Simple Holiday Bento Box Ideas

Simple Holiday Bento Box Ideas

My kids have fallen in love with bento boxes (affiliate link). I started making them when I started packing my lunch (even though I work from home) and they look forward to seeing what I’m going to pack them next. Gone are the days of wanting the same thing for lunch every.single.day like before.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t do elaborate bento boxes for my kids lunches. Instead, I choose one thing to make special or cut up and then the rest just goes with the theme of the bento I’m doing. And I always include foods my kids will actually eat. Because even if the baby eats seaweed, the big kids refuse it.

Luckily coming up with simple holiday bento box ideas isn’t difficult. And when you really get down to basics like I do, you can turn just about any classic lunch into a cute bento idea. Just grab a protein, a snack, some fruit and a few veggies and you’re on your way to an awesome bento lunch for your kids.

You can find these simple ideas featured today on Bentgo’s blog.

How do you add a little holiday cheer to your bento box?

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Top 5 Questions To Ask the Orthodontist on the First Visit

My baby is growing up. And that means starting to do big kid things like visit an orthodontist for the first time. This post sharing our questions to ask the orthodontist on the first visit is sponsored by WildSmiles Braces.

Top 5 Questions To Ask the Orthodontist on the First Visit

My oldest is quickly approaching age 7 and I do not know where these years have gone.  From watching him get his first tooth, to just recently losing his fourth, and everything in between there’s one thing that doesn’t change. That amazing, radiant, toothy smile. It’s something I get to see everyday and I am so blessed for it. And he’s losing teeth left and right now – two more are becoming more loose only shortly after he lost his fourth (and first front) tooth. 

We started taking him to the dentist at age 18 months. He had most of his baby teeth come in by then and they all seemed to have come in correctly so we weren’t too worried. Just like anything that has to do with our children, the perfect time to see the dentist ranges from 6 months after the first tooth appears to after 1 years old. And some people wait until later then that. Now that we’re pass that stage and focused on how his adult teeth are coming in, one thing is clear. His obsession with his thumb will mean heading to an orthodontist sooner rather than later. 

Preserving My First Car For My Son

And as I recently found out, age seven is an excellent time to have your child evaluated for the first time by an orthodontist. This is the age when the first permanent molars and the incisors should have come in properly. And at the rate my son is going with losing his teeth, he’ll probably be ahead of the game once he reaches his 7th birthday. But why go to an orthodontist? 

Orthodontists are braces specialists that do not treat regular dental patients. They receive 2-3 years of specialty training after completing dental school and have a more efficient system to produce excellent results. This makes the braces treatment cost lower, especially if you consider the shorter time in the office. Orthodontists often offer affordable payment plans. Plus the cost of braces varies little these days from community to community so one of the important factors is to find an orthodontist you feel comfortable with.

Early evaluation allows for proper diagnosis and treatment, if necessary, of possible risk factors. Orthodontists can determine if there are any problems that may develop in the future, giving the parent and doctor an opportunity to plan future treatment. The American Association of orthodontists recommends age seven for the first orthodontic consult. So we’re planning for our first visit early next year. And that means research. Making sure we’re going to the best orthodontist for our family and we know what to prepare for and ask at that first visit. 

Thumb Sucking

Here are a few things to ask on that first visit: 

Top 5 Questions To Ask the Orthodontist on the First Visit

  1. Does my child have any missing or strangely shaped teeth?
  2. Do the jaws and teeth match with each other?
  3. Will my child benefit from early treatment? Why?
  4. Will my child require complete orthodontics later? Why? When?
  5. Do you have university orthodontic training after your dental school graduation?

Once you’ve visited your orthodontist, check out WildSmiles braces! WildSmiles is the first and only proven corrective appliance that allows patients to design their custom smile. With specially designed orthodontic brackets that come in a variety of fun shapes including Stars, Hearts, Sports Balls, Footballs, Flowers and Super Diamonds, WildSmiles is available nationwide to moms and kids. Plus? They’re available online!

Have you visited an orthodontist before? How old were you?

Back to School Healthy Checklist

As we head back to school, I wanted to share this back to school healthy checklist, sponsored by Kinsa, as a way to keep everyone healthy over the first few weeks back in the classroom.

