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

Science and A Snack: The Celery Science Experiment With A Preschool and Toddler

Can science make your kids eat more veggies? Yes! Yes it can!

Celery Science and A Snack!

The other day we did the celery and food coloring experiment. Pretty basic stuff, but it was new to my girls (3 and 5 years old) and I called it a “Celery Science Experiment” with my super enthusiastic voice and they were INTO IT.

To start, we talked about how plants “drink” water, but we can’t see the water travel through the roots and up the stems to the petals or leaves because… water has no color. So maybe if we add dye to the water the plant drinks, we might see how it travels. And we were going to try it with the yellow celery mommy had left over after chopping some up for our special CELERY SCIENCE EXPERIMENT!!

The Celery Science Experiment
First the girls chose their dye color. 3 year-old chose blue and 5 year-old chose to color mix to make orange.
Color Mixing With Preschoolers
Science tip: Safety glasses protect eyes and help with laser focus
Color Mixing
Yellow + Red = Beautiful
Kids Science Goggles are great for parties
The girls stirred the dye with their celery stalks and then it was time to wait! And have a snack!

 

Peanut butter and carrots? Okay
3-year-old went for a carrot first!
Healthy Toddler Snacks
And 5 year-old went for the celery first!

Our Celery Science (and a Snack) Experiment was a success! And our healthy snack felt like such a TREAT! By dinner time, the dye had already started to reach the leaves. SCIENCE IS SO COOL!

We think science is way more fun with accessories (and a snack). Our accessories pictured above can be found here:

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!!!

 

Color The Rainbow…Then Eat It!

Is it just me or do fall/winter meals take way longer to prepare? Suddenly I find myself serving dinner at 6:30 when I started chopping at 5:30, because I forgot that roasting all those brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and squash takes way longer than grilling up a protein to serve with a salad.

So instead of relaxing with my feet up sipping wine while the oven does all the work, I’m chopping carrots for snacks to stave off the “gungry” demands of my second girl. I’m answering, “not yet” on repeat to my first’s ever popular question, “Is dinner ready yet?” I’m trying dance-party distractions to keep my youngest away from the oven wondering… IS dinner ready yet?

WHAT IS A MOM TO DO?

Grab a bunch of markers, a NEW pen&thimble coloring placemat (and probably a few carrot sticks to be safe) and boom! Dinner wait magic! Let me explain…

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NEW IN THE SHOP!

This week we are welcoming a NEW and SUPER FUN line of pen&thimble coloring placemats! Oh my goodness! They are cute and functional as always but now entertaining!

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A placemat they can doodle on while they wait for dinner — at home, restaurant, museum!

PLACEMAT DETAILS

Placemats feature a 100% cotton upper with a soft waterproof backing.

I offer the placemats with or without Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable Markers*.

And you can pick your ideal placemat size! Toddlers are happy with our small 14×10″ placemat, but bigger kids may want to color and eat on our large 16×12″ placemat.

*I have tested a variety of “washable” markers, but so far have found that only Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable markers truly wash out all the way for a brand new coloring experience every time!

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I WANT THESE!

Small (14×10″) Placemat Without Markers: $12

Small Placemat With Markers: $17

Large (16×12″) Placemat Without Markers: $15

Large Placemat With Markers: $20

Sounds great, right? Shop quieter dinner prep here or check out our Coloring Placemats section at http://www.penandthimble.etsy.com.

Are You A pen&thimble Email Insider?

Check your inbox because I’m offering one FREE set of 8-count Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable markers when you include at least one of our new coloring placemats in your next order placed now through Thursday (11/9)! Not an insider but wish you got awesome deals like this? Sign up here and you will be able to get in on these deals too! If you sign up by Wednesday (11/8), you’ll get the reminder email with the code for free markers! Another way to sign up? Scroll up until you see the blue signup box under the header here at penandthimble.com!