A Christmas Story Bento Lunch

Monday, December 19, 2016

christmas food

For my last special lunch before Christmas break, I had to give my kids A Christmas Story lunch! This is our favorite Christmas movie and we watched it as a family last Sunday night. It is seriously a classic and I don't think that there is any Christmas movie that surpasses it. Here is my Christmas geek confession. I even have a lighted Christmas village that is all scenes from this movie. It is my favorite decoration to put out every year. All that to say, I had a ton of fun putting this lunch together.

I created the lunch in an Easy Lunch Boxes container. Of course I had to include the pink nightmare bunny suit, leg lamp, and secret decoder pin. Read below to find out how to make it!

Your Kids Can Build Their Own Nacho Bar in a Lunchbox (Plus Have Dinner Too)!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

This is a sponsored post in partnership with CHI-CHI'S. All opinions are my own.

One of the biggest complaints I get about making kids' lunches is that it takes too much time and energy. But what if you could have your kids assemble their own lunch and also have dinner done at the same time? My wife and I were wondering how to accomplish exactly this. How do you prep once, somehow get your kids to make their own lunch, and have dinner almost ready, all by the time your children leave for school? All you need are my directions below, a few minutes to slice up some vegetables, and some CHI-CHI'S chips, salsa snackers, and tortillas!


When my wife and I came up with this idea, we knew nachos would be the perfect lunch, especially for older kids. The thing that makes nachos great is that they give your kids the opportunity to make their own choices in constructing their meal. All you have to do is provide them with those choices. I'll give you some ideas below. The other thing that makes nachos the perfect choice is that with a few extra ingredients, the lunch can turn into dinner. I'll show you how to do that below as well!

Star Wars Rogue One Darth Vader Lunch

Monday, December 12, 2016

Star Wars food ideas

Darth Vader. The name conjures up a hundred pictures and a thousand quotes. He is one of the greatest villains of all time and one of my kids' favorite movie characters. We are so excited for the new Star Wars Rogue One movie, I am going to see it on opening night. I'm sure my kids will see it sometime after Christmas. We are a Star Wars family. From clothes, to movies, to toys, Star Wars rules it all for us. If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you know that I have made a ton of Star Wars lunches. I'm sure I will continue to make many more.

I made this dark side lunch in a Planetbox lunchbox. It's my favorite metal lunchbox around and it complements the industrial look of the Empire pretty well. Of course I had to add a TIE Fighter in too. Too find out how I made it, keep reading below!

10 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays With Your Family!

Friday, December 9, 2016

This is a sponsored post in partnership with The Quaker Oats Company®. All opinions are my own.
quaker oats recipes

The holidays are here and they are a great time for families to spend some much needed time together without driving each other crazy. With school vacation almost upon us, you don't need ideas that kill time, you need ideas that bring your family memories that will be talked about year after year. Here are some of my favorite holiday ideas!

1. Setup the holiday decorations, and even let the kids help.
I believe it should be illegal to adorn your house with lights and obnoxious inflatable lawn ornaments until the day after Thanksgiving. For that matter Christmas songs should be off limits until then as well. In our family, we always decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving and leave them up until the first week of January. Let your kids help decorate as well. Not only will it give you some bonding time, but you really didn't want to unknot that string of lights yourself anyway did you?

2. Build a blanket fort.
When I was growing up my brother and I would build forts out of anything we could find around the house. We would use heavy books, trophies, and lamps to hold our hideouts up. However, it was only a matter of time before it would all come tumbling down on our heads. I recommend using clothespins or some small clamps. These work much better and will exponentially reduce the amount of pain received. Remember to spend a night with your kids in the fort as well. The next day with a stiff back will be worth the memories that you all will have.

Quaker Oats recipes
3. Get in the kitchen and bake together. 
In my experience, getting in the kitchen with your kids for an hour is a great way to bond as a family. You don't have to take yourselves seriously, you can get a little messy, and the kids are sometimes better at baking than the adults. If you need a recipe idea, check out my Brown Sugar Raspberry Oatmeal bake with Quaker® Oats. It's perfect for breakfast treat, or even dessert!

