Monday, June 28, 2010

Bento Boxes

Not that long ago on a homeschool message board people were sharing ideas that helped their days run smoother. One mother mentioned that she actually took the time for a while to fix all the lunches and pack them in lunch boxes. Now, my first mistake was finding the idea outlandish, because I did. I remember thinking that was totally crazy! Then, for whatever reason, the conversation popped back into my head and I started thinking it was actually quite an interesting idea.

See, around here we get going with our studies and we're usually neck deep by lunch time and pulling away can be hard. When it takes me 30 minutes (or more) to make lunches and then we have the clean up time (because I refuse to let the mess wait) we've lost ourselves into a world of something totally different. Then there's those days when I'm standing there thinking, "I forgot to put down the lunch menu!" Because, honestly I have to make a list of lunches as much as dinners or my brain goes into overdrive. Really.

Needless to say I decided to try packed lunches after two weeks of really rough lunchtime rituals around here. Only, I'd been spotting a few Bento Box ideas that seemed incredibly clever and colorful. I'm not so much into the entire Asian inspired theme, which is where Bento comes from. The word is Japanese, but I won't bore you down with all that info.

In the morning when I pack Mr Scarecrow's lunch I end up packing lunches for the rest of us too. In fact, I even ended up packing morning snacks too. If you've ever seen our Morgan try and make a choice over something you'll understand the valuable hours I saved us just in having it laid out in front of the kid. Seriously. Love him as we do, choices can overwhelm him at times.

Our boxes are filled with whatever we have on hand. We don't often have luncheon meats around, but last week the boys were lucky enough to discover some ham in their boxes. Sometimes I just plop leftovers in there, all dressed up in fun silicone cups (varying sizes and shapes) and plopped in our BPA free lunch boxes. We don't often do sandwiches around here either, but I'd love to get a few of the funny Sandwich cookie cutters I've seen. The things are huge and are suppose to reach all the way to the crust.

There is an incredibly large amount of stuff you could get if you went all out with Bentos. So the fact that I'm unaware of any Bento shops really close to me is, at least in Mr Scarecrow's mind, a very good thing. Seriously though, you can get egg shapers, sandwich shapers, tiny bottles for condiments, minute cutlery, foodpicks, and the list goes on!

I doubt that I'll post our weekly Bentos, because I'm not so sure our lunches are all that interesting. In fact we're kinda "plane Janes" around here and can eat many of the same things. You know.. homemade crackers, chicken, and tossed salad. My kids were in awe the day I chopped up those pears for them. The same pears, I might add, that no one touched at dinner the night before! Anyway if you're interested in seeing a bit more about it you can check out some of these sites:

Wendelina posts weekly about the Bentos she's makes for her two young sons. So colorful, and making me wish watermelon and strawberries were back in season around here.

Another Lunch only posts Bento stuff. You have to check out her box full of Foodpicks. My boys would go crazy for those fun flag ones she's never used!

Yum Yum Bento Box does some amazing things with her lunches. I think they are super cute, but I have no intention of sculpting my kids foods into amazing structures before throwing it in the box. Honestly, though, it's cute to look at but I'm much more of a simple food person.

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