Easy Raspberry Cake For Dads and Kids to Make For Mother's Day!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post partnering with Driscoll's Berries. I received compensation, but all opinions expressed are solely my own.

There are very few things that can brighten a dad and kid's day more than saying "easy" and "cake" in the same sentence. It is even better when you can include Mother's Day in that sentence. I know many of you men dread trying to find something special for that wife, mom, or mother figure in your life. Maybe some of you thought you found the perfect present last year, but for some reason she didn't appreciate that combination electric kitchen knife/hedge trimmer you bought for her. Have no fear, because I've partnered with Driscoll's Berries to bring you this amazingly easy and awesome Mother's Day raspberry cake recipe!

This cake not only looks like you and the kids spent all day making it, it tastes fantastic as well. Don't think you have to do all the work yourself either, this is so easy your kids can pitch in as well. The only problem I came across was saving enough Driscoll's raspberries for the cake because we were eating them all during the decorating process.

So have a great Mother's Day and don't forget to click the link below to find more Driscoll's recipes and a FREE Mother's Day card download that goes with this cake perfectly!

12 oz. Driscoll's raspberries
The ingredients for your mom or wife's favorite cake mix or cake recipe
White frosting or white cream cheese frosting
Optional: raspberry jam filling

1. Remember to involve your kids and take lots of pictures! Another good thing to do beforehand is to find out the favorite cake flavor or recipe for the person you are making this for. You don't want to make a chocolate cake if they can't stand the sight of it.

2. Preheat your oven first. Mix the cake recipe according to the directions from the recipe you chose. You will also want to remember to grease the cake pans before putting any batter in. For this recipe I used two 8-inch round cake pans, but on Driscoll's website you can find a recipe using one 9-inch cake pan.

3. Once batter is mixed, pour half into one cake pan. Pour remaining batter into second cake pan. If you only have one round cake pan, bake the batter in that pan first, let cake cool, then remove. Repeat with second cake. If batter overflows, or rises too high, cut top off to make cake flat.
4. Once first cake cools, place on plate you will use to present cake to whomever will receive this glorious gift. Frost with spatula. If using a raspberry jam filling, spread this on top of bottom cake instead of frosting. 

5. Once second cake has cooled, center on top of first cake.
6. Spread frosting on top and sides of second cake. Make sure to smooth out the sides so it appears as though it is only one cake. It doesn't have to be perfect and your kids can easily do this. 

7. Once you have spread all the frosting, wipe edge of cake plate with towel to remove excess and make sure it looks nice. Don't slack on this step.

8. Arrange Driscoll raspberries on top of cake in heart shape as shown. Finish by putting one layer of raspberries around bottom edge of cake. Present on Mother's Day and be prepared for huge, smiling faces!

American Girl Doll Grace Thomas Lunch

Monday, April 27, 2015

American Girl Doll Grace Thomas Lunch

There are a few things my daughter is obsessed with. One of them is Paris. One of the other things is American Girls dolls. When those two things come together it's like the perfect storm. Grace Thomas is the American Girl Doll girl of the year, and my daughter would do anything to get her. She also checked out the Grace Thomas book from our local library and is in the middle of reading it. We even were able to have her birthday party at the American Girl Doll store last year. She about passed out from excitement. I figured it was finally time to make my her a lunch based on this obsession. 

American Girl Doll Grace Thomas Lunch
I am only going to list the ingredients this week. It's been one of those crazy weekends and I figure you know how to make a sandwich without directions. I created the lunch in an Easy Lunch Boxes container.

 I made American Girl Doll sized mini croissants by cutting ready made croissant dough in small pieces. I included croissants because Grace Thomas not only enjoys Paris, but she loves baking. As much as a doll could like Paris and baking pastries, I guess. 

Grace Thomas' face and head is a turkey sandwich. I used cheese for her shirt. The beret is tortilla with strawberry cream cheese. I used edible modeling dough for the black heart on the beret. Her hair is natural fruit leather. The facial details and letters are food color marker. I used yogurt covered raisins and dried cranberries for the background.

Remember to follow me on my social media channels and check back later this week for a few surprises. I have some new reviews coming up as well as some great recipes for Mother's Day and BBQ season!

American Girl Doll Grace Thomas Lunch

Spring Baseball Lunch

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Disclosure: Excited about working with Whirlpool on the #ItsAllCare campaign. I received compensation but all opinions expressed are my own. Check out more great content at Every day, care™.Spring Baseball Lunch #ItsAllCare

I love Spring, it's one of the best times of the year. You can almost smell the fresh cut grass and hear the crack of the bat as the ball leaves the yard. It's pretty funny, as soon as my kids hear about baseball on the radio they ask when we can go to the game. I love that my kids love baseball. This is why making this lunch was so exciting for me. From the stadium, to the fruit "hot dogs," to the fans, I know they will love it!

