Remember that story about the kids getting into the habit of binning their lunches?
Well, as I mentioned in that Week In The Life update, I began thinking about how I can remedy that situation. My new online buddy Sarah had a great idea of doing sandwich rolls. I've tried it and it was cool. But, I think the kids need a bit more.
So, I started doing a little research on this. Then I remembered another creative online buddy, Monet aka bentogehl. I've been admiring her bento creations for some time now.
But, even when I first came across the concept of bento lunch boxes, I had no hesitation in putting it in the "too hard basket." I knew there was no way I could do anything like that.
How could I? I'm no good in the mornings. We're always just in a rush to get the kids school. And, I wasn't sure I'd have the patience and the skill to create those elaborate lunch boxes.
I told myself my kids would just have to make do with their standard lunches - a mix of fruits, crisps, sandwiches, crackers, cheese, etc.
Admittedly, even I was getting bored of their lunch boxes.
I don't remember having exciting lunch boxes as a kid. And, it was fine. I enjoyed going to the school canteen for recess and lunch. My kids are only allowed once-a-week canteen lunches.
And, I must admit, compared to their canteen and the canteen I grew up with - my old school's canteen resembled a huge cafe, with a good variety of food options. I remember having lasagna, pork barbecues, Spanish rice, and the like at school. Not every single day, but still. So yeah. My school lunches were definitely a notch better than theirs.
That's why that week during WITL, I decided I'd make the commitment to try a bit harder. I did a couple of practice creative lunches, which the kids seem to have appreciated. And, I started ordering bento lunch box accessories on eBay.
Last week, the first batch of my new bento accessories arrived:
Very basic. Just some cutters/food stampers. But, I got to work that same evening and created my first official bento lunch box (photo at the top of this post).
Food included: rice and corn crackers, buttered with bunny/stars ham + Oreos + Popped crisps + wheat grain crackers and house-shaped cheese + chopped bananas and kiwi fruit + strawberry-flavoured Up & Go
Part of the deal was that whenever I create a bento lunch box for them, they will write a story for me based on a prompt I create and their lunch box as inspiration. They seemed quite excited.
For the first bento lunch box story, the prompt I wrote was: "Today, the bunny..."
Inspired, of course, by the bunny-shaped ham.
And, here's what the 9-year-old boy wrote:
And, here's the 6-year-old girl's take:
No writing awards to be handed out, I know. But then again, I'm not going to win any bento-making awards either. 😉
It doesn't matter. They're cute.
I love that the whole lunch box thing becomes an adventure. A give-and-take food storytelling exercise. I think about them as I make their lunch boxes. And hopefully, I become a part of their day as they enjoy their food and write their stories.
I'm thrilled that they're now excited when they know I made a bento lunch box for them. And, I also look forward to them coming home with their feedback and their written stories.
A win all around, yes?
Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.