Morning After Leftover Lunch

Monday, November 25, 2013

Morning After Leftover Lunch: This week my daughter is off of school so I thought I'd show you what we did with the leftovers from our pulled pork taco meal that I posted recently.  Thanksgiving is this week so I thought this idea would be especially helpful.  My family loves leftovers and turkey can be used for so many things.  

Turkey sandwiches are usually the go-to-meal the next day.  But what about tacos?  I used pulled pork here but turkey would work nicely too.  What makes tacos great in your kid's lunchbox is it gets them involved in constructing their own lunch.  This lunch construction idea can also be a way to get your children excited about eating healthy food.  Give it a try, its crazy enough it just might work! 

I made this in an Easy Lunch Box container which is not only great for packing lunches, we also use them regularly to store leftovers in the fridge as well!


Samsung Galaxy Tab 3: The Right Tablet For A Busy Family?

Friday, November 22, 2013

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.
Here at Lunchbox Dad I not only want to give ideas help you have healthy and fun meals for your kids, I want to introduce you to products that make your life as a parent easier.  The right tablet can help will help in not just one, but in many areas of your life.  As a parent, I know that a day for your family can run the gamut from looking up recipes, to kids doing homework, to looking up sports scores, to watching a TV show with your spouse.  In short, parents don't need a tablet that can do one thing amazingly well, they need a tablet that can do everything they ask of it.  You aren't just buying a tablet for yourself, you are buying it to be used by your whole family.  Keeping this in mind, this post will tell you about my experience looking for the best tablet for my busy family.  Hopefully it will also help you shop for and decide if the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 will be right for your family and your fast pace lifestyle.

There are a few questions you need to ask yourself before you go out searching for a new tablet.  Always ask yourself these before going to the store:
1.  What is my price range?
2.  What do I need it to do? (take notes, play games, watch movies, take photos, etc.)
3.  What size is best for me?
4.  How much storage do I need? (for pictures, video, apps, etc.)
5.  Do I need internet connectivity all the time or just WiFi?


After researching online about a great tablet that might work for families, I decided to try out the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, 10.1 model.  I liked that it has the Intel Atom ZS560 processor in it.  The online tests that I read gave great reviews so I was confident that this chip would run well any app that I threw at it.  I also liked that the Galaxy Tab 3 runs on the Android operating system.  I wanted to test out this OS in real life parenting situations.  I chose the 10.1 inch size because it is big enough to watch movies on, but still small enough to be extremely portable.  For our family, this size would be the number one choice in any tablet.  Last, I like the price point of the Galaxy Tab 3.  It retails for much less than a new iPad.  When you are a family on the budget, you can't break the bank for one device.

I made my way over to Best Buy because when I am not completely sure about a product, and need to test it before I buy it, this is my go to store.  I also find the staff there to be pretty informed about the products in their respective departments.  I found the tablet section easily, but unfortunately the first Galaxy Tab 3 wasn't plugged in so the battery was dead.  An employee arrived to help and they directed me over to the Samsung specialty area.  This are was new since my last visit and it gave me chance to see and compare the different Samsung tablet and phone models.


The Best Buy employee was very helpful and answered most of my questions.  When there was something he wasn't completely sure about he brought over the Best Buy Samsung specialist who was able to tell me what I needed to know.  Here are some of the questions I asked and what the answers were:
Q. What are some of the benefits of a tablet that runs on the Android operating system?  
A.  One great feature is that it is highly customizable and you can change the appearance and use apps that aren't available on an iPad.  Another feature is that you can not only store files on a removable memory card, but you can also run apps from that card as well.
Q.  Do Intel chips in a tablet make difference and how does this compare to other tablets that have intel processors?
A.  The Intel chips in general are high quality.  The one in the Galaxy Tab 3 will perform as good or better than Intel chips in other tablets.  This processor will run any app that you want, including ones that stream video such as Netflix.
Q.  How does the screen resolution compare to other tablets?
A.  The resolution is not as high as the retina display on the iPad or some other tablets in the same price range.  The resolution is 1280x800.  However, it will play HD video without problems and you won't be able to tell much of a difference.

