Artichoke Rosemary Bruschetta for Lunch

Artichoke Rosemary Bruschetta Lunch

My Mom loves artichokes so I made this for lunch during her visit. I often bring this to parties but never made it for lunch before. Delicious!

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Artichoke Rosemary Bruschetta

Top Right: Blueberries and Raspberries

Bottom Right: Asparagus

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food | Leave a comment

100 Summer Activities for Tween and Teen Boys

100 Summer Activities Boys

This summer I will have my nearly 11 year old nephew and recently 13 year old nephew at my house two days a week while their Mom works at an office. I have enjoyed other summers with them and we did a combination of activities. This year I was inspired by lists of Summer Things-to-Do and worked with my nephews to develop this list. Of course this list is not only for boys. Girls can enjoy each of these items. But when searching for ideas I found a lot of ideas that my nephews would not want to do. Since I wanted their buy-in for each of these items we went through lots of ideas before getting to 100. They did come up with some of their own ideas. I separated the ideas into categories: Outings, Exercise, Science, Outside/Water, Crafts, Misc., Food/Drink. They did not say no to any of my Food/Drink ideas. I wanted an Education category but that was vetoed.

I have no idea how many of these we will actually do this summer but hopefully I will occasionally share our progress.

100 summer activities (PDF of all 100 items in abbreviated form)

At the end of this list I have some additional ideas I came up with that they rejected.


  1. Beaver Meadow Audubon Center
  2. Miniature golf
  3. Movie at planetarium
  4. Lego Store
  5. Visit a historic place
  6. Visit cousins
  7. Archery
  8. Factory tour
  9. Zoomobile at library
  10. Daniel Boone program at library
  11. Village Garage Sales
  12. Wildlife Defenders at library
  13. Collect eggs from cousin’s chickens
  14. Visit Great Grandma (bring baked item)
  15. Go to Ellison Park
  16. See movie at local movie theatre
  17. Picnic at Beach
  18. DEC Education Center
  19. Fort Niagara
  20. Skyzone
  21. Go canoeing


  1. Walk to Tim Hortons
  2. Walk to McDonalds
  3. Play tennis
  4. Run/Bike around Village Park 1/2 mile loop


  1. Create a baking soda volcano. Pour a bit of white vinegar into a plastic cup, add a tablespoon of baking soda and watch it “explode.”
  2. Microwave Ivory soap
  3. Other microwave fun – peeps, etc?
  4. Make magnetic slime and make it move with magnets
  5. Coke and mentos experiment
  6. Kool aid eruption
  7. Foam experiment with yeast, soap, and peroxide
  8. Experiment with food coloring, milk, soap
  9. Lava in cup experiment
  10. Take apart an obsolete and unwanted household object, like an old printer or clock radio, to see how it works. – see if relative has something
  11. Make a robot
  12. Clean pennies with vinegar, salt
  13. Build waterfall water wall
  14. Build and launch miniature rocket


  1. Make a target with chalk on the sidewalk, and then throw wet sponges at it until it disappears.
  2. Water balloons
  3. Put a small toy in a balloon, fill it with water and freeze. You’ll end up with a toy frozen in a big chunk of ice.
  4. Set up a Lego scavenger hunt in the backyard. Give the kids maps or clue sheets for extra fun.
  5. Make ice sculptures by freezing different shaped containers full of water. Once frozen, take them out (use a little warm water if necessary) and use them as building blocks.
  6. Play croquet


  1. Sun print paper craft
  2. Sculpt with clay
  3. Squirt shaving cream onto a paper plate and “draw” with your fingers.
  4. Make a toy boat. Add sails and decorations, and then float it in pool, river or tub.
  5. Create a wallet out of duct tape.
  6. Origami – crane and moving crane
  7. Paper airplanes
  8. Make greeting cards
  9. Draw a picture blindfolded
  10. Throw paint filled eggs at canvas to make art
  11. Exploding sidewalk paint bags
  12. Blow paint bubbles with straw painting
  13. Make wooden rope climbing monkey
  14. Shrinky dink craft
  15. Learn about another cultures holiday – make food, etc..
  16. Make Christmas gifts
  17. Family Photo magnets
  18. Duct tape pencil case
  19. Nail string art


