Welcome to a new series on Wendolonia: 3 Tools, 4 Lunches!
Each week for the next few months, several of my bento blogger friends will make a lunch using the same three tools — a lunch box and two tools for decoration. We’ll all make them independently from each other — no one sees what the others have done until everyone has sent me their photo — so we all approach the project with fresh eyes. You’ll get inspiration for different ways to use some popular bento tools and I hope I’ll also introduce you to some wonderful blogs you may not have encountered yet. Let’s dig in to the first challenge!
Here are the tools we used this week:
- PlanetBox Rover — a favorite among bento lunch packers, it’s four large compartments make it easy to pack a balanced lunch
- Wilton Nesting Star Cutters (Set of 3) — every bento-ist should have some star cutters in their collection! In addition to the lunches below, use them to make bentos about space, “all star” sports, super star, movie star, rock star — the list is nearly endless!
- Alphabet Decorative Picks — use these picks to spell out a word or include your child’s initials in his lunch. Because each set only includes one of each letter in the alphabet, I recommend purchasing two sets so you can “write” more words.
Let’s get to the lunches!
The first lunch in today’s round-up comes from Glory Robinson of Glory’s Mischief. She used the letter picks to spell out “shine bright” on a sandwich for her son and she used the two smaller star cutters to cut veggies for a salad. She rounds out this star-themed lunch with star crackers and apple slices with a star pick.
When I asked Glory to tell us about her history with bentos, she said, “I started making bentos 4 years ago when my oldest started Kindergarten. When I was a kid my mother would draw on my lunch bags, and leave surprises in my lunches. I wanted to do something similar for my children. I searched the internet for “Cute Food” and “Fun Lunches” and discovered the world of bento. I jumped in with both feet, and have loved it ever since.”
Next, Myra Simpson of Mommy and Me Lunch Box shares this adorable lunch she made for her daughter’s birthday. Myra used the star cutters to make a cheese decoration and to stamp a star design into the skin of an apple. She inserted alphabet picks into raspberries to spell out “birthday.” She also included ants on a log and ravioli in this festive bento. You can read more about this lunch over on her blog where she posts lunches for her 1st grader and for herself.
Myra started packing bentos 3 years ago when her daughter was in preschool. She was inspired to start after visiting sites like Bentobloggy, Meet The Dubiens, and BentOnBetterLunches. She says that her favorite thing about packing bento lunches is, “Kids tend to try and eat foods when they are visually appealing. And when you have the right simple tools, it’s very easy to just put something together. It doesn’t have to be grand everyday. A little note or a fun food pick can bring a smile to your child’s (or spouse’s) face!”
This pretty lunch was made by Jessie McCusker from Chaos and Confections. It contains smoked turkey and cheese sandwiches cut with the star cutters, star cheese crackers, strawberry and orange bits, and marshmallow stars. Jessie used the alphabet cutters to spell out “estrellas”.
Jessie is a mom of five and her blog, Chaos and Confections, focuses on allergy safe and gluten free lunches for busy kids and parents. You can also find occasional product reviews, recipes, and bento tips. She says, “I have been packing bentos for three years, ever since we made the switch from homeschooling to at-school schooling. It started as a fun way for me to keep connected to my kids while also trying to make sure they had tasty and (mostly) healthy lunches each day. Last year two of my kids were diagnosed with multiple food allergies, and packing bentos became a great way to keep them safe without making them feel stifled. They can explore the world and know that there will always be safe foods to keep them fueled to keep going!”
And finally, we have Sheriff Kitty checking in! I packed this lunch and you can see that I stuck the alphabet picks in some sugar snap peas and spelled out Sheriff Kitty’s name. I made the sheriff using my Cutezcute Animal Friends cutter set, then I used the medium star cutter to make his badge. His hat is a decorative cupcake pick from the set. I also used the small star cutter to stamp the skin of half a banana. I also added a cup of bunny crackers with a posse member and a cereal bar.
A few observations:
I expected everyone to cut shapes with the star cutters and we all did. There were sandwich stars, but also cheese, turkey, carrot and radish stars. But the cutters were also used to stamp fruit — an apple and a banana.
I also found it interesting that three of us used that long section at the top of the PlanetBox to put our words. I guess it just calls out for that.
I’m the mean mom because I’m the only one who didn’t put a treat in her kid’s lunch! I honestly just forgot, but still!
And finally I thought the variety of themes was noteworthy. Myra chose a birthday theme and I went with cowboy. And though Glory’s and Jessie’s bentos each featured stars — and even used similar crackers — I thought they looked completely different from each other!
Do you have these tools? How do you like to use them?
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