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ice cream is not for breakfast

feeding your kids without losing your mind

Archive for the 'school lunch' Category

Packing a “lunch” for pre-K


Sorry I’ve been so lax in blogging lately, but it’s been a pretty busy time in my house.A week and a half ago, my oldest, Rafael, started attending pre-kindergarten.

We’re very fortunate in that our school district in New Jersey has universal pre-K. He could have started when he was 3, but we decided to wait until this year, after he turned 4.


My husband is a stay-at-home dad, so it didn’t seem to make sense to put him in a full-day program, five days a week just yet. Especially when it meant that our schedules for vacations and the like would become locked into a strict pattern once he started school.

But I digress.

The district provides free breakfast and a very inexpensive lunch. But Rafael, as I believe I’ve mentioned in the past, can be rather picky at times. So he eats his breakfast of “Uncle Andy’s Cereal” (known to the world at large as Honey Bunches of Oats) — “in a bowl like you used to have, Mommy, with a long silver spoon and no raisins, just milk” — and for the first couple of days we packed two or three packages of those cheese cracker sandwiches with peanut butter, a couple of juice boxes and a plastic container with Goldfish crackers.

In, of course, his old-style metal Spider-Man lunchbox. Read more of this entry »

Posted by Amy Vernon on Saturday, September 13th, 2008 at 1:10 pm |

The big trade


In typing up notes for an upcoming story on school lunches, I was suddenly reminded of a conversation I had with my own children when all three were still in the public schools.

There they were, in elementary, middle and high school, respectively, and there I was, happily slicing carrots and celery stalks and worrying about whether tuna salad would go bad while sitting in their locker, when it was forcibly brought home to me that packing is not the same thing as eating.

“Mom, could you pack me an extra bagel?” I recall one of my babes saying.

“Sure,” I replied, tickled that I’d hit on something they liked.

“Yeah, my best friend likes them, and I can trade it for a candy bar her mom gives her.”

That’s when the other two chimed in, explaining what their friends brought, what they brought, and how they pooled their resources every lunch hour and chose what they wanted.

I guess it’s better than the story one of our editors tell when he was in school in the 1930s and a buddy of his would toss his brown bag over the fence of a local junk yard every morning on the way to school. When the snow melted in the spring, the remains of scores of school lunches were discovered…

Posted by Randi Weiner on Monday, September 8th, 2008 at 12:42 pm |
| | Comments Off on The big trade

Remembering school lunches of yore


All this back-to-school talk got me thinking about my old elementary school days and what it will be like when my daughter boards her first yellow bus. She’s about 4 years away from the experience, but I’m sure it will be as memorable to her as it was to me.

In fact, my first childhood memory is getting on an empty school bus and walking all the way to the back and sitting in the last row. When the bus came to the next stop a little blonde girl with pigtails got on and sat in the first row. I inched my way toward her as the bus carried on and that little girl would become my first—and subsequently—best friend until about sixth grade.
tjndc5-5b4p36et5t55tlwanb6_layout.jpgOther school memories include the cafeteria lunches. My favorites included square pizza, chocolate milk in a carton and those small cups of vanilla and chocolate ice cream that I always stirred into a soup with the little wooden spoon that came with it.

Some not so pleasant memories include having an aversion to franks and beans until well into my 20s after a kid lost his lunch on the bus and having to watch chunks of hot dog roll down the aisle. Excuse the visual, but hey, I’ve lived with it all these years.

I don’t know what school lunches are like today. I understand they offer healthier menus nowadays. Anyone care to let me in on what I have to look forward to in, well, four years?

Photo courtesy of TJN.

Posted by Marcela Rojas on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008 at 12:51 pm |
| | 1 Comment »


Adventures in pickling


Our youngest, now 21 months, was happily chomping on some green beans at a neighborhood BBQ last night, a sight to warm any mom’s heart.


But on closer inspection, stuffed in her dimpled little hand (and mouth) was something I never would have thought to feed her — pickled green beans.

And not just any pickled green beans. Pickled green beans brined in a soy-wasabi mix. I was surprised at just how good they were.

She couldn’t get enough of them. (We were eating Windy City Wasabeans by Rick’s Picks. Next I want to try their pickled asparagus — yum!)

Sweet, not very spicy and with a great crunch. Which got me thinking — do we sometimes underestimate the kinds of new and different flavors our kids might enjoy?