Christmas Tree Quesadilla Lunch

Monday, December 5, 2016

easy lunch boxes

Sometimes you just need a simple lunch that is still fun. We are in the middle of planning a Christmas party, planning leaving for Christmas vacation, finishing up a gingerbread house, and doing about 5,000 other things. I'm sure you can relate. This is why I needed to put together a fun Christmas lunch for my kids that only took a few minutes to create. I think my kids are so focused on Christmas that they probably will enjoy this just as much as many of their other special lunches. I hope you have a great week and your holidays are going great!

Family Travel Hacks: How to Pack Your Bags While Saving Space

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Homewood Suites

If you have ever thought that having kids fills your house up with stuff, try going on a trip with them. Sometimes it feels like you are taking more kids items with you than you are actually leaving at the house! Packing smart has become even a bigger issue now that airlines are starting to charge more and more to check baggage. I have even seen where one airline is now charging to use overhead bin space! It is getting harder and harder as a parent to pack what your family needs for a trip. Hopefully these family travel hacks can save you time, sanity, and money!

1. Pack small toys in sealable containers with compartments.
When your child insists on bringing little toys on a trip, it can be the stuff of nightmares. Many times the toy gets lost on the floor or at a rest stop. Then you know what happens when your kid sees that it is gone. Whether you traveling by plane or by car, pack items like Legos or small action figures in a sealable container with compartments. We like Easy Lunch Boxes. They keep the items organized, save space in baggage, and the lid stays on tight when carried in a backpack.

2. Have presents shipped to where you are traveling to.
Many times when you are traveling you will be celebrating holidays like Christmas or birthdays. I am not suggesting packing the present up yourself, heading to the Post Office, and shipping them. I am telling you that it pays to think ahead. Order the present online and have it shipped directly to the address that you are staying at. Chances are you will be ordering the present online anyway, so save a step, and some space in your luggage by having it shipped. One time, we even bought a Pack-N-Play off of Amazon and had it shipped to the place where we were staying because it was cheaper than bringing ours with us!

This Completely Changed the Way We Thought About Boxed Mac and Cheese!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Three Bridges. All opinions are my own.
three bridges mac and cheese kits

If you have kids, chances are that macaroni and cheese is a dish that you are intimately familiar with. Mac and cheese is to parenting as Christmas lights are to the month of December. Technically you can do without it, but kids always ask for it, so why would you? The problem for us has always been finding the time to make really good mac and cheese that doesn't come out of a box. Thankfully Three Bridges Creamy Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese Kit has literally changed the way we think about boxed mac and cheese. They've made it amazingly simple to make this family mealtime staple in mere minutes, with no cheese-like dust, hormones, preservatives, or antibiotics. It was so easy my daughter even helped out making it for us for dinner!

Three Bridges mac and cheese kits

As a parent, I love that Three Bridges leaves out those three ingredients. However, if I were to be honest, I love the taste and the convenience even more. Let's talk first about the flavor. We were skeptical that it would taste any better than other brand's mac and cheese, but I can honestly say we were blown away. Not only did my kids suck down the Three Bridges Creamy Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese Kit, but my wife and I are convinced that it's perfect to serve to grownups as well. That's okay to admit right? You can't get your adult card taken away by admitting you love mac and cheese?

Christmas Elf Bento Lunch

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


In our house, we are Christmas fans...after Thanksgiving. I am of the opinion that it should illegal to decorate for Christmas, or listen to Christmas songs, until the day after Thanksgiving. I would vote for someone who ran for office on this platform. It's just the right thing to do. With that being said, when it become the day after Thanksgiving, all bets are off. Hang lights like crazy and turn your house into Santa's house. This is why we waited until this week for our first Christmas lunch.

I have actually never made an elf lunch before, so it's about time. Maybe next time it will be an "Elf" themed movie lunch. I made this lunch in an Easy Lunch Boxes container and also used a Christmas themed cloth napkin. I also used Wilton's Shape N Amaze edible decorating dough for the eyes and mouth. Here is how to make the rest of the lunch!

10 Parent-Friendly Online Black Friday Deals You Can Get Now!

Thursday, November 24, 2016


I don't usually talk about deals on my blog, but one thing my family does altogether is scout Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday deals. It's kind of like a family event for us. We don't go out to stores, but we use Thanksgiving as a day to relax, eat good food, play some games, go on a walk, and find the best Thanksgiving Day/Black Friday deals around. Since we do this every year, I thought I would pass on a roundup of my favorite kid-friendly deals that you can order online today and tomorrow, avoid the masses, and have more fun with family!

