Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Blogiversary, Some Ramblings and FINALLY, a Giveaway!

What a coincidence, I finally some time to sit down and blog this morning and realized that it's been a year since my very first post! So much has happened, our little Luca has joined us, Matteo and Nico are in school together and we suffered some heartbreak. Through it all, you have been with our family on this journey, rooting us on and holding my hand through the tough times. Thank you so much my dear, dear friends. In my wildest dreams, I never would have expected to make so many lovely friends, near and far and I feel so much the richer for it. I'm sending my deepest and most heartfelt gratitude to you all.

So, a funny thing happened while our computer was down and I was on an internet break...

I really, really liked it

My house was a little cleaner, I caught up on some reading and most importantly, I felt more connected to my family. It was eye opening how much being online can take over mental space even when you're not on the computer. For me, it was less time to be writing posts in my head, surfing for the "perfect" toy for the boys for the holidays (because goodness knows, the last thing they need is MORE toys!) and reading status updates on people who I haven't worked with in a decade on Facebook. But what I realized as well is that I did miss communicating with my friends who are in my now. I missed visiting your blogs for inspiration and I missed just the online community of dear friends that I have. So I wonder and ask of all of you, how do you do it? How do you make that balance work of being fully present with your family and then having the time to be present with the world of friends online? As parents, we all have so many challenges when it comes to time management and I wonder how others do it (and still have time to craft on top of it all!).

I am rambling, and thank you for indulging me on my blogiversary.

I've been wanting to talk about lunch for a long time now (since it seemed like a fitting conclusion for food week) and FINALLY get to do my giveaway!


In trying to reduce waste and the use of plastics, this year the very wonderful and generous director of the boys preschool gifted every child with these oval stainless steel tiffin containers! One of the many reasons why we love the school is that the director and teachers help make the children become better stewards of our planet. I had previously been using a plastic lunchbox system which worked well, but I hadn't been entirely happy with using plastic and actually had been keeping an eye out for an alternate lunch solution.

Kay Glanchai, the founder of Luncharound is a parent (and in full disclosure, a very cool crafty mama who is in my Inspiration Circle!) who has researched very thoroughly and endlessly to find a lunchbox solution that was very earth friendly as well as easily usable to young children. I have to admit that I am a bit of a geek when it comes to the presentation of the lunches for the boys. As well as being nutritious, I want the lunches to be aesthetically pleasing as well (as Kay calls it "the feng shui of food") and she has given me numerous tips on how to prepare the food using halved avocado peels as little bowls, leftover baguette bags to wrap items in... she is an amazing resource for how to make fun lunches!

I wanted to share the wealth and fun and giveaway a set of the two-tier, stainless steel tiffin lunchboxes so generously donated by Kay and Luncharound (Thank you, Kay)! All you need to do is leave a comment (help a mama out and tell me what you like to make for lunch or snacks!) and I will randomly draw a number/name on Monday afternoon 10/26, 5PM PST.... and of course I would love it if my friends overseas enterred!


As befitting my procrastinational (is that a word?) nature, I will also sew 2 cloth napkins to send with the lunchboxes, but the winner has to swear not to tell others about my inability to sew straight lines :D... I had all these plans to sew them and post pictures, but well, you know...

Thank you so much for reading my long novel of a post, for your patience and understanding during my absence and most of all for your friendship this year.
I love you all!

(now PLEASE go leave a comment!)

xoxo, Marina

54 comments:

Stacy said...

I too have been using a plastic lunchbox system for the past few years and have wanted to try the tiffin tin system for a long time. These are lovely and such a generous giveaway. Oh, I wish I had some good lunch or snack suggestions but we are so lacking in lunchtime creativity when trying to please two very fussy boys. A new system could inspire us!

ani said...

I just heard about these from our own "green guru" at Ian's pre-school...would love to try it out! Might have to put some Batman stickers on it, though!
Agree lunches are tough...lately Ian loves cheese-filled spinach and flour tortellinis, with side of pears in pear juice.
Love your blog, Marina!

