Friday, April 30, 2010

Laptop Lunches update

Laptop Lunch System - Primary

If you are considering the purchase of a Laptop Lunch Box, you should know that the original (1.0) bento sets have been discontinued and are on sale now. Inner containers and replacement parts will still be available, so a bento 1.0 is still a great option.

We've had original bentos for nearly two years, and they still look like new. Initially, we used them to pack picnic lunches during the summer and a few times during the preschool year (3 or 4 lunches total - for both kids and a parent or two). Now that my kids are are eating lunch at school, I pack lunches every day. Since we have 4 bento sets, the boxes don't get used quite as often - and we always have a clean set on hand! However, we could easily use one set per child with an extra set of inner containers or just one set per child and wash each day. By the way, ours go through the dishwasher 98% of the time.

In case you wonder what's replacing the original bento, it's the bento 2.0 - and I've compared them here. I think either one is a great choice. nb - If you are considering the 1.0, I strongly recommend adding the stainless utensils. We've also used Zoo Pals plasticware that we already had on hand, which fits nicely into the utensil section of the bento.

Don't forget to use my discount code, momsmagic, at checkout!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chocolate heaven!

A few weeks ago, we placed our first order from Peanut Free Planet. You guessed it - it's an online store for all kinds of peanut-free products. It was KWFA "Freeling Friday" when we ordered - a portion of our purchase was donated to Kids With Food Allergies. As part of this special day, we also received coupons, samples, and a reusable tote bag with our order.

Our entire family was looking forward to "the day the truck brings the chocolate." Miss M asked about several trucks we saw while out and about - "Is that the truck with my chocolate?" Of course we couldn't wait to dig in when the chocolate (and other items) arrived!

We had our order shipped in a cooler because, until the day it arrived, the weather had been quite warm. We certainly didn't want our chocolate melted when we opened it!

Big J was very excited about the chocolate bars - and this one is huge! Also, it's delicious!

I wanted to get something special for Miss M, since she is the one that misses out on the most due to her food allergies. This chocolate unicorn fit the bill - perfectly girly, and I love that it comes tied with ribbon!

We also miss out on many granola bars, trail mixes, and cereals due to peanut/nut ingredients and potential cross-contamination. Most packs of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds that you find in grocery stores also carry a peanut/nut warning. I can't tell you how exciting it is to have two pounds of safe sunflower seeds and a huge assortment of snack-size packs of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and soy nuts on hand now. The kids nearly inhaled this bag of pumpkin seeds!
Notice the tear on the left side of the bag.... They let me taste a few - yum! I'm really looking forward to adding the sunflower seeds to salads and homemade granola bars. I just wish the pumpkin seeds came in larger packages!

This is just a portion of what we received (between our actual order and all of the samples). I'll be glad to include a list if anyone is interested in more details. We haven't yet tried everything, but so far we have enjoyed everything that we have tried.

One thing I'm really looking forward to is trying out the marshmallow fluff! The kind in the regular grocery has egg, and Miss M hasn't been cleared for eggs. Of course, now that I have it in hand, what to make? Wonder if Mom's Fantasy Fudge recipe will work... Fluffernutters? Of course, they'd be fluffer no-nutters here! A friend has a yummy apple dip that calls for cream cheese, marshmallow fluff, and caramel dip. The kids would probably eat it by the spoonful!!!

We also received several samples of peanut butter replacements. I'm planning to taste-test these with the kids and write up a post with the results. We currently use soy butter, but not the same brand that was included in the samples. We will also try sunflower seed butter and pea butter (made from, you guessed it, peas!). I'm very interested to sample the products, and I hope the kids will enjoy helping me with the tasting.

Just a little over a month to go until Miss M's next appointment with the allergist. While I'm not looking forward to the appointment - it's time for retesting for her allergies - I am looking forward to the results. I'm hopeful that we'll find out that Miss M has outgrown the egg allergy, but I don't want to get too optimistic. On the flip side, I don't want to be too pessimistic, but I do have to be realistic. The chance of outgrowing the egg allergy is pretty good. The chance of outgrowing the peanut allergy is small. Still, I hope for good news.

This post is also linked to Food on Fridays hosted by Ann Kroeker.

Please Pray

for Jonah, Patrice, and Matt today.

Updates here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Today's Lunch

Romaine lettuce (I was out of spinach), leftover London broil with tomatoes, mushrooms, and bacon (from Dream Dinners), blue cheese, homemade balsamic vinaigrette, and a few crackers.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Guest posting today...

over here!