Some other questions you might want to ask are: What are the pros and cons of this tablet?  I want to mainly use a tablet to do these four things ___________, how would this tablet handle those tasks?  How do the features of this tablet match up with other tablets in the same price range?

The last thing I asked was if Best Buy would price match an online retailer who had the same model for a little less.  This was no problem and they happily price matched the online retailer.  The great thing about buying it in store is you can take it home right then, rather than waiting for it to arrive through the mail.  When I brought the Galaxy Tab 3 home, my whole family put it to the test.

The Kid's Test: 
#IntelTablets #cbias
My 3-year-old son loves to play learning games and puzzles.  I downloaded a few free apps from the Google Play store and he was able to pick them up and use them with no problem after I showed him how.  He loved the puzzles but breezed through them quickly.  The only issue was that the free versions were short and you could pay for the full version of every puzzle he did.  It was the same with most children's apps I looked at.  

My 7-year-old daughter also likes playing kids games but she is in school and has homework.  She is in a spanish immersion program so I had her use a spanish language learning app and also Google Translate.  I wasn't sure she would be able to use the tablet on her own, but to my surprise she was able to use it with only a few instructions from me.  The small size also fit well on her desk she uses to do homework.  I was very pleased with how it helped in her school assignments.

I also tested the Galaxy Tab 3 out with streaming video from Netflix and Hulu+.  Sometimes you need a distraction for your kids but it is not practical to have the TV on.  I was very happy with how smooth the video played and it never experienced lag.  I also ran HD video straight from the tablet.  The tablet with Intel Atom processor had plenty of power to handle any video I tried.  

The issue I had with it was with the quality of the streaming video.  For some reason it wasn't quite as good as other tablets I had seen.  I don't know if it was because of the apps themselves or because of the screen resolution.  It wasn't terrible by any means but if you are extremely picky about video quality, you will want to test out those apps first.  I have cable internet that gets 25 mbps on average so I know that wasn't the issue.  I didn't have the same problem with video that was stored on the tablet.  That video played and looked terrific.  I also felt as though the sound was a little soft.  The speakers face out the sides so you lose volume because of that.  Its not an issue in a quiet room, but if you are in a room that has a dishwasher running, a washing machine going, or kids yelling it is hard to hear without headphones.  

My Wife's Test:
My wife is not a tech person but she has some very specific things that she likes her smartphone to do.  This tablet would have to do the same things as her phone only be more convenient in order to pass her tests.  She was impressed right away with the size and weight of the Galaxy Tab 3.  The screen is 10.1 inches but it is only .31 inches thick and weighs in at 1.12 pounds.  She thought it that felt even lighter than that and she could probably even fit it into one of her larger purses easily.  

She also loves taking pictures of the family.  My wife feels its impractical to hold up a full-sized tablet to take pictures at amusement parks or restaurants, but if you want a tablet to do take pictures, this will do the job.  Regardless of where you take pictures, the camera is an important part of a tablet.  I took the picture below with a Samsung Galaxy S4 phone and then the same picture with the Galaxy Tab 3.  It was an overcast day and there was no editing done to either picture.
#Inteltablets #cbias
You can see the picture from the Galaxy S4 phone is a little brighter and the colors are a bit more vibrant.  This has to do with the differences in backside cameras (13MP in the S4 compared to only 3.2MP in the Tab 3).  The new iPad Air tablet has a 5MP backside camera, but is that worth an extra $200-$300?  The frontside camera works fine for selfies and video chat.  So this tablet is not excellent for taking all of your high quality family pictures but if there are moments when you need a picture right away, this will be the tablet to do the job.  

For my wife's other tasks such as using her grocery store app, answering emails, and going on Facebook, the Galaxy Tab 3 worked perfectly.

My Test:
I already mentioned that my wife appreciated the size and feel of this tablet.  This immediately stuck out to me as well.  This ultra portable tablet feels as light or lighter than any other tablet I have held.  I'm a huge sports fan and it was wonderful to be able to watch the football game and have my fantasy football scores right in front of me without lugging around a big laptop.  

