Does a bear poop in the woods? A Charmin(g) Bento

bearpoop

Yesterday, I was getting the kiddos ready for school and scrolling through my usual websites when a friend showed me a blog post by Baby Sideburns, which was about the pressure she felt from all those Pinterest lunches that she sees. She pointed out my Elsa lunch (in a rather funny matter) as an example of doing too much for lunch time. I totally get that– I know it’s not for everyone and I’ve had people tell me that I’m nuts for doing this at all. I must have too much time on my hands (nope, 3 small children, household, and a job) or I must be trying to make other kids jealous of mine (nope, I know my kid’s whole class — I used to teach them drawing — and every kid who mentioned it to me seems pretty cool about it) or whatnot.

I know I’m rambling a bit. Stay with me here.

I know some people see the Pinterest stuff as one mom one-upping the next. But call me an idealist when I say that I hope that more than making people feel bad, I (and all my Pinterest-posting crafty friends) am really looking to put out inspiration into the world. Not only inspiration to make lunches fun, ( because, I know just as well as anyone that lunch is just lunch), but really, to make some mundane tasks (packing kid lunches!) more fun for me and once in a while, make a kid smile. That ain’t so bad, is it?

So to make myself smile, my kiddo smile (potty humor is big around here), and hopefully some of my followers smile, today I made a bear pooping in the woods bento. And I want to tell everyone, I was inspired by Baby Sideburns’ bento! Thanks Baby Sideburns!

In today’s lunch:


Main A PB & strawberry jam bear sandwich; the toilet roll is a piece of a Pirouette wafer wrapped in a little bit of white fondant. The bear poop is mini chocolate chips ;)
Sides Trail mix and galia melon trees
Also included but not pictured A fuji apple for snack time


Today I used:
 

A Farm Day Inspiration: A Peacock Bento

peacock

Every week I take my middle and youngest kiddos to the farm while my eldest is at school. It’s a fun and safe place to play and explore and they have story time and a session of cracking corn as well as feeding the animal of the week. It’s a good time to be had while waiting for the eldest kiddo to get out of school. Every week my eldest asks when she gets to go to the farm. So this week, I tried to give her a little farm in her lunch! It may not seem like peacocks are very farm-like animals, but our farm has a nice-sized flock (or an ostentation, as they are collectively called) of peafowl (cocks, hens, and chicks included).

In today’s lunch:


Main PB&J pocket sandwich with Nutella and sprinkles details. To pipe the bird, I put it in a sandwich bag and snipped the corner, for a makeshift icing bag.
Sides Tail feather made with galia melon, watermelon, and a grape: I used some nesting oval cutters to nest the watermelon in the galia and then the small one to cut a notch out of the grape. Around it, cantaloupe, galia melon, and watermelon balls (finally found a use for my tiny melon baller!). Also more grapes in the other compartment. The grapes were called peony grapes on the package and they’re very fleshy and sweet, perfect for hot end-of-summer days.
Also included but not pictured Even more melon (my leftover scraps). I have a ton of melon here, and it needs to be eaten!


Today, I used:

Football Kick-Off Watermelon

Football Kick Off Watermelon | OneCraftyThing.com

I want to start this post with a disclaimer: I know NOTHING about football. All I know is that I was invited to some kind of football party last Sunday and I wasn’t sure what exactly was going on. I did know it wasn’t Superbowl (where last year I did a helmet watermelon!), but that it was something important. Turns out it was the beginning of football season. For me, that means one thing: a chance to do a football-themed watermelon :) And this one is SUPER simple; I’m sure anyone could do it. I basically just cut the water in half, length-wise. With the extra rind, I cut out a football shape and carved some lines to make it look like a football. The goal posts are 3 paper straws that were hot-glued together and then stuck into the opposite sides of the rind. That’s all! I added grapes, blueberries, cantaloupe, and watermelon, of course. It was a cute centerpiece for a laid-back party. I do think it could possibly do for Superbowl too!


