Angry Birds, Fishing, Footballs, Pigs with Mud… and other lunches for kids

Posted on March 14, 2012
Filed Under Cooks in Training, Easy meals, Tidbits

I’m not sure who has more fun with this… me or the kids. The thing about kids is that they’re so forgiving. For example, if your lion lunch looks more like a sun with whiskers, they’ll love it anyway. And they’ll even call it a lion, and they’ll grrrr while they’re eating it. Those of you reading this will probably fall into one of 3 categories:
1. Think “That’s a waste of time.”
2. Think “That would take too long, but I’d like a few easy ideas to do someday… maybe one day when I have nothing else to do *hahaha, laughing at your own joke of nothing to do*, or for a birthday party for one of the kids or something.”
3. Think ”I need to make lunch anyway, so instead of cutting a sandwich in half corner-to-corner and throwing it and chips on a plate, I might as well take a couple extra minutes and cut a roofline at the top of the sandwich and place some Doritos here and there to make it a house-on-fire lunch. Not saying I do it all the time… just hit n miss for fun. Because psssssst *whisper* Sometimes I fix lunch in 30 seconds flat and my kids’ lunches look like this:”
kid-lunch-pkged.jpg

If you are person #1, I don’t care, I won’t try to change your mind… I’ll just feel privileged that you’re still putting up with me on here. 🙂
If you are person #2, do it, find that ’someday’, seriously, I can’t tell you how much the kids will love it.
If you are person #3, ahhh, let’s just remember that strengths and weaknesses lie side by side… because I’m pretty sure that spending time playing with food instead of folding laundry would be considered a weakness. ;)

You may notice that this is almost all grilled cheese sandwiches. Nothing fancy. No special recipes or anything.

I’m just going to put up 10 or so pictures here of ones I’ve remembered to take pictures of. Most of them were quickly snapped with my cell phone… without necessarily planning to post them, just more for my own interest. I thought of redoing them all and getting decent pictures, but you know what? I don’t specialize in the photography line like a few of my talented friends do. (My talented friends’ first piece of advice would probably be “use a camera, never a cell phone!”) :)

I think the pictures are pretty self-explanatory, but I’ll try to explain sorta what I did under each picture. I just used whatever I had on hand… nothing was planned ahead, so sometimes I had to improvise, like using melted chocolate on a ham and cheese sandwich… it wasn’t very much though, I just needed something dark for eyebrows. I think you’ll notice the improvising as you look at the pictures. ;)

1. Let’s Go Fishing
kid-lunch-fishing.jpg
Apple boat, fish-shaped grilled cheese sandwich, carrot fisherman, gummy worm, pretzel fishing pole, brown crayon fishing line, blue crayon water, edible marker face (well, just the ink is edible, not the whole marker ;) ), chocolate chip eye.

2. House on Fire
kid-lunch-house-fire.jpg
Sandwich cut into a house shape, windows doors and roof line out of crust, chimney cut from scraps, marshmallow smoke, Doritos fire.

3. Pig with Mudhole and Feeding Trough
kid-lunch-pig.jpg
Grilled cheese pig with ears from scraps and snout from one side of another sandwich, carrot eyes and nostrils, Pringles trough with snack mix pig food, chocolate pudding mud.

4. Caterpillar
kid-lunch-caterpillar.jpg
Trail bologna caterpillar with shredded cheese mouth and antennas, cheese eyes, cheese leaves, cookie & pretzel sun. I let them eat crackers with it, but I should’ve incorporated the crackers into the caterpillar to make it more interesting and varigated!

5. Butterfly
kid-lunch-butterfly.jpg
Snacking on cheese and pretzels on evening, Tiffany (5) suddenly came over to me and said “Look Mom! I made a butterfly with my cheese and pretzels!”

6. Sailboats
kid-lunch-sailing.jpg
Grilled cheese boats, licorice masts, strawberry sails (it was this lunch that I realized ”hey! It would be very easy to make hearts out of strawberry halves!”), Marshmallow clouds, cracker fish (swimming in invisible water, ha).