Save Your Sanity by Setting Up This Oatmeal Breakfast Bar

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

This is a sponsored post with Quaker Oats. All opinions are my own.
Quaker Oats

Have you ever had the morning that just got away from you? It's like your family can barely get out of the house on time, much less have a meal together. I know I have felt that with my family. Mornings sometimes feel like a you are a hamster on a wheel, moving as fast as you can just trying to get somewhere and failing miserably. Thankfully I have an easy morning parenting hack for you. Save your sanity by putting together my oatmeal breakfast bar. It has something for your whole family. It can be prepared the night before, or set up in mere minutes in the morning. Keep reading to find out how!

Quaker Oats

Super Mario Brothers Lunch and Visit to Nintendo HQ!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Nintendo 3DS

Let's just be blunt and get this out there. Super Mario Brothers 3 is the best video game of all time. There I said it. As a kid, I spent hours trying to beat this game. The kicker is that I never owned an original Nintendo Entertainment System. I always wanted one. Correction. I lusted after them. The only time I was able to play one was at a friend's house, or when there was a special occasion and I could rent one from the local video store in our town. Remember those places? Needless to say I've always been obsessed with this game console.

Recently I was able to fulfill my dream and take my kids on a behind the scenes tour of the Nintendo of America Headquarters in Redmond, Washington. More on that later in this post, but because we had such a fantastic time, I had to make my kids a Super Mario Nintendo lunch! Check out the recipe below and then make sure and read about our 3DS experience at Nintendo HQ. Spoiler alert, I was
able to pick up a new NES Classic edition at the Nintendo store, and it is not only nostalgic to play all of the old games from my childhood, but it is perfect to share with my kids.

How to Prepare Your Family to Binge-Watch Netflix's New Season of Gilmore girls

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Netflix stream team

November 25th is coming. Wait, isn't Thanksgiving on November 24th? Yes you are absolutely right, but the 25th is what many people are waiting for. This is not only the day after Thanksgiving, but it's Black Friday, and the premiere of Netflix's brand new Gilmore girls: A Year in the Life! It's really the perfect time to get up early, do your Black Friday shopping, and spend the rest of the afternoon on the couch binging on leftovers and Gilmore girls with your family. But how do you successfully pull this off? I'm glad you asked. Here is my list (with a little help from the show) so you can get yourself mentally prepared.

1. Make sure you have plenty of caffeine.
Let's face it, you've been up since the wee hours of the morning and have been gorging on turkey and gravy for 48 hours straight. You are going need to make sure you have plenty of caffeinated beverages on hand. Assuming Luke's Diner isn't next door, you will need to get serious about your coffee if you're going to do this binge right.

Win a Free Vacation and Learn 7 Tips to Easily Find the Best Online Deals For Your Family Vacation

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Homewood Suites. All opinions are my own.
Win a family vacation

So you've decided that you and your family are going to take the plunge and experience a family vacation this year. Maybe this is even the first year that you have taken your kids with you on family trip. Trust me, this upcoming trek can produce some lifelong memories for everyone. However, one of the first things that probably comes to mind, when you are planning, is the budget. Don't worry if you don't have the bank account of a Kardashian, that doesn't have to stop you from enjoying your vacation. Just follow my tips below to save money and also one lucky Lunchbox Dad reader will win a free vacation from Homewood Suites!

3 Fun Sandwich Ideas For Kids With Food Allergies

Monday, November 14, 2016

This is a sponsored post with Daiya Dairy-Free Slices. All opinions are my own.
daiya cheese slices

If you have a child with food allergies, then you know that keeping your child safe is your number one priority. My kids do not have food allergies, but I do have friends and a young family member who do. If your kids have food allergies, then you also know that it is harder to find fun food ideas for kids. Because of this, I don't want you to just get one idea, I want to give you three "sandwich" type ideas that you can make for your kids this week!

Thankfully, we live in a time where kids with food allergies can have many more options at the grocery store than ever before. If you have read my lunch posts you know I love to use cheese in many of my lunches.

daiya cheese slices

I recently discovered Daiya cheese slices. They are dairy free, gluten free, casein free, and can melt just like regular cheese. Best of all, my kids loved the taste of the slices. They are also widely available at many different grocery stores! Because of this, I used the Slices with all of my fun ideas below. Slices are definitely a great plant-based alternative for anyone who is dairy-intolerant, allergic, vegan, or simply looking to live more of a healthy lifestyle. You can find out more about Daiya on their website HERE.