  1. Create a short stop-motion film using legos
  2. Play the board game Life
  3. Play Monopoly
  4. See if you can actually get a Slinky to go down the stairs
  5. Make a domino chain reaction. See how long you can make it, and try adding curves and going up and down stairs.
  6. Read a book, watch the movie, make themed food
  7. Lay down sheets of bubble wrap and have the kids get popping.
  8. See who can create the best shadow figures. All you need is a flashlight, a sheet and your hands.
  9. Play Balloon Ping-Pong Paper plates, Popsicle sticks, and a balloon are all you need
  10. Throw a balloon into the air and see how long you can keep it afloat without letting it touch the ground.
  11. Make a catapult (this is only one way, not sure which type we will try)
  12. Make your own bouncy ball
  13. Rubber band car
  14. Make a marble run
  15. Learn bird calls and test each other
  16. Star Wars movie marathon day
  17. Special Volunteer / Good Deed
  18. Make Lego candy dispenser
  19. Listen to various types of music
  20. Play with refrigerator box
  21. Learn some magic tricks put on a show

Food / Drink

  1. Beverage challenge. Set up chilled cups of seasonal drinks (lemonade, iced tea, fruit water) and try to identify each while blindfolded.
  2. Play restaurant: Have the kids create a menu, take orders, cook the meal and serve.
  3. Make your own rock candy
  4. Make candy from maple syrup experiment
  5. Bake soft pretzels
  6. Make bagels and experiment with toppings
  7. Guess taste of various ingredients while blindfolded (include whipped cream)
  8. Make ice cream
  9. Decorative cake with dry ice and book (if can find dry ice)
  10. Make fried dough
  11. Make and eat Popsicles
  12. Battered fried apple rings
  13. Flower Pot cupcakes
  14. Mini ice cream cakes
  15. Make corn fritters

100 summer activities (PDF of all 100 items in abbreviated form)

Some Rejected Ideas

  • Fruit picking
  • Take photos of plants and animals using different filters and frames
  • Paint the sidewalk with water, see how fast the sun makes it disappear
  • Draw a game board on the sidewalk and make up the rules
  • Create a sidewalk masterpiece with chalk
  • See who can build the tallest tower with blocks or Lego bricks
  • Massive bubble battle
  • Water cup race – balance cups of water on their heads
  • Make and navigate an obstacle course made out of recycled items
  • Collect items from nature and make a collage
  • Play War, Old Maid, or Go Fish
  • Make your own puzzle
  • Create your own comic book
  • Make a summer vacation scrapbook
  • Grab binoculars and go bird watching
  • Make tie-dye T-shirts
  • Build a house of cards
  • Lie outside and watch the clouds
  • Make potato stamps
  • Grow cress heads
  • Visit ancestors at a cemetary
  • Draw a picture with your foot
  • Dye popcorn kernels and make a mosaic
  • Pony bead crafts
  • Interview a family member and make a digital recording

I hope that this gives you some activities to do with the kid in your life.

Posted in Adventures, Bento / Cute Food, Crafts, Food, Party Planning | 2 Comments

Graduation Themed Lunch

Graduation themed food

My 18 year old nephew is graduating this week. I made this graduation themed lunch for his last week of classes. I was nostalgic while making this lunch. It was my last time to make a school lunch for him.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Cheese quesadillas (3 stacked) with Mexican cheese blend and kidney beans, Cheddar cheese graduate cut-out

Top Right: Chocolate Graduation Cap – mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, sectioned Chocolate Bar, fruit flat, little bit of chocolate frosting

Bottom Right: Raspberries

Not Pictured: Granola bar, additional mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, grapes

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food | 1 Comment

9 Dinosaur Food Ideas

Dino Food Ideas

As regular readers of this blog know, I am a huge fan of using cookie cutters with savory food. I wanted to use some of my dinosaur cookie cutters so I decided to make this collection.

