My twins, like their older brother before them, attend a little elementary school in a very small school district.
“How small is it?”
It’s so small that, up until a year ago, there was no hot lunch served in the “cafeteria” (i.e., the gym with pull-out tables).
Even though our elementary school now has a hot lunch program, we still choose to pack our own every day. Since the school had to retrofit the tiny kitchen to serve food, the lunch menu is limited, with mostly reheated pre-packaged food that I’m not wild about them eating on a regular basis. The students wait in a long queue to purchase their meals, so the last kid in line needs to eat quickly before the 25-minute lunchtime is over. Sure, it’s convenient, but I figure if my oldest son ate homemade lunches day after day throughout elementary school, the twins can too. All’s fair in lunch and war.
I estimate that over the course of my three children’s school tenure, they’ve eaten (and I’ve packed) approximately 2,000 lunches. And that’s not including the ones that my husband takes to work. I finally got smart within the last school year and taught the kids to pack their own meals the night before.
I bought these cubes a couple years back as a way to cut down on all those ziploc baggies we were using and tossing. The kids like them because they prevented the sandwiches from getting smashed at the bottom of the lunch boxes.
Each night after dinner when the table is cleared, everyone makes his or her own lunch for the next day. The different compartments help the kids remember what they need to pack — a sandwich or wrap, some cut-up veggies or sliced apples, and a small dessert. And yes, we watch what they put in their lunches so they aren’t eating a “sandwich” made of Peeps between graham crackers, caramel-covered apple slices and then a stack of Girl Scout cookies. Because you know that would be their first choice if they could get away with it.
I feel like we’re in a pretty good place with this — there’s little complaining, the kids like to have control over what they pack, and I hope it’s teaching them responsibility and maybe some healthy eating habits. It’s all working except one thing: the state of the lunch boxes.
I’m not going to lie. They aren’t pretty.
These poor bags get tossed, thrown into backpacks, and on at least one occasion, kicked accidentally. They are looking tired and worn out. Worse yet is the condition of the cold packs that we put in the kids’ lunch boxes. We’ve had them forever, but I’m worried that they aren’t keeping the food cold enough throughout the day.
The solution came out of the blue the other day. Look what arrived in the mail:
I was lucky enough to win a PackIt cooler giveaway that Kelly over at Cobwebs, Cupcakes and Crayons hosted. I even got to pick the color/pattern. I’ll be honest: I have wanted one of these for a long time, back when I read this review of them.
They fold up to fit into your freezer and yet are roomy enough to hold the lunch cube and even a drink on the side. And man, do they ever keep the food cold! Even after a day sitting out at school, the inside of the bag is still chilly. I love it.
I still can’t believe I won one. Thanks, Kelly, for making it possible!
FYI, a disclaimer — I wasn’t asked or required to write a review of their product as part of the terms to win this lunchbox; I just wanted to. It’s solved some of issues for us — and with thousands more packed lunches in my family’s future, I need all the help I can get.
And I was grateful to be nominated recently for a Reader Appreciation award by Millie over at Millie’s World. You should go see her crochet creations — they are so adorable! I’ll try to get my act together and pass it along, but I didn’t want to wait any longer to say thank you. Thanks again, Millie!