This is why making this lunch is so exciting for me. I'm starting with something my kids already love--from the stadium, to the fruit "hot dogs," to the fans!

I want to encourage you to care for your kids by using something they already enjoy too. Whether it's baseball, or bike riding, or going to the beach. It's the perfect time of year to do something like that. 

Share the things you are doing to show care for your family in the comments below or share them on social media using #ItsAllCare. Maybe what you are doing will inspire others to share care to those around them as well. So show some love and have some fun this week! 

Spring Baseball Lunch #ItsAllCare
Whole wheat bread
Whole wheat tortilla
Sliced meat
Sliced white cheese
Red food coloring
Dried mango
String cheese
Sweet peppers
Dried apples
Organic fruit rope

1. Cut whole wheat bread slice in half. Bend around the edge of a container and hold in place with broccoli. 

2. Slice a whole wheat tortilla into a diamond shape and place on top of the broccoli. Cut two bases and home plate out of white cheese. use a dab of cream cheese to hold them on if they fall off. Cut a circle from white cheese and from sliced meat. Place the meat under the cheese. A small upside down glass makes a great circle cookie cutter!

Spring Baseball Lunch #ItsAllCare3. Using a toothpick, create the red stitching on the circle piece of cheese. Cut flag shapes from dried mango and place on toothpicks. Make two extra. Arrange baseball and flags as shown in picture. 

4. Cut fruit rope in medium length pieces. Slice strawberry and dried mango into narrow strips. Place fruit rope in the middle of a dried apple ring. Fold apple around it like a bun and garnish with the strawberry "ketchup" and mango "mustard." Repeat for as many times as you need to fill a small side dish with these "hot dogs."

5. In second side dish place handful of blueberries. Cut string cheese in half. Cut off the end of a sweet pepper and then slice in half. Use one part for the top of a hat and one part for the brim. Pin these to top of the string cheese using toothpicks. Also use toothpicks to hold the raisin eyes on. Stick extra flag into string cheese as shown. Repeat for second string cheese "fan." Place both string cheese fans on top of blueberries.

6. Remember to share your lunches, and other fun moments with your kids, on social media using #ItsAllCare! Search that hashtag to see what other people are doing to show care as well.

Spring Baseball Lunch #ItsAllCare

Avengers Movie Lunch and $100 Fandango Gift Card Giveaway

Monday, April 20, 2015

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post partnering with Fandango. I received compensation and a gift card to give away, but all opinions expressed are my own.Avengers Lunch and $100 Fandango Giveaway

Are you as excited about the new movie Avengers: Age of Ultron as my family is? If you read my blog very often you know my kids love superheroes and the Avengers are some of their favorites. In honor of the new movie coming out I have partnered with Fandango Family to not only bring you some fun Avengers Food ideas, but also to give away $100 gift card to one of you. 

You can't get much better news than that, right? As you can see I gave you a teaser shot above. You can see the Avengers logo sandwich but I thought long and hard about the rest as well. You have to see the rest because not only are they amazing ideas for a lunch but they are great for birthday parties, playdates, etc. 

So CLICK HERE to visit Fandango Family and you will see the rest of the lunch and find out the answer to the question in the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the drawing for the $100 Fandango gift card!

Also, hop on over to my friend Brent's blog to see his Super Lunch Notes that go along with this lunch. He is holding a $100 Fandango give away as well, so make sure and enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

See My Family Star in the New #SwifferDad Commercial!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post partnering with Swiffer for their #SwifferDad campaign. I received compensation for time and travel but all opinions expressed are my own.

A few months ago, my family and I had the honor of being in a new video (watch it below) for a movement that helps to celebrate the role of the modern dad. The #SwifferDad campaign teamed us up with three other dad bloggers who are helping to promote the idea that the modern dad is more involved than ever before! 

I am so proud of this video because of how it shows that dads everywhere are changing the perception from the tired, clueless stereotype to the involved hands-on father. I hope you take a minute out of your day to watch it now.

We were also joined by television star Anthony Anderson from the show Black-ish. "As a working dad and husband myself – and one who cleans floors and drives the carpool – this is a story I can relate to and am excited to help tell,” said Anderson. “We cook! We clean! We do house work! What I love about the #SwifferDad campaign is that it’s about celebrating the hands-on role that most of us play – it portrays who we really are as modern dads. And the best part is that this shift to shared responsibility for chores is having a positive effect on our kids.”

This trip to shoot the video was so amazing for my whole family. Not only did I get the opportunity to travel with my wife and kids, but my children had such a fun time on set. This was the experience of a lifetime for them. They were pumped to be interviewed on camera, but honestly were almost as excited for the free snack table and the swimming pool at our hotel! One of the best parts was hearing from my kids about the difference it makes having a dad who is involved and cares about them. 
As a hands-on dad I find it exciting that the portrayal of fathers in the media is shifting. In other words, the image is starting to mirror what fatherhood is like in real life today. From messes to macaroni to mayhem, dads are putting themselves in the thick of it. The recent Swiffer Cleaning Index study found that Americans say that dads today are pitching in with chores nearly two-times more than their dads did growing up. Their roles have really evolved.

