You know you are a strange Mom when the reason you are excited for your child to start kindergarten is because then you get to start packing him a lunch.
Yum-Yum Bento Box. I've had tons of fun looking through it. Although a lot of the food is traditional Japanese I still got lots of great ideas from the book. It promotes the idea that lunches from home can be fun and appetizing, asside from what the term "brown bagging it" would suggest. Also, that packing your children's lunches can be a creative outlet for parents instead of a drudgery. It definitely fits our household food philosophy.
Jeremy tried the recipe in the book for basic rice balls and they were surprisingly tasty. So maybe we'll make Owen rice balls once in a while. But mostly I liked looking at the different presentations of fresh fruit and vegetables, and scoping out supplies I might want for doing Owen's lunch. Here are my most bento-ie supplies:
Cupcake liners--used for segmenting a smaller area off inside a larger container, and holding small pieces of food-- or I was even thinking of making pudding or jello to set up right in the cups and then put them in a box.
Sandwich cutter--Owen has had this dino sandwich cutter for a while and he loves it. They sell other shapes at the grocery store. You can use regular cookie cutters as well. They also can be used for cutting cheese and lunch meats.
Egg Molds--These are so cool. Santa got these from e-bay for the boys' stockings last year. You hard boil an egg then peel it while it is still hot and press it into these molds. Here's a really bad picture of what they come out looking like:
I didn't get Owen an actual bento box. Though I really like the Americanized "Laptop Lunchbox," and I only yesterday saw an add for these cool segmented containers. But I think I prefer the versatility of a bunch of different containers that can fit into the lunch bag.
Schultute this year. An insulated lunch bag. My reusable zip-top bags. A stainless steel Thermos Funtainer (also from Owen's Schultute) for soups in the fall and winter. And two sandwich boxes. One was from the Target dollar spot last year--though I think they have them again--and the black one was a prize from a Tupperware party--Sweet!