Dino cheese

This dinosaur shaped cheese is a fun way to garnish a meal. I actually made it for myself as I feel that cute food is not only for kids.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Wegmans Kansas Medley Rice Blend, Cheddar cheese dinosaur

Top Right: Raw broccoli

Bottom Right: Watermelon

Muffin Tin Monday Dinosaur

I made this Dinosaur themed muffin tin meal a few years ago for a nephew who was 5 at the time. He loved it!

Top Row:

  • Dinosaur nest with egg (corn and Colby-Jack cheese)
  • Mama and baby dinosaurs (strawberries with chocolate eyes)
  • Letter D (Colby-Jack cheese)
  • Dinosaur eggs (green grapes)

Bottom Row:

  • Broccoli
  • Dinosaur pizzas (I made pizza dough and cut with a dinosaur cookie cutter, topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese and baked)
  • Dinosaur fossil cookies

Cheesy Naan Dinosaurs

I made this meal shortly after Easter. The dyed hard boiled eggs were leftover Easter Eggs.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Naan bread broiled with cheese and garlic powder, dyed hard boiled eggs

Top Right: Cashews

Bottom Right: Raspberries

Dino Hatch Egg Quesadilla food

I had fun making this Dinosaur quesadilla hatching out of it’s shell.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Cheese quesadilla with food marker details

Top Right: Broccoli

Bottom Right: Strawberries

Dino Pizza

This is another one that I made a few years ago. My nephew who ate this was 28 months at the time. He enjoyed the dino pizzas.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Fruit:  Grapes cut in half

Vegetable: Green Peas (he did not eat the peas)

Dinosaurs: Homemade pizzas, crust was cut with a dinosaur pizza cutter

Dino Rice Caveman Cheese

I used a dinosaur cookie cutter to shape sticky rice.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Dinosaur rice (cooked Nishiki rice, pack rice into a cookie cutter and then carefully remove the cookie cutter, brush with soy sauce, cheese eye with food coloring marker detail), snow peas

Top Right: Clementine

Bottom Right: Brazil Nuts, Cheddar cheese with Caveman drawing (food coloring marker)

Volcano Lunch

A few years ago I hosted Aunt Kathy’s preschool camp. I made this on Dinosaur and Volcano day for one of my teachers (my 12 year old nephew)

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Fruit: Strawberries

Vegetable: Cucumber

Volcano & Dinosaur: Homemade pizza. I shaped the volcano by hand. I tried several versions but was happiest with this one. The only sauce was the lava, the rest was cheese. I cut the dinosaur pizza with a dinosaur cookie cutter. Broccoli trees.

Yogurt: Raspberry yogurt to represent lava

Dino shaped bread

Okay I think that this shaped bread was a fail as a dinosaur. It looks more like a Manatee.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Top Left: Carrot and Green Pepper

Top Right: Cottage Cheese with blueberries and cinnamon

Bottom: Dinosaur shaped bread (food marker details), cherry tomatoes, almond butter (in Mini Dippers)

Dino Tortilla Chips

Recently I discovered that I prefer black beans if I mix them with salsa. These homemade dinosaur tortilla chips are sprinkled with paprika and hot paprika.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Dinosaur tortilla chips with paprika and hot paprika (I cut flour tortillas with a dino cookie cutter, brushed olive oil on each side, sprinkled with paprika and baked in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp.), blackberries

Top Right: Greek yogurt with cinnamon

Bottom Right: Black beans and salsa

I hope that you now have some new ideas for making dinosaur shaped food for the kid in your life or yourself. Enjoy!

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food | Tagged | 2 Comments

Pasta Leftovers for Lunch

9 Pasta Leftovers ELB

I won’t lie. I LOVE pasta. I can eat it hot, cold, or at room temperature. I love having leftovers to eat for lunch. In this collection I have Lasagna, Bow Tie (Farfalle), Liguini, Ziti, Elbow, Orzo, Angel Hair, Large Shells, and Fusilini pasta. All of these are packed for lunch in my EasyLunchBoxes. I hope that this collection of 9 different pasta recipes gives you some ideas for lunch, dinner, or anytime.