Since I needed this tablet to work for the whole family it was also important that it be able to run all of our apps well.  The Intel processor did not disappoint.  In my tests there was no lag and the tablet performed as advertised.  The processing power in this tablet is one of its greatest strengths.

#IntelTablets #cbias

Along with those few things above, and the ones I mentioned in other sections, the biggest deal for me is the selection of apps available in the Google Play store.  The big knock on this Android app store has been the lack of development of apps specifically designed for tablets.  As of November 21, Google has redesigned their app store to make it easier for tablets to find apps that were actually designed for tablets.  They hope this will push app developers to put more effort into improving their tablet apps.  Since this redesign is only one day old, we will have to see how this helps.  There is no shortage of apps in the Google Play app store and those that are made for tablets perform beautifully on the Galaxy Tab 3.  The  problem is that some apps, such as Twitter, still look like phone apps stretched across the tablet screen.  I imagine with the store redesign new tablet apps will be on their way shortly.  

I especially enjoyed using Google Chrome for web browsing, Dropbox for file storage, and Google Maps for navigation.  SwiftKey is an unbeatable keyboard app that makes typing easy.  I also found Evernote to be extremely useful for taking notes at work and writing recipes for my blog. I am not a huge gamer, but I do enjoy a video game from time to time.  I tried and liked Angry Birds Star Wars and NFL Pro 2013.  I was especially impressed with the graphics and smooth gameplay of the racing game GT Racing 2.  You really have to see it to appreciate it, plus it was free!  The Intel Atom processor helps to make playing games on the Galaxy Tab 3 a joy.

I also found that although the screen is extremely responsive, it is sometimes easy to push the settings and back buttons on accident.  These are located on either side of the main button on the bottom front of the tablet.  It is also easy to inadvertently highlight something or turn the page when reading an ebook.  This could be just getting use to holding the tablet while reading and isn't a big deal, just slightly annoying at times.  

#Inteltablets #cbias
When it comes to battery life, Samsung says the Galaxy Tab 3, 10.1 has about 9 hours of internet usage or video playback.  Although I wasn't able to reach that level, I found the battery to have plenty of life for a family on the go.  You don't want your tablet running out of power when you are out at the store, on a trip, or when that perfect picture moment with the kids arrives.  I never had to worry about the battery, even with regular usage.  I ended up having to charge it once every 2-3 days.  Of course battery life all depends on the settings you use and the Galaxy makes it easy to adjust those settings as needed.

The last feature that thrilled me was storage space.  The Galaxy Tab 3 comes with 16GB of internal memory.  You can add memory as often as you like with a removable micro SD memory card (not included).  I have found these on sale for as low as $20 for 32GB of space.  That size memory card is the perfect size to get started with.  The main drawback to an iPad is that you are not able to upgrade the memory after you buy the tablet.  This is not an issue with the Galaxy Tab 3 so you can keep loading as many apps, photos, and videos as you want.  You just switch out the card if the current one fills up.

Overall, I would highly recommending the Galaxy Tab 3 for your family.  It has become a fun and useful part of ours.  It isn't perfect in every single area, but what tablet is?  The Intel Atom processor helps it perform like a champ and it provides enough flexibility that each member of your family will enjoy using it, no matter what their needs and passions are.  The low price also makes it a great value for families searching for a high performance tablet, but are on a budget.  My suggestion is to head down to Best Buy to learn more and play around with the Galaxy Tab 3 yourself.  You just might go home with a new "super tool" for your family.

What questions do you have about the Galaxy Tab 3?  Is there a feature you want to know more about?  Ask me in the comments below!  I do my best to respond to all reader's comments!


