Fun School Lunch Ideas

Fun lunch idea for your kids. // cupcakesandcutlery.com*This post is sponsored by King’s Hawaiian. All opinions are my own. And I heart King’s Hawaiian.

You guys, I literally made the coolest sandwiches. They even said so themselves…My kids have been back in school for two weeks now. Which means two weeks of packing lunches. And while most days it is just plain old sandwiches, baby carrots, etc. I plan on throwing in some surprises this year.

Fun word sandwiches for back to school. // cupcakesandcutlery.comMy oldest is allergic to peanut butter so we don’t keep it in the house. We use Sunbutter as our nut-free alternative (I think I actually like this better than peanut butter…). This sandwich recipe is not earth shattering. Anyone can make a Sunbutter sandwich but I guarantee your kids will like these so much better than their usual. 

Sunbutter, banana and chocolate chip sandwiches. // cupcakesandcutlery.comSpread on your “butter” of choice. Top with sliced bananas and sprinkle on a few mini chocolate chips. (These allergen friendly ones are a really great size and I always have these on hand at home).  Easy as that. And you know how delicious King’s Hawaiian is plain. Just imagine its sweet goodness creamy Sunbutter and chocolate chips! And the banana totally counts as a fruit serving, right? 

Use a cookie cutter to make sandwiches more fun. // cupcakesandcutlery.comBut then, using just a simple cookie cutter, you can make that sandwich different and surprise your kids at lunch time. No need to oil the cutter, it will cut right through the soft King’s Hawaiian bread and Sunbutter perfectly. 

Shaped sandwiches are so much cuter. And trust me, kids like their food cute. // cupcakesandcutlery.comYou can stop there and just serve a round sandwich. Even this simple change will have the kids at the lunch tables talking. Or you can really blow minds with a super fun shaped cookie cutter

Peace and sandwiches. // cupcakesandcutlery.comOr you can make a few more letters and tell your kid what you think of them.  I think mine are pretty cool.  You only need to make sure that the cookie cutter you choose is completely open and doesn’t have any connectors on the top of it. The sandwich needs to be able to come out the top. 

Fun lunch box idea for kid's school lunches. // cupcakesandcutlery.comBased on the size of my cutters, it took about 3 sandwiches to make these 4 letters. And there is some waste (which you can totally keep in a plastic bag and serve as an after school snack). This is a once in a while type lunch. But your kids will LOVE it! You can let your kids figure out what the word is or you can pack them in numbered plastic bags to help them. These sandwiches could have also been “loco” funny, right?!

Sunbutter, banana and chocolate chip sandwiches. // cupcakesandcutlery.comI do not often send my kid’s sandwiches with chocolate chips in them.  I sent one with my older son the first week of school and that was the first thing I heard about when he got home. So that was really fun. I loved knowing that he probably had a big smile when he took his first bite of sandwich.

There are tons of ways you can make your child’s lunchbox more fun. You can check out King’s Hawaiian Lunchbox Fun Pinterest board for more fun food ideas, printables and more!

*Thank you for supporting my sponsors, like King’s Hawaiian, who let me do what I love.

Personal Style with JC Penney Back to School

Back to school shopping at JC Penney. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAh! My baby is totally growing up! He’s my first-born.  He’s who I figured everything out with.  He’s who made me a mother and who delights me every day.  It has been amazing to watch him grow and to figure out his own style.  I was pretty apprehensive about back to school shopping with him this year.  I can’t pick anything out for him anymore.  Everything requires his approval or he flat-out won’t wear it.  I am ok with him defining his style, but he’s a fan of licensed character shirts and I am just not.  I was worried about how we would compromise and if I could take a step back and let him create his look. We took a trip to JC Penney to pick out some back to school clothes. It went far better than expected, especially because JC Penney carries some of our favorite brands like DC Shoes, Nike, and Vans. We were excited to get to share his personal style with JC Penney for back to school shopping.  This kid is a true individual and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Here are a few things that make him special: This blue blanket is a trusted member of our family. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHis blue blanket still comforts him greatly.  But we are starting to try out being without it.  (Trust me, it’s not going far. My husband and I sleep with our own afghan every night). He’s a pretty brave little boy.  And has the sweetest heart.  When we started working on going without a pacifier, we told him it was time to pass it down to his baby brother.  He didn’t even flinch but wrapped it up in a cute little package for his brother and never looked back.  He was a child model. Very briefly. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe had a very brief stint as a child model with a large display in our local department store. But he never turned in to a diva. I think it helps that he doesn’t even remember this… My boy has always been a music lover. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe has always had a love a music and never hesitates to share his passion with us. He’s really not in to being a front man, though (this photo was taken in the privacy of our back yard for my eyes only).  He’d prefer to make the music and work alongside a band. My little Ghostbusters fan. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe ain’t afraid of no ghosts.  He's always been so great dealing with his food allergies and asthma. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe is an absolute trooper with his asthma and food allergies. From time to time he will voice his displeasure but for the most part he just handles it.  This kid is so dang cool.  Big brothers are the best. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe’s the best older brother.  My little long haired Boy Scout. He sometimes gets flack for his hair but he doesn't let it bother him. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comStyle wise he keeps his hair long.  And it is his decision. He tells us it is his trademark and he wants to keep it that way. I totally stand behind his decision to wear it long. He understands that not everyone will like it and is gracious when people mistakenly call him a girl. He is my little Cub Scout and enjoys being part of the pack and earning badges. He’s a good friend and a great example of acceptable behavior (most of the time).  Selfie with mom. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe will almost always indulge me in a selfie.  Back to school shopping at JC Penney with my stylish boy. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe has definite opinions about how he wants to dress.  And lately he has been “dressing up” a bit. When he wants to look nice he will go and pick out a woven button up shirt. And I couldn’t say no when he picked out a clip on tie from JC Penney.  I mean what kid in elementary school doesn’t need a tie?  He also asked for a suit but I had to draw the line somewhere. Cool kicks for back to school. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comLike me, this kid does not shy away from color and enjoys the neon.  Plain black t-shirts will never go out of style. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe picked out some great pieces from our shopping day at JC Penney.  These plain t-shirts were on sale for $6.  They will go with everything.  And he is great at posing for pictures.  Back to school shopping at JC Penney. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comPlease note that he is giving himself “rabbit ears.”  It is the newest form of photo bomb. We were able to agree up on a few character t-shirts.  I told him that he could pick out 2 character t’s and we ended up with only 1.  YES! We had only one minor stand off when he tried to pick out rolled up jean shorts.  NO.  Just no. But these camo shorts are totally his style. We ended up with a bunch of fantastic items from JC Penney, that he and I both agreed on, and still showcases his personal style. I can’t wait to see how he handles this next grade and all that comes with it! I am so looking forward to see how he handles all the things that maturing brings. I have no doubts that he will handle it all with class, style and maybe a few fart jokes.