These are the reasons I was so excited to be part of this project. The #SwifferDad campaign is shattering stereotypes to show that today's dad makes meals, cleans, plays with his kids, and loves his family in every way possible. Please share the video above using #SwifferDad and also be sure and tell everyone how you, or another dad you know, is making a difference in their family.

I'll leave you with a short behind the scenes video from Anthony Anderson talking more about why he is so excited about what #SwifferDad is doing with modern fathers.


Top 5 Star Wars Lunches to Make For Your Kids!

Top 5 Star Wars lunches to make for your kids

You know my family loves Star Wars. We have watched the movies. We own the shoes. My son and I even play with the card collecting app. With the new movie coming out soon I thought it was time to put together my Top 5 Star Wars Lunches. These are in no particular order. Some of these are found right here on Lunchbox Dad and some are from my brilliant friends so make sure and click on the links to their sites. 

Either way, enjoy these lunches and share them with your friends. Just maybe you might be inspired to make some for your kids. They might just say, "I love you." Of course in response you would say, "I know."

5. Chewbacca Lunch from Lunchbox Dad


4. Vegan Ewok Bento from Bentos on the Bayou


3. C3PO Lunch from Beneficial Bento


2. Jawa Lunch from Organized Bites


1. Ewok Lunch from Lunchbox Dad


The HALL Cabernet Cookoff is Coming!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

HALL Cabernet Cookoff
I'm pretty excited that the sixth HALL Cabernet Cookoff is coming to my area. It's a cooking competition in St. Helena where teams from San Francisco and the Napa Valley compete to raise money for a local charity of their choice. Small bite plates will be paired with HALL Cabernet Sauvignon. An All-Star panel will judge who will come out on top. Guests get to enjoy all the dishes and vote for the People's Choice award winner. 

Last year this event raised more than $66,000 for local charities. Not only that, but 50 United States Officers and Marines are invited to be guests of honor. They are home from serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and will be enjoying V.I.P. status for the day! 

The event takes place on April 25th on HALL Wineries Great Lawn in St. Helena. The event lasts from 11am-2pm. You can get your own tickets HERE.

So where do I come in? I get the chance to review the food and festivities! I will be live tweeting the event and telling you exactly what I think of the food and the party. I will show you which meals deserve to win and also introduce you to some of the talented chefs who are taking part in the event. 

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @LunchboxDad to see what I have to say. You can follow along with what everybody has to say using #cabcookoff. You can also follow HALL @hallwines.

HALL Cabernet Cookoff

Disclosure: I was given tickets into the Hall Cabernet Cookoff for the purpose of review. I received no compensation and the opinions expressed are my own.

Lunchbox Dad's April Family Product Picks

Monday, April 6, 2015

Here are my Monthly Family Product Picks for April. These are 10 products that my family has loved using over the past month. From food, to tools, to toys, to household items, we are showing you stuff that will make your lives more enjoyable. Some of these items were given to us for free to try while others we found and paid for ourselves. I have NOT been paid to write about any of these products. These are just things that have been fun to use, or made our lives easier.

1. Yumbutter Go Pouches
Imagine the convenience of food pouches...except with sunflower butter and almond butter. You get multiple servings per pouch and my son loves these. Just spread them on any food you would normally put peanut butter on. Plus, for ever pouch you buy, one goes to a child in need. Yumbutter.com
yumbutter April Product Picks
2. Britax Advocate Clicktight Car Seat
When it comes to car seats, Britax knows their stuff. I love how padded this is but it still leaves room for bigger kids. You don't have to be a contortionist to anchor the seat down either, the Clicktight features lets you install the seat in seconds. Britaxusa.com

Britax Advocate Clicktight Carseat April Product Picks

3. Picasso Tiles
These building toys are geometric shapes with magnets inside. They easily stick together so your child can construct a fort, building, or tower in just a few minutes. The great thing is these building shapes (unlike other brands) won't cause you to cry like a baby when you step on one in the middle of the night. Picassotiles.com
Picasso Tiles April Product Picks

4. Tillamook Cheese Sticks
When I got married, my wife almost put "having Tillamook cheese in the fridge" as part of the contingencies of marriage. We just started trying these cheese sticks and they are just as good Tillamook's cheddar cheese. Tillamook.com

Tillamook Cheese April Product Picks

5. Anki Drive race cars
These might be the coolest toys I...I mean my kids...own. You use your smartphone to control the cars and they even have built in weapons. You can race against other players or the computer. It's like Mario Kart on steroids. If Mario Kart was real and took place in your living room. Lunchbox Dad Anki Drive Review