Shark Tank Lunch

Monday, November 18, 2013

kids shark tank lunch ubo
Year 2, Week 15: Shark Tank Lunch.  The great lunchbox company yubo asked me to make a lunch for this week to help get the word out that they will be on the TV show "Shark Tank."  The episode will air this Friday.  Watch the episode from 9-10pm EST on ABC.  I love the way yubo lunchbox pieces all fit together and the icepack on the bottom is my favorite part.  I'm excited to see what happens on Friday and if the sharks take a bite out of yubo.  

My daughter will love this lunch also.  It is actually very simple to make and would be fun for the shark lover in your family.  Also, if you scroll to the bottom you will see a bonus apple fish that I made for my son.  I was trying something new out and decided that the apple could be part of his lunch for tomorrow.  He is very excited.  Read the recipe and see more pics below as well, there is more than meets the eye in that yogurt!

--Whole wheat bread 
  (I used sandwich thins type bread)
--1 serving Goldfish crackers
--2 slices cheese
--1 serving nonfat greek yogurt
--2 strawberries
--Lowfat cream cheese
--1 serving tuna
--Blue and black food coloring
--1 piece of nori (dried seaweed)

bento lunch
1.  Tint cream cheese with black food coloring so it turns grey.  Spread grey cream cheese on top of circular piece of bread where shown.  Cover the rest of the bread with white cream cheese.
2.  Cut two triangle pieces and one skinny fin shape out of another piece of bread.  Cover each of those pieces with grey cream cheese.
3.  Cover background of main dish with cheese slices.  I used colby cheddar.  Arrange fins in place on top of the cheese and then put circular shark head on top of the fins.  Cut the shark's mouth out of nori, remember to make it look like a toothy grin.  Slice the bottom off of two strawberries for the eyes.  Put berry and nori facial features in place as shown in picture.  
4.  Decorate main container with goldfish crackers.  I lined them up around the edge put you can put them wherever you want.
5.  In small bowl mix greek yogurt with blue food coloring.  Slice remaining strawberries and put in the bottom of a side dish.  Top with blue greek yogurt.
6.  In second side dish put serving of tuna.  I topped it with a few more goldfish crackers to dress it up and I thought they would taste good with the tuna.
Bonus: I also made this apple fish for my son. I pretty much just sliced it in half first and then cut the other pieces off of the main two.  I helped the fins and eyes stay in place using toothpicks.  The only other part that isn't apple are the teeth.  I used slivered almonds for those.  I just pressed them up into the apple mouth.  Have fun and be creative with this one!

Thanks for following me and remember that I am on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  Have a great week and have fun watching yubo on Shark Tank!
yubo shark bento

Save The Bacon, Grow A Mo'!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

If you're wondering what this has to do with food, there's bacon in the picture. Bacon is good.  But I'm asking you to think about something better.  If you read my post about my new Gillette razor you know I am growing a mustache for Movember.  It looks horrible but the reason I'm doing it is to fight something worse--cancer.  This is what Movember is all about.  

My goal for terrorizing my wife with this mustache is threefold.  The first two are to raise awareness and raise donations to help fight cancer in men.  Many of you know how horrible it is to know someone who has been sick with cancer, or you might have had to deal with it yourself.  This is my third reason for doing this.  I want to honor my dad who died from cancer last year.  

For these three reasons I am asking you to consider donating to the Movember Foundation.  It is tax deductible and with every donation of $15 or more I am giving you a free copy of my ebook, Adventures In Lunchboxing if you donate through the link below.  Thank you for considering being part of the fight and save the bacon!

Pulled Pork Tacos Are Simple with Lucky Supermarket!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop
has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective
Bias and their client.
Sometimes you just need a simple recipe that tastes great and appeals to the whole family.  You have picky kids and want your family to eat healthy as well.  These pulled pork tacos will definitely do the trick!  The great thing about this meal is it is not only easy to prepare, but it is fun to eat.  The adults and kids will have a blast picking and choosing the ingredients to construct their perfect taco.  The ingredients are fresh and different and you just might get your kids to try something new like I did.  My daughter ate radishes for the first time because of this recipe.  This might be the perfect family meal for you this weekend and everything in the recipe is already in your cupboard or easy to find at Lucky Supermarket.  In fact, the pork shoulder roast is on sale in a mix-and-match deal where you can buy one select meat and you get one free!

