Stuck On You Official

My New Favourite Bento Boxes

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Okay, I have to admit. I’ve been a huge Yumbox fan forever. I loved that the trays came out (unlike Little Lunch Box Co), and were top rack dishwasher friendly. Well folks – there is a new girl in town. My friends over at Stuck on You Official sent me some of their bento boxes and cooler bags to try (#gifted) and I am obsessed for a few different reasons.

First – look at the tray design! I love that it has the food groups all laid out in appropriate portion sizes. It’s great for an adult to refer to when making bento box lunches for kids, but equally awesome for older kids as they learn to pack their own lunches and what needs to be included for them as well. Having kids see their meal laid out in front of them allows them to make smarter food choices by prioritizing their hunger needs and being more likely to eat healthier.

Next – and this is a HUGE upgrade over my former fave, Yumbox – the silicone lid insert is removeable! This means that you can properly deep clean and disinfect it as needed. Simply pop it out and toss it on the top rack of your dishwasher (all 3 pieces, including the tray, box shell, and silicone lid insert are all top rack dishwasher safe).

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These bento boxes are also customizable! You can choose colour, art design, and fonts – this allows for several dozen customizing options for your bento boxes (many options available for children/adults of particular colour/design preference).

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Sizing is also generous. The pink bento box above is the Stuck On You Official large bento. The yellow is a Yumbox Original – you can see it is both less wide and less deep meaning it simply doesn’t hold as much food.

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Here you can see the Stuck On You Official large bento in pink, with the lila purple Yumbox Tapas on top. While the Yumbox is slightly wider, it isn’t as deep. By my approximation, they hold a similar amount of food (which is approximately 4.5-5 cups of food when packed food, an adult meal size.)

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Lastly, you can see here the Stuck On You Official large bento in pink, and a Little Lunch Box Co Bento 5 in purple. There is a clear difference in sizing and the amount of food each one holds.

Lastly, the cooler bags we received with our bento boxes are perfectly sized and also customized with my daughter’s names on the outside (not shown). They fit the bento boxes perfectly, with a mesh pouch to insert an ice pack to keep the lunches cold, and an attached zippered pouch to include additional snacks/lunch options.

I have been a Yumbox fangirl forever. But I gotta say, I think these new bento boxes from Stuck On You Official have taken my heart. They are an Australia based company, but offer free Canadian shipping and frequent discounts to their friends up north. I appreciate the super smart design of the removeable silicone lid insert, the interchangeable trays (sandwich tray or snacky trays), the lunch bags that fit the bento boxes perfectly, and even the bento box menu planning note pads you can buy to plan lunch meals and grocery shopping accordingly.

If you’re in the market for some new bento boxes (getting your kids used to eating chilled lunches at home outta bento boxes is great practice for next school year!), please do check them out —> Stuck On You Official Bento Boxes & More

Covid-19 Talk · Making Food Fun · Real Talk

Covid-19 and Self-Isolation

A fun new hack to survive the current covid-19 self-isolation with kids:⁣

Call your kids your coworkers.⁣

Everything is immediately more hilarious. My coworker asked to see my butthole today when she broke into my bathroom stall. I contemplated calling HR but I am HR and no one pays attention to the presentations on personal boundaries anyways.⁣

My coworker takes a dump with the door open.⁣

My coworkers are naked way more than I’d prefer.⁣

My coworker shit herself today.⁣

I had to give my coworker a bath when she barfed on herself at work.⁣

My coworker woke me up this morning by sliding her hand under my nightshirt and putting her finger into my belly button.

See? The world may be crumbling and we’re tuning in to watch President Snow address Panem and District 13 (eerily similar to Alberta) every morning for updates on TV, so might as well laugh while we can. ⁣

For dinner tonight – Tricerataco Tuesday. Pro tip: wrap your hard taco shell in a soft taco shell and eliminate the crumbly mess.
Get your tricerataco holder right here.

