Friday, November 23, 2012

Fall Themed Bentos

This is Thanksgiving weekend and although it's going to be in the 80's here in Southern California I am starting to plan themes for winter lunches. At this stage in the game my girls refuse to eat anything other than peanut butter sandwiches or some variation.
In order to move ahead I thought I would take a look back, and share, some of the fall themed lunches I made this year. 
For your consideration-
 Fall leaves with raisins, apple cut as leaf, crackers with cheese. Sandwiches are painted using the cans of food coloring in an airbrush technique. Apple was cut using a metal cookie cutter. I used the Box and matching bag by Natural Leaf

 Owl and batts, with letter cookies, craizens and pretzels. Owl is hand painted, candy eyes were sprayed with yellow food coloring. Box and matching bag by Natural Leaf

 All sorts of pumpkins. Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin and chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin candy, pumpkin stick, and an apple. Box and bag by Natural Leaf

 A no so creepy eyeball sandwich, cheese and crackers, gummy worms, dried apples and juice. Eye was made with a round cookie cutter and hand painted details. Hello Kitty box with snap on lid by Sanrio.

 Day of the Dead Lunches- with popcorn mix, apple and mini-snickers bar. Sandwiches made with a Krust Remover and the skulls were hand painted with food coloring.  Sandwich boxes from Target $1 spot, pink have hello kitty on them, green have Pixie Hollow fairies.

 Zombie Attack! Headstone and grave sandwich with hand pick, crumbled cookie soil, granola bar, apples, and laffy taffy. Box and matching bag by Natural Leaf

 Frankensandwich- with candy eyes. Box and matching bag by Natural Leaf

 Ghostly lunch- ghost and pumpkin sandwiches with trail-mix and grapes on a skewer. Hello Kitty box with snap on lid by Sanrio.

 Pilgram and pumpkin sandwiches- (gummy bears in small mushroom box) cliff bar, dried apples, popcorn, yogurt drink, and juice. Hello Kitty Sandwich boxes from Target $1 spot.

Pavo! Turkey sandwich, pumpkin pick, chocolate covered raisins. Silicone cup from

White Girl Bento Lunches pt. 2

Not all of the lunches I have made for the 5yo have gone well.
#1 on my D'Oh! List-

This was a princess themed lunch that started out alright. I was just learning how to use the spray color, and my airbrush skills have never been very good so the princess turned out a bit messy. Another misstep was the sprinkles on the fruit. It seemed like a good idea at the time but by the time my daughter opened it up to eat they had melted from the moisture of the fruit.
 Detail of messy sandwich
 #2 iPhone sandwich- The kids love playing with my iPhone so I thought this would be a cute idea. I guess the idea is OK but the execution sucked! I made a template to use to spray the color but it slipped while I was working so the orange around the outside was not as crisp as it should have been and the "applications" were not a uniform size.
 #3 Zombie lunch- Again I had an issue with the sandwich because it just looked messy to me. I used a gingerbread man cookie cutter for the body and then painted it green with blood (on head and around mouth) and to add to the zombie look I cut off one of his arms. I still like this idea and will try it again next October but this time I will have had more practice and the painting will be better. I hope.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Putting a Twist on a Problem

OK. So I am trying to decide what I think about yesterday's decision about the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes.