Lyneya said...

I love your blog! And Walker loves it whenever you've got pics of the boys playing. :) You've been MY inspiration to get creative and try something new and I'm so glad I've gotten to be cyber-friends with you this past year! :)

Lunch tips: typically leftovers, plus milk, fruit, string cheese and a juice and sometimes a cereal bar (keep in mind I pack lunch plus two snacks and sometimes breakfast--not that he eats much, but the day I pack light is the day he'd eat!). The only creative thing I have is an ever changing bag of snacks. It's one of those cloth velcro bags and I put in a variety of things all mixed together: dried fruits and corn and bunnie crackers, nuts, sometimes a sneak in a couple of yogurt covered pretzels or animal crackers. He's a snacker, so providing a variety of healthy snacks means there's always something in there that's me and kid approved! :)

Grace said...

I would love one of these!
Well, I will tell you our lunch/snacks for today: homemade vegetable soup (make a BIG pot and freeze it in small batches) and all natural ham (no nitrites, etc) sandwiches. Snacks: celery and carrot sticks dipped in peanut butter.

Jen said...

I am loving your blog reads!! My daughter is picky with her lunches. She only likes her sandwiches (she's a big time sandwich fan) if I pack the bread and lunchmeat separately.

Liz Headley said...

I like the tips, Marina, and love hearing that you and Madeleine's mom know each other. I can't believe her little one is at Sprouts already! Anyway, I like our plastic system (today filled with heart-shaped pb&j's and some fruit and veggies), but think the tiffin system is neat and also like that it's not plastic. Thanks for more inspiration!

MammaNatura said...

I love your blog, is the ispiration for my blog!!
Can I join your giveaway from Italy?
p.s.
sorry for my english

Lisa said...

What a fun and generous giveaway!!! When we pack lunches we always pack a garden salad. My girls are rabbits and love the raw veggies. Soup is another favorite for us....usually vegetable soup or lentil chili.

I find myself spending WAY to much time on the computer some days. I've been trying to cut back as well. Not blogging everyday. It's just too much.

Happy anniversary of the blog!

lisa

nicola@which name? said...

happy blogaversary, marina! your blog began and has continued to be beautiful!

yes yes yes on the online community/real life balance. i am in (semi) blog break mode now and it has taken (sadly) a couple days to settle in an adjust. mostly, i need it to get me to bed earlier. i try very hard not to spend the day distracted by the computer (nap time now), but it does mean post-bed time distractions.
sorting my favorite blogs into a reader has really helped. you will find what works best for you. i rotate, but am currently re-sorting by weekday. each weekday, i am attempting to check only those listed under that day of the week. there are a few i read daily, and when back online more fully, i will resume posting to mine daily.

as for lunches, i am still okay with our plastic lunch box, although we also have a tiffin box. (one gets washed, while the other is used, and vice versa.) for now, as long as the food in the plastic is cold and the plastic is one of the safer numbers (generally #5), i am okay with it. i try for BPA free and all our plastic cups are BPA free.

my kids are crudite' lovers. fresh and raw are favored. now i try for seasonal and local (and organic per the EWG list), too. nice thing about where we live? fresh foods have a lonnnngggg in-season span.

liz and i have a parents' group friend, wendy, whose bento boxes are amazing in presentation. www.wendolonia.com/blog

sorry for babbling. headed back offline now!

nicola
http://whichname.blogspot.com

Trish said...

The very best thing I ever did for my children's lunches is to make a deal with my husband that he is in charge of lunches! He is long gone for work before the rest of the family gets up in the morning. Having him fix lunches is our way of sharing the task of getting the kids out of the house in the morning.
On the few days that I do make lunch I try to always include a note and picture drawn on their napkins and a special treat (usually fruit or cheese cut into fun shapes).
I love, love, love the tiffen lunchpails and am hoping to get some for christmas presents.

