Meagan Musing: January 2014

Meagan Musing


Friday Shares

It's been a week - ya know? I've had a cold, but the kids are healthy. It's been cold, but no snow or ice storms here, thank goodness. I really don't have a reason to complain, I've just felt kind of blah.

Maybe it's just the January blahs?

I just hung my Valentine banner in the living room, and I'm feeling a little less blah already.

Bring on February and its red hearts and loooove. (That's how we treat people in our family, with looooove. It's the sweetest thing to hear Andrew remind Caroline of our family rule, with the drawn out ooooooove part.)

I've read a bunch of good stuff on the internet this week. I would have so much more time on my hands if I didn't have the Internet. Can you even imagine? But I'd also miss out on so much goodness. I wanted to share a little of it with you.

This post from Megan had me crying in my coffee yesterday morning. Oh, mother-daughter relationships. Push and pull and love and letting go and holding on. You'll probably need a tissue too.

I found this post from Slate on how very wrong two spaces after a period really is fascinating. I learned two spaces after the period in my typing class back in sixth grade, but I gave it up sometime after college. I can't for the life of me remember why - brevity probably. But I'm glad I do it correctly now.

If these PB Teen gold polka dot sheets came in a king I'd have them on my bed in a heartbeat. As it is, they're being added to my idea bank for Caroline's big girl room.

I love all the presets from One Willow Boutique and recently bought her newest set, The Rustic Collection. They're all pretty, but I'm enjoying the rich colors and depth in these presets and it's been fun to have a little something new to experiment with on my Project 365 photos.

I loved this "gym look" outfit post from C.Style because, well, I wear workout clothes at least two days a week and could use a little guidance in this department. Couldn't we all?

Happy weekend friends.




Project 365, January 19 - January 25

We've almost made it through the first month of this photo-a-day project. Time moves quickly. It's like we blink and it's gone. We all say it, so it must be true.

Andrew and Caroline have both had major growth spurts the last few weeks, (new pants for everyone!) and I swear they look older now at the end of the month than they did at the beginning.

It's subtle, but we moms notice these things.

It was a good week of picture taking. The kids haven't gotten annoyed with me yet. They mostly just ignore my camera which means we're seeing lots of real life - including real life attitudes - in these photos.

Go Pats!
"Family Tradition" 19 // 365
Brown Eyes
"Little Miss Brown Eyes" 20 // 365
"I swim on my back!" 21 // 365
Legos before Bed
"Legos Before Bed" 22 // 365
Crib Friends
"Crib Friends" 23 // 365
"Post Tennis Chill" 24 // 365
"4, 3, 2, 1 - Cousins" 25 // 365


Nurse Loves Farmer

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Bento Lunches - January 13 - 23

Some weekends I wake up with this great need to get all the things done - clean, grocery shop, laundry, decorate, organize the kids' closets!

And then some weekends I just want to sit on the couch, read facebook posts on my phone and feed the kids nachos.

I'll let y'all decide which weekend we just had, but let's just say I was actually excited to see a Monday morning - I needed to feel productive again!

We didn't start back to school from Christmas break until January 13th. It was the longest break ever, but I'm not going to lie - the lunch packing break was kind of nice. It was fun to get back to it though, especially after I added a few new supplies to my bento stash.

Here's a look at our first three weeks of 2014 lunches:

January 13, 2014

Superhero Bentos

This was Andrew's first lunch in the New Year. Superhero sandwiches stacked on top of each other with ketchup for dipping in the blue cup, and Scooby bones in the bottom tier. (The superhero cutters are from an old set at Williams-Sonoma and they don't have them anymore, but I'm always on the lookout for new sets.) The top tier of our frog box held blackberries in flower and star cups with superhero rings and cinnamon chex.

January 14, 2014

PlanetBox Bento

These eyes are from a new set I bought from BentoUSA this month. I just love them! Andrew had ham roll-ups (peekabo!), celery with peanut butter with a "Hello" sheet of baran, a bunch of winking strawberries, pita chips and cheese (which he didn't even open!) and a stack of delicious vanilla crackers from our NatureBox snacks.

Preschool Bento

Caroline's lunch was packed in our flat divided container. She had ham roll-ups with a little doggie sheet, strawberries with a kitty cat pick, pita chips and bear stamped cheese and a handful of yogurt melts.

