Monday, August 30, 2010

Fruit and Whole Grains Bento

It's funny when I looked at the photo of this bento, I had the realization that I have rarely packed a sandwich so far this year for my daughter. Some days I do cute and creative and others, I just get lunch made. This morning and most of the time when I prepare a quesadilla, it's a get it done bento day.

Today's bento features:
Local organic cantaloupe, home made from scratch mini blueberry muffin, multigrain Garden of Eatin tortilla chips, La Mariposa organic whole wheat tortilla and Tillamook medium cheddar cheese quesadilla, strawberries, blackberries, and a few m&m's in the piggy for a treat.

Disclosure: All products were purchased by my family and not included by a sponsor with payment or free samples.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Now It's Her Time, Time To Go To School

We came driving around a gentle curve in the road and I could see my daughter's head peer around my seat to look out the windshield from the backseat. Her eyes opened wide and she exclaimed, "There it is Mama, there's my new school." It sounds funny to say, but I always hesitate when she calls me Mama, her voice uses a tone that seems to just melt my heart. My youngest(GL) recognized the design on the school sign from the handbook that's been sitting in our home, as well as the envelopes, and forms that I've been filling out. I'm always amazed at how my girls soak up and associate logos with a place.

The school looks like a beautifully designed cottage and has a pristine white picket fence surrounding it, perennials are blooming, and the play areas outside are gently shaded by large mature trees. From the outside, the school just feels special. This special place is my daughter's first school. GL will be spending 2.5 hours, three days a week at school. I could tell from the look on her face that she was full of anticipation and very excited to check out her classroom. I opened the gate and she was ready to make a b-line for the tricycle that sat on the perimeter of the playground. I held her hand and told her it was time to meet her teacher and that we would play after our comfort tour.

As we enter, the light shines in double story windows filling the room with warmth. The foyer is full of hooks and storage pockets, great kid size wooden benches for the children to sit on while taking off their coats and shoes. At school the children wear inside shoes, bare feet, or socks, shoes are reserved for outside play. There are two classrooms off the foyer, we are greeted by her teacher coming into the room to introduce herself.

GL, holds onto my hand a little bit tighter and her body pulls closer into my legs as we walk into the classroom. There's a gentle and calm feeling that envelops the room. Now granted it isn't full of children right now, we are on a personal one on one tour, but the feeling transcends how many children are present. I've been here to see it brimming with children and that feeling was still apparent. Everything has it's place in the room: art stations, pouring stations to develop fine motor skills, language arts, math work area, a snack table, stacked wooden puzzles and blocks, geography center, a few easels with accompanying drying racks, a cubby to store water, a special quiet corner for reading with soft pillows, indoor plants, and a fountain to just add that extra little bit of soothing. The room has cathedral ceilings that naturally creates an airy feeling, the windows provide ample sunlight which does wonders for spaces where children are playing and learning. The floors are wooden, with rugs to help soften the space. Most importantly to me, the space feels like a room in someone's home. I sometimes regret sending my oldest to cinderblock schools with wall to wall grey carpeting, no matter how much artwork the teachers hung on the walls it always lacked that special homey feeling.

When our tour was done, we played on the playground. I sat under a tree and watched my daughter play independently with excitement. She was drawn to a large slide that sits in the middle of the playground. As her giggles and occasional "woo-hoo or wee" were let out, all I could do was think about how grown up she is. She's no longer my baby, she dresses herself, will get herself snacks, pumps on the swing like a big girl, and now she'll be in school. GL will be learning new ideas and exploring her creativity, working in groups with others, making friends, and gaining independence.

And me, I'll just be holding onto those occasional moments when she's excited and sweetly calls me Mama, just like when she was a baby.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Daddy Is Getting Creative, Bento!

My husband packed this bento today. I was up early, but he was up earlier. I was surprised by his creativity, maybe he's feeling the pressure knowing it will be published. I've decided to give him a label, so he can be recognized. Well done, my daughter told me she ate her entire lunch today!

Cheese sandwich on whole grain bread, strawberries, blackberries, a freshly baked blueberry muffin, almonds, and grapes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First Hot Bento Of The Year!