1. Gluten-Free Football Sandwich 
This is for your favorite little sports fan.

Make Sure and Take Advantage of This Fun Part of Fall!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Stride Rite. All opinions are my own.
Stride Rite sneaker boot

There is much more to Fall than wrapping your hands around a pumpkin spice latte. If you're a parent, this time of year brings some of the most fun you can have with your kids. This year has been unseasonably warm so we were excited to feel the chill in the air this past weekend. It finally feels like Fall so we decided to take advantage, pull on our Snoot boots, and head outdoors.

What makes the weather perfect for this is that it's not blazing hot, like in summer, and it's not freezing cold, such as in the winter. If you just slow the pace of life down a little you will find that there's so many little things for you to discover with your kids. The trick to this being successful is to

Oklahoma University Sooners College Football Lunch

Monday, November 7, 2016

OU bento school lunch

About ten months ago my family moved from the San Francisco bay area to the Oklahoma City area. We only knew one or two people, but a job opened up so we moved across the country. Having lived in California for most of my life, I didn't know much about Oklahoma. Before we moved we did our homework and learned as much as we could about the history and culture here. However, nothing could prepare us for what is like to live in a college football metro area where 90% of the people are diehard fans of either Oklahoma University or Oklahoma State University. You choose either the Sooners or the Cowboys, but never both. I can't confirm this, but I think this college love might be part of a native Oklahoman's DNA. The SF bay area is a pro sports region so this love for college football was pretty much foreign to us.

Fast forward ten months and my kids have been influenced by their friends and classmates into rooting for Oklahoma, especially when it comes to football. I don't mind as long as they keep their love for the Raiders, A's, and Warriors as well. This new found obsession is why I made them an OU lunch, in the OU school colors,  to take to school. Here is how you can make your own, or adapt this to whatever football team your kids root for.

An Easy The Nightmare Before Christmas Lunch

Sunday, October 30, 2016


There isn't much that excited me more about this time of year than the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. It is pretty much the perfect Halloween/Christmas movie...ever. My kids love it. I love it. The soundtrack is perfect. If you have yet to see this movie, you should probably stop reading this now, rent it online, watch it, and then come back. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Good. Now that we have that out of the way let's continue. Now that we have established that this is the best movie to watch right now, you know why I have to make a Jack Skellington lunch for my kids every Halloween. This year, we were pretty busy so I made an easier lunch. I hope this can encourage you to use this last day before Halloween to make your own Nightmare lunch!

A Beat Bugs Snack and Netflix Gift Card Giveaway!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

This post is sponsored by Netflix. Come together with the Beat Bugs and enjoy a new family show inspired by the music of the Beatles. Now Streaming!

Have you ever found a show that is meant for young kids, but one way or another, the entire family gets sucked in? For our family, this is the show Beat Bugs on Netflix. If you haven't seen it, Beat Bugs is about a group of fun little bugs, who learn important lessons, while singing songs inspired by the Beatles.

This is how it usually works in my family. My youngest asks to watch Beat Bugs. We turn Netflix on. The older kids sit down to watch. Humming along ensues, parents stop to watch, and so and so forth. You get the picture. The whole show is pretty much addicting.

In fact, when my in-laws were visiting recently, my father-in-law and son watched Beat Bugs on the iPad. They had a touching bonding moment while they sang the songs together. What we have found

Skeleton Sandwich Lunch With Video Tutorial

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

halloween bento lunch

If you want to make a quick and simple Halloween lunch, this is for you. The big day is almost here and my family has a ton of fun with decorating and dressing up. We usually do a family costume and this year we are going as the Incredibles. The plan is to have a small neighborhood party and then go out trick-or-treating. This doesn't leave much time for Halloween lunches, so I literally made this in five minutes. The tutorial video is below. So surprise your kids and they will love it like my kids did!

The Coach Who Broke My Tooth and Impacted My Life

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I have partnered with Life of Dad and U.S. Cellular for this promotion.

