Tips for Helping Kids Make Their Own Lunch

Tips for Helping Kids Make their Own Lunch

 

kids lunch

School has started or will start very soon and so will school lunches.

Yikes! As a mom my school lunches were not all that interesting nor were they all that healthy, I have to admit at this stage of my life as a grandmother. But for the past two years I have watched my daughter make lunch for her daughter, who is now in 3rd grade and it was such a vastly different food experience than in my days of kids’ lunches.

I began to research information on interesting lunches that were both healthy and tasty. Sometimes the healthy part was hidden and could not even be tasted except by very discerning tastebuds. Along with my daughter we came up with some beautiful combinations that my granddaughter both enjoyed and requested again and again.

We loved Planet Lunchbox to help keep lunches fresh and cool or warm. They can be decorated and personalized with magnetic designs purchased along with the lunchbox itself. There is also a great carrying case that has a pocket for a cooling pack which worked very well for my granddaughter throughout her school year. Kids’ lunch bags seem to self destruct after one year but this one will easily make it through three years will minimal care, along with the stainless lunch box itself. Since it is a pricey combination this is a good thing to know before you make a purchase.

Kids can also learn to fill up these lunch boxes pretty easily themselves with some assistance and suggestions from their parents or grandparents or even from their friends who might already be making their own lunches. My granddaughter has a nut allergy so her choices are dictated by how foods are made and packaged. Many times cookies and baked goods have to be homemade. Convenience foods are usually not appropriate for many nut allergic kids so that makes food choices very important for my granddaughter. Both she are her mother are vigilant about label reading even if it is something they buy all the time. You never know when processing or ingredients will change in your favorite go to snack or food staple

When it comes to kids making their own lunches there are a few tips we found helpful. I wish I had known some of these things when I was much younger and sending my daughters off to school with their lunch bags.

Being Positive

We found this key to success when kids are making their own lunches. If you practice some indifference when it comes to perfection especially related to how the finished product looks, your child will feel so much better as he or she attempts to make a sandwich that looks like one that you made. Remember that being positive will be rewarded in the end.

Take kids to the grocery store to help pick out foods for lunch.

This is so important. If they are in charge of their choices it makes them more vested in the process. It probably helps to make a small list of possible food selections prior to actually getting to the store to avoid chaos in the aisles.

Kids can choose their own foods

Create a designated area for food prep and storage of lunch friendly items

If you have room it would be extremely helpful to have an area where your children can do their preparation and where foods are readily accessible when needed. This will cut down time and hopefully create less mess. Again, letting your children help with setting up a prep area will help them become part of the kitchen team.

Get Creative

One of my favorite kids’ friendly cookbooks is from Momables by Laura Fuentes. She has a wonderful website and three books that are our favorites for family recipes that are easy, healthy and great for snacks and meals.

kids lunch

There are many months of lunches ahead…don’t get discouraged if your children slack off once in awhile. Revisit and tweak the process with them to keep them from getting bored. They are no different than we are when it comes to forming a habit. It takes time and patience with yourself and with them.

Happy Lunches Everyone!

Weekend Pics from Parenting in the Loop

Weekend Pics from Parenting in the Loop

My pics this week are from the New York Times. Motherlode always has some really great posts and is a blog that I catch up on during my weekend. I follow many blogs and bloggers, there are so many good ones on all kinds of topics. Once I start reading it is hard to stop sometimes. It is my way to binge!

These three are my favorites this week. I hope you get a chance to read them during this long weekend.

weekend reading picksLast fall, I tried adding another question to the mix: Can I get cash for this? Online consignment stores and what essentially amount to used clothing buyers, particularly for designer goods, began popping up in my Facebook feed, promising to help me “reclaim the value” in my closet — and, I soon discovered, my children’s closets as well.

Source: Get Paid to Organize Your Children’s Closets (and Yours) – The New York Times

 

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Dearest Parenting Experts, What advice do you have for dealing with feigned incompetence in previously capable, competent children? When a student suddenly regresses, claiming they can’t complete skills I know they have mastered, or when a child suddenly loses the ability to do the laundry, say, flailing his boneless, ineffectual arms about as he jabs at buttons on the washing machine, wailing all the while that he can’t possibly do laundry; it’s too hard.

 

Source: When Children Say ‘I Can’t,’ but They Can, and Adults Know It – The New York Times

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Over the last few months, researchers from Pew have been looking at parents, teenagers and the Internet. They’ve looked at how teenagers live their lives online, and how they feel about that new (to adults) arena. Now, in a newly released report, the researchers are exploring what parents and teenagers say about how parents monitor teenagers online and, perhaps more interestingly, how they don’t

 

Source: Parents Monitoring Teenagers Online, and Mostly, Getting It Right – The New York Times

If you have a three day weekend because of the Martin Luther King Holiday take some time to reflect on what this day means to you and your family.

The Christmas Pickle Tradition in Our House

The Christmas Pickle Tradition

by Adrienne Lavine

Christmas Pickle Tradition

Christmas Pickle Tradition for Colin

Having our first child, Colin,in August was the most thrilling experience for my husband and me.

With the holiday upon us, we have been trying to think of new ideas to be creative and fun and start traditions with our little family of three.

We stumbled upon the Christmas Pickle Tradition.

When our son is old enough we plan on hiding the pickle ornament somewhere on the tree on Christmas Eve and on in the morning once Colin finds the pickle he can open his first Xmas present.
I can’t wait until he is old enough to really enjoy the Holiday.

Right now it is all about the tree lights.

We are sharing the Christmas Pickle Book with him this season because it is never too early for books.

I also think the Christmas Pickle Tradition will be something to look forward to when Colin can share it with a little brother or sister.

Weekend Pics from Parenting in the Loop-Holiday Gift Guides 2015

Holiday Gift Guides 2015

Weekend Pics from Parenting in the Loop 

 

The holidays can be a wonderful time of giving but sometimes there are just too many choices and deciding what is appropriate for kids, young adults and parents can be challenging.

I have been fortunate to find several Holiday Gift Guides 2015 that really help me out at this time of year. I thought I would share my favorite 2 guides with you. I also included two of my favorite gift links…Kiwi Crate and iBlog Magazine for my blogger friends. Happy Browsing and Shopping!

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Source: 2015 Cool Mom Picks Holiday Gift Guide |

 

 

Holiday Gift Guides 2015 from the New York MomA blog about fashion, arts, food, travel and family straight from the Empire State

Source: TheNewYorkMom – A blog about fashion, arts, food, travel and family straight from the Empire State

My own Holiday Gift Guides 2015

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Themed crates of arts & crafts and science projects for kids delivered monthly. Create, imagine, explore!

Source: Shop Kiwi Crate

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Click the Gift Guide Don’t forget iBlog’s Special Holiday Gift! $0.99 cents/mth 1 Year Digital Memberships until Dec. 31st, 2015! Apply this code at checkout: iBlogGIFT15 Sign up now, limited time offer, low price ends soon!

Source: iBlog magazine 2015 Holiday Gift Guide – iBlog magazine

I hope these Holiday Gift Guides 2015 help make your shopping season easier. These are suggestions that are great for presents anytime…don’t you think?

Independence Day through a Child’s Eyes

Independence Day through the Eyes of a Child

 

“The Fourth of July is a holiday that we celebrate, sort of like Presidents’ Day or even Christmas. It’s called Independence Day and we make sure to spend time together recognizing our freedom. Did you know that there are some people in the world that aren’t allowed to do some things like we are?” I didn’t know how much she was registering or if it made sense to her, but this was a good jumping off point in the conversations surrounding this week’s holiday.

Source: On Independence and Family Values – Momma’s Gone City

Independence Day

Fourth of July on Martha’s Vineyard

When I read my friend Jessica’s post over at Momma’s Gone City, I thought how beautiful to see the Fourth of July through a child’s lens.

