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My First Try With Kids' Bentos

Since Clarise started school 5 years ago, she has always been bringing homemade snacks and lunch to school. This is because she hates cafeteria food and the the long lines she has to go through before she could eat lunch. Since her kindergarten year, I've always tried my best to wake up early so I could prepare breakfast as well as packed snack and lunch for her & Ryan, that we Filipinos call "baon". Baon is basically the same as bento which is Japanese home-packed meal in box-shaped container, the only difference is that baon is usually not elaborately arranged and may come in whatever container (baunan) available, which in Clarise's case is Ziploc® sandwich or snack bags and sometimes, Ziploc® containers. Clarise hates having lunch boxes to take care of after eating. She's the type who prefers disposable containers so she can just throw everything into the garbage after eating. When my friend, Anna started posting pictures of the bentos she prepares for her kids on Facebook last year, I thought it would be nice if I could try making some for Clarise too. I showed her the pictures. She said "'they're cute but I don't like it. Besides, it would be added work for you, Mom". I wasn't sure if she really didn't like it or she was just being considerate to me. But after giving it a serious thought, I realized that she's right...I might not have enough time to prepare pleasingly arranged bentos, so I better stick to the usual simple baon I'm comfortable doing.

But since I started blogging in January, I've come across a lot of bento sites including My Lil Messy & Cheeky and Cooking Gallery which features very cute bentos. All these really boost my interest to try bento-ing myself. Whenever I find a cute bento, I would show it to Cherlin. I'm really glad that she finds bentos cute! One time, she said that's how she wants her baon when she starts school this fall. Great reason for me to buy bento accessories, right? And so I did!!! Last July 9, I got my first set of bento accessories that I ordered from allthingsforsale.com. Cherlin and I were so excited to open the package! And guess what...I saw the glow in Clarise's eyes when she saw what's in it! Good that I ordered lunch boxes and bags for her too! All I heard from both of them when we were looking at the accessories was "ohhhh...that's so cute! I can't wait to see what you gonna make for us, Mom!"...


...And so, my bento-ing begins!!! I know that the bentos I'm sharing with you today aren't as good as that of the pro's, but I want to share with you my very first bentos so you'll see how I will evolve from a newbie bento-er to (hopefully) a pro! (^.^)

This is my first experiment with cutters and egg molds. Prepared on July 12, 2011 for the girls' take out snack on our way to the library.

Bento #1: Stars and Bear Bento (for Cherlin)
What's in it: cheese sandwich, star & bear-shaped American cheese slices, bear-shaped hard boiled egg & cherries
Bento #2: Hearts and Bunny Bento (for Clarise)
What's in it: ham sandwich, heart-shaped American cheese slices, bunny-shaped hard boiled egg & grapes 

These are the bentos that I prepared on July 14, 2011 for the girls' breakfast, lunch and snack for our Kansas road trip. I tried using rice molds for the first time, and as you can see, the rice didn't come out perfect. I've researched on this and found out that I should have applied a small amount of water or oil on the inside surface of the molds before filling the mold with rice so it will come out easily and my friend Lyn of My Lil Messy & Cheeky suggested that I put a cling wrap in the mold. I'll be sure to remember doing this next time. :)
Bento #3: Breakfast Bento 
     (for Cherlin)
      What's in it: star-shaped steamed rice, bunny-shaped hard boiled egg, chinese chorizo  & bacon 
          (for Clarise)
           What's in it: heart-shaped steamed rice, bear-shaped hard boiled egg, chinese chorizo  & bacon

          Bento #4: Spaghetti and Chicken Nuggets Bento
            (for Cherlin) 
             What's in it: filipino-style spaghetti, beef franks & chicken nuggets
            *I wasn't able to take a good picture of Clarise's, but it was the same except that she had more chicken nuggets.


            Bento #5: Cheese Sandwich and Mini Kabobs Bento 
              (for Clarise)
               What's in it: cheese sandwich, heart-shaped American cheese slices, carrots, turkey ham & mozzarella cheese with grapes & cantaloupe
              *I wasn't able to take a good picture of Cherlin's, but it was the same except that she had star-shaped American cheese slices

                I've seen how much Cherlin enjoyed eating her bentos. And to my surprise, I saw the same thing with Clarise. The big grin on her face seemed to be telling me that she's sorry for saying that she didn't like cute bentos.

                I just ordered some more cutters, picks and egg molds. Can't wait to get them! I don't know how creative I could get with those additional accessories...but I know that the girls would be more thrilled to see added cuteness to their bentos. School will start in three weeks. I'm sure every morning will be busy for me with all the bento preparations...so wish me luck! I promise I'll share them all with you!!! (^.^)

                30 comments :

                1. i think they all look fabulous!If only I had bento box to take to school when I was a child. Well done :)

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                2. You did it so very well Tina! I'm happy for you too knowing that both your girls love all the bentos that you made for them! ;D
                  Practice makes perfect and I'm sure very soon you make very nice & cute bentos!
                  Can't wait to see your weekly postings of bento! Cheers! ^.^

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                3. I miss those days when I prep up lunch boxes for my kiddies too.
                  If I were a kid, I'd look forward to going to school if these were my bento boxes. It looks yummy first off, then second delightful and cheery and I'm sure the other classmates will get jealous! LOL!
                  Great to meet you Tina! Thanks for dropping by. I hope to see you around the blogosphere Kabayan!
                  Ingat,
                  malou

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                4. These are too cute. My friend in Ohio also does this for her two boys and her husband! for when she packs their lunch for school and work. It makes eating so much more fun...I wonder if they sell bento kits here in the Philippines...

