Why do they always remember your disasters? - posted by Beth Ann
So obviously I cook a lot. Not everything I make turns out well, tastes good or is even truly edible in the end. This does not happen too often, fortunately, however..... more>>

Life is too busy to blog. - posted by
I don't know the exact date, but some time over the past 6 monthes I got too busy to blog... more>>

Has it Really Been Less Than A Month? - posted by Beth Ann
Wow what a month. I just now had a moment and felt like writing for the first time in a while. The kids are in bed and asleep. Lunch is made for the morning as is chicken soup for later in the week. Dishes are done, laundry is working and the dishwasher is set to start in a few hours, Phew!.. more>>

The Peanut Gallery - posted by Tanya
You know that show about that redneck guy named Earl? You know how he learns about the idea of karmic retribution and he makes that list of all the wrongs that he sets out to right? If, in fact, karmic retribution is real and true, my advice to you would be this: Do not roll your eyes at the "no peanuts allowed" sign. Ever. Here's why.

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Eggs...YIKES! - posted by Beth Ann
The Eggonomics of the Eggnormous problems we are having.  Check your eggs.  I got a call yesterday from Costco alerting me to the fact that there may be a problem with my eggs... more>>

Five Reasons to Make Your Own Frozen Treats - posted by Beth Ann
You Scream, I Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream! It is hot and your kids want something cold and refreshing, why not make your own ice cream, ice pops, frozen yogurt and more... more>>

8 Great Burgers - posted by Beth Ann
Burgers are a perfect food in my opinion. They lend themselves to creative concoctions that please just about anyone. Where the first hamburger was made and served is still undecided, some say that it was the street vendors of New York City that made the hamburger in the US popular... more>>

Getting Your Greens - posted by Beth Ann
With our busy lives, especially in the spring with sports, field trips, end of the school year activities and parties, I find it hard to make sure the kids are getting the amount of vegetables, especially, the green leafy kind, into their diet. Here is a product I have been using now for a couple of months... more>>

FDA Recall of Pedia Care Products - posted by Beth Ann
Blacksmith Brands Announces Nationwide Voluntary Recall Of Four PediaCare Children's Products.. more>>

Pesticides linked to ADHD in kids - posted by Beth Ann
As if you needed a reason to eat safer food..... more>>

FDA Fed Up with Misleading Food Labels - posted by Beth Ann
More and more food shoppers are label readers, making sure that the ingredients are in line with their dietary needs and that of their family. So it is alarming when the labels are misleading... more>>

Tips For a Waste Free Lunch? What are Yours? - posted by Beth Ann
It is estimated that an average school-age child, using a typical disposable lunch, generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. That equals 18,760 pounds of lunch waste for an average-size elementary school. Much of the waste is generated by pre-packaged snacks, beverage containers and meal items wrapped in single use baggies, foil or waxed paper... more>>

On the Go? Need a Healthy Drink? - posted by Beth Ann
Recently my children tried the V8 Fruit Fusion drinks…and they LOVED them! No kidding. I am usually a little stingy when it comes to giving the kids a lot of juice throughout the day. I usually limit it to breakfast time. However, we were on the go and I needed a snack that would not bruise, turn mushy, and yet be nourishing and most of all, portable. So I tried the V8 Fruit Fusion drink... more>>

Ten Ways to Freshen Up Your Lunch Box This Spring - posted by Beth Ann
With the warmer weather comes spring time fruits and veggies.  Think about using them in your child's lunch box (and yours).  Here are ten ideas to use... more>>

Massive Food Recall: Products Containing Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) - posted by
I hadn’t given much thought to Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein before today. Really, I don’t think I knew it existed and I am still having a hard time pronouncing it. But here we are with a recall of this substance that turns out is in tons and tons of processed foods. It is a common flavor enhancer like MSG, OH WAIT A MINUTE it is MSG, sort of... more>>

Attention, Please! - posted by Beth Ann
A great comment from a reader about the article Attention, Please!  She has had great success with an all natural product:  "My daughter suffered from attention and focus issues for several years. With the help of diet and some supplementation of pycnogenol, found in a supplement called Spectrum Mit-a-Mins OPC-3 formula, we have been able to alleviate the majority of her ADHD symptoms and she is doing great in school. Just wanted to let parents know that there are alternatives to medication."

mom to Macie, age 9.. more>>

Back to Basics - posted by Beth Ann
Well I tried the Ning thing for the blog because some readers were looking for groups to join and was to contribute, but in reality I think the basic blog is best for me... more>>

