Throwback Thursday Lunch Linkup #14

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Here is today's "Throwback Thursday" lunch post linkup. This is to give everyone a chance to post their past fun meals! The rules are simple. Anyone can post their fun lunch, but it has to be at least 6 months old. Not the lunch itself, the post. A 6 month old lunch would be gross and no one wants to see that. The lunch also has to be your own, not one that you saw on someone else's site. So dig up those old pictures and post them for everyone to see. Please share the linkup on your social media networks as well so everyone can join in on the throwback fun.

My Throwback Thursday bento lunch for today is:

A "Lego Lunch" because the movie recently came out on DVD! You can see the whole recipe HERE:

5 Things I Can't Do With My Dad On Father's Day, But Wish I Could

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

5 Things I Can't Do With My Dad On Father's Day, But Wish I Could

I love being a dad, but Father’s Day is a little bittersweet for me. Obviously it’s great having a whole day to spend being honored as a dad and to get new works of art to hang on my wall at work. However, I also think about my own father and how much I miss him. He died two years ago of pancreatic cancer. The disease took him quickly, as this form of cancer generally does. He was diagnosed and passed away within two months. He wasn't a perfect man. He was human and made his share of mistakes, but as far as fathers go, I feel pretty blessed to have spent the time I did with him.

As Father’s Day rolls around, I think about the memories I have of him, and the experiences we shared. I learned from his successes and mistakes. Both of these helped to form me into the dad I am today. So in honor of my dad, here are five things I wish I could do with him this Father’s Day.

1. Go see a movie.
My dad was notorious for loving movies. He wasn't an art house film lover, but growing up we spent many weekends in the video rental store (remember those?) trying to pick out the best VHS tapes. He also took me to my share of theatres. My brother and I still talk about going to see some action movies that we were WAY too young to see. While the special effect explosions fade, the memories of being with dad still linger. As my dad became more and more sick he never lost his love for movies, and I wish I could watch one more with him.

2. Hang out by the BBQ.
If you knew my dad, you knew he took great pride in his skill on the BBQ. He would invite anyone and everyone over for parties and would throw every piece of food he could on that grill. I would hang out and try to learn his secrets. As I grew older and had kids of my own, he would travel for hours to celebrate holidays at my house. I was now the one grilling the food, but he would always be by my side. He wasn't there to tell me how to cook the meat, he was there just to spend time with me. I gained my appreciation for the art of the grill from him. I would love to share one more piece of his BBQ chicken this Father’s Day.

5 Things I Can't Do With My Dad On Father's Day, But Wish I Could

3. Read a bedtime story with him.
Some of my best bedtime memories are of my dad reading me books like The Chronicles of Narnia and A Wrinkle in Time. I would beg for just one more chapter and more often than not he would give in. When he would visit his grandchildren, I had the pleasure to see him read to them before bedtime as well. I know I'm an adult, but I wouldn't object to one more bedtime story.

4. Let him steal our coffee mugs.
I have an irrational love for really nice coffee cups. I see one and have to hold myself back from buying it. My dad was notorious for coming into town and stealing our best mugs. Inevitably, at the end of every visit he would ask me to make him a cup of coffee. Somehow, he wouldn’t get around to finishing it before he left, would smuggle it out of the house, never to be seen again. A few days later I would take stock and notice the mug was gone. I would slap myself in the head and realize the great mug thief had struck again. It became a running joke in our house. I wish I could let just one more mug get stolen this Father’s Day.

5. Watch him with his grandkids.
I don't care where we were, or what else was going on, when the grandkids came along they were the stars. “Grandpa Michael” would swim with them, tell dumb jokes, take them to pick vegetables in his garden, or bring them ridiculously huge stuffed animals that we had no room for in our house. Even though my kids are young, they still ask about him two years later. I think they would love to listen to his really terrible jokes one more time on Father’s Day. I know I would.
5 Things I Can't Do With My Dad On Father's Day, But Wish I Could
I love thinking about my dad and what we shared. However, I know the best way to remember him is to be a great dad to my kids. As dads, we take what we learn from those that came before us, and raise our kids the best that we can. We won't be perfect, but we hopefully will love our kids with all that we are and show them what it means to be a dad.

So in honor of my dad this Father’s Day I'll spend time loving my kids. Maybe I'll read a book to them, or cook with them. Or maybe we will sit on the couch and look through some photos of grandpa and talk about when he used to steal our coffee mugs.

What will you do this Father’s Day to celebrate your dad, grandpa, or men in your life who played that special role?


Spicy Chipotle Baby Back Ribs With Video Tutorial

Monday, May 26, 2014

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media®
and Farmland/Smithfield, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #ReadySetRibs
Spicy Chipotle Baby Back Ribs Recipe #readysetribs #weavemade #ad

It's almost summertime which mean it's grilling season! Around my house that means I make sure the propane tank is full and the BBQ is ready to go because we will be taking advantage of the weather as much as possible. For us, we have been experimenting with making the best baby back ribs possible.

I remember growing up as a teenager and whenever my birthday came around I was able to pick whatever meal I wanted. Without fail I always chose ribs. You might say I'm a bit obsessed. In fact, my friends host a rib contest every year and I have a feeling this is my year. The contest is called "RibFest" and friends from all over gather to enter their best recipes and also sample the competition. You sample so many different kinds of ribs the champion needs to stick out from the pack. 

This year I plan to enter my secret weapon, which might just take down the competition. What is it? My Spicy Chipotle Ribs which feature the unbeatable combination of Farmland baby back ribs and my very own Spicy Chipotle Dry Rub.

Spicy Chipotle Baby Back Ribs Recipe #readysetribs #weavemade #ad

I have been experimenting in the kitchen to perfect this recipe and in my house this is a family affair. My wife and I have tinkered with the dry rub and my kids are more than happy to test out the results. The great thing about these Farmland/Smithfield ribs is that you can find them right now at Walmart with this great coupon (while supplies last) for an extra dollar off either baby back or St. Louis Style! Just scroll down the page to the Farmland/Smithfield coupon to get the deal. You can also check out for some more great tips and ideas.

If you want to amaze your family and friends then all you have to do is follow my easy recipe for these ribs below. I've even included my short BBQ rib video tutorial to show you exactly how to make them from start to finish. Then again, maybe you shouldn't make these, because everyone will make you grill at every event from here on out because these ribs are that good. 

Watch this video tutorial first, then scroll down for the recipe

Spicy Chipotle Baby Back Ribs

Spicy Chipotle Dry Rub
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. ground chipotle pepper
1 tsp. ground habanero pepper

1. Combine all ingredients in small bowl and stir until well mixed. Store in sealed container.

Spicy Chipotle Baby Back Ribs Recipe #readysetribs #weavemade #ad

Baby Back Ribs
Farmland/Smithfield Baby Back Ribs (1 pound per person)

1. Turn ribs bottom side up. Slide butter knife under membrane and pry up one edge. Pull off membrane from entire rack. Pat ribs dry with paper towel.
2. Spread dry rub on ribs. Make sure and cover both sides.
3. Cook ribs over indirect heat at 250 degrees. If grilling over charcoal, push coals to one side and cook ribs on the other side. If grilling with propane, cover burners with foil. Turn side burners on low and leave middle burner off.
4. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees. If desired, brush on barbeque sauce for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove ribs from barbeque.
5. Place ribs on cookie sheet and cover with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes. Cut apart and serve immediately. Place barbecue sauce in bowls and serve on the side for dipping.

Enjoy your ribs and make sure to remember not to settle for less than the extra meaty Farmland/Smithfield ribs. Your party guests will be raving about these all summer long!
Spicy Chipotle Baby Back Ribs Recipe #readysetribs #weavemade #ad

Review: Bonga Baobab Superfood Chews and Powder

Friday, May 23, 2014

I love fruit snacks but hate how unhealthy they are. They are usually filled with sugar and tons of artificial ingredients. The problem is that they are very convenient. I might have found a good solution to this snack problem with Bonga Foods Baobab Superfood Chews and Superfood Powder. 