Who helped you become the person you are today? Everyone has people in their lives who have helped them in their journey. When you play sports, many times that person is a coach. I played sports from the time I was five years old until my freshman year in college. There are plenty of people who helped me along the way. As I was looking at all of the coaches who have been nominated for U.S. Cellular's Most Valuable Coach Award, I couldn't help but think about some of the coaches I have learned from.

My older brother was there guiding me when I was young. He wasn't a coach in the official sense, but he taught me the basics of pretty much every game. We would play sports (real ones and games we made up) until the street lights came on outside. The neighborhood was our ball field. The neighborhood kids were our competition.

In college I played baseball for a short time. My school had a club team, and we had fun but worked hard. The crazy thing was that my coach at the time went on to be a TV show celebrity. He appeared

3 Ideas to Do Good and Unleash Your Child's Inner Hero

Thursday, October 20, 2016

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Stride Rite. All opinions are my own.
stride rite teenage mutant ninja turtles

My family loves Halloween. We're so excited that it's almost here. It really can't come soon enough! Every year we plan out our family costume themes. Last year we dressed up as characters from Back to the Future, but this year we are going as a family of superheroes. Actually, if my kids had their way we'd be dressing up as superheroes every year. Is it the same in your house? I imagine when October 31st hits, there will be tons of kids running around my neighborhood using their imaginary superpowers to try and get more candy.

stride rite teenage mutant ninja turtles

One of the groups of superheroes that my kids love pretending to be is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In fact, we found these shoes from Stride Rite which my sons would probably wear everyday if they could. They're actually perfect to wear for Halloween and to continue wearing the rest of the year. Plus, your kids can flip the straps around to change what turtles they want to be that day.

With as much as we love experiencing this Halloween season, something we like much better is finding ways to help our kids think beyond themselves. This year we decided to take a weekend and think of three ways that we could help do good for others. Halloween might be about showing your outer hero, but we want our kids to know that every day we should think of ways to unleash our inner hero and help those around us. Here are three ideas that you can easily do this weekend!

9 Halloween Shows to Stream With Your Family on Netflix

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team. I was provided resources for watching Netflix, but all opinions are my own.

Halloween will be here in a matter of days and you probably have costumes ready, candy bought, and decorations ready to put up. We have two of those three done, decorations will hopefully happen soon! However, the last thing we usually think about are seasonal movies and shows for this time of year. Don't worry, I did my Netflix research and collected nine different shows and divided them by age group for you. All of them are streaming on Netflix right now. Whether your kids are young, or about to become teenagers, I rounded up the perfect shows to make your Halloween fun...and maybe a little spooky!

5 Must-Visit Family Friendly Destinations in Atlanta, Georgia

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Homewood Suites. I was compensated but all opinions are my own.
Atlanta, Georgia

When you visit (or live in) a city there are must see attractions that you would be crazy not to visit. This is especially true if you are visiting a place, and you don't know when you will be back. You need to prepare and make the most of your time there. This isn't just for you, but for your kids as well. You are not just taking a trip, you are in the middle of building a lifetime of memories with your family.

The traveling that you do with your kids now will stay with them forever. I remember when I was a kid and the amazement I felt at the Boardwalk, the fun we experienced in the San Juan Islands, and the pure delight of Disneyland. The smells, sounds, and sights will be forever etched in my mind. I want my kids to experience new adventures like this for themselves. It's for this reason that we took a #DadTime father and kids trip to Atlanta, Georgia. We had never been to the South before and Atlanta was a quick plane trip away from our home. What we discovered was a plethora of family-friendly options and experiences that will be talked about for years to come. Here are the top places you need to visit to maximize your time in Atlanta with your family.

Halloween Mickey and Minnie Mouse Ears Lunch

Monday, October 17, 2016

My family has been dreaming of Disney World lately. Since we moved to Oklahoma, people all around us have gone to the Magic Kingdom, and we have always wanted to take our kids there. It's also Halloween. One of my favorite memories with my family is visiting Disneyland at this time of year. It's not only magical, but it's magical in a completely spooky kind of way! Hopefully we can take our kids to the Magic Kingdom sometime soon, but until then I thought I would make a Disney themed Halloween lunch for them.

