The Week in Bentos: August 19-23, 2013

by Wendy Copley on August 23, 2013

Hello lunch-packers! The Copley boys are officially back to school, so we have a full week of lunches for two kids for the first time in a while. I have been enjoying the extra quiet this week, but I’m sad summer vacation is over because we had a great time these last few months. But seeing old friends and meeting new teachers is fun too, right? And packing lunches the first week is kinda fun too. (Check in with me again at week 10 though — I may not be so enthused at that point.)

Here’s what the boys had this week:

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Monday

First Day of Preschool/Pre-K Bento #485

Augie started back to preschool and his Pre-K year on Monday so I made him a fun back to school lunch in the PlanetBox. He had two little school bus PB&J sandwiches, a fig, tomatoes from our garden with some alphabet picks stuck in them, cucumber slices, watermelon chunks and a few yogurt raisins.

I like how the tomatoes were so ripe that they immediately burst when I poked the picks in! Those babies are soooooo sweet and delicious.

First Day of Preschool/Pre-K Bento #485: What came home

And Augie was pretty into this lunch too, apparently because it came home absolutely empty as you can see above. Usually he leaves a little and snacks on it after school, so this was a bit of a surprise.

Tuesday

First Day of 4th Grade Bento #779

Tuesday was Wyatt’s first day of 4th grade! I packed his first day lunch in the PlanetBox too. He had some Sesame-Soy Meatballs that were left over from dinner, diced plum, blueberries and a jelly sandwich that I decorated with cheddar cheese.

I lucked out and found this set of Zoku Social Media alphabet cutters on clearance at my local Sur La Table store and I used that to spell out “4th grade” along with a fun Facebook thumbs up. I paid $6 for the set which includes a funky alphabet, all the numbers and a bunch of social media icons (hashtags, stuff for emoticons, etc.) and I think that was a great price. It will be a great tool to make cool, big-kid-approved lunches for Wyatt this year! But the list price of $20 is pretty crazy, if you ask me!

First Day of 4th Grade Bento #779: What came home

And here’s the sad part of this story….I was in a rush making this lunch and completely spaced out about “gluing” the letters down with mayo or honey or something like that. So when Wyatt opened his lunch it was all jumbled up. My nice surprise didn’t work out so well this time. Soooo sad.

forks

You may also have noticed the personalized fork in the photo of Wyatt’s empty lunch box. (Augie has one too.) These guys were a a gift for my boys from Cyndi of Bella Jackson Studios where she sells hand-stamped vintage spoons and forks with fun sayings. They’re great for lunch boxes, of course, but she also has items that are themed for weddings, babies, birthdays, holidays, coffee and tea and ridiculously cute garden markers. She told me she often does custom work like she did for my boys so if you’re interested in treating your kids (or yourself!) be sure to click through to her store to check it out.

The kids love these forks and have eaten nearly every meal with them since we received them. I’ve mentioned before how hard it is to get personalized stuff for them with their weirdo unique names, so they are extra special to them I think. They’ve been a very happy addition to our lunch gear collection.

Colorful Preschooler Bento #486

Augie’s lunch was packed in the Yubo: blueberries, tomatoes, leftover cooked carrots from dinner, Scrabble Cheez-its, star-shaped pb&j sandwiches, mini dill pickles, and watermelon chunks.

The blue cup is one of the silicone baking cups I’ve had in my collection since I started packing bentos five years ago. They are awesome and still look like they did when they were new. The larger green cup is one I found in the dollar section at Target earlier this week! They are 2 for $1 — a great bargain and worth looking for if you stop by the store in the near future.

Colorful Preschooler Bento #486: What came home

This is what was left in the box when I opened it after school. Thumbs down on the carrots and the tomatoes, I guess.

Wednesday

Pasta and Smoothie Lunch #780

On Wednesday, Wyatt had leftover pasta with meat sauce in our LunchBots Thermal Jar and a mixed berry smoothie.

