Summer is over and now I can finally relax and go back to some normalcy in my world. As a working mom, I am not sure how I feel about summers. After completing my first summer marathon with school-aged kids, it honestly was definitely more stressful than blissful. Don’t get me wrong, we had some really nice family time over the course of the summer, but for the most part, I was seeking out camps that lasted more than 4 hours, spending obscene amounts of money on said 4 hours, and trying to figure out pickup schedules that changed weekly. This is definitely not what I expected of summers and I still don’t know how my mom handled it back in the day.
Moment over and moving on…. It’s September and I am throwing a good old fashioned party now that school is in session and the kids are back into a normal routine. Seriously life-changing. Last year I wrote an article about weeknight dinners (you can read it here) and I can’t say enough how I still am killing myself by not following my own advice, but I am trying. This year I wanted to share the number one thing I really am killing that reduces my stress in the mornings.
Bento boxes are all the rage on Pinterest and they look so amazing yet incredibly intimidating to me. I can barely make a cutout cookie, so I don’t think my kids are going to be eating panda bear sandwiches anytime soon. I also suffer from lack of time and my kid suffers from refusing to eat any food I buy for her even though she ate it last week, sooooo I have some shortcuts to reduce the stress. Most mornings I have about 5 minutes to get lunch together so here is what I do.
- Tray lunch at least one day a week. Mondays are a tray lunch for me. My school does Pizza Mondays and it is glorious. I always think I should be able to use the whole weekend to get my stuff together and have lunch prepared, but we all know that never happens because of the endless cycle of birthday parties. So if you can pull off a tray lunch on Mondays I suggest you go for it.
- I keep a heart, star, and flower cookie cutter in the drawer on our island and use it to cut out shapes in ham and cheese. My 1st grader is picky and she seems to eat anything in a heart as long as it doesn’t have bread. You can cut sliced ham and cheese super quick and throw them in a Tupperware container. Bento Box yes!
- Prepackaged pickles and olives are amazing and my kids love them. If I can’t figure out fruit or veggies, these are good go-to's for me.
- Print out a stack of these cute notes and throw one into their lunch. Kids love notes from mom & dad and this is easy.
- Stop stressing about lunch because as I said before, half of it will probably come back with them at the end of the day, and there’s the rub.