Back to School Healthy Checklist
I feel as if sickness has been coming through a revolving door this summer. We all get better and then WHAM! something else hits. From colds, to ear aches, and runny noses, our family has been hit with it all. And now that I’m sending the kids back to school next week, I need to make sure I’m doing everything I can to stop the cycle in this house.

We’ve been working on trying to keep our home sickness free and I’ve come up with a checklist for the kids so that they’re reminded of what to do to stay relatively healthy. Since the first weeks of school mean exposure to a whole new lot of kids, an a whir of germs, we want to be in tip top shape when we return. And that doesn’t just mean staving off illness, it also means doing routine check ups that may help prevent illness.

Back to School Healthy Checklist - what to do

Back to School Healthy Checklist

  • Wash, wash, wash your hands! Keep reminding your kids to wash their hands frequently throughout the day. I have my kids hum happy birthday two times when they’re washing (similar to how they brush their teeth) so that they wash long enough. Make sure your child’s immunizations are up-to-date. I’ve found that a lot of classrooms have hand sanitizer that they use but since my daughter has eczema, hand sanitizer burns her. 
  • Medications and Allergies need to be mentioned to your child’s school. If medications are needed during the day, make sure the school has what they need (with prescription/note from doctor if needed) and that they know of any allergies or conditions that your child may have. We had to make sure my son’s inhaler was ready to go for the new year! You might also want to mention any allergies to the room mom, if you have one, just in case.
  • Keep emergency contacts up to date! Make sure that the school has the correct emergency contact information for your child. A contact may have moved or changed phone numbers over the summer.
  • The most important meal of the day! Plan to give your child a delicous and healthy breakfast before leaving in the morning, such as oatmeal (made in a rice cooker!), smoothies, yogurt with fruit or scrambled eggs.  This will provide much-needed energy for the day. A great make-ahead option for busy mornings are these delicious egg cups!
  • Buy your child a comfortable, ergonomic backpack with thick straps. You don’t want the stress of a large load of books to hurt their shoulders or back. 
  • Make sure that your child’s shoes fit properly so that they get the support and comfort they need for all-day wear. With kids growing so quickly, make sure your child knows that they should speak up if their shoes are getting tight or their feet are hurting. My son grew 1.5 shoe sizes over the summer! Talk about a growth spurt. 
  • Has your child had a vision screening? This will ensure that he/she can see the board in class and will help with writing and reading.
  • Schedule a dental checkup to ensure that your child’s teeth are in good condition to start the new school year.
  • Concerns about hearing or speech? In the first few weeks of school you can bring your concerns to the teacher to see if they observe anything in the classroom. Or have your child’s doctor observe and make recommendations. 

And the #1 way to keep everyone healthy: Keep your child home when they’re sick! Let them rest and recover so that they feel 100% and the illness doesn’t spread. A sick kid won’t be as alert and ready to learn. They’ll be much more comfortable resting at home.

Kinsa Thermometer

But sometimes illness is inevitable. And having the right tools in the medicine cabinet is important. And Kinsa has those tools.  Kinsa has built something truly revolutionary for parents – the first smartphone-enabled thermometer designed for your peace of mind. Kinsa automatically remembers fever, symptoms, medications and notes for each child or family member, and helps you take action when fever and symptoms are cause for concern. Users can also join groups for their child’s school to see the “health weather” of the school and know what symptoms and illnesses are circulating.

And even better? They’re giving back to the community in a huge way. With their new FLUency program, Kinsa is choosing 100 deserving schools this fall and providing all families in each school with free Kinsa stick thermometers ($30 value). To nominate your school email fluency@kinsahealth.com. You can learn more by watching this video here.

 How do you keep the kids healthy during the school year?

What to Stock in your Medicine Cabinet

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Little Remedies. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Preparing for Cold & Flu Season - What to Stock in your Medicine Cabinet

One of the worst things to happen is to wake up with a sick child and have nothing in the medicine cabinet to help them out. Midnight runs to the pharmacy are not ideal and most likely avoided with a little planning.