Since Lucky Supermarket is located on the way home from work, it was convenient to stop by and pick up the meat.  


What wasn't easy was choosing between all the selections of meat.  I almost bought turkey but decided to go for a ham and pork shoulder.  For this mix-or-match sale you can choose ham, pork shoulder, cross rib roasts, whole turkey, or turkey breasts.  The pork shoulder is perfect for this dish.


When I got the food home, I couldn't wait to cook up the meal but I had to wait until the next day when we would all eat dinner together.  Family dinners are important in our house because it is a time to reconnect, have fun, and hear about each other's day.  Good food just makes this easier.  So I hope you can use this recipe to bring your family together and enjoy constructing and eating your tacos!  These serve 4-6 people.

--Pork shoulder roast from Lucky Supermarket, bone-in (3 1/2 lbs.)
--1 package soft taco size flour tortillas
--7 oz. can spicy diced green chilis
--1 package hot chili seasoning powder
--2-3 garlic cloves
--1 bunch of cilantro
--5-6 radishes
--15-20 grape tomatoes
--2 cups sour cream
--1 avocado
--1 lime


1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Mince the garlic cloves and put into a small mixing bowl.  Mix together garlic, green chilis, and chili seasoning mix.  Place pork shoulder on large sheet of aluminum foil.  Spread chili rub evenly on pork shoulder.  Make sure to use all the rub and cover the entire shoulder.  This might seem like it will be too spicy but this rub gives the pork a nice flavor.

2.  Wrap the pork in the foil and place in metal baking dish.  Put pork shoulder into preheated oven and cook for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.  You should always check the internal temperature of meat with a meat thermometer.  The pork should be so tender it almost falls off the bone.
3.  While the pork is cooking, slice the radishes, cilantro, and lime.  Place in covered containers and put in the refrigerator.

4.  When pork is done, pull the shoulder apart using two forks.  It might sound difficult but it is very easy.  Stick the forks in the meat and pull apart in opposite directions.  Place pork in medium size serving bowl.  If you want a little more flavor, pour a few spoonfuls of the drippings from the pan back over the meat.


5.  Slice avocados and tomatoes.  Place them and the sour cream in serving dishes.  Take out radishes, lime, and cilantro.  If you want to add some spice serve a hot salsa as well.  Heat up the tortillas.  Remember to squeeze the lime juice on top of each taco and serve your family an amazing meal!


I hope you have a great week leading up to Thanksgiving.  Maybe this Fresh Find from Lucky Supermarket can help you fix an easy meal while you are preparing for your Thanksgiving feast.  Lucky Supermarket has some other creative recipes in their Fresh Finds section so check that out as well.  Please share this recipe with all your friends and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  Also, keep checking back because we have some exciting news coming up!

Gillette is Helping to Give a Close Shave and Fight Cancer

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.
I've decided to wear something everyday for a month.  It sounds crazy to some people and my wife is barely putting up with it.  It makes my kids giggle and my co workers stare.  I don't care though because I have a good reason for wearing it.  I'm growing a mustache for a worldwide event called "Movember."  I am doing it to raise awareness and money to help fight cancer in men.  This cause is close to my heart because last year my father died of cancer.  I am wearing this mustache to honor him and to make a difference.  However, as any mustached gentleman knows you can't just grow some facial hair without keeping it trimmed and clean.  For a clean shave I turned to Walmart and to Gillette.  Gillette is a major sponsor for Movember and Walmart has all the Gillette shaving gear you could ask for.

I love to let my readers know about products that help make our lives easier as parents.  Getting help with your Movember shave (or anytime of the year for that matter) is helped tremendously with a short trip to Walmart.  I was able to pick up candy, drink glasses, healthy lunches, and my shaving gear all in one trip.  I have to be honest, however.  For the last five years I have used an electric shaver.  For Movember though I wanted to go back to basics and get a closer shave.  I also wanted something that would trim my new 'stache so it would be nice and neat.  I knew Walmart would give me a razor that could do both.  You can check Walmart out on Facebook HERE.