How to Bake like a Cake Boss, Get a Free Extended Warranty, and Dance Like a Rockette

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

I am part of the Swiffer Fanatic ambassador program. This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

If you have ever wondered how to pack a week's worth of experiences into two days, I was recently shown how. Last month I was fortunate enough to travel to New York with a group of bloggers, and Swiffer, and was blown away by what we learned. In a few short paragraphs, let me attempt to take you through what I learned there.

How to Make a Winnie the Pooh lunch

Monday, October 10, 2016

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Chobani. All opinions are my own.
Chobani Greek Yogurt

Sometimes your kids just need a little more Pooh in their life. Lately we have been reading some of the Winnie the Pooh stories at bedtime and my kids love them. In times where more Pooh is necessary, I like to break out Chobani Tots Greek Yogurt Pouches featuring Winnie the Pooh! They are super easy to add to your kid's lunches and my children can't get enough because they taste so good. In fact, we love them so much I made a fun lunch recipe around them!

Since we are big Chobani fans here at my house, my wife has literally convinced people in the grocery store line to leave the line and go get Chobani Flips, we also have a pro-tip for you. For a fun after school snack we put the Chobani Greek Yogurt Tubes in the freezer. The kids think it's a treat and we love it because the yogurt has all natural ingredients. They are great for on-the-go as well. Now that you have your after school snack tip, check out this easy lunch recipe!

Star Wars Kylo Ren Lunch

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

easy lunch boxes

I think my kids could go for a Star Wars lunch pretty much any day of the week. In fact, if it was socially acceptable for my son to wear Star Wars clothes and/or costumes wherever he went, he would drape himself in them. Last year we tried to get my kids to dress in Back to the Future costumes with us. Would they do it? Nope. What did they want to be? Star Wars of course. My daughter was Princess Leia and my son only wanted to be Kylo Ren. Can you relate at all? Well, I figured it was time to make my son a Kylo Ren lunch. It was actually pretty simple. See how I did it below!

An Apple Sauce Sandwich Lunch

Monday, October 3, 2016

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Tree Top, but all opinions are my own.
Tree Top

Apples and school go together like peanut butter and...wait I guess that doesn't work for this lunch because I'm not using jelly. Technically I'm not advocating using peanut butter either. Well, you get my point. Since school just started for many of your kids, I thought it would be really fun to create a completely different type of sandwich idea. I wanted to bring an interactive element into it as well, so this is something that your kids actually finish once they have lunchtime at school! Read on to find out how to do that.

Besides the interactive recipe below, I wanted to add an additional level of fun. I came up with an idea that any parent can do. Use the Tree Top Apple Sauce pouch to create a lunch note word scramble. All you need is a permanent marker to circle the letters on the back to make a secret message. Make lines at the top so your child knows how many letters are in each word. Then they unscramble the letters and put them in order. Below is a pouch where I created a mystery note that, when unscrambled, says, "I love you." It's easy and fun!

Batman and Superman lunches + 3 Tips for Packing Healthy Lunches

Monday, September 26, 2016

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Chobani. All opinions are my own.

If you are a parent who has trouble knowing where to start, when it comes to packing school lunches, then you are in the right place! One of the top questions I get is, "how can I pack healthy lunches when I am short on time and patience." I want to give you some superhero lunch inspiration and then pass on three tips that you can easily you to implement during the hectic back to school time.

Let's start with this Batman lunch! For the sandwich I used two slices of whole wheat bread cut in an oval shape. I "glued" the raisins on with honey to make the Batman logo! When it is lunchtime, your child can put the other slice of bread on top to form the sandwich. I included the Batman themed Chobani Greek Yogurt tube on the side to really complete the Batman feel of the lunch!

Next, up is the Man of Steel Superman lunch. This sandwich is cut in the shape of the Superman

People Have Stopped us on the Street Asking About These Shoes

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Stride Rite, but all opinions are my own.
kids shoes

You know that piece of clothing that your kid wants to wear everyday? It might be those animal pajama pants, that sparkly tutu, or the worn out superhero shirt. In our house the newest wearable addiction are these Phibian shoes from Stride Rite. My two sons each received a pair and they are now their go-to shoes for just about every occasion. I think they love them because they stand out and look fun. I kid you not, we literally have had strangers stop us on the street and ask us what kind of shoes these are.