What I used:

Maleficent!

malificent

Today’s lunch is Maleficent themed. My kiddos loved the film and so did I! So a much promised Maleficent lunch was in order this week :) I admit that I used more “candy” on this lunch much more than I had intended… I used the edible dough again. It really does hold its shape super well and is easy to use, so it’s hard NOT to use it. And the truth is, I couldn’t find the nori that I had planned on using for everything black (her horns/headress) in this! Oops. Oh well, I have all this edible dough left over from the dog/dolphin party and it’s just an occasional treat. Anyhow, on to the lunch! Here is what was in it today.


Main PB&J sandwich with edible dough details; purple lettuce for her neck piece. Colors used for the details: White, red, and black. I used a little food dye to get the green in the irises in the eyes.
Sides Green grape and blueberry salad and fresh blackberries picked yesterday from our local farm. The crow details were done in (what else?) edible dough!
Also included but not pictured Yogurt


Today I used:

Back to School Koala Bento

backtoschool

It’s back to school time and this week’s lunch is back-to-school themed. It’s been a short/long summer, full of ups and downs, but thankfully we’re back on a set schedule now that school is in (we’re soooo much better with a set schedule AND I’m so much more dedicated to lunch during the school year!) The kiddo is in second grade now (as you can see!) and I gave her the choice of “regular” lunches or “pretty” lunches. She adamantly said: “PRETTY ONES!” So here we go again!


Main PB&J sandwich. Cheated a bit on the Koala’s backpack ;) as I made it out of edible dough, but it worked out really well!
Sides Green grapes, blueberries and a bus-shaped cantaloupe wedge
Also included but not pictured Yogurt


Today I used:


The Middle Party Way: A Dog and Dolphin Double Birthday Party

Often, there seems to be a dichotomy in parties lately — either you go whole-Pinterest and do up an elaborate party at home or in a venue (which I’m all for, being that it allows for maximum creativity) or you have your party the local bounce house place where it’s pizza and cake and the theme is always “Birthday Party.” Well, my amazingly creative friends have shown me the middle way, in between I-must-host-at-home-and-clean-before-and-after-and-transform-this-house-into-my-theme and I-must-make-sure-to-bring-socks. The Middle Party Way, as I call it, involves a theme but only a certain amount of control of how the venue looks.  My friends have done this with a local party places like bounce house places (Star Wars and Monster themes), Lego stores (Lego themed, naturally), etc.  I did it this time around with a sports center.

My two oldest kiddos have summer birthdays and they each have an idea of their own themes. This year, we decided to do a double birthday for both of them together… the problem was that they both wanted their own themes… the elder kiddo wanted a puppies themed birthday while the younger one wanted dolphins. It took a bit of thinking and some research, but we finally came up with this beach-inspired, Puppy-looks-at-Dolphin theme. As it turned out, we had a family emergency out of the country, so I had a week to pull this together and so I limited my energies to cake and favors and cut some corners (like the cake!).

At this sports center, they have a table setup for the cake display, so I thought I’d get most of my theme in there.  It was simple, but turned out cute and was appropriate to the beach theme. Here it is: OneCraftyThing.com | Dolphin and Dog Beach Party

Like I said, pretty simple. I just got a fashion fabric to put under the cake and a dollar-store net (in the party section) to kind of give it an ocean-y feel.  On the right and left of the cake, I had our themed-favors (detailed below) and cocktail umbrella topiaries. The cocktail umbrellas were in everything, including the cake and the decorations. In this way, they brought everything together (and were fun for the kids). Here is a detail shot of the topiary, which is just a styrofoam ball held up with a dowel in a pot filled with sand. The umbrellas were a little challenging to put in but that might have just been the white styrofoam I used (instead of the simpler green one).