I was shocked to see all the new choices available from Gillette.  Remember, the last time I went shopping for other razors was five years ago so I had been out of the game for awhile.  After surveying my many options, I knew which one I would take home.  It was tough choice and there was a Gillette razor for pretty much any price point and purpose.  They had the Fusion, Fusion Power, Fusion ProGlide, disposables, and more.  


 I chose the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Styler.  It is a 3-in-1 battery powered razor that trims, shaves, and edges.  I felt this was the right choice for the job because I could get a close shave and trim up my facial hair--all with one razor.  It is safe for the shower as well!  I also picked out Gillette Fusion ProGlide Sensitive Shave Gel because I wanted the extra protection from cuts and from razor burn, since I have sensitive skin.  This is especially true around my neck area.  I was curious to see if these two products would give me the close shave without the irritation.


So far my mustache is coming in well, but it has a ways to go before it is as epic as my dad's was.  Some of my earliest memories of him were watching him mix his own shaving cream and shaving with a simple blade.  While I can't hope to have nearly the 'stache that he did, at least I can save time and get an awesome shave since razor technology has come a long way since then.

I couldn't wait to test out the ProGlide Styler.  The next morning, I lathered up my face with the Gillette shave gel and ran the Fusion ProGlide Styler over my stubble.  I had forgotten what it felt like to shave with a good blade.  It took a minute or two to get it right, but after five years it was like riding a bike and took no time at all.  I shaved all around my face and neck first.  There were no cuts or nicks.  I then used the edge to get my sideburns and to trim close to my facial hair.  To finish off the shave, I removed the blade and used the trimmer.  I was able to clean up my mustache and a little ear hair (Holy cow, where did that hair come from!?) in about a minute.  I really liked being able to do all of those things easily with one tool.  My wife felt my face and loved the close shave.  I'm sure when Movember comes to a close on December first, I will wake up to her happily handing me this razor!
It is important to me to keep my mustache looking nice because this is about honoring my dad.  You can see his epic mustache, next to my attempt, in the picture above.  Walmart and Gillette have helped me to honor him well.  I wouldn't be where I am today without my father so I hope that through the conversations I have, and the money I raise, my effort can help to make a real difference.  If you would like to donate to Movember and help fight cancer in men, please click here and give.   I believe so much in this cause that I am giving financially also.  At the top of this post you read that I was compensated for writing this article.  All of the profit that I received from writing this was given to the not for profit Movember Foundation.  Remember that every dollar helps and your donation is also tax deductible!  


Thanksgiving Turkey Snacks

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Healthy kids snacks
Instead of a lunch I made some special Thanksgiving themed snacks this week.  I thought my kids would enjoy something fun and different.  We all need ideas for the holidays and this one was so easy to make.  The ingredients are pretty healthy so you don't need to worry about feeding your kids a ton of sugar.  The other great thing about this is it can also include some different ingredients if your kids prefer.  I have some other great recipes coming up in the next two weeks so be sure and check back regularly.

Healthy holiday food
--Half a kiwi
--1 slice dried apple
--1 red and 1 yellow sweet pepper.  Alternately you could use a Babybel cheese and cheddar cheese.
--A little dried mango
--1 pretzel stick
--1 chocolate sprinkle for the eye.  You could also use one of those small candy eyes if you prefer.
--Fat-free cream cheese

1.  Slice of end of each sweet pepper.  Slice peppers in half long ways.  Arrange in fan pattern as shown in picture.  Alternate colors.  If using Babybel and cheddar cheese slices arrange them the same way.
2.  Break pretzel stick in half and use it as the feet for the turkey.  Place kiwi half on top of peppers and pretzel.
3.  Cut apple circle in half and trip to fit on top of kiwi.  Cut mango piece into beak shape and cut a small square piece of the red pepper or babybel wax.
4.  Use a toothpick and put a dab of cream cheese on the mango and pepper and secure them to the apple.  The cream cheese will act as a paste, and taste good!
5.  Use another dab of cream cheese for the eye.  Put sprinkle on top of the cream cheese to finish the eye.  If using a candy eye paste it to the apple the same way you did the mango and pepper.
6.  Break a piece of the toothpick and poke it into the kiwi in the middle.  Attach turkey head to kiwi by pressing the apple onto the other side of the toothpick.  Turkey is finished and you have a great snack!  The kiwi can easily be eaten using a spoon.
thanksgiving food