Here is where I am as I post this-1) I truly believe both on a logical level and in my heart that people should have freedom of AND from religion.2) In order to insure this freedom we need to observe the separation of public (government) space and private space.3) It just seems like some old mannequins are silly and out dated but if people love them, why worry about it?4) To me the internal conflict comes down to the fact that people who have been brought up in the Christian faith are not easily offended by the religious images used at Christmas (even those of us who no longer observe) but there are plenty of people who are not Christian that may not find it all banal.
I decided I would complete an exercise and switch out key words in the LA Times article for comparable words from another religion. Here is what I came up with. Thoughts?
Edited Text From LA Times-In a sunny park overlooking the beach in Santa Monica, where a cool breeze blows in from the Pacific, the so-called war over Eid al-Adha has found it’s latest battlefield.Over almost six decades, a collection of Santa Monica's Muslim Mosques have re-created a giant Quran, the Islamic word Allah, a ram, and the pillars of The Sacred Mosque.But this year, there's no room in the park.Atheist groups objected to Muslim’s use of the public Palisades Park to espouse a religious message and applied to the city of Santa Monica for their own spaces.To keep it fair and legal, officials in the famously liberal city turned to a lottery to dole out spots in the prime location along Ocean Avenue.The atheists turned out to be the lucky ones: Of the 21 plots in the park open for displays, they won 18. A Jewish group that sets up a menorah won another.The Trials and Triumphs of the Prophet Abraham that once took 14 displays to tell — from the moment he was instructed by Allah in a dream to raise the foundations of Kaaba, a black stone, the most sacred Muslim shrine in Mecca (Saudi Arabia), which the Muslims face during their prayers (salat) all the way through the moment when Abraham was about to sacrifice Ishmael, Allah spared the boy's life and replaced him with a lamb — had to be abridged to three and crammed into two plots.Now, people walking down the sidewalk pass scenes of Abraham’s dream, The Sacred Mosque and the word "Eid Greetings." Then, a few yards away, a poster from American Atheists: "37 Million Americans Know MYTHS When They See Them. What do you see?"The debate in Santa Monica is one of several current disputes in the United States — and one of hundreds of such "seasonal violations" that atheist organizations have responded to in recent years. In Texas and Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, atheists are waging similar battles against Eid al-Adha scenes in government-owned places.As with the Trials and Triumphs of the Prophet Abraham in Santa Monica, the groups are upending decades-old traditions, leaving residents incensed over losing a staple of the season in their community."A small group of out-of-town atheists is trying to hijack Santa Monica's nearly 60-year-long Eid al-Adha tradition," said Hunter Jameson, chairman of the Santa Monica The Trials and Triumphs of the Prophet Abraham Scenes Committee, the group that works with more than a dozen mosques and civic groups to organize the display.Jameson said he intends to keep the The Trials and Triumphs of the Prophet Abraham tradition many have enjoyed since 1953 from being displaced. Palisades Park, he said, is the "historic home where it really belongs.""Their goal is getting rid of us, and squelching our 1st Amendment rights," said Jameson, 65, who no longer lives in Santa Monica but still worships at Lighthouse Mosque of Santa Monica.Patrick Elliott, a lawyer for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, said tradition is no excuse for violating the boundaries between mosque and state. "Just because they're long-standing doesn't mean they're right," he said.Indeed, Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, said December is a busy time for the organization's attorneys, who challenge the use of public spaces for religious messages."It's littering — literally, littering — these spaces," Gaylor said of such displays, which she said are a "territorial attempt by Muslims to impose their beliefs in this season.""That creates an atmosphere of intimidation," said Gaylor, who noted that the organization's banner was destroyed by vandals after being hung in Palisades Park. "Muslims are the insiders, and everyone else is an outsider."In Santa Monica, atheist Damon Vix called national organizations seeking help because he felt marginalized by the display, and tradition alone didn't merit saving it. Vix, a 43-year-old prop maker from Burbank, said the display "defines Santa Monica as a Muslim city, and I feel very excluded by that."Last year, he put up a display of his own: signs with quotes from Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln — quotes that his opponents say are of dubious veracity. (It's worth noting that both sides suspect the Founding Fathers would support them.)Others have complained that the atheists should at the very least come up with something more than a sign attached to a chain-link cage, and use more of the space they have been allotted. "I wish they had been more creative," one city councilman said.The Rev. Keith Magee, pastor of Trinity Baptist Mosque, said the atheists have deprived a coalition of Muslim faiths and the community (doctors, real estate agents and the Santa Monica Police Assn. are among the sponsors) of a tradition that allowed so many to come together to celebrate a belief so important to them."Why did they have to come to Santa Monica to do this?" said Magee, who added that he is grateful for what little space they have to share the story of Abraham’s story.Gaylor, on the other hand, offered greetings for what she called the real reason for the season: Merry Winter Solstice.

if you want to read the original article please go to

Sunday, November 18, 2012

White Girl Bento Lunches

This August the 5yo started Kindergarten and her twice monthly lunch from preschool became a daily challenge. I know this will sound crazy but prepped for months. Planning for her lunches was a way for me to feel prepared for this huge change to all our lives. I spent time picking up boxes here and there and other little items to embellish the lunches. As it happens, she is totally and completely dedicated to eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so one of the things I try to do is provide her some variation in other ways. At the start of the school year I decided to try to do something different each day (when possible). One aspect of this that I really love is that the two of us sit together at the start of the month and decide what days she will take hot lunch and what the themes of the other days will be. They are usually seasonal but they also include events at school. As a disclaimer I use the word bento because the boxes are bento style. My children would not eat much of the food that would go into a traditional bento lunch, but I love the portion sizes and the opportunity the divided boxes provode for diversity of foods. Here are some of my attempts at a non-asian style bento.
First day of school with school mascot made of sandwich balls painted with food coloring and embellished with candy eyes. Also in lunch raisins, plumb and animal cookies. Pre-made grass and hand-made pick.

Mostly Monsterly lunch- The 5yo was given this book as a gift from her cousin and both kids love it. Monster face sandwich (cut freehand so questionable), cut up pear, Annie's bunny cookies, and trail-mix. Flower-shaped silicone cup, pre-made pick.
Panda lunch- PB+Nutella "Sushi, panda cookies, string cheese cut into 1/3rds, and plumb (no skin). Red silicone cup and panda stick.

The Escape

The day my heart stood still aka when 2yo made it clear that she no longer needed a crib- About six months ago during a trip to Costco each girl was inadvertently allowed to drink a tiny sample of energy drink. On a good day this is a bad idea. On a bad day it's disaster. It was like a cherry on a poop Sunday delivered with a punch in the stomach. I will not assign blame here. Both parents were culpable in this incident in different ways. Me: they were finally calmed down and no one was crying. I was walking behind the hubby who was pushing the cart as he stopped to get the kids samples. Him: the kids wanted a sample and they had stopped crying. Oh, and it didn't say ENERGY DRINK anywhere obvious. It wasn't until I got to the sample table and looked at the item that I understood what had happened. If this day had been part of a movie it would have moved into a montage of kids acting crazy. They ran, they screamed, they laughed and cried. It took a while but they finally crashed around 3:00pm. The 2yo out cold and the 5yo resting, both on a blanket in the front yard.
I thought we had seen the worst and were headed out the tunnel of doom but it turns out I was wrong.
After an hour of peace I woke up the 2yo so that she would be awake for dinner. She was even more cranky and hard to deal with! That night she didn't want to go to bed at the usual time. She cried and cried in her bed for 45 minutes before things went quiet. Then all of a sudden there she was in the den looking up at us "Hi guys!" it's a parenting moment where you don't know if you should laugh, yell, scream or cry. She is like a little an evil elf, so cute and a bit of a devil. She explained in a combination of 2yo speak and mime that she had climbed out of her crib onto her dresser and then slid off her dresser to the floor. She then showed us her back which was red from the escape. OMG!