As a parent, I work very hard to make my kids’ school lunches as fun as possible.
One of them hates eating in front of others, and the other loves to trade and share. I try to make their lunches as interesting and inviting as possible. I’m a busy, full-time working mother, and I usually send my kids to school with a pre-loaded lunch card. But this week, I wanted to create something fun and silly that would brighten up their days.
If you’re on Pinterest all the time or have been just a few times, then you might be aware of the thousands of pins that provide inspiration. There are hundreds for just fun ways to cut sandwiches alone – if you can imagine a fun and creative snack, you’ll find it shared on Pinterest!
There are great options for dinosaurs and aliens, woodland creatures and Nightmare Before Christmas-inspired snacks. Some parents are super clever and have come up with entire lunches created around special themes, like Toy Story or The Lego Movie.
I was determined to find something that I could accomplish with my limited artistic abilities, but that would light up my kids’ lunches.
Lunch Number 1: A Monster Sandwich
This one seemed like one of the easier ones to tackle first.
This pin is from Land O’Frost, where they make a sandwich that looks like a cute monster! With only a few simple ingredients, it seemed like the perfect first lunch.
- 2 slices of sandwich bread
- 1 slice marble cheese
- 2 slices lunch meat
- 2 pimento-stuffed olives
- A few toothpicks
- A cookie-cutter
First, I cut the bread slices. The original recipe called for a round cookie cutter, but I didn’t have one, so I just used a bowl and a pizza cutter and we got to the same place.
Then, I spread the mayo and mustard on the bread, and cut the cheese into tiny triangles to make teeth.
I rolled the turkey loosely to make it look more like the tongue, laid on the cheese, and then the rest of the circle bread.
I used two toothpicks to put into the olives to make the eyes. Neither of my kids will eat these, but at least they’ll be fun.
Lunch Number 2: PB&J Waffle Mouse
I decided to step up the difficulty on day 2 with some PB&J Waffle Mouses. (Also, the youngest has been begging for waffles, so this felt like a two-for-one!)
This pin is from Kitchen Fun With My Three Sons, and it’s absolutely adorable.
- 2 regular waffles
- 2 mini waffles
- Peanut butter & jelly
- Some raisins
- A mini marshmallow
- 6 pretzels
I started by lightly toasting the waffles, since I wanted them to hold up until lunch hour. I put the peanut butter on one big waffle and jelly on the other. I put peanut butter on the ears, tooth-picked them into place, and then folded the two big pieces together.
I took two marshmallows and put half a raisin into the center of each. I used a dab of peanut butter for some glue and put the eyes on. I used a few more raisins to make a nose, then three pretzels on each side to make some whiskers. I used two more raisins to make the smiling mouth!
Lunch Number 3: Monkey Bagel
This one is by far the hardest, and the biggest hit. My kids have been begging for this one since I made it for them – it’s now a house favorite!
This pin is from Eats Amazing, where they make the most amazing bagel that gives of serious jungle vibes.
- 1 bagel (my kids prefer these on cinnamon raisin)
- Lunch meat & other sandwich fillings
- 4 pieces of mozzarella cheese
- 2 blueberries
- 1 small sliver of red pepper or a couple of carrots
I lightly toasted my two bagel halves, since I wanted them to hold up longer.
Next, I put my sandwich fillings on the inside (mayo, mustard, lunch meat.)
For the ears, I took a piece of the mozzarella and cut them into ovals, and tucked them under the lunch meat so that they’d hang out.
The original recipe calls for red pepper, but my kids won’t eat that, so I took some carrots from the other day and sliced them thin.
I cut one of the cheese slices into a circle for the face, and other into a long oval for the mouth. I placed the blueberries for the eyes with a tiny bit of peanut butter as glue.
My Final Thoughts
This was a super fun activity, and I absolutely loved getting a little creative!
I would recommend that you swap out ingredients for ones that your kids will prefer, as I was told one of my kids threw the olives at their sibling.
