Tuesday, August 22, 2017

back to school, for mom

It's that time of year again.

Back to school.

Excitement is high.

The kids are scrubbing lunch boxes and shoes and backpacks that have been left to gather dust over the summer.

Angeline is making the sewing machine hum. 

{Good grief she out grew last year's dresses in a flash this summer.  I'm prepared for her to pass me up like I'm chained to a tree here in the next 6 months.}

The  new school supplies have been bought and carefully packed in their proper places.

On Friday morning my children will head back into the classroom for 9 months of study.

And I will begin my wild morning marathon of getting breakfast prepared and lunches packed and faces wiped and rooster tails smoothed down and papers signed and homework folders organized by 8:00 am each morning.

Ok. Really, I don't do e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. for my family in the morning. BUT I do need to makes sure everything somehow does happen.

 I would feel ultimately responsible if my child didn't show up at school some morning for no other reason besides "mom didn't have my lunch packed in time".


I try all kinds of things to keep myself excited about packing lunches.

I try all kinds of things to keep my children excited about the lunches that I pack.

Some days I even try adding hilarious jokes to distract from the pathetic lunch. It buys me a little favor but it isn't long lasting.

Don't be fooled.

I really struggle with packing lunches.

Either I pack the same thing too often or I totally forget that Son A hates peanut butter but Son B loves peanut butter.

Or I pack things that I love to eat and forget that my kids don't necessarily share my personal preferences.

Or I send something that just doesn't really work. It takes way too long to heat up so they just don't eat it or it ends up creating the mess of the year on the front of their shirt.

Or whatever....you get it, right??

I have some years on my back and I know how this goes.

It only takes about one or two weeks of packing school lunches and all the above scenarios begin to surface.

And then I get in some for silly argument about school lunches with either child A, B, C or D.

They end up sad and crying and I end up feeling unappreciated.

 I eventually repent because visions of my tear stained, hungry child at school with un-salvageable salsa  dripping out of his lunch box along with a small bag of crushed chips haunt me when I am falling asleep at night.

This morning I thought to myself, You know, Shaunda, you really could be more proactive in this whole lunch packing initiative. 

So I began brainstorming of ways that I could prepare in advance for this whole morning rush and lunch packing pressure.

I decided to make these babies.

They are basically home made hot pockets.

I mix up a batch of my french bread dough.

Roll it out and cut it into small squares.

Place some sliced ham. pepperoni and cheese inside.

Bring the corners together and pinch them shut.


Freeze. (If you can keep from eating them)

So they're a bit messy and time consuming to assemble, but it is like finding a nugget of gold in the freezer on a hurried school morning. Especially if you were thinking you might have to go out and butcher a chicken in order to have something to put in the lunch boxes.

For me these little hot pockets present a win-win situation.

Never once have my children complained about this particular item.

They are quick and easy for me to pack

They also offer an easy alternative for the boys to pack their own lunches. (My oldest daughter already packs her own lunch)

I want to work towards allowing the boys to pack their own lunches this year. However, I know that means that I need to have lunch items on hand that are not too complicated for them to pull together.

I  am considering doing a baking day twice a month this year in which I will make baked goods and prepackage them for lunches.

Along with the baked goods, hopefully I will have the courage to prepare more of these sandwiches or other similar kinds of baked sandwiches or pizza.

I would love to hear any good ideas that you have for either menu suggestions for packed lunches or methods which have helped you sustain good momentum with packing exciting and nutritious lunches through out the entire school year.

So. Yeah. I am basically yelling "HELP" before desperation even has a chance to strike this year.


  1. yelling help over here too! these are a great idea! Jolynn

  2. Awesome idea! I've made hot pockets with extra pizza crust dough sometimes... A huge hit. I love your idea about baking days twice a month to stock up. I've considered it and never made it happen.

    And your line about butchering a chicken so you have SOMETHING to pack is hysterical. Still giggling.

    1. The most hysterical part is the fact that I would actually need to ride my bicycle to your house and snatch one of your son's chickens to butcher. No wonder the idea is completely overwhelming to me. :)

  3. I am so with you on the lunch packing problems! These look like such a great idea, as does having a system for baking and freezing things ahead of time.... But I know me way too well!

  4. I always hope for pizza leftovers from the weekend to put in Monday. A ham sandwich for the second day and hopefully leftovers from a supper for the third day. Hot lunch for the other two days. I pack everyone's lunch the same with variations on how I make the ham sandwiches. A salty, fruit and granola bar or cookie make up the rest.
    I'm not ready for this either. I love our summer time lunches. I set everything out that's in the fridge and people help themselves to what suits them.-Cathy

    1. I like your general plan!!! I feel like I need to have more structure to help me think through creating a workable plan for us. I like structure with some flexibility and that's what your plan sounds like to me. Thanks.

  5. These are easy to make and are good hearted.
    1 roll of bought biscuits
    Cooked sausage

    Add barbecue sauce or ranch to meat until desired consistency.Make a cup with the biscuit and put into muffin pan. Fill with the meat and top with shredded cheese. Bake until biscuits are done.

    1. Nice!! I'll have to try this. I've done something very similar with sloppy joe meat. I'll have to try the ranch!!

  6. I understand the desperate situation of needing ideas for lunch! Enjoyed your ideas and will implement some. The biscuit and sausage idea in the comments is similar to my latest creation that I used last term. I used frozen tart shells, fill with a tsp pizza sauce, pepperoni and shredded cheese. Bake. Then freeze and use as needed. Only needs to be reheated then...or eaten cold if they prefer that.

    1. the frozen tart shell sounds delicious!!

  7. My boys talked about the jokes Christopher had in his lunch. I thought that was super mom in action! These pockets would be a hit.

    Your description of salsa dripping from a lunch box is all to vivid.

  8. Sandwiches can be made ahead and frozen. Even PB & J! They are thawed by lunch time. The best ever school lunch advice that I can give is to invest in a crockpot for your classroom. I know that's a bit unconventional, but we have one in ea classroom, maybe even 2, depending on the number of students. We pack food in small jars, (an excellent way to use up leftovers), wrap sandwiches in foil and have a hot sandwich, pizza, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, burgers, ANYTHING wrapped in foil or in jar can be heated in that crockpot. They turn it on low around 10am and the food is ready at lunchtime. Very occasionally a jar has the bottom break out, but it's been rare in 10 years. This, to me, is the biggest help. Next is to have your children pack their own lunches. Mine need to take a main dish, fruit (yogurt or canned peaches, etc - I freeze lots and lots of 4 oz containers with strawberries, peaches, a-sauce and slush) a snack and/or cookie. Some years they did most of the packing the evening before, other years it works to do it in the morning. Or assign one or 2 to pack lunches one week while the rest do other things.

    1. I never heard of using a crock pot for school lunches, but it does sound quite clever!!! I appreciate all your great ideas!