Friday, February 28, 2014

March is National Reading Month

Did you know that March is National Reading Month? It is a time to celebrate the joys of reading and shared reading time. My son, Boogs, and I love to read together every day. Since his first day of Kindergarten in August 2011, I have sent a story themed lunch with him to school. Making lunches  match the books we read is a great way to make connections with a story. Boogs often helps me figure out what foods we should use to represent the different parts of the stories we read. Laptop Lunches is celebrating National Reading Month by featuring lunches paired with books. I am really excited to see what books are being "bentofied".

Dr. Seuss' Birthday is March 2nd.  Celebrating the books of Dr. Seuss is a wonderful way to kick off National Reading Month.

 Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Boogs liked all of the places you can eat green eggs and ham. This lunch shows where to eat them.
In the Laptop Lunchbox:
- with a marshmallow fox in a graham cracker box
- on a pb&j train in the cheese rain
- in a broccoli tree
- blueberry sea
- dried apricots
- green boiled egg
- ham swirls

Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book
Van Vleck is yawning very wide and his yawn is contagious. This book shows who the yawn spread to and their sleepy-time routines.
In the Laptop Lunchbox:
- Jedd bed blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry pom poms
- salami & cheese moose sandwich dreaming of moose juice (yogurt)
- Babybel cheese Krox clock
- marshmallow sleep book
- carrots stilts with broccoli, tomato, and radish

Wolf! by Becky Bloom
Wolf is hungry and thinks he will make a meal of some farm animals. Wolf ran and howled at a pig, duck, and cow, but these "educated animals" were too busy reading to be disturbed by Wolf's noise. Wolf was intrigued by the idea of educated animals. He enrolled in school and learned to read. Wolf went back to the farm and proudly read to the animals, "Run wolf! Run! See wolf run." The animals were not impressed. Wolf went to the library and the bookstore. He practiced reading until he could read a story with fluency, confidence, and passion. Finally, the educated animals stopped reading their books and asked him to read more to them. Wolf learned that hard work and dedication helped him become a good reader. I love the message of this story. When Boogs and I read together we discuss fluency, inflection, confidence, comprehension, and other traits of a good reader.

In the Laptop lunchbox:
- pb&j wolf with fruit leather glasses reading a pita chip book
- Babybel Duck, boiled egg Pig, and marshmallow Cow listening to Wolf read
- grapes and blackberries
- salad

 Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
The other day, Boogs was telling me about a kiddo in his class who gets extra help because he has dyslexia. Boogs wanted to know what that meant. We talked about it and then read this book. The book begins with Tricia's grandfather drizzling honey onto the cover of a small book and asking her to taste the sweetness. He says, "Knowledge is sweet, but knowledge is like the bee that made that sweet honey, you have to chase it through the pages of a book." Tricia was so excited because she knew she would soon learn to read when she went to school. At first, Tricia loved being in school but as time went on she began to be left behind in reading. Words and numbers looked like wiggling shapes. Tricia began to feel different and dumb. By 5th grade, Tricia was far behind the other students and some of the students picked on her because of it. Luckily, her 5th grade teacher discovered that Tricia needed help. He and a special reading teacher  began working with Tricia after school. Eventually, she learned how to read. After she read an entire paragraph on her own, she went home and took out her grandfather's honey book. She drizzled a little honey on it and tasted the sweetness of knowledge.

Boogs and I had a good discussion about effort, determination, and being kind to others. He said he liked this book because it reminds him to be nice to people who can't do what you can do. He said, "Everybody has different talents, skills, and gifts and that is what makes people different and special. People shouldn't be mean cause there is always someone who can do something better than you and there is always something you can do better than them."

In the Laptop Lunchbox:
- peanut butter book sandwich with honey from which Tricia tasted the sweetness of knowledge
- jumbled broken pretzel letters
- proud Tricia after she read a paragraph drawn on a marshmallow
- mixed-up carrot and radish letters on spinach, tomato, and broccoli salad
- mango with strawberry READ letters and a BEE A READER pick

The Essential Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

Boogs absolutely loves reading Calvin and Hobbes comics. He was reluctant to read independently until recently. Comic books have made a huge difference in his desire to read on his own. This lunch was inspired by Calvin taking all of his dad's socks so he can put them on his ears and nose to look like an elephant.