We love our hot bento, it allows me to pack things like soup and macaroni and cheese for lunch. This bento was purchased in Japan, but it's easy to find stainless steel soup containers at any big box retailers this time of year. They are an investment, but definitely worth it come winter.

From left to right, organic champagne grapes (very tiny grapes, fun for kids!), a fresh fig, baby carrot sticks, and a sliced up red pepper. My daughter sometimes asks for "dipping", but I didn't include any today. She prefers balsamic vinaigrette over ranch, that's my girl! We buy a costco size box of Annie's Organic Shells and Cheese. We've loved annie's macaroni and cheese for almost two decades before we even had children! It turns out to be about .89 cents a box when purchasing it in bulk.

Here's the hot bento all packed up! I love it, in the egg is a handwipe, and a little treat in the piggie!

Happy lunch packing...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday Tips and Tricks To Living In a House On The Market

The learning curve is steep and fast when it comes to living in a home that is on the market. The first day my house was on the market we had a call for a showing, the agent would be here in 30 minutes. Even though we requested an hour buffer for showings, I wasn't going to say no to someone wanting to come into our home. So I had to move quickly.

I've learned lots of things about having a show ready house in ten short days, some of them are tricks that I am going to share with you.

As I was making my bed, there was a towel that was used in the morning hanging over the footboard. I just took the towel, that we would reuse one more time and put it on top of my pillows and simply made my bed over it. Voile, what towel?

Now my trick isn't to store towels under your comforter all day, but rather be open to what works in a pinch. What space is usable and valuable to get the space clear of random clutter?

Which leads me to the next photo. Never have I used the underside of my bed to store things or hide things. Big mistake! That space is valuable. When showing your house, closets need to look empty or 1/2 empty anyway, so you can't just throw your stuff in there out of sight. Bank on the fact that people looking at your home WILL open closets, so keep them on the light side and organized. Instead, stuff things in bins under your bed. Or in my case, unfolded fresh laundry and a few random toys happily stored under my bed in that 30 minute window. For the record, I do use a dust ruffle.

We have an electric range and with that comes drip trays. I can't tell you the countless hours I've spent over the years trying to keep our drip trays neat and clean. It's impossible. Food gets baked on and unless you have a strong love for scrubbing, it's not really worth the time. Instead I bought a set of new drip trays at a big box hardware store for $12, we put them in when we have showings or an open house. Just remember to put the old ones back before you cook again!

*Dishes, if you need to clear your sink quickly (30 mins window to get whole house done) and your dishwasher is full of clean dishes, just empty the bottom tray. Load your dirty dishes into the bottom, that way if any of them drip it will just be into the dishwasher and not onto clean dishes. Empty the top shelf when you return home!

**Laundry, out of sight is the motto?! I am never 100% caught up on laundry, it's just impossible. I store hampers inside the closet, I place dirty laundry in the washing machine if it has collected in a pile to be washed, but isn't completed yet. I have even placed a folded load of laundry from on top of my dryer into the dryer. Yes, folded clothes placed inside! I've also heard of people taking their dirty laundry in a basket in the car with them when they leave for a showing.

***Mulch, make it your landscaping friend. Have a section of your yard that has unsightly weed piles, rocks, maybe excess dirt from a landscaping project? Use mulch to cover the area, it adds color and makes everything look neat. I even use it in my flower beds out front to help freshen up the areas where plants don't easily grow (under the roof soffit).

Those are some of my tips and tricks. Have you recently sold your house and have some ideas you'd like to share, please feel free to leave your trick in a comment! I can use all the help I can get.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Well Balanced Kid's Lunch, Including Turkey Meatballs & Champagne Grapes...

Today's Laptop Lunch contains homemade turkey meatballs with some organic ketchup for dipping. We like organic ketchup in our house because it doesn't contain High Fructose Corn Syrup (a big no, no in our home). To accompany the protein I also put some Pirate's Booty, snap peas, baby carrots, champagne grapes, and a small hunk of angel food cake. I couldn't pass up the organic champagne grapes the other day at Whole Foods, they were just adorable, and they are bursting with sweetness! Are you thinking angel food cake? The piece is very small, about the size of saltine cracker, but 1/2 inch thick. Plus, it's from the Whole Foods Bakehouse, so the ingredients list reads just like homemade! Sometimes I like to stick a little treat in her lunch box. Sj always does a great job eating lunch so I don't have to worry about her just filling up on her treat!