OneCraftyThing.com | Cocktail Umbrella Topiary

For favors, I offered tic tac toe games. I have often lamented the easily breakable plastic toys in favor bags at parties because they inevitably end up in the garbage. So I thought these would be good for people to keep, a small travel game that could be taken to a restaurant, or in the car. I sewed up these little drawstring  bags with felt on one side and a turquoise chevron fabric in the back. My sewing machine does embroidery stitches, so I did a fancy x-stitch on felt to make up the playing board and used wooden round/star pegs for game pieces. OneCraftyThing.com | Tic Tac Toe Favors

To display them, I put them in a round bucket facing up and then stuck an umbrella in each. The kids loved the umbrellas :) And inside I also added a little square of Ghiradelli chocolate and a lollipop.OneCraftyThing.com | Favor Display for Dog and Dolphin Beach party

We have quite a few friends with little babies, too, so for the babies, the favors were these washcloth dolphins.OneCraftyThing.com | Washcloth Favors

And on to the cake! My absolute most favorite part of the party stuff. I love the way this cake came out! I got the idea from another beach cake I had seen a while back. I majorly cheated with the cake — I ordered a plain blue cake from our local grocery store and decorated it myself ;) The “wooden” fence around the cake were Pirouette wafers and the sand was made from crushed Nilla wafers. The letters were fondant and I made the dog and dolphin with edible molding dough. And then, of course, the umbrellas for fun!

OneCraftyThing.com | Dog and Dolphin CakeA detail of the dog. I used some edible modeling dough from Wilton. It held really well and the only added structural help I did was put a toothpick in the dog’s body to secure the head. I think the head would’ve stayed, regardless, but I didn’t want any mishaps. OneCraftyThing.com | Dog and Dolphin Beach Cake

And here is the dolphin, which I absolutely loved. I had black and white doughs which mixed up beautifully for this steely gray color. OneCraftyThing.com | Dog and Dolphin Beach Cake

All in all, it was a fun party and the best part was that both the kiddos loved it. Good times, good times — and just a few days worth of effort. My kind of party.


Today I used:

Lego Bento

legomovie

So I haven’t been making very many bentos. I know, I know. But it’s summer and hardly any take away lunches are needed. But this week has been a week of simple bentos (I didn’t photograph them) for summer camp culminating in this! I didn’t see the Lego movie but my kiddos did and they yelled “Everything is AWESOME!” for a really long time after that. And then this past weekend we went to a lego birthday. I ended up saving one of the cupcake toppers (hehehe) for my best bento of the week but lo and behold, it got smushed. Anyhow, since my friend was the party host, she lent me her mold and I made another little lego man for the last day of camp lunch. Anyhow, I ended up making the girly main character Wyldstyle and  Unikitty. My kiddo loved this lunch and it was pretty easy to make — just cut the head with a knife and some straight cuts. Also, the hair! I had planned on making my own modeling candy clay from this tutorial for the hair but ran out of time. I, once again, have to give the credit to Lunchbox Dad’s WyldStyle lunch for inspiring me to use Wilton’s Edible dough for the hair. I’ve been trying out several different doughs out to see what works (marzipan, bread dough, etc.)  and this stuff is great — just like play dough but edible! I have it here in black and dyed up some white in pink and blue for the hair. On to the lunch!


Main PB&J with edible dough for the hair, eyes, and mouth. Dragees for the eye highlights.
Sides Goldfish crackers, blueberries, a candy lego minifig, and a marshmallow Unikitty. I used a stacking smore marshmallow, which comes in a rectangle shape) and used foodwriter markers for the face details. Some more edible dough make up her mouth, nose and horn. Candy eyes doctored up with edible markers for the eyes. Little bits of marshmallow for the eye highlights.
Also Included (but not pictured) Two mandarins


Here is a nice closeup of Unikitty, too, which I particularly loved!
Lego Movie Bento | One Crafty ThingAnd today I used:

            

The Elsa Coupe

Every year, my playgroup gets together in a herculean effort to raise money for Relay For Life (an event for the American Cancer Society). We are super into the relay’s dress-up races, funny costumes and general silliness. And we’re a really competitive bunch, too, so we do all kinds of fundraisers and parties and such things getting ready for the event. My amazing friend, Alisa from Sweet Party Treats, is multi-talented and makes over Cozy Coupes to raise money for the event. This year, we are shamelessly riding the Frozen wave and thus was born the Elsa Coupe. Alisa painted the base color of the coupe and prepped it completely for me, and I spent a fun day at her house just painting, chatting, and generally being happy that Kiddo 3 adores my friend, so that I could paint in peace. This is how it came out. Sorry for the phone pictures; I didn’t think to take my camera with me… I strictly had painting on my mind.

