28 August 2013

Cub Scouts - Orientation

Lincoln Heritage Council - Boy Scouts of America
This week we went to the Orientation meeting for the Cub Scouts pack at our church. Dino recognized a couple of the other boys there and jumped right into the line of Tiger Cubs. The Scoutmaster told the Tiger Cubs to show the bigger boys how to make a straight line, because they obviously didn't know how! To start the meeting, the Scoutmaster asked for a volunteer to hold the American flag. Dino raised his hand so high that he was up on his tippy-toes! The Scoutmaster gave them a quick lesson about how to salute, in and out of uniform. That flag turned out to be about as heavy as he was, but he did his duty admirably, with a very serious (and slightly strained) expression on his face as we said the Pledge to the Flag. After the boys recited the Cub Scout Promise, Law, and Motto, they lined up to go to the gym.

Cub Scouts -
The meeting also turned out to be a potluck dinner, provided by the returning Scouts' families! Even though Dino had eaten dinner before the meeting, he went through the line to get some of his favorite foods - 3 dinner rolls, cantaloupe, and pineapple! When everyone was finished, the children (all the children - siblings included!) went outside to play a game while the parents had their orientation meeting. We got Dino signed up for the Pack and for the upcoming fall campout!

19 August 2013

Bento Lunch 8-19-2013

Dino threw an amazing fit on Friday when he woke up in a bad mood and decided that the only thing that was going to make him happy that day was a lunch brought from home. Uh, no way, kid. I would love to make you lunch every day, but there just isn't time for that! So after school while he ate a bowl of applesauce for snack, we sat down together and read through the next week's school lunch menu. I let him know in advance that I would make him lunch one day a week. He was happy with that and chose Monday (entree options on the menu were Mandarin Chicken w/Rice or Mini Corn Dogs).

Today I used a Ziploc divided rectangle container for Dino's lunch. I made a salami and colby-jack cheese sandwich on whole wheat Sandwich Thins. These are great for the round fillings that he loves, don't crumble like rolls, and don't have any crusts for him to worry about contaminating the rest of his lunch!

Beside the sandwich is a handful of baby carrots, with a container of ranch dip in the lower-right section, and diced fresh pear in the upper-right section. Below his sandwich is his chocolate chip cookie that he didn't eat after Subway lunch yesterday. He knows to eat the good stuff before he eats his dessert!

All packed up in his lunch box with applesauce and Sponge Bob Sponge Berry Go-Gurt for morning snack. I packed his lunch box the night before and put the whole thing in the fridge, so he added an ice pack on top in the morning before he went to school. Had to clip his water bottle to his backpack since his lunch box was full!

Dino ate every bite of his snack and lunch... Well, except that he forgot that the paper under his sandwich was holding a cookie, so he threw it away. :-( He also didn't realize that the dip container was reusable, so he threw that away, too :-( I told him after school that I'll be using a lot of little containers and decorations in his lunches that can be washed and re-used, so unless it is squeez applesauce or Go-Gurt, just put everything back in the lunchbox!

I made myself a matching lunch in an EasyLunchbox - salami, colby-jack, turkey, and Kraft Chipotle Mayo on a sandwich thin, carrots, broccoli on top of ranch dip, and diced pear. It was delicious and filling, and my co-workers were jealous!

Disclosure: Though this post contains affiliate links, I have not been compensated in any way for writing this post or pulling this information together.

14 August 2013

Bento Lunch 8-14-2013

School lunch today was taco, cheese & chips, or fiestada pizza. Dino wasn't crazy about those options. He always claims to dislike Mexican food but eats tacos and nachos at home just fine. He asked if I couldn't just make him a lunch?? He has been dying to take lunch in his new lunch box!

I filled his lunch box, the square container of a Rubbermaid Lunch Blox kit, with sliced colby jack cheese, Ritz crackers, an all-beef hot dog (sliced on the diagonal to make a cold hot dog more interesting), 2 clementines ("cuties"), and Teddy Grahams in a silicone baking cup. I placed a napkin on top of the food before putting the lid on, to keep the bears from escaping their container!

