Thursday, March 26, 2015

$200 Evie Bett Designer Diaper Bag and Lunch Cooler Giveaway

Evie Bett Giveaway
You know that I am always looking for different and fun parenting products to introduce to you here at Lunchbox Dad. When I found Evie Bett a few months ago, I knew their products were unique and my readers needed to hear about them. They make amazing diaper bags, lunch coolers, and clutches for moms who want something stylish and different. 

Lucky for you, Evie Bett is giving you the chance to choose your own diaper bag or lunch cooler from their collection (valued at over $200)! This would be perfect for Mother's Day, a baby shower present, or just because you need an awesome new bag.

I guarantee you won't find bags like these anywhere else. When I met the owner I knew this was a different sort of company as well. Their mission is to "help busy women keep it together in enviable style. Our thoughtful details help you be prepared for anything, and rediscover a frazzle-free peace of mind. Sleek, sophisticated designs pack everything from healthy snacks and workday essentials to baby bottles and bibs."
Evie Bett Giveaway
My wife has been trying out the Vivien Diaper Bag. Let me tell you it looks like a designer purse, but it functions like a combo purse/diaper bag. It is quality made and you can fit just about anything you want in there. In the picture below you can see that we fit in a lunchbox, changing pad, tablet, change of clothes, and much more! Because of all the straps you can hold it many different ways, and it also has built in stroller straps. 
Evie Bett Giveaway

Each diaper bag also comes with a changing pad and two washable pouches for bottles and snacks. These bags come in many different styles and colors so you can find one that fits you perfectly. This is not a boring bag that will look like everyone else's, it will make people do a double take and ask you where you got it.

You can easily enter to win the Evie Bett bag of your choice using the Rafflecopter widget below! The hardest part will be choosing which bag to make yours. This giveaway is for one bag. Valid for U.S. mailing addresses only. Please see the official rules for all the details.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided a diaper bag by Evie Bett for the purpose of pictures and for the giveaway. I was not compensated in any way and the opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pinkalicious Storybook Lunch

Pinkalicious book lunch

Before bed each night, I read my kids each a book. It's one of my favorite parts of the night. We all get down on the floor and each of my children pick out a story. Many times, my kids pick out the book Pinkalicious by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann. It's the story of a girl who eats too many pink cupcakes and turns pink herself. In honor of our favorite time of the day, I made a special Pinkalicious lunch!

This lunch is complete with the pink cupcakes and pink peonies (in the yogurt). I made this in an Easy Lunch Boxes container. Remember to follow me on all my social media channels. You can easily do that by using the buttons on the right!


Pinkalicious book lunch
Ingredients
Whole wheat bread
Strawberry cream cheese
Peanut butter (or nut-free substitute)
Clif Kid Z Ropes
Dried mango
Strawberry mini wheats
Raspberries
Strawberries
Mini muffins
White sprinkles
Pink flower sprinkles
Greek yogurt
Pink food coloring
Purple food coloring






Pinkalicious book lunchDirections
1. Cut a simple head shape out of bread. Repeat with second piece. Spread peanut butter on one slice and make a sandwich. Cover the top with strawberry cream cheese.

2. Cut crown from dried mango and stick the bottom in between the slices of bread. Cut Clif Kid Z Rope into a few pieces. Use some of the pieces for bangs and the other pieces as ponytails. Use pink and purple food coloring for the facial features.

3. Place sandwich in main dish and surround with strawberry mini wheats. 

4. In side dish place sliced strawberries and top with greek yogurt. Drop flower shaped sprinkles on top.

5. Spread a very small amount of strawberry cream cheese on a mini muffin. Place raspberry on top and draw the design around the edge with food coloring. Drop a few white sprinkles around the raspberry. Repeat with second muffin. Place both in a side dish and put raspberries around them.