The front:

elsa3

The side (it wasn’t completely done at this point, the steering wheel and the gas cap were being painted to match): elsa5

The Queen of Arendelle herself: Elsa4

And a fun detail we added: A curtain in the back of the coupe, that kind of looks like the bottom half of her dress. Elsa1

Hopefully this Cozy Coupe will go to an adoring Frozen fan and raise some money for a great cause. Hope they like it!

A Frozen Bento: In Summer!!!

olaf

It’s the last week of school and the fervor for Frozen has only *minimally* died down here. We’re almost in summer and the kiddos can’t get out of winter ;) So today, I made my last Frozen lunch of the (school) year, inspired by “In Summer,” the song by Olaf the snowman. If you’ve never seen it, DO SO. It’s hilarious.

If you still want to see more bentos, come back during summer! I’ll still be doing some for my kiddos who hang out at home for the summer — some really fun ones!

In today’s lunch:


Main Chicken salad sandwich in a whole grain white bread pocket. I used this awesome tutorial to improvise my pocket sandwich. All the outlines are made from nori, while the whites of the eyes and the tooth are made from some flattened pieces of bread I had left over from cutting off the crusts. Nose is a real carrot!

Sides Strawberry flower on blackberries with cheddar bee. I used nori for the black stripes on the bee and almond slivers for the wings. Also, green grapes.


Today I used:
 

Watermelon Flowers All Over the Place

little_flower

So I’ve been watermelon crazy for a bit now, which is funny, because I don’t really care for watermelon (I’m more a berry type of girl), but I am really loving carving it! It’s actually a skill that doesn’t come easy to me and I really like the challenge of a completely new medium and working with a totally foreign tool (I don’t use knives much in my work). It’s been really fun to do potluck watermelons so far.

Yesterday our elementary school had an event for parent volunteers and asked us each to bring a dish for six people. I brought these little cups full of blackberries, grapes, watermelons, and golden honeydews (with blueberry middles), in the shape of flowers. Super easy to do and a little fun for the kids. I think they might be great for a fairy, garden, or butterfly themed birthday as well.


Instructions

  1. Using a melon baller, make watermelon balls (my baller has two sizes, I used the smaller one)
  2. Layer blackberries, grapes and watermelons on top.
  3. Use flower cutter to cut out flowers from honeydew melon. Err on the side of thicker slices/flowers.
  4. Using a skewer (or long toothpick), use the blunt side to skewer the flower and then stick it into the fruit. I used grapes to anchor the flower, since they were the firmest fruit in the cup.
  5. Cut a blueberry in half. You don’t need anything to stick them on, just place them in the middles… the suction of the berry and the melon is enough to keep them on.
  6. Cut a green grape in half and trim them so they have a leaf shape.
  7. Place grape “leaves” at the base of the stem, using other fruit to prop them up.


little_flower2

I had bought personal watermelons for this, and part of the melon was just big enough to fit in the middle compartment of this (dollar store!) platter. So I carved a small rose with some leaves. A note about personal watermelons: they seem to be quite soft and easy to carve… which is good and bad. Good because you don’t need a lot of pressure, bad because sometimes it’s quite easy to slip and cut something you don’t want to cut.

little_flower3

I *think* people liked them because they were gone in less than five minutes (or however long it took me to get my and the kiddos’ plates of food ready).


The watermelon below was actually one I bought just for practice. I wanted to see what I could do if I dedicated the time to carefully carve without the pressure of getting everyone ready to go to a party. It came out better than they previously had and I took time to learn how to really carve with some great tutorials on youtube.

watermelon_roseWatermelon Flower | OneCraftyThing.com


The watermelon below is one I brought to our family’s Mother’s Day celebration. It was supposed to be a rose… but it went downhill fast right after I started carving the middle, so improvisation! It ended up a much easier daisy. It was my first attempt at a rose and when I found out it was a LOT harder than it looks. Not the worst design, though.

Watermelon Flower | OneCraftyThing.com


Happy carving!

For these projects I used: