Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wow I stayed up all night long to get things ready for school Im talkin till 4 am and had to be up at 7 to get all kids ready for school but it was worth it! I have to admit that I am pretty pumped on the mountain dew though now but hey it will all be ok!
I have to give some advice though if you are ever planning on doing an all nighter DONT you should plan ahead little by little!
This time of year can be so emotional. It's not just about the balancing act we face each day with work, play, care planning, and family time. It's about starting a new year, watching the kids grow up, encouraging development and relationships, and savoring the details. It goes by too fast, like everything else. Hopefully these ideas will help you put on the brakes, reconnect with the kids, and ring in the new school year with panache and warmth.

Back-to-school means back-to-organizing. You might not have ever thought of it in those terms but it’s the truth.

You organize school clothes and school supplies. You try to get a bedtime routine established. Drop-off, pick-up, car pools or bus schedules are analyzed.

There are two back-to-school organizing projects that tend to fall by the wayside. They’ll drive you crazy …and then drive you crazy some more. Those two things? Breakfast and lunches. Mom-blogger Gina shared with me that these two things are some of her biggest troubles and worries.

Since it’s not a good plan to skip breakfast or lunch, nor is it a good plan to go crazy every school day, it’s time to try some organizing for those two areas.

Breakfast Organization

Take advantage of your kids’ love of eating out. Attach a wipe-off board to your fridge and make a menu. Following your weekly grocery shopping, create a list of choices. For example, it might read “waffles with syrup, scrambled eggs and toast, breakfast smoothie, Captain Crunch and banana.”
Have a menu board eliminates you repeating daily what is on hand. It also eliminates you from repeating it over and over to each child.
For non-readers, you can draw a picture. Or, you can also start to cut out pictures from the packages and use refrigerator magnets to create a picture menu.
Probably the biggest thing you can do to organize breakfast is to organize bedtime. A tired and cranky child has no more interest in eating breakfast than you do, if I drug you out of bed before you were ready. If mornings and breakfast are a struggle, you might need to gradually make that bedtime earlier until you find the right mix.
Eating under stress isn’t going to work. Have you noticed that they only eat slower when you start saying “Hurry or you’ll miss the bus!” Try to eliminate stress as much as you can the night before. This means backpacks are filled and by the door and clothing is laid out.
Plan a breakfast menu that matches your child’s eating style. If they don’t like to eat much but love smoothies, then offer healthy smoothies. If they love to dip, then cut up that bagel so they can dip pieces in a bit of cream cheese and jelly. Perhaps they don’t love breakfast foods that much? Offer what they do like. Perhaps you could try rolled up ham and cheese, a mug of soup or heating up something from last night’s dinner that they do like.
The next piece of advice isn’t really organizing advice, instead it is mom advice. Turn off the TV. Remove the toys from the table. When children start watching cartoons, pushing cars and trucks across the table or coloring, then they stop eating. This doesn’t mean breakfast can’t be fun. Cheerful music is a great way to start the day. Perhaps each family member can have a day of the week to choose what to listen to.
Lunch Organization

Have you ever thought about how the typical parent packs a school lunch?

First you open the fridge and grab some lunch meat. Then off to the pantry for the bread. Back to the fridge for the mustard or mayo. Over to the drawer for the sandwich bags. Then you head to the cabinet that has mini-bags of chips. Then you open the fridge again for a piece of fruit and a drink. Finally off to the cookie jar for a dessert. Wait, not done yet….off to the table for a napkin. (Did I mention that you need to multiply this times some 180 or so school days?)

No wonder it takes so long! You’ve been all over the kitchen more than once. Here’s how to organize your kitchen for school lunches.hoose a cabinet to be your lunch center. Empty it out.

Gather your lunch packing essentials: plastic bags, napkins, plastic flatware, any plastic containers and lids you might use. Next shop in your pantry. Move everything that you buy for lunches into the lunch cabinet. Don’t forget the bread and even the peanut butter!
Now tackle the fridge. To organize it for lunches, get a large plastic box (this is a good use for that one with the missing lid!). Place all your lunch packing ingredients into the plastic box. This includes cheese sticks, pudding cups, fruit, juice boxes and so forth. Make sure that your lunch meat is in its own sealed box or bag so it doesn’t leak on anything. You can even add the mustard or mayo to the box. Slide your lunch-packing box back into the fridge.
When it is time to pack lunches, simply pull out the whole box and put it on the counter under your lunch packing cabinet. Everything is at hand without so many trips around the kitchen.
During dinnertime clean-up, establish a lunch packing routine. Wash out lunch boxes. Have each child choose their side items and put them in the box. The next morning, drop in the sandwich and the drink. Even the sandwiches can be made ahead and refrigerated.
Buy extra freezer packs for keeping food cold. This way if the cold pack doesn’t make it back in the freezer, you have an extra. If your child uses a lunch box, it is still a good idea to keep a few paper bags on hand for the day they might forget to bring it home.
If you can prepare something that they like in multiples, this can really help. For example, my girls loved pasta salad. Noodles, chopped veggies and some protein make for a good lunch. When making something like that, divide it into several lunch size containers and you are ready to go.