Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lunches September 24th - 28th

Boogs' lunches are inspired by the books we read at bedtime the previous evening. Each night, Boogs reads one book to me and I read a book or a chapter of a book to him. I usually post his lunches once a week. Click on the "lunches" label at the end of this post to see lunches from previous weeks.

The Looking Book by P.K. Hallman
Two young brothers are watching television when their mother tells them to turn off the t.v. and go outside to play. The boys protest loudly until their mother hands them a very strange surprise, lookers. Lookers are glasses without lenses. The mother encourages the boys to use the lookers to see things outside they have never noticed. The lookers opened up a whole new world to the boys and made them ignore their television. In the Laptop lunchbox: chocolate chip banana bread muffin with fruit leather lookers, cheese butterflies, duck, and flower, salami twigs, tomatoes for ladybugs, raspberries, and carrots.
 Boogs and I went looking this past weekend on our sunrise walk. Another walker told us about a bee tree. We found the bee tree right off one of the walking paths. We got pretty close and just watched them for a while. Boogs did not like it when one bee bounced off his head.

Wodney Wat's Wobot by Helen Lester
Wodney is unable to pronounce the letter R. His friends get him a special robot for his birthday. When Wodney whispers to the wobot, it pronounces correctly whatever Rodney Rat has said.  A big bully makes Wodney and all of his friends tremble. Luckily, Wodney's wobot saves the day. Boogs thought this was a cute story. In the ELB lunchbox: pepperoni pizza, cheese letters, plum slices, and salad with a cucumber robot.

Bravery Soup by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
Carlin the raccoon is afraid of everything. He approaches Big Bear, the bravest animal of all, to help him get some courage. Big Bear sends him on a journey to bring back the secret ingredient to bravery soup. Carlin must complete the journey through the Forbidden Forest all by himself. Carlin's journey helps him develop bravery and courage. In the Laptop Lunchbox: pb&j fox, boiled egg Carlin the raccoon, okra chips for the Forbidden Forest, blueberries for the perilous river, and applesauce "Bravery Soup". (Thanks Bent On Better Lunches for the idea of turning a paper muffin cup upside down for extra cuteness!)

The Monster Who Ate My Peas by Danny Schnitzlein
The boy in this story HATED peas and wished they would disappear. His wish came true when a disgusting, rotten sardine smelling, bloated bodied, gruesome monster appeared and offered to eat the peas... for a price. The boy chose to give up his soccer ball and bike so he would not have to eat peas. Boogs was very concerned about the boy when he made these trades. He said, "That was not a good trade. I am really sad for that boy. The monster is just going to keep coming back until the boy has traded away his mother and father and maybe even his self. That would be the last thing he could trade."  When the monster came around the third time and said it would cost the boy his cute little puppy, the boy decided to eat the peas. As he chewed his first pea, the boy had to admit that the pea tasted good. Boogs really liked the ending "And now there's not one single food I won't try. If others can eat it... well then, so can I. I am happier now than I have ever been, and I never will trade with a monster again!" When I told Boogs I was going to put peas in his lunch he was disgusted. Boogs does not eat cooked veggies. I repeatedly serve them to him, but he does not like mushy vegetables. He eats a good variety of raw veggies. I expect to see that teeny tiny container of peas come home with every pea in it.
In the ELB lunchbox: sloppy pb&j rolled sandwich (it was not supposed to be sloppy but sometimes things just don't work out), Babybel boy frowning at some peas, berry yogurt with a frozen yogurt "sardine" on top in a Mini Dipper, raspberries, carrots, and broccoli. 

Wild Boars Cook by Meg Rosoff and Sophie Blackhall
Whew! These little boars sure do make pigs of themselves. They scarf down everything from pickles to cookbooks. While Doris was eating a page in the cookbook, she noticed an interesting recipe for pudding with ingredients including broccoli and squid. Boogs said he would never eat that pudding but he would eat broccoli. In the ELB lunchbox: pig ham & cheese sandwich, pickles, yogurt in a Mini Dipper, pretzels, broccoli, and an apple.
Did you notice that perfectly cut out pig face on Boogs' sandwich? I was fortunate enough to receive an all-in-one bento tool from CuteZCute. The set comes with four different cutter/stamps - frog, pig, panda, and cat - 1 outer face cutter frame, and an assist pick to help get small pieces out of the cutter. It was so easy to use. I plan on using it often.