The great part about Bonga is that it uses the African Baobab fruit. According to Bonga, 
"Harvesting the baobab fruit not only creates delicious, healthy products, but also nurtures local communities by providing sustainable income for women in southern Africa and protection of the ancient trees. We believe in the power of sustainable harvesting and giving back, which is why 10% of all Bonga profits go to the foundation we have set up to further this cause." You can learn more about this on the Bonga Foods website.

The Superfood Chews come in Strawberry, Raspberry, Mango, and Pomegranate. They are shaped like little squares, so you won't get cartoon characters, but you will get fruit snacks that are high in flavor. Our favorite has been the Mango. I opened up a package and let my picky-eating son taste test them. He ate a few and came back in a few minutes asking if he could have the whole pouch! 

To see how I used these in our school lunches, check out my Woody Woodpecker Lunch and my Super Squirrel Lunch.

Bonga also makes Superfood Baobab Powder. It comes in only the "raw" flavor. They give some suggestions for what foods to try it in. First, I mixed it with my Greek yogurt. It didn't taste bad, but I probably should have used half the pouch because the mixture became a bit dry. I also tried it in a bottle of water and wasn't impressed. It was a little bitter and overpowering. However, I don't normally mix anything with my water, so if you do, you might enjoy it. The last way my family tried it was in a fruit smoothie. I thought that was the tastiest way to use the superfood powder and my kids loved it. I would definitely mix it in with our smoothies again.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the chews but could go either way on the powder. I do love what Bonga is doing in using sustainable practices for workers and making their food healthier as well. Find out more at

Get My E-book FREE

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I have a new special deal for you here at Lunchbox Dad! If you sign up for my new mailing list, then you get me e-book for free (a $6.99 value). All you do is look to the right sidebar and enter your email address right under my social media icons. 
Besides my e-book, you also get my monthly newsletter and hear about all the great news and giveaways coming up. I promise not to spam you or give out your email to anyone else. You are also welcome to unsubscribe at any time, although we would hate to see you go. If you already signed up for email updates before you must sign up for this instead, as I will no longer be supporting the original email list.

So sign up right now and you won't miss any of the great stuff coming up this summer!

Super Squirrel Bento Lunch

Monday, May 19, 2014

Year 2: Week 34: Super Squirrel Lunch. Today's lunch is really simple but fun in more ways than one. If your kids are fans of squirrels then great, but this is really based on a fun experience my kids had with a squirrel. Some of our friends have been taking care of a baby squirrel and my kids and I went over for a visit. My kids had a blast playing with it. Not only that, but they actually have clothes for the squirrel. The picture you see below is of the squirrel in a denim vest!

The lunch itself is made in an Easy Lunch Boxes container with a Lunchbox Love note. I also made use of a few of my cutters. I used my squirrel cookie cutter to make the sandwich and the leaf vegetable cutter to make the cheese leaves.

To find out the rest of the lunch, keep reading. Remember to keep checking back for some reviews and great recipes coming up as well. Follow me on all my social media channels to keep up to date too. The buttons are on the top right corner. Also, if you sign up for my monthly newsletter you will get my ebook for FREE! You can sign up right under my social media buttons.

Whole wheat bread
White and orange cheese
Turkey slices
Sugar snap peas
Pretzel sticks
Peanut butter
Trail mix
Hot dog
Lunchbox Love note

1. Cut bread and turkey into the shape of a squirrel. To make it easy, use a cookie cutter like I did. Make into a sandwich. Also cut leaf shapes from white and orange cheese. Once again you can make it easy by using a vegetable cutter.
2. Spread a generous amount of peanut butter on one pretzel stick. Stick three more pretzel sticks on, pressing them into the peanut butter so they will stay. This will form the branch for the squirrel to stand on.
3. In main container arrange snap peas and pretzel log. Place squirrel sandwich and and cheese leaves as shown.
4. In one side dish place trail mix with nuts. I made my own using almonds and walnuts. Squirrels like nuts right? There are pieces of dried mandarin orange in there as well. I also included Bonga Baobab Superfood Chews. They are healthy, natural, and taste really good. 
5. To make the acorns, cut the ends off of a hot dog. Then cut two half circle shapes out of whole wheat bread, the heel works best. Use a toothpick to stick the bread piece to the top of the hot dog as shown. Place lettuce in the background of a side dish then put these two acorns on the bed of lettuce.
6. Finish off with a Lunchbox Love note if desired. My daughter loves them!