This snack is part of a Thanksgiving linkup.  Check it out to get tons of great Thanksgiving food ideas!

No lunch because of the holiday

Monday, November 11, 2013

No lunch today because it is Veteran's day so my daughter had it off of school.  Check back tomorrow to see something special for Thanksgiving.  

Just for fun here is a video of turkeys playing soccer.

Wise Owl Fall Lunch

Monday, November 4, 2013

Wise Owl Fall Bento Lunch
Year 2, Week 13: Wise Owl Fall Lunch.  This is one of those lunches that came together at the last minute because of what I had in the fridge.  My family came home late from a party and I had no real motivation to make lunch.  However, I couldn't let me daughter starve so I rummaged through what we had and came up with this.  It is Fall so I thought I'd do a Fall themed lunch.  I tried to keep the idea of Fall throughout, especially with the colors and the leaves falling off the tree.  Other than that, this is just a fun lunch.  

I also included some hummus for my daughter to dip the vegetables in.  I have never had her try it before so it is an experiment.  The cool thing is that she has discovered some foods that she really likes through experiments like this.  I really recommend parents encourage their kids to try new foods.  Sometimes the kids will love the food, sometimes they will hate it, but it is worth trying.  You never know what will happen!  This was made in an Easy Lunch Boxes container, they are great.

Owl dried apples
--1 slice of meat
--2 slices of cheese, 1 white and 1 orange
--2 slices of whole wheat bread
--1 serving of dried cranberries
--A few carrots and grape tomatoes
--A few slices dried apples and dried mango
--2 yogurt covered raisins
--Black food coloring or food coloring marker

1.  Slice piece of bread into the shape of a tree as shown.  It doesn't have to be perfect, trees are all shapes and sizes just do your best.  Use the first tree to make a second tree out of the other slice.
2.  Cut cheese slices into leaf shapes.  I used a vegetable cutter.  You can use a cookie cutter or just make a simple leaf free hand.
3.  Put meat down as background and bread on top of that.  Arrange cheese and dried cranberries on top of bread as shown.
4.  In side dish put a few small pieces of dried mango.  On top of those put two slices of dried apple to look like an owl face.  Cut a triangle out of dried mango and put it on top of the apples.  Use black food coloring or food coloring marker to make circles on yogurt covered raisins.  Place raisins inside the apple slices for the owl's eyes.
5.  In a second side dish put tomatoes and carrots.  You can also use another type of vegetable that your child enjoys.  If they have a hard time eating vegetable, try putting a healthy dip such as hummus along with them to see if they will eat it.

Thanks for following me, I hope you had fun on Halloween and have some great Thanksgiving plans!  Make some fun memories with your kids this week and maybe write them a special note in their lunch.  They will love it.  Unless they're teenagers, then they will pretend they hate it but secretly feel great about it.  Remember to check out Lunchbox Dad on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for a ton more fun ideas!


Is Walmart Family Mobile the Best Wireless Option to Win Your Fantasy League?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

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I didn't want to like it.  I tried to resist, I swear.  I was an "Apple" guy and I felt like I was betraying my own.  But man is the Samsung Galaxy S4 nice.  The big screen is beautiful and the phone runs like a cheetah.  But how would it perform using the Walmart Family Mobile Plan?  In my last post about this I told you how much money this cheap wireless plan could save you, but I still needed to do real world testing.  Just as important, I needed it to help me get the edge in my fantasy football leagues.  To read my first post about Walmart Family Mobile which documents my initial experience (including savings chart) click HERE.  

