Teach Eat Love

Pizza Lunchables-style Bento Box

What is it with kids and lunchables? I was in elementary school when the original cheese-lunchmeat-crackers and Andes mint combo came out, and it was a guarantee of a good day in store when I saw my mom occasionally toss a Lunchables in my lunch bag. I think kids love building their own meal because it gives them a bit of control over what they eat. It’s the same reason why the dinner table can become a minefield – they want a little power over what they eat, or at least how they eat it.

pizza bento

We make pizzas about once a week as a way to use up leftover vegetables and cheeses. It’s a fantastic way to get your kids to try something new – I asked my daughter what she wanted on her pizza one day a few months ago, and she asked for beets and carrots. I was a little repulsed but thought I was up to the challenge of making that taste good. Now it has evolved into one of our favorite pizzas – grated beet and carrot, mozzarella and goat cheese, fresh rosemary and olive oil “sauce”, with a drizzle of jalapeno honey on top. It’s awesome.

Breakfast Bento Box

school lunch ideas

When my husband works late, we go crazy at home. Out of control dance parties with the Pandora Disney station? Check. Staying up late? Check. Waffles for dinner? Check. A nice glass of wine for mommy? Double check.

Cat Bento Box

This little girl would turn herself into a cat if she could.

bento box ideas

For about a year, she wore cat ears every. single. day. School, church, the beach – cat ears came along with us.

Now she’s content just to wear cat shirts and shoes occasionally, which is good because I had visions of her going away to college with cat ears.

cat bento ideas

This bento box was her all-time favorite. She gleefully asked me to look inside and see how much was left when I picked her up from school – she ate everything but the fruit picks and the muffin liners. This bento just proves to me yet again that kids will eat just about anything if you make it fun.

Why is Pinterest telling us what to do?

As I scrolled through Instagram today, I saw a tutorial that promised me perfect, homemade bread. Later I saw similar claims to perfection on Pinterest: amazing DIY window cleaner and the best way to remove stains from laundry.

I have started to wonder why.

Why are we so inundated with opinions about how we run our homes?

The obvious answer is that we live in an age when it is possible to do so.

Women who might have previously been content to take home a blue ribbon from a county fair or a school bake sale now post their recipes online. Creative mothers who delight in coming up with rainy day activities share their ideas on Pinterest (and unintentionally spread mommy guilt to those of us who aren’t similarly gifted). Women who might’ve offered child-rearing advice to friends and family now share it with the world as Gospel truth, thanks to mommy blogs.

But I think the answer is more complicated than “it’s simply possible.”

how to knead bread

So many of the tutorials I see are for tasks that our grandmothers and great grandmothers wouldn’t have thought twice about. How to make chicken stock? Or clean with baking soda and vinegar? How to bake a flaky pie crust or knead bread? These women knew how to do that with their eyes closed.

My dad, who grew up in Canada’s equivalent of Little House on the Prairie in the tiniest of Qu├ębecois villages, said he remembers the loaves of homemade bread that his mother left to rise on the window sills. And every one of his nine brothers and sisters knew how to make the family’s favorite chocolate cake recipe.

Why are we so different? Why do we look have to look to Pinterest for help?

Dinosaur Bento Box

healthy bento ideas

The boys in my little girl’s pre-K class evidently have some strong opinions. She is forever lamenting that they think she wears too much pink, she likes cats too much, and her lunches are too weird.

It was seriously bumming her out.

Most of her lunches are super girly, but this one is great for boys, too. And apparently, it made the cut with the boys in her class because she happily told me that they wanted one, too.

healthy school lunch

It seems fussy, but if you omit spelling out “dinosaur” with mini-cookie cutters and cheese, then this comes together in just a few minutes. It’s really simple.