I contemplated heating up the meatballs or just sending them cold. Today I decided to send them cold, I ate one this morning cold and it was just fine. I placed a little ice pack inside the insulated bag that came with her laptop lunch.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Where To Buy Bentos near Denver, Colorado

We went shopping at the Colorado Mills Mall today and stopped into the Sanrio (aka Hello Kitty) shop. I decided to take some photos and do some browsing for you, so you can see the selection they have before heading out. I was actually impressed by the variety and they also carried many lunchbags (some with a bento inside), chopsticks, fork/spoon in a case combos, stainless steel water bottles and hot liquid containers, and even a couple of cotton bento bags. We picked up a cotton bento bag for $8.

While the selection for boys was limited, don't despair, they did have bentos for boys there!
The boxes below have either a regular flat closing lid or snap handle sides for the top closure. Some contain a fork/spoon combo built in to them. None of these below have a divider inside, it's just one open compartment (easy enough with a few silicone cupcake liners). These bentos are a great size I know it appears sandwich size, but it's not it's much larger and deeper. The prices were $7 for the plain ones (no fork/spoon) to I believe $9.50. I didn't write down the prices, so I am just estimating.

The bentos below are made from metal, from the feel of it I would guess aluminum over stainless steel, but I'm not sure. They were on clearance for $10. They did contain a divider ad an elastic band to keep it together, I would consider them to be a medium size bento. Note, one for boys!

These bentos below were a great size. $16 for a two tier, snap side locking bento. We loved the Shinkansen design (which is the Japanese bullet train) which was my daughter's favorite train back when she was 2 and obsessed with trains. The other designs were cute as well, variations from the traditional Hello Kitty crew.

For store hours and location information, click through to the Colorado Mills website.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rainbow Of Fruits and Vegetables Bento

Last night I was chatting up a couple of friends about all things bento when I made a comment about how the bentos I create wouldn't stand a chance against some of the bento blogs I read. Luckily my friend said, but you're bentos are accessible. Accessible is something to take pride in because every bento I create for my daughter first has the focus of nutrition, then a playful nature. What I do is something everyone can do, the best part is all you need to do is to give it a try!

Today's bento contains large pearl couscous (aka Israeli couscous) left over from dinner last night with a drizzle of vinaigrette, blueberries, snap peas, a tomato, medium cheddar cheese slices cut into bunnies, piggies, and kitties, and last some Annie's cheddar bunnies (on sale at Target this week for $1.99 a box). When I shop for produce at costco, we have a large quantity, so I do send Sj with the same foods a few days in a row. I believe switching up the presentation helps beat the repetition of the foods.

This bento my husband picked up in Vancouver, it came with a green cotton carrying bag. I love the quotes that are on Japanese bentos, the bag and bento cover says "It is so wonderful to be able to maintain your dreams". Isn't that great? Another feature I love about this type of bento, is that it has two snap handles on the sides and the top is raised. When packing a bento it's nice to have a little wiggle room on the top, with just a bit of a raised lid you don't have to worry about everything being smashed by closing it up.

Please share a favorite go to lunch food...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Eat Play Love Sums Up My Hobby, Colorado Bento

Now that we are back in school, I've dusted off the cobwebs over at Colorado Bento and am posting there regularly. Stop by if you are in a lunch rut to see what I am packing daily for Sj's lunch. I also share tips on how to create fun and more playful lunches.

See you there!

Bunny Don't Eat The Garden Bento...

Part of the driving force that lured me into bento making was the waste free aspect. When creating a bento, food is used to create divisions within the bento so there is no need for plastic baggies or aluminum foil. Today I used lettuce and silicon baking cups to help divide up the playful bunny bento.

