What am I up to? (The one about kindergarten, creative partnership projects & princesses)

Sometimes I find it challenging to sit down in this new (to me) blog and write. My writing muscle hasn’t been used in a while aside from the various things I write about health care, the health care system (in Canada), post-secondary education, and researchers for my day job. As a result, I find myself struggling for things to write about. I still feel the ‘itch’ to write, and so here are some random thoughts to keep this blog from going stagnant.

My life centers around my daughter, but I don’t want the details of her life on display in such public ways anymore. Of course I will write about her – I always have and I always will, unless she requests otherwise. But the details of her days are not for public consumption anymore. That said, she has officially graduated from preschool and will begin her elementary school career in September. When she walks through school doors in September, she will be a junior kindergarten student. Here in Ontario, the kindergarten curriculum is play-based learning in a culture of inquiry.  It is also a 2-years long, hence the ‘earlier’ start in comparison to schools in the United States. In Evelyn’s case, her junior kindergarten year will be instructed in English, and her senior kindergarten year will be instructed in French. Canada is a bilingual country and children who are bilingual grow up to be adults who get far more job opportunities (and better pay!). As a single parent living in a city with a high cost of living, it isn’t financially feasible to unschool/homeschool/world school Evelyn, though I do carry around dreams of that in my back pocket.

Speaking of dreams (come true), Bri is coming back to visit this Sunday.  We saw each other less than 3 weeks ago but you would not believe how agonizingly long 2.5-3 weeks can feel when you’re missing someone so much. To give you some idea, imagine how Friday afternoon feels at work. It’s painfully slow, right? Like claw your eyes out “every second feels like an hour” slow. Multiple that by 21 days and you have some idea of how slowly the time ticks by.

When we first met, I pulled our astrological synastry (compatibility) chart. One of the things it confirmed for us is that we are meant to create things together. We didn’t need Astrology to tell us that – we’ve been doing it for about a year now, anyway. We have a couple projects well underway, including Sensory Share – a website for all things Sensory Processing Disorder.  Bri writes, I do the editing, we both do the website design “stuff” (official term).

Another exciting project we’re working on is a children’s book. We wrote it together and Bri is working on the illustrations. If I were to do the illustrations it would be a series of stick figures that all look the same(ish) and I’m fairly certain my 4-year-old could do better than I could. We’re excited to share the finished product with everyone when it’s ready. Hint: it’s the story of two girls on a beach adventure. The characters were inspired by two little girls we love very much.

Speaking of creativity – I’m gonna have to dig down deep to find some for the next oh….I don’t know…11-14 years for packing Evelyn’s lunches.

Check out this cool lunch box I bought for Evelyn’s lunches at summer (day) camp and kindergarten. It’s called a Yumbox.

Her preschool has always provided lunch and snacks, so packing is all new to me. This bento-style box made the most sense. I am not excited about packing snacks and lunch, but I am excited about how cool it all looks and how I suspect it’ll last a couple years (if we don’t lose it), so it was well worth the investment. Fortunately for me, my best friend loves cooking/baking/getting creative with feeding the kids, so she has agreed to pack at least for the first week of camp.

Oh, and Evelyn picked out this case to carry it around in. 

I am an intersectional feminist trying to raise an intersectional feminist and so yeah – most princess stories and symbolism make me cringe. But – this is Evelyn’s style, and I am not going to resist it. For now, I encourage her to make up her own stories that don’t involve a prince or a male doing the heroic work. I cringe at the premise of most princess stories, but we also read plenty of female-heroine type stories to (hopefully) counteract the notion that women/girls need to be rescued by males. Besides being very pink, the castle on this case could be home to two independently strong lesbians for all we know. Overthinking about a lunch bag? Yes, yes I am.

So readers – does anyone else pack bento-style lunch boxes for your kids? I’d love some ideas/inspiration!IMG_2170.JPG


21 thoughts on “What am I up to? (The one about kindergarten, creative partnership projects & princesses)

  1. Yay, Lindsay, glad to see you back to writing 🙂 I pack a lot of Bento for G, his favourite is almond butter and mango jam pinwheels sandwich, stir fried broccoli, and of course cheese and cut fruits for a snack.

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    1. I’m happy to be back on to writing (outside of work!) and happy to see you here, too. Mango jam pinwheels sandwich! That sounds fancy and like something Evelyn would love (broccoli too). Thanks for the ideas!

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  2. I do. Packing lunches is my nemesis. I hate it! E is so friggin picky! I have a bunch of bento boxes with 3 or 4 spaces. I swear he could survive on snacks alone! Often the box comes back with the fruit and pretzels (or similar treat) gone. Vegetables are apparently poisonous. I often send a sandwich with either blueberry or strawberry cream cheese, fruit (often strawberries and grapes), veggie straws and olives or a pickle (the only “veggies” that he will eat). And a squeezE apple sauce with sneaky veggies (like carrots). He also likes Greek yogurt with frozen blueberries. Lots of inspiration on Pinterest. Too bad my kid hates most things! Totally opposite from his mama!