In the Laptop Lunchbox:
- ham & cheese Calvin sandwich with bread socks
- Cutie orange with Hobbes drawn on it
- okra chips
- Zbar mud balls
- applesauce
- orange peppers for Hobbes' stripes
- broccoli, cauliflower and spinach

We have been using the Laptop Bento Box system since Boogs was in preschool. He is now in 2nd grade and we still love our Laptop lunchboxes. You can find them at
You can see Laptop Lunches Reading Month series of posts HERE.

Be sure to check out the wonderful sites I link to on my sidebar. If you want to see what other story themed lunches I have made, go to My Story Themed Lunches board on Pinterest. I have over 400 of our lunches there. I would love for you to leave me a comment to let me know you stopped by.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Our Beautiful Weather is Back!

I am absolutely loving this week's weather! We are back to breezy days of temperatures in the mid 70s. It is fabulous weather for heading to the park. Boogs is a pretty active kiddo. He has swim team twice a week, fit club once a week, and spends hours playing and running around with the kids on our street. Boogs loves to go to parks. Milburn Park is one of our favorites. We spent part of our time playing on the playscape, part on the rock wall, and the rest playing hide-and-seek with a tiny toy moose.
 That moose hid all over the playscape.
Can you see the moose in this picture? Boogs is climbing the tree to reach it.
Boogs had to find a stick long enough to knock moose off of this little branch.
That little moose certainly liked hiding in the trees.
The moose also liked hiding all over the rock wall. I was surprised at how well Boogs could climb the rock wall.
We are looking forward to enjoying this kind of weather for a little bit before the 100 degree temps of summer come back. I found a blog, EveryPark Blog, in which a runner is exploring the 185 parks in Austin. She takes pictures of the parks she runs through and lists what is there - trails, playscapes, exercise stations, cleanliness, etc. So far, she has posted information about 53 parks. Boogs and I are definitely going to use her posts as a guide to discovering new parks.

This post is linked to:
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
Be sure to check out the wonderful sites I link to on my sidebar!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Lunches February 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. We like to pack our lunches in ELBs and Laptop Lunchboxes. 

The Monster Who Did My Math by Danny Schnitzlein
The little boy in this story is practically allergic to Math. He procrastinates doing his homework until late Sunday night. He wishes his homework could just be done. A creepy Math monster shows up in his room and says he will do all of the homework if the boy will sign a contract for his service. Of course the boy signs and tells the monster he will pay later. Soon he is receiving A+ homework grades. The boy is thrilled. Then, the day came when the teacher asked him to work a problem on the board. The boy could not do it. He was embarrassed. He went home to yell at the Math monster. The monster showed him paragraph 7 of clause 93 in his contract, "If YOU don't learn anything, do not blame ME!" The boy orders the monster to leave but first he has to pay him. The boy learned the lesson, "If you don't pay up front, you'll pay later instead." Boogs liked this story. He told me he does not need to pay a monster to do his homework even though it might be nice sometimes.

In the ELB lunchbox: monster tail mini pb&j sandwich squares, cheese numbers, Babybel boy with monster hand pick grabbing him, pistachios, applesauce, carrots with hummus, and Zbar.

Once Upon a Banana by Jennifer Armstrong,  Illustrated by David Small
This is a mostly wordless picture book. The only words are written on the street signs on each page. A little monkey wrecks havoc when he steals a banana from the fruit stand. It sets a huge chain of events in motion. Boogs and I looked through the book at least four times when we first opened it. The little monkey causes crashes, smashes, a runaway carriage, a skateboarding judge, dogs to run wild, and many other events. This is a fun book for discussing cause and effect.

In the ELB lunchbox: banana, almond butter & jelly monkey sandwich, ham, pretzels, cheese, olives, broccoli, carrots, and radish.

