Bento Boxing it

With the kids back in school and the ongoing concern for childhood obesity, healthy eating habits, naturally, is a hot topic for many parents.  One trend for packing lunches that’s flourishing in not only kids, but also adults, is the Bento Box.  Japanese-style bento boxes have nesting compartments which is perfect for fresh fruits, veggies, pasta, last night’s leftovers—you name it.  The compartments also serve as a built-in portion control system!  Genius.  As the popularity of Bento Boxes grows, as do the different varieties.  Here are just a few of my favorites:

The Goodbyn

The Goodbyn is an awesome Bento Box that Brandy, a friend and NKT reader, first told me about a few months ago.  And after hearing about it, it’s no surprise that I read about it in various places—it’s just that cool. 

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This Bento Box, designed by a mom, has six compartments, a lid and an 8.5 oz. drink cup.  The animal-ish shaped boxes come in kid-friendly colors and even come with stickers that kids can use to personalize.  The beauty of Bento Boxes is because of its compartments or nesting containers, it eliminates the usage of plastic baggies, and in this case, juice boxes.  The Goodbyn, an eco-friendly and pretty sweet alternative to traditional lunchboxes, not only promotes healthier eating by controlling portions, but it’s also safer since it’s said to be  Phthalate and BPA-free.  It’s no wonder The Goodbyn is creating all that well-deserved buzz.

Zojirushi Mini Bento Box
I recently had the chance to check out the Zojirushi Mini Bento Box and I love it; it’s so cute and functional!  This is one company that gets it right.

41IGc1oW65L._SS500_We received an amazing Zojirushi electric skillet as a wedding/shower gift, and we love it.  And so when I received this one at an event, I knew it would be just as great.  The Mini Bento Box comes with 3 containers:  2 smaller plastic containers and 1 larger container with a twist off lid.  The smaller containers would be ideal to hold leftovers, fruit, veggies and the like.  The larger container looks like it’s meant to hold rice; I love that it also has a removable outer metal cup to keep it warm.  The fabric bag is cute and very portable; it certainly wouldn’t take up much space in a bookbag.  This set comes with a chopsticks and handy matching case, too.  Like many Americans, I have no discipline when it comes to portion control, and so I will say that this mini bento box lives up to the “mini” part.  It would be ideal for kids, especially since you can tuck things into the pockets in the fabric bag.  For mamas who make their own baby food, this mini bento box would be perfect to store those cubes in!  This Bento Box can be found at Amazon.

Bento Set in Black Sushiil_fullxfull.83560673

This Etsy find from Spacestitch was too cute not to mention.  It encompasses elements of both of the above Bento Boxes, all rolled up into one.

I love the sushi print combined with the black contrasting fabric and pink ribbon, which gives it a modern and whimsical look.  This set comes with a two-tiered plastic bento box, utensils, napkin, drawstring bag and elastic bands.  This set looks like it would carry a lot more, making it perfect for moms and older kids.  This Bento Box cannot be microwaved or put in the dishwasher, but its convenience and cute factor make up for that!

If you already do Bento Boxes, what are some of your meal ideas?  I love how creative people get with lunches, so let’s hear ’em!  For some great ideas check out: The Goodbyn blog; Hippomum’s photos; and  Kideats Flickr Pool

Seriously, these people inspire me to get more creative and diverse with the kid’s meals.  Hey, if it gets kids of all ages interested in eating/trying healthy foods, I’m all for it!

Back to School Must Have: Lovable Labels

For most kids, school has been underway for a few weeks now.  While most families have already satisfied their schooLovable Labels Bear_withTAG_8 (120x120)l supplies shopping list, there will always be those lingering must haves.  Since our family vacation coincided with Labor Day and a lot of my energy was exerted into preparing for the trip leading up to my cousin’s wedding, I didn’t have a chance to do a Back to School Shopping Guide.  And so this week, I will be featuring my Back to School Must Haves.

