Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bento Box Blog Inspires Back to School Lunches

Tomorrow (by the time most people read this; Thursday, August 25th, which is technically two days from when I wrote it) is the first day of school for traditional calendar schools in Wake County, NC, where I live.  Since we homeschool, it doesn't effect us directly.  But I'm thinking good thoughts for all of my friends who will be sending their children off for a new school year tomorrow.

While this wasn't a deciding factor, I'm so happy I don't have to get my son dressed, with his books and other stuff together, and out the door for the school bus at the early hours required for schools around here. And I glad I don't have to face the chore of making portable lunches every morning.

BUT...if I did...I found some inspiration for new levels of boxed lunch-making at the blog, BentoLunch.  In it, a Texas mother displays photos of the lunches she makes for her two sons based on the Japanese Bento philosophy of small containers of different-colored food.  The Japanese have a whole theory about it that I don't know and so won't try to contain, but their "lunch boxes" contain containers to hold a variety of different food, displayed in a beautiful way.

I don't think Shannon, the author of the blog, particularly follows the Japanese theory either.  But she sure creates some adorable and healthy-looking lunches!  Her boys are younger, but I think that many a middle schooler would love to open up a lunch like the ones on her blog (albeit with much larger portion sizes, at least among the boys I know).  And while some might find them intimidating at first, lots of the special treats are created using cookie cutters, and/or are simply enhanced by having some cute doo-dads to stick in to make some ordinary foods look special.

So for any parents (or students, for that matter) who are looking for some new ideas to make their boxed lunches more creative--check out BentoLunch.

My other special treat for my school-going friends is to repeat my favorite quote from what is probably my leading Newbury award contender for this year (so far), Gary Schmidt's Okay For Now.  This is a speech that is given to incoming students in the book, which is set in 1968:
"Within a year, possibly by next fall," he was saying, "something that has never before been done, will be done. NASA will be sending men to the moon. Think of that. Men who were once in classrooms like this one will leave their footprints on the lunar surface." He paused. I leaned in close against the wall so I could hear him. "That is why you are sitting here tonight, and why you will be coming here in the months ahead. You come to dream dream. You come to build fantastic castles into the air. And you come to learn how to build the foundations that make those castles real. When the men who will command that mission were boys your age, no one knew that they would walk on another world someday. No one knew. But in a few months, that's what will happen. So, twenty years from now, what will people say of you? 'No one knew then that this kid from Washington Irving Junior High School would grow up to do".....what? What castle will you build?"

That's the kind of education that every one of our children deserves, whether they are going to public, private, or home school.  Here's hoping this is the kind of teacher your child will get--and/or this is the kind of teacher you will be--this year!

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