Attention Moms with school aged kids!
Preparing school lunches turns into a dreaded chore for Moms, especially during the morning rush. A couple of years ago, one of my Mom friends mentioned that they freeze sandwiches. Pull a sandwich out of the freezer when packing lunches in the morning and by lunch time the sandwich is perfectly thawed. At the time I didn’t think much of it, but I also only had one lunch to prepare. Now that I have two kids in school – I totally get this idea! Of course I have two kids that have their own preferences – one like cheese, the other doesn’t – one likes mayo, the other prefers mustard. How can I keep track??!!
This is a great way to save time preparing your kid’s lunch box! Now I make it part of our Sunday night routine. The kids prepare clothes and backpacks and I make sandwiches for the week. Sandwiches can be stored in plastic storage bags or plastic wrap, but I am trying to make an effort to reduce waste and especially at school. I use an air-tight food storage container that will fit sandwiches in layers, using a Sweet Stackers tray to separate each kids lunch. One kid’s sandwiches are layered on the bottom and the other’s layered on top – this way I can keep track when I am packing them. Since, I am not storing the sandwiches for a long period of time, there are no problems with freezer burn or the bread drying out. The kids love them and they do not get soggy. Plus I like that the sandwiches are kept colder longer preventing deli meat or spreads to spoil.
Many Moms have asked, “What type of sandwiches do you make?”. I do prefer to use whole grain breads, but I noticed that my kids get bored with the same sandwich. All kids are different, but changing up the “traditional PB&J” can be fun and a good change for them! This week I am making ham and cheese sandwiches using Hawaiian dinner rolls and peanut butter and Nutella on whole grain Raisin Bread.
A couple of tips:
- Do not freeze lettuce, tomatoes or other similar toppings on the sandwich. Pack these items separately on the side.
- When making PB&J, smear peanut butter on both sides of the bread (at least a thin layer) to prevent the jelly from touching the bread. Jelly will make the sandwich soggy.
- Bento style storage containers (with dividers) are fun for the kids to store sides, dips, crackers, fruits & veggies. (We found some neat ones in the dollar section at Target!)
- Make your own Uncrustables – there are tools that will seal and cut the crust off.
- Shaped sandwich cutters (or cookie cutters) are a fun way to remove crust and cut into cute shapes.
Do you have any great tips to share?
This had to be one of my favorite parties! My daughter turned 6 and she invited a few girls for a quaint fairy tea party. The weather really worked out because we held it out in our yard under the pergola (though the backup plan was to have it indoors) and the garden was just starting to bloom. The fairies must have stopped by to open the flowers just in time for this magical afternoon. Don’t forget to make a place setting for the fairies!
The preparations started the night before. My daughter was just ending her Kindergarten school year and has been very excited about writing. She left a note for the fairies by one of the many fairy houses in our backyard to “leave a sign that they were here to visit” and invited them to her party tomorrow. The fairies really did come to visit because when she checked the fairy house first thing in the morning, fairy dust was sprinkled at each fairy house in our yard with a few “gems” or polished glass stones. She sure anticipated her party after school!
I made the headbands for each girl that attended the party using small silk flowers, ribbon and a butterfly and I found the package of headbands at the dollar store.
Her guests were welcomed into the yard by a “Welcome to the Enchanted Fairy Garden” sign and a fairy house.
I made placemats for the girls out of white card stock with their name, butterfly stickers and a fairy quote “Like fairy dust gleams on butterfly wings, little girl dreams are made of magical things”. At the end of the party I put the placemat and menu in their goodie bag so they could bring them home.
The menu for the fairy tea party was as follows:
Flower Power Grilled Cheese
Butterfly Egg Salad Sandwich
Ham & Cheese Snail Pinwheels
Raisin Bread with Cream Cheese and Sliced Apple
Sliced Banana and Nutella Spread on Crackers
Fresh Fruit Fairy Wands
Chocolate Dipped Fairy Berries
Rainbow Petits Fours
Magical Dragonfly Cupcakes
Peach Herbal Tea
I served proper English style tea for the girls using a herbal peach tea. All of the girls were willing to at least try it. I think it is important to try new things and it was ok if they didn’t care for it, we then served pink lemonade.
I thought this menu catered to most kid’s and I avoided peanut butter in case of food allergies. The biggest hit was the butterfly shaped grilled cheese sandwiches. I had the bread cut, buttered and the sandwiches prepared ahead of time. As I prepared the three tiered server, I put them on a hot griddle, flipped them and they were ready to serve.
The fresh fruit fairy wands were made using wooden skewers.
The dragonfly cupcakes really turned out beautiful. I dipped pretzels in melted blue chocolate wafers and pieced them together on wax paper. They perfectly stayed together to adorn the top of the cupcake. The devils food cupcakes were iced with pink cream cheese frosting.
Desserts are served! The petit fours were easily made using frozen pound cake cut into squares and dipped in different melting chocolates. These could be made a couple days in advance and kept in the fridge.
We played two games at the fairy tea party.
The first was an egg hunt in our yard and throughout the garden. The plastic eggs were filled with small items that the girls will use to build fairy houses to take home. Some items included, glass stones, buttons, pinecones, sea shells, etc. The winner had found the most eggs.
The second game was played in between courses. I filled a tray with “tea party” items and covered it with a table cloth. Once I removed the cover, I explained the items to the girls and they had one minute to look things over. I then covered the tray and gave them paper to list out as many items as they could remember. For young writers, they did a great job!
After the girls finished up their dessert, I cleared the table to work on building a take-home fairy house. I found these little odd shaped boxes that I thought would be perfect to decorate. Prior to the party, my daughter and I filled a box with some natural items, clippings from the boxwood bushes, dried pressed flowers, sticks, pinecones and small stones. I purchased a small bag of moss, seashells and glass stones from the dollar store. Just a few paper plates with glue and the girls were ready to decorate their fairy houses. The houses are perfect to be kept in a dry place outside like a covered porch.
It appeared that the girls enjoyed their afternoon together and we were thankful for them coming to our fairy tea party. The goodie bags included a book on Fairy Houses and a fairy book mark – perfectly matching the Fairy Tea Party theme.