*erin* said...

For lunchtime we often have hummus wraps or smoothies which I sneak everything into and my picky 4yo dosn't seeam to mind. Yesterday it was banana, almond milk, avocado, handful of white beans, strawberries, flax oil, and cooked pumpkin:)

Brown rice with cheese and tiny cut up veggies is a favorite too!

Simple Mama said...

Marina! How lovely of you to host this giveaway. :) My little one isn't in preschool, but we often find ourselves on outings over a meal. He loves when I make him peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with mama's homemade strawberry jam. I use a cookie cutter to cut the sandwich in the shape of a gingerbread man. And of course cheese. Cheese, cheese, cheese.

Simple Mama said...

PS...internet/real life. A challenge indeed. And yet, as a stay at home mom my internet friends have become as dear and connected to me as many of my "real life" friends. You all have become my lifeline on days that we can't get it together enough to go out into the world. On days when I need mama's and papa's who understand me, and the decisions we're making in our house. xxxooo

healinghillary said...

what a lovely give-away. we have a no-plastic kitchen. so yay for stainless!
so when we pack lunches...we like raisins and raw nuts are a favorite. anything rolled up in a tortilla (peanut butter and raw honey, hummus, beans and cheese, etc). mini pizzas (with veggies), mini waffles with bananas in the middle, veggie kabobs, fruit kabobs, smoothies, homemade potato chips....
anything made into a ball...super baby food by ruth yaron has some great toddler snack ideas and recipes in it.

hope that helps. thanks for sharing.
peace,
hillary

Digital Misfit said...

That lunchbox is WONDERFUL!
I have found the most brilliant product for getting kids to eat boiled eggs. http://zakkalife.blogspot.com/2008/07/egg-molds-kawaii-ne.html

You place the newly hardboiled egg into the mold and leave it in there to soak for about 20-30 mins. Out comes a cute egg that nobody could resist.

heidig@gmail.com

Annie said...

My son seems to only want to eat the same few foods over and over ;) Maybe packing him a special little lunch every day would entice him to eat new things? I could use some suggestions myself.

Ivan said...

My lovely wife adds warmth and beauty to our every day lives. These little stainless steal lunch boxes are very cool. I'm looking at bringing one of these to work myself. I like that it's better for the environment, but I'm also a terrible foodie, I really prefer not to touch my food with plastic.

Nicole said...

Gasp! This is an incredible giveaway Marina! Thank you : ) Oooh, I love the bento style lunches and can also really get into the 'look' of lunch/snacks!! We do a tray or muffin tin full of healthy snacks, cut up fruit, dried fruit, nuts (they lovelove cracking their own peanuts and pistachios!) cheese, granola... the kids are excited about their choices and how it is all set out for them to take when they like! I also leave a big pitcher of ice water with cups on the table for them to help themselves. Our "to go" lunches are usually packed into a basket with snacks and drinks in canning jars wrapped in cloth napkins.
I always enjoy reading your posts an chatting with you Marina, you are a lovely mama! xo

Frontier Dreams (Nicole) said...

Oh my I hear you my dear friend! I can not find the balance, either. I, too actually really enjoyed my week without internet. I had the same realization about toys, too. I think we were separated at birth, I swear!!

Lunch lately has just been peanut butter with apples, yogurt and water. Ssometimes Peanut butter and honey sandwiches. yum!

renee ~ heirloom seasons said...

Yes, always trying to find the balance. It is hard for me because I work from home on the computer, I try to do it only at night but sometimes that is just too tiring. So the personal, just for fun stuff, blogs etc... definitely only happens at night after the girls are in bed.
Lunch... sometimes I am not so good at it, sometimes it is oatmeal! Hummus is a favorite of the girls, I need to remember to make it more often. I am trying to come up with a few things that I make regularly each week.
I am so glad that you are hear blogging, and happy that I found you as a new friend!
Renee xo

Michelle said...

