Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kindergarten Lunch Prep

Yes, I'm still alive.  Just busy with getting ready for school and looking for employment.  The kindergarten countdown is only 6 days.  The prospect of him going to school was always a distant, far-off idea.  The finish line tape at the end of a marathon.  Now it's tangible.  We've met the principal and some of the teachers.  His teacher will be coming by the house tomorrow.  It's exciting, but oh, so stressful too.

It is his first time in school - ever.  Although I know he'll be an old hand to it within days, I really want him to feel prepared.  So we've been doing things around the house like eating lunch out of his lunchbox.  That might sound a bit much to you, but trust me when I say that it took him 15 minutes to figure out how to unzip the various sections and get all of his containers open.  Can you imagine his first day if we hadn't practiced?

We talked about what items should go back in the lunchbox (please bring my containers home, please!) and which items should be trashed.  I'm still doing a bento version of lunch like I talked about here.  I did a lot of online shopping for special bento boxes and filled up my amazon cart a couple of times.  In the end, however, I decided to go for an economical mix of different containers according to whatever food I'm sending that day.

Jamka Food Saver

I bought these cute round containers at Ikea but learned during our lunchbox trials that they are too hard for him to open.  They're a great size for lunch and only $1.49 for 3.
Pruta 17-piece Set

While I was there I picked up this set of 17 containers for $3.99.  The two upper-left ones are the perfect size for a sandwich and some sides (bento style).  I love the smaller ones for dips or moist sides that need to be kept separate.  I've been using the bigger ones in the kitchen and have been pleased (although I have yet to put them in the microwave).  They're BPA free and dishwasher safe.  A 5 year old can open them - yay! - and they're cheap enough that I won't cry if they don't make it home.

These Lock & Lock boxes are my favorite lunch container purchase.  I got a set of them at TJ Maxx or Ross (sorry, don't remember) for under $7.  They're the perfect size.  They are easy for him to open and close.  They're leak-proof and great for packing pastas, etc. because he puts them on the table to open (instead of holding them in his hands and risking getting sauce all over his clothes).  I am a little worried about whether or not they'll make it home - so he'll be sporting the cheaper Ikea stuff until I'm more confident.

Although I won't be making the notoriously elaborate bento lunches, I have been picking up a few items to make his lunches cuter.  He was thrilled with this dinosaur sandwich cutter.  He pretended he was a T-Rex and then used his apple slices to represent blood.  I'm sure the teachers will love that.

Heart and Star Molds

Fish and Car Molds
 I also bought these egg molds from Amazon.  I was super excited when they arrived and went straight to the kitchen to try them out.  Unfortunately, my eggs were too small and just looked like weird blobs.  And I keep forgetting to buy the bigger eggs at the store, so I haven't had a chance to perfect them yet.  They'll be a nice surprise if I can figure them out.

I've been going through my recipes looking for healthy, packable options.  I especially like the ones that can be made in big batches and frozen.  I'll share any great ones that I come across.  I'm also trying out recipes from Deceptively Delicious - which I bought ages ago when my stepdaughter was such a picky eater (oh, that's right - she still is), but never really used much.  (So far the recipes are hit and miss - the chocolate chip cookies with garbanzo beans tasted great, but stayed a little too gooey, for example.)

Anyway, that's a pretty long post for anyone who isn't overthinking packed lunches.  I'll have more decor-related posts coming soon.

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