Snap peas held in a leaf of lettuce, strawberries, blueberries, peach, and an Italian cookie. We had strawberries and peaches with our pancakes for breakfast, so I simply held a few aside for the bento as well. Those little things like using leftovers or foods prepared during breakfast create a big shortcut when packing up a bento.

My daughter's favorite animal is a bunny. I just used a bunny cookie cutter for the big part of the sandwich (simply cheddar cheese, avocado, and mustard), then I cut up the rest with my smaller Japanese flower cutters and our Hello Kitty cutters, which have an insert to make a face. If you look closely at the lower left side, you will find a Hello Kitty. We also joked this morning, I hope the bunny doesn't nibble on all the lettuce before lunch time! Decorating the bunny are a few broccoli sprouts we picked up last Saturday at the farmer's market, the girls love to snack on them.

I'm not sure if Sj will eat any of the lettuce that I used to pack the lunch. I will do a follow up post with what she ate. I love when I remember to do that, it's also a good reflection to see what items are a hit and what was a miss.

Try to cue into what comes back and make note of it. Was the portion to big or is it just boredom from repetition... more blueberries, the huge bag of sour cream and onion pirate's booty from costco, or carrot sticks again? Part of the beauty in packing a fun bento is that they are distracted from the same old thing day in and day out.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Uh Oh, Day 2 Back To School...and How To Carry A Bento!

Sometimes you stay up a bit late the night before, sometimes you hit snooze a few times more than you should, and sometimes you rise with your girls to find a bento already packed! This morning J packed the bento, here it is:

PB&J on whole wheat bread, Annie's wheat bunny crackers, and strawberries. Typically I would use a cookie cutter to make the sandwich into shapes, but since daddy made it, I let it go. I recently found a new line of jelly, called Crofter's Superfruit Spread. This particular one has wild blueberries and cranberries blended with morello cherries and red grapes! Definitely not the grape jelly of our childhood. The Hello Kitty Easter egg contains a handwipe.

I've decided to write a daily note to Sj this year. I placed her stainless steel bento (brought back from Japan) in a Miffy cotton drawstring bag. The wax bag contains a Colorado peach for snack. My daughter's school has a garden and minimal waste, which means every classroom has a compost bucket. This wax bag can go into the compost bin, yeah!

Bento Tip:
I was recently asked how I send the bento into school. If it's a bento I want to keep cold, I use the blue lunch bag in the upper left corner, it has a insulated lining. The three cotton bags are big enough to hold all of our bentos, a snack, and sometimes a water bottle. The green one with two drawstring handles is the traditional style bag and came with a bento. The Miffy bag Sj used today, I purchased in NYC. Any small bag with handles will do really, if you aren't concerned about keeping it cool. The pink bag from a toy shop in NYC and my old Shabby Chic purse are great examples of that!

Disclaimer, all products mentioned were purchased by our family and were not sent as free samples or for product inclusion.

Back To School Shopping, Happily Handing Control Over To Dad!

Now that the For Sale sign is up, we find ourselves in a new situation. Every weekend all summer we worked hard preparing our home for the market. Little do it yourself projects, some hired hands, and lots of sweat. Oh and as I ponder the start of school this week, not one night away this summer. I've joked before, but Summer 2010 is going to go down as the summer of labor.

This weekend, we actually had to be out of our house for showings. It's the polar opposite of what our lives have been like for months. We should've taken the opportunity to spend the night in the mountains, but we didn't. What's even more strange is when we are home, our house is neat, clean, and all picked up. Now sure, I could further organize some closets, but I look around and just feel wowed by my own house!

Sunday J and I decided to take a little time for ourselves. He predictably went for a bicycle ride and I chose to see Eat Pray Love. The one thing that stressed me out this weekend was back to school shopping. I was seeing a matinee and concerned with how much time I'd have to get to the mall with my very opinionated almost 7 year old.

On a whim, I asked J if he'd take the girls BTS shopping. He agreed. Cue angel music. I've been dragging my feet with the shopping this year (school supplies are done), which is rather odd for me. So off I went to the movies and off my husband went to the mall. Of course I was a bit hesitant, but sometimes handing over control is just a dose of the medicine I need.

