food · slice of life

Lovely Little Lunches #SOL21

I haven’t packed a school lunch for a year. (Remember, I went into stay-at-home mode two weeks before the rest of America since I had foot surgery on February 27th.) Part of me misses it since I’m a bento box kind of mom. (And the part of me that enjoys reading a novel after putting the kids to bed doesn’t miss it one bit.) Typically, I’d create fun sandwich cut-outs and include animal picks for the bite-size fruit. However, I haven’t made a school lunch in a year.

That’s not to say I haven’t made lots of lunches this school year. Quite the contrary, I can’t even tally the amount of lunches I’ve made. However, after I accidentally ground up one of the animal picks in the garbage disposal a couple of months ago, the at-home lunches have gotten a little less cute.

Ari stood beside me as I made today’s lunches.

“What shape would you like for your cheese sandwich?” I asked.

He considered his cutter options carefully. The sky was the limit since he was eating a cheese sandwich rather than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (NOTE: A PB&J vastly limits his sandwich cutter choices since the jelly requires a single straight edge cut to minimize oozing.)

“I want a doggie!” he said.

“Great choice,” I replied. “What do you think Isabelle would like?”

“A dinosaur!” he stated.

Isabelle eats sandwich crusts. Ever since last year’s stay-at-home order, Ari refuses to eat them. Don’t ask.

Isabelle was still in virtual Hebrew school, but I was pretty sure she wouldn’t really want a dinosaur.

“I don’t know if she’ll love that one. Since we can’t ask her, I’m going to give you three choices: a star, hearts, or elephants.”

I thought Ari would say hearts, but he surprised me with, “Elephants!” A touch babyish, but it’s not like anyone other than the three of us — and now you! — would see it.

“Elephants it is,” I replied while crossing the kitchen to retrieve the sandwich cutter.

When Isabelle came downstairs for lunch, she didn’t remark about the shape of her sandwich, but she did say, “Thank you for the kiwi, Mommy.” Considering most of my lunch presentations go unnoticed, I’ll take her good manners as a win for today’s lunch together.

Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.

41 thoughts on “Lovely Little Lunches #SOL21

  1. I haven’t made school lunches in several years, and mine were never this cute nor were they presented so pretty! I am excited to be joining all of you again this month!

  2. I packed six bento boxes today and that will only get us through Tuesday! Not packing lunches was a silver lining of quarantine and remote school. Your lunches are super cute and organized!

  3. What beautiful lunches (and healthy too). I was the mean mom who once they were in full-time school said they had to make and pack their own. They never looked this good! At least without bento boxes, you have fewer containers to wash.

    1. I’ve already told Isabelle that she will be working with me to pack them next year and then the following year it’s going to be up to her. (We’ll see how that goes.)

  4. With state offered school lunches I have never had to pack a lunch for my children. i wonder what I have missed out. Reading this post made me wish for an elephant shaped sandwich, and I’ll ask what my teenager would like today, since we are both at home.

    1. The school where Isabelle went from K-2 didn’t allow the kids to bring lunch so I had a reprieve for those years. I packed lunch throughout preschool, for day camp, and for most of third grade. If she were a different kid, she’d probably eat more cafeteria lunches, but she tends to be on the pickier side.

  5. This is a whole world I didn’t even know existed! lol I love how you’ve shared with them the joy of creativity and making beauty in the world around you. And simply having fun! The little things can make such a big difference!

    1. My mother is going to read this so I hope she doesn’t get annoyed with me, but I never had lunches like this either! Let’s just say I get more joy from cooking and food preparation than my mom does.

  6. YIkes, this brings lunches to a new level! I am making daily lunches for my grandchildren (for the past year) as they are with me all day – but I thought I was doing a good job by offering choices beyond peanut better and jelly.! I guess I have to up my game in order to be a bento box Meme! Oh yeah,,,jot that thought down,,,,,blog post soon …..

    1. The sandwich cutters are an inexpensive and fun way to make lunch a little more exciting. However, I think they also can lead to not-so-great tendencies since nowadays Ari doesn’t like to eat crust since it was cut off so often with these cutters.

  7. Making school lunches brings back so many memories from twenty odd years ago! I would never have had the patience to cut sandwiches with cookie cutters, that is so innovative and fresh!

  8. I do not miss making lunches either! (Now to figure out what to make for dinner tonight…)

  9. Oh! I used to cut their sandwiches into shapes, too. I’d nearly forgotten. Our favourite was one that created four puzzle pieces. These days, the boys make their own lunches. They rarely take what I would have chosen to pack, but they always get in at least one vegetable… (or so they tell me). I’m glad Isabelle said thank you & that you went with elephants.

    1. Isabelle’s favorite was the puzzle piece sandwich when I was packing her school lunches. It’s fun, but not too immature. 🙂

      The day of Isabelle making her own lunch is coming… Mostly because I don’t think I’ll be able to sustain making two lunches on a daily basis once they’re both in school.

  10. I am beyond impressed by your lunch presentation. My kids get chicken nuggets thrown on a plate, lol! I do usually make a fruit salad for us all to share, so that has a slightly artistic quality to it, only for the various colors. But even that has gone downhill after a year of this everyday lunch making!

    Your kids are lucky to have a fun mom like you!

    1. I’m not sure that they’d think of me as a fun mom, but I’ll take the compliment. I just love to cook and try my best to make things look nice. (My plating skills need work!)

  11. Love the lunches you create! You are incredible, Stacey! I do not know how you do it, but you seem to think of everything. I love Ari’s choice of dog and elephant. Ari is an animal lover! If allergies were not a problem, I would buy him a real Welsh Corgi for his next birthday!

  12. And now I’m craving kiwi! What lucky kiddos you have. I relate pretty hard to the “no crust” phase that Ari is undertaking – there were a full 4 years I refused to eat mango because it felt slimy. Now, of course, it’s my favorite.

  13. I love the elephant! My children do not really like sandwiches, which makes lunch packing extra hard. Not having to pack lunches has easily been the best part of online teaching every time we’ve had to make the shift!

  14. You are such a good mom to put in the extra effort! I, too, have so enjoyed not having to make as many lunches! My kids too don’t notice all of the details, but I still enjoy taking the time to show I care! I love the elephant sandwich cutter.

    1. I don’t know that Isabelle appreciates the effort. However, she always appreciated the notes. I’d either pre-write them or request for my husband to do them whenever I traveled for work. (One day well all travel again, right?!!?)

  15. Isn’t it amazing how something so simple can make children so happy and give a mommy a chance to show a child, “I love you,” without saying a word! I use to stick little notes in my girls lunches…. but nothing beats a sandwich cut like a dinosaur or doggie!

    1. I feel like food — and taking the time to do a little extra — conveys love. When I was a kid, I remember a little boy in my class always getting lunch notes. Back then I though, “I’m going to do that for my kids someday.”

  16. Your caption on that photo had me laughing. The “don’t ask” request is always honored. I think it’s a mom code or parent code at least we all understand. Some things just don’t need an explanation. While your slice, however, is a lovely depiction of lunchtime.

  17. Love your sandwich design selections! Someone in m building left a set of luchador mask cookie cutters out on the giveaway shelf a couple of weeks ago, and you may have just given me an idea for how I want to use them!

  18. awww! This kind of made me feel nostalgic. I haven’t made lunches in so long. It’s such a great feeling to know your kid will think of you in a teeny way maybe, at lunch. Enjoy making those lunches!

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