If only we as adults could see as simply as a child at certain times in our lives especially on holidays. Perhaps today it would let us focus on the actual enjoyment of the Freedom that we all enjoy one way or another in our families and communities.

 

 

Independence Day Parade Hinsdale Illinois

Today at our Village’s annual Independence Day Parade, I tried to watch it through my granddaughter’s eyes and the eyes of the other children that surrounded us trying to share and partake in their excitement and awe seeing the paraders. I clapped when they followed the cue of the applause of the surrounding grownups for the Veterans of Foreign Wars and when our school marched by. I grabbed for some candy that was being passed out along the parade route and I got bored when my granddaughter got bored when the politicians appeared waving from their slow moving cars.
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I sat down when my legs and her legs were tired of standing and I got up when she became restless towards the end.
Hinsdale 3I must admit I lingered in an adult moment of gratitude when this car came by us and gave thanks and thought of what these gentlemen had given to me, someone they didn’t even know and who wasn’t even alive when they were at war for my freedom. I waved my hand and said a prayer of thanksgiving for all those soldiers who suffered and even died so I could enjoy my independence today!Hinsdale 4As the old cars passed I smiled  but as my granddaughter said, I did not want a car like it because it just didn’t look too comfortable for our rides downtown and through our snow covered streets in winter.

IMG_5775When the parade ended…I was happy to move on to the next activity of the day and get ready for a barbecue and fireworks after sunset.

Thank you to all of our service men and women who have given up so much for all of us so that we can celebrate today and honor them as we do so.

Weekend Reading from Parenting in the Loop

Weekend Reading

Weekend

Martha’s Vineyard Fourth of July

It is already the Fourth of July weekend…and it has hardly felt like summer at all because of cool temperatures and mega amounts of rain so far here in Chicago. The sun is shining today and it promised to be a sunny Saturday with great fireworks weather.

Picnics and outdoor fun sometimes help us to forget some of the things we need to do to keep ourselves and family safe from food poisoning and food disasters. Here are some tips for a safe Fourth Weekend.

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Food on the Fourth–safe eating tips

Foodborne illness can be extremely dangerous—especially for pregnant women and young children. Symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea and fever, can become life-threatening.

So if you will be celebrating the 4th of July with family, friends, and a cookout, remember to keep foods fresh and safe. Here are some important safety tips:

 

“It only takes a second”…how many times I have read that statement and spoken those words. Many years ago I was standing at the Top of the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco with my daughter in between me and my husband. We both admired the view at exactly the same moment. When we looked down at our daughter she was not there and no where in sight! The elevator doors were just closing and my heart was skipping many beats at the same moment. It seemed like an eternity but it was only a second later that I heard her voice saying “hi”…”hi” and I realized that she was walking throughout the bar greeting all of the people who were having drinks and enjoying the gorgeous view. Yes…it only takes a second for catastrophe to happen. Summer and pools and beaches are so much fun for everyone but it only takes a second to change that into a horrific event. Keep your eyes on your children around water no matter what. “It only takes a second”

Fullers Beach MV

The day my 2-year-old son almost drowned before my eyes.

Since my daughter and her husband are expecting their first child in the near future they are discussing cord blood banking and its importance. We are so lucky to live in a time when this is an option. Cord blood and stem cells have the potential to save a life. It is an important discussion to have and an even more important decision to make before delivery.

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Every expectant parent deserves to know the power of the stem cells contained in their baby’s umbilical cord. Leading organizations have come together to present Cord Banking Basics, a source to help expecting parents make informed decisions about what to do with their babies’ stem cells.

My sincere wishes for a happy and safe Fourth of July Weekend!

Our Kids are Watching Us!

Watch Out Our Kids (and Grandkids) are Watching Us!

kidsLast week, I was at a meeting of mostly mom bloggers and I had a conversation with the women at Responsibility.org.

