Sunday, September 8, 2013

Lunches for the Whole Family

We are trying to all take our lunches to school or work on Monday through Thursday each week. On Fridays, Doc has academics and lunch is provided. On Fridays, I eat lunch at Mazzio’s with the rest of the teachers at my school as our week end celebration. Little Bird takes her lunch every day to do school.
We set this lunch goal for TWO very important reasons:
#1 Taking your lunch is cheaper than buying it at school/going out to grab lunch
#2 Taking your lunch is healthier than take out/pick up/ready made options
The biggest secret to doing this is that we prepare every side dish on Sunday after we get groceries.
Doc and I’s Sunday Night Lunch Prep
We pick 1-2 fruits and 1-2 vegetables for the week. Then, we wash everything and split it into Take N’ Toss containers which are just about perfect for portion sizing.

I use a vis-a-vis marker to label them and put all of the side item containers in one of our drawers in the refrigerator that is reserved for lunch items. I use small containers to provide “dips” for the fruits and vegetables, which are normally either hummus or plain Greek yogurt.
Little Bird’s Sunday Night Lunch Prep
To prepare things for Little Bird, I fill these amazing apple sauce pouches. I used to purchase the pouches at the store that were disposable. I found the price of the packs of 4 squeezable apple sauces to be a bit overwhelming. Over $1.00 for a side item for Little Bird’s lunches was a bit more than I wanted to spend. I found reusable pouches online. Squooshi pouches work amazingly well! They are easy to clean and I’ve already broken even on cost. I DID write “DO NOT THROW AWAY” on the lids and pouches to prevent any issues with them being tossed in the trash at school.

I buy large, organic apple sauce containers and send these pouches in my daughter’s lunch. I prep the pouches on Sunday and then refill as we go through out the week.
I love the Planetbox system and so do her teachers! At her age, lots of children still need help opening different parts of their lunches, but I can pack everything in divided compartments that all open when she opens the box.
Also, Little Bird is doing an amazing job of packing her own lunches. She helps pick the foods she’d like to eat and where they go. I use these silicon muffin molds to divide up foods (and make them bright and pretty).

With as much done ahead of time as possible, all we have to do is stick to our routine.
1. ) So our evening routine is generally that Little Bird and I make dinner.
2.) Doc comes home and we eat dinner together at the table.
3.) We all work together to clean the kitchen. Doc does the dishes and cleans up the counters. I pack entrees for Doc and I’s lunches as I put away leftover food from dinner as we often take leftovers. Otherwise, I make wraps, sandwiches, or other options for lunch. Then I simply grab 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, and 1 dip for each of us from the fridge and throw them in the lunch bags.
4.) Little Bird sprays the table down and wipes it off. When she finishes, she comes into the kitchen and helps me pack her lunch.
That means that in less than ten minutes, we normally have the kitchen clean, food put away, and lunches made and in the fridge for the next day.
We are on week 3 of this and so far it’s gone really well, but we definitely plan well and make sure we stick to our routine.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Simplifying Housework


Doc works. I work. Little Bird goes to school full time. We are exhausted in the evenings. By the weekend we just want to spend all our time relaxing and enjoying each other. Let’s just say that none of us are ever in the mood for housework.

So before I went back to work, we did a big overhaul of the house. We reorganized everything. We cleaned out closets and cabinets and pantries and erred on the side of minimalism.

Little Bird was given a chore chart to ensure that I spent less time cleaning up after her and that she assumes a role as part of the family in sharing the family work.

We set goals to keep the kitchen clean and the house de-cluttered during the week by actually cleaning as we went daily and not allowing ourselves to get sloppy.

So Sunday is our “work day”. Work for us means dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, and laundry. Now that we are on our 4th Sunday of preparing for the week, I’m happy to say that we’ve kept it manageable. We normally get the “work” done in less than an hour and then just have to change laundry loads throughout the day. So far, so good. Let’s just hope we keep it up.

Back to Work, Back to School, Refocus and Embrace Planning the Future


It has been a while since my last post, but rest assured plenty has been going on.

I think too much to put in one post.

So look forward to posts on:

  • Lunches for the Whole Family
  • Quick and healthy dinners you can make EVEN on a week night
  • Simplifying Housework when everyone works full time
  • Fall recipes I adore

And then hopefully once I get all of those finished, I’ll have some time to post about the difficulty of envisioning a future after child loss and how Doc and I have overcome the reluctance to pursue and seek out plans for our future. The next year will bring some GIANT changes for our family and I can’t wait until we can start announcing those changes.