I know people think I’m being super creative sometimes, but the reality is, I’m selfish. Selfish and juggling kids most of the time. So a lot of the time when I’m asked to help out with something or to contribute to an event, I usually try to think of something that would be helpful to ME.
OK, but there IS a reason for it. I usually find that if it helps me (crazy mom of 3 Little Punks, juggling the day on 3 hours of sleep) then it’s probably helpful to other parents too.
A few months back, Addie’s preschool invited all the families for a potluck picnic. All the parents and all the siblings were invited. And as it happened it was on a day that I didn’t have an extra set of hands to call. Big group, lots of kids, lots of people on picnic blankets around the school playground. All of which sounded like a really fun afternoon for the kiddos.
But I would most likely not eat. Not because I didn’t want to. But all hands would be needed on deck to help the Littles. Addie would be fine. Hayden and Piper?? A crap shoot.
So I chose to bring lunch the way I would most likely need to eat it. In a take away container.
I made 2 pasta salads because I could easily toss them together while the kids ate breakfast that morning. Then fill them in little individual containers. That way I (or any parent that didn’t get a chance to eat) could just throw the container in their bag to eat in their car after the event, or have an easy one handed dish to walk around with. But then I had a panic attack. One of the salads was a pesto salad (that the kids and I all LOVE) but it had pine nuts in it. And while our school is not nut free, nor was I aware of any allergies, I was still anxious.
Labels can be really easy to make. But along with being selfish, I’m also lazy. So I keep a stack of 8.5 x 11 Inches label sheets on hand (you can buy in large boxes at Staples). That way you never have to worry about lining things up perfectly on the computer. Just whip up whatever you want, print and cut to your hearts content! I can make labels on the fly this way and do nothing but format with a Word document. I have absolutely no Photoshop skills.
Super simple!! Of course, after I had punched the “Pesto Pasta *Nuts*” label, I realized the kids could help color them (which would also keep them busy for a few minutes more). I pulled out some crayons and let the coloring begin on the next set of labels.
While they colored, I filled the containers. Punched the labels, and Addie helped me stick them on everything. The salads stacked perfectly in the containers in an insulated grocery bag with a few ice packs and were ready to go a few hours later when we were.
Now, while my photos are not the best here. (Truly I was just grateful I rememebered to pull out the camera while we were doing all of this). The tip is a good one. The containers are sold at lots of different supply stores. I picked ours up at Smart & Final. A sleeve of 50 was around $3. I have 8oz, 16oz, and 32oz.
I use them for leftovers, storing kids craft supplies, etc. I should actually write a whole post just on the containers. But this post was meant to share how great they are for bringing things to a pot luck.
They looked cute stacked up, received rave reviews, AND I was able to eat! That’s a three-fer in my book!!
BTW, there are loads of great punches to have on hand, the one I used for this (and about a billion other projects was the Ek Success 2-Inch X-Large Paper Shapers Scallop Circle Nesting Punch