Getting ready for the first day of school

Tomorrow (Thursday the 9th) is the first full day of school. I had to work this evening like every Wednesday, and Christopher was working 10am-10pm, so I was trying to do the parent thing while also trying not to be a total slacker at work.  It didn't work too well, got messaged by the lead twice :(

Finally got everyone to pick out their clothes ( as far as I know they did anyway), and get their stuff ready to take tomorrow. Rhiannon was more worried about getting her hand decorated fake nails to go on and stay on.  Faelyn was listening to an Audible version of And Then There Were None for the summer reading test she has to take tomorrow since she never read it over the summer in time to take the test on summer test days. She didn't get to bed til after 11 but finally got the whole book finished. She said it even creeped her out so much she didn't want to be alone in her room. Zoe was just worried about making sure her hair was perfect.

On my lunch break at work, I decided to go ahead and pack their lunches so they'd be done and out of the way.

The past couple of days, I've been making things to have on hand for lunches as an alternative to sandwiches. So, Faelyn and Rhiannon have containers of chili made with some ground turkey, shredded chicken and I added rice as it was cooking to make it less soupy.  So now it's more like the consistency of sloppy joes.  That's better for packing in lunches.
Doesn't look like much, but it's tasty!
Zoe got a container of tuna pasta salad that she's been eating like a pig since I made it. I put a freezer pack in her lunchbox to make sure it stays cold enough.

They also all got a juicebox, string cheese and two cookies.

The string cheese was on markdown at KMart!

The older girls also got crackers to go with the taco stuff. So, nothing fancy, but they'll like it.  The older girls can microwave theirs at school if they want it warmed up, or it can be eaten cold.

I also had made a shredded chicken garden salad with romaine and carrots, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, cucumbers, and green onions, to use up stuff in the fridge.  That salad didn't last a whole day. When I make it for a dinner, I have to make enough to fill two huge salad bowls or there won't be enough since everyone gets like 2 or 3 refills.  Seconds and thirds on salad is something I approve of.

Another thing they really liked was home made refried beans using leftover soup beans I'd put in the fridge, mixed with canned tomatoes and seasoning.  They were scarfing that down with chips and crackers. So, I can make a big pot of soup beans and then make it into the bean dip, even add shredded chicken, and divide it into containers and freeze it.  Then just pop them into lunch bags the night before with a baggie of crackers or chips, and it's a lunch they'll like to eat.

I'm trying to make lunches this year less of a chore and something the kids dread to eat, and more of a comforting meal to fill their tummies and make them smile when school gets rough.

I'm planning on baking more home made cookies and sweets to pack in lunches instead of buying the cheap packs of cookies they don't even like.

I've been trying to decide if it's better to just keep buying them juiceboxes for the convenience.  I can get 10 boxes or pouches for $2 at a couple of the stores I shop at.  In fact this past week, one store has 6.75 oz ones in 3 packs for 50 cents, so I got 12 juiceboxes for $2, and the size was a little bigger than the other ones.

With 3 girls, it would take 30 juiceboxes for 2 weeks of school lunches, so $6 normally. They're prepackaged and ready to go and easy to use.   If I got good sturdy bottles that won't leak, I'd spend $12-$14 each (I'd get the smaller flylady bottles like mine). Then I'd have to make tea or Koolaid or buy juice and then make sure the bottles came home and got washed. While I am all for being greener and more friendly to the environment, having less things to worry about when packing lunches for 3 kids and a husband 5 days a week wins out.

Oh, did you notice my new placemats?  I LURVE them!  I got them at a thrift store. Four for $4! They still had TJMaxx tags on them!

Then I added a basket that I love, to hold napkins. I'm out of paper napkins, so I put in 4 of my old cloth ones I got at a garage sale once.

Hope you're enjoying this Back to School time with your kids if they're going now.  I know up North they start later, but we've always started in August here. Though it does seem to be a week earlier than it was when I was a kid. Hard to believe I have a 4th grader, a Freshman and a Junior in highschool this year! I hope my teens hang out together at school.  They have a lot of the same friends, and genuinely get along now. I think it's going to be a good year.  *fingers crossed*!

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