Here are some other fun lunches that others have made with squirrel & nut themes:


Make Your Own Hershey's Sweet Summer Shake & Sweet Summer Surprise Bag!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

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.
Make your own Hershey's Sweet Summer Shake and Sweet Summer Surprise Bag #Shop #Collectivebias

It's almost summertime and in our house that means no school, warm weather, and hanging out with friends. Not only do we love spending time with people, but we also love sharing fun recipes and experiences with them! My family tried out Hershey's Spreads this weekend and we just had to "spread the love" with our neighbors. We experimented with the amazing chocolate spreads and came up with what we think might be the best milkshake we've ever had. We wanted to share the recipe in a fun way so we created our own gift bag as well. Read on for the directions on how to easily make both at your house.

Make your own Hershey's Sweet Summer Shake and Sweet Summer Surprise Bag #Shop #Collectivebias

We took the idea of "Boo Bags" from Halloween and decided they could work to help welcome in summer. Meet the Sweet Summer Surprise Bag! Inside we packed the key ingredients for our "Sweet Summer Shake." Thankfully, we were able to find everything we needed at Walmart. The main ingredient, Hershey's Spreads, can easily be found on the peanut butter aisle.

Make your own Hershey's Sweet Summer Shake and Sweet Summer Surprise Bag #Shop #Collectivebias

Below you will find the recipe for our milkshake and the instructions for how to make your own gift bag as well. I even created a video to show you how easy it is to make them both! Not only that, but at the every end of this post you will find some tasty bonus recipes that also use Hershey's Spreads

Watch the video first and then if you want written instructions, they are below. Most of all, have fun and spread the love with your family, friends, and neighbors!

Hershey's Sweet Summer Shake Recipe #Shop #Collectivebias

Hershey's Sweet Summer Shake
Makes 4 Servings 
½ cup Hershey’s Spreads, ½ cup plain yogurt, 8 oz. Hershey’s Chocolate Milk, 1½ cups frozen strawberries, ½ cup Hershey’s Chocolate Chips

1. In blender pour Hershey’s Chocolate Milk, Hershey’s Spreads, strawberries, and yogurt. Blend until smooth.
2. Add Hershey’s Chocolate Chips and blend again until chips are broken into small bits. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Make your own Sweet Summer Surprise Bag #Shop #Collectivebias

Sweet Summer Surprise Bag
(To see exactly how to make the bag, please watch the short tutorial video above)

Materials Needed:
1 bag, 3 different colors of construction paper, 1 yellow piece of construction paper, 1 green piece of construction paper, scotch tape, scissors, printable recipe

1. Trace hand (a child's hand works best) on sheet of construction paper. Cut out along lines. Repeat two more times on different colors of paper.
2. Roll up paper hand to form flower as shown in video. Tape edge to hold shut. Fold tape to make double sided. Stuff tape down the middle of the flower. Cut long, thin strips of yellow paper and place in the middle of the flower, sticking them to the tape and making sure they stick out the top of the flower. Cut flower stem from piece of green paper and tape to bottom of flower. Repeat for each flower.
3. Cut fringe along one side of green construction paper. This should be long enough to go across the bottom of your bag to look like grass. Tape to bag.
4. Tape flowers to bag with the stems going behind the grass.
5. Write or type "Sweet Summer Surprise Bag" on paper. Cut out in a rectangular shape. Cut out a slightly larger rectangle form another color of paper. Tape "Sweet Summer Surprise Bag" label to the larger rectangle, then tape to bag.
6. Your Sweet Summer Surprise Bag is almost done! Just stuff bag with the printable recipe from above and the main ingredients for the "Sweet Summer Shake." Finish by spreading the love to your neighbors, friends, or anyone else who needs a smile today!
Make your own Hershey's Sweet Summer Shake and Sweet Summer Surprise Bag #Shop #Collectivebias
Bonus Hershey's Spreads Recipe Ideas!

Oh-So-Gooey Chocolate Covered Peach: Mix one spoonful Hershey's Spreads with your favorite whipped topping. Slice a fresh peach in half and place in bowl. Cover peach with a generous amount of the chocolate whipped topping and serve.