Thank you so much for the kind words about your preschool director/teacher! I love seeing all the children open their lunches with nary a piece of plastic in sight. The parents have adapted beautifully and the lunches look wonderful. Aesthetics matter! At the end of lunch, there is no trash can full of little yogurt and applesauce containers. It's healthy for the planet, and most importantly, I think eliminating plastic is really healthy for our children. Beautiful blog, Marina.

sam said...

I adore your blog, Marina. You are a truly amazing mama!
Thanks to Kay, everyone in our preschool uses her wonderful Luncharound products this year and we love them. I am proud to say that we are completely plastic free at our house (with the exception of toys).

Lunches... Always a challenge. We are still doing the cut-out shaped sandwiches which vary by season. This week we had bats, and pumpkins with raisin for eyes, nose and mouth. Also, cut-out cheeses. The kids love homemade mini muffins in their lunches. Rolled up turkey slices with cream cheese in the middle are also fun. Lastly, Annie’s just came out with a mixture of their organic bunny crackers, and pretzels, in one box!

Happy Blogiversay! Thanks for your generous giveaway :)

Rebecca said...

Wonderful giveaway! I like Ani's idea about putting stickers on it. So glad to see people using reusable containers in this fashion. I've wanted one of these for our frequent park trips. This beats taking saran-wrapped food or paper sacks hands down!! Our lunch of choice is a homemade hummus wrap with raw chedder, and usually carrot sticks and apples on the side. Avocado slices show up and disappear a few times a week :)

Suzy said...

PLease let it be me!!

One of our favorite snacks is sliced apples with peanut butter!

Thank you,
Suzy

mindful mama said...

These are very cool-- would love one of 'em too. :)

Happy Blogiversary...alas, my blog has been sitting idle for so very long...

ProphetMother said...

Just found your blog through the waldorf-curriculum group... I really like it and will check back in to read more! My 4.5 year old loves popcorn and fruit for a snack (so do I) as well as baby carrots or edamame with healthy lowfat dip and chicken/pasta salad.

Blue Harvest Mama said...

Thanks or posting! What wonderful inspirational lunchtime menu ideas - I already feel like a winner! :D

We're home most days and during the colder months I try an opt for a warm meal. I've found a green lentil with diced carrots and minced garlic and onions served over brown basmati rice with a side of fruit (sliced apples, pears, etc.) always satisfies the hungry crowd at our house.

jennifer said...

We love to make polenta pizza. We cook the polenta spread it in a 9x13 let it cool and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes then top with cheese, tom sauce, cooked greens etc. The kids love it! We also do quesadilla's shaped like flowers, dragons etc. Broccoli trees are big... One of our favorite daily snacks is a kale smoothie: Cup of apple juice, 2 -4 cups of kale blend smooth add a banana, and frozen blueberries, strawberries and raspberries until thick. You can't taste the kale and the kids love it! We freeze this into popsicles as well and they love them too! We are excited to be in the drawing i've really been wanting one of those lunch boxes!!

cat said...

lola could really use this! hehehe love it! and love you all...

xoxo

momma rae said...

i love this container system! thanks for the opportunity to own one of our own!

always trying to come up with new lunch ideas. why is it that they'll (mine anyways) will love something at home and then not touch it in their lunch at school??? my kids LOVE olives. i make peanut butter balls with nutritional yeast for fun protein. ;)

Emma said...

lad that you are back, Marina! Love the giveaway!!

La Dolce Vita said...

Oh, I love these, and would love to win. For lunch, I give my two year old lots of homemade soups and pizza on pita bread.

Mama Rose said...

I too have been wondering the same thing-loL! I took a month off in mid August-September (From blogging), and got to thinking how is it done? I'll enjoy reading the comments as they come in for tips :D
Our little guy likes soup, fruit, and sandwiches of all types. He of course has to either have tea or a glass of milk to wash it down.
By the way, lovely blog :D

Mama Ruck said...