This lunch set came with an ice pack that snaps onto the box! It fit perfectly in his lunch box with his water bottle, GoGo SqueeZ applesauce, and a Fruit Roll-Ups Simply Fruit. He takes a healthy snack and water to have in the morning, so I told him to get milk at lunch. Since he isn't used to bringing lunch from home, he wasn't sure how to buy milk when he wasn't buying lunch. We'll have to ask the teacher about that.

I love these new Fruit Roll-Ups, because they really are made from fruit and fruit juice! No added sugar, unlike the second, third, and fourth ingredients in regular Fruit Roll-Ups: corn syrup, dried corn syrup, and sugar. (Funny thing though, real fruit must be sweeter than the added sugar, because a 14-oz. Simply Fruit roll has 10g sugar, but a 14-oz. regular roll has 7g sugar. Go figure. At least it's fructose instead of modified, concentrated glucose/dextrose/sucrose.)

It was a hit! The box came back completely empty! I asked lots of questions, through Dino's Daddy: Was it enough? Did you finish it just in time or would there have been time to eat more? Did you get milk to drink? What did you think of the cold hotdog? (he had never had one cold, so he was skeptical... I used to love them!)

Dino's review to his Dad: "I could have had some more crackers... It only took me about half of lunchtime to eat it all. I drank water, but hardly any of it. I liked the cold hot dog. She made it shaped just for me!"


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13 August 2013

Uncomfortable Truths

Inspired by Katherine's Uncomfortable Truths on her blog, Grass Stains.

1. For more of my childhood than I care to admit, I believed that all dogs were boys and all cats were girls. Apparently I didn't understand the requirements for making more puppies and kittens.

2. I tried (unintentionally and unsuccessfully) to burn down the break room at work. I brought my lunch leftovers in a re-used sour cream container, but didn't notice that part of the foil seal was still there, until part of the container caught on fire in the microwave.

3. I don't like ketchup. I put mayo and mustard on my burgers and dip my nuggets and fries in honey-mustard.

4. I don't like carbonation - not Coke, not ginger ale, not beer.... I think the tingly feeling feels like fire! I used to ask for orange soda as a kid to try to fit in with my soda-drinking friends, but I would only take a few sips before giving up.

12 August 2013

Recipe - Cheesburger Potato Bake

I am always looking for ways to incorporate more fresh produce into my meals, in ways that my boys will still eat. They decided to rename this dish "Cheese Burgatators!" They loved it, and the leftovers were great too!

Yield: 10-12 Hearty Servings

3 lb Small Red or White Potatoes
1-1/2 cup (approximate) cooked pureed Butternut Squash (see note below)
1 medium Yellow or Sweet Onion, diced
1 lb Lean Ground Beef
3 T Flour
1/2 cup Milk or Cream
Scant 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Dry Ground Mustard
12 oz (3 cups) grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Wash potatoes and cut into bite-size pieces. Boil potatoes in salted water until fork-tender, about 20 minutes.

While the potatoes cook, sautee onion and ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat until onions are soft and beef is browned throughout. Add plenty of salt and pepper to season the beef-onion mixture.

While the potatoes and beef cook, whisk the flour with the milk or cream in a saucepan, and season with nutmeg and mustard. Reduce heat and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in butternut squash puree (cook until hot if puree was cold). Remove from heat and add shredded cheddar, a handful at a time, stirring in a figure-8 motion until each handful is melted.

Drain cooked potatoes and place in 1 large casserole dish or 2 medium casserole dishes. Sprinkle beef mixture on top of potatoes, and spoon cheese sauce over everything. (Optional: Bake at 350 until bubbly, but since everything was fresh and hot when you put them together, you can serve right away if desired). Serve hot.


You have several options for cooked, pureed butternut squash.

1. BABY FOOD: Buy enough butternut squash baby food to equal 1 cup (make sure the only ingredients are squash and water).
For example:

2. FROZEN: Warm 1 10-oz box Frozen Butternut Squash with 1 cup of water (or chicken broth or beef broth, for more flavor) and blend to a smooth consistency.

