Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Chore I Dread, and How I Overcame It

I just had a working lunch with my friend, Graham.  Our husbands may think we are just ladies who lunch, but we are actually discussing real world problems.  Like how to motivate yourself to pack your kids' lunches for the next day when you have finally put the house back together after a full day of cooking and cleaning, shuttling kids to and from practice, helping with homework, supervising bath/shower time, and folding laundry.

{We also had our toddlers with us, so that made the lunch a "working" one as well.  Thank goodness Bruegger's is ok with them "driving" their booster chairs around the restaurant.}

Graham was sharing with me how her son, who just started going to a new school, has mentioned wanting to pack his lunch since by the time he gets through the lunch line, everyone has chosen their seats and he doesn't get to sit with his friends.  We have had a similar situation in our house, so I can certainly relate.  But she has an even busier nighttime schedule than we do, and by the time everything is done, there is little time, or energy left to make lunch for the next day.

I feel the same way.  So what do I do?  Well, usually I save the stressful act of packing lunch for morning, when I am also juggling a cranky baby, hungry dog (who I cook for, in her old age), all on top of making breakfast and helping the big boys get ready for school.  Exhausting, I know!

As Graham and I talked about this dilemma of making lunch, I began to think.  There has to be an easier way.

So, I devised a plan.  And it only took 30 minutes to organize everything to put my plan into action.

I rearranged some things in my {organized--yay!} pantry so I could use some of the existing baskets for this project.  My pasta had overtaken the green basket it was in (yes, I have gotten the memo that carbs are not good for you, but I like them, so we eat them anyway).  I replaced the basket with a clear one (not as pretty, but holds more), and devoted the original green basket to my project.

Then I got to work, filling one container with fruit and yogurt, one container with juice boxes, and one container with salty/sweet snacks.  I kept granola bars in the fourth green basket labeled snacks.

I cut several apples and put them in individual snack bags for the fruit/yogurt container.  Can you see how my apple corer is split?  I need to replace it.  Anyone have one you love?  Are the Pampered Chef ones any good?

Sometimes it takes a little sweetness to make a bag of goldfish enticing.  I mixed mini m&ms into these bags for the sweet/salty container.

While I was stocking the baskets, I even had time to get out the boys snack jars and load them up with healthy afterschool snacks--apple slices, an almond granola bar (from TJ's--one of our favs), and a gogurt.

Then I lined up the baskets on the counter.  Each basket contains a label that says how many items to take out of each basket.  The basket with the yogurts and applesauces also has a tin full of spoons so they don't forget that important detail.  

When my boys got home I asked them to get their lunchboxes out and toss any trash leftover from their lunch that day.  Then I showed them how to repack their lunchboxes.  I asked them to choose a snack and put it in their bookbags as well.  While they packed, I made their sandwiches, refilled their water bottles and checked their folders/notebooks. 

Are you ready for this???  Lunch and snack packed by 3:15.  Hallelujah!

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