January 16, 2014

Hello Kitty Bento

Caroline had a little Hello Kitty sandwich, cut and stamped with the CuteZCute cutter, carrots, yogurt melts and colorful goldfish, both packed in heart silicone cups and finished off with grapes. This lunch was packed in our Lunchbots Duo.

Party Hat Cat Bento

Andrew also had a cat sandwich, but his had a party hat! He too got carrots, pita chips packed in a silicone cup, dipping ketchup in the blue cup, and grapes. This lunch was packed in the two piece Lunchbots steal boxes. These are great boxes. They have plastic lids that are easy for Andrew to open and are easy to pack. I really love both my Lunchbots boxes.

January 20, 2014

Dino Bento

This was the I've been out of town and have very little fresh food lunch, but Andrew loved it! Peanut butter cracker sandwiches with a little dino baran sheet, a mini Lego box filled with cinnamon chex, a Halo with a leaf pick, a Go-Go SqueeZ applesauce and a handful of cashews were all packed in the big Lego box.

January 21, 2013

Planet Box Bento

On his way home from school on Monday Andrew told me exactly what he wanted in his lunch on Tuesday and I complied: superhero turkey sandwiches, more peanut butter cracker sandwiches, ketchup for dipping in the blue dot cup, mini carrots and ranch, strawberries and mini M&M's all packed in the PlanetBox. He ate every single bite!

Yumbox Bento

Caroline's lunch was packed in our Yumbox. (I so wish I'd bought the pink one since Caroline is the one who primarily uses this box. The pink is SO cute!) She had him rolls, colorful goldfish, strawberries, yogurt melts, fresh mozzarella cheese bites and mini M&M's.

January 23, 2014

Valentine Hearts Bento

I broke out the heart cutters last week! I love Valentine lunches - here are few favorites from last year. Not all of our lunches will be full of lovey dovey stuff between now and the 14th, but I decided we were close enough to get started. :)

Andrew had heart shaped strawberries, carrots with ranch for dipping in a pink cup, ham roll-ups with a heart shaped cheese topper, pretzels and another pink dipping cup with ketchup and a little gummy heart candy. It was all packed in the Lock&Lock box.

Valentine Bentos

Caroline had a heartsy lunch too. Ham roll-ups with another cheese heart, raspberries on a heart pick, carrots and pretzels. She got TWO little heart gummies. :) I used these heart shaped silicone cups in her lunch.


Did you see my Guide to Bento Lunches post last week? Everything you need to get started packing adorable, healthy lunches! Any questions? Please let me know! :)


*this post contains affiliate links*

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Naptime Schedule

As long as there are moms on the Internet there will be talk about sleep on the Internet. So many of us don’t get enough of it. We long for it, beg for it, read about it, talk about it, pray about and whine to our husbands about it.

Morning Glory

This is another post about sleep.

My kids don’t need a ton of it, and I kind of do.

Andrew had already given up his nap when he turned two. He just wasn’t tired enough to fall asleep during the day, even staying awake in his car seat while I drove aimlessly through the streets of Dallas begging him to “just fall asleep already!”.

I’ve totally reconciled myself to Andrew’s weird sleep habits. He can stay up until 8:30, wake up by 7:30, never fall asleep on the couch and be perfectly happy most days. And he is almost five so this seems like a good schedule, he just got there really early.

But Caroline seems to need more sleep. She finally started sleeping through the night sometime around her first birthday which helped her feel more rested I’m sure. I switched her to one afternoon nap shortly before that birthday and she's done great on this schedule for a good year or so.

Sleep Schedule

But now she’s almost two and a half, she’s learned to climb out of her crib and she doesn’t want to nap anymore.

“Not sleepy, mama. I want to play in the playroom. Not dark outside.”

Sleepy Head

So what to do? I’m trying for a “rest time” in her room, but I keep falling asleep in the chair with her trying to get her to rest and she never does. She gets up and takes all the clothes out of her drawers, and I wake up to a big mess and realize I’ve been asleep for 30 minutes.

This is so backwards.

Most days she’s okay without the nap, but we can’t keep her up or out late at all without it, which is not fun. We like to take them to dinner or friends’ houses occasionally and I don’t want to be tied to our house by 6:30 every day waiting for Caroline to turn into the NO NAP monster.