Pasta and Smoothie Lunch #487

And Augie had the exact same thing — just a smaller portion of pasta packed into the Thermos food jar.

The smoothies were really straight-forward. I threw frozen berries, vanilla yogurt, a few chia seeds and a little milk in the food processor, then spooned them into our new Yummi Pouches and stuck them in the freezer. (Yummi Pouch sent me a set of these guys for review and we’re testing them out. So far, so good.) In the morning I pulled the frozen pouches out of the freezer and stuck them in the lunch bags with the pasta containers. The boys reported that the smoothies had thawed by lunch time and were “just right.”

Thursday

4th Grader Bento #781

On Thursday, I packed Wyatt’s lunch in a Laptop Lunches box: strawberries, blueberries, a few yogurt raisins (in the little box), the lone meatball leftover from dinner, carrots, hummus with salami mixed in and pita chips.

The salami/hummus mixture was an idea I got from a soon-to-be-released book by J.M. Hirsch, Beating the Lunch Box Blues. I’ll be posting a full review after I’ve put it through it’s paces, but so far I’ve found lots of interesting ideas for freshening up lunches in the book. This combo was a hit with my husband and me, but didn’t go over well with the boys. Surprising, because I thought they’d both love it.

Preschool Hummus Bento #488

Augie had a pared down version of Wyatt’s lunch: carrots, pita chips, hummus and strawberries. It was packed in our Lock&Lock divided bento box.

Friday

4th Grader Taquito Bento #782

Today Wyatt had carrots, salsa (in the lidded box), taquitos from the freezer, a plum (with a fork pick for eating), and a few tortilla chips. This was packed in our EasyLunchboxes box.

Preschool Yumbox Bento #489

Augie had a Yumbox lunch: vanilla yogurt with red sprinkles, a nectarine with a kitty fork, salami, carrots, snap peas, hummus and pita chips.


Stumped for ideas for packed-lunches? Check out my lunch box idea list or visit Wendolonia’s Bento Box Gallery for nearly 1500 searchable lunch photos!

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  • Rachel @ Following In My Shoes

    I NEEEEEEEEED those Zoku letter cutters. Oh, my goodness — they made the BEST back to school lunch!

  • Venia Conte

    You’re killin’ me with the forks. FANTABULOUS!!! Super lunches, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sarah Nelson

    I have been reading for a long time, but don’t comment much (if at all). I have to share this, though… the tomatoes in the first picture look orange, not red (which they may be, or it could just be the lighting or my computer). I actually thought that you purposely split them open because to me, they look like little basketballs! I thought it was a nod to gym class or something. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ha! That’s hilarious. They *totally* look like basketballs to me now that you point that out. And they are orange — your computer isn’t funky or anything. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • bentoforkidlet

    Yummy looking lunches!!!! And I love seeing them coming back home empty! Yay!

  • Theresa L Woollard

    I like knowing how the lunches went over. I am always asking the kids how there lunches were but with school lunches I never know how much they are eating. Not quite to the point of packing all of their lunches and snacks but am getting closer to that point.

  • awads

    can you tell me how the lunches look once the kids open them? does everything stay in-place? how do the boxes close with the picks sticking up? I really appreciated you admitting that the lettered cheese didn’t fare well b/c you forgot to adhere it to the bread! that’s the kind of problem i seem to have!

  • Madelein Larsson Wollnik

    Great inspiration ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • For the most part, everything stays in place when the lunches get to school. I make a point of packing the food into the boxes tightly and right up to the rim so it doesn’t have a lot of space to move around in transport. As for the picks, I try to arrange them at an angle so that they’ll shift down when the box is closed. The only time I ever have trouble closing the boxes is when I accidentally arrange a pick so it’s going over a divider and then I just move it to get the box to close.

  • Alba

    How do you keep the cheese from sticking to alphabet cutters. I trid cutting cheese letters but only half successful. Cheese got stuck and some enters broke

  • My cheese definitely sticks to the cutters! To get it out, I gently ease the cheese out by pressing on the edges with the blunt end of a toothpick.

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