Abe's Fish: A Boyhood Tale of Abraham Lincoln by Jen Bryant
Boogs and I read this story on President's Day. The author of this book used a couple of lines in an Abraham Lincoln biography as the base for this story. For the biography, Lincoln was asked what he remembered about the war of 1812, he replied: "Nothing but this. I had been fishing one day and caught a little fish which I was taking home. I met a soldier in the road, and, having been always told at home that we must be good to the soldiers, I gave him my fish." The author of this book used the fish story to tell a tale of how young Abe began to truly think about the word FREEDOM and what it should mean to everyone. After the story, there are several pages of biographical information about Abraham Lincoln's family and growing up years.

In the ELB lunchbox: young Abe drawn on ham & cheese sandwich, boiled egg fish, Babybel crescent moon, grapes, mango, broccoli and radish.

Some Dogs Do by Jez Alborough
Boogs brought this book home from his school library to read to me. A young pup, Sid, on his way to school is feeling so happy that his paws lifted right off the ground. Sid flew like a "doggy-shaped balloon".  No one at school believed he had flown. His classmates challenged him to fly again, but Sid couldn't. His happiness was gone. He was very sad when he returned home. Sid's Dad had a talk with him and showed him the family secret. Sid learned that some dog do fly.

In the Laptop lunchbox: pb&j sandwich with Sid on the ground, Sid bread cutout flying next to the Babybel sun, carrots with hummus, grapes, strawberries, and yogurt.

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.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Lunches Feb. 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. We like to pack our lunches in ELBs and Laptop Lunchboxes. 

Silent Letters Loud and Clear by Robin Pulver
Mr. Wright tells his students, "Practice, practice practice! Good spellers are made not born!" The students are very frustrated with all the silent letters hiding in their words. The silent letters heard their complaints and were stunned. They knew they were helping words by being in them. Mr. Wright told his students they should send an email to the newspaper to  share their feelings about silent letters. The silent letters decided to walk off the email before it was sent to the newspaper. The next day, the email was published with a response from the editor to fire Mr. Wright for not teaching the kids how to properly spell words. The students were stunned. Then the silent letters came back. The students cheered at their return and determined to practice, practice, practice to become better spellers.

In the Laptop Lunchbox: silent letter ham & cheese sandwiches, cheese letters, salad, and blueberries.
I put this note in Boogs' lunchbox for him to figure out by using the letters in his lunch to fill in the missing letters on the underlined words. He thought it was fun.

I made this lunch on one of those throw-some-food-in-the-lunchbox-and-run-out-the-door kind of mornings. In the ELB lunchbox: pear, broccoli, tomato, ham, cheese, Zbar, and Greek yogurt covered raisins.

Nate the Great and the Mushy Valentine by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat 
Nate the Great is not a fan of mushy Valentine stuff but he does love to solve a good mystery. In this story, Nate has two mysteries to solve. Who put the mushy Valentine heart on his dog's doghouse? Who stole the Valentine Annie was making for her brother? Nate follows the trail of clues all over his neighborhood from the doghouse to Annie's house, to Rosamund's house, and back home again. Clever Nate uses all of his detective skills to solve both mysteries at once. 

Boogs really likes to read mysteries. The Nate the Great series is perfect for his reading ability and interest level. He asked me to make sure he remembers to check out another Nate the Great book on our next visit to the library.

In the Laptop lunchbox: almond butter & jelly doghouse with cheese Valentine heart, Babybel cheese Nate, pistachios, raisins, dried apricot, spinach, red pepper, carrots, tomato, broccoli, and radish hearts.

You can see the two Valentine lunches Boogs' had this week in my Bento Bloggers & Friends Valentine Hop post HERE.

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, February 12, 2014

Bento Bloggers & Friends Valentine Bento Hop 2014

Bento Bloggers and Friends are joining together for two special Valentine blog hops today. I am part of the first hop which begins at 3 a.m. PST. The second hop begins at 7:30 a.m. PST. I can't wait to see the Valentine lunches from all 24 blogs participating in the hops. My son's lunches are inspired by the books we read together.

