Archive for the 'parenthacks' Category
The weekend before Christmas we had one of Bug’s little friends over to the house for a holiday cookie party. No, not the kind of cookie party where each guest brings several dozen homemade cookies and you swap. The kind where the kids get messy baking and decorating their own cookies — aesthetics be damned.
Bug’s friend brought him a present of a kid’s robot apron from Old Navy that matched her own. I haven’t been into Old Navy recently, but these aren’t on their website now. I have seen a few of these robot aprons on Ebay, and a number of other fun kids’ aprons on Amazon.
The first year I made holiday cookies with Bug, I wore myself out. I made too many different kinds of cookies and tried to decorate every cookie just so. That level of baking frenzy was fine when it was just me in the kitchen, but now it’s just a recipe for frustration with a four-year-old who wants in on the action. Learn from my mistakes and don’t bite off more than you can chew when you have little helpers! (Read on for my tips on how to host a manageable Kids’ Holiday Cookie Party.) Read the rest of this entry »
Published by Biggie on December 30th, 2008 tagged decorative, for kids, parenthacks, tips | 483 Comments »
Teaching kids how to use chopsticks can be tricky. Bug has used a variety of different learning chopsticks that I picked up in local Asian markets, but this weekend I came across a cheap and ingenious workaround that uses regular disposable chopsticks, the paper chopstick wrapper, and a rubber band. A tip of the hat goes to Sushi to Dai For restaurant in San Rafael, CA, where I saw this trick (their omakase sushi special is, indeed, to die for).
To make these, pull apart disposable chopsticks or use regular reusable ones with rectangular ends that will stay securely together. Use a rubber band to tightly bind together the non-eating ends. Take a small strip of paper or half of the wrapper from the disposable chopsticks, and fold it up small. Wedge it in between the chopsticks up near the rubber band, and hand them to your child! Kids can just squeeze the chopsticks together to grab things, and the tips are aligned properly. (Read on for additional tricks for making these, reviews of Edison learning chopsticks and the Fun Chop chopstick learning gadget, and where to see me on TV this morning.)
Published by Biggie on November 24th, 2008 tagged equipment, for kids, glutenfree, parenthacks, review, rice, tips, tutorial or how to | 809 Comments »
With food prices going up and the economy looking bleak, a lot of us are looking for ways to tighten our belts and save money. Food budgets add up, and there are more creative ways of cutting costs than eating macaroni and cheese all the time.
Packing your own lunch instead of buying lunch in a restaurant or cafeteria is an obvious money-saver, but there’s more that you can do to shop smart, reduce food waste, and conserve resources in the kitchen. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t follow *all* of the tips below, so just pick and choose the ones that work for your lifestyle. Read on to save money: 1) at the store, 2) at home, and 3) when traveling or dining out.
How do you cut food costs at home? Share your own tips in comments! Read the rest of this entry »
Published by Biggie on October 21st, 2008 tagged bento, freezing, organize, parenthacks, tips | 534 Comments »
A common concern I hear from parents is, “How do you make sure your kid brings back all of those cute bento containers? I’m afraid to send anything expensive to school as my child would lose his own head if it weren’t attached to his body. I’ve lost so much stuff!”
I hear you! Even my husband sometimes forgot to bring lunch containers back home when I was sending lunch to work with him during his celiac disease misdiagnosis. Unwashed containers would age in his desk, until I asked him to start washing (or at least rinsing) them out after he ate. Even then, if he brought a large lunch container such as a Mr. Bento-style thermal lunch jar with him, he’d put it under his desk or in a drawer and forget about it when he came home. Out of sight, out of mind.
I think there are both hardware and behavior approaches to the problem, and came up with the following six ways to ensure that your lunch gear comes back home. Have you come up with any creative ideas? Let us know in comments! (Read on for the full list and an expanded section on labels.)
Published by Biggie on September 15th, 2008 tagged equipment, for kids, organize, parenthacks, tips | 589 Comments »
Somehow I’ve managed to slide by this long without writing a FAQ (frequently asked questions document), but as bento-style lunches become more popular I see a lot of new folks with questions like the ones below. So I finally wrote a full bento FAQ page here to answer them; please have a look to let me know if I’ve missed anything major and I’ll add it!
- What is “bento”? Is it the style of packing? Is it the box? Is it the food?
- What’s the benefit of packing a bento-style lunch? Is it healthier?
- What should I put in it? Aren’t bento lunches filled with Japanese food?
- Are there packing rules? How do I pack a bento lunch?
- Doesn’t it take a long time to make a bento lunch? How can I speed things up?
- Wait, I thought bento lunches looked like paintings made out of food. Where’s the food art?
- When do you make a bento lunch? Can I make it the night before?
- Do you eat them hot, cold, or at room temperature?
- Isn’t room temperature food dangerous?
- I don’t want to microwave or pack food in plastic containers. What are my options?
- Do you have suggestions for kids’ lunches? What about picky eaters?
- What do I need to buy to start?
- What size bento box should I get?
- Where can I buy bento boxes and accessories?
- Help! I can’t read the care instructions on this Japanese bento box!
- Can you recommend some good cookbooks or websites for lunch ideas?
- What do you think of this particular [bento box, packaged food, or kitchen gadget]?
- Who are you, anyway?
- Nice photos! What kind of camera do you use?
- My question isn’t answered here!