Coolest lunch ever

Way back in the '70s, my mom was a La Leche League leader with this really amazing woman who had a daughter my age. Flash forward 30 years, and the daughter, Beth, is now a mom of 3 kids and an Ask Moxie reader. And a way cooler mom than I'll ever be. Listen to what she's doing with her kids' lunches:

"My mom thought you might find my new "passion" interesting.  I've taken to bento boxes.  Have a hard time getting my 5 and 8 year old to eat healthy.The only vegetable they like is artichoke, and once in awhile corn.  Both of which won't make it in the lunch box.  I've loved Japanese culture since Akiko, an exchange student in high school, introduced me to her culture.  So we've become bento-addicts in my house.  The first lunch was peanut butter and jelly flower sandwiches (healthy pb and j), a molded hard boiled egg, crackers, cucumber flowers, homemade ranch dip, mandarin oranges, soy milk to drink.

The second attempt was molded jasmine rice, edamame boiled, blueberry and oranges on skewers, soy ginger dipping sauce, rice crispy treats and fruit chips.  I added honey wheat pretzels as the rice crispy flower stems (not in the photo).

And.. the kids gobble this up!  I just ordered soybean paper, as the taste/smell of nori turns me off http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/mamenorisoybeanpaper.htm

Lots of bento boxes have nori cutouts which I can substitute the soy paper for.  There are nori stencils, but I think I can use scrap booking tools from any store to cut the soy paper. 

Making lunch has become my nightly, 1/2-hour of artistic fun, with the kids.  They LOVE to pick out what to put in their bentos.  From what fruits or veggies can we use to what types of protein can we find. And how can we make yummy dips.    I thought people were nuts taking photos (flickr devotes pages to bentos), but I found I was so proud of my little creations that I had to take pics.

And the egg molds.... the coolest thing I've found ever!"

And she sent pictures:

A_2

Lisbento

Now I'm feeling reeeeeeeally guilty about leaving my kids with leftover pasta with tricked-out jarred sauce for lunch...