Our Favorite Lazy Bento Supplies

lazy bento favorites

I cannot believe a new school year is almost upon us! This summer has truly FLOWN by.

I get asked a lot of questions on Instagram whenever I post the girls’ lunches, so I thought I’d write up a post with a few of our favorite things. This is not an inclusive list, because I’m always trying new things and finding what works best for us, but these were our most favorite favorites for the 2014-2015 school year.

I think the question I get the most is, “Why do you make these lunches?” It started as something that would minimize our plastic baggie consumption while also make food fun for kids. Yes, there are tons of reusable sandwich and snack bags out there, but I liked the idea of putting everything in one {or 2} boxes. I feel like our kids eat pretty well – they aren’t super picky, and they will eat most fruits and veggies – but they could definitely use some help in the well-rounded meal department. I always thought it would be too easy for them to toss a baggie of grapes or pretzels in the trash at the cafeteria without at least taking a few bites. Anyway, it is a system that is working really well for us, so I hope to continue doing it until they all get old enough to tell me differently.

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I, personally, think that bento boxes is the most important part of packing these lunches, and you could easily pack perfectly wonderful lunches in these boxes without buying any other supplies. If you have older kids, you could grab a 4-pack of Easy Lunchboxes and a lunch bag and call it a day.

1. Sugarbooger Good Lunch Box – these are by far the girls’ favorite lunch boxes thanks to the adorable patterns on the lids. They are deeper than the other boxes, so the food shifts around a bit, but my kids don’t seem to mind. I’ve written a full review here.

2. Rubbermaid Lunch Blox – I picked these up at Walmart towards the end of 2014, and I really like that I can mix and match the sets to suit each kid’s needs. Since I bought these, I’ve also seen them at Target, TJ Maxx, Kohls, Dollar General and of course on Amazon. They are super easy to find!

3. Easy Lunchboxes – these are the biggest of the boxes, so I have to make sure I don’t fill it up just to keep from wasting space. However, I love that adults can use it easily while the colorful lids keep them kid-friendly, as well. These are our go-to boxes for packing lunches when we go hiking or take day trips.

4. Kotobuki 2-Tiered Frog Box – it doesn’t get much cuter than this box, AND it comes in a kitty, panda, puppy, cow and pig.

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My next favorite thing to use are silicone cups — they are so versatile and I especially love using them to separate food in the boxes. I also use them to hold small things that may otherwise float all over the box. The best part is that you can find them anywhere that sells baking supplies – I’ve found them at Target, Michaels and TJ Maxx {as well as online}. We also use small containers to hold dip, such as ranch dressing for veggies or almond butter for apples and celery.

I also use these quite a bit at home to separate food in plates or to give the kids a quick snack that they can take outside without worrying about it breaking or getting scratched up. And of course, I’ve actually baked things in the silicone cups. ;)

1. Shaped silicone muffin cups – round, rectangle, hearts, squares, and lots more.

2. Jumbo muffin cups – I use these almost every day to separate the girls’ protein from their other food.

3. Dip / sauce containers – these are perfect for almond/peanut butter or ranch dressing, and I haven’t had any leaks, yet.

4. Veggie silicone cups – these are adorable but TINY, so I use them for granola, raisins/craisins, or sunflower seeds.

5. Easy Lunchboxes Mini Dippers – these are on the larger size, so they are perfect for small sides like olives, goldfish crackers or salsa. Or dressing for adult lunches.

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These magical cookie cutters and stampers turn sandwiches into adorable works of art with just a press or two. They are, by far, the fastest and easiest way to transform our lunches. They are easy to find and fairly inexpensive for as much as you use them.

1. CuteZCute Cuddle Palz sandwich cutter – I have used these every day since I got them in the mail, and I LOVE them so much. They make the most adorable sandwiches, and the girls absolutely love choosing which animal they want for lunch.

