Sunday, September 27, 2015

Lunches for School

Story themed lunches from the past two weeks:

Return to Skunk Corners - The Ninja Librarian Book 2 by Rebecca Douglass
Boogs really enjoyed reading the first Ninja Librarian book. He asked me to contact the author, Rebecca Douglass, to let her know how much he liked the book. Ms. Douglas was kind enough to respond to Boogs' comment with a coupon for a discount on Return to Skunk Corners. This book picks up Big Al's story after the Ninja Librarian has left town. Big Al has to step up and help steer her town to become a community that works together to solve problems and threats - snowstorms, fires, getting women the right to vote & hold office, dealing with toughs from another town, and figuring out a way to get hot water for a bath. The Ninja Librarian eventually returns to Skunk Corners but it takes Big Al a little bit of time to forgive him for leaving. Boogs and I enjoyed reading this book aloud.

In the ELB lunchbox: turkey sandwich with a cheese skunk & forest fire drawing on top, yogurt, blueberries for the dark night Big Al was lost in a storm, red/orange/yellow bell pepper flames, broccoli, and spinach.

National Geographic Kids Magazine - Special Halloween Issue
We always learn such interesting facts about all kinds of animals when we read our monthly National Geographic Kids Magazine. This month they featured Funky Frogs. There is a fungus, called chytrid, that is killing amphibians all over the world. It attacks amphibians' skin and has wiped out some frog species in some forests. Scientists have discovered that Fringed Leaf Frogs are immune to the fungus and are researching them to figure out how to help amphibians threatened by the fungus.

In the ELB lunchbox: orange slices sunlight filtering through the blueberry sky and leafy foliage of the tropical forest, pb&j frog sandwich, pretzel branches, cheese stick twig, and salami.

Molly Moon, Micky Minus & the Mind Machine by Georgia Byng
Molly Moon is back for another adventure. In her previous books, Molly figured out how to become a hypnotist, how to stop time, and how to time travel. At the end of the last book, Molly discovered she had a twin. Molly is able to travel back to the time of her birth to see her twin. She is also able to see the exact moment her twin is kidnapped from the nursery. Her twin, Micky Minus, was kidnapped by a time traveler who wants to use Micky to hypnotize an entire town so Princess Fang can rule the world. In this book, Molly acquires the ability to read minds. Boogs has not quite finished reading this book, but I have a feeling Molly will be triumphant in her quest to save her twin.

In the ELB lunchbox: Petula ham & cheese roll, popcorn, marshmallow, yogurt raisins, quinoa bites, salad, kiwi, and strawberries.

The Island Adventure by Enid Blyton
Enid Blyton was a prolific writer. She wrote her first book in 1922 and by 1965 she had written hundreds of children's stories and books. The Island of Adventure was written in 1944 and is the first in a series of eight books. Boogs and I have just begun reading the first book in this series and he is already asking for me to try and find the rest of the series. Jack, Dinah, and Philip meet at a summer school session. Jack has a pet parrot, Kiki, who never leaves his side. Philip is constantly collecting animals - mice, worms, insects, and many others. The two boys strike up a friendship. Dinah, Jack's sister, wants to be wherever Jack is. The three become friends. As the summer session comes to an end the three children plot a way to sneak Jack and Dinah to Philip's house.

In the Laptop Lunchbox: Jack in an almond butter & jelly bed sandwich with Kiki on his shoulder, popcorn, mixed nuts with cranberries, pretzel sticks, mango, and salad.

Little Passports - A Global Adventure
When our Christmas Elf left for the North Pole, he sent Boogs a subscription to Little Passports. Each month, Boogs receives a package from Sam and Sophia as they travel the world on their magic scooter. The package has a small souvenir, an information booklet, a flag sticker, an activity booklet, and a postcard about a specific country Sam and Sophia have visited. Boogs has enjoyed learning about South Africa this month. Someday Boogs wants to see the "Big Five" African animals in person - lion, rhino, buffalo, leopard, elephant - but not too close. It is fun to open up the big world map and place a sticker map marker on a new country each month. You can find out more about Little Passports here.

