Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Back to School -- What's for lunch?

I can't believe A goes back to school in two weeks! Where has this summer gone? And who said I was allowed to have a first grader?! Part of going back to school means lunchtime. Whenever possible A eats lunch at school. If she truly doesn't like something (I make her try everything once during the year) or can't eat it (too much cheese) then she packs her lunch. I figure $1.60 per lunch at school is worth it. I realize some kids are much more picky than she is so finding new things to pack for lunch can be a challenge. And let's face it, I could use a few ideas for packing my lunch too. And I'm certainly not one of those moms with time to make up the fancy bento lunches with cut out cheese shapes. I'm looking to keep it simple.
A on her first day of Kindergarten, gosh she looks so tiny! And to think, I thought she looked so big at the time!
I've slowly been collecting lunch ideas on Pinterest but never really looked at them because they were grouped with all my other recipes to try. I decided to move them all into a Brown Baggin' It board so I could easily refer to these ideas. (Is it just me or is part of the fun of pinning things creating fun board names?) 
Here's one of A's favorite things to do. Every kid loves the Lunchables, but the sodium and portion size for the price is always a little out of whack for me. We make our own! The meat was always the tricky part for me because how to make nice little pieces? Enter the minis!
These minis from Land O' Frost are perfect. They have ham and turkey and work wonders for making your own lunchables. Pair them with your child's favorite cheese and throw in some crackers and you have your "main course". We also like to throw in some cucumber slices to make her cracker sandwiches even bigger! Add a side of fruit (grapes or a Cutie are perfect) and something to drink (we usually do water or she can buy a milk from school) and you are all set! I have to say, I've even made my own little snack using these minis and they are great. Here are a few other ideas I've rounded up!
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What are some of your go-to lunch items when brown baggin' it?

*By the way, I wasn't paid in any sort of way to mention the minis. They came out a few months back and we've been buying them ever since. But hey, Land O' Frost people, if you are reading, call me! I'd love some free minis :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lack of DIY in my life

I haven't been very crafty lately. And this makes me sad. Very sad. I'm itching to make another quilt  -- remember my first quilt? But that's going to take a lot of time and fabric. But there are so many cute things I want to try. I think I'm going to make J a bed quilt. She doesn't have a big comforter, she just sleeps with her little blanket that she carries around. I love this idea, you could do it with layer cakes too which I think I already have.
I also want to make some pillowcases. I mean how cute would these be?! They would be awesome gifts for kids too. Package it up with stuff for a movie night (popcorn, candy and a movie). 
I need this creativity in my life. It makes me feel sane. Even if my craftiness is a total fail at least I had fun. Ok so I don't want it to be a fail because then I would've wasted time and money on a project, but you know where I'm going with this. I also miss scrapbooking. A lot. I have tons of papers stacked up and photos ready to be laid out (and even more that still need printed, hey Shutterfly how bout a big sale for your girl?). I really hope that my girls appreciate the things I do make for them and the time I put into their scrapbooks. I really want them to keep them forever. Here's a few page layouts I've come across that I can't wait to try!
What makes you happy? Are you missing out on something in your life? What inspires you? Dear Me, please get crafty soon. Thanks, my sanity

Thursday, July 18, 2013

It's Honestly Good

In my quest for healthier eating I've been wanting to find a new frozen dinner for taking to work. BzzAgent must be stalking me and knew this because they invited me to try the new Lean Cuisine Honestly Good frozen meals. I was excited! 100% natural was the first thing that caught my attention. The next thing that caught my eye was the yummy varieties I could choose from. 

  • Pomegranate Chicken with whole grilled chicken breast filet, whole grain pilaf with currants, green beans, wax beans, ribbon cut carrots, served with a pomegranate glaze
  • Lemongrass Salmon with coconut-crusted salmon filet, brown rice with wheatberries and slivered almonds, snap peas, orange & yellow carrots, edamame, served with ginger lemongrass sauce
  • Roasted Red Pepper Chicken with whole grilled chicken breast filet, whole grain cavatappi pasta, sea salt & lemon-seasoned broccoli florets, served with roasted red pepper sauce
  • Plum-Ginger Grain-Crusted Fish with grain-crusted wild caught whole fish filet, brown rice with edamame, snap peas, wax beans, carrots, served with plum ginger sauce
  • Pineapple Black Pepper Beef with whole tender beef cuts, brown & wild rice with pineapple & silvered almonds, green & wax beans, orange & yellow carrots, served with pineapple black pepper sauce
  • Honey Citrus Chicken with whole grilled chicken breast filet, whole grain radiator pasta mixed with spinach, slivered almonds and sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli florets, yellow zucchini, served with a honey citrus sauce

Holy moly! I was I going decide on this goodness? I went with the Lemongrass Salmon. I figured if they could make a good fish meal they surely made a good chicken meal. Mine didn't come on a fancy wooden plank as shown above but the container had an interesting shape which made me feel a little fancier while at my desk.  Here's what mine looked like before I dug in ...
Do you see that those veggies actually have color?! The sugar content is a little high (I think it's from the sauce) but at 320 calories you can't go wrong for an easy & healthy lunch. If you visit the Lean Cuisine website you can get a coupon to try out this new of Honestly Good meals. Which one do you want to try?

