Monday, August 16, 2010

Lunch Boxe$

Who knew packing a lunch was so damn expensive?

Before today, I didn’t know that such a thing as an ‘egg mold’ or ‘food punch’ even existed. I knew about food markers and couldn’t wait to get my hands on some, mostly because any decorating like that I’d done in the past I’d laboriously hand-painted, all the while muttering that there HAD to be a better way. But like I said, ‘food dividers’ and the like had never managed to cross my path. Until today. Because today, I decided to research bento boxes.

Some of you are laughing now. Laughing because you know what bento boxes are, and have yourself succumbed to the siren song of little environment-friendly BPA-free food containers that are also super freaking adorable. You may already have packed a bento box or two yourself. But for those of you who are looking confused, don’t worry. You are going to hear PLENTY about bento boxes. Because I am going to be the thing we all hate. I am going to be THAT mom.

You know, the mom whose kid always has clean clothes and socks that match. The mom who volunteers to make cupcakes, and not only remembers to do it more than 5 seconds before the event, but actually does make them. The mom who goes on field trips and knows interesting facts, the mom who reads the notes that come home, the mom who doesn’t have to be prompted by a 2-year old to change the bed linens. Yes, I am going to be the mom who packs an awesome, healthy, creative, fun lunch.

Now, those of you who didn’t know me pre-Jelly may not know I’m actually a very craftsy person, when I have hours and hours of free time, energy, sleep, money… (you get the idea). I’ve gone through all the requisite phases that women of a certain age pass through – Fabric Painting, Quilting, Decoupage, Sewing, Rag Painting, Scrapbooking, and Knitting (I have not yet hit Jewelry Making but have been tempted). Since Jelly’s scrapbook is stuck on the ‘Home from the Hospital’ page, and I just can’t seem to cope with sorting through the 8 million photos I took in her first 5 seconds of life, I welcome a different project (no, I have not painted the playroom yet, thanks for reminding me and SHUT IT).

The idea of making little cute bunny shapes out of normal household foodstuffs, and accessorizing with ornamental pics and tragically adorable condiment holders makes me breathe a little faster. Vegetable cutters that will make a carrot magically look like a flower, some questionable device that will turn a hot dog into either an octopus or, well, another flower (those Japanese love their flower-shaped food, apparently), and a banana keeper have all been purchased. I made the mistake of going to this site, see. And, well, you know how I love to shop online. While it is totally true that Jellybean refuses to eat sushi, she does like a goodly amount of other Asian-inspired delights; several members of the Thai family, noodles, rice, basically any carb. So I will be practicing more the art of 'kyara-ben', or 'character bento', than nori-based bento. I also think it's hilarious that it's another way for crazy moms to compete ('look how much cuter my kid's lunch is!'), so I'm onboard with that.

I spent some time this weekend (when I was not watching squirrels water ski) perusing lunchbox blogs, of which there are a surprising amount. This will not become another. Err, at least not intentionally or permanently. But I do have plans to stretch my imagination to create works of art, twice weekly, that would tempt even the pickiest of toddlers. You see, Jellybean starts preschool in two weeks. I got the lunchbox in the mail on Friday and it’s awesome. I’ll go take a pic of it right now for you (scurries off to locate camera and necessary cord to upload said pic). Ok, I cheated and used the iPhone, but here you go.

Yes, I paid for it with her first year’s college tuition fund, it was ridiculous, you can totally make fun of me. But look! So cute! Interchangeable, personalize-able faceplates! And the little containers! The weird looking thing on the side is a removable drink holder. And the handle can be moved, so you can carry it both length- and width-wise. The whole thing comes apart and goes in the dishwasher. It will be easy for her to open, easy to carry, easy to clean after I forget about it and leave it in the car over the weekend. Good thinking, huh? Oh, and there’s also a little ice pack that fits into the bottom. I got the whole starter kit, from yubo. No, you're right, observant fans, it's not a bento box, I am still looking at several options for more of a true bento box-type containment unit. If you have recommendations for me, or suggestions of things you'd like someone else to try first in case they totally suck, please leave me a comment. I like to beta test anything other than my software product.

I’ve put together my initial list of actual meal ideas, broken down into sandwiches, sandwich alternatives, snacks, desserts, and tips/tricks (sprinkles in yogurt! Cream cheese dyed blue served with goldfish!). I have both meat and vegetarian options, and try to include representation from all food groups so no one feels left out. I am pretty sure Jenny’s teacher is going to roll her eyes the second she sees it, because I know I sure as heck would’ve when I taught. I’m also pretty sure Jenny will be like, ‘lady, what the heck is wrong with you?’ and most of it will come back home because, well, she’s still two and very fickle and likes to make me shriek with frustration.

It’s the thought that counts, right?

And in case you thought I was joking, meet Twiggy. I did not photoshop this. I did, however, punch The Ta in the arm as hard as I could for making me sit through it.

Happy Monday, blog fans! Don't expect goods like this next week.


Shannon said...

I have no interest in ever buying a lunch box, and yet I can see myself being suckered into spending a small fortune on one of those.



MommieV said...

You have no idea that this is SO what I needed first thing this morning.

I did some of the phases too - altho I did crochet and not knitting - and have toyed with the jewelry making idea too. Not organized enough with a toddler, I think. Or the sleep, time, money .... thing you mention.

And the question about painting the playroom had just bubbled to the surface when you addressed it, so thanks for that!

I am trying very hard NOT to be THAT MOM, but that lunch box is CUUUUTE!

Maybe she'll surprise you and eat the whole thing. Maybe.

chris said...

As a fellow craftsy mom interested in providing nutritious foodstuffs to my toddler I applaud your efforts and shun anyone who would label you as "THAT mom" (unless the connotation was a positive one).

And .. sprinkles added to anything .. brilliant!

MommieV said...

You prob already know this, but Parenting has several bento box recipes and they tweet every day when there is a new one. Here's the latest:

dana said...

Ha! Ha! Ha! This is me laughing quite loudly at the thought of you being "that Mom"! Dare I remind you of the baby onesie clothing line idea that we hatched back in the day?

Of course now that we are older and wiser, I applaud your effort to provide healthier lunch items!