It's funny what parents get excited about. You would assume anything made for kids should be machine washable. We can put a man on the moon but we can't make an entire car seat that you can just throw into a washing machine? Ok, enough ranting because these shoes are machine washable! The Phibians are hard to explain unless you have them right in front of you, but they are made of a breathable material that works as well inside a school gym as it does jumping in puddles in front of your house.

So these shoes stand out in a crowd, feel great, and can be thrown in the washing machine, but how do they hold up to actually doing the things that kids and families do? We spent an entire day testing these out in real family scenarios. Here is what happened.

A Storks Movie Lunch For School

Monday, September 19, 2016

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Warner Bros Pictures. All opinions are my own.
bento lunch

My daughter is so excited for the new movie Storks to come out in theatres! Is it the animation, the silliness, or the plot of the movie? Well, yes, all of that is exciting for her. However, the big reason she can barely contain herself is she is having her birthday party at the theatre on opening weekend. Storks opens on September 23rd (and comes from the same studio that delivered The Lego Movie), but she is inviting all of her friends to see it with her on the 24th. So to celebrate I made her a Storks lunch to take to school with her. I was able to time it so that she is giving out invitations to the party the same day that she gets her lunch.

Storks Movie

A Baby Rhino Animal School Lunch

Monday, September 12, 2016

This is sponsored post with Stauffer's. All opinions are my own.
Stauffer's Animal Carckers

Chances are that you are waist-deep into back-to-school busyness. Don't worry, I have you covered with another fun and easy lunch recipe! This time it's animal themed. More specifically it's a Baby Rhino lunch, because what kid doesn't love baby animals? Just look at all the videos that go viral on the internet; they're generally either kids or animals. So, if you are making an animal lunch for kids, it's pretty much pure gold. There's no way around this logic, so just go with it. You'll be their hero. Your kids will hoist you on their shoulders and cheer for your lunch-making prowess. Or maybe they will just come home with an empty lunchbox for once. Either way, it will be worth it.

High School Coaches Make All the Difference: Here's My Most Valuable Coach Nomination!

Friday, September 9, 2016

I have partnered with Life of Dad  and U.S. Cellular for this promotion.

High School years are hard. Strong family, friends, and mentors help kids get through. But there's one person that sometimes fills all of these roles during the adventure of high school -- a coach. A high school coach can be the person who helps keep a kid in school, puts them in a position to excel with their talents, or points a student towards their purpose in life. This is why I love being able to nominate a local high school football coach for U.S. Cellular's Most Valuable Coach award, which just launched today.

This award is a four month long selection and voting process culminating in the two winners earning a trip to Orlando, Florida for the Under Armour All America High School Football Game and full prize package. Both coaches will be recognized on the field and presented them with a $5,000 check for their school, courtesy of U.S. Cellular. Besides the prizes, this program highlights important people in communities all around the United States--coaches. U.S. Cellular wants to recognize these coaches who are helping shape the future members of our communities. The thing is that these coaches do not just make a difference on the field, much of what happens is developing leaders off the field.
Eight months ago I moved to the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma metro area. I can honestly say that I have never seen a community as passionate about their high school and college football as here. I moved from the San Francisco bay area and it was nothing like this. So when I was approached to nominate a coach in my area, I took it very seriously.

I started by talking to trusted people who are very involved in the local community. One name kept coming up. So I am nominating the head coach of the Edmond Santa Fe Wolves, Kyle White. Even though Coach White has only been the head coach of the Wolves for a little over a year, he has deep local roots in our area. From being an offensive coordinator for many years, volunteering with non-profits, and investing in young lives, he has made a huge impact in our community and his players.

Some great news is that you can nominate a high school football head coach in your own area! Just go to www.TheMostValuableCoach.com from September 9-October 3 and tell U.S. Cellular how this coach has helped inspire you, your family, or your community. On October

A Fall Football Apple Sauce Lunch

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

I partnered with Tree Top for this sponsored post but all opinions are my own.
Tree Top applesauce

Fall is here again which means a few things are certain. There is school busyness, pumpkin spice everything has arrived, and football season has started. I can't help with your pumpkin spice problem right now, but what I can do is help take away your lunch stress and mix it with some football fun. With this lunch I love all the Fall colors on the tree sandwich, and the great thing is I know that my kids will devour the Tree Top Apple Sauce. The football is a no bake oatmeal energy snack so it will help your children get through their school day! Find out how to make this lunch using the recipe below.

