Free School Lunches Printable Planner

Everyone loves a good deal, right? And no one really wants to spend their time re-inventing the wheel. I know I don’t. Back in the days before my kids starting cooking for themselves, figuring out meals week in and week out could sometimes be an uninspiring task, and the default peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a piece of fruit may have found their way into the lunch bag just a bit too often.

Ginny over at Organizing Homelife has some help to offer for for busy parents. She’s got a post up with several sites she recommends for getting fresh, new school lunch ideas, along with a download of her very own cute and colorful free school lunches printable planner to help make this task a little bit easier. The planner has entries for five days and spaces for four kids, so everyone can have their own individual lunches if desired. She’s also got a great tip for how to create a home-made dry-erase cover for the planner, so you don’t need to keep printing it out every week!

Bento apple bunnyHer post made me remember that back when my girls were in middle school, homemade Bento box lunches became a fad. A group of their friends were competing to make the cutest looking, healthy lunches. Some kids were even doing things like carving apples into bunny sculptures!

These lunches look like they take some planning and time, but if the kids are willing to do some of the work, get enthused about healthy lunches, and learn some kitchen skills, you might find them just the ticket. You be the judge about whether your kids are old enough to handle a kitchen knife, but even younger kids could help with packing the box. A few sites that have some fun photos and recipes are:

Just Bento
Laptop Lunches
Parenting
How To Make Rabbit Shaped Apple Slices

Nom, nom, nom!

Tidying Up With Kids

In 1992 I had twin girls. And life was suddenly slightly less than organized. (If you ever need an illustration of the word “understatement,” the previous two sentences should fit the bill.) For a long, long time, my husband and I were just too busy and too tired to do much more than the basics and we all muddled along with a messy house. But I suddenly found myself highly motivated to get the living room in ship-shape order each night.

What motivated me? Someone gave the kids a huge tub of Legos for their second birthday. They couldn’t really build elaborate structures, but they loved playing with them. Especially dumping the bucket out on the floor with a crashing flourish. And I quickly discovered that Legos are incredibly painful to step on in bare feet. I do wonder if burning coals could be any worse. My energy for keeping at least the living room cleaned up at night was born in a burst of adrenaline while hopping on one foot.

So I wanted a quick and easy system that involved the kids.

What was the system? Just before bed, I had the girls run around the room with me, grabbing categories of items (books, clothes, toys, trash, etc.) and making big piles on the floor of each type of item… books in one pile, clothes in the other, etc.  We made a big silly game of it. Contests, songs, funny faces. And then I’d have them put away the things that they could handle on their own and helped them with the rest. They loved it!

Motivation is where you find it, right?  I mean, come on… have you ever stepped on a Lego?

Why Organize? Why Not?

As a child and young adult, I was incredibly tidy and organized. I made my bed every morning. I picked up and put away my toys. I folded my clothes. There was a literal line of demarcation down the middle of the room I shared with my younger sister, who was not tidy and organized.

Well, why be diplomatic? I love her dearly, but she was a slob. One my side: a serene pool of calm. On her side: a chaotic whirlwind of stuff.

I’ve always loved the happy illusion of being in control that being organized brings. It’s not all an illusion, of course, but it’s not as all-encompassing a means of control as I wish.

Because there’s always stuff in life. Good, bad, indifferent. Physical, emotional, mental. Corporeal and incorporeal. It’s always there.

Still… I like to try to corral as much of it as possible. And why not? I’d rather swim in the serene pool of calm than ride the whirlwind.

If you feel the same way, please follow along!

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