Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Yummy, Fruity School Lunch

Included in this bento style lunch is:
- watermelon cut into sticks
- animal cookies
- Strawberry & Honey Goat Cheese Skewers
- Puzzle Sandwich

Strawberry & Honey Goat Cheese Skewers:
- Strawberries
- Honey Goat Cheese
- Cute food picks, like these

All you need to do to make these is cut up some strawberries and cut up some honey goat cheese and skewer them, two strawberries with a piece of honey goat cheese in the middle per food pick. Super tasty, fun and healthy to eat and they can be made in minutes.

Puzzle Sandwich:
- Honey wheat bread
- SunButter
- Chocolate hazelnut spread
- Puzzle sandwich cutter, like the one that comes in this pack

I like to lightly toast the bread, assemble it like normal, and then use the cutter to make it into the fun puzzle shape.

Salad & Sandwich School Lunch

For this school lunch I packed a sandwich and a salad, as well as some pears, an apple juice and a cloth napkin.

My Daughter's Favorite Salad Recipe:
- Romaine lettuce
- Imo's cheese
- One of these 3 dressings: Imo's, raspberry vinaigrette, or honey mustard vinaigrette

When I pack a salad for a school lunch, I pack the dressing in these cute little dressing containers so my daughter can put it on herself when she's ready. This way the lettuce doesn't get soggy and it's fresh, and it's also fun for her to be a part of assembling the lunch once she goes to eat it.

Puzzle Sandwich:
- Honey wheat bread
- SunButter
- Chocolate hazelnut spread
- Puzzle sandwich cutter, like the one that comes in this pack

I like to lightly toast the bread, assemble it like normal, and then use the cutter to make it into the fun puzzle shape.

For the pears, I just cut them up into bite-sized pieces and put them in a container with a little zebra food pick stuff in them for extra cuteness.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Halloween Party 2017

It's an annual tradition for my daughter and I to host a Halloween party for her and her cousins/friends. We have so much fun doing it, so here I am to post about what fun we had at this years. I hope everyone has had a fantastically spooky month of October and that this post can give you some ideas for fun Halloween games, snacks, drinks and fun in the future!

Here they all are, don't they look so cute? Love all the personality that comes out in the group picture every year. Such a wonderful keepsake to look back on over the years and see how much they all have grown. You can see in this picture a little witch prop we have to take pictures with. It's the perfect size for the kiddos to pose with. A big party tip of mine is having a great backdrop set up to take pictures. This year we went for a lot of spider webbing outside, inflatable bats stuck in, glow in the dark skeletons hanging around, and of course the little witch. You can find all sorts of Halloween character props like that witch at party stores. Looking for good deals after Halloween to use for the next year is always a good idea.

And of course we had to get a mother daughter shot in our Monster High costumes. In this picture you can see more of our spider webbing and decorations, including some characters my daughter actually made on the taped up on the inside of the window, visible from the outside. That's always one of my daughters favorite things to do decorating, she goes outside and tells me where to position them/tape them up.

Now on to more party details! 

I didn't go around and take pictures specifically of ALL of the decor, but the hope was that in the pictures I did take the background would look nice and Halloweeny. So look for decor in the backgrounds of other pictures and I'll be adding in what we did! This was an area that my daughter set up all on her own, it was a little play exploration area for the kiddos and where they could pick up their goodie bags at the end. 

We love using creepy cloth around a lot of the furniture in the room we have most of the party in to up the creepy decor factor. We also love hanging creepy skeletons on the furniture as well, like the bride and clown. You can see all the stuff my daughter set up that she thought would be fun and entertaining for the kids to look at and play around with (skeletons of animals, skeleton rings, plastic snakes/rats/spiders, light up/talking Halloween toys, Halloween erasers, vampire teeth, etc.) There was also a bowl with all of the goodie bags in it.

Food Food Food...

Here was our Halloween party food counter display! We had a Halloween table cloth on the counter, and sparkly jack-o-lantern confetti on it. It started with cute little paper plates and napkins so everybody could grab one and then grab what they wanted. Then we had Dracula Doughnuts, Frozen Brains, Caramel Covered Mini Apples, Pumpkin Patch Snack Mix, Halloween Whoopie Pies, Halloween Frozen Yogurts, and Cauldron Chips & Dip (all recipes below). For drinks we had green hot chocolate, and Putrid Bug Potion. I of course had out my "Eat Drink and Be Scary" sign that I printed out a couple years ago. I also had out some cute little decorations that were like poison bottles with funny names on them, and some skeleton hand tongs. 

