Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bento & Furoshiki

Our oldest daughter is a vegetarian and her school cafeteria menu is far from vegetarian friendly. To further complicate matters, she dislikes most sandwiches, leftovers, and anything that is too cold, soggy, warm, etc. Carbs are her go to food, and snacking is her preferred way to consume food. After years of uneaten pb&j sandwiches returned home in her lunch, I went searching for an answer. I found it at Lunch In A Box, a blog about the Japanese bento. In a bento, a variety of foods are aesthetically arranged and packaged to be eaten on the go. I realized that lunch doesn't need to contain a sandwich, or even a main dish, but can be made up of many small foods. Better yet, since this is exactly how Faith eats, why not feed her this way. Before school started last fall, I did more reading and research and was happy to find many bento boxes available on Amazon. We found this adorable owl bento there.

All bento boxes, it seems, have multiple compartments and sometimes multiple layers. This box has a bottom compartment, covered by a top compartment that has a sealing lid. The owl cover loosely fits on top. I neglected to take a picture of the open box, so here is the photo from Amazon.
The bottom layer is usually rice, pasta, or couscous; although, I would also like to try quinoa, soba noodles, barley, and rice noodles for variety. The top does not have separate compartments, so I often use muffin papers to separate carrot sticks, nuts, egg slices, dried fruit, cheese cubes, etc. Many bento boxes come with an elastic strap to hold the cover snug on the box (the cover is loose enough that it will easily fall off if not secured), but this box did not. We've used a variety of rubber bands, but none looked very pleasing, so I decided to make a furoshiki. When researching bento, I had stumbled on furoshiki, a Japanese wrapping cloth. The furoshiki serves not only to secure and wrap the box, but creates a handle for carrying as well. I found a scrap of old fabric I'd stashed away, and here is the result.

Off to school with her bento. It usually comes home empty!

I am glad I snapped these photos a couple weeks ago, because sadly the bento with it's furoshiki has gone missing. First it was, "it's in my backpack," then, "I left it in my locker," until she finally admitted, "I don't know where my bento is." If it doesn't turn up soon, she'll be replacing it because we're not going back to pb&j and bento in a Tupperware container just seems wrong!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Boy's Room Reclamation - the unedited before pictures.

My son is hopelessly disorganized very creative. He creates pictures, Lego ships, stories, train layouts, and more. When he's done creating one thing, he moves on to another thinking little of what he's left behind. Project Reclamation has begun and he might not be so happy about it. But I'm unwilling to walk by this disaster area any more.

Notice him sitting here playing his fish game oblivious to the disaster around him.

I'm more tolerant of his sisters' messes - their rooms are in the basement and I don't walk by them as often and nagging my children just sucks. (Yes, I realize it's unfair of me to expect him to keep his room clean and not care as much if the girls do, but tough - he's the baby of the family and probably gets way more than they ever did so he can deal with it!) He did help me clear out the clutter and now we're left with this.

It doesn't help that his clothes bar is so high he can hardly reach it from a step stool (which seems to encourage him to dump all his clothes on the floor).
This afternoon's project: empty out the closet completely, including shelf and bar, and paint inside the closet. Stay tuned for the rest of reclamation.

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