Be sure to check out the wonderful sites I link to on my sidebar! If you want to see more book inspired lunches, click on the "lunches" label at the end of this post or go to My Story Themed Lunches board on Pinterest. I would love for you to leave a comment to let me know you stopped by.

Monday, September 24, 2012


For Father's Day, Boogs gave Daddy a Tabletop Catapult Kit. The kit came with a book about 7 different types of ancient catapult designs. Boogs said he wants to try and make them all. The weather was perfect this weekend to hang out on the back porch and put it together.

Boogs very carefully followed the directions.

Daddy helped him get things just right.

Tightening the tension on the rope.

Boogs aimed the first shot at me then Daddy let him aim the next shot at him. (We were listening to an all 80s radio station. They just don't make songs like Toy Soldiers anymore.)

We changed from brown to pink clay so we could locate the projectile easier.

Boogs even tried out the catapult with two projectiles at once.
We had a lot of fun working on this catapult. Last week I looked at Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk's blog on the day she posted about a physics experiment for her young son. She introduced the words aerodynamic and trajectory for her activity. I realized it would be the perfect time to introduce the word trajectory to Boogs while he was fine tuning his catapult's aim.

Boogs moved the catapult all over the porch, tried to get a clay ball in the bowl, aimed at us, shot 5 clay balls from the same location and then measured to see which went the farthest. We discussed the variables that influenced the differences between the clay balls - weight, size, shape. Later in the day, Boogs and I went online to look at videos of catapults and trebuchets in action. This is one Boogs particularly liked:
 Trebuchet throwing car & piano

I think we will be playing with this for a long time to come.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Lunches September 17th - 21st

Boogs' lunches are inspired by the books we read at bedtime the previous evening. Each night, Boogs reads one book to me and I read a book or a chapter of a book to him. I usually post his lunches once a week. Click on the "lunches" label at the end of this post to see lunches from previous weeks.

Boogs is such a sweet boy. One morning this week, he was watching me get a lunch ready and he said, "I've never seen a true artist at work. Your lunches are works of art." He brings me silly smiles all the time.

The Mystery of King Karfu by Doug Cushman
Boogs loves to figure out a good mystery, especially when you have to crack a code to discover hidden treasure. This picture book has it all. A mysterious person stole the Stone Chicken that belonged to the Ancient Egyptian pharaoh King Karfu. The chicken held the clues to finding King Karfu's hidden treasure. Seymour Sleuth, the wombat hero of this story, carefully lays out the evidence against each of the suspects. It is up to the reader to follow the evidence to solve the mystery. The author even threw in a "red herring" to throw us off track. I helped Boogs decode the secret message. He said, "I think we should take this decoded secret message to Egypt so we can find the treasure. No, wait a minute. We can't do that. We might die in the hot Egypt sun." When we went to the library this week, we had to check out the other Seymour Sleuth mystery - The Mystery of the Monkey's Maze. In the Laptop lunchbox: strawberry red herring, salad, pb&j Seymour Sleuth, cheese Stone Chicken, dried apple "cookie crumbs", and trail mix representing the crumbly walls inside the pyramid.

A closer view

In One Ear, Out The Other by Michael Dahl
I admit it, I have said this phrase to my son many times. In this story, a little 3-eyed monster lets everything he hears go in one ear and out the other. He is too busy climbing, falling, swimming, shouting, hiding, running, sleeping, etc to listen to what others say. This caused him a few problems. For instance he answered a math test question, 2+2, with the answer 'France'. The little monster almost missed out on the big party because he did not listen. He decided to stick a sock in his left ear to keep the words in and it worked. Boogs thought that was hilarious! In the ELB lunchbox: 3-eyed monster made of hot dogs baked in a cornbread muffin, "2+2=France" written on his flat bread ear, boiled egg, cottage cheese for potato salad, grapes, broccoli, and salad dressing in a Mini Dipper.
Idea for hotdog corn muffin from What's For Lunch At Our House

The details for these two pirate story lunches can be found HERE. I put them in a post on Wednesday for International Talk Like A Pirate Day blog hop. 39 blogs showcased pirate lunches and linked together for a megahop with a chance to win some pirate treasure until Sunday, 9/23. 