When I arrived home, the girls presented me with their new outfits. Kudos to J, who did a fabulous job. There may have been only one or two things I would've convinced Sj to pass on, so I consider that a smashing success! A new BTS shopping tradition with dad may have just been born.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back To School Has Arrived... First Day Bento!

We're back and the first question on my mind is, where did the summer go? Of course first day jitters helped us rise very early, so I had plenty of time to pack Sj's bento this morning. To top off the fun, my battery was dead in my camera, so I had to hunt down an alternative. Lucky for us, we love cameras!

The first day bento was captured!

I think one of the best ways to be prepared to pack lunch in the morning with everything else that arises is to prepare some foods the night before. Today's bento has whole wheat pasta shells and edamame both cooked for dinner last night (aka leftovers)! I added some cheese and crackers, watermelon cut into flowers, a couple of Pocky for dessert and voile, lunch was done!

Just a touch of balsamic vinaigrette helps moisten the pasta, so it still tastes great by lunchtime. The cheese is mozzarella today, we were out of our go to Cabot's vintage sharp cheddar. I buy a 2lb block of mozzarella at Costco to always have on hand for pizza Friday, so this morning it saved me! Underneath the Pocky on the right side is a piece of wax paper with a hand wipe in it. Sj is pretty good about washing her hands before lunch, but this is just an added reminder!

Bento tips:
Sometimes the art of making a cute bento is to just take a moment to slow down. I know typically we are in a rush and just want to get lunch done, everything thrown in, zipped up, and they are off! This morning, I took just an extra moment to place the edamame in the same direction, so gently place the watermelon flowers in, stack the crackers and it just makes a nice touch.

Disclaimer, we did not receive any compensation or samples for any of the food products mentioned in this post. Just sharing what we like.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Remembering Riomaggiore, the smallest city with the biggest heart in Italy...

My husband and I toured Europe via train on our honeymoon with just a backpack each on our backs. We spent five weeks, with two of them dedicated to Italy. Of course, we hit the big cities like Venice, Rome, Florence, a brief hour in Pisa for a photo opportunity. But the word around the dinner table at all the hostels we stayed in, was that we must see the Cinque Terre. We had yet to be steered wrong from our fellow travelers, so we built a couple of days in before we left Italy for the South of France.

The Cinque Terre sits nestled in the coastline of the northwest of Italy. Five cities all linked by a train, boat, or hiking path. There weren't cars in any of the five cities and only locals could access very rudimentary streets from the upper most vantage points of each city. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but we stayed in a town called Riomaggiore which is the southern most city of the Cinque Terre. There may be a handful of hotels or a hostel or two in the entire region, so the custom is to stay in people's homes.

I distinctly remember the conversation when we arrived at the Bar Centrale in Riomaggiore. We spoke with Gianni and he was kind enough to ring up someone willing to let us stay in their home for $20 USD a night (for both of us). This may be a good time to share a bit about the landscape of Riomaggiore, it's steep and remember the no car part, well that means you are hiking to get where you want to be. All the cities of the Cinque Terre are built into cliffs. There are numerous beautifully painted homes just perched on the side of a mountain, overlooking the sea. Gianni okayed our stay for two nights with Guiseppe. I wondered if it was one of the houses just right out the door, overlooking the sea or the quaint town square. Gianni hung up the phone and pulled out a napkin. He drew us a map to Guiseppe's home which involved countless stone stairs that were worn down in the center from all of the use over the years and then a hike down a trail which was covered in lemon and lime trees, flowering bushes, and a view from what felt like the top of the world. After hanging a right off the trail at a large boulder with a white arrow painted on it, we arrived on Guiseppe's terrace.

Guiseppe was a sweet old man, who was pouring us two glasses of Limoncello as we walked up. I was hot, sweaty, and absolutely delighted by the gesture. He made the Limoncello himself from lemons grown on his property. His home was modest, painted a light sky blue, and as you would imagine the whitest of whites were drying on the clothes line. Guiseppe already had a few Americans staying at his place, so we were offered the pull out couch. (Cue, remember this was my honeymoon? Well I wouldn't of had it any other way.)

