The things I do for my kids

By Mir
June 8, 2007

Today is Colonial Day at school, otherwise known as the day after the day when I realize I’m supposed to buy full colonial garb for my child and settle for something with a long flowy skirt and maybe stay up until midnight attempting to make a bonnet out of a napkin and some lace.


One of the perks of today is that parents are invited to join the children for a picnic lunch. At breakfast (while I was braiding her hair, Laura Ingalls-style) Chickadee casually mentioned that lunch needs to be authentic.


“Yeah! No processed foods, no plastic… pack it in a basket!”

A basket I have. The bigger issue is what to bring for lunch that would be considered suitably colonial. I butchered the last of the hogs long ago, you know, so I had to really put my thinking cap on.

We have brown eggs. (Brown eggs are local eggs, and local eggs are fresh! You’re welcome, enjoy humming that all day long.) I hard-boiled some of them. Very colonial.

I made some biscuits from scratch. They’re ugly but tasty, which seems pretty colonial to me.

I’ll slice up some veggies and maybe a couple of apples, and I’ll wrap everything up in wax paper. Totally colonial, dude. I rock.

The problem is that I just don’t think my plastic Poland Spring water bottles are going to pass muster on the historical front. I consulted Chris, because she’s been thinking a lot about plastic lately, and I thought maybe she could help me brainstorm some alternative ways to carry water.

Glass is out because I don’t have anything small enough for toting to a picnic that’s not going to spill. Besides, I’m thinking the other kids might make fun if Chickadee’s drinking water from a vase or a chip-n-dip.

Chris suggested a bucket, which is a great idea, but I’m fresh out of buckets that aren’t—you guessed it—plastic.

Chris’ other excellent suggestions:
my hands
a cow’s bladder
my pockets

I’m leaning towards the cow’s bladder.


  1. Susan

    That Chris is so helpful.

  2. MomCat

    How about pewter? Wasn’t that a Paul Revere type thing? Or a silver flask. That should get the other parents talking.

  3. Christina

    Pewter would be very authentic, but I don’t suppose you have any of that around? Love those last minute details that always seem to get us!

  4. Sara

    Got a metal canteen? Not exactly sure how colonial that is, but it might work in a pinch. Otherwise, I’m all for the pig bladder from the one you slaughtered.(What, do you mean you didn’t keep it!?!) Didn’t Laura and her sister blow one up and use it to play ball? It’s a drinking vessel AND a plaything!!

  5. dcfullest

    have a flask around by chance?

  6. Genevieve

    What, no Ye Olde Juice Boxxes?

  7. Genevieve

    Oh, I know! Bring the cow, and milk it on the spot.

  8. sumo

    You don’t have canning jars? I guess with all your helpful cookery suggestions I assumed you were the canning type. Ah, just checked Wikipedia and see that the first Mason jar was made in 1858, wheras American Colonial probably ended around, oh, 1776? Still, grade schools are usually not too stringent on those types of things. I don’t suppose you have a crock jug? Immitation leather flask?

  9. YetAnotherKaren

    Shoot, if your kids went to a Waldorf school this’d be a daily dilemma.

    Another napkin could be tied up, hobo-style, to contain the lunch. Chickie could get her own stick from the colonial child toy collection outside.

  10. jenn

    Colonial Day. Just shoot me now. I thought International Baccalaureate was a pain in the tuchus…now I know. It’s just the nature of school.

  11. Nancy R

    Laura and Mary always had tin cups….hurry and go empty some soup cans!

  12. Lisa

    SOUP CANS! WOW Nancy R, you are good! :)

  13. Jenni

    We never had a Colonial Day at school. We had the much more educational “crazy sock day”. Take the water in a wine bottle minus the label. Or just take wine……..

  14. Summer

    Colonials didn’t always have access to clean water. Bring whiskey.

  15. Taylor

    In Colonial times, kids drank beer and wine.

    How’s that for authenticity?

  16. Cele

    This must be an East Coast thing. Thank heavens, I am glad we only had to do crazy socks, seventies, sixties, and fifties days, build the missions out of ivory soap, and hogans from willow wands. So much easier than colonial garb.

  17. Abbey

    Yeah, pewter. You can get some of that authentic lead poisoning.

  18. Tamatha

    What about jam jars? Cleaned, of course…

  19. ScottsdaleGirl

    I was totally thinking FLASK, and so were about 10 others. But honestly would it have not been fun to see Chickadee swilling out of a flask? No?

  20. kathy

    it’s not often that the comments are as good, if not better than the post, but this is one. I’m still chuckling about the soup cans. Bloody lips would be amazingly authentic!

  21. Laura

    That’s a tough one. I’ll not be complaining about ‘pajama day’ anytime soon. My daughter’s school had PJ day a couple of weeks ago and that same day there was a bear on school grounds. The elementary school went into LOCKDOWN (which, I guess, in the continuum of reasons to have a lockdown at your 1st grader’s school, a bear sighting is one of the *least* scary).

    When we went to pick the kids up after school there were tons of news crews covering it – because, as you know, there is NOTHING else going on in the world right now. Watching it on tv that night it looked like a mental institution full of children- they walked outside after being trapped indoors all day looking vaguely confused and wearing their bathrobes…

  22. becky

    i have no helpful suggestions. sorry. sure you don’t have any moonshine jugs hanging around? oh…. nevermind. that’ll have to wait until you move to the south! ;)

    (missing the south for some unknown reason, as i certainly don’t miss the humidity!)

  23. Karen

    I am questioning the waxed paper….is that colonial?? I think you are supposed to wrap the food up in rags or cloth.

    And I agree with flask idea. Doesn’t every house have a flask on hand. Oh, maybe you packed yours already…

  24. arduous

    Well, I’m guessing you’re already AT Colonial Day right now, but what about a stainless steel martini shaker?

  25. Mom101

    I vote for cupping hands. Or sigg bottles.

  26. Brigitte

    A scouting canteen, maybe? They probably had some in the Civil War, and that’s ALMOST colonial.

  27. mama speak

    OMG, peeing myself over here. I love that kids drank wine & beer in Colonial times, and think you should at least be authentic with the adults on that front. Also, how come you didn’t bake a pie? Or some bread? You’re such the domestic godess, don’t you just happen to have on laying around?

    Oh, I also like the idea of taking a cow & milking it right there. VERY AUTHENTIC!

  28. Carmen

    Oh my God! I thought I would wet my pants sitting here reading this. Alas as of tomorrow no more elementary school last minute craziness for me. I was the only one at our school that didn’t have the authentic lunch much to my son’s dislike. I should have thought of the cow and milking it right there since after all I moved to “the country” as my friends call it.

    Laura, really a bear at school? Just when you think you’ve heard it all!

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