Spreading Winter Cheer: Wyoming Woman Creates Hundreds of Personalized Snowmen for Burlington
In the cozy town of Burlington, Wyoming, winter has become a season of joy thanks to the creative efforts of one remarkable woman. Meet Pauline Parker, a Burlington resident with a heart as warm as the cocoa shared during chilly evenings. But what sets her apart is not just her warmth; it’s the 400 personalized snowmen she has crafted, turning the town into a winter wonderland.
It all began in July when most folks were dreaming of sunshine and barbecues. Not Pauline. She set out on a mission to create a special snowman for every household in Burlington, a charming town where the first thing you’ll notice is a towering 27-foot snowman. However, if you take a closer look, you’ll find nearly 400 more, each one unique and personalized.
“I think snowmen bring joy to you,” Pauline shared, reflecting on her cheerful creations. But she doesn’t stop at just one per family; she crafts a snowman for every member of each household. That’s dedication! Interestingly, this surpasses the official population sign, proudly stating Burlington’s count at 314. Pauline chuckles, revealing that her last count exceeded 316.
Word of Pauline’s heartwarming snowmen quickly spread beyond Burlington’s borders. Neighboring towns like Otto and Emblem wanted a taste of the joy too. Now, snowmen surround the baseball field in Otto, while Emblem, a town with a population of 10, received their own personalized snowy surprises.
In Emblem, where everyone fits in one snapshot by their town sign, Pauline replicated the picture with snowmen for each family member. High school student Cailee Degstein praised Pauline, saying, “(Pauline’s) a super great person. She’s super nice.”
To add an extra layer of fun and community spirit, Pauline organized a snowman scavenger hunt throughout December. Residents of Burlington, Emblem, and Otto can embark on a delightful adventure, searching for different snowmen while answering 20 questions. Completing the sheet not only promises a sense of accomplishment but also a sweet treat from Pauline.
“It just brought us all together, so we’ll do it again,” Pauline expressed, highlighting the unifying power of her snowy creations. In a world that sometimes feels chilly, Pauline Parker’s warm-hearted endeavor has turned winter into a season of shared smiles and community spirit in the snow-covered town of Burlington.
Peanut: The World’s Oldest Chicken with a Happy Life in Michigan
Meet Peanut, the extraordinary chicken from Chelsea, Michigan, who, at 21 years old, holds the title of the world’s oldest living chicken according to the Guinness World Records. Peanut’s remarkable journey from a tiny abandoned egg to a celebrated poultry celebrity is not only shows her resilience but also a heartwarming tale of love and companionship.
Peanut’s story began in May 2002 when owner Marsi Parker Darwin discovered a small cheep coming from an abandoned chicken egg. Initially considering discarding the eggs due to the mother’s neglect, Darwin’s attention was caught by a faint sound within one of the shells. Peeling back the shell, she uncovered a tiny chick, later named Peanut. Over the years, Peanut grew into a healthy bantam hen and became the star of a children’s book titled “My Girl Peanut and Me — On Love and Life From the World’s Oldest Chicken,” self-published by Darwin.
In her early days, Peanut faced challenges, notably missing her egg tooth, a crucial part of a chick’s beak used to break out of its shell. Despite this, Peanut thrived under Darwin’s care. Initially hand-raised in the living room, Peanut later joined the flock on the 37-acre farm known as “Darwin’s Eden,” where various animals, including corgis, parrots, chickens, ducks, guinea fowl, and peafowl, call home.
Living in a coop for 13 years, Peanut produced chicks, many with her favorite rooster, Lance. Although Peanut is now too old to breed, a one-eyed rooster named Benny has been her loyal companion in recent years. Darwin recalls how Peanut decided she had enough of coop life about six years ago and made herself at home in the porch, eventually moving inside the house.
