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Welcome to my blog. I am happy to be taking part in another Bento Bloggers & Friends Blog Hop. I love these and they FORCE me to make time to post to my blog. I pack and photograph five bentos a day, but I cannot seem to find the time to post on anything resembling a regular basis. I love the hops because I factor in time to getting around to putting my stuff up on this blog, and they give me a fantastic chance to see what ideas other people have. Please make sure you click the button at the bottom of this post so you can follow through to see what is up next in the hop so you can gather ideas too.
Lately, I have found it difficult to find fresh produce of high quality and this has affected some of my inspiration for making cute lunches. Fearful that I might not be able to find colorful fruits and vegetables for the bentos for this post, I decided I needed to have a different approach. I have been thinking for awhile about making my own bento picks and I have made a few easy, disposable ones with toothpicks and stickers or toothpicks and printed images. This time, I decided to try making picks with Shrinky Dinks.
I had some sheets of plain Shrinky Dink material so I chose some images to trace and color. I used a black Sharpie to trace the image on the Shrinky Dink sheet and then I colored the images with colored pencils. I chose images of Mickey Mouse for my son’s bento because he has loved watching Mickey’s Christmas Carol during the last weeks and he is becoming a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse fan. For my daughter, I chose My Little Pony images because she often requests that as a theme for lunches. All of the figures are wearing Santa hats and I did a couple of traditional Santa Claus faces also.
I was careful to round the edges when cutting the figures out because the edges of Shrinky Dinks can be pretty sharp, especially after baking. And, I decided to cut some with the long “pick” part to stick into food and others without.
Then, I placed them on a sheet of parchment on a baking pan and baked them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Since I had my phone handy and I had to watch to see when they would be finished, I decided to take a video. It is not great quality, but if you look closely (and past my reflection), you can see Mickey start to rise up and contract as he begins to shrink. Every time I make Shrinky Dinks, I have a moment of panic when they begin to curl and flip around, but then they straighten out on their own and everything is fine.
This is a photo of the picks after they cooled. I love the way the color is intensified. And, I was pleased that I had basically guessed the correct size for the length and width of the “pick” part. I used a dab of glue to stick plastic picks onto the backs of the ones that I cut without the extended piece.
My son, who will soon be three, takes breakfast bentos to daycare in the mornings. For him, I packed two (stacked) strawberry jam Mickey and Minnie sandwiches, blackberries with a Santa Mickey pick, Cutie wedges with a Merry Christmas pick, and strawberries with a Mickey wreath pick. He also had cucumber slices and Frosted Mini Wheats stuck in the back. I had ordered the Mickey cutter and press weeks ago. Shipping was delayed, but they magically showed up the day before I planned to pack this bento :).
My daughter, who is in first grade, takes a snack bento for the morning and a lunch for midday. I used one of the Shrinky Dink Santa picks in her snack. She had Frosted Mini Wheats, strawberries, green grapes, and a “Santa’s sack” full of toys (3-D Monopoly piece gummies). Look closely to find a doll house, dog, and two toy cars.
For lunch, my daughter had a mini Santa-shaped peanut butter sandwich, raspberries, grapes and cucumber slices on picks, carrots and cherry tomatoes (behind the picks), mini saltines, almonds in the little green container, and half of a Cutie tucked under the Santa and Christmas tree gummies (from Target).
I was pleased with how the picks turned out. I was a little concerned that the color might rub off, but that did not seem to be a problem even when I touched them with wet hands after washing the fruit. I did notice that the blackberries had a tendency to stain, so if I make another batch, I might opt to stick with the method of gluing on a separate plastic pick.
Last, I will share matching bentos I made for the road this past Saturday. They do not feature Santa, but I like the way the reds and greens came together. They included blueberries on red and green ornament picks, red and green tortilla chips, red sweet peppers, mini saltines, almonds, Christmas tree peanut butter sandwiches, and a few red and green M&Ms. I took a quick picture of these on the tree skirt before we headed out the door to see A Little House Christmas at our local children’s theater.
Thanks for visiting my blog! Please be sure to click the image below to visit Loving Lunches and see how Santa has come to lunch over on Jackie’s blog. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!