Thursday, September 26, 2013

My First Post Of The New School Year

My oldest is in high school this year - WHAT! - and for the first time in her life is at a school with a cafeteria. Once or twice a week, she's allowed to buy herself lunch and it's a whole new exciting world of french fries and pop sandwiched between lentil salads and plums packed from home.

AND! My middle kid has been very, very helpful with packing lunches this year, to the point where my primary lunch contribution has been making the occasional aforementioned lentil salad AND baking a lot. Like EVERYTHING ELSE so far in parenting, packing lunches was a seemingly-endless chore that has pretty much ended all at once without a lot of fanfare and so I am, mystifyingly enough, wistful for it. EVERYTHING ENDS, guys. OUR KIDS GET OLDER. And I guess this is parenthood, full of the same damn epiphanies all the time that we never learn from.

Yesterday, we took the youngest kid to get her missing booster shots, missing because she had a terrifying reaction to needles four years ago and she's spent the next four years having heart tests and blood tests and anything else they could think of to figure out why and finally it was decided that it would be safer to have her vaccinated and I spent the past several weeks feeling time rush bleakly up to her appointment. And then she DID start reacting and was promptly packed up in ice and I felt this rocky slide into dark water, felt absolute terror. AND THEN SHE WAS FINE but I was still a bit of a wreck.

So having my kids always getting older is the happy ending here, even if I would rewind time if I could, do it all over again but KNOW this time that it was finite. And my youngest kid is home today - achy and sore-armed but FINE and we are going to make cookies. These cookies, in fact:

Preheat your oven to 375.
In a heatproof bowl, soak one cup of raisins in boiling water. Set them aside for now.

Cream together:
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar.
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

In a different bowl, sift together:
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Blend together the flour mixture and creamed butter/sugar. Stir in the DRAINED raisins and 1 cup of chocolate chips (or butterscotch chips or whatever you like. We've also done craisin/white chocolate variants and that was pretty well-received too.).
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

These are VERY VERY good. They keep well AND are sturdy enough to pack in lunches and are a fine thing to make on a fall afternoon with a still-little kid, home for just this little while. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

How to Make Lunches Without Driving Your Momma Crazy

Sometimes, we parents get so wrapped up in packing lunches that we forget we have an audience we're packing for.

We're like grouchy line cooks working in fifty-year-old diners. Possibly our name is "Sam" or "Joe". We wear baggy pants and stained aprons, and if someone sends back overcooked bacon we just growl in derision and mutter "guess you weren't all that hungry, were you?"

Recently, one of our readers experimented with having her two boys, aged 9 and 7, pack their own lunches. Friends, not only did they do it, they took the task very seriously and with minimal supervision did the job.

The seven year old, "Mr M", agreeably also wrote us a blog post with his thoughts about packing lunches. Thanks to his mom Lyn for acting as a human dictaphone. The following guest post is reproduced as submitted and is Mr M's own words.

Thanks to both Mr M and Lyn!


By Mr. M

You should ask your mom before making the lunches and if you’re on a field trip, you should pack a big lunch like 5 things. And if it is a normal lunch you should do like 4 things.

And if your child doesn’t eat all the food for 5 days you should never give them like a dessert like candy or anything that’s like a treat.

Today I made lunch for my brother and I, it was very nice actually, I did three things for me because I don’t eat as much as my brother and my brother got 4 things because he eats more.

And because I ate all my lunch yesterday I get a wagon wheel which is filled with chocolate on the outside, and they taste so good.

How I made the lunch is first I putted in a sandwich which is peanut butter and jam or you could do jelly and then I put in carrots sticks you can get them from Sobey’s, and then for my brother I put in yogurt. And apple slices from Sobey’s that my mom got on sale.

How I put in the yogurt is I got a grown up spoon I holded the bottle sideways and I pulled out the yogurt into a ziplock plastic container.

And what I give for drinks is water in water bottles.

I also have some lunch ideas.

and then a peanut butter sandwich
a cookie
a bearpaw

These are not all for one meal.


Brilliant, right? Simple. To the point. Also, inspiring. My kids don't know it yet, but next week they are getting enlisted.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Best Intentions

Well, hello there! Isn't it strange to be making lunches again? How are you coping? I have three kids in three different schools this year, so our routine has changed quite a bit, with more kids up earlier, buses to catch and the like. All of this means that I need to be more organized. For really reals. 

I started the school year with the best intentions. I made a meal plan for the week that included dinners AND lunches. Then I shopped to the list, which you know always saves money. It just does. Then it got freakishly hot where I live and that's when everything fell apart. 

I had turkey tacos on the dinner list. But 40 degrees with the humidex is too hot for tacos. (According to my husband.) So we had turkey burgers instead and no leftovers for lunch. 

I had crock pot pulled pork on the list for tonight and, okay, I will admit that 40 degrees with the humidex is too hot for pulled pork. So we had salmon instead, with enough leftovers to make salmon sandwiches for tomorrow's lunch. So, yay!

The lesson here, I think, is that even the best laid plans can go awry. If you're going to stay sane, you have to roll with it. But on the days when lunch does go according to plan, you might end up making new something that everybody loves. Like these Chef's Salad Wraps I saw in Canadian Living magazine. My husband declared them "The Best Wraps Ever" and my kids ate them up. Except for the teenager: he forgot his lunch on the floor by the back door that day and bought himself pizza instead. 

I just rolled with it. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

new year, new look, new resolutions

Welcome back!

The Ladies hope you all had good summers and a nice break from packing lunches, if you got one. I don't - it's just easier with my heavy summer dayhome schedule to pack lunches for my own kids too - but I certainly did enjoy the freedom to pack peanut butter & jam multiple times a week.

(Not slagging school no-peanuts programs, by the way. My convenience does not take precedence over the health of the other kids, and my 8 year old has a classmate with a lethal peanut allergy. That said, my kids love PB&J and man, are they easy to slap together at the last minute.)

Anyway! I've packed lunches for all of two school days now, and I've already had some thoughts.

1. Is this the most constantly-hydrated generation ever, or what? There are drinking fountains that the kids have free access to during breaks. And yet on day one I forgot to send filled water bottles, and thus both of my children came home, faces shriveled raisins, gasping for air like Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia, proclaiming that they had never been so thirsty in their entire lives because they didn't have water on demand at their desks like ALL THE OTHER KIDS, GOD, MOM.

2. If you're the kind of parent who puts sweet little notes in your kids' lunches every day, I applaud you. I put one in each of the boys' lunchboxes on the first day. My creative juices deserted me utterly and I resorted to "I love you! Have a good day!" And neither one of them mentioned them, anyway.

3. I may have laughed at these Tupperware Banana Keepers when I first saw them, but now that I'm packing two lunches and it's fruit fly season, I'm thinking we should have custom-shaped Tupperware for all soft fruit. Bananas! Pears! Plums!

4. And for some reason my 5 year old brought home a banana peel and a plum pit to throw away. He didn't put them in an empty sandwich container, either. He just threw them loose into his lunchbag. That, my friends, was disgusting.


Last year, we Ladies started finding posting every day was getting to be a bit of a chore. We want this blog to be a place for some laughs, maybe some deeper thoughts from time to time, but mostly where parents packing the dreaded lunches can come for practical tips and help.

With that in mind, we're making some changes.

The blog will update once a week, generally on Thursdays. Each post will contain a recipe, and all recipes will also be posted under the 'recipes' link at the top.

If anyone has topic suggestions, or would like to submit a guest post, please contact me at hrweagle AT yahoo DOT com.

Here's to a year with no food returned uneaten!