Stay golden, Ponyboy. Until next time.⁣

Real Talk

Food Insecurity

 

Food insecurity.⁣

Something that has really really hit home for me this week while my family is enjoying a vacation in Hawaii is the sheer insanity of food pricing. Yes, Hawaii is made up of 8 islands (7 are inhabited) and everything that isn’t grown here needs to be shipped in, hence the costs. But what I have learned, while dying inside at the $10/lb of strawberries and $13 for 6/pk of bagels, is that less nutritious foods (doritos, diet coke, etc) aren’t expensive. Want to know why? Because the big name players in the snack food industry subsidize the costs of getting their products to places like Hawaii, since their profits are astronomical elsewhere. And it’s not just Hawaii. The Canadian North (territories and Iqualuit) experiences the same thing.⁣

Did you know that almost 20% of children live in food insecure households? And that number close to doubles when it is a family of colour? And the number rises further if it is a single mother of colour? And the number rises again if the parent(s) is LGBTQ+?⁣

So, it’s one thing for me to sit here and “balk” at food pricing (look at the white girl complaining while vacationing, hi pot it’s the black kettle calling) but it’s another thing entirely when huge sections of my own country (Yukon, NWT, Nunavut, almost every single Native Reserve) experience the same insanity and it’s not a beachfront vacation. I’ve seen sooooo many people on social media rip mothers (embarrassingly enough, myself too many moons ago) for the “junky” bento box inclusions. Guess what folks?⁣

Consistent 👏 access 👏 to 👏 healthy 👏 food 👏 is👏 a 👏 privilege 👏 not 👏 everyone 👏 has. ⁣

Food insecurity is not knowing how or when or if another meal is coming, never mind it being balanced and nutritionally sound. Food insecurity is taking your last 8 bucks and doing your best with what you’ve got. And when you’ve got a few mouths to feed and bills to pay and you still gotta navigate the judgemental bitches on social media….⁣

Anyways. Healthy food is expensive (and I swear to GOD if a Karen comes in and says it isn’t because she finds everything super cheap in her metropolitan area, I’m gonna snap) and literally everyone wants their child to thrive. Fed is best.

🔴 This Bento: Yumbox Panino in Hollywood Pink⁣

  • mozzarella & Hungarian salami ⁣
  • sweet mini bell peppers⁣
  • mini pink marshmallows⁣
  • strawberries & nectarines ⁣
  • mini heart cookies by @hughplusfrankcookieco
Funny Story · Mom Life · Yumbox

Teaching Them Young

We don’t have a home phone. Not many people do, these days. But I have been thinking about what we would do if something happened to me and I became incapacitated while I was alone with the girls. Would they know how to get help?⁣

So, I thought it was time we had a good discussion about 911. About the instances we may need to call. About how to unlock mommy’s phone and call 911. About how to Facetime daddy and grandma on their iPads if they need a grown-up and mommy is sick. ⁣

I give them the run down and begin quizzing them.⁣

“Okay, what if mommy is sleeping and you can’t wake me up?”, I asked them.⁣

“Call 911 for the emergency helpers”, my 5yo proudly says.⁣

“Good work”, I tell her. “Now what if I fall and I have a majorly big owie but I can still talk?”⁣

“Call Daddy and Grams on my iPad and bring you your phone!”, my 5yo states. My youngest nods along with this decision. ⁣

“Smart choice, girls”, I tell them. “Last one. What if mommy falls down the stairs and isn’t talking?”⁣

“GO TO THE PANTRY AND EAT SNACKS!!!”, my toddler happily yells.⁣

Cool. Happy Sunday.⁣

🔴 This Bento: Yumbox Original in Blue Fish⁣

  • premium plus soda crackers⁣
  • kielbassa & cheddar (make your own lunchables)⁣
  • strawberries⁣
  • cantaloupe and blackberries ⁣
  • mini rainbow marshmallows ⁣
  • cashews, pistachios, & raisins⁣
  • rainbow unicorn cookie from The Avenue Cakery
Funny Story · Mom Life · Yumbox

Raising Tiny Versions of Myself

I was reading the girls a bedtime story tonight (naturally one that had 8650 pages) and I accidentally and with malicious intent skipped a few pages in the middle. After reading for another minute or two, my 5yo says “mommy you missed some pages!”. I told her that I hadn’t (rookie move). She insisted I had. I said “how do you know? You can’t even read!” – and she looks at me deadass in the eyes and says “well obviously neither can you because this story makes no sense”.⁣⁣
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Shots fired. I am not okay. I am raising a tiny version of myself and I need help.⁣⁣
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🔴 This Bento: Yumbox Original in Blue Fish⁣⁣

  • leftover top sirloin steak bites⁣⁣
  • strawberry yogurt covered pretzels⁣⁣
  • nectarines⁣⁣
  • blackberries⁣⁣
  • steamed broccoli⁣⁣
  • gummy bears⁣⁣
  • Nature’s Bakery fig bar⁣
Making Food Fun · Real Talk

Muffin Tin Monday

Muffin tin Monday!⁣

One of my biggest “food hang up” pet peeves is the notion that humans need 3 large plated meals a day. At the table. Breakfast foods, lunch foods, dinner foods. Do you want to know who decided pancakes were a breakfast food and pasta was a dinner food? MARKETING PROFESSIONALS. They told us what to do and we did it.⁣ We have subscribed to the notion of rigid food concepts for far too long.