3. FRESH: Peel the squash with a potato peeler (it will take 2-3 passes to get down to the bright orange flesh), cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and membranes with a spoon, cut off the ends, and cut into cubes. (I used a whole, large butternut squash, a little over 2 pounds after peeling and seeding). Use 1 cup of water or broth for each 1/2 pound or so (I used 2 cans of chicken broth). Boil in water or broth until soft, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Puree in batches, filling the blender no more than half-full (hold the lid on tightly to prevent an explosion from steam buildup if it is still warm - do not blend while hot!). Divide the puree at this point into 2-4 portions, depending on the size of the squash. (My 2-pound squash yielded 4 portions, about 1-1/2 cups each. I froze the rest of the portions individually to use in future recipes, like stirring into spaghetti sauce or substituting for oil in sweet baked goods! I used 1/4 cup of puree a few nights later in place of the milk when I made Kraft macaroni & cheese!)

08 August 2013

The Cross

Dino was eating a slice of colby-jack cheese. He took a bite from each corner, held it up, and asked me what it looked like.

"A plus sign? An 'X'? Red Cross that's orange and white?"

"No," he said, "it's a cross! Like the one Jesus died on!"

Okay then! An open door! I decided to step through it... "Do you know why Jesus died on the cross?"

He thought for a moment, "So he could go back to Heaven to live with God?"

"Not exactly," I started. I asked if he remembered from the Bible stories that we had been reading, how people used to have to make sacrifices for their sins. God's people gave God offerings of food and made blood sacrifices to atone for their sins. This is how people showed God that they were sorry, and He forgave them. But each individual sacrifice was not enough - they had to do this continually, year after year. I reminded Dino that Jesus was God, visiting Earth in a human body. God sacrificed his own body for us, because His body was the Ultimate Sacrifice that could atone for ALL of our sins at once.
Hebrews 9:28a (NIV)
So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many.

Because of Jesus' death on the cross, we can be forgiven and live with Him in Heaven forever!

Dino took all this in, then asked, "Have I sinned??"

"Yes. We all have..."
Romans 3:23 (NIV)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
"...Do you know what sin is?" I explained that it is when you do something that is wrong in God's eyes. Lying, cheating, and stealing are all sin. I asked if he had ever done those. Dino nodded his head Yes and even came up with some recent examples!

Then he went back to talking about cheese... I guess his brain was full for the moment!

I am so thankful for these moments, for opportunities to share Jesus with Dino. He has a big heart and an impressive brain that soaks up everything put in front of him.

07 August 2013

First Grade

Dino started First Grade today! He was sooo excited to be going to his new school, and with a brand new teacher (truly brand new - this is her first year of teaching since graduating college)! Ms. S is very sweet, and seemed to have everything ready for her new classroom!

Dino's First Day of First Grade
Dino's First Day of First Grade

Last night, we went to the Back to School Bash. Dino got to see his classroom and meet his teacher. He found his desk, his locker, and his cubby. He admired the globe and the shelves full of books in his classroom. We walked through the cafeteria and the gym, and found out where his bus would be parked. We filled out all the forms, joined the PTO, and got some information about Cub Scouts!

Dino had picked out a new backpack with a matching lunch box. He has been SUPER excited about the possibility of bringing lunch. He really really wanted to bring lunch on the first day of school, but the menu for the first day included some of his favorite foods, so I knew that he'd regret it if we packed him a lunch instead. He does have to bring a snack each day, though, so he does get to use his lunch box after all! Ms. S asked that they each bring a healthy snack (no cookies or chips!) and water for morning snack time, since their lunch is later than most. I gave Dino a choice of applesauce, oranges, or Goldfish crackers. He really really wanted to bring 2 snacks, but Ms. S said they'd only have time for 1 snack, when he asked her at the Bash... So he settled on taking squeezy applesauce and a water bottle in his lunch box for snack. I had gotten him this spill-proof water bottle earlier this year to take on vacation. It survived a 10-day trip attached to my backpack with a carabiner! I put the lunch box in the fridge the night before so it would be nice and cold when he attached it to his backpack in the morning.


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Disclosure: Though this post contains affiliate links, I have not been compensated in any way for writing this post or pulling this information together.