Pinkalicious book lunch
#LBDBento

Monday, March 23, 2015

10 Disney Themed Lunch Ideas to Make Your Kid's Meals Magical

10 Disney Themed Lunch Ideas to Make Your Kid's Lunches Magical

Disney may be taking over the world, but at least they are putting a smile on my kids' faces while doing it. If your children are anything like mine, be it princess, monster, superhero, or clownfish, there is at least one Disney character your kids are obsessed with. Here are my top ten lunch ideas to help you make some magical lunches for your Disney crazed little ones.

10. Big Hero 6

10 Disney Themed Lunch Ideas



9. Jake and the Neverland Pirates

10 Disney Themed Lunch Ideas



8. Mulan

10 Disney Themed Lunch Ideas



7. Planes: Fire and Rescue

10 Disney Themed Lunch Ideas



6. Frozen

10 Disney Themed Lunch Ideas



5. Monsters, Inc.

10 Disney Themed Lunch Ideas



4. Toy Story Jessie the Cowgirl

10 Disney Themed Lunch Ideas



3. Finding Nemo

10 Disney Themed Lunch Ideas



2. Classic Mickey and Minnie

10 Disney Themed Lunch Ideas



1. Tangled

10 Disney Themed Lunch Ideas
#LBDBento

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Marvel Universe Live Tour: Lots of Explosions But Worth Your Money?

Marvel Universe Live Review

If superheroes, loud explosions, motorcycles, some cheesy acting, and a bunch of high tech special effects are your family's idea of a good time, you should check out the Marvel Universe Live tour. 

My family and I were able to see Marvel Universe Live on the opening night in San Jose. The tour has been crisscrossing the country and we were excited to see it for ourselves. My wife and I kept it a secret from our two oldest kids until we arrived at the show. They dressed up and when the show started they were entranced. From what I viewed online it appeared to be a high flying superhero stunt show, but it turned out to be much more than that.


Marvel Universe Live Review

I thoroughly enjoyed the tech side of the show. The main wall and floor were covered with laser lights and projector images the entire time. The interesting thing was how the show used these, not just to light the set, but to play an important part. The main wall always had a moving background and the actors even interacted with it. It was like half movie, half live action show. My favorite light effect was Iron Man's lasers. He was constantly mowing down enemies with them but they were projected from overhead somehow.

Marvel Universe Live ReviewAnother great part was how you saw so many Marvel characters together. There were 24 main characters in all. Because of licensing agreements, you will never see this in the movies. All the actors were talented at the stunts and we didn't catch one mistake. 

I also appreciated how there was a conscious effort to include numerous female superheroes and supervillains. This was a big reason my daughter enjoyed the show so much. 

Her favorite characters were Captain Marvel and Black Widow (both are women). My daughter claimed Captain Marvel looked like her friend's mom. I'm assuming it is the mom's hair and not because she picks her daughter up from school wearing a mask and spandex.

The motorcycle stunts were also a hit. They really helped break up some of the fighting in the action scenes. When Captain America and Red Skull jumped onto the second level of the staging, I couldn't look away.


Marvel Universe Live Review

There were a few areas that fell flat for me. The dialogue and lipsyncing were a little cheesy. Superhero scripts tend to border on cheesy, but as an adult it was a little over the top. However, my kids didn't seem to care at all. Let's face it, this show is mostly about the stunts anyway.

The one effect that bothered me was how easily you could see the cables attached to the actors. Cables are obviously a necessity when doing high flying stunts and lifting people high in to the air. I just wish they could have found a way to hide them better. My wife says I'm being picky, but it was a bit distracting for me. Once again, my kids were not bothered at all. 

Marvel Universe Live ReviewThe last caution would be that there are loud explosions so if you have younger kids who are sensitive to loud noises, you might want to be think carefully before bringing them.

Overall, if you are a superhero fan this was a really fun way to spend a few hours. If you have younger kids that are superhero fans, you won't want to miss Marvel Universe Live. I have never seen another family show that mixes video and live action so well. 

You can catch the tour in San Jose through the end of the weekend but there are many upcoming stops all around the country as well. You can find out more information and buy tickets at www.marveluniverselive.com.

One last tip. Save money for the shaved ice served in cup shaped like Spiderman's head. It's a dessert and nice souvenir combo in one.