Dracula Doughnuts:
- Glazed doughnuts, we used Krispie Kremes
- Plastic vampire fangs, we used different colors (purple, green, and orange)
- Candy eyes
- Black icing
- Red icing 

Making these is really fun to do with kiddos, so if you're throwing a party for your little one let them help out with these for sure. Helpful tip: spend a little bit of time bending the fangs into position first, so they don't open up a lot once you've placed them in the doughnut. Stick your bent fangs into the holes in the doughnuts, add on the candy eyes, and icings for the hair and blood drips coming from the mouth. I had my daughter use white icing actually to stick on the candy eyes with, and she helped with the other icings as well. 

The kids loved them!

Frozen Brains:
- A plastic gelatin brain mold, like this one
- Baking spray, for spraying the jello mold with first to make it easier to get the brain out later

Make the jello according to the package directions for use with a mold, following the tip about the baking spray. I made this the day before the party just to make sure it was ready for the party. I put it on a cool black plate with detailing, perfect to display the Frozen Brains.

Love this picture of my best friends daughter staring at the Frozen Brains.

Pumpkin Patch Snack Mix:           
- Chex Mix
- Candy Corn
- Brach's Halloween Mellowcreme Pumpkins

All you have to do to make this yummy, fun snack mix is add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix them up a little bit! Salty and sweet, yum!

Halloween Frozen Yogurts:
- Yogurt, whatever flavors you'd like. I like to try to match yogurt colors with what makes sense for the shapes I'm making. (purplish/bluish for frozen fingers is perfect, white is perfect for bones) Other colors work for random things, I used pink this year for brains, spiders, and spider webs. Purplish for the frozen fingers.
- Rubber silicone Halloween ice trays, like these 
All you need to do to make these is put the yogurt into the tray, cover it with Saran wrap and put it in the freezer. These are something I would make the night before just to make sure they are ready to go for the party! They should only take a few hours though to freeze up.

Cauldron Chips & Dip:
- Tortilla chips, scoop style
- Guacamole 
- A cauldron

All you need to do for this is pour a bag of chips into a cauldron, and set out some dip for them as well.

Caramel Covered Mini Apples:
- Apples, whatever kind you like, I used Honey Crisp
- Melon Baller
- Wilton Caramel Apple Dip
- Halloweeny sprinkles, optional, or other toppings

To make these take your apples and a melon baller and make mini apple pieces. Stick lollipop sticks into your mini apples. Next, heat up caramel according to package directions, and swirl all mini apples in it to coat them. If you want to add toppings dip the mini apples into a bowl of the toppings directly after you coat them in the caramel. Set them a parchment paper covered baking sheet to set, you may want to put them in the fridge depending on how much time there is until your party. 

Halloween Whoopie Pies: 
You can make Whoopie Pies following this recipe, and then you can color the filling like I did (orange, purple, and neon green to look Halloweeny) by splitting the filling into bowls and adding in some drops of food coloring and stirring it in before you add it to the cake pieces. You can also add colored sugar sprinkles to the sides by rolling the assembled whoopie pies in them.

For the Drinks:
I made a drink called "Putrid Bug Potion" that I got the recipe for in a book of Halloween party food ideas that I got from a grocery store a while back, I can't find it online anywhere. But, here's what I used to make it: lime sherbet, a grape packet of Koolaid, ginger ale, and pineapple juice with frozen grapes on top. 

We also had some green hot chocolate that I found packets of at Walgreens. They were in the Halloween section with the Evil Queen from Snow White's face on them.

Now on to games...

We played Halloween Bingo, Witch Hat Ring Toss, Halloween Twist & Shout, and did some cookie decorating.  

 We played Halloween Bingo with some Bingo sheets that I printed out online. You can find them here. We used Smartie's as bingo markers. You can see the table is decorated with a plastic orange table cloth, with a black lace Halloween table cloth over top. There was more sparkly jack-o-lantern confetti out and a spell book for decoration. You can also see some Halloween window clings and jack-o-lantern lights in the background too. This is what I was talking about earlier, having some decorations are to make the background of pictures look great. We played bingo a few times and had some fun prizes that were won.
 Here's one of the prizes, a pink jack-o-lantern cup. You can see some more creepy cloth in the background, and a jack-o-lantern bucket. Little details like that really add to the photos. Also won was a ring pop, a witch hand sanitizer, and a skeleton cookie. You can see in the backgrounds with those prizes in them there's some decor as well. (jack-o-lantern door cover that my daughter made on the garage door, some Halloween crafts she made on the fridge, a witch, etc.

 Here's a picture of Twist & Shout game. It's like a Halloween version of Twister.