We spent the next couple of days immersed in the beauty of Cinque Terre and relishing in the spirit of Italy. We hiked between all the cities, spent hours at the beach, sang Nirvana with locals at a little rocky cove after sunset drinking wine made by someone's father, watched free spirited travelers cliff dive. We made fast friends with the other couple that were staying at Guiseppe's house, with many local business owners, and people from South Africa to Norway. We wrote postcards to friends back home, sitting on benches next to beautiful Italian grandmothers watching the passers by. We were invited to an impromptu wedding of two Americans that was being thrown by the owner's of the Bar Centrale and few other local businesses chipped in to help out. When I say impromptu, I mean impromptu. The couple had just arrived a few days before and decided that they must tie the knot in Riomaggiore. I don't think there was anything missing, we had cake, there was a white dress, fabulous food, a photographer, live music, all thrown together by people that had hearts bigger than I could have ever imagined.

That is the Italy I experienced.

With much hesitation and sadness the day arrived that we had to catch the train to Nice, France. We sat down that morning at the bar stools of the pizza shop in town and ordered a slice of pizza with fresh ricotta and potatoes. When we went to pay the owner wouldn't take our money, said it's free of charge, his pleasure.

That's when I began to cry. The tears streamed down my face and I looked into J's eyes and begged him to stay. How could we possibly leave such a magical place behind. J promised me, someday we would return. I'm going to keep him to that one.

This post was inspired by Eat Pray Love. I went to see the movie and was moved by how beautifully Italy was captured on film. I imagine on my next trip small snippets from my Flip camera, thousands of digital shots, rather than rationed snapshots on our film camera. Better yet, I imagine not just a visit, but rather an extended stay. It's my dream to live in Italy for a year and mark my words, someday it will happen.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Eat Play Love Giveaway Week, Winners!

So thank you to everyone that entered the blogiversary week of giveaways, I am going to have one more coming up this week, so stay tuned! I will be contacting all four winners by email and passing along your information to the companies so they can ship directly to you!

Congrats Lani, I chose from 10 comments instead of 11 b/c Connie didn't want to be counted, but she was kind enough to leave a comment!

I have to admit, I was surprised to see a 1 pop up for the winner. I always hesitate to leave the first comment for giveaways, now my lesson has been learned! Congrats, Jennie!

Congrats, Dawn!

Congrats, Anna! I only counted 15 out of 16 comments because Heather was sweet enough to leave 2 comments, so I only counted one!

Thanks also to picnik for making photo editing fun and easy!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Three Years Later: Eat Play Love, Eat Pray Love...Aah What's The Difference...

Today is the big day, the day three years ago I hit publish and this blog was born. It's my blogiversary as I like to call it, but I've also seen a few different versions, such as blogversary and blogaversary. Since it's my blogiversary, I'm sticking with the i spelling. Even though it's never been directly discussed here, yes I've read the book Eat Pray Love. I enjoyed it in case you were wondering. I was even asked once if I wrote THE book, I chuckled and replied I have no aspirations to be an author. I truly had a light bulb moment somewhere around August 10, 2007 when I thought EAT PLAY LOVE was the perfect name for my blog.

Now, at this very moment three years later it seems Eat Play Love and Eat Pray Love intersects in the universe in a way that only something that is meant to be can happen. Today is the opening of Eat Pray Love in the theaters and my blogging anniversary. Somewhat intriguing, no? I love when things just happen by chance and seem magical.

Those three words have come to sum up so much more of my life than I could've envisioned. In some ways those words have defined me, especially online and in the circle of friends I've met through blogging and social media. Really I don't regret defining myself by three beautiful words, for I love to eat food prepared with love and feed people just as much, play always is in the back of my mind keeping me grounded in who I truly want to be, and of course love. My heart is big and giving and ultimately love is the cure (which my best friend reinforced in me tonight when I was having a pity party with her via text). Don't we all need a bit more eat, play, and love in our lives?

So from the depths of pure gratitude and a big smile on my face, I would like to whole heartedly thank every one of you that reads my words. Maybe it's occasionally, maybe it's faithfully, but either way is okay with me.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Easy Lunchboxes Eco Friendly & Waste Free Giveaway!