7. Semi and Car
kid-lunch-semi-car.jpg
Bake ham n cheese sandwiches with hot dog bun instead of hamburger buns. Get them out of the oven and add unmelted cheese details: wheels, smoke stacks, driver with face drawn on. For the cabs, I added one layer from another sandwich. The kids drove these around a bit before eating them. The wheels are held on by toothpicks. A toothpick is the perfect length to span the width of a hot dog bun and have a bit left over on each side to press the cheese onto. The faces stayed on because I put them against the hot melted cheese and they stuck.

8. Lion
kid-lunch-lion.jpg
Yeah, you can laugh at these lunches, I don’t care. :) Grilled cheese head, shredded cheese and cheese chunk face, Doritos mane.

9. Spiral and a Scissors
kid-lunch-spiral-pizza.jpg
Cut-your-own-piece pizza. The girls cut small pieces so they could use the scissors more often.

10. Dog and Bone
kid-lunch-woof.jpg
Grilled cheese dog, Pringles ear, piped chocolate pudding eye, nose, bone, and words.

11. Puzzle
kid-lunch-puzzle.jpg
Grilled cheese puzzle pieces… very simple, but Tiffany had fun playing with it anyway.

12. Are You Ready for some Football?
kid-lunch-football.jpg
Grilled cheese footballs with shredded cheese laces, carrot goal posts (not fastened, just arranged there, and they roll while transporting the plate, then you have to fix them again 🙂 ), cookie jersey (you can’t see it very well, but I used red edible ink to draw a 5 on it (because the tot eating it was 5) and drew lines at the end of the sleeves).

13. Angry Birds
kid-lunch-angry-birds.jpg
Head is round bread, round cheese, and crescent ham with ‘tufts’, cheese eyes and nose (I didn’t have yellow cheese, so I colored white cheese with an edible ink marker), melted chocolate eyebrows and ‘pupils’.

Ok, this ended up being 13… an unlucky number! I’m not superstitious, but maybe I should add another one that I just thought of that I made this week to go with a lunch, but didn’t take a picture:

14. A carrot man. Think stick man with 5 baby carrots: 1 carrot was the torso, 2 were legs, 2 were arms. The head was a round piece of cheese with a smile drawn on with an edible ink marker. Then, I put a raspberry upside down on his head for a cap. One carrot man was sitting and one was standing (or laying, rather). Everything was held together with little pieces of toothpicks. Could even dress them up with fruit roll-ups or cheese/ham slices or something… didn’t think of that till right now.

Have fun! We are! 🙂

Comments

11 Responses to “Angry Birds, Fishing, Footballs, Pigs with Mud… and other lunches for kids”

  1. Arla on March 14th, 2012 10:50 pm

    Kay, what I think is the neatest thing about this is that you’re taking time for your girls and loving it, too. It only gets better from here, I promise.

  2. Monica on March 14th, 2012 10:56 pm

    Thanks for all the ideas!! My children would love the Angry Birds, since that is one of their favorite things right now. I will have to try that.

  3. Kay on March 14th, 2012 11:46 pm

    Arla, I love your last sentence! Thanks for that encouragement! :)

    Monica, yeah, I think the Angry Birds one was about the biggest hit of them all here, too. :) And here’s a hint that I forgot to put into the post: a kitchen scissors is your friend for cutting the ham.

  4. Shannon on March 15th, 2012 7:50 am

    Kay! You are the tops!! My girls are leaning over my shoulder saying, “WOW Mom, you should really try that. She can do all that? She’s good!” :) I really really should try this sometime.

    I betcha when your girls have kids, they’ll say, “Here’s your lunch! Grandma used to do this for me when I was little.” My kids will give their kids a plate and says, “Eat!” :D

  5. cretora on March 15th, 2012 9:56 am

    that is SO cute! I’m thinking birthday party or boring summer day for me. Def. a fun idea for Cali to unleash her creativity in the kitchen. :)

  6. Audrey on March 15th, 2012 11:43 am

    This type of thing is something that I so admire about you. I probably fall into category #2, but then I hardly ever get around to this kind of thing. I know my kids would love it though. And some of them are so simple. Thanks a lot for sharing these with the rest of us!

  7. Renita on March 15th, 2012 3:09 pm

    awesome ideas. Will have to remember to try some. So often I’m in a hurry and just want them to eat their food instead of actually playing with it. :-) Thanks

  8. Kay on March 15th, 2012 4:43 pm

    Shannon, LOL about our kids as moms someday! :p You oughta do the house on fire… that was probably the biggest bang for time taken. There’s nothing to pipe and no shredded cheese to arrange and no faces to draw.