They had a lot of fun playing Witch Hat Ring Toss as well. You can see the skeleton door cover on the door in the background, the cauldron backdrop on the wall, and some other decorations adding to the Halloween party cuteness.

And always a favorite, Cookie Decorating


I found a really awesome kit that had pumpkin shaped cookies, green/orange/black icing, and different sets of sprinkles. Cookie decorating is always a big hit at parties with kiddos. They had so much fun decorating their cookies, and it's amazing how different they all turn out when given the same materials. Such a fun, creative process art activity. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Halloween Frozen Yogurt #2

As promised, I'm back with some more adorable frozen yogurt ideas for Halloween! With the help of some rubber silicone ice cube trays you can make yogurt into all kinds of fun frozen yogurt shapes. We have all kinds of different trays, so here's what I made for the Halloween party we had.

You can use any kind of yogurt you'd like to make your frozen yogurt treats. I like to use a purple or bluish one for the frozen fingers those, that way they look more like literal frozen fingers. If I had had vanilla yogurt, or another white kind, I would have also made the bones. I used this tray to make the spider webs and spiders. I used this tray to make the fingers, and I can't find one online that's exactly like the one I used to make the brains, but here's something similar.

These are always so fun! Kids love yogurt and popsicles, and this is like the best of both worlds!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Fall Themed School Lunch #6

For this school lunch of my daughter's I wanted to include lots of fall themed details, and they were mostly all edible details! Plus a cute little "mummy loves you!" note with a jack-o-lantern sticker on it. If you're interested in the details for this lunch look below! 

Included in this lunch:
- Pumpkin Sandwich (recipe below)
- Jack-o-lantern Mandarin Oranges (recipe below)
- Trader Joe's Halloween Joe Joe's Cookies
- Trader Joe's pumpkin yogurt, with some chocolate sprinkles on top

Pumpkin Sandwich:
- Bread of your choosing
- Sandwich fillings of your choosing, pumpkin butter would be a particularly fun and theme fitting choice for this sandwich
- A pumpkin cutter
- An orange food safe marker

Step 1: Lightly toast your bread to get it ready to work with. Just a very light toasting is good! It helps when using spreads and when working with cutters.

Step 2: Assemble your sandwich however you would like with whatever fillings you've chosen.

Step 3: Use your pumpkin cutter to create a pumpkin shape.

Step 4: Use your orange food safe marker to give your pumpkin an outline and some detailing on it. The color didn't show up too great in the picture, but you get the idea!

Jack-o-lantern Mandarin Oranges:
- Mandarin oranges
- A black food safe marker

Step 1: All you need to do for these little cuties is grab the oranges and the marker and draw a cute little jack-o-lantern face on them.

Hope you're inspired to create a fun fall themed lunch now for your kiddo with some of these ideas! For more fall lunch inspiration click here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Halloween Frozen Yogurt

If your little one likes yogurt then odds are they will love this fun frozen yogurt idea, perfect for Halloween!
 All you need to recreate this is at home is a silicone ice cube tray mold of your choosing and some yogurt. You simply put the yogurt into the molds, cover them with cling wrap and put them in the freezer for several hours. I was going for a Halloween theme so I used one tray that had spiders and spider webs on it, which you can find here. For that I used some berry flavored yogurt so they turned out pink. For the pumpkins and vampire fangs I used two different ice cube tray molds, you can find the pumpkin one here. I used pumpkin yogurt for that which was perfect for the slight orange color, and for the taste to match the shape! My daughter wanted me to make some fangs too, so I also used a silicone ice cube tray like this one to make some with the pumpkin yogurt as well. 

These are always a big hit for my daughter, and our Halloween party crowds. There's many other color/flavor and shape options that we've done. We'll be doing some different ones for our party this weekend that I will be posting so be looking for that! 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fall Themed School Lunch #5

Here's another simple lunch idea that's easy to put together, tasty, nutritious, cute and fall themed! For more details on this lunch look below, and for my previous school lunch posts click here

Included in this lunch was:
- 2 pumpkin muffins, wrapped in bat liners and with jack-o-lantern picks stuck in them for Halloween cuteness!
- An orange reusable baking liner filled up with Imo's cheese. The orange pop of color adds to the fall/Halloween theme in a really nice, simple way!
- An apple that she picked herself (can't get much more fall than that!)
- Honest Kids Organic Appley Ever After juice
- I also threw in a Cascadian Farms Organic granola bar in case my daughter wanted anything else
- For some extra cuteness, to make reading fun, and to make her smile I added in a "mommy loves you!" note with a jack-o-lantern drawn on it.