Neat giveaway! I have been eyeing one of this on imaginechildhood. Congratulations on your blogiversary! My son will eat anything pasta. He is also currently obsessed with triangles. So I have been cutting sandwiches and pitas into triangles and using different cheeses and spreads to widen his 2 yr old taste buds. By the way, lovely photographs. They are so crisp.

walk in the woods said...

oh what a lovely giveaway. thank you so much for letting us (waldorfcurriculumyahoogrouppeople) about it. i love your blog and have added it to my favourites list.
i too have been trying to reduce the amount of plastic in my home over the years and that tiffin tin system is just a gorgeous solution for lunches.
favourite lunch or snack must contain avocado in some way -- we are nuts about them in this house! bring on the guacamole and corn chips and spicy black bean dip.
:-)
blessings

Goodlife2go said...

The pictures on you blog are so beautiful and clear. Great! How do you make it?

kindredmamma said...

I love you blog too! And thanks for posting the cute basket for a lunch box idea. We homeschool but the attend a one day a week school for electives and would like to give then a more natural alternative.
I have been wanting to get each of the kids one of those baskets too!

Chandi & Michael said...

LOVE your blog!!
Our favorite snack around here is Coconut Brown Rice with raisins and cinnamon and apple or apple slices.

Sophie Ash said...

Happy Anniversary! It was important for me to here about how distracting this little computer can be. Thank you for sharing... I am excited about the lunch box give away!

courtneyb said...

Happy blogiversary Marina! Love Kay's ideas and generous donation. I usually save the fruit for after school snack otherwise they gobble it up first during lunch. Lately, we've been in to persian cucumbers with a little salt, celery with cream cheese, and some sort of beans with either a sandwich (on homemade bread if I'm feeling particularly sassy) or a tamale. Pretty basic. That coconut brown rice with raisins someone mentioned sounds yummie - I'd love it if they posted the recipe.
Hope to see you next friday.

~Rachel~ said...

Marina,
None of us actually do manage that balancing act -- because it's impossible! There just aren't enough hours in the day, once you've got children, pure and simple!

Your giveaway is so nice! What prompts something like this? I'd love to try the boxes... we try to use as little disposables as possible, but I wind up carrying all kinds of things... baskets, paper and plastic bags, thermal coolers... water cups...it's endless!

I LOVE the happy face coffee! Obviously I don't get my coffee fix away from home often enough ;-D

Anna said...

What a beautiful giveaway. My youngest daughter has had a slow warming to preschool -- maybe a new lunchbox (in lieu of the hand-me-down basket missing it's handle) may help this process. Her favorite lunch snack is cream cheese wrapped up in salame slices ("salame roll-ups")

Jenna aka Town&Country Mouse, formerly Citygirl said...

Kudos to you on the blogiversary! I would have just been coming up on my first blogiversary as well, but the whole time-management thing got to me first. You'd think as a writer it wouldn't be a problem, but I'd soak up all my creative energy writing blog posts and have none left for my stories. I've also cut way back on blog reading, but yours is on the short list for sure!!! Thanks for keeping me inspired.
I love the tiffin set--my kids are pretty hardcore pb & honey (our own, of course) eaters so I rarely get to do much different. But the most fun recently was sneaking a scoop of my homemade icecream inside their soup thermoses!!! I put ice cubes inside to let them "chill" and right before I zipped up the lunch bags replaced the ice with the ice cream...they said it was cold enough to eat at lunchtime.

lrkowalski said...

Thanks for this blog! I love anything that prevents garbage from being generated! Over the past 20 years, I have been using my cloth bags at the supermarket, but it's only been in the last 4-5 years, that I've stepped it up (why did it take me so long?). Now I use wrap-n-mats for lunches and snacks, stainless steel water bottles, the Diva Cup and Glad Rags, reusable veggie bags, homemade cloth napkins, glass jars to fill with bulk items at the stores, and I bring my reusable shopping bags to EVERY store now (not just for supermarkets anymore). I've even started bringing food containers with me when we eat out, in case we have leftovers. Add to all of this gardening, composting, etc, and I feel like we do our part! It takes time to implement all the changes, but it adds up. If everyone did these things the world would be a cleaner place!

christine said...