Good Morning

I know they sometimes go on nap strikes, so I’m hopeful this is what it is, although it’s been more than a few weeks now. But she’s pretty good about knowing when she needs to sleep. At bedtime on nap days she asks me to keep her nightlight on so that she can look at a book in bed before she falls asleep.

But on no nap days, she’ll say “darker please” and have me turn the nightlight off. She knows she needs to go to sleep earlier, clever girl.

It seems she's settling into a nap one day, not the next, kind of routine.


So I guess we’ll just get used to her sleeping habits too. And we’ll buy her a big girl bed, and I’ll be really sad to say goodbye to our crib.

…and our baby who’s no longer much of a baby

…and our naptimes

…and our quiet afternoons.

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Project 365, January 11 - January 18

Brian's uncle passed away last week. He had been sick for a long while so it was a sad loss, but it wasn't completely unexpected. My mom picked up the kids for the weekend and Brian and I road tripped south for the funeral.

It was kind of like a date weekend in a weird way. We had a nice dinner out by ourselves and spent lots of time together in the car. It was good to spend some one-on-one time with him; It was a little recharge for me. And since we don't have any weekend trips away planned anytime soon I'll take what I can get. Just waking up in a kid-free house was pretty vacation-like. I bet you would agree.

By Sunday afternoon we were all back together doing our regular Sunday afternoon thing, watching football, playing outside, wearing princess dresses. And it was good.

I've been plugging along with my Project 365. I'm having so much fun with it, capturing moments I wouldn't be otherwise.

"Smocked in Dad's Old Shirt" 11 // 365
Bumble Bee
"Bumble Bee be Free" 12 // 365
"Share" 13 // 365
Bow Hat
"I need my bow hat" 14 // 365
Princess Crown
"I need my princess crown" 15 // 365
"J is for Jellyfish" 16 // 365
Let's Go
"Let's Go" 17 // 365
Lone Star
"Lone Star" 18 // 365


Nurse Loves Farmer

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Bento Lunches - A How To Guide

I have not always sent my kids to school with cool lunches. I started Andrew's preschool days feeding him pasta and chicken nuggets over and over again. I'd toss a few blueberries in a baggie and call it good. Poor kid. He didn't complain, but he was only two so he just didn't know what he was missing. :)

Now most of his lunches look something like this:


Or this:

Laptop Fruit

After a small investment in a few (well, maybe more than a few, ha!) bento supplies and a little bit of digging for some inspiration I'm able to send Andrew and Caroline to school with awesome, healthy lunches that they really want to eat!

*this post contains affiliate links*

Get Started Creating Bentos!

Here is what you need to get started packing a lunch your kids are excited to eat :

1. Bento Boxes

Compartment Style Bento Boxes

I use these compartment style boxes all the time. They make packing lunches so easy! You just need to find enough healthy foods to fill up the containers and you have a colorful well-divided lunch. My favorites are the PlanetBox, Yumbox and the Laptop Lunch.

Bento Containers

These boxes are just plain cute! That dancing bear and bunny box has held some of my very favorite lunches. The frog box is a great size for preschoolers, and the Lego block box is Andrew's favorite. The Yubo inserts go with the Yubo lunchbox which is handy, but pretty heavy. The inserts though are awesome and the lock&lock box is great for days when you just want to throw some food in a container and get going.

Circus Animals

Most of these containers will easily fit into your standard lunchbox that you're probably already using. I've found the only exception to be the PlanetBox, which comes with its own carrying case.

I recommend starting with a box in each of these categories - something practical and easy to fill and something more cute and charming.

2. Silicone Cups

Silicone Cups for Bentos

There are lots of choices out there for silicone cups. I use these to hold food inside the open space style containers and also in the Laptop Lunch box. These are such an easy way to add some color and pop to a lunch and they're also very practical. They keep foods divided and separated which is pretty important to lots of kids.

You can find standard Wilton baking cups on Amazon or at your local Michael's. I'm always stopping by their baking aisle to see if they have anything new. I love some of the fun shapes you can find at BentoUSA like the flowers and hearts and the fruits and veggies.

These are easy to collect over time, and I often share cups from bigger sets with my sister or friends who are also packing lunches. No one needs 12 heart cups, but if you split them with a friend buying in bulk doesn't seem so wasteful.

3. Cutters and Stampers

Cutters and Stamps for Lunches

These are great for adding a little whimsy to your lunches. The CuteZCute cutter is a must for any lunch packer!