Fruity Chocolate Yogurt: Mix one spoonful Hershey's Spreads with your favorite plain Greek yogurt. Top with berries and sliced almonds for a sweet and delicious breakfast.

Sweet Summer Popsicles: Use the above recipe for "Sweet Summer Shake" but freeze it in popsicle molds instead. It is perfect for a backyard treat on those hot summer days!


Throwback Thursday Lunch Linkup #13

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Here is today's "Throwback Thursday" lunch post linkup. This is to give everyone a chance to post their past fun meals! The rules are simple. Anyone can post their fun lunch, but it has to be at least 6 months old. Not the lunch itself, the post. A 6 month old lunch would be gross and no one wants to see that. The lunch also has to be your own, not one that you saw on someone else's site. So dig up those old pictures and post them for everyone to see. Please share the linkup on your social media networks as well so everyone can join in on the throwback fun.

My Throwback Thursday bento lunch for today is:

A "Finding Nemo" lunch just because! You can see the whole recipe HERE:

Review: The Spice Lab & Sugar Lab Add Some Kick to Your Food

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

You never know how much a good gourmet sugar or salt can change the food that you eat until you try it. A little sprinkle here and there can make good food become terrific. All you have to know is what sugar or salt to use and how much. When The Spice Lab sent me some of their gourmet salts and their new Sugar Labs flavored sugar, I was very excited to try them out. I received the BBQ Smoked Sea Salt Collection along with Chocolate and Juicy Blueberry sugars.

The thing that can be hard with gourmet salts and sugars is trying to decipher the best to use them on. I appreciate how The Spice Lab included a cheat sheet so you can take the guesswork out of it. 

The first dish I tested out was salmon. I used the Carolina Smoked Hickory along the top. The salmon was excellent, I just wish I used more of the salt. The temptation is to only use a pinch when in actuality you need to test it out to see how much you really should use depending on the food. I wish I would have used more on the salmon to really make the flavor stand out. 

The next dish I used the salt on was a garden vegetable dip. I chose the Smoked Himalayan Pink Salt for this appetizer. We dipped crackers in it and found the dip to very good. It took the vegetable base and added just enough flavor to take it to the next level. For this dish, I was able to start with a small amount of salt and keep adding until the taste was just right. The was served at a party and everyone loved it.

For the sugars, my mother in law decided to incorporate them into her homemade macarons. These desserts are great to begin with so I was very curious to see if the sugars added anything at all to the taste. She made chocolate and blueberry macarons to match the flavors of the sugars. They were taste tested by numerous people and we all agreed. We felt with the chocolate sugar, the flavor blended in too much. The issue could have been that it was combined with chocolate all the way through the entire macaron. It wasn't bad, it just didn't seem to add much since there was already so much chocolate already. You probably want to use this sugar when you have something to add a subtle chocolatey taste to.

The blueberry macarons were the ones that people were raving about. The sugar on top not only looked great, but added such a juicy blueberry taste that no one could get enough of these. The way these macarons were enhanced by the sugar, I don't know how we could go back to the original way of making them. There would probably be riot in the family. We were all stunned by how much better the blueberry sugar made this recipe.
The last recipe we tried was homemade caramels topped with pink himalayan sea salt. I am a huge fan of this combo in general and these did not disappoint. The pink himalayan salt worked perfectly and made a very balanced salty and sweet caramel. I had to take some of these home for later!

Overall, adults and kids alike enjoyed the food we used these on. If you are looking for something different to enhance your food with, and you're tired of the same old thing, you should try out The Spice Lab's salts and sugars. The BBQ Sea Salt collection sells for $29.95 and the sugars sell for $7.95 each. To learn more or to purchase these go to


Woody Woodpecker Lunch

Monday, May 12, 2014

Woody Woodpecker Bento Lunch for kids

Year 2: Week 33: Woody Woodpecker Lunch. My kids have loved watching Woody Woodpecker on Hulu lately. Don't ask me how they got started on it, I have no idea but when they get to watch TV this is all they ask for right now. My daughter couldn't believe that I actually watched it when I was a kid. I couldn't remember much from the cartoon so I had to look it up. I included some food picks for a couple of Woody's friends. There is Oswald Rabbit and Homer Pigeon.