Disclosure: I was provided free tickets by Feld Entertainment for the purpose of reviewing the show. I was not compensated in any way and the opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, March 16, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Bento Lunch


There's something about St. Patrick's Day that I get really excited about. Maybe it's because it's the holiday that comes out of nowhere to let you dress up for a day, or because I'm a fan of corned beef. Either way, it's great way to have fun in the middle of the week and celebrate leprechauns and pots of gold. This is also one of the easiest holidays to make fun lunches for. You can get detailed or go simple. As long as you throw some green in there, it's festive.

Today I made my daughter a St. Patrick's Day lunch a little early. No harm in that, right? It;s complete with a shamrock sandwich and pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I packed it in a Planetbox Launch container. Remember to follow me on all my social media channels for even more fun St. Patty's Day ideas I will be sharing!

Ingredients
Fruits and vegetables that make the color of the rainbow (I used raspberries, carrots, dried mango, and blueberries)
Cereal that looks like gold
Green apple
Kiwi
Whole wheat bread
Cheese
Fresh Spinach

Directions
1. Arrange your rainbow fruits and vegetables in a side dish. Use whatever variety your child is likely to eat.

2. In a second side dish place a small bowl with some "gold" cereal in it. To hold the cereal I used, I just used Planetbox's container that came with the lunchbox. Surround with some sort of green food. I used green apple chunks.

3. In another dish put your shamrock sandwiches and leprechaun hats. These were very easy to make. I used a vegetable cutter from Bento USA to make the kiwi leprechaun hats.

4. For the sandwiches, I just used a small heart cookie cutter. I cut out pieces of bread, cheese, and spinach. It only took a couple minutes from start to finish. You can use whatever you want in the sandwich, however. I also used a very small dab of cream cheese to hold the sandwiches together.

5. Have a happy St. Patrick's Day!

#LBDBento

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Is This 4G/LTE Prepaid Hotspot Worth Parents' Time & Money?

AT&T 4G Netgear Prepaid Unite Mobile Hotspot Review

It's inescapable. In the United States, we live in a country of screens. If you are like me, your kids probably don't remember a time when there wasn't a smartphone or laptop at their fingertips. Don't get me wrong, we limit their screen time but sometimes a tablet can be a parental lifesaver. The problem is that I have never wanted to shell out the money for a 4G tablet. My family simply doesn't need all of our devices connected to the internet at all times, wherever we travel. 

However, there are those moments when having an internet connection actually lets a parent have an adult conversation in a restaurant that lasts longer than 37 seconds. There are also those times when you are pondering what life would be like if there was one mile of silence on your family road trip to see the grandparents. This is when a 4G pay as you go hotspot would come in handy. If you don't know, a hotspot gives you mobile WiFi wherever you receive a cellular data connection. This means you can get the internet on your laptop, iPod, tablet, or other device.


AT&T 4G Netgear Prepaid Unite Mobile Hotspot Review

Why would you need a mobile hotspot when many places have public WiFi? Generally, we prefer not to connect our computers to unsecured public wireless networks. Having a hotspot lets you have your own private and secure network. I also can't tell you how many times public internet has gone down in businesses I have been in. That's about as convenient as having a kid have a nuclear meltdown over cookies in the middle of grocery shopping. Yeah, you parents know what I'm talking about.

I have tried out a few other mobile hotspots before and never been impressed. I have also paid for my phone to be a hotspot and always forget to cancel it after the one month I needed it. Therefore I would have to pay for an extra month that I never used. Because of this, I was very intrigued to test out the prepaid 4G/LTE AT&T Unite for GoPhone by Netgear. After testing it out numerous places, both on the road and in my hometown, here is what I've found.

Prepaid is the way to go. I seriously love that I can buy one Go Phone data card and use it without having to remember to cancel a data subscription. You use up the allotted data or it runs out after a certain period of time. $25 got me 2 GBs of data for my kids to play games and my wife and I to check our social media, return email, etc.

The size is small enough to easily go in a bag or in your pocket. If you are a parent you can stick it in the diaper bag or stroller.


