Sarah and Tim said... I do have to ask however, the snack drawer... Do your boy's still eat their lunch and dinner? I have 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 year old girls. I love this idea, but think they may not eat their meals if we did this... I really want to though! I guess we could alway's try it out, and then stop, if it spoiled their meals...
Sarah, I should have mentioned this in my post... The Snack Drawer Rule (there is only one rule) is as follows: No more Snack Drawer after 4:00 p.m. I learned long ago to cut them off around 4:00. From that point on they can have only water (which they can also help themselves to anytime without asking). We eat dinner around 5:30-or-6:00ish. If they snack after 4:00 it does ruin their appetite for dinner. As far as the morning goes... basically it seems like no matter how many snacks they have in the morning their appetite for lunch is never ruined. There is only one exception to this and that is drinking too much juice -- if they drink too much juice right before a meal, it ruins their appetite for that meal regardless of whether it is breakfast, lunch, or dinner. At school they eat HUGE (I mean, huge!!!) "snacks" each day. It is part of the school (Waldorf Early Education) routine -- they make these snacks, together as a class, each day in their classrooms -- i.e., heaping bowls of hot oatmeal with raisins and syrup and milk stirred in; heaping bowls of rice topped with tahini sauce or soy sauce; freshly made wheat bread slathered with fresh farm churned butter; vegetable noodle soup; etc, etc, etc... and their teachers tell me that my boys eat a TON and will oftentimes request seconds or thirds (and sometimes even fourths; note: i have had to reassure their teachers that they do, indeed, eat a full breakfast each day). Apparently K & O have been known to set school-snack-eating-records. Anyway, because of this, I think they've become accustomed to eating a lot in the morning-- and their lunches almost always come home completely empty (see my School Lunch Post for reference as to how much food I'm packing for them). These boys, basically, just have huge appetites and high metabolisms, so we don't need to worry too much about monitoring their snacks. We pretty much let them eat whatever/whenever they want to eat. Along the same lines-- because of the 0% body fat thing they have going on, I really don't need to keep them clear from high-fat or high-calorie foods. Owen, in particular, loves sweets and, although we don't have much of that stuff around the house on a regular basis, when we do have it around I do not hold him back from eating it (see photo a couple photos down of Owen with a mongo-huge candy jawbreaker --- that was his prize possession there for awhile... of course, after a couple days he quickly lost interest in it and it has been sitting on the counter in a zip loc bag ever since). When MorMor comes to visit, for example, Owen will often eat cookies 24x7 (and still eat a decent supper). ;) I am a firm believer in not restricting too much (with the idea being that it will backlash if you do). Luckily, so far, it is working for us alright.
Ani, Oh yes, yes, yes, there is plenty they won't eat!!! Kyle really doesn't like much meat, actually. He could very easily be a vegetarian (but definitely not a vegan). Kyle also doesn't care for sweets (cakes, cookies, chocolate, candy,etc.), although he loves ice cream. Owen likes most meat, but refuses to eat it if it has "black marks" on it (i.e., grill searing marks), and makes us cut the "black marks" off. Which we do oblige (although it drives me crazy; I am the GRILL MASTER and I grill 12 months of the year and I take great pride in my searing techniques!). And sadly (this really bothers me), neither K nor O likes eggs. They used to love eggs (for awhile there, from the age that they were about 10 months old until they were about 14 months old, in an effort to increase their iron [they had serious iron deficiencies from their time in Haiti] I was scrambling them 2 eggs each every single morning), but around age 18 months they suddenly stopped eating eggs altogether and have refused to eat them ever since (there is actually a good reason for this-- in a nutshell... the daycare they went to served "scrambled eggs" once a week-- I put that in quotes because they were not what I would consider edible... and K & O apparently agreed with me because after a few months both of them united in a Major Act of Resistance and they flat out refused to eat the daycare eggs. Fortunately for them, the daycare staff gave in and eventually started serving the two of them cereal instead of the "eggs" on egg days... but unfortunately K & O's Daycare Induced Egg Fast has still yet to end (despite my valiant efforts every once in a while to tempt them with ridiculously delicious eggs of all varieties the only egg-related-food I can get them to eat is quiche [they love quiche]). Anyway, in