Its All Green for St. Patty's Day - posted by Beth Ann
Looking for some ideas for green colored foods to serve on St. Patty’s Day? Look in the produce section, it is filled with green. Cut up a tray full of assorted green veggies: celery, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, endive leaves, and sugar snap peas. Make a very green dip with plain whole milk yogurt, garlic, and spinach... more>>

The Modeling Mom - posted by Beth Ann
So yesterday I spent the day escorting my four year old on a photo shoot for Polo Jeans. I never envisioned myself as a mom of models, but my kids begged and pleaded to try it and I have to admit, they are pretty good at it. We had a lot of fun and the team from Ralph Lauren was super. Very professional, so friendly and welcoming and the whole day was very memorable. If anyone from RL is reading this, thank you again... more>>

Spring Sports Schedule - posted by Beth Ann
I am in the throes of the Spring Sports Schedule. I don’t know why it is that the spring sports schedule seems more hectic than the fall but it does. Maybe it is because there seems to be a break between summer swim team and football or maybe it is because there is an overlap of winter sports and extracurricular activities I don’t have at the beginning of the school year. Either way it is busy and I am not alone. Many of the moms I see, in passing, are racing from practice to game to pick up and trying to figure out dinner on the fly. Here are few tips I have picked up on the way and a few easy dinner solutions... more>>

Bubble Gum Ice Cream vs Zucchini - posted by Beth Ann
My son is sitting next to me with the arguement that I should try his disgusting looking blue ice cream.  He says that if I make him eat zucchini I should eat try his blue ice cream... more>>

Win a Quaker Kids Doing Good Party Kit - posted by Beth Ann
iLunchBox along with the help of our friends at Quaker Oats are giving away 6 Quaker Birthday Party’s with a Purpose kits. Each kits includes a how-to guide with volunteer-themed party ideas, a special Kids Doing Good T-shirt, “goodness bags,” and achievement certificates for guests to reflect on what they’ve accomplished. The kits were designed as part of Quaker’s Kids Doing Good campaign, “inspiring a trend in hosting birthday parties with a purpose”... more>>

Stevia, is it good or bad? Safe or not? Have you tried it yet? - posted by Beth Ann
Stevia is not an artificial sweetener created in the lab, it is a plant. It contains no saccharin, aspartame, fructose, sugar, F.O.S., maltodextrin or artificial sweeteners or colorings. It contains no calories and no carbohydrates and yet, can be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. It can be used by anyone to help reduce their caloric and carbohydrate intake and it is safe for use by diabetics. Some studies indicate it might even help with bone calcium. Sounds great, right?.. more>>

I have to take a moment and rant. - posted by Beth Ann
As you know by now I have four children.  The youngest is in pre-school.  As pre-school I really love.  The email went around about the winter party to happen this Friday and of course I felt obligated to sign up for one of the “healthy snacks”; after all, I do own iLunchBox.  No pressure that the children should also love it.  .. more>>

I need a massage! - posted by Beth Ann
I don’t know about you, but I could really use a massage. SpaFinder is giving away a $100 gift card to a lucky iLunchBox reader. This wonderful card will come with an EcoMomma Spa Bag courtesy of EcoBags... more>>

Cooking Cookies with Kids_YIKES! - posted by Beth Ann
So cooking with kids --- I always love the idea of it, but the reality wears me out, especially with four all helping at the same time. So I actually baked some of my own cookies for the recipes posted on the site. Really I do cook. We made the Absolutley Fab Christmas Cookies, the Basic Cookie Recipe and the Chewy Ginger Cookie, which I again modified and will share in a moment.  Read about the craziness in my kitchen..... more>>

You need to send this to all husbands and boyfriends -- NOW! - posted by Beth Ann
Staying out of the dog house this holiday season.. more>>

EcoMomma Spa Bag Give Away - posted by Beth Ann
After all the running around getting set up for the holidays, making sure you participate in your child’s classroom party, organizing teacher’s gifts, staff parties, getting ready for company…don’t you deserve a little “down time”? Well, put a spa certificate on your holiday wish list and enter to win this Eco-Momma Gift Set. You can enter three ways and as often as you want, (1) comment on the blog; (2) sign up for the newsletter; (3) forward the newsletter to a friend or two... more>>

