watch your favorite show, look up a dinner recipe for the weekend, and get a good night's sleep.


Trio AXS T-Mobile 4g Data Free For Life #TabletTrio #CollectiveBias #Shop

Ok, maybe a busy parent's day won't be quite that easy. However, there are so many times where I have wanted a good 4G tablet over a smartphone and definitely instead of a wifi only tablet. You know those times where there is an important conversation you need to have with your spouse and the kids are acting like...kids. We were in a restaurant (with no wifi) and gave my daughter the tablet for a minute so we could talk. We then handled business so we could get back to family time. It was like magic, only better.


Trio AXS T-Mobile 4g Data Free For Life #TabletTrio #CollectiveBias #Shop

Two other great family friendly features that sold me on the Trio AXS are the size and the price. Tablets are great for kids and adults but if they are too big then they aren't great for taking everywhere. Also, if they are too expensive then you don't trust your kids with them. This tablet is 7.85 inches, has 16gb of storage, front and rear cameras, HD resolution screen, Quad Core processor, and sells for under $200 at Walmart. Combine that with the free 200mb per month of 4G data from T-Mobile and this is a fantastic deal. Also, It runs on the Android OS so you can get almost any app you need from the Google Play store.

There are certainly moments when you and your family need to unplug and set everything else aside for quality time together. However, when the situation calls for parental multitasking, you need a tablet that frees you from wifi and doesn't break the bank. The Trio AXS from T-Mobile, with free data for life, might just be what you are looking for. Check it out at Walmart today.



#TabletTrio #CollectiveBias

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Huge Lunch Gear Giveaway! Get All Your Back-to-School Lunch Stuff for Free!

One of the hardest parts of this time of year is back-to-school shopping. I want to help make your shopping a little easier. I've partnered with Fit & Fresh to bring you a huge prize pack of lunch gear. This is enough awesome product to get you through the whole school year...and maybe next year as well! 

I reviewed Fit & Fresh lunch containers last month and you will get the same package that I received. You can read the full review HERE. The Tiger lunch I made in them actually was featured in People magazine. So make sure you enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. 

Here is a list of everything you get: Bento lunch container with insulated carrier bag, drawstring insulated monkey lunch bag, and 17 piece bento lunch container set.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received these products for free from Fit & Fresh. I have received no other compensation for this post and the opinions I’m expressing here are solely my own.

Monday, August 11, 2014

5 Tips for Buying the Best Back-To-School Lunch Gear


Some parents can’t wait for it and some parents dread it. Either way there’s no escaping it. It’s back-to-school time and besides getting your kids into the right class, parents also have to deal with back-to-school shopping. But how do you decipher what to buy when you are hit with the endless waves of advertisements as well as pressure from your kids?

I can’t tell you what binder is best, but here at Lunchbox Dad I do have some experience with lunch gear. So here are five quick tips for buying the kind of lunchtime supplies that will make you and your kids happy.

Tip 1: Look for Durability
Many of the big department stores will try and sell you on the dime-a-dozen thermal lunchboxes with characters printed on the top. They are usually made of cheap materials that rip easily and are hard to wash. It is also tempting just to throw food inside without other bags or containers. This means they quickly get stained and moldy.

Instead, look for sturdy plastic or stainless steel lunchboxes. These will have a much higher chance of lasting the school year. They will cost a little more, but the features they provide are definitely worth it, and they might even last for a couple years. Example: Planetbox


Tip 2: Easy Cleanup is a Must
You’re a busy parent and you don’t have time to hand wash and scrub a lunchbox or bottle every time it comes home. Always make sure what you buy is dishwasher safe. This is especially true if a lunchbox comes with multiple pieces. Double check to make sure every piece can be thrown onto the top rack. You might not think this is a big deal now, but you will thank me later. Example: Yubo


Tip 3: Compare Prices
Just because the lunch gear is right in front of you at the store doesn’t mean it is the best deal. You not only need to factor in the immediate cost, but also the cost to replace it if the box becomes too stained to use or breaks down (trust me I’ve had it happen). Should you spend five dollars more for the better box? You need to think of it as an investment rather than something to just check off your list. If you go the dirt-cheap route you could be rebuying the same cheap gear again and again throughout the year because it didn’t last. When this happens, you will be spending much more. Example: Easy Lunch Boxes


Tip 4: Size Matters
If you have a first grader, they should probably use a smaller lunch box. For older kids a slightly larger lunch container is a must. Plus, for younger kids you want them to be able to carry their lunch gear in their backpack. It just makes the whole trip to school that much easier. Also if you give a younger child a big container, it could get heavy in a hurry. Have them carry it around the store for a few minutes before you buy it. This is especially important if you choose stainless steel instead of plastic. Example: Laptop Lunches




Tip 5: Think About the Planet
There are many lunchbox companies now that are making their products with the environment in mind. If it doesn’t put too much strain on your budget, think about our planet when you make your purchase. Choosing gear from one of these companies could be a great chance to talk to your kids about how small choices can have a big impact. Example: Eco Lunchboxes

Will these tips solve all of your back-to-school problems? Maybe not, but hopefully they will help you think through your lunch gear choices so you can save time, money, and your kids can have fun. What tips do you have for parents during this busy time? Let me know in the comments!