One thing I try and do is plan ahead and make sure I have everything on hand for these situations. Sometimes its as easy as a seasonal check in the medicine cabinet to remove expired products and stock up on stuff we’re missing.

Here are a few suggestions on what to stock in your medicine cabinet to reduce the chance of that midnight pharmacy run and get that little one back in bed snoring away when a cold hits.  [Read more…]

Healthy Back to School Lunch Ideas and Tips

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Healthy Back to School Lunch Tips

Packing lunches can start to feel monotonous really quickly if you don’t have a lot of variety. This year I’ve been challenged to really thinking outside of the lunch box when it comes to packing healthy foods for my kids.

And since it’s the first official year I’ll be packing my son’s lunch for Kindergarten (and not just a day out like last year) I’m kind of excited to find new ideas to keep things fresh and exciting for him. Since we also have to send along a snack, I’ve included some snacks in here as well.

And, of course, I’ll be sending along some cute lunch box notes for my son to read as well when he’s munching on his goodies.

If your brain is really stuck on what to pack this year then check out some of these tips:

Healthy Back to School Lunch Tips

Keeping Things Bright

To mix things up this year, I really wanted to do something colorful and healthy. That’s where I got the idea of parfaits for their school lunches. Have the kids help make their school lunch parfaits the night before if that gets them excited.

You can use easy to open containers to help keep things from getting too messy at lunch time. I like to use whatever organic fruit I have on hand, which can get really colorful.

Healthy Back to School Lunch Tips - parfaits

From Left to Right Clockwise: Broccoli, Grapes, multi-grain crackers, Honest Kids Tropical Tango Punch, vanilla yogurt parfait with granola and strawberries, almonds, Applegate ham, Organic Valley sharp cheddar

DIY Lunchables

I’ve always loved the idea of how easy store bought lunchables are, but sadly they’re not very healthy. I’ve recruited my whole family into loving the idea behind DIY lunchables.

All you really need to complete this fun and healthy lunch idea is to have a container with trays or at least separate containers to give the lunch that ‘lunchable’ feel.We LOVE our Laptop Lunches bento box to make things easy at lunchtime. I pack organic juice, crackers, lunch meat, fruit, and then a “bakery” treat. My kids really love the variety that a DIY lunchable brings to the table.

Healthy Back to School Lunch Tips - pizza lunchable

From Left to Right Clockwise: Honest Kids Tropical Tango Punch, Cucumbers, Annie’s Bunny Grahams, Applegate Farms Turkey Pepperoni, Marinara Sauce, organic string cheese, french bread slices, peach

Mix It Up

If you are really having a hard time finding things to pack for your child, consider trail mix. My kids really love the idea behind trail mix because it’s yummy and I love it because it’s easy. And only includes 3 simple ingredients: granola, almonds, and raisins!

Even if your children can’t have nuts, there are a variety of items you can mix together to create the ultimate trail mix for your little one. Think of other dried fruits, maybe some mini chocolate chips if they are looking for a small treat? The possibilities are endless.

Healthy Back to School Lunch Tips - trail mix

From Left to Right Clockwise: fruit salad, carrots, Honest Kids Tropical Tango Punch, trail mix, bagel with cream cheese

Dip it Good

One thing we’re discovering this year is yummy and healthy dips to pack in lunches. Let’s face it, packing veggies and fruits can seem bland, we are mixing it up with various dips. Hummus is one dip your children might love trying.

You can also create yummy fruit dips out of organic greek yogurt and chia seeds. With this base, you can add a variety of items to your fruit dip, like chocolate chips and peanut butter. This really brings variety and fun to any school lunch (plus it keeps it healthy).

Healthy Back to School Lunch Tips - dips

From Left to Right Clockwise: cantalope, ants on a log (with almond butter), Honest Kids Tropical Tango Punch, french baguette, pasta with marinara sauce

Multiple Fruits & Veggies

I’ve noticed that when I pack my kids a variety of fruits and veggies it gets gobbled up. My kids love opening up their lunch to find a garden full of fruits and veggies. Of course, I like to arrange it so it’s more fun to eat. I might make the container represent a forest with broccoli as trees and little grapes as the bottom part of the forest.

