Monday, September 6, 2010

Snack bags and garden pickings

N-man and B-man start Kindergarten tomorrow. I'm finding it hard to believe, though I suspect that's normal.

Our district only has half day kindergarten, so I don't need to worry about lunches. But they do need to have a snack every day. I asked what they wanted for their snack the first day, and they chose strawberries and blueberries (N-man) and cottage cheese (B-man). Weirdos! Anyway, since both of those need an ice pack to stay cool, I decided to make the kids a reusable snack tote, something I had in mind for a while anyway.

Here it is. A pocket for an ice pack, a place to hold a fork or spoon, and room for a small reusable container. It was pretty easy to make, and if I actually knew how to use my sewing machine, I'm sure it would have been far quicker.

Here they are all folded up. I let the kids choose their fabrics/thread, so while it might not have been exactly the colors I would have put together, they're happy with it. B-man chose the stars, N-man chose the dots. The only other thing I might do is sew a quick napkin from the remaining fabrics. Probably not by tomorrow, though...we have plenty of cloth napkins that I can just stick inside.

I've written about zero-waste lunches before. I'd really like to try to continue to pack snacks that don't have any packaging. I also have a couple reusable sandwich bags that I bought, and I think I'll try to sew a few more in different sizes. Those are good for holding snacks like crackers or goldfish. I just needed something that could also hold an ice pack so I can pack cold snacks, too.

(If anyone is curious to make one, the big square is 14" and the pocket is 8.5" by 5.5", though your sizes would be dependent upon the size of your ice pack.)


At the beginning of the summer, I posted about our raised bed garden. It's done okay...I've been plagued with horn worms (did a number on the tomatoes, though I managed to rescue a few of the plants), deer, I think (bye bye beans, bye bye many ripening tomatoes), and drought (um, that's my own fault for not watering...lost a few bean plants that the deer had missed, and my only squash plant).

But we've still been getting stuff. Earlier in the year, the lettuce and swiss chard did great...I was able to make a couple meals with those before the weather started getting too hot. We've been getting a few tomatoes here, a couple fairy tale eggplant there, a handful of lima beans, an onion or two; nothing overwhelming, and never enough to make a side dish alone but stuff I've thrown in with other veggies from our CSA. Yesterday, though, I picked the rest of the onions and carrots, plus we had a few more cherry tomatoes. Not the biggest haul on earth, but a pretty respectable one day harvest.

Yum! While I didn't get great harvests this year, I learned a lot. Once the tomatoes are done, I think I'm going to clean out the bed, plant a few squares of garlic this fall, and then plant some permanent squares of asparagus and rhubarb in the spring, for future years. And hopefully add another box (or two, or three!) to plant more veggies next year! Maybe I can even add some kind of fencing to keep out the deer. At the very least, I'll try some kind of deer-deterrent (besides our awesome neighbor across the street who yells at the deer every time she sees them munching on our garden :).

How did your gardens grow this year?


Green tip for the day: Of course I'm putting in another plug for zero-waste lunches and snacks.

What are your tips (or favorite products) for zero-waste lunches and snacks? I'm a fan of the little reusable glad or ziploc containers you can get at the grocery store. Perfect size for little guys! And, inexpensive so if they get lost at school, I don't have to worry. I looked at some metal containers, and the small sizes were upwards of $10 a piece! They're nice, but I think I'd worry my 5 year olds might misplace them.


Unknown said...

I am so impressed with your kids and the snacks that they chose ... so healthy! And ... I'm equally impressed that you not only accommodated them but, made them such lovely reusable snack bags! Fabulous!!

Wow ... your onions are beautiful! I think having a veggie garden is a learning process ... each year that I've had one, I learn what does well and what doesn't. All of my vegetables are grown in containers on my apartment patio and they did quite well this year. We've had a bunch of delicious tomatoes, herbs and tons of various peppers. I had some green and wax beans but, for the amount I get, I've decided that it's not worth my effort ... next year those pots are going to grow cucumbers. We also had volunteer squash ... they did beautifully (go figure).

It was wonderful hearing about your garden and your school snack bags ... hope your kids have a wonderful time at kindergarten! :) BTW ... hope to return to Reduce Footprints soon ... maybe around the first day of fall. :)

Take care!

Jeanne Estridge said...

I'd completely forgotten they're twins. The house will seem empty without them. (Yeah, not really, at least not for long.)

Good job on the lunch bags. I carry my lunch (nearly) every day in an insulated bag filled with those ziploc containers and fruit and nuts, hauling the empties home every night to wash and reuse.

maggie said...

I can't believe they only have a half day! E's in preK and has a full day LOL. Of course your kids will learn 10x more I'm sure in the hours they're in school compared to GA :)

Emlyn has a cute lunch box from LL Bean. We use BPA free plastic containers for her sandwich and fruit. We put the fruit into little silicone heart muffin cups to keep it separated...a la a bento box. So cute. No mess! Most of her treats I make myself, but I don't buy anything in individual portion sizes if I buy cookies or crackers. We just put them in a different muffin cup in the plastic container!

Now we have been buying drink boxes, much to our chagrin, because EVERY cup I've sent her to school with has leaked. E.V.E.R.Y. C.U.P. She can only drink out of a straw which limits our possibilities, and let me tell you - I've bought them all. She just has such a hard time, and she's such a bad drinker to begin with I have to compromise there in order to get her to drink at all!

Nancy said...

Nice!! Our onions and carrots are of the "tiny" variety. Not on purpose... And we got a few lima beans, but decided that it's too much effort to shell 'em. (They are yummy raw though!) Our tomato plants are kickin' some butt. We did all cherry and grape tomatoes though.

LOVE the snack packs!! Very creative :) I may have to try that at some point, but I'm not going to promise anything...

Ronnica said...

I use the Glad or Ziploc containers for almost everything in my lunch these days. I probably need to invest in reusable sandwich baggies next...

Amy said...

I love the snack wraps. I am definitely going to have to try them. As for gardening, our first attempt was mixed. We did awesome with tomoates, though we bought a ton of plants. We also did awesome with eggplants, but that is pretty much where it endded. We planted the lettuce and swiss chard too late, but did get some meals out of them. Mainly salads and green raw smoothies. Pretty much every other plant got eaten. We had some good things groing (mostly squashes), but every day something else was eaten. We'll try again next year. Plant less tomatoes (though add grape and more heirloom varieties) and try to figure out a way to stop the animals from eating our crop (we think moles). Do you have any good suggestions for containers that keep things hot? I don't really like eating at 8pm after work, but I really don't want to have to go on the units to heat up my dinner either.