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    1. Evelyn is picky too, which makes this have an extra layer of “fun”. Ugh! I seem to recall my mom saying I was a picky eater as a kid (sure am not now!) so maybe this is karma coming back at me. I like your ideas – and the frozen fruit! I never would’ve thought of that myself.

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  3. I am dreading packing lunches one day!! Thankfully my husband enjoys cooking, so hopefully he’ll do lunch preparation too.
    I smiled at your comment about the princes/male heroin stories. I bought little MPB Robert Munschs The Paper Bag Princess because of the last page where the princess call the prince a bum and doesn’t marry him! I figure its a lesson all kids need to learn.

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    1. I was gonna mention your generous package but I wasn’t sure if you wanted a public shout-out like that! But we LOVE all the books you sent her! You did a great job picking them out. We really enjoy The Paper Bag Princess! I change the name “Elizabeth” to “Evelyn” in the story!

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  4. I used to follow the blog of a lesbian mom with a preschooler and she packed a ton of all-out bento style boxes. I forgot about that until just now.

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  5. Your projects together sound so cool! I dreaded packing my son’s lunches when he started daycare full-time, but I kind of love it! I found lots of inspiration in Pinterest, but mainly stick with the same core foods and swap them around to keep it interesting. Some hits are wraps with hummus, cheese, and veggies; sandwich thins served open faced with cream cheese and either blueberries or strawberries on top; and a pizza wrap with cream cheese, shredded mozzarella, pepperoni, and some spinach tucked in. Then I always pack a veggie, a fruit, and a snack like animal crackers or gold fish.

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    1. I’m excited about our projects! It’s hard to have a few things on the fly because it means we don’t focus on one thing (and therefore nothing gets done quickly) but it’s a lot of fun doing it together.

      I like all your lunch ideas! I hope I am like you and end up enjoying it. I’ve always looked forward to writing notes to her when she’s old enough to read…so maybe I can consider a healthy and tasty lunch my “note” to her (okay, that’s cheesy/corny) for now!

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  6. We bought the Yumbox and it was, I am embarrassed to say, so much fun filling each night! We tried to keep it simple by breaking each compartment into food groups and going from there: protein, vegetable, fruit, whole grain, and then a treat. Sunbutter is a really awesome alternative to nut butters if she has to worry about nut-free. It held up really well with wet stuff (we did a hummus dip and it didn’t move) and kept itself surprisingly cold with only a single icepack and insulated bag. 🙂

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    1. Your lunches were truly awe inspiring. I loved the pics you posted on IG and I had the thought, “I wish I could somehow hire her to do Evelyn’s”. Evelyn is a picky eater but she actually loves Sunbutter because they feed that to the kids at preschool, so I’ll have to get some of that for here at home and future lunches. I was wondering about the staying cool/ice pack thing, so thanks for sharing that!

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      1. Oh, thanks! We were just sticking what he usually eats in there but the compartments make it look extra cute. 😉 We also do hummus and cucumber sandwiches, cream cheese and fruit preserves, protein kebabs, etc. and all of them kept really well, nice and cool. Pinterest – which I mostly avoid – does have really, really great ideas, especially for picky eaters. We didn’t get a chance to do it, but I see a lot of people do frozen fruits and vegetables that thaw by lunch (peas, blueberries) so you could even just do that from a frozen bag! 🙂

        As for the cooling – we just bought a regular insulated lunch box and put in a single ice pack and it kept it cool in the Texas heat for four hours when lunch time hit. (Keeping it in the fridge overnight gave it a head start.)

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      2. Also, my best tip, because variety, let’s face it, is sort of expensive to buy frequently: if you can find a grocery with a bulk, do-it-yourself aisle, you can choose really small quantities of a bunch of things. We do that to keep it interesting without having to have whole boxes of things around the house.

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  7. I hear great things about the Yumbox, although we have the one from PlanetBox. Clementine is fairly picky so we have a list of foods posted in the kitchen of acceptable healthy (or healthy enough, I guess) lunch items and a rule that says taking something off the list means something new has to go on. My wife usually ends up packing lunches, but when I do it, I either just end up putting random things in OR I try for a theme–colors or food starting with the same letters or shapes (maybe when she’s older I can turn it into a game).

    Re: princesses, I read a great article about or by (haven’t been able to find it since reading it, so can’t say which) this dad who would incorporate leadership and social awareness skills and problem solving into their princess play by having the princess think about how she would govern the queendom when she became queen. He presented these scenarios with a challenge, like, there’s a dragon in the kingdom next door so what do you do? Or, the queendom needs a new park, how will you design it? It was all about agency, which is the thing that so many traditional princess stories lack. It really resonates with me though, as I mentioned, I haven’t been able to find it since.

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    1. Evelyn’s a picky eater too which adds an extra layer of “fun” to packing for her. I’m hoping she’ll be so hungry from being really active at summer camp that she’ll be willing to try new things. Otherwise I can see her lunches getting really boring, really quickly. I like your idea of doing a colour theme or same letters, etc…

      I’m going to see if I can find that article you’re referring to. I feel like I read that article or read something about this dad’s idea somewhere. Let’s see what creative google searches I can come up with to find it!

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