Anyone else remember a time they were surprised by a taste or flavor their kids just loved?

(AP Photo)

Posted by Katie Ryan O'Connor on Monday, June 30th, 2008 at 12:17 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Bloggers Unite for Human Rights


For a few weeks now, some of you may have noticed the badge in our blog’s sidebar that declares today as the day that Bloggers Unite for Human Rights.

Several of us here at ice cream is not for breakfast decided to join in, writing about topics that relate to our blog topic, feeding our children.

First off, at 9 a.m., we’ll have Tracey Princiotta writing about food insecurity in the Lower Hudson Valley as the worsening economy puts more families at risk of hunger.

At 11 a.m., Amy Vernon will explain the PB&J campaign and why eating less meat is a good idea not just for your arteries, but for others who are hungry around the world.

At 1 p.m. Marcela Rojas will tell you about Bread Alone, a bakery that a nonprofit in Africa to set up bakeries giving children with HIV/AIDS access to nutritious, whole grain breads.

At 3 p.m., Katie Ryan O’Connor will examine how higher food and fuel costs are forcing school districts around the country to slash critical food programs such as free school breakfasts.

We’ll update this post as the day goes on to hyperlink to each of the aforementioned posts.

Please let us know what you think and I hope we provide you with some (pardon the pun) food for thought.

Posted by Amy Vernon on Thursday, May 15th, 2008 at 7:00 am |


About this blog
You make it, they eat it, right?

As most parents soon discover, feeding a family is rarely that easy, whether its nursing a fussy newborn or trying to get a hot meal into a squirming toddler (or attempting both at the same time.) And that's not even the days when work runs late, the main course burns, or your adventurous little sushi eater announces from now on she will only eat food that is pink.

As parents ourselves, we've been there, done that, even learned a few tricks along the way. And we're pretty sure so have you. Maybe together we can make eating together as a family -- gulp! -- fun again.

My site was nominated for Best Parenting Blog!


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Bloggers Unite for Human Rights

About the authors
Hema Easley Hema Easley has been a reporter for The Journal News since July 2002, first covering municipal government and then nonprofit agencies, women's issues and the South Asian and Muslim community in the Lower Hudson Valley. In her previous job, Hema was a correspondent for the Associated Press in South Asia. She lives with her husband and two sons in Orange County.
KatieKatie Ryan O'Connor, a Journal News editor and 35-year-old mother of three, never quite appreciated the work that went into feeding kids until she had to do it herself as a mother. If she had a food-and-kids philosophy it would be something like this: try your best to offer as much healthy food as possible, but sometimes fruits just have to be counted as vegetables and there are far worse things than chicken and spaghetti. Again.
TraceyTracey Princiotta, a 37-year-old mother of one, loves to cook, bake and eat, and is relieved that her son appears to be equally willing to chow down -- even if it's baby food and formula right now. Despite her husband's intense aversion to vegetables, she has high hopes of nurturing a true chowhound who will try everything at least once. And if all else fails, she's not above sneaking veggies into other foods.
Marcela Rojas Marcela Rojas has been a municipal reporter with The Journal News since January 2003. She is a native of Putnam County and grew up eating Peruvian food. She didn't realize until she was 13 that rice did not come with everyone's meal. After several years of living in Los Angeles -- where she grew a fondness for Thai food -- she returned to Putnam County where she now lives with her husband and daughter. Zyla (rhymes with Lilah) just turned 1 in March and, so far (her mother is pleased to note), loves to eat everything.
Swapna Venugopal Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy, a Journal News reporter, started her career as a journalist in 1999 after graduating with a master's degree from New York University. Before joining the paper in 2006, Swapna worked as a municipal reporter for the Home News Tribune in New Jersey, and took a baby sabbatical to care for her two children, now ages 7 and 5. She has currently outsourced feeding her children and husband to her mother, who is visiting from India. Her friend and colleague Katie O'Connor, informs Swapna that she wouldn't mind being fed Indian food by her mother, too.
Randi Weiner Randi Weiner has been a reporter with The Journal News since 1989, having covered police, government and schools in Westchester and in Rockland. An Ohio native and 1976 graduate of Bowling Green State University, she worked for daily newspapers in Ohio and Michigan before moving east. She has tended bar and danced in a beledi troup and sat on the boards of two community theaters. She plays mandolin with the Shamrogues, Connecticuts largest Irish band. Randi lives in Connecticut with her husband and has three children.

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