Dear Bunny: A Bunny Love Story by Michaela Morgan
Valentino and Valenteeny were two rabbits who lived across the field from each other. Valentino wrote a letter and left it in the hollow log, hoping Valenteeny would find it. Valenteeny also wrote a letter and left it in the hollow log. Unfortunately, a small family of mice took shelter from the rain in the hollow log and used the letters for their bedding. When each rabbit checked the log for a response to their letters, they were sad to find none. The mice realized their mistake. They searched through the bedding and found sweet words and phrases to put on a big heart for the rabbits to find. The rabbits found the new note and were happy.

Breakfast for lunch in the ELB lunchbox: boiled egg (split in half) Valentino & Valenteeny, cinnamon raisin heart bagel, pb&j mice mini-sandwiches, cottage cheese with sprinkles, and heart shaped strawberries.

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli
Mr. Hatch led a very orderly, repetitive, solitary life. His life changed suddenly when the postman delivered a giant box of chocolates with a note to his door. The note said, "Somebody Loves You!" That made Mr. Hatch feel so wonderful, he began to break out of his routine. He started smiling, talking with, and helping out his neighbors and co-workers. His life became full and joyful. Then the postman returned and let Mr. Hatch know the delivery had been a mistake. Mr. Hatch felt so unloved he reverted back to his orderly, repetitive, solitary life. His new friends and people in the community really enjoyed Mr. Hatch so they surprised him with an overflowing mailbox of cards, hearts, and candy to show their love. Boogs and I discussed the message of this story. Boogs decided the message was "to make a friend, you have to be a friend".

In the ELB lunchbox: ham & cheese sandwich with Mr. Hatch drawn on the cheese, mini marshmallow hearts, pretzels, orange slices, and salad with hearts made of carrots, radish, tomato, and peppers.

Now that you have seen my Valentine themed lunches, you should click the button below to hop over to Summer Mum's blog to view her Valentine lunch.


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.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Snow Day Time Machine

This past summer, Boogs and I made up our own countries based on the book I Need My Own Country by Rick Walton. You can find out about it HERE. Since we had a snow day (see the lovely note I left for him before I went to bed) and were not going to school I had set up an attack outside Boogs' bedroom country. We had several battles this morning. We had a great time!

Boogs discovered the awesomeness of Calvin & Hobbes last month. He even made his own Transmogrifier, you can read about it HERE. This week, I gave Boogs The Authoritative Calvin & Hobbes Treasury by Bill Watterson. Boogs immediately stopped everything else he was doing so he could start reading this book. As soon as Boogs got out of bed the next morning, he told me I had to listen to what he found in this book.

He was so excited to find out that the transmogrifier he had made could be turned into a time machine. As soon as our last battle was over, Boogs decided he had to turn his Switch-Which-Whichinator into a time machine. Boogs got everything set up and then told me I had to find the note to find him that he left back in time. I searched all over the house with Boogs yelling from his time machine, "You walked right past it! Too far! Look around you! Can you see the note in the glass bookcase? It is right there in plain sight, rolled up into a tube, and stuffed inside the cup with a hinge lid (Austrian beer stein) behind a picture frame of me."  I guess I am not very good at finding things that are clearly in plain sight.
Here's the note. Yes, I know my 7-year-old needs to work on his handwriting and spelling. He hates writing with a passion. I love that he wrote this note for me to find.
Translation: Help! Trapped in hyperspace! Food supply low!

I immediately jumped in my upside down stool time machine, kicked it into hyperspace drive and rescued Boogs.
Boogs was thankful that I rescued him but he let me know I needed some help with my time travel equipment. He showed me another Calvin & Hobbes strip to make sure I was properly outfitted for time travel.
So, I had to make a pair of time travel goggles for myself.
Yes, we did stay in pajamas all day. After all, it was a Snow Day! Boogs and I got into our time machines and traveled back in time. Boogs asked me to guess what time period we had traveled back to. I guessed the time of the dinosaurs. Nope! Boogs then gave me some clues. "We are back in time as far as we can go, I see animals & plants all around, angels are blocking two people on the outside of the gate. Now, do you know where we are? We are where the snake tricked Eve with an apple." I responded, "Oh, we are in the Garden of Eden." Boogs said, "I could not remember what it was called. Wouldn't it be weird if it were called the Garden of Edith? That would make it sound like a Despicable Me character. Do you think we can discover some animals that have not been named yet and name them ourselves?"
Suddenly, Boogs pointed to the sky and exclaimed, "Look! Uh-oh! Power grids are falling all around us. There must be a rip in time and space where stuff from our time is falling into the Adam and Eve time. Their stuff must be going to ours. We will have to fix the rip on this side and then travel in hyper speed and go fix the rip in our time. We have to do this fast before humans from our time start falling through the rip." (I had a piece of paper on the kitchen island where I kept jotting down the things Boogs was telling me. His imagination makes me smile!)

