Easter Chick Lunch

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easter Chick Lunch

Easter is a really fun time for our family. In fact, this year we already had our first Easter egg hunt with extended family. This weekend we will be going to our church Easter Egg Hunt, celebrate the next day at church, and then have our second family party. It's a busy time, but also a memorable time. I thought I would kick this week off with a fun, but simple, Easter lunch.

The chicks are actually little cracker sandwiches and the carrots are...something else entirely. The lunch is made in an Easy Lunch Boxes container. I hope you have a happy Easter and if your kids need a snack this week, try this one out!

Easter Chick Lunch
Circle shaped crackers
Small pieces of meat for the sandwich
White cheese
Cheddar cheese
Dried mango
Yogurt covered raisins
Cream cheese
Green food coloring
Recycled Easter basket grass

1. Using your circle shaped crackers as a guide, cut circles from your meat and cheese. Make little sandwiches as shown in the picture below. 

Easter Chick Lunch2. Cut triangles out of cheddar cheese and slice raisins in half. Place them on the white cheese for facial features. Use dabs of cream cheese to hold all the pieces together. 

3. Cut dried mango into four triangle shaped pieces. Put a piece of broccoli between two pieces. Use a toothpick to hold all three pieces of food together to form a carrot. Repeat to make a second carrot. 

4. Use spinach as a background in the main dish. Place chicks and carrots in the main dish. 

5. In side dish place a wad of Easter grass. Push down on the middle to form an indent. Place yogurt covered raisins in the indent.

6. In second side dish put strawberries. Use flower cutter to make tortilla flowers. Write "Happy Easter" or something similar on the two tortilla flowers. Place flowers on top of strawberries. 

Easter Chick Lunch

10 Snacks From the 80's That My Kids Will Never Enjoy

Monday, March 30, 2015

10 Snacks from the 80's That My Kids Will Never Enjoy
I realize I normally talk about fun lunches that you can make your kids. I also like to talk about healthier food ideas. However, I was a kid in the 80's and have been a bit nostalgic lately. When you were growing up in the 80's you didn't hear about organic, dye-free, or locally sourced. Most kids I knew were just lucky if they got the name brand snack as opposed to the knockoff. This is the time when you could buy bubble gum cigarettes, and Wonderbread was accepted as a normal part of a healthy school lunch.

Let's just say we weren't as worried about food allergies or clean eating. As a kid, these are the tasty (and terribly unhealthy) treats I remember that ruled the decade. It's probably better for everyone that they are gone, but there's a small part of me that wishes my kids could have experienced the 80's treats that I did. I'm sure I missed some so let me know in the comments which snack foods you remember with fondness. 

10. Smurf Berry Crunch Cereal
in the 80's The Smurfs were a staple of Saturday morning cartoons and cereal bowls. They overflowed with berry flavoring so they more than likely were only 1% nutritious but 100% delicious.
Smurf Berry Crunch
via mrbreakfast.com
9. Flintstones Push Up Pops
There have been Push Up Pops around forever, but the Flintstones flavors have always been far superior. When they mixed the orange flavor with the Nerds. Well, that was sheer brilliance.

Flintstones Push Up Pops
via galleryhip.com
8. Shark Bites Fruit Snacks
Yes I know these have been remade but they can't compare to the original. Sure they were filled with everything that was horrible to put into your body, but remember when you opened a pouch and found the great white shark flavor? You immediately went to your happy place. If that happy place involved ocean predators.
Shark Bites Fruit Snacks
via hellogiggles.com
7. McDonald's Happy Meals
Before we took notice how bad most fast food was for you, kids were enamored with Happy Meals. But it wasn't really for the nuggets, they could have included tin foil smothered in peanut butter in that box. Every 80's kid knows this was the glory years of the Happy Meal toys. From The Muppet Babies to the Garfield vehicles, no other decade compares. The one toy to rule them all? Mcdonald's Transformers.
McDonalds Transformers
via ebay.com
6. Squeezeit Fruit Drinks
I remember moving to a new town and starting school. It was difficult at first, but you know what got me through? Liters of sugar laced drinks in my school lunch. I always wanted these, but my parents wouldn't buy them (for good reason). I think they felt sorry for me so for one glorious week it was all Squeezeit, all the time.
SqueezeIt Drinks
via chacha.com
5. Oreo Big Stuff
What's better than stuffing all sorts of chemicals into snack size spheres? How about super sizing it into giant sandwich size handfuls. The only thing as big as the taste was the totally tubular 80's commercial that advertised them. Who wouldn't want to be as gnarly as those kids hanging out, dancing, and eating enormous cookies?