Today over at Eat Play Love I am giving away a set of the BPA free and wonderfully easy to use Easy Lunchboxes. Set includes four containers/lids and a cooler bag!

You can enter here! Good Luck!

Eat Play Love Giveaway Week! Easy LunchBoxes A Great Eco-Friendly Lunch Box!

It's giveaway week at Eat Play Love! I started this blog back in August of 2007. My blogiversary is officially on Friday, but this entire week will have giveaways, everyday! So let's all celebrate together.

Background on Easy Lunchboxes:
Easy Lunchboxes launched in December of 2009 and was born out of a mother's desire to provide her children with healthy alternatives to school food that were waste free. The containers and their cooler bag are free of BPA, phthalates, lead, vinyl, or PVC. One of the great features of Easy Lunchboxes is that they come in a set of 4! Wow! If you pack lunch for your kids, your partner, and yourself these great lunchboxes are a steal (retail $13.95 for set of 4). Click here for more information or to buy a set!

A great feature of the easy lunchboxes is that everything you pack for lunch can go in one container, which is great for the morning lunch packing rush! There are three separate compartments to hold a wonderful variety of foods. I also appreciate that the containers stack inside one another so they don't take up much space in my storage drawer.

This contest includes one set of 4 containers and a handy cooler bag in your choice of color!

How to Enter:

1. Share with me your go to lunch that you pack weekly or how many lunches you make a week!
2. One comment per person.
3. If you comment as anonymous, please leave a valid email in your comment so I can easily contact you. The Easy Lunchboxes will ship directly from the company, so you will need to provide them with your shipping information, I will just pass along name/email.
4. Contest closes Friday 8/13 at 10pm mst, I will close comments when the contest ends.
5. Winners will be announced in one post from the entire week on Saturday (and I'll email you).
6. If winner does not respond to my email, I will draw a new winner on Monday Aug 16.

Good Luck, Happy lunch packing....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Eat Play Love Giveaway Week! Boiron Arnicare Gel!

It's giveaway week at Eat Play Love! I started this blog back in August of 2007. My blogiversary is officially on Friday, but this entire week will have giveaways, everyday! So let's all celebrate together.

Background on today's giveaway:
One day on Twitter, someone I follow posted that Boiron was looking for some bloggers to send free samples of a few of their products to. I happily signed up. I've been a fan of Boiron products for years. Boiron makes homeopathic medicines which to sum up quickly means medicine that has mineral, botanical, and biological substances. Homeopathy is used world wide and the products Boiron makes are all approved by the FDA and contain HPUS ingredients which are active ingredients included in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States. Click here to learn more from Boiron.

Today's giveaway is Boiron's Arnicare Gel, is a topical gel that can be used to treat body aches, pains, muscle fatigue, strains, and bruises.

Before Boiron sent me two tubes of their Arnicare Gel (one to sample and one to giveaway) I had only used their Arnicare Cream. Personally, every time my girls get a bump or bruise and feel sore, I just don't feel comfortable giving them pain reliever medicine. I love the idea of putting some cream on to help relieve the soreness. We actually call all of Boiron's products, fairy magic medicine, in our house. It started with the days of Teething Tabs and it just stuck. I agree it does work like magic, with out harsh ingredients.

Just a couple of weeks ago, we met some friends at the park for a playdate. My 3yo didn't have any major upsetting falls that were brought to my attention, but after we returned home I noticed a huge bump and bruise on her shin. It was bothering her, so I simply applied the Arnicare Gel that evening and a couple of times the next day. Voile it worked like magic, soreness was lessened as well as the huge bruise. Honestly, the Gel has been my best friend these days with getting our house market ready. I have all sorts of bruises that have appeared, not to mention sore and aching sides/back from lifting and lugging boxes and furniture all over my house.

I personally lean towards products that aren't chemical based, that can naturally help relieve minor symptoms we are experiencing. Arnicare Gel is something you'll find in my purse all the time, especially now for park playdates! I do have one warning, do not apply the gel on skin that has been broken (like a scraped knee). The Gel contains alcohol so it really stings when put on broken skin, unfortunately we learned that one the hard way.

