I Packed The Same Lunch For My Kindergartener For A Week: I Double Dog Dare You To Do It Too!

I challenge you, no I DARE you, to pack the same lunch for your child every day for a week.

I did it last week. It made packing lunch a breeze! No wondering if it all would fit into the bento box. No wondering which item would go in which slot. No wondering if my daughter was going to eat the food or like the food. It was simple. And better yet, my kid came home and told me I had made the best lunch ever nearly every day. And she even thanked me some days too!

I didn’t start packing lunches this way. I had this idea in my head that I was showing my daughter I loved her by offering variety. Each lunch was a surprise that said, “Look at this creation! I love you and miss you terribly!” Yes, this is my first child and our first long school day apart. Haha!

I packed the same lunch for my kindergartener for a week. And I dare you to do the same!

The first week of school lunches looked like this:

Chicken Pinwheels on Monday: She ate some of the chicken, a bit of the lettuce and none of the tortilla it was wrapped in.

DIY Ham and Crackers on Tuesday: Her whole lunch came back except apples and carrots. She said lunch was cut short. And then later said she wasn’t “into” the ham or crackers.

Kids Charcuterie on Wednesday: Lunch was cut short again? Evidence of child-size nibbles on a piece of chicken and her apples were gone. I suggested she concentrate on eating her lunch the next day.

Blackberry Jam Sandwich on Thursday: Everything was gone. The sandwich, apples, carrots, plantain chips, and freeze-dried blueberries. She told me she loved her lunch and I was the best mommy ever.

Blackberry Jam Sandwich on Friday: Her bento box was empty again. And the guilt I felt about packing a duplicate lunch because I was so tired vanished. And that guilt was replaced with the notion that I may be a genius!

I packed the same lunch for my kindergartener for a week. And I dare you to do the same!

The next week I got more jam and…

I made the blackberry jam sandwich lunch every day the following week with the same results — an empty bento box returning to me all week long. My daughter still came off the bus ravenous, but raved the entire week about how good lunch was!

No, it’s not Instagram Story worthy to show the same lunch each morning. So I stopped sharing those – haha! I don’t get points for creative lunch-making or food-art technique. But I feel certain that my kiddo will have a full belly in school each day. And isn’t that the point of a lunch?

I still love to see what others are packing and creating for their children’s lunches, kind of obsessed, actually! Especially all of you lunch-packers I follow on Instagram (shoutout to @sarahmakeslunch!). And I’ve been pinning kid lunches ideas like a madwoman recently on Pinterest — I have three boards dedicated to kid lunches – Kids Bento Box Lunch, Bento Box Inspiration, and Kids Lunch Ideas Not Just Bento Box! I’m not completely naive, I’m looking out for ideas for when the jam sandwich shine wears off. Haha! But I’m determined to wait to make a change until the shine wears off.

But I challenge you to repack your first entirely-eaten up packed lunch and see what happens for you! Side effects of packing the same lunch may include: less mom stress, full bellies, and being called the best mom ever a few times. Oh my goodness is my daughter just shaping my behavior through positive reinforcement? Well, it’s working!

I packed the same lunch for my kindergartener for a week. And I dare you to do the same!

Tell me where you get your lunch inspiration? Who should I be following? What bloggers should I be reading? Whose pins should I be pinning? Tell me below or find me over on Instagram and send me a DM or comment in a post you like.

I packed the same lunch for my kindergartener for a week. And I dare you to do the same! Read more at the blog: https://penandthimble.com/2018/09/23/samelunch

This is For The Board Kids (It’s A Pun)

Sooo… We’re here in that not-so-fun part of winter. December is all about twinkle lights and hoping for snow and crackling fires and magic!! Come mid-January, however, we’re cooped up, rolling in muddy snow piles, we’re itching for spring and prolonged outdoor time that is still so far away and kids are getting “bored.”

But I have some game suggestions for those cooped up yucky days with bored preschoolers and toddlers. These are my favorite because they promote cooperation, creativity, and cognitive skills!

Most of all, these games are seriously so fun! And this not an ad, these are just games we all love playing together! Happy kids, happy parents, happy family time! I’ve shared Amazon links to my suggestions below, but look for these at your local toy store first!

Obstacles by Eeboo – Ages 5+ 

We’re all pretty much obsessed with this game. The premise is that you are trying to get home and there are path cards with obstacles on them. And you have “tool” cards that you use in creative ways to overcome an obstacle. We have so much fun being creative and very silly. My 5-year-old even made her own obstacle cards — a snow storm, leaf tower, and meteor shower.