After Thanksgiving - posted by Beth Ann
Wow, Thanksgiving is over. The silverware has been put away, the table linens washed and folded, the leftovers converted into a few additional meals, and the pie has been eaten for breakfast. It was a great afternoon and evening. The weather cooperated and we were able to eat outside, all 21 of us. After dinner the adults ate dessert around the outdoor fire pit while the children watched a movie. The conversation managed to steer clear of politics and the state of the economy... more>>

The Last Basket - posted by Beth Ann
Congrats to Brenda Callahan, she is our 5th winner. We are in our last week of the Basket of Holiday Spices Giveaway by Spice Hunter. Here are some of the recipes our readers have submitted; the way they would use, or already do use Spice Hunter spices. If you have a recipe you would like to submit, send it to us and we will automatically enter you into the giveaway. We pick the last winner on Sunday November 23rd. Good Luck!.. more>>

We Have Two Baskets Still to Give Away - posted by Beth Ann
Well I am happy to report that our fourth winner has presented herself and she is totally thrilled to be getting a great big basket of spices. She is Fawn Bedeker, congrats Fawn and we wish you well in your cooking.  Remember there are still two Baskets of Spices left to win, it is not too late. Sign up for the newsletter, send me a recipe or comment on this blog and you are entered... more>>

Thanksgiving Game Plan and Menu - posted by Beth Ann
Are 3rd winner is Deborah Patosa.  Congrats!  We hope you will be cooking up a storm.  Here are some more recipes for my Thanksgiving dinner, and my game plan for getting it all on the table.  Don't forget to enter the Holiday Basket of Spices Give Away for your chance to win one of the 3 remaining baskets... more>>

We Have Another Winner! - posted by Beth Ann
How would I use these spices? Well I will be having 22 people for Thanksgiving dinner this year, this is my menu: I will be adding recipes to this blog throughout the week, so keep checking! My game plan for this menu is below... more>>

Week Two of the Great Spice Giveaway - posted by Beth Ann
Week Two and all is well! We have had such a great response to the giveaway…keep it coming. Our first winner Kristinia has already been notified and she should be getting her basket of spices soon. Congrats Kristinia, we can’t wait to hear from you on how you like the spices. Look for her review on the spices in coming weeks.  So if you were to win these spices how would you use them?.. more>>

iLunchBox is Giving Away Spices courtesy of Spice Hunter - posted by Beth Ann
That’s right, a great big basket of spices that will help you create a sensational holiday meal and delicious holiday treets. One prize package will be given away each week for six weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.

Starting this week, October 13th and cotinuing for the next 6 weeks ending November 17th , you can enter to win one of three ways:.. more>>

What? Nothing for Lunch and We’re Running Late! - posted by Beth Ann
I was in a terrible rush this morning. I got up early enough. The kids were still asleep, I got a cup of coffee, called my mother to say good morning and catch up while I had a quiet moment. My husband had already left on a business trip and I had a plan for the kids’ lunches. All was well, at least that's what I thought..... more>>

19 days down and 69 lunches so far - posted by Beth Ann
So we are one month into the school year. I have now packed 69 lunches as of today, and guess what there are 161 days left in the school year.  ARGH! Like many of you, some of the lunches are met with enthusiasm and other are met with complaints. With four children it is hard to please everyone every day, and I will not make four separate lunches each day. That is just crazy!.. more>>

Fruits and Veggies, More, More, More - posted by Beth Ann
Well believe it or not, it is that time of year—the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters® Month. Really, there is a month long event, of sorts, dedicated to adding just one more fruit or vegetable to your family’s diet. It is a noble cause; many children (and adults) don’t get close to getting their suggested daily intake of fruits and vegetables. So that brings to mind a debate among moms as to whether or not to sneak vegetables into things like brownies or pancakes, and is that really okay? I have friends and family that feel this is the only way to go, and other friends that don’t... more>>

A story of four children, one adult (me) and nearly 3000 miles of travel both ways.. - posted by Beth Ann
So, how was everyone’s first week of school? The last month has been super busy for us, as I am sure it has been for all of you: end of summer activities, getting ready for the first day of school, work, home, kids, and life! I get it! Now that I can take a breath I want to tell you all a story…
The first two weeks of August my children and I went to visit my parents on Long Island, NY... more>>

Holy Cow! - posted by Beth Ann
Dr. Susan Rubin from Two Angry Moms sent out her newsletter today and I couldn't believe what I was seeing... more>>

Food Network TV - posted by Beth Ann
So I have been busting at the seams waiting to tell the world that we were asked to participate in a Food Network "How do you Iron Chef" spot... more>>

School Started Today - posted by Beth Ann
Well today was the first day of school for all four children: Pre-K, 1st grade, 3rd grade and 5th grade. I felt really organized this morning. I made lunches the night before, the kids packed up their school supplies and laid out their clothes and yet it still seemed chaotic nonetheless. I am happy to report there was not one tear from any one of my children although a bit of pre-teen attitude about going back to school from the 5th grader...I might blog on that frustration another day.