Make a Rockstar School Lunch in 4 Minutes

Monday, September 5, 2016

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Dave's Killer Bread. I was compensated but all opinions are solely my own.
Dave's Killer Bread

The number one complaint I hear from parents is that they don't have time to make fun lunches for their kids. Well guess what? I guarantee you can make this lunch in four minutes flat, about the time it takes you to listen to your favorite song in the morning! Trust me, I know. I made this Rockstar lunch in the time it took me to listen to one of my favorite songs of all time, Free Fallin' by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. That all-time great song is not only fantastic live in concert, but it is four minutes and fifteen seconds long. So if you have four minutes, and some Dave's Killer Bread, you can make this fun lunch for your kids.

You can find out how to make the lunch below, but first I want to know what your morning playlist is. What songs get you through pulling your kids out of bed, making sure they are in semi-matching clothes, getting their lunch made, and somehow driving up to the school in time before class starts? What songs are are must listen to on the morning of a school day? Let me know in the comments below!

How to Make a Mak the Parrot THE WILD LIFE Lunch

Monday, August 29, 2016

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Lionsgate. All opinions are my own.
bento lunch

You know when you see a brand new movie preview and you are convinced that your kids will definitely want to see the movie? Ok, let's be honest, you see the trailer and you immediately show it to your kids because YOU want to see it and want them to be as excited as you are. That's how I felt about the new movie THE WILD LIFE. I love a movie that I know I can take my kids to, we will all be entertained, and most importantly we will build memories together as a family. Once I saw the trailer I knew that THE WILD LIFE would be one of these movies. I also knew I had to make a special lunch for my kids to continue the excitement. The movie releases on September 9th, so I wanted to share this recipe with you before it comes out. But first, check out the trailer below.

Since "Mak" is one of the main characters, I decided to make him the center of the lunch. He definitely is colorful and was a perfect fit for the strawberries that we already had in our fridge. THE WILD LIFE takes place on a tropical island, with talking animals, shipwrecks, beaches, Robinson Crusoe, and pirates! I packed as many of those elements as I could into the lunch. To find out more about THE WILD LIFE check the movie out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and use #TheWildLife all over social media!

5 Easy Ideas For Connecting With Your Kids After School

Thursday, August 25, 2016

This post is sponsored by the Quaker Oats Company, but all opinions are my own.

You've finished your back to school shopping and the school year has started. You've learned to escape the school pickup lane with your car intact, although it might take until Christmas for your nerves to recover from that traumatizing experience. The big question is, what do you do once you get your kids home? There might be homework, or sports, but in those times in which your schedule is clear, how about spending a few minutes connecting with your kids? Here are a few easy ways for you to have fun and bond with your children before that dreaded meltdown time hits a few hours later.

Back to School Lunch

Monday, August 22, 2016

school lunch

Back to school. As a parent you either love it or you hate. My daughter has had times of excitement, my oldest son goes up and down like a wave. I don't know how your kids feel about this time of year, but mine definitely have mixed feelings. My daughter was disappointed not to have some of her old friends in her class, but we have tried to encourage her to make new friends. Guess what, she has! My son was excited because one of his best friends is in his class when he thought they had been split into different classes. Needless to say it's been quite an emotional first week, but it is always is, isn't it?

How to Win at Buying Shoes For Back-to-School

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Stride Rite shoes. I was compensated but all opinions are my own.
stride rite leepz

Back-to-school season is in full swing, but if your kids don't have shoes, then you aren't finished shopping. Don't worry, I have you covered so you can win at back-to-school shopping. Well, at least when it comes to shoes. I want to give you some tips, show you what we decided on for my kids, and then let you in on our secret for shopping for children's shoes!

The first tip is to plan ahead. You see, many stores try and get you with huge back-to-school sales. The problem with these sales is that you might save a few dollars overall, but you will have to battle gargantuan crowds and you will end up needing a week long vacation just to recover. However if you find a store that offers great prices all the time, then you can pick up the exact shoes you need whenever you want.

stride rite leepz

Here's your next tip. Shopping online works well for some things, but when it comes to kids shoes my family wants to be able to try them on before we buy. My kids need to be able to walk around in the shoes to see what they feel like, but it's harder to do that online. The best route is to find a place
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