Friday, August 19, 2011

Back in School!

Yea, I just did a little happy dance.

I'm so glad that school is back in session. No, I don't hate my kid or not like being with him - but a brief absence and pursuing separate interests make for a better relationship in the end. I would have liked to homeschool and thought about it often while AJ was younger - then we started the process of learning and teaching and figured out each of us are better doing things more traditionally. I enjoy seeing how much he learns day to day while he is away, and when it comes to helping with homework I am much more patient than if I were taking on the task of teaching him myself. Plus, him being an only means that our social circle would be much smaller and I think he needs the social aspect of school even more than the academic education.

My SIL is sending her little ones to school soon and asked about lunches. Ugh, the bane of my morning - making lunch for school. I'm getting better about not being in such a rut but it is hard to come up with something day to day to send that doesn't require much refrigeration, no heating and no cooking. If AJ were at home with me each day he'd live on grilled sandwiches and eggs. Not really an option for the lunch box.

I started out when AJ was in Kinder with seeing how much responsibility he could handle. Could he bring a lunch box to and from school each day and not forget or lose it somewhere (this took us a long time to master and I threatened him with having to use a Hannah Montana lunchbox when he forgot his regular one!). Then I added a sandwich holder (one of those plastic ones shaped like a sandwich with a lid - great for not squishing the PB&J). Once he was managing that I added in an ice pack, then another container that had to be returned and not thrown out. Now he's older and I can trust him with more so we are going from plastic spoons to the real thing and thermos like containers for meals and drinks.

AJ, thankfully, would be happy eating pretty much the same thing everyday and so I don't vary it much. A sandwich of some sort (PB&J, lunch meat and cheese, wraps on tortillas, cheese and crackers), chips and a drink are in every lunch then I try to add one or two more small items. I have a hard time with fruit because most (oranges, apples, peaches, nectarines, bananas) are either too big, get bruised too easily or you can't cut them up before hand; so we save those for snack at home. I do send lots of berries, grapes, melon, dried fruit, applesauce and fruit cups. Some days I send a veggie - but those are usually pre-dinner snacks because I know if he runs out of time at school or just isn't hungry those are the first casualties. If I do send veggies he likes baby carrots, cucumbers, cut up red and yellow peppers, jicama, cauliflower, celery with cream cheese or PB. Baby food jars and plastic containers are the perfect size for a bit of ranch dip.

Fun things that he likes:
Cheese cubes and ham with pretzel sticks to skewer them
sushi rolls
inside out cupcakes/muffins (bake and cut through the middle, frost and put the top back on - less messy)
zucchini or carrot cake/bread
trail mixes
pudding cups
Nachos (baggie of chips, small container with salsa and sour cream or cheese)
frozen yogurt (thaws by lunchtime)
mixed nuts
popcorn (sprinkle with taco seasoning)
pickles (individual packs or wrapped in foil)
dry cereal
cheese sticks
gold fish crackers
and he always likes any kind of granola bar, fruit snacks, cookies, crackers, etc. I try to find ones that are lower in sugar and a little better for him - but he's a kid!

I'm going to try and introduce more variety this year with some warmed up foods in a thermos and see how that goes over. Please comment and add any ideas that work for your family!!

Oh and here are pictures and links to an article from Real Simple (my favorite magazine!!) Loved this idea and am going to start doing something similar!
One for the fridgeFrom

One for the pantryFrom

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