We had to prepare for our mission. We needed extra food supplies (lollipops), protective gear, and we had to replace our broken power grid with one of the new ones that had fallen through the rip in time and space.
Unfortunately, Boogs time machine malfunctioned (he put a dent in the side of his container). Boogs was thrown into space. Luckily, I was there to rescue him and return him to his time machine. We repaired the machine and then saved civilization as we know it by fixing the rip in time and space.

After our mission was complete, Boogs decided that we needed to make some box pets to keep us company on our adventures. We looked through our recycles for art stash and found two boxes to use. Boogs started designing his pet and wanted to put wings on it. He asked me to cut out the wings because he could not think of how they should look. I told him to simply put some scissors and paper behind his back and cut without looking to come up with a completely original design. He loved that idea! 
Boogs named the tissue box pet Cackletooth because it looks like he is laughing. He named the wipe box pet Terrible Trio Face because you could lift the lid to show three different faces - adorable face, mad face, and anxious face. Terrible Trio Face fit perfectly in Boogs' time machine.

We took a break from time travel for a late lunch around 2 p.m. Of course, I had to make a Calvin & Hobbes time travel lunch. In the ELB: Calvin & Hobbes drawn on cheese inside a salami sandwich, Time Machine cheese cutout letters, berries, broccoli, carrots, and cottage cheese. Boogs stated the the last Calvin & Hobbes lunch looked a little bit better than this one.
After lunch, I sent Boogs outside to play. By the way, the weather forecast was incorrect. The snow, sleet, and ice never showed up in our area. We could have been at school this day.

When Boogs came inside about two hours later, the first words out of his mouth were, "Momma, let's get ready to blast into the future!"

Just two months ago, Boogs was reluctant to read independently. Now, he wakes up early so he can read and re-read his Calvin & Hobbes books. Thank you Bill Watterson for creating such engaging comic strip characters! Boogs wants to take the pictures from today's adventure and make a comic strip of his own from them.

Be sure to check out the wonderful sites I link to on my sidebar! This post is linked to the After School Linky Party. 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.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Winter Olympic Bento Blog Hop

The 2014 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony is tonight. I am joining a group of bento friends for an Olympic themed bento blog hop. After you view my post, be sure to click the button at the bottom of this post to see what special lunch Anna of Becoming A Bentoholic has made.

I think the mascots for the Sochi Olympics are pretty cute. So, I attempted to make a couple of lunches featuring the mascots. Boogs and I watched the short videos introducing each of the mascots. You can find them here, here, and here. I liked the Polar Bear video the best. Boogs liked the Hare video the best.

In the Laptop lunchbox: Sochi Polar Bear mascot made from rice, cheese Olympic rings, red & yellow pepper Olympic flames, honey chicken under flames, fruit & veggies in the Olympic Rings colors -  blueberries, red strawberries, yellow tomato, green broccoli, and black olives.

The Leopard is depicted a couple of different ways. Sometimes he has very tan fur and other times he has very white fur. I like this picture of the Leopard with a snowboard and used it as inspiration for this lunch.

In the ELB lunchbox: pb&j Sochi Leopard mascot with Kellogg's To Go cereal biscuit snowboard, boiled egg Sochi Hare mascot, cheese Olympic rings, salad, and plum slices.

Now, click the button below to go to Becoming A Bentoholic to see the next lunch in this blog hop.

Be sure to check out the wonderful sites I link to on my sidebar! If you want to see my 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.