If I want to make things bright, like a rainbow, I’ll pack cut up a green and red apple, peel an orange, and add red and green grapes. Eating with color is always more fun, especially when it’s arranged to look cool.

How do you spice up school lunches while keeping them healthy?.

Lunch Box by Thirty One | Bento Box by Laptop Lunches | Container by U·Konserve

Pinterest Inspiration

Dental Care Tips for Parents

Dental Care Tips for Parents

Teaching a child about oral care can be like pulling teeth. They would rather go play with their friends, not brush their teeth. Considering your child will need those pearly whites for many years to come, it’s important that you help them take care of them now.

With help from Oral B – and the awesome Precision Black 7000 electric toothbrush I’ve been reviewing – I’ve been using my own new dental care routine and have noticed a huge difference in my daughter’s interest to brush her own teeth now that I’m visibly showing her my routine. here are a few dental care tips that may come in handy with kids!  [Read more…]

Anatomy for Kids: Teaching Our Children About Their Bodies

This post is sponsored by Anatomy for Kids.

Anatomy For Kids Teaching Our Children About Their Bodies

From when my children were a very young age I decided that we’d try and be as open and honest about our bodies as we could. So when I started to think about the words we would use to describe our bodies and body parts, as well as what we would share with our children when they asked, we decided to stick with the anatomically correct terminology.

As the kids are getting older it isn’t all about penises and vaginas anymore. These little inquisitive minds are coming up with some more difficult questions. And yes, they’ve already asked extensively where babies come from. My mother-in-law was always one to make sure the kids knew that a baby grew in a mom’s uterus and not in her belly.

But because they don’t always take what we say as the absolute truth, I’m glad I now have a new series of books to share with them. Anatomy for Kids, written by Dr. Shelley Metten (or Dr. M for short), is a book that focuses on what kids want to know in an age-appropriate language. [Read more…]

5 Ways to Comfort a Sick Child

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5 ways to comfort a sick child

One of the worst things to deal with as a parent is seeing your child sick. The only thing you can think about are ways to make them feel better. And having ways to comfort a sick child can be quite helpful in these situations.

There’s a routine I go about when trying to comfort my kids when they are sick. Doing things that are familiar to them seems to make them the most comfortable.

That’s all I want for my sickies, for them to feel comfortable and secure knowing that mama’s going to take care of them. So here’s how I do it… [Read more…]

How to Properly Care for Kids with a Fever

This sponsored post about how to care for kids with a fever is brought to you by Pediacare.

Ever wake up in the middle of the night to crying kids with a fever? They are upset, don’t feel good and just want to be comforted? Well I’ve been there. And trying to give the right dose of acetaminophen to reduce the fever and offer relief can sometimes be a pain.

Not knowing the right dosage, having to turn on a light and wake everyone up, and worst of all, having an upset child not want to take their medicine. Well now with the Squeezable Single Dose Packets by PediaCare®, giving medicine is a heck of a lot easier!

That’s right! The geniuses over at PediaCare have created a single dose packet that’s simple and easy to use. A no-brainer! And Dr. David Hill, father, pediatrician and author of Dad to Dad: Parenting like a Pro, agrees that this is the perfect solution to all of our medication problems!

how to properly care for kids with a fever [Read more…]

Ways to Explain Healthy Eating to Kids

Explain Healthy Eating to Kids

As many of my readers know, I’ve been trying to work on my weight for a long time. And that means watching what I eat, “dieting” with programs, and leading a healthy lifestyle. Since having my daughter that has brought up a lot of questions including one that has me questioning how to explain healthy eating to kids. Or the lack thereof.

Since being on Nutrisystem for 5 months my daughter now asks me, “Is that special?” whenever she sees me eating or drinking something. And I don’t want her to think that I can only eat or drink special things. I want her to know that because I didn’t eat that healthy when I was younger and made poor choices, I’m now making up for it in an attempt to get to a healthy weight. And that since she already eats healthy and is active she doesn’t need the “special” food that mommy eats.

But how in the world do I tell her that? She’s 2! And she sees me get on the scale every day checking in with myself. So much so that she’s decided to jump along with me and weighs herself as well. [Read more…]



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