In the ELB lunchbox: ham & cheese elephant sandwich, South African flag marshmallow, carrots/broccoli/spinach grasslands, fruit cup sun, mixed nuts, and okra chips.

My ELB ( and Laptop Lunchbox ( are my go-to lunchboxes. I love the three perfect sized compartments of the ELBs and the colorful boxes of my Laptop Lunchbox.

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.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Great Wolf Lodge

We took a break from this
to spend the weekend at Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas. Great Wolf Lodge opened in Grapevine in 2007. Friends have often told me what a great place it is to visit. Boogs has had several friends tell him about the MagiQuests. The quests are kind of like Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. Boogs was thrilled when we told him we were going to spend the weekend at Great Wolf.

Here he is howling with the wolves at the front entrance when we arrived on Friday evening. There was a great atmosphere in the lodge from the moment you walked in - friendly staff, dance music in the lobby, quick check-in, and it was geared towards kids having fun. They gave us wolf ears to wear when we checked in. Boogs wore his while he crawled and (quietly) howled down the hallway to our room.
Look at that waterpark!!!
Shortly after we put our bags in our room, Boogs was ready for his MagiQuests. We went down to the Dragon's Lair (1st floor) to get his wand set up, find the Wizard to get his first assignment, and get started hunting for the runes (magical stones) needed to help the fairies and to eventually battle the dragons.
Boogs received his assignments from this tree check-in station.
The quests had you racing all over the lodge.

Trying to figure out the clues to know which floor to walk to.
The MagiQuests required a lot of physical exertion. You had to go back and forth between all eight floors by walking up and down in the Hidden Stairwell (that is what the sign on the door said, it wasn't very hidden) to find clues and to collect the dunes. There were pictures on the walls, treasure chests, lanterns, sleeping trees, maps, and many other items that came to life when Boogs pointed his wand at them. You had to solve rhyming clues to know exactly what order and what items you needed to visit and virtually collect. We went up and down those stairs for three hours and completed seven parts of the Runes of the Questmaster game before it shut down at 11 pm.
Opening the chest to collect gold coins.
Boogs woke up before 7 am the next morning ready to continue his quest. Boogs and I quietly left the room so Daddy could keep sleeping. Unfortunately, the quests were turned off until 9 am. Boogs thought we should use the Hidden Stairwell and scope out every floor so we would know where all of the magical objects were. Yay, more stairs. I really enjoyed spending the time with him. At 8:58, the MagiQuests started up again. We spent another couple of hours on quests, Daddy joined us when he woke up.
The weather was beautiful, not to hot and not at all chilly. We took a break from the quests to try out the Howlers Peak Ropes Course. The Wolf Pass package we booked included unlimited time on the ropes course for Boogs. He spent a little over two hours on the course on Saturday.
Boogs was pretty nervous walking up the stairs the first time.
There were so many different things to walk across.
Boogs became confident on the ropes fairly quickly.
He LOVED this zipline.
I lost count of how many times he circled around to get back in line for this zipline.
"One more time, just one more time..."
 After many times of saying, "Just one more zipline and I will be ready to go swim", Boogs finally came back down to the ground. We spent the rest of the afternoon in the water park section of the lodge. I did not want to get my camera wet, so I don't have any pics of the water park. We rode all seven indoor waterslides, swam in the wave pool, spent a long time in the lazy river, and enjoyed the water. We did not go on the outdoor slides because the lines were really long.