JCP_BTS_Lockup

JC Penney had everything we needed to head back to school in style.  From skate brands to cool basics, we had plenty of choices to foster his individual style.  And I love that JC Penney wants to celebrate kid’s individuality and self-expression through fashion.  And you can celebrate your own child’s super star qualities.  Use the hashtag #ThatsMyKid on your photos and they might be shared on the JC Penney Facebook page.  Find out all the info here.

When It Fits, You Feel It. http://www.jcpenney.com/backtoschool

*Disclosure: Compensation was provided by JC Penney via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not indicative of the opinions or positions of JC Penney.

Styling up a Geometric Back to School Brunch

iced coffee and mimosasI was super flattered when Abigail of Paper and Cake asked me to collaborate (along with Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop) with her on a styled post she wanted to do.  Abigail is a very talented graphic designer and party stylist who I had the pleasure of rooming with in New York several years ago for a Martha Stewart Event.  I’ve used her printable party decor before and when she said she wanted to do a geometric themed set for a back to school brunch, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.  But I have never styled a party for someone else before!  It was very challenging for me.  I am used to being in control over every aspect from start to finish.  But this time I had to focus on only certain parts.  I learned a lot about myself.  I am a quiet control freak.  But many of you who know me, already know that.  Now can we please talk for a minute about these wall decorations.  Yup, totally a printable that you can make to go along with your party set.  Abigail is a genius.

geometric back to school Brunch consisted of a buffet area with some of the most delicious dishes.  Ever.  You guys know I am a huge Kristin fan.  I love her to death.  She’s amazing at baked treats and sweets but she is just as good with savory foods.

eggs pesto goat cheeseShe made a breakfast bruschetta that was insanely good.  It was the perfect brunch DIY station.  She set out goat cheese, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes so you could dress your toast and eggs however you wanted.  Which is a good thing because I would have thrown up all over Abigail’s house had someone made me have sun-dried tomatoes.

breakfast-cereal-panna-cottaI die over Kristin’s panna cotta.  This particular one was breakfast cereal flavored!  SO YUMMY!  She basically infused milk with frosted flakes and rice krispies and then used that milk to make the custardy treat.  I wish you guys could taste it!

meringue bake shopOH NO SHE DI’INT.  There was a DONUT trifle!!

donut-trifle-for-back-to-school-brunchAMAZING!  Sure you can just plop donuts out on a plate for brunch.  But they are even better with creamy goodness and fresh berries.  Seriously.  Do this.  Perfect for holidays…just saying.

egg-bruschetta-wiht-goat-cheese-and-sundried-tomatoSince it was my first time styling, I brought along a ton of dishes and fabrics and random doodads that we might need for the shoot.  When you use Paper and Cake printable party decor you really don’t need much extra in the way of decor.  Abigail puts together a nice little set for you to use.

back-to-school-breakfast-brunchI love collaborating on styled shoots.  It is such a fun and creative way to hang out with people you admire.  And you get to eat the food.

geometric-flowers-for-brunchHow kick ass are these flowers?!  I thought they went perfectly with the geometric feel of the party.

signature-drink-menuFor the beverage station, there were two options.  A make your own mimosa area and an iced coffee area.  Kristin made some creamers to go along with the coffee.  I’ll be sharing a recipe for one of them tomorrow!!  Get ready for it.  It’s amazing.  I’ve been using it in my coffee every day since we did this shoot two weeks ago.