IMG_0459Moms and dads with kids in school and daycare know how pertinent it is to label every single item.  My kid has lost entire outfits at daycare because I failed to label them!  Well, thanks to Lovable Labels, we can set our Sharpies down since they’ve made labeling a breeze.

Lovable Labels kindly sent our family the Back to School Pack to review, and I’ve been on a labeling frenzy ever since.  Even though my kid isn’t in school yet, as a family who is constantly on the go, The Back to School Pack is ideal for all of our labeling purposes.  We received the black labels with a fun little dinosaur graphic that I adore.  I labeled our playground toys with the slimline labels since we go to the park every day, and those toys can be exchanged with numerous little hands.  The labels are durable, distinctive and pretty darn cute!
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Jenny McCarthy unveils Too Good

Jenny McCarthy is no stranger to vocalizing important topics, specifically ones that pertain to parenting. In line with her (and many parents’) belief to build and maintain a better environment for children, McCarthy will be launching a line of affordable, non-toxic infant & juvenile products. After reading on Twtitter that McCarthy was spotted at this week’s ABC Kids Expo in Vegas, it makes so much more sense. McCarthy, who has partnered with PEM, officially unveiled the line, Too Good, at the expo.

McCarthy’s line of kiddie products will include bedding, bath textiles, room decor, newborn gift sets, cleaning products, gluten-free food and beverages, and other categories.

A recent article in Brandweek best described McCarthy’s efforts as a mom:

Jenny became an advocate for a holistic approach to child development after her son Evan was diagnosed with autism in 2005. She has been vocal about such causes as staggering immunizations, adhering to a gluten-free diet and eliminating chemicals in everyday products, such as lead paint in toys or BPA plastic in baby bottles.

McCarthy’s Too Good line is set for launch at mid-tier retailers next spring or summer.

I know many moms have read Jenny’s best selling books on motherhood, so I’m anxious to see these products for myself! I applaud Jenny for using her celebrity status as a platform to create a less toxic environment for all of our kids—and for making it affordable. Be on the look out for Too Good by Jenny.

Smart & Silky: kid friendly hand sanitizer

Nothing can replace good old fashioned hand-washing, but in this day in age where the H1N1 virus still looms, with the kids back in school and the upcoming flu season, it’s important as ever to emphasize illness-prevention.

Just in time for prime kiddie germ season, Smart & Silky and Kids Smart & Silky Foaming Hand Sanitizers is set to hit the shelves. Smart & Silky is alcohol-free, hypoallergenic and is not flammable or poisonous, making it ideal for kids.


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My Alligator…

Many thanks to the “Teach my Alligator Manners” segment on the Disney Channel, the kid has become obsessed with alligators. The fondness of manners? That’s coming. But I’m definitely loving the frequent usage of “pweeease” these days.
But back to alligators…since he can’t get enough of the segment, he’s also learning to recognize the parallels between the shows he loves and his toybox. And thus, we have a newly found appreciation for the Dancing Alligator from PlanToys.


The wooden, clacking pull-along toy was one of the gifts we bought for him for his 1st birthday, but he’s just now finally “getting” it. No batteries involved, just kid power, this toy brings back the old school essence of pull-along toys that I remember from my own childhood. But be forewarned, the “dancing” part of this alligator also translates into “clacking.” So, if loud toys aren’t your thing, definitely check out other PlanToys. (I personally love watching our guy run around with his alligator trailing/dancing behind!) Our alligator has made many leaps and falls these past few weeks, proving that it’s both timeless and sustainable, as far as toddler toys go. The Dancing Alligator will be one of those toys that we’ll likely keep for our kid(s)’ kids!
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Spotted at BlogHer

While at BlogHer, I had the chance to peruse the Expo floor a few times. The Expo floor was basically a trade show for women bloggers that featured products to be used in the kitchen to spiffy vacuums to gold kiwis (based on Tweets, seemed like the belle of the ball!) and of course, the latest and greatest kids’ products.
Lucky me, I got to check out a few products that I’ve blogged about here on NKT.