Anki Drive April Product Picks

6. Ehrmann Mixim Mixies Greek Yogurt
My kids are loving these for an occasional treat. They mix in however many toppings they want. It's pop rocks and yogurt in one delicious concoction. The only problem is the noise. Don't try and take a nap when your kids are eating these. Ehrmann-Usa.com

Ehrmann Mixim Mixies April Product Picks

7. Swiffer Wet Jet
This is one of the best cleaning tools in our house right now. With three kids and a dog, it's like a parade going through our house everyday. This is only for those families with the rare kids who actually make a mess though. Swiffer.com

Swiffer WetJet April product picks

8. Kind Bars
If heaven was made of nuts and spices, it would kind of taste like the Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt Kind Bar. There are plenty of other great varieties as well. I stash my favorites so my kids don't get ahold of them. Otherwise I run the risk of running out of these. I'm not willing to take that chance. Kindsnacks.com
Kind Bars April Product Picks
9. AT&T Unite Mobile 4G/LTE Hotspot
You know those times when you really wish you had an internet connection for a few minutes of sanity, when surrounded by your kids? Well, I haven't had to worry about that since I received this prepaid hotspot. Lunchbox Dad Unite Hotspot Review

AT&T HotSpot April Product Picks

10. Britax Seat Protector
Car seats never get dirty when you have kids. Somehow kids never spill or make marks on anything in the car. So you probably will never need this. Because this is like a thick rubber floor mat for your seat. It is one of my family's new favorite items to protect the car. It is awesome. Britaxusa.com

Britax vehicle seat protector April Product Picks
#parentproductreviews #foodreview

Does This Motorola Baby Monitor Help You Spy on Your Kids Better?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Motorola MBP854Connect review
Some say silence is golden, but every parent knows silence is suspicious. When I had my first child, we had an old-school audio only baby monitor that barely let you know when the child was crying. The battery lasted almost as long as a clean living room occupied by preschoolers. Over the last month, I have tested out the new Motorola MBP854Connect video baby monitor. Let's just say, when compared to my old monitor, it was like comparing filet mignon to your baby's turkey dinner in a jar.

It felt like going from black and white television to a high definition TV. This Motorola baby monitor isn't perfect, but it sure is leaps and bounds above most of the baby tech stuff you will find at your local store. Let's first talk about the pros.

The camera can be mounted almost anywhere. Ours hangs on the wall like Spiderman waiting to catch The Green Goblin. My baby sleeps in his crib in my daughter's room. Not only can I watch to see if he is waking up, but I can catch my daughter trying to be sneaky. 

She thinks she's smoother than she is. I kind of feel like the FBI on a stakeout. The other night, I told her it was time for bed. She likes to read books before she goes to sleep, but it was already late. A few minutes later, my wife and I remotely swiveled the camera to see what she was up to. We both giggled in anticipation because we knew what was coming next. I used the built in microphone to yell, "Hey!" It was like a voice from heaven had told her to stop messing around. She threw everything to the ground and instantly pretended to go to sleep. Sweet victory was ours.
Motorola MBP854Connect review
That remote swivel function is probably my favorite feature. It is easy to operate and barely makes a sound. The picture on the handset is nice as well. Don't expect the same level as your blu-ray player, but it's pretty clear nonetheless. There are many adjustable features, but if you have multiple kids, you only really will care that it is very simple to use and helps you spy on your children.

Another helpful feature is the free Hubble app for your smartphone. It is a smaller picture, but it is great when you don't have the handset nearby. Plus, you can check in on your family while you are at work. This kind of freaks out our dog, though.
There are only a few cons. The zoom function isn't very useful. There are only two levels of zoom. So if you are one of those helicopter parents who needs to intently watch every breath their child takes during a nap, you might be disappointed. If you are a veteran parent who just wants to make sure their kid is still asleep, then this will be fine. 

The other con is the price point. This model will cost you around $300 which is a bit higher than some models. However, if you want a clear picture, to easily move the camera, to scare your kids by knowing everything they do, and most importantly to have a monitor that works when you need it, then the price is worth it.

I personally love the Motorola MBP854Connect baby monitor. I would highly recommend it overall. You can learn more and buy it HERE. The technical stats are below if you have the need to compare it to other models. Otherwise, just buy it, you won't be disappointed.

2.4 GHz FHSS/Wi-Fi dual mode wireless technology
4.3" Color TFT LCD
480x272 resolution
Thin parent unit/Touch controls
Remote Pan, Tilt, Zoom
Two-Way Communications
Infrared Night Vision
Remote HD video streaming
Works with Hubble app
5 Lullabies
View two baby units, Picture-in-Picture

Disclosure: This product was provided to me by Motorola for the purpose of this review. I have received no compensation and the opinions expressed are strictly my own.


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