Now, Peanut resides in a wire coop in the living room, along with her 15-year-old daughter, Millie. The duo enjoys a comfortable life with food, water, and straw, and Peanut has a special perch near the window to gaze outside. Peanut’s days are spent cuddled up on Darwin’s lap while watching TV, tucked inside Darwin’s jacket during farm chores, and scratching around in the dirt outside on warm summer days.
Peanut’s unique diet includes blueberry yogurt mixed with crushed vitamin D tablets, along with occasional treats like bananas, grapes, and fresh vegetables. Despite chickens typically having a lifespan of five to ten years, Peanut’s remarkable age of 21 sets her apart as an exceptional and well-loved feathered friend.
Jack Russell Becomes Surrogate Mom to Abandoned Kittens in Suffolk
In a heartwarming story from Suffolk, a Jack Russell named Teasel has taken on an unexpected role as a surrogate mom to six abandoned black kittens. The kittens were left without a mother when a feral cat decided to abandon them. Sue Stubley, a kind-hearted resident of Newmarket, came to their rescue.
Sue, who owns and operates the Suffolk Hedgehog Hospital from her home, took the kittens in when they were in need. Little did she know that her Jack Russell, Teasel, would step up to the plate in the most extraordinary way.
Teasel, a two-year-old Jack Russell, is already known for her caring nature at the Suffolk Hedgehog Hospital, where she coexists peacefully with the resident hedgehogs. When Sue brought the abandoned kittens home, something remarkable happened—Teasel began lactating.
“She’s very good with the hedgehogs. I’m constantly feeding tiny, baby hedgehogs, so I’ve taught her she doesn’t go for those,” shared Ms. Stubley. When a call came in from a volunteer seeking help for the abandoned kittens, Sue had initially planned to house them temporarily before taking them to a local cat rescue the next morning.
However, Teasel had different plans. “In the meantime, my dog decided that she was going to look after them. She was cleaning them, and within a few hours, was making milk,” Ms. Stubley explained. Although Teasel’s milk supply isn’t sufficient, Sue has taken on the role of feeding the kittens while Teasel does everything else.
The bond between Teasel and the kittens goes beyond just providing nourishment. Teasel has embraced her role as a surrogate mom wholeheartedly. Sue shared, “She stays cuddled up to them all night. If anybody comes in who she doesn’t know and the kittens have gone astray, she’ll pick them up and put them back into bed.”
This heartwarming tale demonstrates the incredible capacity for care and compassion that animals, like Teasel the Jack Russell, exhibit. In the Suffolk Hedgehog Hospital, a unique family dynamic has formed, proving that love knows no boundaries, even across different species.
Italian Adventurer Bikes Across Europe to Reunite with Grandparents in England
In a fun and incredible journey spanning 1,500 kilometers and traversing eight countries, Italian cyclist Claudio Barchiesi embarked on an epic adventure that led him from Italy to England to visit his beloved grandparents. With determination in his heart and the open road ahead, Claudio’s journey took him through breathtaking landscapes, diverse cultures, and heartwarming reunions.
Claudio’s incredible bike ride commenced in Italy and led him on an unforgettable path that wound through some of Europe’s most captivating regions. He tackled the formidable Swiss Alps, where he marveled at the majestic mountain vistas that stretched as far as the eye could see. The sense of accomplishment he felt at the mountain’s summit was undoubtedly a high point of his journey.
Continuing northward, Claudio pedaled along the picturesque banks of the Rhine River in France, meandering through charming towns and villages along the way. His route took him into parts of Germany and Luxembourg, where he encountered new landscapes and experienced the warm hospitality of locals.
As he cycled onward, Claudio’s journey led him through the enchanting country of Belgium, known for its rich history, culture, and delectable chocolates. Each passing mile brought him closer to his ultimate destination—England.
Finally, Claudio reached the shores of the Netherlands, where he boarded a ferry that would carry him across the English Channel. The anticipation of reuniting with his grandparents in England filled him with excitement and spurred him on through the final leg of his incredible adventure.
