Back to School

Hard to believe the summer is slowly coming to a close. For some, school has already started. For others, it’s coming up in a week or so, and for most of us in New Jersey school starts in September. Since school is creeping up on us, I thought I’d take time to share some things that have helped me get lunch prep for school days easier.

Image

One thing I have learned is that preparation is key. Nothing beats reaching into the freezer and pulling out a ready-made lunch. One of the best things I do is purchase bread and lay the slices on the counter. Half get peanut butter, the other half get jelly. Into a zip lock bag they go and get stacked in the freezer. Sure, you could buy those Crustables, but why spend the money on something you can do yourself, and you can control the health of it too (whole wheat bread, organic natural peanut butter and organic jelly).

The other thing I do is to break down a bag of snacks into individual portion sizes. I will take pretzels, organic popcorn and package it so that when I prepare lunches the night before all I have to do is grab a bag.

ImageOne of my most favorite “tools” for packing lunches are these Fit to Fresh sets (I buy mine at Home Goods). They have freezeable packs that fit into the containers. I will pack sandwiches, fruit, pepperoni and cheese, whatever needs to stay cold in these the night before. In the morning, I slip in the freezer pack and throw in the lunch bag.

Another thing I have purchased are the re-usable sandwich and snack bags. I purchased these white and purple ones at Target (similar here). You can wash the insides and even throw in the washer.

I also know, one of the hardest things is trying to come up with lunch ideas to keep things interesting. Who wants the same boring thing in their lunch? The following blogs have some great ideas:

50 Lunch Box Ideas

10 Ways to Switch Up Your Kids Lunch

I would love to hear any tips or tricks you have to make mornings easier.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

It Was All Good

First of all, let me just say having a 4 day weekend is one of the best things! I actually felt like I had time to do things and not being left to feel rushed and find “poof” the weekend is over.

Thursday we kept it low-key and went to enjoy our lake. Some friends showed up to keep us company. The girls were able to occupy each other and the moms got to chat and catch up. (one of the nice things about the girls growing up.) Sitting and looking out over the lake as blue skies soar above is so peaceful and is one of the aspects that makes living here in the summer wonderful.

That evening we mounted up and headed to the next town to enjoy their firework festivities for the first time. They did an awesome job! Rock on Denville! When we arrived a fantastic cover band was playing hits from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. People were dancing and letting their fourth of July flag fly! It was an interesting site, this park lawn. Some people must arrive way early, because they had mini tailgating set ups going on. Their were people working on their embroidery, one woman was spinning yarn, others playing board games. If it wasn’t in the middle of an open field with not one lick of shade to be had, you might have convinced me. My daughter went and made a friend with another little girl with a beach ball. It was nice that she was occupied, saving us from the litany of “when are they going to staaaart?” And miracle of miracles, some friends found us (!) and we had some enjoyable company for the show. Denville even had an orchestra that accompanied the fireworks. It was a really nice touch. My only complaint was that the fireworks were short. But doesn’t everyone feel that way?

Image

Little Miss Firecracker

On Friday I sent Bean to camp for half a day and ran errands. We were hosting a “drinks and desert” party that evening. I figured drinks and desert was much less work than BBQing. With the obscene heat we are having, I’m glad we opted not to BBQ. It’s too hot to stand in front of a grill!

Drinks and desert is the perfect combo. Cold drinks always feel good on a hot night. And I did most of the desert as “finger type food”, or stick type food, because everything is better on a stick. This also makes it easier for guests to sample a wide variety (and it cut down on the amount of paper products).

Image

Everything seems fancier on a stick

Image

The kids station. Juice boxes, silly string, bubbles, glow in the dark headbands and masks, light up balloons.

Image

Not a party without cupcakes!

When it comes to party planning with kids involved, you cannot go wrong with 2 things: silly string and glow sticks. I need to figure out how to buy silly string in bulk. The howls of laughter and glee from spraying friends (and more importantly, being allowed to!) is awesome to hear. For those worried, it disintegrates pretty quickly from your arms and clothes, you just have to brush yourself off. I think the backyard looks pretty cool with all these bright-colored streamers everywhere after they are done. Once it rains, it’s gone.

We also used glow in the dark balloons. They have a little battery-powered light in them that pulses different colors and at different speeds. Also a big hit with the kids. You can purchase the Illooms brand at your local Wal Mart or order them online.

