School Lunches Made Easy

The internet is buzzing with back-to-school lunch suggestions, organizational tips, and photo shoot ideas (so many chalkboards). Many of you found my Summer Calendar For Kids post a real lifesaver (it was pinned at least twice – my head is still spinning). So I thought I’d create a budget-friendly, simple, and nutritious meal plan for all those lunches we parents need to pack for our little darlings. Don’t worry, I snuck in a little treat each day, because life should be enjoyed, right?

Busy families do not have time or energy to create a new lunchtime meal every day. To maximize simplicity I’ve carefully selected four items that will keep your offspring nourished and ready to learn.

Convenient and affordable

Convenient and affordable

You might be worried that your children will become bored with the same items each day. No. You can keep things fresh and exciting by cutting the cheese sandwiches into triangles, then squares, and if you’re feeling really Pinterest-y, go ahead and try rectangles. Kids are easily duped.

Feeling a litte adventurous? Go ahead and swap out the apples for bananas. You be you.

Bonus Feature:

Breakfast for the parent on the go. All in less than ten minutes.

photo 2

Coming soon: Afterschool Snack Ideas


Crocs, S’mores, and Dirty Feet

Food, coolers, ice

tents

sleeping bags

Pack up contents of the house

Sunscreen

Matches

Wienie roasting sticks

Did we bring the pop and chips?

The kids!

We arrived with six, now only four

Search party

Breathe easy, they’re found

White rabbit White rabbit

White rabbit White rabbit

Stop adding paper to the fire

Seriously

Lost kids againIMG_0584

Where could they be?

Buddy system

does not work

Dirty feet

Unwashed faces

Relax

Camping is hygiene-free

Night falls

Fire’s out

Into nylon huts we go

Sleep

Hissing

My will to live seeps out

No

Air mattress has a leak

(Same thing)

IMG_0587

P.S. Camping is growing on me. I went willingly this year.


That’s Okay

Mission Impossible theme plays. You sense the tension mounting. It’s only a matter of time. This thing is going to blow. Take cover!

Okay.200-1

Okay? That’s it? This house is about to self-destruct in an epic way and you come back with “OKAY”?

Okay.

What does that even mean? Aren’t you going to intervene? DO SOMETHING!

Okay.

There you go again, just calmly sitting there. We want to see some action. Panic. Even a raised heart rate. GIVE US SOME REACTION, WOMAN.

Okay.

________________

It has taken me years to get to this point, and I sometimes still fall into the snare that those little tyrants set, trying to pull me into the dark abyss that is “Their Problem”. I am mostly certain that this technique evolved out of inertia, nay laziness, but it works. Trust me.

He took more chips than me.200-2

Okay.

He won’t pass the grapes.

Okay.

He called me a dummy.

Okay.

She’s breathing on me.

Okay.

It’s my turn to choose a show/use the iPad/sit in the front/

Okay.200

He didn’t take the one he touched.

Okay.

This mustard is too spicy.

Okay.

He pointed at me.

Okay.

He picked his nose.

Okay (but wash your hands, that’s gross).

He peed on the floor.

Okay. Wait, what? (there are some exceptions).

For added effect, just shrug without making eye contact. You’ll foster more resiliency, problem-solving skills in your children, and your wine budget line will decrease significantly. It’s science.

Okay?

Okay.

_________

200-3

*This technique also works with adults, but with varying results. More testing is needed.


Let’s Unplug

Summer is a time for togetherness, to unwind and recharge. It’s also a great time to unplug from everything and be truly present. So that’s what our family did. We unplugged for four days. And let me tell you, it was glorious.

We played board games and baked cookies together. We hauled out the loom and made new throw rugs for our living room. We dried herbs and made decorative wreaths for the local senior centre. And we got a great start on our family Christmas cantata script. All with time to spare.

There was no wifi, no internet at all. That meant no Netflix, no social media, no Clash of Clans. It also meant no bickering over devices. But let me reiterate, no Netflix. NO NETFLIX.

Oh sure, there were some challenges. It is hard to be creative when you don’t have Pinterest at your fingertips. But I discovered that it is possible, nay, preferable, to make a sandwich without a theme. I couldn’t answer all the boys’ questions without my good friend, Google. But it turns out that kids aren’t all that hung up on “accuracy” and “validity”. They will accept just about anything you tell them if you say it with confidence. For instance, I know more about combustible engines than any of us thought.

We had to dig deep a few times to find new ways to entertain ourselves, but it didn’t take long for us to recall that the library loans out movies for free. You can make popcorn without wifi. Don’t need the world wide web to mix up lemonade from concentrate.