AT&T 4G Netgear Prepaid Unite Mobile Hotspot Review

This Unite hotspot just works. As a parent with a young child you learn to make meals, do the laundry, and split the atom all with one hand. Parents are talented, but you don't need technology making your life more difficult. I have not had any technical issues with this hotspot. Once I made an account, registered the hotspot, and hooked devices up to it, it worked great. I just push the power button and my kids and I are off and running. The color touchscreen looks nice but I have found I don't even have to use the screen much because the Unite works when I need it to without adjusting a bunch of settings.


AT&T 4G Netgear Prepaid Unite Mobile Hotspot Review
The battery life is better than I expected. We tested this hotspot with multiple devices at one time because doing this can really drain the battery. You can hook up to 10 devices at once, but we tested it with three. Specs say up to 10 hours of battery life. It charges using an included USB cable and plug.

The Unite runs on the AT&T 4G/LTE network (where available). The speeds are great for most things, but remember that 4G isn't nearly as fast as WiFi. This means, depending on your data signal strength, you can occasionally get lag when watching video.

Streaming video burns through the data fast. Apps like Netflix and Hulu are great for kids. However they will eat up data like crazy. 2 GBs was not enough for extended periods of streaming Caillou. However an argument can be made that only a few minutes of that show is enough anyway. When traveling, we ended up putting shows directly on the tablets for the kids. Be aware Skype will also use a good amount of data. If you want to regularly stream much video it will definitely cost you.

Overall, I am very happy with the Unite for GoPhone by Netgear. I love the option of prepaying for mobile data only when I need it with no contracts. I also am pleased with how easy and reliable the hotspot is to use. If your family needs mobile internet, definitely check out the Unite by Netgear. It retails for $79 from AT&T stores or you can get it from places like Best Buy or Amazon, but the price may vary.

Disclosure: I have been given the Unite Prepaid 4G AT&T Hotspot by Netgear and a $25 AT&T data refill card for the purpose of this review. I have not been compensated in any way and the opinions expressed are strictly my own.

#parentproductreviews

The Marvel Universe Live Tour is Coming to my Hometown!

Marvel Universe Live #MarvelUniverseLive

To say I'm ecstatic is an understatement. I have been waiting for the Marvel Universe Live tour to come to the San Francisco bay area for an entire year.  My son is a super hero fanatic and will be so pumped to see the show he won't be able to contain himself. My daughter loves superheroes as well. This is pretty evident from some of the lunches I have made them.
Marvel Universe Live #MarvelUniverseLive
This tour has been crossing the country and some of my blogging friends have told me how great the show was. Here is what you can expect when you go:

"Marvel Universe LIVE! will captivate audiences with an authentic and original story that brings more than 25 Marvel icons together on one awesome quest. The Cosmic Cube, the source of ultimate power and one of the most feared and coveted treasures in the Marvel Universe, has been shattered into pieces by the Mighty Thor in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. With the pieces scattered across the globe, Thor’s villainous brother Loki devises a scheme to clone its powers, inciting a threat that could not only decimate Earth but also obliterate the Universe.

Feel the energy and excitement with cutting-edge special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts, martial arts, motorcycles and stunning video projections that completely immerse the audience into the epic action and story. Nearly two years in the making, Marvel Universe LIVE! is being hailed as the most technically advanced and innovative live touring shows ever (in the more than 40 year history of Feld Entertainment). Join Marvel fans of all ages for this once-in-a-lifetime, monumental performance…the fate of the Universe depends on it!"


I get the chance review the show and tell you what I think. Check back soon to see how my family enjoyed it and if it is an event that you should invest in for your family. 

The tour will be in San Jose at the SAP Center from March 20-22 but check the Marvel Universe Live website to see when it is coming to your area. You can buy tickets at Ticketmaster.com, by phone, or at the box office. See the video below for a taste of what you will experience.


Disclosure: I have been given tickets by Feld Entertainment to see the show and review it. I have not been compensated in any way and the opinions expressed are my own.