We went back to our room to rest and clean up before dinner. Boogs was exhausted. He decided that he was through with quests and activities for the day. After dinner, Boogs rallied a bit and got a few more things checked off of his Wolf Pass: stuffed animal at the Great Wolf Creation Station, Glitz Tattoo, and personalized leather wristband from The Name Shop.
The Creation Station is like Build-A-Bear. You pick out an animal and then have the stuffing put in.
Boogs was pleased with his choice and named his wolf "Howler".
Four of Boogs top choices for his Glitzy Tattoo were out of stock. Boogs had to settle on MQ for MagiQuests.
On Sunday morning, Boogs checked some more items off of his Wolf pass: Laser Frenzy (dodge your way through a laser and fog filled room) and the Howlywood XD movie (the chair shifted, rocked, and bumped up and down) and the Paw Print 3D photo.
Here is a picture of the picture. Boogs wanted the background that showed him fighting off the Red Dragon.
 The Howlers Peak Ropes Course did not open until 10 am. My husband and I bought wristbands so we could join Boogs on the course as soon as they opened. It was fun and a little bit scary. You had on a double linked harness so you knew you were safe but it still made me a bit queasy when I walked across the swaying beams four stories off the ground. It was SO MUCH FUN! I could have stayed up there all day. A little bit after noon, it started to get crowded on the course so we decided to go back inside and check the Paw Points Arcade off of Boogs' Wolf Pass.
Daddy looked a little nervous when he started climbing.
Boogs showed us how it was done, no fear!
I went all over the course but I did cling to the support poles as often as possible.
This ropes course was so well thought out. I definitely want to go back and climb on it some more.
Hi Honey! I'm higher than you are, catch up.

Last photo before we left Great Wolf Lodge. We had a fantastic weekend.
We had to check out of our room at 2 pm. We checked out, put our things in the car and then went back in for another run on the ropes course. We had a fantastic time at Great Wolf Lodge. There were so many things to do. I really liked that the MagiQuests made the kids move to find the items instead of just sitting in front of a screen playing with a controller. Oh, Boogs was able to complete his quest and defeat both the Red and the Silver Dragons before we left. Boogs said he would like to go back to Great Wolf Lodge, so would I.

This post is linked to:
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Yummy Kawaii Bento Book Review

Last week, I received a copy of Yummy Kawaii Bento by Li Ming Lee, the creator of the Bento Monsters blog. This beautiful hardcover book is filled with adorable lunch creations, bento making techniques, tutorials, and recipes.

I have long admired the skill and creativity with which Ming packs lunches for her two boys. Her lunches are amazing and look like small works of art. If you have not visited, you should head over there to see Ming's lunches. I was so excited to open this book and see how easy it was to follow the step-by-step tutorials to re-create some of these lunches. My son and I looked through the book to decide which lunch we should try and create. He requested the Hot Dog Bread on page 186. Oh my goodness, have you ever seen a hot dog look so cute?
The tutorial calls for making your own bread dough to form the dog. I had to prepare this lunch the night before my son took it to school because it took more time than I usually have in the morning for making lunches. It was well worth the extra time. There were eleven separate pictures to go with the tutorial. That made it easy to make this little cute dog in the lunch I packed. My son thought it was adorable. When I make lunches for my son, they are often themed around a story we are reading. I had to make up a little story to go with this hot dog bread lunch. My lunch has a lettuce doggy bed for the sleeping hot dog bread, carrot sticks for playing fetch, a blueberry water bowl, yogurt raisins water, and a cheese stick bone.
The next lunch, I re-created from Yummy Kawaii Bento, was the Snail Sandwich. It took about ten minutes to pack this lunch and it turned out so cute! Again, the easy to follow directions made fixing this lunch a breeze.
The third lunch I wanted to make from this book was the Baby Bear lunch. It has been quite a while since I attempted to make an onigiri lunch. The little bear in Ming's lunch was so cute that I had to try to make it. I also wanted to make the Pork Carrot Patties from the recipe section of the book. Both the Baby Bear and the Pork Carrot Patties recipe were easy to follow.
Here is the lunch I made. It includes a baby bear onigiri (rice ball), lettuce, tomato, broccoli, plum slices, and Pork Carrot Patties. My son loved the Pork Carrot Patties.
I am looking forward to using Yummy Kawaii Bento to add some interesting flavors and characters to my son's lunches. You can purchase your own copy of Yummy Kawaii Bento on

Monday, September 14, 2015

Roald Dahl Day Bento Blog Hop

Bento Bloggers & Friends are celebrating Roald Dahl's birthday with a Roald Dahl Day blog hop. By clicking on the Roald Dahl Day button at the end of this post, you can hop over to see the special Dahl lunch Astrid, from Lunches Fit For Kid, made to celebrate the day. The button will appear on each blog in the hop. Click the button on each blog's post to hop to the next one.

Boogs and I have read many Roald Dahl books together. There is no doubt that Dahl's writing can be a bit creepy but that is part of what makes it so much fun to read. We recently finished reading The Witches. It tells the story of the most horrible creatures on Earth - the Witches. Witches live their lives among ordinary people but they are anything but ordinary. The boy in this story, no name given, learns all about witches from his Norwegian Grandmamma. While on holiday with his Grandmamma, the boy finds himself trapped in a room with almost 100 child-hating witches. They do the unthinkable and turn the boy into a mouse. The witches plan to turn all of the children of England into mice so they can be exterminated by their own teachers and parents. It is up to one little mouse and his Grandmamma to save the day. Boogs and I enjoyed the overall story, but parts of it were rather terrifying. I would not read it with younger kiddos. Here is the lunch I made to go with The Witches.
In the ELB lunchbox: pb&j sandwich bottle of the Witch's Formula 86, boy-turned-mouse cheese with raisin eyes/nose & pepitas ears, gnarly witch-like claw rising out of berries, pretzel rod wall with cheese curtains that the boy-turned-mouse slinked around to avoid notice, broccoli treetops where the boy hid from a witch, and raisins.

Boogs and I also read Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes. This book is a collection of retold fairy tales in rhyming verse. Since these were retold by Dahl, the events that happened to the fairy tale characters are quite a bit different than what we are used to reading. I made this lunch to go with the last two tales in the book - Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf and The Three Little Pigs.
In Dahl's version of Little Red Riding Hood, Red says the usual, "What big ears you have, what big eyes you have." But, instead of talking about teeth, Red says, "But Grandma, what a lovely great big furry coat you have on." Then Red shoots the wolf and trades in her red hooded cape for a wolfskin coat. A little while later, another wolf goes after the Three Little Pigs. After the wolf eats the first two pigs, the last pig calls on Red for help. Red kills the Big Bad Wolf with one shot and helps herself to the pig. The last lines of The Three Little Pigs are: "Not only has two wolfskin coats, But when she goes from place to place, She has a PIGSKIN TRAVELING CASE." These were definitely revolting rhymes!
In the Laptop Lunchbox: Little Red Riding Hood Babybel Cheese in her dried seaweed wolfskin coat with almond butter & jelly body,  pretzel twigs, snack crackers straw, salami pigskin traveling case, broccoli/tomato/radish forest, dried apricot sunshine, and a marshmallow.

I hope you enjoyed our Roald Dahl Day lunches. Just click the button to hop over to Lunches Fit For Kid.
Bento Bloggers & Friends are celebrating Roald Dahl's birthday with a Roald Dahl Day blog hop. By clicking on the Roald Dahl Day button at the end of this post, you can hop over to see the special Dahl lunch Astrid from Lunches Fit For Kid has made. The button will appear on each blog in the hop. Click the button on each blog's post to hop to the next one.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Big Boy Toys

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and Boogs went dirt bike riding on a friend's property. That was all it took to put an entire chain of events in motion that led to this:
Boogs can now ride on his very own dirt bike. He is really enjoying it.

A motorcycle school for kids, Iron Horse Country Ranch, closed down at the end of summer. The owner is selling off his inventory of dirt bikes for very low prices. We spent a few hours out at the school choosing one bike for Boogs and one for my husband and I to share (train on). My husband plans on eventually getting a bigger bike for himself.
We ended up getting a 70cc dirt bike and a 100cc dirt bike. The owner of the school sold us chest plates, gloves, helmets, and googles as a package deal for $25 for each of us. That was unbelievable. We are borrowing a friend's trailer for now while we figure out what kind of trailer we need to have.
The day after we bought the dirt bikes, we had to clean out the garage to make room for them.
It was a big job that took most of the day. But we were able to get the trailer (it folds up, so cool!) and the dirt bikes in the garage. I finally agreed to get rid of the sand/water table and little play kitchen that Boogs outgrew several years ago. We took a bunch of stuff to Goodwill and sold some other things. I can't believe how much room we have in our garage.
We are looking forward to the weekend to ride. Yes, we know the tire on the smaller bike is flat. It went flat on a test drive but it was the bike in the best condition so we took it home.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will not become frequent patients at the ER. We are planning on taking lessons in the near future.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall