Monday, March 24, 2014

good-bye, and thank you!

Well, the Ladies have come to the end of the road.

It's a funny thing. The very first post on this blog, way back in September 2010 by Sue, was a lament about Bento boxes, cookie-cutter shaped sandwiches, and love notes from mom tucked in among the theme toothpicks.

We didn't know how good we had it. Pinterest's huge popularity was still a year away. Bento boxes weren't the half of it, folks.

However, we all adapted. In January 2013 Sue moved on, and Nicole and Hannah joined the site. We added more recipes. We tried not to notice that people were taking the time to make Chewbacca out of pasta:

As time passed, we all got into the routine. Some kids moved on to bigger schools where they could buy lunch. Other kids started helping to pack their own, or developed preferences that made packing lunches easy (if not mentally stimulating).

We started finding it tough to come up with new topics. There are so many options for finding lunch ideas online now, that this space has become kind of redundant.

After much discussion, we've made the decision to finally bring lunch to an end.

It's been fun, and we've loved putting this together for you. The blog will still be here and we hope that both long-time readers and parents new to the packed lunch game will find laughs, tips, and comfort in our stories.

Here are some of our favourite posts:

Home for a Lunch

High School Confidential

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Slow Like Molasses


Honeydew and Lemons

On behalf of all the Ladies, past and present, thank you. Thank you for reading, for sharing your own suggestions for lunches, and for offering your comments and feedback.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

desperate times, desperate measures

Well, we missed last week. And by "we" I mean "me", and since I'm normally a stickler for meeting deadlines you can tell how bad this Winter That Will Not End is grinding me down.

My kids, after brief forays into interesting lunches, have retreated to "ham & cheese sandwiches every day, except Thursday, when we have pizza at school". I am so booooored with packing lunches. SO BORED IT IS TIME TO BE DONE NOW PLEASE.

On Monday morning I went to make lunches and realized I had completely forgotten to take a loaf of bread out of the freezer. I briefly toyed with the idea of keeping them home (nope) or heating up some canned soup and throwing it in a thermos (oldest would have loved it, middle would have starved, youngest would have needed a bath after lunch).

Obviously, none of these ideas would work. In desperation I boiled half a dozen eggs. Each of the three kids got a boiled egg or two, some cheddar cheese cubes, whole grain crackers, and cherry tomatoes. The usual two pieces of fruit to accompany it and a small yoghurt cup, and we had what I thought was a nice-looking lunch.

All three kids ate every crumb in their lunch. I was feeling pretty smug. I mean, that lunch was practically Bento-box worthy! Perhaps I would be freed from the tyranny of ham & cheese sandwiches.

Alas, it was not to be. Although 8yo and 5yo both said the lunch was "delicious!" and "tasty!" and "fun!", when I asked what they'd like on Tuesday they both said "ham & cheese sandwiches, please".

Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.


I have a trick that I've been playing on my kids for years, and even though two of them are now old enough to know that I'm totally snowing them, they still love it.

I buy plain, live-culture Greek yoghurt. No added sugar, no weird preservatives I can't pronounce. I drizzle it with a little honey and tell them it's just like Winnie-the-Pooh's favourite snack of condensed milk and honey.

Now, I know that condensed milk and plain yoghurt taste absolutely nothing alike, in any universe... but when they were very young, they didn't. All they knew was that if Winnie-the-Pooh would eat white dairy stuff with honey, they would too. The tradition has stuck. They call it "pooh-snacks" and take great delight in freaking out their friends by asking me for some after school.

This is a snap to throw together, cheaper and healthier than 'lunch box ready' yoghurt products, and endlessly customizable. Give it a try!


1/2 cup plain, live-culture Greek yoghurt
1 tsp honey
a handful of your favourite fruit

Mix it up, serve it. Make sure you call it a Pooh-snack or the magic doesn't work.