When we’re able to let go of our pre-concieved notions around food and eating, the world opens up a little bit. One of my favourite lunch at home hacks for kids? Muffin tin grazing platters. These can be used for any meal of the day, really. If your “picky” child struggles with a plated meal, refuses your offerings, and you just generally struggle with meal time – consider this option. Sometimes food is much less about what is being offered and moreso about how it’s offered.⁣⁣
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⁣I like to include 6-8 healthy foods I know they love, and the remaining ones I hope they’ll try. Even if they don’t eat them, exposure is still important. I use muffin liners simply to control mess. Offering one large tin to both my kids encourages them to share and it’s 50% less cleaning (win/win).⁣ Try a 6-well muffin tin for solo kids (including complex carbs, fruits, veggies, proteins, etc – any meal can be deconstructed this way).⁣
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Pictured here: pistachios, mini breton crackers, blueberries, dried yogurt melts, cucumbers, raspberries stuffed with chocolate chips, cashews, kiwi, strawberries, carrots, gummy bears, dried mango pieces.⁣

It doesn’t even need to be snacks! Offer deconstructed tacos or chicken ceaser salad in muffin tins to make food a bit more fun and a bit less intimidating to children who don’t like to try new things. The possibilities are endless!
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Holiday Traditions · Mom Life · Real Talk

Our Version of Christmas Advent

It’s a little overwhelming, isn’t it? The holiday season? It feels (at least to me) like consumerism has taken on a life of its own these days and threatens to topple anyone who isn’t steadfast in their resolve to not give in to Keeping Up With The Jones’. I’m over here just trying to keep it simple with my kids so every Christmas season we do a book advent for them.

48 books about Christmas, the holiday season, giving, love, charity, generosity, and family. Lovingly hand-wrapped for our little ladies, one each, for every day of Advent. We hope to encourage their love of stories and reading – and to show them that sitting with loved ones (or themselves) and reading a great book is maybe what it’s all about. To foster the excitement of waking up and seeing what story the day has for them – which really, is a decent metaphor for life itself. I’m always excited to see the look on their faces when they get to open a new (to them) book every day – stories collected from family and friends, thrift shops, and a few new special picks.

Money saving tip: check your local Free Little Libraries for holiday books, ask on local Facebook groups, and check Value Village (since they always offer buy 4 kids books get 1 free – and they’re only $2-$3 each). I switch a few out every year to keep up with their interests and ages – for example, I swapped out most of the baby board books this year, and added some Paw Patrol and Wild Kratts to appeal to the girls’ current interests.

Mom Hack: After Christmas, pack up the advent books and stash them away for next season. The kids won’t remember them next year, and they stay in great condition because they’re only enjoyed in December. Better yet, trade advent books amongst friends with similar traditions – get a bunch of new (to your family) books for free!

Chocolates get eaten and tiny toys get lost, but the memories we hope to create with our girls of laying together and laughing and snuggling into stories will last a lifetime. It’s not always perfect but it’s perfect for us. And that’s all I can hope for.

“Words, are our most inexhaustible source of magic.” J.K. Rowling

Home and Design · Real Talk

Moving with Kids

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Why aren’t more people talking about the fresh hell that is moving with small children?

Long story short, our previous home (expected to take 4-5 months to sell due to a slow market) sold in 3 weeks and our new build wasn’t going to be ready for 5 months – so we sold sold/donated all of our “got this at a thrift shop for 4 bucks because we were poor university students” stuff, and packed everything else into storage and moved in with my inlaws. They have a small guest house on their property that they’ve graciously let us conduct our gypsy shenanigans in since.

Now we are 2 days away from not being homeless anymore and it is crunch time. I was trying to pack up some toys today and my 2.5 year old found a toy, covered in a thin film of filth and smelling like neglect, that hasn’t been touched in 80 years, and decided it was The Toy. The one that has to go to the potty with her. The one that has to sit beside her dinner plate. The one she takes to bed. This toy is embarrassing, and it is now her favourite. Cool. All the influencer blogs about moving said to just authoritatively talk to your kids about the importance of de-cluttering before you ditch their old toys but I am started to wonder if they were talking about human kids or fake kids because mine have taken de-cluttering as a blood oath challenge to protect what is rightfully theirs.