I made the lunch in an Easy Lunch Boxes container and included a Lunchbox Love note. The plastic leaves in the lunch are called baran. I also included Baobab "Superfood Chews" from Bonga. They are like fruit snacks and are pretty healthy. Plus, they have a tree on the package which goes well with the woodpecker theme. I will tell you all about them in a review post soon. Have a great week and remember to follow me on my social media channels for so much more fun and ideas!

Woody Woodpecker Bento Lunch for kids
1 red apple
1 piece of dried mango
1 handful of snap peas
3 strawberries
2 pieces of turkey or similar meat
2-3 pieces of fresh spinach
1 slice of white cheese
1 serving rice or other leftovers
1 package Bonga Baobab Superfood Chews
Black food coloring

Woody Woodpecker Bento Lunch for kids

1. Slice a red apple in the shape of Woody's head and hair. It is easier than it looks. Also cut out a rectangle for his neck. Cut his beak out of dried mango. You can attach the beak and neck using a toothpick.

2. Cut cheese circles out for the eyes and neck piece. Also cut circles out of fresh spinach for the eyes. I glued all pieces of the eyes on using a dab of cream cheese. Draw facial features using black food coloring.

3. I used snap peas, turkey, and strawberries for the background because its what I had in my refrigerator. You can use whatever you would like.

4. In one side dish I had rice leftovers so used that with another circle of white cheese on top with "Woody" spelled out in spinach. The other side dish had the Baobab Super Food chews in it. You can finish it off with a Lunchbox Love note as I have.

Woody Woodpecker Bento Lunch for kids

9 Parenting Tools That Should Have Been Invented Already

Thursday, May 8, 2014

9 Tools For Parents That Should Have Been Invented Already

Let’s face it. Parents have more stuff than ever to make their lives easier. Shoot, my blog helps introduce many products that do just that, but there are still some common sense items that must be invented…soon! I have three kids and don't know why these things aren’t in every baby store in America. Sure some of this stuff might be as likely as hoverboards to come along soon, or it might not pass all the safety tests, but it would restore sanity to busy parent’s lives. Something must be done, so here is my list. Borrow it, steal it, share it, whatever you do just invent one thing off here and you will go down in parenting folklore as a hero.

1. Shirts With Spit-Proof Shoulders
How many times have you left the house with spit up, food, or saliva stains on your shoulder?! C'mon fashion designers can't we make some baby proof teflon fabric already? I now judge the cleanliness of my shirts just based on the collection of spots on the shoulders. Something must be done!

2. Diapers That Actually Work
We can put a man on the moon but we can't trap poop in a diaper? I feel as though there is a hidden tunnel that is there specifically to channel poop up my baby’s back. How do babies pull of the trick of getting it up to their armpits without much actually landing inside the diaper anyway? Sure, your kid looks cute but transfer them to solid food and you might need a hose in the nursery to wash that crib down. Accomplish this diaper feat and you will make millions.

3. Pacifier Adhesive
There have been points in time when I have looked longingly at duct tape and thought it would solve all of my pacifier problems. Can’t we have just a little nontoxic pacifier glue? I know, I know, there are all kinds of problems with this but an exhausted parent can dream right?

4. A Kid Sized Hamster Feeder Water Bottle For Bedtime
I guarantee with a kid-sized hamster feeder water bottle, bedtime will be 300% more enjoyable. The kid needs water? They just reach up to the wall mounted gigantic upside down water bottle and all is right with the world. Sure it would look ridiculous, but just think how much more entertaining Instagram would be with all those pictures. #KidsWithHamsterBottles

5. Velcro Onesies
Another no brainer. Onesies with snaps were designed by the devil himself. They should be illegal in all 50 states. I think being a zipper and Velcro only country would stop half of all parent meltdowns. Point me in the direction of the store that sells these first and I will spend whatever it takes. They could even have a “Snaps Onesie” exchange program where you can trade in your vile snaps for the ease of Velcro. I might just cry tears of joy instead of tears of frustration.

