School Lunches and Tiny Houses (a.k.a. things that are bothersome)

School Lunches


Enough already.  Parenting magazine, that means you.  You are supposed to make me feel BETTER about being a mom, not like a complete slacker for packing my kid a PB&J for lunch.  With the crust cut off.  In a CIRCLE, mind you.  I mean, I thought I was a goddamn hero for that.

But, NOOO, then I open your latest issue and see photos like the ones here with a note from the reader that says, “In our house we do themed lunches each week, it’s a great way to get my kids to eat their fruits and veggies.”  – Lucy from Witchita, Kansas



Yeah, well, it’s also a great way to get yourself run over by another mom in the school pick-up line, Lucy.

I wonder about these people and always look at the town where they are from as if that will give me some insight.  Ohhh, they’re from Witchita.  That’s why they have four hours to assemble their kid’s lunch.  I tell myself that if I lived in Witchita I too would create masterpiece lunches.  But then I think, “Well, I live in the woods on a small island where there’s not much to do so really, what’s my excuse?”  Perhaps the fact that I’m not INSANE.



It’s one thing to see these lunches in magazines.  But I work as a sub in our school district so I get to see home lunches firsthand.  And let me tell you, these lunches really do put me to shame.  It’s not so much the artful arranging, as it is what I see kids actually eating.

Lunches filled with fresh fruits, veggies, protein, kale chips, seaweed crackers, five little dark chocolate chips as a treat.  All in perfectly proportioned reusable containers.  And then there is my 8 year old daughter’s lunch…PB&J on white bread, goldfish, ACTUAL chocolate for a treat.  Mostly in (gulp) disposable baggies.   Just ban me from this island right now.   Sometimes I scan the classroom at lunchtime to see if any other kid has a ziploc baggie and I feel a pathetic sense of relief when I spot one.  Hey, other baggie mom…reveal yourself and perhaps we can be friends.

So as a result of watching all these kids devouring healthy foods, I’ve vowed to do better.  I bought “whole grain” cheddar goldfish and put them in a baggie so my daughter wouldn’t see the box.  She took one bite of the goldfish and promptly stated, “Something’s wrong with these goldfish.  They taste weird.”  I bought wheat bread instead of white bread and told her it was the same but they just used brown sugar instead of white sugar.  That actually worked until my 14 year old walked in and said, “Ugh.  Why did you buy WHEAT bread?”  Foiled again.

So I decided to try peer pressure.  I told Ava about all the kids lunches that I see when I’m working and that her lunch is just embarrassing and that every day she must take a fruit or vegetable.  The other morning she made her lunch herself and put it in her backpack.

Me:  “Let me see your lunch.  Did you pack any fruit or veggies?”

Ava:  “No.”

Me:  “Here’s a bag of strawberries.  Put them in your lunchbox.”

Ava:  “Do I actually have to EAT them?  Can’t I just stand up and wave them around so people will see them and just THINK you’re a good mom?”

Touché, my child. Touché.


Tiny Houses


I recently watched a show on HGTV called Tiny House Hunters.  Perhaps you’ve heard of this trend sweeping the nation of people giving up most of their possessions and moving into a home roughly the size of a large sport utility vehicle.  Seriously, I’m not talking Manhattan apartment small, I’m talking 180 square feet usually consisting of a kitchen, living area and bathroom “downstairs” and a sleeping loft “upstairs” that no one over the age of four can stand up in.

What struck me most funny about this show is that for 30 minutes I watched the hipster couple that was purchasing a tiny house complain incessantly about how small everything was.  Seriously?  I mean, it is LITERALLY called a Tiny House…have you never actually seen the show you are now ON?

“Hmm…there’s not much storage in the kitchen.  And there’s no dishwasher.”   That’s because you were supposed to have purged all your kitchen luxuries…like pots & pans, dishes and utensils.  Get with the program, people.

“Wow, the stove only has one burner.”   So?  Are you planning on cooking a meal for six people?  Because six people cannot fit in your tiny house.  You will need to purge most of your friends along with your possessions.

Then this couple climbs up the ladder to the (tiny) loft area where they begin walking around furiously on their knees.  Which in itself was funny.

“We need two offices.   Where will we put our offices?”  I actually laughed out loud at that one.   Dude, you’ve got room for two sleeping bags and one crate to put all of your hemp clothing in.   Where will your OFFICES go??   It is quite clear now you have both somehow stumbled onto the wrong show.

And on and on it went.  I wish I had a dollar for every time the word “tiny, small or tight” was spoken during the 30 minute show.  Super annoying.

The couple was buying a tiny house under the guise of saving money.   Oh, you young and naive millennials…here is why that will not happen.

1.  Restaurant expenses.  Eventually, one of you is going to want a two-burner meal.

2.  Laundry expenses.  No washer and dryer means you need a laundromat to wash all your locally made, organic flannel shirts and beanies.  Then again, do millennials even do laundry?  Or is that too “Generation X”?

3.  I need to get the hell away from you before I kill you in your sleep so I’m going to a bar expenses.

4.  Therapy bills.  For so many obvious reasons.

I guarantee you there will never be a “where are they now?” update on that show.  Clearly, we all know where they are now….divorced.  And possibly hunchbacked from their tiny loft offices.  That’s how we will recognize all these people in the future…a bunch of 40 year olds stooped over in faded flannels with a wild eyed look from the trauma of living in a tiny house.  In a few years HGTV can launch another show, “Road trip across America – the search for abandoned tiny houses and their people.”  I’d watch that.




20 comments on “School Lunches and Tiny Houses (a.k.a. things that are bothersome)

  1. Scott Schultz says:

    Once again Janine, very funny. By the way, we got your rain. 7 inches this week.

  2. Renee Maldonado says:

    Oh my gosh Janine, I love your sarcasm…miss you in the hood:))

  3. Bunni says:

    OMG! J, these are two of the best. You do realize that Ava will out-funny you at some date! “Waving the bag around”. More! More! More!

  4. MOM says:

    Janene, as your mother I can vouche for the fact that you ARE a terrific mom; it is all relative. When you were little, by the time you were in 2nd grade, you had to make your own lunch, because I didn’t like to get up early. You left on the bus, and I had no idea what you were wearing or what you took for lunch. And you still turned great!

  5. Fran Collica says:

    Oh Janene how I miss your blogs. You speak the truth and you are still funny.
    Miss you and your beautiful family.❤😘😂

  6. Christine Hickman says:

    So funny!!! You are a great mom. Don’t fall into that nonsense. Baggies are easier for clean up!!!!

  7. Dad says:

    Just give Ava a couple of bucks and she can buy one of the other kids artistic lunches. Dad

  8. Janet Marino says:

    You are too funny Janene….so love reading your blogs! Keep them coming…xoxo

  9. alison says:

    lunch baggie mom here, laughing hard at your blog AGAIN. Too funny, just loved it. I’ve seen tiny houses and that show is nuts.

  10. Your brother says:

    Great blog, what would happen if you put a lunchable in there?

  11. […] This was originally posted on the author’s blog: I Might be Funny. […]

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