Disclosure: I received a coupon for a free meal in exchange for my feedback from BzzAgent and Lean Cuisine. I was not paid for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. If you are interested in joining BzzAgent to review products you can visit their website and sign up.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Food choices

Every day is a choice. Do I want to eat healthy? Do I want to continue looking and feeling the way I currently do? I'm proud to say I've been doing better with eating healthier and watching what exactly I'm eating and how much. I got the MyFitnessPal app and track everything. I took 4 days off while on vacation because I was eating so much I just couldn't keep track, it was bad and I felt terrible after getting home. I'm happy to say I'm back on the eat right bandwagon. Portion sizes, healthy snacks and only eating when I'm truly hungry (not just bored) have been my focus. 

Portion sizes: America is out of control on this one. No way people need to eat that much food for one meal. If we eat out I either split something with my DH or take half home for a later meal. Not only does this save us money but I don't feel like I need a nap after leaving a restaurant anymore. Also counting my calorie intake has made me realize how much food I need vs how much food I think I want.
Cheat sheet {pin}
Healthy snacks: This one was a struggle. I like chocolate, like really, really like chocolate. I use to keep a bag (large bag, not single serving bag) of dark chocolate peanut M&Ms in my desk drawer at work. They were my crutch. Bad afternoon? Just eat some M&Ms. I wouldn't say I've been depriving myself of chocolate but I've surely cut back and that's one thing I never thought I could do. I've also started bringing at least one piece of fruit with me to work. This way I can open that snack drawer and eat something good for me instead of making a trip to the vending machine. My Diet Coke consumption is also down which is a good thing.
Tip: Create a healthy snack station and always keep it stocked in your fridge and/or pantry so you avoid the temptation of grabbing something not so healthy. {pin}

Only eat when you are hungry: This was my BIGGEST downfall. I'm the type of person who will snack all day long. Munch on this, take a handful of that. Well all those little things add up and I started to realize I was doing it out of boredom not out of hunger. I knew water was the key. Now that I wasn't drinking so much Diet Coke, I needed to replace it with something else. I just can't drink 8 cups of plain water every day. It's boring -- and remember boredom leads to me eating when I'm not really hungry. My trick is the low/no calorie mixes for your water. Yes like those super yummy Dasani Drops. They do the trick for me. I drink more water because it seems like a treat to me. So when I feel the urge to open the snack drawer/cabinet I grab a glass of water and drink it then wait about 5-10 minutes. If I still feel like I need to eat then I must be hungry and I'll get a healthy snack (see above). If I'm not feeling the urge anymore then I must just be bored and don't need anything to eat. 
I received Dasani Drops complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.
What tips do you have for getting your eating on track? I feel like I have this part down, now I need to start exercising more! One step at a time.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


This past weekend we had a long weekend (5 days) and went down to Nashville, TN to meet up with my Dad and step-mom. It was nice to get away and enjoy a little vacation without a lot of hassle. I only took a few photos with my phone and shared them via Instagram. Here's how it all went down ...
I started out trying to eat healthy on the trip. I brought along oatmeal for the way down while my DH and kids ate donuts. Needless to say my healthy eating didn't continue :( 
Our first stop for lunch was Taco Mamacita. DH and I had eaten here when we went to S.C. and what do you know, the original location is in Nashville! We loaded up on nachos and mango salsa. And yes we did come back later in the week :)
We visited the Parthenon and I swear we took kids with us on this trip but you don't see them because they were busy taking this picture of us
We did some shopping and walking around in the rain in downtown Nashville. This candy shop had everything imaginable. The candy went on forever!
We ended up with some of these. The Japanese know how to do simple candy. These are yummy!
We visited the zoo on Sunday. There were so many flamingos. We also made stops at the science center and art museum but I have no pictures from there. We were too busy having fun. I highly recommend the science center -- the kids had a blast!
My step-mom told me about this app Waze that let's you know about road conditions, cops in the area, etc. We decided to have a little fun with the people traveling around us on the way home so we posted a caution for an elephant stampede. hehe
So that's pretty much it. We saw the amazing fireworks show and ate some great food. I'm ready to get back on track with my eating! And best news of all is that I didn't have to suffer through a normal Monday work day :)