Yes, unplugging is good for the soul. I highly recommend it.

Not only can you connect as a family, this is also a great way to get to know your neighbours. If we hadn’t been without internet access, I would not have chanced upon our neighbours “tazzyzee32” and “wireless_mom” or the other one five doors down, “ruko-752”. What a time to be alive.

Give it a try, trust me.

Upcoming post – how unplugging can increase your fitness level.


Family Perseveres Through Tyke’s Reign of Terror

“I don’t know what happened. Everything was going fine and then the youngest brother was eliminated in a round of Spoons.”

Fear was ignited in a residential home Sunday afternoon. Witnesses say they had no indication that things were about to go so sideways.

A fun family game or a gateway to mayhem?

A fun family game or a gateway to mayhem?

Says one participant, “There was laughter and smiles and then suddenly things turned violent.”

The father of the alleged perpetrator said that although his son is generally even-tempered, he has been known to lash out when frustrated. “But never so quickly or viciously,” dad added.

That may explain this seemingly sweet preschooler’s reaction when he lost a round of a classic game.

According to his older brothers, the family was learning a new game their mother claimed was “super fun” and one that her “family played all the time on Sunday afternoons.” The boys added that she wasn’t allowed to watch television on Sundays growing up, so her idea of “fun” might be slightly skewed. They did admit that they were enjoying this new game.

“It was the second round, another sibling had already been eliminated. Mom got four-of-a-kind and quietly grabbed a spoon. The rest of us followed suit and that left the youngest one spoon-less. That’s the way the game works, we don’t play favourites or let anyone win in our family. Mostly,” the oldest brother recounted.

“As soon as he realized he was the only one without a spoon, he turned and hit Mom on the leg. And that’s when we all knew the truth. He was a poor loser.”

The chair in the middle of this domestic dispute.

In an effort to turn things around, the family moved on to another classic game, Musical Chairs. Sadly, this also ended in violence as the tiny ankle-biter turned his wrath to other members of the family when he was unable to claim a chair as the music stopped.

“He just couldn’t handle being eliminated. He kept promising to change, but finally we had to exclude him from a round. Then two,” said his dad.

Thankfully, no one was permanently injured in these attacks, but the family says they will be focusing on social skills development and sportsmanship over the next few weeks.

“We just don’t want him to be a poor sport to anyone else,” said the mother. “We aren’t that kind of family.” His mother was not available for further comment as she was busy tweeting about the incident.

Despite the family’s assertions that they are a peaceful group, the youngster’s grandparents tell a slightly different tale, describing their young grandson as “feisty”.

“We aren’t all that surprised,” said his grandfather. “His mother was very much like that at this age and used her cuteness for evil. We will just keep hoping for the best and keep our distance when it looks like he might be losing. There are no elimination games in our near future.”

As for the rest of the family, they have no plans to cease game-playing at this time.


It’s Just Preschool

Preschool graduations. I admit, I have always thought they were a bit ridiculous.

It’s just preschool. They are starting out their school lives. How can one graduate when one is just beginning?

They come in children sizes, but should they?

They come in children sizes, but should they?

It’s just preschool. Why do we need to have ceremonies for this? Not everything has to be a big deal.

It is just preschool. They basically played all year.

What was the curriculum? Painting, gluing, singing, counting.

They just learned to share, listen, take turns, develop fine motor skills.

They only learned how to make friends, keep friends, speak clearly, open their own snacks. Print their name. Be away from mom and dad.

Why are we celebrating this past year? It’s just preschool after all.

Just preschool, where their teachers invested in their young lives as they ate their playdoh cookies. It was one or two mornings per week where they were stretched to try new things and think outside of their own experiences. Sitting at the carpet taught them mutual respect and how to follow a new routine. Planting bean seeds in paper towels and baggies fostered wonder and a sense of nurturing.

Maybe graduations aren’t necessary, but big things happen throughout our lives and they need to be marked. I think we’ve gotten carried away with graduations in particular (preschool, kindergarten, grade six, grade 8, grade 12, need I go on?) but reflecting on a year of growth and learning? That matters.

Pausing to say good-bye to a season of education or a milestone of life, let’s keep doing that. Minus the formal wear.

Even if it’s just preschool.

(Thank you, teachers of all grade levels. What you do matters and we are grateful).


Summer Calendar For Kids

photo-73

Getting ahead on our summer plans.

Next on today’s To-Do list: Summer Bucket List followed by Summer Meal Planning. Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for more organization tricks.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 760 other followers