After a month of taking this phone everywhere, and putting it through the ringer, I was pleasantly surprised.  Thanks to Walmart Family Mobile I am also keeping pace in most of my fantasy football leagues!  So here are the results of using the Samsung GS4 and Walmart Family Mobile.

The Coverage:
This might have been my biggest surprise.  Walmart Family Mobile is on the T-Mobile network.  Normally I don't think of T-Mobile as having as good of coverage as the other companies, but in my house the GS4 is now my go-to-phone.  No other network gets more than one bar where I live.  T-Mobile came in loud and clear with full coverage all through my house.  I told that to others in my neighborhood and they were thoroughly impressed.

Around town coverage was pretty good.  You never get perfect coverage everywhere but for the most part it was as good or better than the other major carriers.  At my work, my signal was up and down.  This was strange since my current cell provider gets perfect 4G LTE.  I was able to get good coverage at my desk, but walking around the campus it was all over the map.  I don't know why this is.
Overall, I was very happy with the coverage, even though Walmart Family Mobile does not provide 4G LTE.  The 3G speeds were fast enough to load pages in a good amount of time.  Even when it said I only had one bar, I was still able to surf the internet and send texts with no problems.  I did have a few dropped calls, which was a little annoying, but not enough for me not to give the Walmart Family Mobile coverage a high recommendation.  To check the coverage map for your areas click HERE.

The Phone:
I said before that I was an Apple guy.  I immediately liked the look of the Samsung Galaxy S4 but it took a few days to get used to the Android operating system.  I downloaded a few apps, starting with the three that I needed for my fantasy football leagues.  My favorite feature of Android is the notification center.  I love having new email, Facebook messages, and fantasy football news right at my finger tips.  I did find the native email app to be clunky and not practical to check email quickly.  One of the best features of the S4 is the large screen.  It is five inches and the resolution is 441 pixels per inch.  I thought it would be heavier than it is, but it feels light for its size.  The tradeoff is not being able to fit the phone in your pocket easily.  You can read about my in-store experience buying and activating my Galaxy S4 HERE.

Below you can see the beauty of the screen and 
the size of the phone relative to a standard size DVD case.
The Football:
One of the most important features of a phone for me, is being able to stay up to date in my fantasy football leagues.  The GS4 and Walmart Family Mobile definitely accomplished this purpose.  I was able to offer trades, make lineup changes, and check scores when it wasn't possible for me to be at a computer.  For example, On October 5th, I picked up tight end Brent Celek when I realized at the last minute that I had no tight end to play the next morning.  He helped for a week but wasn't a long term solution.  The next week, in a staff party, I used my phone to complete a deal with a coworker to bring Tony Gonzales to my team.  I knew I needed to negotiate and close the deal right there.  I found my new tight end and I couldn't have done it without my phone.
One other highlight came on Sunday, October 20.  This of course was game day and I thought my lineup was ready to give me the win.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize I had a player who had suddenly become inactive.  Minutes before game time, I was able to sub him out and put in wide receiver Cecil Shorts.  Once again, Walmart Family Mobile saved my week.  For the record I am currently tied for first in my division in one league, and a close second in another.  We won't talk about the third league I'm in, but its not the phone's fault, it it my own.  A great phone and plan can't help bad decisions.  Is this the best wireless option for fantasy football fans?  I'll just say this fantasy season would have been lost if I would not have had my phone with me.

Walmart Family Mobile is a great cheap wireless plan when you want to save money and need up to the minute details on your fantasy team.  Most smartphone plans are expensive, but this unlimited no-contract plan gives you an affordable alternative.  At only $39.99 per month I was able to cut $45 off my normal smartphone bill.  Online account management is very simple but won't always give you every little detail you need.  To see for yourself what their account management is like click HERE.  The T-Mobile network isn't perfect, but it does provide reliable coverage.  You won't get 4G LTE or visual voicemail with Walmart Family mobile, but if you can live without those options then you should give this plan a shot.  Your fantasy football season depends on it.

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