(text follows)

Smarty Find: momAgenda

If you're looking for a unique Mother's Day gift, or a hint to offer your husband, be sure to check out this recent Smarty Find by TSP loyal reader RLR:

I’m a pen-and-paper girl when it comes to my calendar. I’ve spent many years calendar-hopping, rarely using any type of calendar more than once. I been using a momAgenda for nine months now, and I’m ready to order my next one for 2010-2011. I have the Desktop style, a 17-month calendar that runs August-December, and I’ve added a momAgenda pocket inside the front cover to hold tickets, invitations, blank note cards, and stamps. It has plenty of room for all of my “to-dos” and appointments, the details of my kids’ school events and activities, and my husband’s work and on-call schedule – without looking cluttered. Just one more of the many reasons I love my momAgenda - it still looks nearly as good as the day I bought it! There are no bent corners, no stains from spilled drinks, and no torn-out pages. It’s sturdy, functional, and wrapped in a pretty package. I think I’ll get turquoise next!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I don't fancy myself the cool, music-scene type, but I do enjoy a variety of music. This is one of my favorites of late - I kept their latest CD, The Outsiders, in my mommy-van CD player for longer than I care to admit. And now, I wish I'd purchased their earlier albums, too. Check out this version of Something Beautiful by NeedToBreathe. (Apologies for the short ad before the video - beyond my control.)

(Have I mentioned I went to high school with the oldest brother of one of the band members? No? And believe it or not, I am pretty sure that is not how I found out about the band.... Also, for what it's worth, I'm two degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon.)

(Did any of that boost my cool factor?!? No? Rats...)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Child's Play

Our toy room is in major need of sorting, purging, and organizing. I need some inspiration for several reasons. The main reason is because I'm sentimental -I remember where nearly every toy/book/outfit came from, especially if they were gifts. While I'm thankful that I have such a great memory, this makes it very hard for me to part with things.

I came across a few toy-themed blog posts last week that I think will help me with this next big project. Take a few moments to click on the links; hopefully they will be just the motivation you need if your toy room is also too full of fun.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Becoming Minimalist - This post is perfectly timed, as I have an overflowing toy room to deal with very soon.

Triad Smarty Pants - I was fortunate to be able to hear this guest blogger speak at an event in March, and I have to tell you that what he shared has already changed my parenting style. Not completely, but small (important!) changes for the better. It's making a difference for my children and for me.

Muffin Tin Mom - I can totally relate to this post. Especially the part about pulling out your childhood Legos to share with your children.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday Thanks #25

It's been a loooong time since I've written one of these. Way too long. I can't promise this is the start of an every Thursday post, but I'm glad to be sharing these things with you today.

This week, I'm thankful for:

1) My husband's help with the quarterly clean-out of the garage. We got rid of some junk, hauled off a good bit of cardboard for recycling, did some organizing, and I have regained my parking spot.

2) Allergy medicine. I have had some issues with the pollen, which has been much worse than usual this spring. I think I've finally found something that works.

3) The compliments I received about Mister J's reading skills from two teachers and an administrator. He was reading to them while waiting for me to pick him up from school earlier this week.

4) Miss M's two really great days at school this week. She doesn't usually have bad days, but I know it's been a really good day if the teacher mentions it at pick-up.

5) Sunshine! I was able to go out for a wog this morning, and although I'm feeling it a bit now, it sure was nice to get outside and move.

6) Friends who are there for you when plans change on the spur of the moment.

That's what's filling me up this week. What about you?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

'Cause I've been sneezy...

Oh, yes, pollen season is here - at about 150% of the normal count. I've been stuffy, sneezy, and generally miserable until today. I'm only about 75% better, but considering how bad the pollen has been, I'd say that's pretty good.

I'm working on two guest posts for a local mommy-blog, and also managed a phono-photo on-the-go this afternoon - it's featured here, on Esbee's blog.

Local blog-readers - or those who wish you lived in our pollen-y but beautiful part of the world - Esbee's blog always has some major scoopage on what's going on in our city. Looking to adopt a fur-baby? She's got the 411 on the latest, cutest arrivals at the animal shelter. And then there are the ice cream scoops updates, Etsy favorites, and the contests - I love "And I mean EXACT..."

Speaking of games... If you are a local, another game (that I made up) is "How many degrees of separation are you from Esbee?" She knows everyone. So I'm thinking you are about 3 degrees of separation, at most.

Friday, April 9, 2010

If you wonder about scrapbooking...

If you ever wonder why I want to get caught up on my kids' scrapbooks - or why anyone would even want to scrapbook - hop on over to Katherine's blog and take a look at this post. It's a lovely post. Just looking at the photos gives me the same feeling as my hectic, non-stop days. The words are simple, but really express how I feel, too.

