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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Back to School Lunch Ideas and Clothes: Everyday Bento Book Review & More!

Disclosure: Tuttle Publishing gave me a copy of this book free of charge for this review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. They also sent me a copy to giveaway! As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation. I am a Little Passport and a Gymboree Affiliate. If you purchase from the Gymboree or Little Passports links provided I will earn a small commission.  

Are your kids back to school yet? Here in Massachusetts we have between one to two weeks more to go in general, but there is a lot of buzz about the start of school. I also know my Facebook news feed is full of those first day picture from friends across the country. Well I know as a mother there are two things on our minds besides those school supply lists we all get from the teachers--school lunch ideas and new school clothes. I remember as a child going back to school shopping. I always looked forward to it. Since Hazel wears a uniform to school we do not worry so much about back to school clothes as we do just new fall clothes. This summer she definitely grew in fact many people have commented on how much taller she seems as the summer winds down, so she has changed sizes again. This meant a few trips to Gymboree for new fall clothes. But first lets talk about those lunches. 

School Lunches


Have you caught the Bento lunch craze? I am always amazed by the creative lunches people have shared at Sharing Saturday. I have featured them a few times. Well Tuttle Publishing sent me a copy of Everyday Bento by Wendy Thorpe Copley.


http://www.tuttlepublishing.com/books-by-country/everyday-bento-paperback-with-flaps

Hazel and I love looking through at all the amazing looking lunches in the book. We decided to try one. First I had to find an appropriate container. I did not want to spend too much on it since I know I am not going to be an every day Bento making mother. I found a container that would work for pretty reasonable price at Target. We decided to make the Under the Sea Bento Lunch in the book. 



Now my first two complaints about Bento lunches and the ideas in this book is that you often have to find a substitute based on what your child likes and the number of special tools, containers, etc. needed for some of the lunches. However since we had not actually planned to make it the day we did. I did not have kiwi and our tortilla chips were all broken into small pieces (and were not blue), so we substituted cucumber sea stars and goldfish crackers and raspberries to get some fruit in there. As I was looking at the various pages in the book I thought it would be fun to have some corresponding lunch box notes to go with the fun lunches and some to go with fun times from our summer like our themed play dates, so I made some and you can download them for personal use. If you want to share them, please only share the link to this page. I made them business card size and they can be printed out on business card sheets.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8PVW7zBWFxsU0pLWHVOamZOTWc/view?usp=sharing
Now the lunches in this book are adorable and the instructions are very clear and easy to follow. Like I said my biggest problem was looking at each one and finding foods Hazel (who is not that picky of an eater) would eat and still have the same look. Here are some sample meals from the Tuttle website along with the note card I would pick to go with it. The last Bento lunch is for adults so I shared all the notes there. The first Bento lunch is actually meant for Valentine's Day so I would also consider using the heart note as well.



Aren't these lunches just adorable? I have to say that making these lunches takes more time than I normally spend on lunch (they are definitely make the night before lunches) and I also did not like the waste of vegetables and fruit used to make the special shapes. However I am also the crazy woman who made two fruit Christmas trees a couple of years ago for Hazel's class parties when there were different kids in the class on Wednesday and Thursday. They took a long time and there was plenty of waste. I could see making these lunches for special days or when a child needs a pick-me-up. I am in awe of all the moms that make them for every day!! However Everyday Bento has some fun ideas for both boys and girls as well as adults!

Little Passports has teamed up with Wendy Copley, one of their Blog Ambassadors and author of Everyday Bento: 50 Cute and Yummy Lunches to Go, to bring you an amazing Back to School Bento Box! Be sure to check it out on Little Passports' blog! It has the full instructions to make it.
http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?B=763846&U=1132131&M=32333&urllink=
Image Source
  Now of course the other issue is what to bring the lunch in. We bought a matching lunchbox and backpack last year at Gymboree when they were on clearance, but Hazel has really wanted some of this year's. We love that the lunchbox clips onto the backpack. It makes for easy carrying all around.


Cherry Polka Dot Lunchbox - $16.95

100% polyester. Zip close. Hard front and back to protect food. Clips to matching backpack. Spot clean; imported. Collection Name: Uniform Shop.


Cherry Polka Dot Backpack - $16.99

Retail Price: $28.95
You Save: $11.96




Back to School Clothes


Now for our fall clothes I like to get ready for the cooler weather that comes too quickly in New England. Although I have been enjoying the hot days, I know once school starts the cool weather will quickly follow. I also have already been buying the short sleeved clothes in the next size this summer because I saw that she was starting to grow. We bought a collection of long sleeved or three-quarter sleeved shirts and skirts as well as an adorable sweatshirt and fall jacket. Hazel was kind enough to model them for me during a heat wave.


The first outfit is the Long Sleeve Dancer Tee and the Sparkle Tutu in lavender and the matching Sparkle Tulle Headband. Hazel LOVES this headband!! She wore it two days in a row because it is comfortable and cute. I actually bought her the blue Sparkle Tulle Headband.

The second outfit is Everyday Dress Up line. We LOVE this line. We even went back and bought more of it including the Zebra Hoodie. We love that it has ears on it!! The girl sizes hardly ever have the ears and Hazel gets so jealous of the toddler sizes. Plus it can be worn with the short sleeve Sequin Zebra Tee that I bought her earlier this summer with the matching Zebra Skirt.
However the Everyday Dress Up line has the Long Sleeve Zebra Tee, the black Sparkle Tutu and the Zebra Ears Headband. We also bought the Long Sleeve Cat Tee and we have the  Glitter Cat Ears Headband from last year. They also have an adorable Cat Sherpa Hoodie to go with the cat outfit and the hoodie has ears as well, but we liked the zebra since it was so different. I didn't get a picture of Hazel in the cat tee yet, but here is a picture from Gymboree. Hazel always loves clothes like these that are like wearing a costume but much more comfortable. These outfits also make great Halloween costumes for kids with sensitivities!
Long Sleeve Cat Tee
Now onto the third outfit (I am sharing it again so you do not have to scroll up). Hazel is wearing the three-quarter sleeve Striped Flower Tee and the Geo Floral Skirt. She also has on the blue Sparkle Tulle Headband. I mentioned before.
In the fourth picture Hazel is modeling her new fall coat. She picked it out from two choices. She liked the bow. She picked the Ponte Coat. It matches the Plush Puppy Purse we got with our Gymboree Awards earlier this month. We also liked the Quilted Moto Jacket.

Now even more exciting is the sale going on at Gymboree. Through Sunday almost everything is $16.99 and under and everything is on sale! So instead of dragging the kids out shopping, sit back and order their back-to-school and/or fall outfits now at home! Then enjoy the rest of their summer vacation with them!

Gymboree Sale On Now!

So I hope this helps you with some back to school worries. Check out Everyday Bento and buy your kids' clothes at Gymboree from home today! Then you will be all set to make their first day or any day an extra special one!