I took a look at the Complete Air Car Seat that features Safety 1st’s new Air Protect technology. As I envisioned, it’s a sleek-looking car seat that has the hard-to-miss side head cushions. The pictures of this car seat certainly don’t do it any justice, especially the cool brown and orange colored Complete Air car seat which first caught my attention. I liked that it’s not a huge seat, like the one we currently own. This car seat has definitely piqued my interest!


I also spotted the Disney Netpal, the kid-friendly laptop that I blogged about last month. Again, it was much cooler in person.  It’s as petite as I imagined, but not overly kiddie-centric at all. The rep. at the booth walked me through a lot of its functions and reiterated its kid-friendliness.  After speaking to her, I was sold; I actually want one for myself, now :)  At $350, I thought it was a decent deal for what you get.  At this day and age, electronics, especially ones that are educational and functional for school-aged kids, are a great, if not imperative, investment.

Safe Baby, safe baby 1,2,3…

Even though summer is in full swing and I’ve already raved about one of our favorite sunscreens, I thought I’d share another great sunscreen that I had the chance to try out.
safebabySafe Baby, which is part of Skin by Monica Olsen line, is a paraben-free, waterproof sunscreen with SPF 50. Monica Olsen, a former model, but more importantly, a conscientious mama like many of us, was in search of natural baby products that she liked. Since she couldn’t find anything that she felt comfortable using on her new babe, she decided to create her own line.
Safe Baby contains organic flower extracts, vitamins and doesn’t use any harsh chemicals such as alcohol. Who’d want those nasty, harsh chemicals irritating baby’s skin anyway?

I love the way Safe Baby applies; it’s not too thick or overpowering, like other sunscreens I’ve tried in the past. The scent, at first, I thought was a bit too flowery for my taste, but it dissipated and became a subtle, sweet scent once applied. As a mama with a fair-skinned babe, I like that it’s SPF 50, too. Again, like most natural products, Safe Baby is a bit pricier than I’d like to pay. There are a few ingredients listed that I can’t pronounce, and perhaps because it’s newer, I couldn’t find these products in the Cosmetic Database yet. But after a day in the sun, Safe Baby worked wonderfully and didn’t leave everything greasy or stained.

Safe Baby is worth checking out. It’s a great alternative to the chemical laden sunscreens and good option for a more natural and safe sunscreen. If you’re in the NYC area, SKIN by Monica Olsen is available at Duane Reade. Safe Baby is also available at other stores, as well as online.

Want Safe Baby for yourself?

Tell me another product in the Skin by Monica Olsen line and comment below!

For extra entries, feel free to share this product via Twitter, Facebook or any other social networking site.

Back to business

img_3047So sorry everyone for the extended absence here on NKT.  Last week was probably the busiest and craziest week for me since leaving my job last October.  I’ve been out of town basically since last Wednesday, and I’m just finally catching up and getting back into the swing of things.

Wednesday and Thursday morning we were busy focusing on family events, and then Thursday evening-Saturday, I was busy with the events at BlogHer ’09 in Chicago.   I came away with so many fun memories and learned a ton of great ideas and perspectives.

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Britax Chaperone Stroller in stores by August

Britax recently unveiled the Chaperone stroller, which is expected to be in stores in August. The stroller, together with the Chaperone infant carrier is part of the Chaperone Travel Collection.

The infant carrier features Britax’s True Side Impact Protection and can accommodate children between 4 and 30 pounds up to 32 inches. The Chaperone stroller can be used with the infant carrier or on its own for children up to 55 pounds. The stroller, which was designed with improving ease of function and more mobility for parents on the go, features a one-hand fold. For all of us juggling groceries, kids, errands, while navigating planes, trains and automobiles, that one-hand fold feature is worth its weight in gold.

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