This is a good example of what you can do with sandwich stampers:


I used this set of bunny, bear and flower stampers to make the adorable turkey sandwiches. Basic shape cookie cutters come in handy too because you can use them in so many different lunches. I love my stars and flowers.

4. Accessories - food picks, sauce cups and dividers

Bento Accessories

These are like the jewelry in your bento boxes. They're so cute and fun and can make your lunch really stand out. The sauce cups are great for ketchup, peanut butter and hummus for dipping. The elastic bands are needed to hold some of the two-tier boxes together. The leaf and other baran sheets are great for dividing food within boxes or spicing up a boring sandwich. :)

I could buy food picks all day long. I like to use different styles for various holidays and the standard animals and robots and hello kitty picks are just fun.


Bento Lunchbox

A few items from each of these categories are all you need to get started packing healthy and exciting school lunches for your kids.

So I've got my supplies - now what?

1. Make a list - what do your kids like to eat? Also, what can you include as an experiment to see if they'll eat it? I try to do one food a week that I don't think they'll eat and see what happens. Usually it's a bust, but I've been surprised before!

2. Make a plan - if you don't want to make your lunches the night before, lay out your boxes, your supplies and your pantry foods that you plan to use the next day. No sense winging it in the morning when everyone is rushed and trying to get out the door.

3. Fill it up - You need to make your boxes nice and full to keep the food from moving around in transport. I think this is key to good looking lunches, and I often look for shallow boxes to make it easier.

4. Involve the kids - if your kids are old enough to be interested, ask them what they'd like for lunch. I usually give two or three choices on an item or two and then fill in the rest on my own. It's nice for them to feel some ownership over their lunch. Also, I love these little notes from Say Please and as soon as Andrew's reading on his own I plan to send words of encouragement in his lunchbox.

5. Marvel at your beautiful work and wait for your kids to tell you how much fun lunchtime was! Okay - maybe this won't happen, but I bet your kids will enjoy lunchtime way more than before. And if you post your lunches on Instagram, please tag me (@MeaganMusing) I'd LOVE to see what you've created!

Getting started packing healthy and lovable lunches can seem a little daunting, but with just a little planning and investment you can be off to a great start before you know it! Your kiddos will thank you! :)

You can see all my lunches here on the blog, or you can see the photos all in one place on Flickr.

There's also lots of wonderful inspiration out there on the web. A few of my favorites:

Meet the Dubiens - she's a true artist!
Wendolonia - she has a book coming out this spring!
Weelicious - her lunches and cookbook are amazing!

Now go pack an awesome lunch! :)



Project 365, January 1 - January 10

So a few friends are hosting a new photography challenge for the year and somehow I've convinced myself to try a 365 Project. I'm giving myself a 50% chance of finishing, which is not high. But I'm up for starting, and I really hope I follow through. I think it would be amazing to have a book ready to print at the end 2014: A Photo a Day, Everyday. Pretty cool right?

A little lofty though considering I don't even open my mail everyday. Ha! But I really love the idea of picking up my big camera daily. I used to be much better about it, taking it with me on errands and outings. I'd like to get back to that and this project just might be what I need to spur me on. So if we're friends and you see me at Kroger with my big camera, just don't laugh - okay? :)

I'm not sure if I'll post my photos here every week or not, but to get me off on the right foot here is our first week and a half of 2014:

"Oh, Hi Andrew" 1 // 365
"Big Messes" 2 // 365
"Bubbles in the Sun" 3 // 365
"Grin" 4 // 365
"Princess Cooking" 5 // 365
"Toes" 6 // 365
"Excavation" 7 // 365
"Skeptical Princess" 8 // 365
"Game Night" 9 // 365
"So Very Loud" 10 // 365
Ten days! I made it ten days. As you can see, all but one of these are of the kiddos and that's my plan. I'll still take pictures of other stuff and some days my photo may be of something besides these two, but I'm focusing on them for this project.

I'm acutely aware that my time at home with them is getting short. Andrew goes to Kindergarten in the fall. Caroline is going to preschool two days a week starting this month. I want to take advantage of my cute subjects in 2014.

I am hoping to get more creative with it. I think that will come with practice and more repetition. I'll get bored and start looking for new perspectives or angles, experimenting with my settings.

So far, I'm loving the challenge - no themes - just the freedom (and the obligation) to take a photo every day.

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