As a grandmother, I have experienced the teenage years and college years and yes I survived and of course I can say “I wish I knew then what I know now”.

But seriously, I wish I had access to the internet and a world of “friends” on Facebook to talk to about a given topic like alcohol responsibility during those years of raising adolescent kids and young adults.

When I was a mom of grade schoolers, I worked with some moms from their school once in awhile when they were preparing for hot dog day, a monthly lunch ritual. A group of moms would gather at a home to count money and prepare a roster. My eye opening experience occurred at one of these morning meetings after school drop-off at around 9 a.m. To my surprise a bottle of wine was served rather than coffee. I suspected some issues with alcohol and moms from previous luncheon experiences when the wine disappeared before any food was eaten.

So looking back now as a grandmother in today’s world of social media, I realize that moms still are trying to balance everything, and relaxing moments are still elusive at best.

Social media definitely has added another perspective to parenting. We are still learning the boundaries of what we should and should not say. Our words follow us like shadows that never disappear.

So when I saw this campaign #TalkEarly and #RefreshYourFunny from Responsibility.org at Mom 2.0 Summit, I wanted to lend my support in any way I could.

 

Basically, #RefreshYourFunny refers to monitoring yourself when it comes to “wining” about how you want a “drink” to unwind from a day of mothering madness. Remember, our kids and grandkids are watching us and learning from all that we do. If you listen to them closely you will hear yourself talking. It is cute but at times, it is also frightening

So lets try to join in #RefreshYourFunny and be aware that “Our Kids are Watching Us”!

#RefreshYourFunny

This is not a sponsored post.

TGIF Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading:

Weekend in Spring

Despite the weather here in Chicago this weekend, I keep thinking Spring…soon…wait for it!

Meditation is not difficult to learn and practice. For me it has been a journey over many years through my own pregnancies and it continues as a grandmother. You can do it for a moment or you can do it for an hour. I hope you find time to try it for yourself…maybe even this weekend.

 

 

From stress reduction to improved attention and memory, meditation is a practice that yields a large number of health benefits. Mediation has slowly been gaining in popularity in recent years, garnering a number of scientific studies to determine the specific effects the practice has on the body. It has been found that meditation and other forms of relaxation and mindfulness not only change the immediate state of mind, but also alter the actual structure of the brain.

 

What is the “Grandparent Deficit”? When you have children later in life the chance of them having “vibrant” active grandparents changes and many times diminishes. I feel somewhat on the cusp of this as a grandparent myself. I want to do so many things with my grandchildren but I find sometimes my energy level just cannot always meet my expectations.

 

She and my two daughters are among a growing number of kids who will see their grandparents primarily as people in need of care rather than as caretakers. They are the leading edge of a generation whose mothers and fathers had children later in life. They’ve seen us juggle our jobs, their school schedules and their grandparents’ needs simultaneously–one day missing work to be at the bedside of a parent who’s had a bad fall, another day trying to call an elder-care aide from the back row of a dance recital.

This link appeared in my feed this week and it took me by surprise that a Lego Magazine would incorporate something like Emma’s Beauty Tips into its pages. What do beauty tips have to do with Legos? Well, see for yourself how this mom felt when her 7year old daughter became concerned about the shape of her face! YIKES!

 

My 7-year-old wants to know if she has an oval face. Why? Because “oval faces can often have almost any style haircut because almost everything looks great on this face shape!” Her sudden concern with her hairstyle “looking great” comes courtesy of her new Lego Club Magazine, which included “Emma’s Beauty Tips” in the March-April 2015 Lego Club Magazine.

 

The weekend remains precious to me. Sometimes, I am able to recharge by having dinner with friends along with great conversation…other times I am able to grab a few extra hours of sleep or reading. Whatever it is you do on the weekend, I hope you make a little time for yourself.

TGIF-Weekend Reading….

Weekend Reading!

My picks for weekend reading

After an arctic cold week here in Chicago, I am really glad to see Friday and the weekend roll around, with the sun shining outside my window as I write this post. I am not letting the sun fool me – it is only 7 degrees outside with a below zero windchill of minus 11 degrees! Yikes!