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                5. @Nish: Thanks girl! :)
                  @Lyn: Thanks for the inspiration, my dear! :-*
                  @Malou: Thanks for dropping by! I'm truly glad to meet another Pinay in the blogosphere! More power to you and your blog!

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                6. It's my pleasure! :D
                  I'm really really very happy that you decided to start bento-ing even though you don't have the time to make them but at least you did try and both your girls like it so much! And when you know that your girls love them, you'll find that all the money, time and efforts spent are all worthwhile... :)
                  This is how I feel whenever my girls told me that they love the food or the designs of their bentos... ^.^

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                7. I wish I knew about bentos when my kiddos were younger...so much fun to make healthy choices look ultra-appealing!

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                8. @Rachel: When we were still in the Phils, there's this Japanese grocery store in San Antonio Village, Makati which sells Bento boxes & accessories. Hatchin is the name. And there's a Daiso store in Alabang Town Center. I'm just not sure if they are still there. :) You can also try Gift Gate. They sell Sanrio Bento boxes and accessories but they're more expensive.
                  @Lyn: I'm really not sure if I can manage to do the kind of bentos that you & CG do because of time constraints, so I think I'll be sticking to simple bentos. :)
                  @Lizzy: My daughters said bentos make eating more exciting...I'm sure your kids could have felt that way too. But it doesn't really matter...I'm sure your kids enjoyed every homemade meal you prepared for them that time even if they weren't prepared bento-style. :)

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                9. Tina, no worries at all... Just make whatever you feel like making and more comfortable with.. ;)
                  It don't have to be very in details kinda bento, just make those that your girls like-this is the most impt.. :)
                  I don't always make very detailed kinda bentos too, only when I feel like doing or when the girls request, otherwise I'm also making fast, easy & simple ones.
                  Pls don't be too bothered or stress by the detailed bentos okay? Just do what you're happy doing. ^.^

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                10. Yes, dear! That's what I gonna do! :-*

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                11. Lovely combination and kids will simply love it for the creative way you have done it. I have to agree that home food is still the best, what more with so much of love in preparing it.

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                12. wow tina! galing! excited to make this for my little girl! thanks for the inspiration!

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                13. @Nava: Thanks for the kind words! :)
                  @Lynette: I'm pretty sure Bea will love bentos!

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                14. wow! this post is great. . .am gonna do this soon:-)

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                15. Hi Tina, they're lovely bentos and I feel there's lots of LOVE iside :)

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                16. I love her lunch box! You made everything so colorful that I want to eat it :D Amazing!

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                17. Adorable..I have go hunting for bento kits:))

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                18. WOW WOW WOW WOW :) So kawaiiiii!!!! There are two things I learned about you so far... just from reading your blog: you know how to make foods look appealing not only to adults but also to kids and they are healthy!!!!

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                19. these are so cute. I've got some similar equipment and can't wait to start making bento boxes for my kids. but they're still too young to take these to school though. The animal shaped hard boil eggs are so so so cute. I gotta check my local Japanese store to see if I can find them. :) Thanks for sharing. I'm sure your kids are excited to open their boxes every day now.

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                20. How adorable are these bento boxes?? Your kids are very lucky to have such a creative mom! ;)

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                21. You are AMAZING Tina! I love your bentos! I had never seen them before I started blogging and I too fell in love with them! They look so cute! I'd love to try too... you are an inspiration to me, I hope you know that! These look so beautiful!! I cannot believe they are your first attempts! I am sure you'll become a pro in no time!!! <3

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                22. Aawww these look so cute :) And for the first attempt itself you made it looks so perfect. I bet it will make a kid smile and enjoy food double the more.

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                23. Thanks ladies! You're all so kind! Your wonderful comments really inspire me to make more bentos! (^.^)

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                24. I just love the idea of bento boxes...any food would look more appetizing to the kiddos when cut in a cute little shape. and yours look especially well done!

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                25. Lovely indeed! Nice to meet u, Cristina! Looking fwd to sharing our bento journey :) Do chk out mine too!

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                26. Thank you soooo much for mentioning our store. We love all your bento!! They are all adorable and easy instruction with pictures is really helpful for everyone. We are so proud to have been a part of this. (^_^)

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                  1. Ohhh I love all the products I got from your store! They really help make my daughters' packed lunches more exciting to eat! :)

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                27. Hello Tina,

                  Where can I buy those Bento accessories? Is it available also in the Philippines? :)

                  I love your blog. I just found this out today and I'm excited to try this bento for my nephew. :D

                  Thanks!

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                  1. Hi Rej,

                    When we were still in the Phils, there's this Japanese grocery store in San Antonio Village, Makati which sells Bento boxes & accessories. Hatchin is the name. And there's a Daiso store in Alabang Town Center. I'm just not sure if they are still there. You can also try Gift Gate. They sell Sanrio Bento boxes and accessories.

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