    Cretora and Aug, yep simple. Simple enough for even the older kids to do themselves!

    Renita, I don’t usually sit down with my kids to eat lunch, so I don’t care what they do. :) I usually eat something different than they do, so I make mine while they’re eating theirs.

  9. Beth on March 20th, 2012 9:26 pm

    Once again, you blow me away with your creativity! I should probably admit that I am #1, but I know the kids would love it if I’d do it. I used to cut dog shapes for their ham & cheese sandwich & they loved it! So maybe tomorrow when I get lunch together, I’ll think of you & do something special. :)

  10. Beth on March 20th, 2012 9:30 pm

    I forgot to say that I really love #7. Also, I will keep all of these in mind for parties! …since I’m still holding out on looking at Pinterest for ideas. :)

  11. Judi on April 24th, 2012 2:04 pm

    if I thought my picky eaters (granddaughters) would eat it I would do any of those things lol Although, this weekend we all made cupcakes and the pickiest of them all ate a whole cupcake – the one that eats anything only ate the frosting lol

    Love the ideas.

Snowman Cake… cute and EASY, I promise!

We have snow!! So I’m gonna post a snowman.

snowman-cake-and-cupcakes.jpg

You know, I was just thinking… after I wrote those first 2 sentences, I looked out the window for awhile at the snow I was talking about… you know the snow that I used TWO exclamation marks after when I said we have snow, and I realized how my standards have changed. Do you know how much snow we have right now?
About 1/2 inch.
1 inch at the deep parts.
Wow. :)

I was born and raised in northern WI and moved to OH 3 years ago. If we’d get this much snow in WI and Shannon’s dear grandpa from PA would call and say, “What’s the weather like out there? Do you have snow?”, same as he’d always start every call with between Sept and May, we’d say “No, not really, just a little dusting.” I do really like the mild winters here though. I think it’s pretty cool that in Ohio right now, it’s mid-January and I still haven’t gotten out my winter coat… my temp mark for bulk-of-winter-coat-is-worth-it-for-the-extra-warmth-over-light-coat is about 25 degrees, unless I’m going to be out for a long period of time.  I haven’t gotten my boots out either because… I have none. I threw them away last year because they were so out of style and I was so in love with them… so when I was tempted to wear them, I’d weigh the pros (love them) and cons (out of style)… and love always won. So the only way to make myself stop wearing them was to throw them away.

All that to say that I’m in the market for boots. I love the style of boots right now… especially the sorta short ones with a heel and slouched and black and a bow-type thing on the side… so I’ll probably be back in my out-of-style-but-love-em predicament again in 5 years. :) Maybe I’ll buy some boots tomorrow… we seriously need to get out of the house because we’ve been sick for nearly a week around here and I think we’re all functioning at 85 – 100% power today now… so what better thing to do on a Saturday than to go out on the town.

Anyway… let’s circle back around to where we started… “I’m gonna post a snowman”.

snowman-face.jpg
Isn’t it crazy how M&Ms can almost seem to make something have a personality? :)

I feel like I need to talk really fast to interrupt any crazy “I’d never have time for that!” thoughts. It’s simply 2 cake mixes… dump one in a mixing bowl instead of a 9×13, dump the other one in a small mixing bowl and the rest in cupcake liners. Bake. Frost… you don’t even have to add food coloring because snow is conveniently white! ;) Press M&Ms on. Make a melty chocolate/peanut butter hat. Fruit roll-up scarf. Eat. There is no carving or shaping of cake going on here. I made this for dessert for hot lunch at school.

Get your 5-yr-old to decorate the cupcakes… Tiffany did all of them while I did the snowman. We used orange M&Ms for noses only and put them sideways so they stuck out a little more.

snowman-cupcakes.jpg

Keep the 18-month-old demolition-crew-of-one as far away as possible. Or do what I did and count one cupcake and a small handful of M&Ms as loss and set her up to destro—, I mean, decorate it.

snowman-cake-making.jpg
*cell phone pic alert* Yeah, we tried just giving Megan some Apple Jacks to munch on so she could happily watch while munching, but nope, no luck, she was more into M&Ms and gooey frosting.