Giveaway Details, How to Enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post telling me anything you would like (it's open today)!
2. If you comment as anonymous (which is fine by me) please just include an email address in your comment so I can contact you. I will be shipping the Arnicare Gel out to you personally.
3. One entry per person. Winner chosen at random by
4. Contest ends Friday August 13th at 10pm MST. I will close the comments when the contest ends, so that's easy.
5. Winners announced in one post from the entire week on Saturday!
6. If winner does not respond to my email, I will draw a new winner on Monday August 16.

Good Luck.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Laptop Lunches Bento Kit Giveaway and Discount Code!

Starting today until 8/13 at 10pm mst, I am giving away a Laptop Lunches Bento Kit on my other blog, Eat Play Love! Go now and enter! Details are over on the contest post.

Also, I would like to extend a discount of 10% to my readers with coupon code Eatplaylove at checkout! Happy lunch packing.

Enjoy and good luck!

Eat Play Love Giveaway Week!

It's giveaway week at Eat Play Love! I started this blog back in August of 2007. My blogiversary is officially on Friday, but this entire week will have giveaways, everyday! So let's all celebrate together.

I have to admit, I feel a bit like Oprah today because our Laptop Lunches Bento Kit is one of my favorite things! The kind people over at Laptop Lunches offered up a free Bento Kit to one of my readers for giveaway week and back to school. Their new Bento Kits are the updated 2.0 version which has an entire line of new super cool colors. The accompanying tote is made with 100% post-consumer recycled fabric and the bento set is made with 10% recycled content. As always they are BPA and phthalate free! This giveaway has a value of $36.99.

After a school year of packing lunches, I am impressed with how well the Laptop Lunches held up. It's still in great shape and I don't need to invest in any new lunch boxes for this year. 

How to Enter:

1. Visit the Menu Library on the Laptop Lunches website, by simply clicking here.
2. Then leave a comment here sharing with me what lunch idea you think is the best one for school, work, travel, OR play.
3. One comment per person.
4. If you comment as anonymous, please leave a valid email in your comment so I can easily contact you. The LL Bento Kit will ship directly from the company, so you will need to provide them with your shipping information, I will just pass along name/email.
5. Contest closes Friday 8/13 at 10pm mst, I will close comments when the contest ends.
6. Winners will be announced in one post from the entire week on Saturday (and I'll email you).
7. If winner does not respond to my email, I will draw a new winner on Monday Aug 16.
8. I reserve the right to delete comments that do not answer the ? in line #2.

Good Luck, Happy Bento packing....

Monday, August 9, 2010

Eat Play Love Giveaway Week! Jumpstart Wii Get Moving Family Fitness Game!

It's giveaway week at Eat Play Love! I started this blog back in August of 2007. My blogiversary is officially on Friday, but this entire week will have giveaways, everyday! So let's all celebrate together.

I've partnered in the past with Jump Start, my daughters love their games online and for the Wii. This new game has been a blast to play, everyone in the family has their very own Jumpee so we can all play together. I let my 6yo design our Jumpees because she does such a good job (see mine in the photo).

The Get Moving Family Fitness game for the Wii sets itself apart from other Wii games targeted for E (everyone) because you actively participate when playing the game. Not only is there a wide range of sports to play from Speed Skating to Baseball, you can also choose the location where the game is played. I personally prefer the beach when playing! There are 18 different games and you use both the balance board or nunchucks with each activity.

If you have played other JumpStart games, you will enjoy this interactive game as well. My girls and I all give it a thumbs up!
Giveaway Details, How to Enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post telling me a favorite activity you like to do with your children!
2. You must provide a valid email and name for me to pass along to the kind people at JumpStart, so they can mail you the game directly. If you comment as anonymous (which is fine by me) please just include an email address in your comment so I can contact you.
3. One entry per person.
4. Contest ends Friday August 13th at 10pm MST. I will close the comments when the contest ends, so that's easy.
5. Winners announced in one post from the entire week on Saturday!
6. If winner does not respond to my email, I will draw a new winner on Monday August 16.
7. I reserve the right to delete comments that do not answer the ? in #1.

Good Luck.