Besides the silly string and glow things, I think the real highlight was our purchase of a snow cone machine. My daughter was beyond excited about it and was telling everyone she got a snow cone machine. The kids were so jazzed they were practically on top of me when I was making them. And the adults figured out we could make mommy versions by pouring the mai tai’s over them. I love creative friends! The machine we purchased isn’t super huge, and can easily be taken to parties. I think we might be popular party guests :-)

The rest of the weekend we spent chillin in our backyard. I have to say, finding a misting fan has gone up on my list of things to do. Because dang its hot in Jersey!

Image

Leave a comment

Filed under Holiday, Party

A Simple Way To Healthy Up

Recently I saw a great conversion chart that showed you how to use Chobani greek yogurt to replace some of the fattening ingredients in recipes. I can’t wait to be able to replace things like oil, sour cream, etc. when I’m cooking.

Here’s the conversion for those wondering:

Image

Want to print out a copy and hang on your fridge? Click HERE.

They also have some FANTASTIC recipes on the site.

I can’t wait to make these Mixed Berry FroCHO Pops. They look so cool and creamy and refreshing for the summer.

Have you experimented with greek yogurt? What recipes have you made? We’d love to hear

Leave a comment

Filed under Health, Meals, Uncategorized

An Early Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful dad’s out there! If you are like me, finding a gift to say “thanks for joining me on this crazy parenting ride” isn’t always so easy.

This is where Dollar Shave Club comes in. Imagine, a great and practical gift coming to your door each month for a buck!! Or if you want to “upgrade” you can do the $6 or $9 month program. You get the free razor (ha!) and 4-5 cartridges a month depending on your plan. Imagine your husband having fresh blades each month. No more knicking and walking around with little blobs of toilet paper stuck to his face. Or even worse, running out of blades. Throw in the shave butter too. He’ll thank you (and, if you are really smart, you can borrow some for smooth soft legs).

Image

I ordered this for my husband and he was thrilled. The first box came really fast (less than a week). (If you’re saying “hey, this is great, but I can’t get it by Sunday” they have an e-gift.) The nice thing is, if you aren’t satisfied, you can cancel. Or if your husband has a light beard, you can slow your shipments down. Super easy company to work with. And their videos aren’t half bad either.

Hope this helps you if you are in a Father’s Day gift bind. If not, keep it in mind for birthday’s, holidays, any day…

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Beyond the Fridge

Image

If your house is a typical house, then you have LOTS of artwork that comes home with your budding Picasso’s. After a while, you run out of space to hang it around the house (or maybe you aren’t into hanging it all over your house in the first place). I have plenty of things hanging off my fridge in addition to cotton ball sheep: my calendar…school schedule…coupons… etc. and space is a premium. When new things came in, I tried to throw old things out. Sometimes I got away with it. Mostly I got busted. Nothing screams “mom of the year” more than a tear streaked little girl standing over the trash can boo hoo’ing.

Oddly enough, while doing laundry it hit me. My washing machine and dryer are all metal (and boring looking) and would be the perfect place to hang all that extra artwork. I quickly grabbed a few pieces and some magnets and hung them right up. I have to say, it certainly brightens up my laundry room. Now, if only it could make doing laundry more exciting!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Soon… Red, White and Blue

In a few weeks, we will have the “kick off to summer” holiday: Memorial Day! I love finding something cute for The Bean to wear for Memorial Day, especially because she can rock it for Fourth of July and Labor Day too. Love multiple holiday use. Here are some ideas to help your little girl embrace her patriotic-ness.

redwhite

1 Striped Ponte Dress 2 All American Dress  3 Ruffle Block Dress 4 Spirit Sneaker 5 Peace Tee 6 Star Spangle OutfitOutfit

Leave a comment

Filed under Clothing

Summer…. Ahhhhhh Summer!

 

Today was a glorious New Jersey day. Temperatures in the 60s, slight breeze, bright and sunny with blue skies and puffy white clouds. We spent so much time outside soaking it in. We chalked, we pulled out the bounce house, we used the swings, and we blew the biggest bubbles ever! Such a great day with my girl.

All this sun and fun had us itching for summer. And summer means swim suits. Here are some adorable ones. We already have the Gymboree on order!

suits

1 Ruffle Tiered Swimsuit 2 Two Piece Stars & Stripes 3 One Shoulder Stripe  Tankini 4 Stripe Ruffle Flower Tankini 5 Printed One Shoulder 6 Two Piece Ruffle

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized