Monday, January 10, 2011

Bento: Mini-Obsession Day 2:

so, I’ve shared my little muffin-tin mini-obsession.  this easily led into the exciting and more complex land of bento.  never heard of bento?  melissa at “another lunch” explains it best:

What is "bento"?
Bento is a way of packing meals in a compact way in a single container. Bentos should be visually appealing and be comprised of assorted foods - smaller portions of each, but providing more variety over all.

Why pack their lunch like that? What's wrong with regular old baggies?
I pack my kids' meals this way because we think it is fun! Their whole meal is presented to them at once, similar to how a meal would be on a plate. I have found that they eat more of their food this way, since they don't have baggies and several containers to fuss with or get in their way, there is no packaging that is tricky to open. I also like that their lunches are waste-free. A box of sandwich baggies lasts my family of six a whole year! Less waste is not only good for the environment, but it saves money too! :)

Doesn't all the food get all jumbled up after you close the bento box up?
By packing the food compactly there is less space for the food to move around.  It's important to use a bento box that is the right size, not too big, so that it can be packed fully with food.  Both my bento-carrying son and daughter have lunchboxes that hold their food upright, rather than on the side, which I think helps keep food from shifting too.

she (melissa) has such a super cute blog!  even the title is cute!  see?

another lunch

let me show you a few of my favorite bentos:

Chemo Duck ribbon bento

this was a special design to promote awareness of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and the Chemo Duck program.

PlanetBox cars & bunnies & fruit

another think I loved about the bentos on melissa’s site is they’re not all themed – it’s really about packing good food in a beautiful way to enjoy eating lunch!  isn’t that an awesome concept?

now – we homeschool. . . so that leaves me packing my husband a “cute little lunch” (this will not fly with him) or packing lunches that we open and eat at the kitchen table.  hmm…. still – that could be fun, right?  but… I haven’t even done ONE, yet.  mini-obsession has passed – for the moment. : )

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Link-ups: Day 1

My first link-up!  I’m psyched!  it’s like I’m a “real” blogger! (hee-hee)

I’ve been thinking lots about some goals for this year.  sometimes (in my life) I just go with the flow, without setting goals. . . and there have been times I’ve been majorly committed to something and have used goals to maintain my motivation in reaching those goals.  BUT I absolutely HATE to NOT REACH my goals. . . ESPECIALLY if they’ve been written down somewhere or if I’ve told someone, so this blogging of goals is especially hard for me!  I guarantee in the past if I would’ve listed goals online (whether or not anyone has even read them) and didn’t meet them, I would delete them as if they didn’t even exist!  so, this year will hold new challenges just in the goal-setting/achieving alone!
here it goes, then,
NEW YEAR’S GOALS, 2011
  1. begin/maintain B90; reading through the Bible word-for-word in 90 days.  will post more on this later.
  2. begin/maintain a personal blog.  including learning the ins and outs of blogging and finding my voice and what my niche may be in this big, bad, blogosphere.
  3. begin/maintain a budget for our household.  hubby makes the money, I need to be more responsible for where it goes after it hits the bank!
  4. learn to live on cash (inspired by dave ramsey)
  5. get out of debt (outside of my student loan <ugh> and our mortgage)
  6. de-clutter my house of all the “stuff” that is slowly suffocating us all.  get the “stuff” down to the things that are necessary, things that are particularly enjoyable, and things that are uplifting to our lifestyle as conservative Christians.
  7. begin/maintain some sort of physical fitness for myself and encourage/inspire my children to be more physically active.
  8. create/purchase/find/assemble some sort of daily learning activities for my 2yo as she is now ready and willing to do some daily activities (explore montessori more?)
  9. find time to stretch my creative-muscles.  it’s been so long since I drew/threw/made something just for the joy of making. (“threw” refers to clay!)
  10. be more purposefully present in the lives of my children; my son will be 10 this year!  I don’t want to lose the connection I’ve built as I have a toddler demanding attention, too, now.  I just want to simply ENJOY being with them – childhood will be gone all too quickly and I don’t want to regret my preoccupations with things that simply aren’t important in the grand scheme of things.

I'm linked over at "List it, Link it" at "A Heart for Home" - check it out!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Muffin Tin Meals: Mini-Obsession Day 1:

I first learned about Muffin Tin Meals at the site, Muffin Tin Mom way back in august 2010.  I thought it was so cute, so fun, and such an easy way to use up small bits of food lingering in the fridge without looking like a random meal to the kiddos.

What exactly is a Muffin Tin Meal?  This is directly from the Muffin Mom, Michelle, herself:

Simply stated, it's a meal served in a muffin tin. Over the last two years, moms have become creative with their offerings (myself included).  However, I want to be sure you know that there is no right or wrong way to make a muffin tin meal. As long as a meal, snack or dessert is served in a muffin tin (patty pan, muffin pan, cupcake tin, etc.), silicone muffin cups, paper muffin cups it is considered a muffin tin meal.

ok – so how fun does this sound?  Let me show you a couple of my favorite pics I’ve been inspired by:

 “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”

MTM Hello Kitty

so cute!  hello, kitty – of course!

