Ah, the secret to speedy Shabbat prep – bentos in the bath! A wooden cutting board make the perfect floating table.
I’m still trying, as I have been for years, to make Shabbat feel more restful and holy. Last week I managed to resist the lure of my laptop (and the internet) for the entire 25-hour day, only because just before Shabbat I shut down the computer and took it downstairs. I spent the day talking with Mr. December, playing with the kids, napping, and getting together with friends. Our Shabbat day is a work in progress, but this feels like a step in the right direction.
And speaking of progress and steps… R seems to think that she has to keep up with the other little people around here:
And so, I’m shutting off my computer to spend Shabbat with the little people. I hope your Shabbat (or just plain Saturday, as the case may be) is delicious, relaxing, and happy… just like the current moment in our home.
K’s been in school for three weeks now, and so I’ve got some bentos to show you. Some are works of art (if I do say so myself); others are appealing only because of colourful produce, and still others are downright lazy and visually boring. Take a look:
And I just now realized that the boring bento isn’t even fully necessary for tomorrow – it’s pizza day again and she really just needs some sides. Excuse me while I go re-pack.
K has a lunchbox and a water bottle that she chose herself. She’s got three placemats (one for each day that she’s staying for lunch). Her new pants have been shortened appropriately and her new wardrobe is stocked with complete outfits from which she can choose. Her school shoes are labeled. Her extra outfit is ready.
I’m trying so hard to get and stay organized this year. I just can’t see how we’ll manage with three kids unless everything is laid out in advance.
So now I’m trying to decide two things: 1. what to serve for breakfast tomorrow, and 2. what to pack in her bento.
First things first… breakfast. I actually really want to get a small crockpot and start making really good oatmeal overnight at least a few times a week. Stores are shut today, though, so that’s not going to happen in time for tomorrow. Maybe scrambled eggs?
And lunch? Well, there’s lots of colourful produce in our house right now, most of which is seasonal and really good. I guess she’ll be getting cherry tomatoes, coronation grapes (deep purple/blue, taste like concord but seedless), cucumber slices (or maybe cut-out shapes), and a turkey sandwich on Italian bread. Possibly half a peach, especially if I can hollow it out to make a bowl for the grapes. So in terms of colours, I’ve got red, blue, green, orange/yellow, and beige. Sounds okay… maybe I’ll add a winnie-the-pooh sandwich pick for fun.
… and that’s my brain dump for the day. Tune in tomorrow for pictures and stories of how it all actually went down.
School lunchtime, that is. One of K’s big sources of excitement is that this year she’ll be staying at school for lunch and recess with her class (it’s called the extended half-day option). This means two things:
Placemat-making will commence tomorrow, once K has chosen the fabric and trim that she wants. Lunch-packing has been taking place intermittently over the summer – whenever we go on an full-day outing, I pack a bento. Here are some neat ones:
So now off I go, to make a list of all the cute/miniature/colourful foods that I need to have on hand this year for lunch packing.
It’s been a while since I’ve been motivated enough to make cute lunches, but today seemed like the perfect opportunity: warm enough for a picnic, which of course necessitates packed lunches, which in our house means… bento time!
Since N is eating solid foods by himself now, I figured it was time for his first bento.
Here they are…
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a ton of work to do before tomorrow’s post. My jigsaw awaits…
So here’s my thing… I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and I love making things pretty, and I hate doing tedious or uncreative things. Really. Sew a new blanket? Right away! Fold the laundry? Nope. Build a bed? Let me get my drill! Dust the furniture we already have? In your dreams. You get the idea.
As a mom, I have to feed my kids. It’s kind of part of the deal. I have to make some kind of lunch for K regardless of how I’m feeling about it. You can imagine how I feel, I’m sure, when most of what’s on her plate gets returned to me at the end of mealtime. It’s not that she doesn’t like the food that’s being offered. It’s that she inevitably gets distracted by something more creative or fun, and just like that she’s finished with her lunch (gee, I wonder whom she resembles? Yes, sweetheart, mummy loved sewing and was all excited about sewing you a hat, but now mummy has a jigsaw and a pocket-hole jig and really wants to do carpentry).
Anyhow, as I was saying… I needed to find a way to make lunch more fun and creative for me to make, and more fun and attractive for K to eat. As with all my other problems, I turned to Google… and discovered bento lunches. Some are simpler than others, but the idea is the same: to pack a box full of colourful (i.e. attractive and nutritious), beautifully displayed food. The food needs to be packed in such a way that if the box is shaken, dropped, or thrown, the beautiful arrangement will not be disturbed.
Armed with a few silicone muffin cups, some tiny cookie cutters, and a couple of plain-Jane plastic containers, I’ve been honing my craft. I had quite a few pictures to share with you, and then my computer died with all my photos on it. So here are some very recent bento lunches I’ve made. Enjoy!
We had free passes to the ROM that I got as AirMiles rewards. We decided we’d take K and check out the child-friendliness of the place now that the renovations are a distant memory (although the place still looks like a Borg ship crashed into a perfectly lovely old building). I was determined to make this as cheap an outing as possible, so I packed K a bento lunch:
Upon our arrival, we went straight to the kids’ discovery area. K and Mr. December looked for dinosaur bones…
… and then K and N tried on the costumes of different civilizations and eras:
We also went through the bat cave at least three times. K kept coming out of the cave and enthusing, “I want to do that again! Can we go again? I’m not scared.” And so “go again” we did.
On exiting the bat cave, we found ourselves in the “flight” exhibit. K immediately got to work opening all the specimen drawers to look at feathers, eggs, and other detrius of avian life. Idly opening a drawer, Mr. December found this gem:
He immediately photographed it, intending to send it to Failblog or Maxim. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what has caused so much speculation and (dare I say?) intrigue. A bird’s nest.
So all in all, a highly successful outing was had. K ate her whole bento, except for the cute teddy bear cheese… she doesn’t like cheese, and all the cuteness in the world apparently won’t help that. I’ll just have to use those teddy bear cookie cutters for fruits and veggies from now on.