Bowtie Pasta Asparagus

I would not eat asparagus as a kid because my Grandfather told me that it would make my pee smell funny. As an adult, I love asparagus and don’t mind the odd smell of my urine after eating it.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Bowtie pasta with cooked asparagus, a little butter, garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese

Top Right: Almond and Coconut bar

Bottom Right: Blueberries

Baked Vegetable Ziti

This pasta recipe is a favorite in my house.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Baked Vegetable Ziti – I did not use the mushrooms

Top Right: Almonds

Bottom Right: Trader Joe’s Dried Clementines

Angel Hair Eggplant Pomodoro

I love eggplant and fresh mozzarella and this recipe has both.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Top Left: Clementine

Bottom Left: Hazelnuts

Right Side: Eggplant Pomodoro over Angel Hair pasta – I did not use whole wheat Angel Hair

Fusillini with Carmalized Onions

I am a fan of Caramelized Onions and they went great in this pasta dish.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Fusillini with Caramelized Onions – I loosely followed this recipe, I did not have Panko so I used other bread crumbs

Top Right: Mandarin oranges

Bottom Right: Assorted lettuce

Orzo Spinach

This is another pasta recipe that I frequently make because I love spinach and feta cheese.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Orzo with Spinach and Feta Cheese

Top Right: Blackberries

Bottom Right: Almonds

Lemon Linguini

This creamy linguine recipe is easy to make and delicious for dinner and leftovers for lunch.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Linguine in Lemon Cream Sauce

Top Right: Green peas

Bottom Right: Applesauce with cinnamon

Stuffed Shells Artichoke Spinach Feta

My Mom is a huge fan of artichokes so I made this when she visited.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Artichoke, Spinach, and Feta Stuffed Shells

Top Right: French bread

Bottom Right: Mandarin oranges

Vegetable Lasagna

This vegetarian Vegetable lasagna contains lots of vegetables and is very satisfying.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Vegetable Lasagna – I mostly followed this recipe but did not use the mushrooms and carrots

Top Right: Almond and Coconut bar

Bottom Right: Blueberries

Mac and cheese stuffed peppers teen lunch

I made this meal for my teenage nephew and it was previously published here.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Top Left: Raspberries

Bottom Left: Dove Sea Salt & Caramel Dark Chocolate

Right Side: Three Cheese Macaroni Stuffed Peppers

I hope that you now have some new ideas for a pasta dinner and save some pasta leftovers for your lunch.

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food | Tagged | Leave a comment

Gardening Trivia Game

Gardening Trivia game

I created this Garden Themed Trivia game similar to my Tea Party Trivia Game. You can  print (cut and glue or tape) these and use them at a party. There are 59 cards in this set. The photo on the cards are my bleeding hearts from last year.

Gardening Trivia Game Cards

I made this game for my garden club to use at our tea party this year. We had a group of 23 play this game. There was a lot of laughter during the game. I created some trivia cards with Bible plant questions because I thought it would fit my audience but in fact only 2 players were biblical scholars. Of course you can omit those cards if it does not fit your audience.

Garden Trivia cards questions

I used these rules/instructions before playing the game:

“This game is part luck, part knowledge. For questions that have more than 2 answer choices, the next player has a chance to answer. I will give out tea bags for every correct answer (to keep track of your number of correct answers) prizes will be awarded for the most correct answers.”

Gardening Trivia Game Cards

Disclaimer: I do not guarantee the accuracy of the trivia. I did not paraphrase every card. I included a link to the website where I found the information and/or the question. If there is not a link the trivia was created from my own knowledge.