6. Pants with Kid Proof Knees
Engineers can design bulletproof vests but it’s impossible to make jeans that make it through an afternoon of my son at the playground? I firmly believe that we can upgrade our pants technology after keeping it status quo for hundreds of years. Sure there are more pressing issues in the world, but we all know little kids should grow out of their clothes before wearing them out. Kid proof pants knees, I want them by Christmas.

7. A Seatbelt For Eating at the Dining Room Table
What do you do when your child is too old for the booster seat but is allergic to actually sitting down at dinner? I've mentioned this before in my other column on kids and dinnertime but it’s too important not to talk about here. It’s like it is physically impossible for them to stay seated for longer than 3 bites of food. The dinnertime seat belt saves meals and lives!

8. A Parenting Freeze Frame "Zach Morris" Timeout
How many arguments have you been in the middle of and you just needed a short breather? Exactly. Saved By The Bell was ahead of its time when it introduced Zach Morris calling “timeout” in the middle of a scene. Parents need this ability. Think about it. Everything freezes and you go eat a bowl of ice cream, then go back and solve the fight over what kid gets what book. You might even be able to finish cleaning the house before the first room you cleaned gets messed up again. We can dream can't we?

9. Instant Toddler Hug
As a dad, there is not much that brightens my day more than my son coming over and giving me a big hug. Why not get that feeling all day long? I don't know how to do it but bottle toddler hugs and they would fly off the shelf. The world would just be a better place.


Throwback Thursday Lunch Linkup #12

Here is today's "Throwback Thursday" lunch post linkup. This is to give everyone a chance to post their past fun meals! The rules are simple. Anyone can post their fun lunch, but it has to be at least 6 months old. Not the lunch itself, the post. A 6 month old lunch would be gross and no one wants to see that. The lunch also has to be your own, not one that you saw on someone else's site. So dig up those old pictures and post them for everyone to see. Please share the linkup on your social media networks as well so everyone can join in on the throwback fun.

My Throwback Thursday bento lunch for today is:

A "Curious George" lunch just because! You can see the whole recipe HERE:

Review: Olive Garden Celebrates Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

Monday, May 5, 2014

Olive Garden Review

Olive Garden Restaurant recently offered a fun promotion in conjunction with "National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day." My family thought it would be fun to grab our kids, our friends, and head to Olive Garden for the night. They were offering coupons for free kids meals so it was a perfect night to try some new food and have someone else wash the dinner dishes!

My local Olive Garden is usually crowded for dinner so we arrived right at 5 pm. Parents know that when you take kids out to dinner, you are on a timer until exhaustion hits. The meal started great because we were seated right away. Between coloring the kid's menus,  and playing with the toys we brought, the kids were all entertained.

Our waitress greeted us with free tastes of wine, which is never bad. I ended up ordering the new Crab Topped Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and my wife stuck with the her favorite, The Tour of Italy. Our friends ordered the new Pappardelle Pescatore and Chicken Parmigiana. The children were all happy with kids meals. Of course we also had the all-you-can-eat salad and breadsticks. I am addicted to those breadsticks. They were tasty as always. While we were waiting for our main dishes, and devouring breadsticks, it was
Olive Garden Review
a little hard to find our waitress. She seemed to disappear for about 20 minutes. This left us with empty drink glasses for awhile.  Even after we eventually did find her,  we were thirsty for a bit because she seemed distracted. 

When the food arrived, we were definitely ready to eat. It took awhile but my Crab Topped Chicken was low on calories and very high on taste. When I go to restaurants I like to order things I can't make at home and this is definitely something I wouldn't try on my own. The chicken was perfectly cooked and the crab hit the spot for my seafood craving. I would definitely order this again. My wife and one of our other friends don't like to be disappointed when they go out. This is why they always order the same thing. They were very happy with their choice. Our other friend enjoyed the unique flavor of the Pappardelle Pescatore, but didn't prefer the wide noodles that it is served with. Because of this, he said he wouldn't order it again. 

Olive Garden Review
Our kids loved their meals. They are big fans of raviolis and they had no problems polishing off their food. 