pitcher-of-iced-coffeeI’ve always loved iced coffee but trying to figure out how to get it double strength in order to dilute has always been too much for my pea brain to handle.  Luckily Trader Joe’s came out with an iced coffee concentrate for me.  Yup just for me.

creme-brulee-coffee-creamerFor serious, these creamers blew my mind.  What I loved most is that they were so flavorful but not sweet.

homemade-creamer-by-Meringue-Bake-ShopDo you guys love this brunch and printables as much as I do?  You can find them right here.

geometric-brunch-mimosaCheers to Abigail and Kristin for a wonderful collaboration.  And for letting me finally be in a picture. :)

Printables : Paper and Cake

Food and Beverage : Meringue Bake Shop

Styling : Me (and everyone else too because it really takes a village)

Photography : Me and Abigail (we pooled our photos and I have no idea who took what.  Well I certainly know that I didn’t take the picture of me holding the mimosa…)

Best Stores for Boy’s Back to School Shopping

boys-back-to-school-shopping-title-imageWe have about 5 weeks left of summer vacation.  Which means that I am slowly beginning my back to school shopping.  I don’t buy a whole new wardrobe for my boys but I do like to pick up some new things to get the year started off fashionably.  I’ve shared my favorite items over on the Rockin’ Boys Club blog so head over there to see my fave t-shirts, coolest shoes and adorable accessories.  But here I am sharing my tips for heading back to school in style.

back-to-school-shopping-big-box-stores

While I don’t stick to a budget, per se, I certainly set out to not spend a fortune.  You will rarely find my kids in designer clothes.  We are really lucky to have friends that work at some skate companies which does save us on shoes and sometimes clothes.  So I look for inexpensive basics to be part of their overall wardrobe.

From Target, I buy a 5 pack (boy do I love it when they throw in 2 for free!) of Fruit of the Loom white tees.  There is nothing more classic than a plain white t-shirt with jeans or shorts.  They end up being about $1-$2 a shirt which makes it super easy to throw them out when they get stained (because they will).  They are also awesome to have on hand to customize (which my kids really like to do).  And from time to time, you can find these t-shirt packs in a variety of other colors like black, grey and navy green.  My 7 year old is really skinny and tall so pants and shorts can be a problem for us.  We have done really well with the shorts by Shaun White.  They are pretty well made (decent fabrics that wear well) and are pretty darn cool.  I usually will browse the Shaun White shirts also but the graphics do not appeal to me so we usually skip those.  The woven shirts, striped tees and polos are all pretty nice looking.  I enjoy his hoodies and make sure we pick up at least one to get the year started off.  I generally watch for the Shaun White collection to go on sale (saves a few dollars) before I buy it which is really easy to do since I am at Target about once a week.

H&M is pretty reasonably priced and has some great trendy pieces.  I often like their shoes, socks and woven shirts as well as their colored denim.  They also usually have solid black hoodies which are great for the fall months.  Their sales are infrequent but they do happen.  In fact, I got a coupon for a percentage off my total kid’s purchase through the end of August just the other day in the mail.

Old Navy has sales pretty regularly and they are a go-to for jeans.  Once in a while you can find a t-shirt that is cool.  They have tons of licensed shirts to choose from (which I try to steer clear of) and often inexpensive solid and striped t-shirts.  I buy my son’s their coats from Old Navy every year during their half off coat sale (in the fall).  Being in California, we don’t need something really heavy and they usually have at least one style that is somewhat military inspired in good colors.

fave-stores-for-back-to-school-shopping-boysThe rest of my shopping is done at smaller stores.  I lumped Cotton On in with these shops because although it is a chain, there aren’t too many actual stores in the United States.  I have to say that their stores are way better than their online shop.  I buy a ton of t-shirts from them throughout the year as well as denim and colorful, obnoxious socks for my younger son.  They have sales often and I only buy items here when they are on sale otherwise this store can get a bit pricey.

Little Dudes Only is an online shop that can be shopped in a number of ways.  Browse by looks (rocker dude, skater dude, vintage dude…) brands, etc.  They carry tons of great brands and accessories and if you are on their email list, you find out about sales they have from time to time.

Mini and Maximus is one of our favorites.  I buy the boys a t-shirt for their birthday each year and maybe one around Christmas.  These clothes tend to be on the pricier side but I think the graphics and how unique they are make it worth it once in a while.  I will pick up another shirt or two when they have 40% sales throughout the year.

Tiny Whales has a really small selection but these are shirts that are completely unique and cool and you can’t find anywhere else.  And the pricing is pretty reasonable.

Black Wagon is a place I like to browse to see what the cool new brands are.  I don’t buy a lot from here but it is a great place to find gift items, shoes, and rad clothes all in one place.

Other shops to check out are Hatch for Kids, Loola, Dot Dot Smile (for boys leggings!), Hello Apparel, Brown Sugar Beach (mostly for the preschool set) and Passive Juice Motel.

And if I had little girls I would for sure be shopping at Lately Lily.