Thanks, Katherine, for putting it into words!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The $20 T-Shirt

I went shopping today, and when I got home I got a hug from my husband for buying 5 new t-shirts. They were not for him, they were for me. Yes, my friends, the clothing situation around here had gotten so bad that Big J was glad I went shopping for clothes.

"How?" you ask. It's not a budget thing. It's an I-hate-clothes-shopping thing. To be more specific, I hate to buy clothes for myself. They never fit "right." I hate the size on the tag. It doesn't look good on me. I don't want to pay that much for a shirt/skirt/pair of jeans. That's the biggest reason I've spent the last 6 years in t-shirts and jeans/shorts - I hate to pay a lot for clothes, and I can typically find t-shirts that are inexpensive (under $10).

I had a little extra time this morning between an appointment and preschool pick-up, so I stopped into a clothing store to look for some t-shirts. Most of the t-shirts were on sale for $6.99 - yeah! I found a few colors that I thought I could wear without looking like I bought the same shirts from the last two summers all over again, and then I saw some t-shirts with (mostly) monochromatic designs on the front. I picked up a few of those, too, and it was off to the fitting rooms. I wasn't wild about how the t-shirts fit, but - hello - they were only $7, they are just t-shirts, and if they aren't as thin as tissue paper, I'm happy. Can't be too picky.

And then ... then I tried on the dark grey t-shirt with the black design. I loved it. I have no pants/shorts to wear with it, and it's too hot for jeans, but I loved it. And then I looked at the price tag. $20! $20? Really? Because it's just a t-shirt. When I took my 'rejects' back to the rack, I got a bit of good news. The $20 t-shirt was on sale for $11.99. Still more that I usually pay for a t-shirt, but I decided to get it anyway. Once I was home, it got a thumbs up from Big J, who found it amusing that I thought $20 was too expensive for a t-shirt.

So, friends, do I have a skewed sense of how much I should spend on clothing?

I really do think the What Not To Wear folks should come and help me out. I truly believe they would take every item out of my closet. Every one. Even the two pairs of jeans I have (that I think fit me well, by the way). Oh, and they would probably leave my new running clothes that I got a few weeks back (now those weren't cheap, but man, they were a good investment - talk about wicking away the moisture - I had no idea - but I digress). Maybe they'd leave 2 or 3 pairs of shoes. I know there wouldn't be much left. And that might not be a bad thing....

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter 2010

The kids were on Spring Break Tuesday-Friday, so we decided to do a little traveling. While the first day of break was filled with laundry, dentist appointments, and an oil change for the mommy-van, we spent the end of Spring Break with Grandma and Grandpa R. While we were there, we went to a great children's museum, visited with friends we hadn't seen in quite a while, celebrated Big J's birthday, and celebrated Easter!

I took lots of photos, and am pleased with how many of them turned out good enough to print for the kids' scrapbooks. I am really enjoying my new camera! Here are just a few snapshots from our weekend.

I found this cute photo spot on the grounds outside of the children's museum. Did you notice that boo-boo on Mister J's knee? Miss M also scored one a little later in the weekend.

Speaking of Miss M, I think I've mentioned that she doesn't pose for the camera. This was the best I could get - looking at the family off to my left, one shoe off and one on - but I still think it's really cute, and really does capture Miss M.

Ready for the Sunday morning Easter Egg Hunt! Grandma and Grandpa R have such a great yard for hiding eggs - lots of bushes, flowers, and trees!

They also have much more color in their yard than we do in ours, so it was lots of fun for me to be able to camouflage the eggs! One of my fondest Easter memories is hunting eggs in my parents' yard when I was a little girl - finding an orange one hidden under a leaf on the ground, finding green ones camouflaged in the stems of daffodils, and other very creative ways to hide them.

Miss M found her first egg! There were three hidden in this flower bed - all pink! And these were especially for Miss M. One contained a dollar bill, one a dollar coin, and one a quarter. Mister J had a matching set. We sent the kids off in different directions at the start of the hunt, towards their 'special' eggs.

Yes, there was a yellow egg hidden in there! Grandpa R and I hid about 4 dozen plastic eggs in the backyard, all filled with Easter treats!

And here are the kids, checking out their eggs! They were surprised to find the money - and Miss M was very excited to find some chocolate (something we often have to skip due to her food allergies).

I especially love this photo of Miss M. She's usually all go, no quit, so it's nice to catch a relatively quiet moment.

The weather was lovely, and we all enjoyed being outside (though we all manged to get sunburnt!). We also enjoyed the time we had to visit with friends and family. It was a reminder to me that I need to leave space on my calendar to get away from the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day 'stuff' and perhaps even step away from our technology gadgets every now and then. It's easy to forget what that peacefulness feels like - and friends, it is wonderful.

Hope you had a lovely Easter Weekend!