I have been wanting to replace my plastic for many of these tiffins...
Our snacks really depend on the season. Summer time favorites are fresh veggies and fruits from the farmers market along with some nuts. Winter we go to the coop and each kid picks out something from the bulk food isle and we create a "gorp" from those items.
Happy bloganiversary!

3dogdyke said...

Love your blog...Grey loves when I make peanut butter on whole wheat, and crimp the edges like a store bought frozen sandwich....I make a whole loaf at a time, and wrap them individually and put them in the freezer....they thaw perfectly by the time they are eaten

Stephanie said...

Hi Marina,
I adore your blog. I first found it through your posts about your playroom on MDC, and I just read about your giveaway on the Waldorf curriculum list. Thanks so much for doing a giveaway. Things like this stainless lunch box set are just so far out of budget right now that I could never justify buying it. It's nice to know that I might have a chance of winning. :-) Happy blogiversary!!

calynde said...

Now, see, why don't we have anything like this in our neck of the woods? Awesome lunch boxes! We usually do leftovers for lunch, but I also often make some sort of bread from the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book and have it with cheese or nut butter and apple or pear slices throughout the week. My kids like to drink fresh green juice, too, and I like to serve that with lunch (celery, cucumber, kale, apple...whatever we have).

Carrie said...

hi marina!
i've been reading your blog for awhile but am finally motivated to post. {{blush}} anyhoo, you've totally motivated me to make cute little cookie cutter shapes for sandwiches for my son! as for other ideas... hmmm, we're a fan of trail mix with grain sweetened chocolate chips that i mix up. i just add different dried fruits and nuts each day. oh! our new one is smoothies in our thermos cup, banana, apple, yogurt, and a touch of green powder and maple syrup.

Someone Beautiful said...

Marina, I just found your lovely blog via a note you had left on a web site with a link to your flikr pictures. I was admiring all the gorgeous wooden toys and warmth and noticed a link to your blog. So that's how I found you. I'm thrilled!

We're a gluten-free family, and my children love almond butter and all-fruit sandwiches with fruit and something crunchy. We have been using laptop lunchboxes and would like to switch to a better alternative and would love these!
Angela

ilovethemso @ yahoo.com

Atouria said...

In Houston, we have finally settled in to weather nice enough to picnic again. I've been using little bags similar to wrap 'n mats for our sandwiches and random containers for the rest. It would be great to have a better system in place. Thanks for the opportunity!

silicadesign.Catherine Letendre said...

Hi Marina, i saw/read your comment on Annie's blog and that was the tag to come and visit you again. And as I read this post, a big smile stamp to my face ( oh my english). I want to say that I was away of the blog-world for a while because the work, because the pregnancy, because the busy life. So, to answer to you, I blog in my head too and when I feel the need to share something, I do and I visit some beautiful and inspiring blogs. I think the weather helps too. Here, in Qu├ębec, is the automn so we feel more coccoon... WELL happy first anniversary. Catherine

Jennifer said...

Hello! Your blog is lovely and the lunch container is really cool! Lunch for us these days is often apples with cheddar and peanut butter. Neither of my babes are huge lunch eaters, but they sure do like breakfast and dinner!

colette said...

hi marina,
uni just sent me a link to your blog. I spent most of my days in the kitchen so I can give you plenty of ideas for lunches and snacks. Some of the favorites are crispy nuts, nut muffins, lentils w/ coconut, israeli salad, plantain fried in coconut oil over rice, bean salad... I could go on and on. If we do meet one of these days, I will give you more ideas!!!

Blessings to your family!