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  • Mom From Iloilo Makes Bento Boxes for Her Son's Lunch Worth P100 to P150 a Meal!

    The stay-at-home mom found a way to let her creative side shine to the delight of her son. See the photos!
    by Kitty Elicay .
Mom From Iloilo Makes Bento Boxes for Her Son's Lunch Worth P100 to P150 a Meal!
PHOTO BY Joeiline Domine
  • For some moms, making bento meals for their kids is a way to combat their children’s picky eating habits. But for Joeiline “Joi” Domine, 36, the activity was a way to rediscover herself.

    “I started making bento meals June of last year since I wanted to do something new that I can consider my own ‘thing,” the mom of one tells SmartParenting.com.ph. “They say you lose a part of yourself in the process when you become a mom, so I thought of a way to incorporate what I love and something my son would love.”

    Joi, who used to work as a supervisor in a mall in Iloilo, decided to quit her job and stay at home after finding out she was pregnant with her son. “I had two miscarriages while I was working, so my husband, Thedard, and I agreed that it was the right thing to do. Not only to avoid the risk of having another miscarriage, but so I could take care of our son, too,” she shares.

    “We waited for five years to have a child, and he was given unexpectedly since I didn’t know that I was pregnant again. We thought that the best thing we could give him is our time, my time, as a hands-on mom,” she adds.

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    Bento baon as a creative outlet

    Joi with her 5-year-old son, Dejan, and husband Thedard.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Joeiline Domine

    Though she became a homemaker, the self-confessed lover of arts and crafts and photography found different ways to nurture her artistic side. "I used to make my son's giveaways for his birthday parties. I would craft the loot bags and customize some items. But I haven't been able to do it for quite some time now as recently, he preferred to go on vacations instead of having a party," she explains. "My son and I would also make homemade cards for special occasions."

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    But it was bento-making that really became her creative outlet. Thankfully, her son, Dejan, loved all of her ‘artworks.’ “It got him excited to go to school every day because he would show his baon to his classmates and teachers. That challenged me further and though I don’t consider myself a good cook, I became excited to prepare new meals,” she shares.

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    Joi's bento-making tip: Make it colorful! It will make meals visually appealing and enticing.
    PHOTO BY Joeiline Domine

    Joi’s bento meals are organized and planned a week before. Preparing them takes 45 minutes up to an hour, excluding cooking time.

    Most of the meals she creates are heavily inspired by characters from his son’s favorite shows and movies. “I would usually ask him what or who would he want me to create next for his baon,” she explains. “Other times, I would search ideas on Pinterest.”

    While there are a number of tools you can buy for making the meals, Joi says she just bought the basics like scissors, food picks, baran (sushi grass), cutters, and some molders. Cling wrap, she says, is also a must-have. Most of all, you need to have patience!

    “Some of the meals are easy since I use molders,” Joi shares. “But perhaps the hardest that I ever did was Mickey Mouse — I found it so difficult to create Mickey’s exact face.”

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    Joi's bento-making tip: Let your creativity shine! Make every bento box a fun meal for your kid.
    PHOTO BY Joeiline Domine

    Each meal costs around Php100 to 150, depending on the menu for the day. But Joi says it’s all worth it — Dejan usually cleans out his lunchbox!

    There’s a sense of pride and accomplishment in every bento meal that she makes so Joi decided to post photos online to show how happy she was with her newfound hobby. “I got positive reviews and feedback so I continued posting. I love that it encouraged fellow moms I knew to try it, too, and it felt great that I’ve inspired them to promote healthy eating for their kids,” she shares.

    Her proudest moment? Being invited to do a workshop in their hometown of Iloilo. “It was such a humbling experience because I never expected that my bento-making journey, which started out as just a past time for me, went this far,” she shares. “I’m truly grateful for all the positive response.”

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    Check out more of her bento creations below!

    Joi's bento-making tip: Bento is all about encouraging healthy eating. Make sure to make a balanced meal out of every bento box.
    PHOTO BY Joeiline Domine
    Insert sweet notes inside your child's baon so they know how much you love them!
    PHOTO BY Joeiline Domine
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    Do you love Sesame Street? We think even adults would love to have this baon!
    PHOTO BY Joeiline Domine
    This Psyduck looks so good you almost don't want to eat it — but the kids will, for sure!
    PHOTO BY Joeiline Domine
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    Joi says this is one of her easiest bento creations since the police car was easily made using a molder.
    PHOTO BY Joeiline Domine
    Joi even made a holiday-themed bento for her son. Ho ho!
    PHOTO BY Joeiline Domine
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    Here's Joi's son, Dejan, clearly enjoying his lunch!
    PHOTO BY Joeiline Domine

    Do you like making bentos or have a unique hobby, too? Share your photos with us in the comments or email us at smartparenting2013@gmail.com.

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