Obstacles by EeBoo
“Oh no!! There is a lion in the path! I’ll use this giant fan to blow him out of the way!”

Stone Soup by Peaceable Kingdom – Ages 5+

It’s basically a memory game but cuter! You match soup ingredients and then put the matches in the soup pot to cook them up! The trick is to find all the matches before you overturn ten “fire out” cards. Once the fire is out, you can’t cook the soup anymore! The game also includes the story of stone soup. We like to  play the game and then read the story after.

Stone Soup
This game is on fire!

Melissa and Doug Wooden Board Puzzles – Ages 18mo+ 

Fun for my 2-year-old especially, but my 5-year-old joins in the fun too! And the puzzles are sturdy and made of wood, so they are easy for kids to manipulate. Puzzle play without the frustration of bent pieces. We’re game!

Melissa and Doug wood puzzles
Spending winter under the sea!

What games do you guys like to play? How else do you play/connect on these cooped up winter days? Tell me in the comments below or pop on over to @penandthimble on Instagram to tell me how you play indoors on these winter days.

Amazon Links: Obstacles,Stone Soup, Melissa And Doug Wood Puzzle

Kind of Like A Norman Rockwell

There was a moment last weekend, when things were nearly picture perfect. Like a Norman Rockwell illustration — real, a bit silly, a hint of chaos emerging or recently visited.

And having it come on the heels of a bit of a stressful week — starring visits from a few plumbers, sick kids, and a few additions to our house “need-to-get-done-ASAP” list — it was impossible not to feel so much joy and thanks for a nearly idyllic scene.

I had built a roaring fire, with the help of a YouTube tutorial. And at some point, before dinner but after the 50th plea for the 30th snack of the afternoon, I found myself sitting on the couch facing the fire reading (A Dragonfly in Amber), with my husband sitting beside me relaxing with his iPad, and our two girls playing independently on the floor in front of us. Our oldest was playing a very exciting game with seven DC Superhero figurines and a Fisher Price castle, and our youngest was putting George Pig to sleep inside of a bed she had built from Duplos.

I nudged my husband and we shared a smile at this rare and exciting scene — four humans happily pursuing their interests, independently but together near the active fireplace. It was excitingly peaceful. It was nice.

And, in all honesty, our full immersion in our individual pursuits didn’t last long. Maybe I read one more page after that shared smile and silent giggle of excitement.

And that was fine because I love the way my oldest squeezes between me and my husband for maximum snuggles. And I adore the way my youngest narrates her play to us to keep us in the loop!

And this is what I’m thankful for this week as Thanksgiving approaches. I’m so thankful, with an enormous heart, for my little immediate family. They are good and kind and silly and brighten my day.

And you shouldn’t listen to what I say when I’m tired and drained, I wouldn’t want to spend a single day or night without them right next to me!

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What are you thankful for? I know that blog comments are clumsy with having to prove you aren’t a robot and all that. So let me know on Instagram or my pen&thimble Facebook Page. I want to know! 

Also, in lieu of the typical holiday sales that roll around after Thanksgiving, I’ll be offering FREE SHIPPING IN THE US when you spend $40 or more November 20 – December 1 at pen&thimble on Etsy. No gimmicks, no coupon needed. My way of saying “thank you so much,” for being a customer and thank you for your support! I’ll be around –making and posting and chatting on social media — but I wanted to wish you very Happy Holidays now, before the overwhelm and hype starts.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!!!

 

Snug As A Bug Making Snow Angels

Um… Did you see all the new kids infinity scarves in the shop? This seems totally biased to say, but… these are the best kids scarves! And I only say that because they totally are. But let me tell you why…

Whether you call it a tube scarf, cowl, infinity scarf, double loop scarf, I’m here to tell you that this scarf lasts for years; stays on while kids play; is bright and fun; and with that fleece lining–oh so warm and cozy! Real mom talk: It’s just nice to be able to shovel snow without having to stop every 2 minutes to re-wrap my kid in her scarf. And less scarf fussing means more play (for the kids) and quicker shoveling (hopefully) for me!

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Snug As A 4 Year-Old Bug Making Snow Angels!

There are seven fun prints of these cotton and warm fleece scarf blends: super heroes, black bears, foxes, mermaids, pandas, space, and sharks! Just $24! Shop cozy warmth today!

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Offish!
My Creative Director wearing the same scarf 3 years prior. Also, I’m not kidding that these last!)