Posted in Crafts, Party Planning | Leave a comment

Ultimate Tea Party

tea table sandwiches

For the second year in a row I hosted a tea party for my garden club (I am their president). I was pleased to receive so many kind comments. I took advantage of freezer recipes and my large chest freezer to make this ambitious menu easier to pull-off. I also asked one guest to bring deviled eggs and another to bring fruit. One friend came an hour early to help me with last minute preparations. If you are hosting a party, consider asking someone to come a little early to help with last minute preparations.

Cucumber Flower Cup Special Tools

I made carrot and cucumber flowers once before in an edible May Day basket I made for neighbors. This year I decided to combine a carrot flower and cucumber cup with dip ideas. I used this carrot flower idea but I used a miniature cookie cutter and a green toothpick (in a box of assorted colored toothpicks). Make sure that your carrot slices are thick enough or when you insert the toothpick it will crack. I cut the carrot flowers the night before and put them in my refrigerator in a container with water. The next day I assembled the flowers. I was inspired by this cucumber dip cup idea. Make your cucumber cup thick enough so your carrot flower will stand up. I made Ranch Dip with powdered mix and sour cream and spooned it into the cups before inserting the Carrot and Cucumber flowers. A few of my flowers did not want to stand up so I added the cucumber piece I took out when I made the cup and it stood up just fine.

Carrot and Cucumber Flower Pin

These carrot and cucumber flowers in cucumber cups are sure to delight your guests. I always say, “healthy food can be fun”.

Carrot Flower in Cucumber Cup on cake plate

Tea Service and Cups

I outdid myself with my tea menu this year because I wanted a different blog post, I enjoy creating menus, and I was expecting more guests this year. I served decaf coffee and English Afternoon Tea with lemon, cream, and sugar.


  • Mini Pesto Palmiers – I made these two weeks before the party and put them in my freezer, I defrosted the day of the party, sliced and put in my refrigerator on a parchment lined baking sheet until baking shortly before the party.
  • Tortellini skewers with cherry tomato, fresh mozzarella, and olives
  • Apricot and Oat SconesMartha Stewart Baking Handbook
  • Cranberry Scones – I replaced the currants with Craisins Martha Stewart Baking Handbook
  • Strawberry and Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches – I used Pepperidge Farm Very Thin white bread to make these open-faced tea sandwiches. I cut the bread with a flower shaped cookie cutter, added a strawberry slice and garnished some with mint leaves.
  • Walnut Cream Cheese Sandwiches – cream cheese, toasted chopped walnuts and a little lemon juice spread on Pepperidge Farm Oatmeal Bread with the crusts cut off and cut in narrow rectangles
  • Radish and Chive Sandwiches on French Bread – I loosely followed this recipe but kept it very simple and left out the Asian flavors (I did not use the sesame seeds, ginger or sesame oil).


  • Mixed Nuts
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Butterfly Crackers with Butterfly shaped cheese (Cheddar and Dill Havarti)


  • Carrot Flowers with toothpick stem, Cucumber leaves and Cucumber cup with Ranch Dip
  • Assorted Fruit with Dip (Cool Whip and yogurt)



Special Touches

  • Food labels – besides being cute they made it easier for my last minute helpers to put out food from my refrigerator. Also since the labels were already on the buffet table, it helped me know what I was missing.
  • Doilies – My Mom is a fan of paper doilies and I guess I inherited it from her – at least for a fancy tea party. I dyed some pink somewhat following this tutorial (I did not use gloves and I used a glass pie plate)
  • A member of my garden club made two fantastic arrangements in antique tea pots.

Tea Table Facing Door

Paper Plates Napkins Miniature Forks

Tortellini Skewers

Mixed Nuts in Flower Cups

Tulip Frosted Sugar Cookies

Mini Lemon Curd Tarts

Butterfly Crackers Butterfly Cheese

Mini Pesto Palmiers

Assorted Chocolate Truffles

Strawberry Ice Cream Cakes

Tea Food Table after

Silver Tea Pot Flowers

If you use any of these ideas for your tea or other type of party, I would love to hear about it.

Posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food, Party Planning | Tagged , | 5 Comments