One thing I should say about the baking… I was afraid the cake wouldn’t get done in the middle, so I looked around the kitchen, saw a glass Coke bottle (filled it to make it heavier), covered it in tin foil, and put it in the middle, like it’s sitting in the mixing bowl here… kind of an angel food cake pan effect. It worked perfect. I don’t know if it would be necessary or not, though. I baked the cake for 1 hour.
snowman-baking.jpg

I used candy canes for the arms (broke off the curved part), but you could use pretzel rods or whatever. The hat is a chunk of leftover buckeye-type peanut butter filling dipped in melted chocolate with too much chocolate poured on top so it ran down beside it, making a hat brim. Then I put it in the fridge until it hardened. You could pretty much use anything… like a chocolate-dipped small cookie or whoopie pie or something.

*gasp* Did I just used the phrase “too much chocolate”?! Sorry, it should read “extra chocolate” instead… I’m more comfortable with that term.

Add a fruit roll-up or fondant the color of your choice for the scarf. Snip the ends with a scissors to give a tassle effect.

snowman-cake-done.jpg

And there you go… celebrate winter with your kids! Whether you have 2 feet of snow, a 1/2 inch of snow, or only dream of snow.

Comments

9 Responses to “Snowman Cake… cute and EASY, I promise!”

  1. Beth Graber on January 20th, 2012 8:32 pm

    Do I get to comment first? Well, I think this snowman is just plain perfect!! When I got to the part about you feeling like you need to talk really fast, I automatically started reading faster. lol What I love about your site is all the little stuff you add to it (like the whole thing of the Grandpa who always asked if it snowed). :) P.S. I still wouldn’t attempt this – you just don’t know how good you are.

  2. Freida on January 20th, 2012 9:24 pm

    That is one cute snowman!

  3. Sheila on January 21st, 2012 12:49 am

    Ahh, how fitting since it snowed at least half the day here. We only ended up getting about two inches though. Up until a week or two ago, you hadn’t missed much snow here. I really should make something “snowy” yet this winter. You make things look easy but I’m afraid this would take me at least half a day. :-/ I agree with Beth about liking the interesting little rabbit trails you take in your writing. Glad you all are feeling better!

  4. Kay on January 21st, 2012 1:17 am

    Haha, Beth you’ve made a train; Sheila, you’ve made a teapot and other cool cakes… you guys would think this is easy and fast. Frosting a round something instead of a flat something and pressing M&Ms on, you could use a doll hat if you wouldn’t want to make one, and then flop a fruit rollup around the neck.

    I think a snowman cheeseball would be cute too… thought of that when I wished I could use a real carrot for the nose.

    I love snowmen… they’re so goofy and cheery. If we ever get more than 1/2 inch of snow around here and build a snowman, I want us to build a couple of them and make one upside down… then put 2 sticks sticking up out of the bottom ball (which is now on top) and put boots upsidedown on them. ;)

  5. Aug on January 21st, 2012 2:01 pm

    I am just happening to be looking for ideas for Kendall’s birthday party in about 2 weeks. I may have to try this. But I always have this doubt in my mind…will it actually turn out looking as cool as Kay’s? And btw, I love how you are always involving your girls!

  6. Amy Burkey on January 22nd, 2012 9:50 am

    I made one of these. It wasn’t as rounded? shall we say! But it is pretty easy….for the ones who think it’s not. Here’s mine. http://amyjane30.blogspot.com/2011/01/happy-birthday-keagan.html

  7. Kay on January 22nd, 2012 2:29 pm

    Amy, I hadn’t seen yours! *mental note to add your blog to my Google Reader* Thanks for assuring people that it’s easy. :) Yours looks even harder than mine because you have 3 “snowballs”. And thanks for adding your link.

    Good luck with deciding on a cake, Aug. That’s always kinda fun. Something makes me think you might be thinking down the penguin route too. ;)

  8. Beth on February 6th, 2012 12:33 am

    Hey, guess what? I’ve been browsing your website for lunch ideas for this week (while the guys are remodeling). I found the Thursday Thirteen section & got some great ideas. It was just super fun to read this kind of thing from back when you lived in WI. You made me lol a few times too. :)

  9. amber on March 7th, 2012 1:48 pm

    i’m just always amazed at your talents~ you are a woman of so many skills! i need to come spend a week {or two or three} with you!! :)