The only problem with the kids meals came when it was time to use the coupons that Olive Garden provided. It didn't seem as though the waitress was briefed on them because she charged us wrong the first time. When we got the second copy of the check, we found out that the coupon for the "free" kids meals didn't cover the drinks that are included in the kids meal. We checked the menu again and there is no option to exclude the drink either. That is the only explanation our waitress gave as to why the coupons weren't valid for all the kids meal expenses. It wasn't the end of the world, it only cost an extra dollar per meal, but you should know that Olive Garden's coupons might not cover the drink for a kids meal.

Overall, we had a fun family experience at Olive Garden. The kids had space to play and most of us enjoyed the food itself. My dish was fantastic. However, the service was just middle of the road. Between waiting for the food and waiting for the check, the whole meal took well over two hours. By that time, the kids were itching to get out. We will go back to Olive Garden again, but hope to get more attention from the waitress next time.

Olive Garden Review

Disclosure: Olive Garden sent me a giftcard to help pay for dinner in order to write my review. I have received no other compensation for this post and the opinions I’m expressing here are solely my own.


Star Wars Return of the Jedi Ewok Lunch for National Star Wars Day!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Star Wars Return of the Jedi Ewok Lunch for NAtional Star Wars Day

It's May the 4th, National Star Wars Day! My family loves Star Wars so I made this Ewok lunch for them. If you like Ewoks, Wicket is obviously the best. Return of the Jedi was my favorite Star Wars movie growing up and it might be my kid's favorite now. I was always a huge fan of the speeder bikes and though the biker scouts were awesome. They never really did anything but they looked cool and went fast. This lunch is made in an Easy Lunch Boxes container.

Star Wars Return of the Jedi Ewok Lunch for NAtional Star Wars Day
My Ewok lunch is also part of a May the 4th blog hop. I am not posting the directions for this one, but after you read about the ingredients make sure and click the blog hop button below and check out all the other amazing Star Wars lunches in the hop. Believe me, if you are a Star Wars fan you wll want to look at all of these!

Wicket the ewok is made of whole wheat bread, nutella, peanut butter, whole wheat tortilla, and raisins for the eyes. He has a pretzel stick spear and black food coloring for the facial features.

The background is snap peas and broccoli. I also used dried mango for the letters and a very healthy Superfood Granola that I bought at Whole Foods Market. Its very good and my kids love it!

The Biker Scout is just marker on a hardboiled egg. I followed the look of a printable coloring page to get it close. I hope you like this lunch and May the 4th be with you!

Star Wars Return of the Jedi Ewok Lunch for NAtional Star Wars Day

National Star Wars Day #NationalStarWarsDay #Maythe4th #lbdbento

Fatherhood For Fridays #3

Friday, May 2, 2014

Fatherhood For Fridays Parenting Article Linkup
Welcome to "Fatherhood For Fridays" on! On the first Friday of every month you will find some of the best dad writers around. If you are a dad and have written anything in the past, feel free to link up here. All I ask is that you share this link up on Facebook, Twitter, etc. so more people can be inspired by what is posted here. Some of these posts will be short, some will be long, some will be serious, some will be hilarious. Click on the links below and you just might find your new favorite blogger!

A couple rules for posting: Only post something that you have written personally. Only post one time a month. Your post can be old or new, just pick out one that you have written which has meaning for you. Also share this link up and at least one of the other posts that are linked up here. This is so that other people can enjoy the wisdom that these dads have to give as well!

An InLinkz Link-up


Throwback Thursday Lunch Linkup #11

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Here is today's "Throwback Thursday" lunch post linkup. This is to give everyone a chance to post their past fun meals! The rules are simple. Anyone can post their fun lunch, but it has to be at least 6 months old. Not the lunch itself, the post. A 6 month old lunch would be gross and no one wants to see that. The lunch also has to be your own, not one that you saw on someone else's site. So dig up those old pictures and post them for everyone to see. Please share the linkup on your social media networks as well so everyone can join in on the throwback fun.

My Throwback Thursday bento lunch for today is:

A "Star Wars/My Little Pony Mashup" lunch in honor of May the 4th coming Sunday! You can see the whole recipe HERE:

site design by Design Chicky (© copyright 2015)