Here is what I made for lunch and the menu for the rest of the week... more>>

Plan B--Back to School Shopping Revisited - posted by Beth Ann
So if you read my article on Back to School and the blog on my shopping list you know that I did a decent amount of research on what and where to buy. For the most part I did follow through on most of my own advice. Here is the update:.. more>>

Its Back to School Shopping Time Already - posted by Beth Ann
In the article about Shopping for Back to School, I provide a resource guide for many of your shopping needs. For me, I only need to buy one back pack this year, thank goodness; the others are in pretty good condition. I do have to resupply our lunchboxes. I like to have two for each kid at the beginning of the year. This way one can be used while the other is being disinfected. I already have a bunch of Fit & Fresh items, but some new ones came out that I hope will make food safety a breeze this year. I also already have EcoBags for snacks and such so I don’t need to buy more of those. So here is the break out. I will order these things soon so I don’t have to fuss over it at the last minute.
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Berries of all sorts should be added to your diet - posted by Beth Ann
Why berries of all sorts should be part of your diet, especially now while they are in season almost nationwide. There are blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, ollalieberries, gooseberries, currants, grapes (yes technically a berry) and cranberries (not in season until late September. They are all high in the all important antioxidants, plus are excellent sources of fiber, vitamins A, and C; some berries are also an excellent source or iron, Vitamins B, D and Calcium. So eat them up now while they are fresh, or freeze them to enjoy later.

In my family, raspberries are the favorite, however all berries are welcomed. I love it! It is four-five months of great fresh nutrition with no argument. I throw them in salads, on yogurt, cereal, make muffins, bars, ice cream, fresh salsas you name it. I find ways to incorporate them into breakfast, lunch and dinner…and snacks.
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Hybridized Fruits - posted by Beth Ann

Hybridized fruits? You’ve seen the pluot or the aprilum, you know the plum-apricot mixes. We have the tangelo (tangerine and pummelo); the nashi (apple and pear); the grapple (grapes and apples); the kiwiberry (kiwi and strawberry); the jostaberry (black current and a gooseberry); the nectacotum (apricot, plum and nectarine); a loganberry (black berry and a raspberry); the youngberry (blackberry and dewberry); the olallieberry (loganberry and youngberry); the boysenberry ( loganberry, raspberry and Pacific blackberry); the peacotum (peach, apricot and plum) and many more I am sure. Some call these “Franken-fruits”.

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The Biggest Packed Lunch - and Dinner too! - posted by Beth Ann

So I went “camping” this weekend with my family…all six of us lived in a tree house in Southern Oregon for three nights and four days, and it was a blast. For the trip I needed to pack a picnic lunch and snack for the 10 hour drive up to Oregon, lunch and dinner for the remaining days and nights and a picnic lunch and snacks for the return drive home. There was a refrigerator in our tree house and they had bbq’s and a “facilitree” where we could wash up our prep stuff and dishes. Also, they served a great breakfast each morning. So here is what the massive four day picnic looked like:

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Variations on the Recipe of Pesto - posted by Beth Ann

One of my favorite things to make and eat is pesto. It is fresh, bright, and versatile, and reminds me of warm weather and eating outside. Pesto is more than just basil, pine nuts and olive oil; and it can be combined with more than just pasta. It is whatever you want and whatever you have on hand, and it can be part of many meals. That is why today is dedicated to pesto.

The definition of pesto as seen in a dictionary or encyclopedia would look like this:
(Italian pron. /'pesto/, Genoese pron. /'pestu/, contracted past participle of pestâ: "to pound, to     crush," in reference to the crushed herbs and garlic in it, from Latin root of pestle) is a sauce that             originates in the city of Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy (pesto alla Genovese).
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Farmer's Markets - posted by Beth Ann
If you read my first blog, you know that I live in Northern California.  For my family and I that means fresh fruits and vegetables are in season year round.  We also have a local farmers market open year round.  But if I lived in Minnesota, Colorado or the Dakotas, that might not be the case.  However, spring is here and farmers markets are opening up all over the country.  So why do you care?