(I cannot find the link to this one)

and I really loved the REASONS the Muffin Tin Mom gives for serving meals this way:

  • breaks up the normal lunch time routine
  • great for picky toddlers and preschoolers
  • muffin cups provide smaller kid-sized portions
  • a way to introduce new foods in smaller sizes and in an interesting way
  • a way for me to express culinary creativity

so, allow me share my one (and only) try at Muffin Tin Meals (remember, I tend to get really excited about something, purchase large quantities of “needed” supplies, and the quickly burn out).

070

as you can see, I didn’t even own a 6 cup muffin tin, so the kids got “round meals” (not square meals, har har).

ok, so a little goofy looking – which is what prompted me to invest in cute muffin cups, fun food picks and plastic chopsticks. . . which haven’t ever been used at all.  (frown)

but, never fear!  this introduction to cute meals quickly spawned a new fascination: bento!  I’ll introduce you to my bento mini-obsession in my next post.

Blogging: Day 6

well – it’s official.  I missed a day of my blogging commitment.  poo.

actually, late last night I thought to log on, but my mind convinced me that I had ALREADY been on that morning!  is my mind against me?  hmm. . .

But – I did do a lot of planning and thinking!  I’ve decided to do a series of 28 posts of some things I’D like to read about on another blog . . . in fact, a lot of them I DID read about on others’ blogs – so I’ll be including that info as I go through my “twentyeightdays of mini-obsessions.”

I feel a bit like this illustration – I have an idea, I research it, I usually spend $$ on it, and then (unfortunately) I leave it and move on. . .

maybe I will inspire someone to try something new?  maybe I will shock myself with my inane collection of ideas?  we’ll see. . .

Monday, January 3, 2011

Living on Cash: Day 8

ok, so I was blessed to be able to leave my teaching job and homeschool our kids as of september ‘09.  don’t get me wrong, I love teaching, and I love the age-group I was working with (7th-12th) at our local Christian high school.  and I love teaching art!  but, I couldn’t rationalize sending my kids (at that time a 3rd grader and a 1yo) somewhere all day long to be watched by someone else while I spent my whole day watching kids besides my own!  and, realistically, the tuition payment for my son plus the full day of daycare for my daughter cancelled out any salary I was making.  (remember I was at a Christian school, so the salary was about 1/2 public school).

my husband is wonderfully supportive and his salary allows us the option of me working or not, so adding another baby brought the idea up again of me staying home.

now, back to the cash-only idea.  mr. man gets paid ONCE a month, at the end of the month.  historically, I will sit down and pay ALL the bills for the next month and then we live on what’s left – with no plan of designated savings, spendings, whatever.

then I started reading dave ramsey’s total money makeover

(confession:  I purchased this book in 2004 when my son was in preK3 and NEVER even cracked it open!  sat it on a shelf and then started reading it about a month ago.  i have sufficiently kicked myself over and over for not reading it sooner!)  he spells out 7 baby steps to get out of debt and live it up as a retiree.  the pre-step to the 7 steps is to  make a zero-balance budget.  this is where you assign EVERY DOLLAR to a specific place or category and then you have a plan for every dollar to be used the way you want!  so, I did – and it was EYE OPENING to see where the money was (and wasn’t) going!  tomorrow I’ll post a bit about where we put all this moola - my cash envelopes.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Blogging: Day 3

blah.  I’ve decided I’m not a blogger of random thoughts.  I’m actually a bit stressed out just thinking about what to write!  I got this image in an email today, and as beautiful as the sentiment is, the thought of a big, empty, new, white book is sooo intimidating! 
new year
I’m a (former) high school art teacher (now homeschooling my own) and I LOVE an empty sketchbook.  love to feel the pages, to think about what will go in there, to dream up these fantastic designs. . .BUT when I actually go to put something in those pages, I get so frustrated ‘cause I want it to be PERFECT!  but, truthfully, once I put in some time and effort, I grow to love the sketchbook and cherish all the memories it holds.  hopefully this blog will be like that new blank sketchbook and I’ll grow to love it, too.
so – on that note – on to new adventures!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Blogging: Day 2

blog-wordle
ok ok ok – here it is, day 2 and I’m back!  go, me!  I’ve spent some time today learning about blogging basics from a site I frequent, I <3 naptime.  such an awesome post for a newbiddity-newbie like me! 
so, basically today I’ve been thinking and preparing to be a better blogger than I originally thought. . . tweaking this and that to make the blog easier to search, read, comment on. . .oh, and also picking out a background I liked on the cutest blog on the block

also, I’m figuring out windows live writer and how to use hyperlinks (impressed?)
lest you think I’m only interested in blogging, do not fear!  (in fact, I’m not much interested in the actual blogging at all – I’m not a fan of writing, remember?)  the blog is just the vehicle to transport my many crazy and wonderful ideas to make the best use of any given four weeks.  stick around, I’ll be adding more 28-day adventures very very soon!