Ten Wishing Stars by Treesha Runnels
We actually read a book about the Dewey Decimal System. I was not feeling creative enough to turn it into a lunch, so I asked Boogs if he could pick out one of his favorite old stories for me instead. He read Ten Wishing Stars to me. It is a cute little count-down-to-bed book about sheep making wishes and getting what they want. In the Laptop lunchbox: ham & cheese sheep with "WISH" alphabet picks, star kiwi, star Babybel cheese, raisins with star dried apricot, salad with star cucumbers.

The Runaway Wok by Yin Chang Compestine
Boogs really liked this story. He said it reminded him of The Magic Dreidels by Eric Kimmel. I thought it had a bit of Jack & the Beanstalk in it. Ming is instructed by his mother to sell some eggs for a bag of rice. Ming meets an old man who offers to trade the eggs for an old rusted wok. The boy is unwilling to make the trade until he hears the wok sing to him. After Ming makes the trade, he heads home to his mother. The wok magically helps Ming's family have a perfect Chinese New Year celebration. Boogs and I discussed the many ways the wok moved in the story. The wok rolled, briskly hopped, skipped, jumped, trotted, galloped, spun, scooted, slid, and sped off. Boogs and I tried out each of these ways to move across his playroom. I think he liked rolling the best. At the back of the book, there is a recipe for Festive Stir-Fried Rice. I asked Boogs if he would like some in his lunch, he told me he would prefer Cilantro Rice and Black Beans. In the Laptop lunchbox: Cilantro rice & beans pretending to be fried rice, carrots, Momables meatballs, golden cheese coins, mixed berries, and a small container of ranch dressing.

Happy Blogiversary to Bento Blog Network! If you have not visited Bento Blog Network, you are missing out. Diana has a new bento theme each week, a friendly competition, and wonderful tutorials. I stumbled across her site when I began making bento-ish lunches for Boogs last Fall. She has brought a whole community of bento makers together to share our love of cute lunches. Thanks, Diana!
Bento Blog Network

Be sure to check out the wonderful sites I link to on my sidebar! If you want to see more book inspired lunches, click on the "lunches" label at the end of this post or go to My Story Themed Lunches board on Pinterest. I would love for you to leave a comment to let me know you stopped by.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Arrr! Talk Like A Pirate Day Lunch and Blog Hop

UPDATE 09/24/12: And the winners are...

Arrr! Shiver me timbers tis time for 'nother bento lunch hop. So set your sheets to the wind and sail along through the galley to spy the treasure map clues and some fancy pirate grub.

Okay... Tis plain English I shall speak. My bento lunch making friends are joining together for a blog hop in honor of Talk Like A Pirate Day. Our previous hops have showcased some amazing lunch creations. This time, the hop will also include some treasure - a giveaway! So grab your pencil if you want a chance to win the treasure. Each blog in the hop will have a map scrap with a letter for you to collect. When collected and arranged in numerical order, 37 map scraps will give you the URL for entering the giveaway and 2 bonus pieces with words on them will give you 2 chances to win. My map scrap is located at the bottom of this post. Be quick to set your sails as the giveaway ends Sunday, September 23rd at midnight EST.

Lunches for my son, Boogs, are inspired by the books that we read.

Henry & the Buccaneer Bunnies by Carolyn Crimi
Henry's dad, Captain Barnacle Black Ear of the Salty Carrot, is not pleased with his book-loving son. He wants Henry to be a fierce pirate instead of wasting his time with books. Henry's book reading saves the pirates after the Salty Carrot is destroyed in a terrible storm. Henry uses knowledge learned from his books to help the marooned pirates build a two-story hut, plant food, cook meals, and build a new ship. By the end of the book, Captain Barnacle Black Ear realizes the importance of reading.  Boogs really enjoyed this book and was excited to eat his ring pop treasure. I made this lunch for him over the weekend. The ring pop was a special treat that would not be included with a lunch for school.
 In the ELB lunchbox: pb&j Pirate Henry reading "Storm At Sea" pita chip book, pirate Goldfish, cheese rabbit jolly roger flag on top of a salad, berries for the color of the sky during the storm, and a Ring Pop pirate treasure.

 A Pirate's Guide To First Grade by James Preller
Boogs fell in love with this book. It tells the story of a boy's first day of first grade. The boy is illustrated in full color and there are a crew of ghostly shadow pirates following him around throughout the day. Each page is written in pirate speak. There is a glossary at that back of the book for translating pirate speak to English. When getting ready for school, the boy went "down in the galley, I mashed me choppers on grub and drowned it with grog. Time t' set sheets to the wind!" Boogs had fun trying to understand what was being said. At the end of the school day, the boy's teacher handed over a map marked with an X for the boy to find his treasure for having a great first day. Boogs and I tried to predict what the treasure would be. Turns out, the map was a pass to the library. The last page shows the boy absorbed in reading Treasure Island while the shadow pirates cheer him on.

 In the  ELB lunchbox: fruit leather Jolly Roger, cheese & nori school bus on top of an almond butter & jelly sandwich, pita chip book, gold pieces of mango, and salad. Boogs told me that pirates say "Aarg" not "Arrr!" So we went with his suggestion for the letter picks in the broccoli.
We read this book several times. Boogs asked for a magnifying glass to get a closer look at what the shadow pirates were doing. He tried using the pirate telescope sitting beside his elbow, but it did not work out like he hoped it would.

This here's my piece o' the map! Good luck on the giveaway, Maties! After you've written down the letter and number, sail on over to Lunches Fit For A Kid or click on the Jolly Roger flag at the top of this post to continue on ye merry treasure hunt adventure. Arrr!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Rainy Weekend

Last week the sky looked like this:
We did not get much rain with this storm, just a bunch of lightning and thunder. At 3:30 in the afternoon, the sky was extremely dark. I got a little nervous that those clouds were going to start swirling. I was so glad to see that storm roll by and see sunshine peeking out again by dinner time.

Sunday was a beautiful day of slow, misty, cooling rain. Boogs and I were able to take a long walk and enjoy it without any thunder or lightning. Grandmaman, Boogs wanted to to share his rain pictures with you. It brought back memories of our rain soaked camping trips.
Eating the rain

We went on the trail behind our house.

Part of the trail was underwater. Boogs' boots were not tall enough and filled with water.

Slipping and sliding on the wet playscape. Look at the mud on his legs.

Plenty of rain and puddles to make big splashes.

Boogs said he was a turtle laying on a rock.

Heading home to a nice warm bubble bath.

Linking up to outdoor fun at:
 Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fold-Out Photo Album

A friend recently asked if I still made Fold-Out Photo Albums. I used to make tons of them and sell them at craft shows. I showed her the few albums that I had sitting around in one of my craft cabinets. She asked if I could make her some more for specific themes. So here is what I made:
Themes - Valentines, Spring, Generic, Summer, 4th of July, Back to School,  Fall, Pumpkins, Halloween,  2 Generic Winter, and Candy Cane.  On the last two I used old Stampin' Up Designer Paper from 1999.

Inside of Halloween themed album

Inside of Candy Cane album

These albums are not difficult to make but they can be time consuming. Below are the directions I used to give out when I taught classes for making these. Enjoy!

Folding Photo Album Directions


3 pieces 12x12 cardstock
2 pieces 6¼ in. square chipboard (poster board or cereal box)
2 pieces 8 in. square patterned paper for front and back cover
1 yard of ribbon
Adhesive – strong glue dots or double stick tape (photo safe)


1.    Take the 12x12 cardstock and fold in half, carefully matching corners. Crease one way, unfold, and then crease the opposite way for mobility.
2.   Unfold the 12x12 cardstock piece and then fold in half in the other direction on the same line, repeating the opposite crease for mobility. You should have a cross of creases on your paper.
3.   Unfold, then fold on one diagonal ONLY. Crease one way and then crease on the same line the opposite way for mobility. Set aside.
4.   Repeat the first three steps on the other two pieces of 12x12 cardstock.
5.    Place all three pieces of creased cardstock vertically with the diagonal crease perpendicular to your work surface (hope that makes sense). Glue the pieces together so that the two outer diamonds lay on top of the center diamond’s side points.

6.   Once glued, fold the whole thing up kind of accordion style and set aside.

1.    Lay one piece of 8 in patterned paper face down and place one piece of chipboard in the center. Fold and adhere the paper like you are “wrapping” the chipboard in patterned paper.
2.   Repeat with second piece of patterned paper and chipboard.
3.   Lay ribbon across the unwrapped side of the bottom cover and tape to center of chipboard.
4.   Place folded album of cardstock with its opening to the bottom right-hand corner in center of bottom piece of album cover. Put adhesive on bottom piece of album and lay firmly in center of bottom album cover. Flip and repeat to adhere album to top cover.
5.    Put 5 ½ in squares (some cut in half diagonally) inside album to use as background paper before adding pictures.
This is the beginning of a "1st Day of School" album I will add to each year. I intend to put stickers and notes in with the pictures.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Lunches Sept. 10th - 14th

Boogs' lunches are inspired by the books we read at bedtime the previous evening. Each night, Boogs reads one book to me and I read a book or a chapter of a book to him. I usually post his lunches once a week. Click on the "lunches" label at the end of this post to see lunches from previous weeks.

