I love to cook at home for my family.  I love the process of planning our meals for each week, making a list to bring to the commissary and farmer’s markets, then returning home and turning those ingredients into meals that I’ve made through my own effort and skills.

As much I enjoy cooking though, I’m always grateful for the nights that I get a break.  When I can walk into a restaurant, request a table for four, and then have my food presented to me.  And the best part of it all is when, after we’ve all finished eating, I can walk away from a table full of used and dirty dishes, plates, cups, and utensils… and know that that night, I’m not responsible for cleaning it all up.


My kids like going out to eat for very different reasons.  The change of scenery.  The change of cuisine.  The change of chef.  The kids sets.

One of the things my kids love best about ordering kids sets is the tiny paper flags that adorn the tops of their meals.  My husband and I love it, too, because eating out becomes a lesson in world geography beyond knowing that Okinawa is here and the United States is there.

Because each time we find a flag on top of their meals, my daughter tries to see if she can identify the country it represents.  Most often she doesn’t know, and offers it to my husband and me to solve.  Sadly to say, he and I have known just a small percentage of the flags she’s gotten, but our initial dismay at not being as flag-savvy as we’d thought has developed into somewhat of a tradition for our family.

Now my daughter carefully hands me her flags to carry home in my purse, and the first thing she does after walking in the door is to grab our children’s world atlas, flip to the world flags appendix in the back, and search for the matching flag.  Together we learn what country each flag belongs to, then we turn to that section of our atlas to learn more about the region of the world in which it’s located.

Saudi Arabia

Eating out has become more than just a means to a full belly for us.  It’s become one more way for us to help our children learn that the world is a bigger place than they had ever imagined.  One more learning opportunity outside the classroom walls.  One more reason for us to love living in Okinawa.


Do your kids like those little flags in the kids sets?  What do they do with them?  Do you and your family have other eating out traditions that are strictly Okinawa in nature?


  1. HI Heather,

    I’ve never seen these flags curious too where your collecting these from. We do love the cute plates, fork/spoon, cups that various restaurants use to cater to kids. Even on post I’ve noticed this. I love how kids are often kept in mind when going to family friendly places. Even alot of meals come w/ ice-cream just for the kids.. or special little treat. Can I be a kid too?!! 🙂