When I was a kid I just loved going to my Bubbi's house. (Bubbi is a word for a Jewish Grandma) The minute we got there I would run over to her bottom drawer in the dinning room because I knew that is where she kept the Hershey Bars. She also kept a host of other chocolates and goodies in there, those sugary fruit gel slices that we only got on Passover.
My Bubbi also always had her famous chocolate chip cookies in the freezer; she was never without a batch.
My point is is that back in the day when people moved slower it seemed like they were prepared. If someone dropped by, or if the whole family was coming for a holiday they were ready. It always made us feel special, like she cared and thought about is when we weren't there.
Now we just run out and grab something prepared at a store because there is one everywhere you turn. I live between a Trader Joe's and Whole foods, with a peppering of other stores all around. It's fine for company and when it comes to your children's lunches it may be easy to just grab a pre made sandwich. If you are like me you want fast and easy, and there is nothing wrong with that, but adding personalization can make a big impact on your child and is is not too much extra effort.
My solution is to start by making your child's lunch very special. Some parents add a note, some draw hearts or smiles on the brown bag. Our kids are away from us all day and as much as they may resist hugs or kisses they really do need and want to be with us and know we care.
A really nice way to make them feel warm and loved is by adding a very small quick note, a drawing or stickers. Many schools are now requiring no waste lunches and in that case you may want to keep reading.
Now back to Grandma...a few years ago my husbands Nana died and she has an amazing collection of linens. She was a real collector, anything you can imagine, and she had a jar or drawer full of it. Lucky for us she had a whole collection of beautiful linen napkins. I don't mean a few of them I mean hundreds. I sorted through to find the ones I thought my daughter would love and I took about fifty of them home. They are from the 1940's, 50's, and 60’s so cute and and brightly colored. Every day I choose two to go in her lunch, one for snack and one for lunchtime. She uses them as a place mat or a napkin. She never knows which ones she will get; it’s always a surprise. Sometimes I try to match the colors of her clothing, if it’s a grey day I add a floral pattern. Are you getting my drift? They wash up beautifully; I just toss them in with the laundry, no ironing for me!
She knows that I pick them for her and she knows that they were her great grandma's, and that I put an extra bit of thought into her lunch. Getting away from paper napkins can make you, your child and the landfill feel good, and this is an easy way to get started. I was resistant because of the extra laundry but it is very easy to wash them.
So look in the drawers or ask your parents or grand parents if they have old linens or cloth napkins you could have. Any thrift shop should have a stack somewhere. So that is what you can gain from looking in Grandma’s drawers!