I Am A Pencil by Linda Hayward
This book describes the process of manufacturing a pencil - from a quarry of rock with graphite in them to distributing the pencils to writers in an elementary classroom. Boogs was very interested in learning the steps it took to create a pencil. We sometimes watch How It's Made on the Discovery Channel. Boogs said this book reminded him a little bit of that show. In the ELB lunchbox: ham & cheese pencil sandwich, dried mango for the yellow pencil paint, pumpkin seeds for wood chips, blackberry rocks with graphite, and a salad. Boogs asked why I did not use carrots carved like pencils for his veggie today. That would have been a good idea.

Tracks of A Panda by Nick Dowson
This book tells the story of a mother panda bear taking care of her cub. She has to be resourceful to get enough food to eat and to protect herself and her cub from predators and people. Along with the story, Nick Dowson wrote fact boxes on each page. Boogs was surprised that pandas ate other things besides bamboo. Sometimes they eat insects, fish, or meat. There is an index at the back of this book. Boogs enjoyed using the index to re-explore the topics he was most interested in. In the ELB lunchbox: Nutella & almond butter panda sandwich, boiled egg panda bear, bits of beef jerky, spinach "bamboo" leaves, and strawberries.

Sivu's Six Wishes by Jude Daly
Sivu is a stonemason. He becomes disgruntled by his lack of power and jealous of a wealthy business man. Sivu wishes to be the businessman and then mysteriously his wish is granted. Sivu soon becomes dissatisfied with the amount of power he has as a businessman. He wishes to become mayor, then the sun, then the rain, then the wind, until finally he feels he is the most powerful thing on earth... an enormous rock that even the wind cannot move. The story comes full circle when rock Sivu realizes that a stonemason has power over him. Boogs said, "He is just never satisfied with what he has. That is going to make him miserable forever." Well said, little man. In the ELB lunchbox: pb&j sandwich underneath Sivu the sun cheese, marshmallow carving, green broccoli fields before Sivu the sun beats down upon them, and dried up mango fields. 

Buzz! A Book About Insects by Melvin Berger
This is an easy reader filled with facts about insect senses, life cycles, migration and hibernation. It features flies, bees, butterflies, wasps, caterpillars, dung beetles, and several other insects. Boogs read a little bit of this book to me, it is slightly above his reading level, and I read the rest to him. The next morning, Boogs asked for a life cycle lunch. In the Laptop lunchbox: boiled egg, pb&j larva, marshmallow pupa, two adult pb&j butterflies, walking stick pretzels, spinach leaves for insect food, and blueberry dung balls for the dung beetle (hee hee). After school, Boogs told me he ate everything in his lunch except for a wee bit of the larva.

Look At The Size of That Long-Legged Ploot! by Scott E. Sutton
We have a wonderful public library. Throughout the summer, the library brings in many amazing guest speakers/performers for the kids. Boogs loved the week that Scott Sutton came by and presented his "Learn to Draw with Scott Sutton" program.  When Boogs saw this book at his school library, he was super excited to bring it home so we could read it together. This book is one in a series of books about The Family of Ree. Each of these books have a moral message/lesson for kids to learn. This book was about the importance of not lying to your friends. Boogs and I have read it four times already. In the ELB lunchbox: cheese & olive BeeBee pizza (Boogs let me know that pizza is not really a BeeBee because I did not put legs on it.), ham, kiwi Erf with blueberries, and spinach bushes with BeeBee tomatoes playing hide & seek.

This week, I put Boogs' salad dressing in the new ELB Mini Dippers. I love that these leak proof little containers fit right inside my Easy Lunchboxes.

Be sure to check out the wonderful sites I link to on my sidebar! If you want to see more book inspired lunches, click on the "lunches" label at the end of this post or go to My Story Themed Lunches board on Pinterest. I would love for you to leave a comment to let me know you stopped by.