Then we have my almost 5 year old who is less concerned about her toys and way more concerned about the big picture. “Do the toilets work in the new house? Will it be warm? Can we bring all our clothes and blankets? Will the fridges have food in them? How will I get to school? Are we ever going to see Grandma and Grandpa again?” – she’s been inside our new house many times (that is 15 mins away from her grandparents) and yet still seems to think we’re moving away to start fresh in 1960’s Soviet Russia.

Then there’s me, wandering around looking for boxes, asking no one in particular if these are moving boxes for ants because they need to be at least 3x bigger, while my husband looks for imaginary tools to do imaginary things with – and our children just yell for more snacks. There are so many fruit snack wrappers in my garbage can right now I think I made an FBI watch list or something.

Thank GOD Past Rachel was smart enough to spring for movers to assist us (and enlist Grams to take the girls all day) because I am approximately 1 snack request away from an accident with a lighter and some extreme hold hairspray (to my stuff, not my kids – don’t call CFS on me).

I cannot be the only one in this boat – does moving with kids always suck this bad?

Real Talk

10 Year Photo Challenge

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There is a 10 year photo challenge circulating – one in which you share photos 10 years apart to see how you’ve aged. I could post photos of me 10 years ago and me today, but I won’t. It’s not because I am chubbier now, it’s not because my hair is sprinkled with grey streaks, it’s not because I have the kinds of dark circles under my eyes that 2 kids in 2 years brings. It’s not because I only wear leggings now, it’s not because I just don’t have the time or energy for the biweekly mani/pedi I grew accustomed to in my 20’s. It’s not because I have a bit of a double chin that cheekily reminds me how damn much I love chocolate after 7pm. And most importantly, it’s NOT because I’m embarrassed that I HAVE aged 10 years.

It’s because photos are 2 dimensional. They show you nothing except the state of your physical shell. And what all these photos don’t show is how much your mental state can change in 10 years. 10 years ago, I’d venture to guess I was at my mentally unhealthiest state. The end of a long term relationship sent me into a toxic rollercoaster of crash diets, crippling insecurity, damaging romantic flings, and a general feeling of worthlessness. Was I pretty? Yeah. Did I turn heads? Sure. Was I healthy on the inside? NO.

And now? For the first time in a long time I can truly express how emotionally strong I feel. My insecurities shrink by the day, as I am acutely aware of how my projection can affect my daughters. I wake up happy and healthy, next to a man who sees my stretch marks as remnants of how hard my body worked to grow our kids and not evidence that I let myself go. I love myself. I am finally seeing all the cool fucking things I have to offer as a woman/wife/mother/friend and I refuse to waste even one more second on anyone who doesn’t agree.

So yeah, I’ve aged. I don’t look as asethetically pleasing (as dictated by our broken society) as I did when I was 23 years old. But I am the healthiest and happiest (physically and emotionally) that I have ever been, and that doesn’t translate well to photographs. I have never been more excited to have aged 10 years emotionally.

So I won’t join this challenge – and before you look at someone’s perfectly curated photo set and wish you still “looked that good” – take a step back and evaluate your physical being on a bigger scale. Because comparing your real life to someone’s highlight reel with no understanding of what’s happening behind the scenes is silly. This is me. Chubby and stretched marked and sleep deprived and fucking HAPPY.

Happy Saturday, friends.

Funny Story · Little Lunch Box Co

Testicles


This morning I was just minding my own business, eating my breakfast, trying to encourage my kids to eat a bit quicker than the elderly sloth pace they’re accustomed to, when my 4.5 year old says she’s got something to show me. I tell her to eat her cereal before we’re late for an appointment, but she’s insistent. She whispers, “Mama, wanna see my testicles?” – Naturally, I choke to death on my cheerios and burst a blood vessel in my eye coughing. “Your WHAT?”, I asked her suspiciously. “Look – my testicles”, she says, putting the top of her hand under her chin and wiggling her fingers at me. “I’m an octopus”, she says with a smile.

SUPER grateful she tested that cool trick out on me first before we encountered an unsuspecting male out in public today to witness this.

This Bento: Little Lunch Box Co Bento 5

  • dried banana chips
  • steamed broccoli
  • waffle pretzels
  • leftover honey garlic smokies (cooked)
  • Early Dawn Farm goat cheese curds
  • blueberries
  • Made With Local peanut butter blondie bar
  • Colibri reuseable bag w/sliced apples