Farmers markets are a great way to find out what is available in your area each month of the year.  It is also a great way for your children to meet farmers and see different fruits and vegetables.
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The Sweet Strawberry- not a berry at all. - posted by Beth Ann
The strawberry is a small plant of the rose family (Rosaceae). Strawberries are not really berries or fruit in the botanical sense at all. A strawberry is an aggregate fruit; the real fruit are the objects we think of as the strawberry seed properly called achenes. Achenes are fruits in the same way that a raw sunflower seed with its tough shell is a fruit. The "berry" is actually an enlarged receptacle and is not reproductive material. As a result, strawberries must be picked at full ripeness, as they cannot not ripen once picked.
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FDA and USDA Alerts - posted by Beth Ann

It occurred to me today that many people do not know how to get information on food and product recalls.  We often hear about these recalls once they have made it to the mainstream news desks, and usually only after there has been an incident of some sort that has made it newsworthy. 

But as a parent, a consumer, a food eater and preparer, I want to know this information as soon as possible so that I can make more informed decisions when purchasing food or equipment for my family and home.  So I figured you all would like to do the same thing. 

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Healthy Eating is a Family Affair - posted by Beth Ann
Teaching your kids about healthy eating is a family affair. It is about setting an example and setting expectations that can be obtained by not only your children, but you as the primary caregiver. You don’t want to set your nutrition standards so high each day that you never obtain them.

Kids need to know that even a sugary treat or a high fat food item is okay in moderation. We don’t want them to feel deprived, which can lead to trouble with eating disorders later in life.

The USDA recommends that no more than 10% of your total caloric intake each day should be from high sugar, high fat foods. So if your child is on an average 1800 calorie a day eating plan, then he or she should not have more than 180 calories per day of sugary, high fat foods.

180 calories is not a lot, so choose foods with some nutritional value and you could maybe up the calories a bit. For instance…a can of soda has no nutritional value and could easily be 180 calories or more, however a frozen yogurt with fruit or nuts in it could also be more than 180 calories but you have calcium and vitamins as well.

Here are some tips and suggestions to keep you and your family on track to a healthy eating plan:
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Omega 3s Deliver; Children Benefit - posted by Beth Ann

Recently I was having a discussion with a friend of mine that resulted in my doing some research on the health benefits of Omega 3 essential fatty acids in children. Essential means we must ingest it, our bodies do not produce it.

There is so much in the news lately about Omega 3 fatty acids and heart health, cancer prevention, and memory enhancement for adults. There is also a lot of information on how Omega 3 fatty acids and the EPA and DHA forms of the nutrient benefit the development of the brain and eyes in infants. 

But what about children – the in-between group? My friend’s daughter has eczema and Apraxia, a sort of confusion between the brain and the ability of speech.   I wondered if this could somehow be explained through nutrition.
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To Sneak or Not To Sneak: Deceiving Your Kids With Vegetables - posted by Beth Ann
So lately the debate among moms is whether or not to sneak vegetables into things like brownies or pancakes, and is that really okay? I have friends and family that feel this is the only way to go, and other friends that don’t.

I personally have a problem with it. I think if you are that desperate that you have to put spinach in your brownies in order to get you children to eat a vegetable, then you are probably dealing with a bigger problem than poor daily nutrition. Again that is my personal opinion.
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Fennel: Build A Salad Kids Love To Eat - posted by Beth Ann

Fennel.  Do you like fennel?  My kids love it.  When we grow it in the garden, they pick off the fronds (feathery leaves) and suck on the stalks.  When they do that, I feel like a great mother.

I know, a dumb connection, but I think to myself, self …look the kids are eating right from the garden and they love fennel because it tastes like licorice.  Then I remember that they know and like the taste of licorice because of all the licorice jellybeans I let them eat at Easter and my “what a great mother I am” bubble pops and reality comes flooding in.  Reality is great too!  Life is great!  But back to fennel …

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Freeze Ahead Family Lunch Favorites - posted by Beth Ann

So this is my first ever blog. I feel like I should start with…a funny thing happened to me on my way to the blog, but then I remember that one day my children will grow up and read what I have written and be embarrassed. I probably shouldn’t worry about that – part of childhood is being embarrassed by our parents at some point, right?

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