Upon his arrival in England, Claudio was greeted with open arms, hugs, and a feast of warm, home-cooked meals. His grandparents had prepared a heartfelt welcome, complete with balloons and banners to celebrate his triumphant journey.
“It was really nice to pull up round the bend and see everyone, quite emotional as well,” Claudio shared, his voice reflecting the joy and emotion of the moment. His tireless efforts and determination had led him to this heartwarming reunion with loved ones.
Throughout his journey, Claudio consumed a substantial number of calories to fuel his strenuous daily rides. He indulged in pain au chocolat and baguettes, savoring the culinary delights of each country he passed through. Yet, it wasn’t just the food that left a lasting impression on him.
Claudio’s voyage allowed him to relish the beauty of Europe, both in its natural wonders and the diverse tapestry of cultures he encountered along the way. “I tried to do 90 kilometers (55 miles) a day, so I got half a day to visit the place as well,” he recounted. “It’s incredible how after 90 kilometers, not only do the places change so much, but also the people and the languages spoken.”
A Dog’s Journey From Abandonment To Love
In a heartwarming tale that highlights the kindness of strangers and the power of second chances, a brave Florida man stepped in to save a dog named Prince from an uncertain fate. Prince had spent a considerable amount of time at the Abilene Animal Shelter in Texas, facing the grim possibility of euthanasia. However, at the eleventh hour, Prince’s luck took a turn for the better as he found a new lease on life through fostering.
Prince’s story is a rollercoaster of emotions, filled with abandonment, compassion, and hope. His journey began when he was first discovered by Lindsey Houts, a dedicated animal control supervisor. Houts stumbled upon Prince abandoned in a hotel room off of South 1st Street. The poor pup had been left behind by his original owner, left to fend for himself in unfamiliar surroundings.
Although Prince’s original owner initially came forward to claim him, their commitment to his well-being was short-lived. Prince’s second abandonment came shortly after, when he was found abandoned once again, this time in an apartment building. With nowhere else to go, Prince found solace within the walls of the Abilene Animal Shelter.
Prince’s time at the shelter was marked by uncertainty and longing for a loving home. He spent a whopping 212 days under the shelter’s care during his most recent stay, enduring the ups and downs of shelter life. It was during this time that a compassionate individual named Brennan Bosworth stepped forward to make a significant difference in Prince’s life.
Brennan Bosworth’s connection with Prince was almost serendipitous. Bosworth, a kind-hearted individual, expressed his willingness to help dogs in need. Upon visiting the shelter, he inquired about dogs at risk or in need of extra attention. The shelter staff pointed him in the direction of Prince, who they believed would be a perfect fit for Bosworth.
Bosworth decided to foster Prince for a period of five weeks. During this time, a beautiful bond formed between the two. Prince’s affectionate nature and unwavering loyalty touched Bosworth’s heart, making it difficult for him to part ways. However, Bosworth’s commitment to the Air Force and the travel demands of his job made adopting Prince a challenging decision.
In a selfless act driven by love and concern for Prince’s future, Bosworth made the difficult choice to entrust Prince’s care to his step-mother’s Abandoned Pet Rescue in Fort Lauderdale. This decision was made with the primary goal of ensuring that Prince would never again face the threat of being euthanized due to lack of a permanent home.
Prince’s journey to Fort Lauderdale was nothing short of remarkable, thanks to the efforts of a dedicated group of volunteers. Five individuals came together to drive different legs of the journey, ensuring that Prince’s transition to his new environment was as smooth as possible.
Arriving at the rescue on December 18, Prince finally found himself in a safe haven where his life was no longer hanging in the balance. His days of uncertainty were over, and Prince could finally begin the search for his forever home.
Staci Shults, the Foster Coordinator at the Abilene Animal Shelter, summed up Prince’s journey perfectly, stating, “He was definitely a group effort. We fell in love with him, and his story was so unique.”
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