terms of their pickiness or lack thereof... Actually, Braydon and I have a big disagreement over this. From my perspective, our boys are not adventurous enough (and too picky). From Braydon's perspective, our boys are very adventurous (and not picky at all). I'm sure the truth lies somewhere in between. A lot of my own vantage point on this stems from my own upbringing. I think that they should eat absolutely EVERYTHING/ANYTHING that is put in front of them. This is in large part because that is how I was raised--- I grew up living at a camp in the summer (my parents were Camp Directors), we ate our meals in the Dining Hall, and we ate whatever everybody else was eating, always, with absolutely no exceptions, ever. I grew up eating absolutely everything with very, very, very few exceptions and I also grew up being taught to be grateful for food. I became a very adventurous eater. I'll try just about anything (and have eaten some pretty crazy things in my time -- especially abroad -- and have often been told that I have a "stomach of steel" [something I've taken great pride in!]). Braydon, on the other hand, had an extremely limited palate when I first met him. His food horizons have been hugely expanded in the past 15 years! (to the point where he now rivals me -- and actually probably surpasses me] in his culinary adventuresomeness and openness). For us, this is a 'spice of life' thing and it is important to us that K & O appreciate food--- all kinds of food. When we travel we try to get them to experiment with the authentic local cuisine, just like we do, and that is a big part of travel for us. Although they will try just about anything, they often won't eat unfamiliar foods in large quantities (and they need large quantities in order to function). Owen is much more out-going with food than Kyle, but still, they are both really only big eaters with the foods they are used to. A good example is this~~~ at home we do not eat very 'traditional' middle-America 'meat and potatoes' meals very often. So, this is very unfamiliar to them. Thus, often, when we're eating at other people's houses (friends, family, etc.) K & O have trouble eating what is served. They are pretty much totally unaccustomed to eating that way. While they will usually try what is put in front of them, they won't eat it with gusto (and will often refuse to clear their plates). For me, this is frustrating. For Braydon, it just is to be expected. In general, we don't push the issue and we just try to be as polite as humanly possible to our hosts. On the other hand, bring them to Chinatown or an Indian Buffet or a beachside seafood grill or a Burrito Stand or an Italian Bistro and they'll find plenty to chow down on! But this is all just to say--- yes, there is plenty that they don't eat... it just isn't necessarily the typical stuff that you'd expect (stereotypically at least) from two upper-middle-class boys being raised by white folks in suburban Pennsylvania (i.e., they will not eat meatloaf; they will not eat cheeseburgers; they will not eat fish sticks). My hope is that by the time they are teenagers they'll appreciate all sorts of food... even meatloaf and fish sticks!
MM, Come to think of it, I'd like a mimosa right now too. So, you can count on it- if we ever meet in real life then I will definitely make you a mimosa and a fancy snack—and we can both wear our kids’ tutus around our thighs while we indulge in the fancy schmanciest of snacks and drinks!
Laurie, Yes, we have the insulated cases for them, and I love the whole system except for the water bottles that came with (ours broke almost immediately -- K & O are very rough on stuff, but still... I thought those water bottles were particularly junky). Anyhoo-- yes, I've too found things that fit perfectly in the little drink slots! I've used the Horizon milk boxes too! As well as Welch's juice bottles and 'Balance Water for Children' water bottles --- I bought a six-pack of each of those at the start of the school year and have been re-using the same 12 plastic bottles ever since. With very rare exceptions, however, K & O get only water with their lunches. Every once in a while they'll get a milk or a juice-- but that is a big treat. I pack them water because they eat their lunch better if they have only water to go with it. If I pack juice or milk they'll just chug that first and then not eat much of their lunches.
Lori, No, since I haven't had the opportunity to try it yet. To be honest, I'm sort of avoiding that opportunity altogether since I'm worried what will happen if I do try it. Given what happened when I tried the LORI'S STYLE UPSIDE DOWN STARBUCKS CARAMEL MACCHIATO.... well.... you know the story.... the rest is history. Like I've said, THANKS FOR NOTHING GIRLFRIEND!!!!!!!!!! You can serve me the ice cream the next time we're at your house... in the meantime... I'm in a stand-off with the stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;)