4. Jello Pudding Pops
There's not much to say about these. If there was a choice in the freezer aisle, the go-to was always pudding pops. The secret was eating all the swirl flavor before anyone else got their hands on them. No one wanted to be stuck with vanilla.
Jello Pudding Pops
via caloriecount.com
3. Nintendo Cereal System
There are plenty of other 80's cereal that could have been on this list. Gremlins, Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Strawberry Shortcake to name a few. However, the Nintendo cereal beat them all. You got Super Mario Brothers AND Legend of Zelda...in the same box! Fruity flavored in one bag and berry flavored in the other. They obviously tasted way different from each other. You knew that in every bite you were tasting cereal glory, even if you couldn't beat Mike Tyson in Punch Out.
Nintendo Cereal System
via zeldainformer.com
2. Keebler Magic Middles
Soft shortbread surrounded rich fudge, whoever invented these should be given an award. There were probably 200 calories in each one, but we didn't care. You had a sleepover, watched Goonies, played NES, and easily burned through a package of these badboys. You can't beat that.

Magic Middles
via businessinsider.com
1. Hi-C Ecto Cooler
The Holy Grail of 80's snacks has to be Hi-C Ecto Cooler. Hi-C was pretty amazing by itself, but when they added slime to their 10% fruit juice, who knew magic would happen? Maybe it wasn't actually green...or slime, but it doesn't matter. This drink defined the snacks of the 80's for me. What I wouldn't give for just one more box.
Hi-C Ecto Cooler
via fooddiggity.com

$200 Evie Bett Designer Diaper Bag and Lunch Cooler Giveaway

Thursday, March 26, 2015

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.

Pinkalicious Storybook Lunch

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

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
Whole wheat bread
Strawberry cream cheese
Peanut butter (or nut-free substitute)
Clif Kid Z Ropes
Dried mango
Strawberry mini wheats
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

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

Monday, March 23, 2015

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

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

Saturday, March 21, 2015

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.

St. Patrick's Day Bento Lunch

Monday, March 16, 2015

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!

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
Whole wheat bread
Fresh Spinach

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!


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

Thursday, March 12, 2015

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.


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.

Dinosaur Bento Lunch

Monday, March 9, 2015

Dinosaur Triceratops Lunch

It's weird that I haven't made more dinosaur lunches for my kids but honestly they haven't really been crazy about them. Until now. My daughter has been learning about dinosaurs and fossils in school. She even went on a school field trip to the museum to learn even more about them. She is hooked right now. My son is currently having fun with Transformers and loves Grimlock the Dinobot. 

All of that created the perfect storm of Dinosaur mania in my house. So it was natural that I put together a fairly simple Triceratops lunch. My daughter and I were discussing the best dinosaurs and Triceratops is towards the top of each of our lists. Plus this dinosaur was fairly easy to fashion out of a few simple shapes. I made the lunch in one of the new Easy Lunch Boxes Urban colors. 

Remember to follow me on my social media sites for even more fun, recipes, and parenting articles! Just click on the buttons to the right for easy access.

Dinosaur Triceratops LunchIngredients
Whole Wheat bread or sandwich thins
White cheese
Sandwich filling (PB&J, Tuna, meat & cheese, etc.)
Vegetable background (I used brussel sprouts)
Hard boiled egg
Cream cheese
Graham crackers or cereal crumbs
Black food coloring

1. Cut the Triceratops shape out of bread. I used sandwich thins because they were already the correct size. It's basically the head, a circle for the body, and two rectangle shapes for the feet.

2. Paste dinosaur body shapes together with whatever sandwich filling you choose. We had leftover tuna so I used that. Cut the white facial and feet features out of sliced cheese. They don't have to be perfect just cut out one and use that to make the other ones that are like it. Paste them on with a dab of cream cheese.

3. For the black pupils I cut a black yogurt covered raisin in half, but you could also use a regular raisin. Paste them on with dabs of cream cheese. The nostrils are made from black food coloring. 

Dinosaur Triceratops Lunch4. Place the vegetable background in the main container and put the dinosaur sandwich on top. Make sure the vegetables are dry so it doesn't make the sandwich soggy.

5. In one side dish place hard boiled egg. Surround with granola for a rock or sand type feel. Use a black marker to make a "crack" in the dinosaur egg like it is hatching.

6. For the volcano, cut off the bottom part of a strawberry. Hollow out the middle and slice "arm" shapes coming down so it looks similar to an octopus. Shape a small ball of cream cheese into a pyramid shape. Roll it in graham cracker or cereal crumbs. Press the strawberry down on top of cream cheese. Lightly press on the lava "streams" as well so they are even with the cream cheese and not just resting on top. This gives the illusion of lava flowing down the volcano. 

7. Drop raisins in a side dish and place volcano on top. Sprinkle more raisins on the sides to keep the volcano from moving around. The cream cheese goes well with both the strawberry and the raisins so your child doesn't just have to eat a big ball of cream cheese!

Dinosaur Triceratops Lunch
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