I am going to post a picture that you can use for some meditation or as just a reminder of a more comfortable summer day on the water-my personal happy place!

Weekend

A Day at the Beach…Martha’s Vineyard

 

Seeking women over 50! Do you want to make a big change in 2015? Read this, it might help you with your resolution.

 

Dear Readers,

We’re seeking 15 women age 50 and older who plan to make a radical change in their lives in 2015. Whether your New Year’s resolution is to strike out on your own, reinvigorate your marriage, get healthy — through diet, exercise or something else — start a business, adopt a child, overcome a fear or learn a new skill in 2015, we want to hear from you. The aim is to create an inspiring initiative that reminds us it’s never too late to change your life, pursue your passion, or prioritize personal happiness and wellbeing over traditional definitions

 

How do kids organize and control their world. There is no gray for them, knowing this just might help you understand their behavior.

 

In fact, black-or-white thinking helps kids organize and control their world. As they put things into one of two categories – like or dislike, fun or boring – they make predictions about behaviors and situations. Being able to do this shows they can understand two very different ideas at the same time.

 

How are you going to find social connections as you get older? Do you respect the Virtual Village concept?

 

Then he ran across the idea of virtual retirement villages, whose members pay a yearly fee to gain access to resources and social connections that help them age in place. Sold on the concept, Mr. Cloud joined with some friends to start Capital City Village four years ago.

I hope you all have a warm and wonderful weekend!

Nut Allergies are NOT Funny!

Allergies

allergies

 

8. Those a**holes whose nut allergies have ruined peanuts on planes for everybody

via Lost Luggage, Delays, and Other Problems with Air Travel.

Came across this tongue in cheek article in my FB feed along with a response from Scratch or Sniff.

It is difficult for me to understand, why people are offended by anyone, with a severe, potentially fatal nut allergy, requesting fellow passengers on a plane to please refrain from eating nuts.

Having a grandchild with an allergy to peanuts and tree nuts has made me fully aware of how children and adults live with these types of allergies. Monitoring what our grandchild eats is a constant worry for her mom and us as grandparents. Allergic kids pose a serious concern for families.

Ingestion of nuts, skin exposure or inhaling the dust from nuts can cause anaphylaxis and end a child’s life in a matter of minutes.

allergies

Using this potentially fatal allergy dilemma as humor and adding this to a list of annoyances during air travel is, in my opinion, thoughtless. We all have snarky comments about air travel these days but if someone was in danger of dying, I would never even think to eat a handful of nuts or complain about my child not being able to eat his PB&J sandwich inflight.

Seriously, just how selfish and unfeeling have we become when traveling?

It seems that there is no longer empathy for the human condition, no matter what it is. Just a few days ago, I read where an UBER driver told a cancer patient she deserved her cancer when she cancelled her booking a few seconds after placing a reservation because she left her head scarf at her chemo treatment. WTH? Have we become that callous?

It seems a bit like “compassion fatigue ” to me. We are bombarded on a daily basis with outrageous news about horrible events occurring around the world. Even the television father that many grew up with on the Cosby Show has recently fallen from grace after accusations of being a sexual predator of women. There is so much sad news that we have become somewhat numb to serious and sad events

Empathy is something we as parents and grandparents are trying to foster in our children and grandchildren. Finding small opportunities to grow empathy in our kids is not easy, especially when we make fun of  “nut allergies” which many kids and soon to be adults experience. Even if a child is not allergic, they will have friends that will be allergic. Will they avoid these kids or will they be inclusive of them and avoid nuts in their own lunches so they can sit with their friends, who are many times ostracized to a nut-free table at school.

I would hope in general, people become more aware of the seriousness of allergies and the risk of anaphylaxis thereby becoming more tolerant and empathic when they are asked to avoid nuts when traveling on a crowded airplane.

It is just a start!