2. CuteZCute sandwich cutter – my addiction to stamping bread started with this set, and it hasn’t waned, yet.

3. Hello Kitty sandwich cutter and stamp – the girls never get tired of Hello Kitty, and I never get tired of using these cutters.

4. Dinosaur sandwich cutters and stamps – I am starting to pick up more things for Henry since he will be starting preschool next year, but this is something that the girls love just as much.

5. Transportation sandwich cutters – these are on the small size, so I can usually get 3 shapes out of each piece of bread.

{A FAQ that I get when I post pictures of sandwiches is, “What do you do with the leftover bread?” I usually try to squeeze as many sandwiches out of 2 pieces of bread that I can, so there’s usually not much leftover. I purposefully cut my bread BEFORE I make my sandwich so that I have “clean” bread, and I will either eat it myself or toss it into a bag of bread I keep in the freezer to make homemade bread crumbs or croutons.}

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Food picks are totally just for fun, and it helps that they make veggies and fruits a lot more fun. This is one thing you can absolutely skip if you’re trying to “bento lunch” on a budget. But if you want to add some whimsy to your lunch boxes, here are a few that you’ll see in almost every lunch.

1. Sea Creatures picks – my girls are currently crazy about sea animals, so I had to snatch these up as soon as I saw them … they definitely didn’t disappoint.

2. Leaf picks – I use these almost every time I send grapes or cherries or cherry tomatoes, because they are just so stinking cute!

3. Crayon picks – these are perfect for younger kids who are still learning their colors or kindergartners / preschoolers who have color weeks at school.

4. Eye picks – these are new to us but quickly becoming a favorite to add a little whimsy to their lunch.

5. Long food picks – I wouldn’t send these to school with a younger kid or a kid who might think it’s funny to stab other students, but I really like using these to make fruit kabobs.

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It’s not very fun to pack these lunches without a bag to carry them in, and our favorites just happen to be roomy enough for all of our boxes as well as cute. I also included a couple of lunch bag accessories that we use and love.

1. Skip Hop Zoo Lunchie insulated bags – these are the smallest of our lunch bags, but they will fit our largest box + a juice box. If I want to send a water bottle with these bags, I just send it in the pocket of their backpacks.

2. Thermos Insulated soft lunch bag – these are the boxes you typically find at Target or Walmart, but they are a great size for lunches. I can fit most boxes in here with a juice box or a water bottle. It may bulge a little with the water bottle, but the girls don’t seem to mind.

3. Thermos Dual Compartment lunch bag – I really love these bags when I am packing a couple of small boxes {like the Lunch Blox kit}.

4. Cool It Slim ice packs and flexible ice blankets – slim enough to squeeze into the lunch bags to keep things cold.

5. Camelbak Kids water bottle – we have a ton of these and use them ALL the time, but I especially love them for lunches since I’ve never had a leak with them. But I do only use these with water – no juice or milk.

Since I started drafting this post (towards the end of 2014!), Emma has moved on from “character” lunch boxes, so I just use PackIt Freezable Lunch Bags for her. I’ve never had any issues with any box + water bottle combo fitting in here.

If you’re just getting started making school lunches, please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions!! Like I said, I don’t think you need everything on this list. Just start with a couple of boxes and a cute bag and go from there. If it works for you, great – if not, no biggie. If you’ve been doing it for a while and need some inspiration for the new school year {I’m talking to myself here}, I hope this post has given you some new ideas or just stirred your creative juices a little.

May you all have a wonderful 2015-2016 school year!!

xo, Keli

I Heart Faces | Everyday Life

Now, THIS is my kind of photo contest!! My whole life in photos is “Everyday Life” so I knew I just had to enter this month’s photo challenge. Both of the younger kids love blowing on the mist that comes out of our oil diffuser, and I just so happened to bust Lucy jumping in it this morning.

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If you take pictures of your kids doing everyday things, this is the perfect month to join the challenge!

While we’re on the subject of I Heart Faces, I wanted to take a quick moment to explain why you haven’t been seeing me around there this year. After much thought and consideration and prayer, I decided to take this year off from being a member of the amazing Creative Team to focus on our family {namely, Emma’s epilepsy changes and issues}. Angie and Amy so graciously and without hesitation told me to take as much time as I needed. I miss being on the team, but I’m so thankful for social media so I can still keep up with everyone.

Lunch with Emma and Lucy {week 10}

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The week of Halloween was absolutely crazy because Emma had Spirit Week at school, and every day was something different. And then Lucy had a parade and party at her school. And then, of course, Halloween itself was insane. So I was lucky to throw together a few lunches for the girls that week.

I did let Emma buy lunch on Monday due to little kid sickness in the house.

Tuesday

Emma had half a banana decorated with LaLaLoopsy stickers, celery with almond butter in a panda cup, pocket sandwiches with almond butter in a jumbo silicone cup and cinnamon apple straws packed in a Good Lunch Box.
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Lucy had pocket sandwiches with homemade jelly, cinnamon apple straws, salami, and green grapes with an orange crayon pick packed in an Easy Lunchbox.
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Wednesday

Emma had celery sticks with almond butter in a bunny cup, cheerios, a bat-shaped nutella sandwich with candy eyes, and green grapes in silicone cups packed in Rubbermaid Lunch Blox.
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Thursday

Sadly, Lucy was sick and had to miss her whole Halloween costume parade and party at preschool.

Emma had veggie straws, an almond butter mummy sandwich with candy eyes, a ghost hard-boiled egg in a rectangle silicone cup, edamame and raisins with orange m&m’s packed in an Easy Lunchbox.
Halloween Bento Lunch - Kidnapped by Suburbia

As usual,

Friday

was pizza day!

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xo Keli

Lunch with Emma and Lucy {weeks 8 and 9}

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Oh man, I am so far behind on posting our lunches. I don’t know about you, but these past couple of weeks have been crazy busy with Halloween costume prep, parties, birthdays and activities galore!

I only made two lunches the week of Oct 13-17 because they had fall break for 2 days and Emma’s school festival one day, but I only took a picture of Lucy’s lunch. See? I told you these past few weeks had been crazy.

Tuesday

Lucy had a koala jelly sandwich, pretzel sticks, lettuce and tomatoes with ranch dressing in a little panda cup, and cut-up watermelon with a bear pick packed in an Easy Lunchbox.
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The following week started COGAT testing for Emma, so I tried to give her some treats here and there throughout the week.

Monday

Emma had strawberries with eyes, granola, deli ham in a jumbo silicone cup with a dolphin and whale picks, and pirate’s booty packed in an Easy Lunchbox.
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Tuesday

Emma had cinnamon apple straws, a mouse almond butter sandwich, green grapes with a leaf pick, multi grain cheerios and mini marshmallows packed in a Lunch Blox.
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Lucy had “orange week” at school, so she had deli ham with an orange monkey pick in a jumbo silicone muffin cup, pirate’s booty, animal crackers and grapes with an orange crayon pick packed in an Easy Lunchbox {with an orange lid}.
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Wednesday

Emma had ham and cheese quesadillas with sour cream in an Easy Lunchboxes Mini Dipper, strawberries and blue corn tortilla chips packed in a Good Lunch Box.
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Thursday

Emma had veggie straws, deli ham in a jumbo silicone muffin cup, edamame, granola and mixed dried berries packed in a mix-and-match Rubbermaid Lunch Blox kit.
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Lucy had grape tomatoes and olives in a silicone muffin cup with a squirrel pick, raisins, turkey meatballs in a jumbo silicone muffin cup with bbq sauce in a bunny cup and homemade party fork, and blue corn tortilla chips packed in an Easy Lunchbox.
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Emma had pizza as a Friday treat.

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xoxo Keli