Free Printable School Lunch Box Planner

Last updated on August 21st, 2018 at 09:35 am

This Printable School Lunch Box Meal Planner with 85 School Lunch Ideas is a life saver! Helpful back to school tips. Parents will love these healthy and new school lunch ideas for kids.

Free Printable School Lunch Box Meal Planner with 85 school lunch Ideas. New healthy ideas for school lunch ideas for kids. Back to school menu calendar.

Free Printable School Lunch Box Meal Planner

Isn’t it hard to come up with new school lunch ideas? I’m excited to share a free printable school lunch box planner to help you out! Because our school starts soon, meant it was time to start think about school lunch box ideas. I began writing a bunch of ideas down. Instead of packing the same school lunch each week, I plan to get a little more creative this year. I’ve made super creative school lunches like these Powerpuff Girls Sandwiches, but there is no way I can do that everyday!

To help with planning ahead for fun but simple school lunches, I designed a free printable lunch box meal planner – basically a weekly calendar to help parents get organized. I also put together a free printable list with 85 school lunch items to add to your kid’s lunch boxes.

I hope these school lunch box ideas will help you get organized for the school year with some new and healthier lunches for your kids!

Originally published August 25, 2014 

85 School Lunch Ideas with a Free Printable Meal Planner

 This Printable School Lunch Box Meal Planner with 85 School Lunch Ideas is a life saver! Helpful back to school tips. Parents will love these healthy and new school lunch ideas for kids.  

Both of my kids are very picky, so I do my best to find healthy foods to pack for their lunch. My daughter is pretty easy and loves when I add cute notes or draw on her food with edible markers.

Finding creative school lunch ideas for my middle school aged son, who is the most picky, is really challenging. Here are a few school lunch ideas I have packed for him. They might not be the healthiest ideas around, but it’s a start to get him to try SOME healthy things.

 Free Printable School Lunch Box Planner with 85 Lunch Ideas. LivingLocurto.com

Make your own pizza bagels and writing notes on napkins is always fun! He is now in high school and I still make this for his lunch sometimes. Bagels are great for school lunch, because they fill up the always hungry boys and don’t get soggy like bread. We love to use these –> Easy Lunch Boxes!

Free Printable School Lunch Box Planner with 85 Lunch Ideas. LivingLocurto.com

 

Creative School Lunch Idea!

Watch the video below where I make Sandwich Sushi. It’s always a fun lunch box idea that kids love!

 

Get ready for Back to School with a School Lunch Box Meal Planner!

Free Printable School Lunch Box Meal Planner with 85 school lunch Ideas. Enjoy this back to school menu calendar.

This Printable School Lunch Box Meal Planner with 85 School Lunch Ideas is a life saver! Helpful back to school tips. Parents will love these healthy and new school lunch ideas for kids.

Download the School Lunch Free Printables

Start planning your kid’s school lunch by clicking the links below to download the free printable planners:

>> Free Printable Weekly School Lunch Planner

>> Free Printable School Lunch Ideas

 © 2018 LivingLocurto.com 

I’d love to see how you use these printables! Snap a photo and share on Instagram and use the hashtag #LivingLocurto.

Living Locurto Facebook Page

You might like these lunch boxes:


collapsible lunch box

 

You might also enjoy these back to school lunch ideas!

 

20 Hot School Lunch Ideas for Kids

20 Easy Hot School Lunch Ideas for Kids! How to keep food hot in a Thermos and simple back to school lunch tips for kids who don't like sandwiches.

 

Top 5 Tools to Make Animal Shaped Fun Food

Top 5 Tools to Make Animal Shaped Fun Food - Cute Bento Lunchbox Ideas

 

Back to School – Free Printable Lunch Notes

Back to School - Free Printable Lunch Notes!

Make a Back to school bento lunch box!

A fun food School Bento Lunch is the cutest idea ever! Kids will smile when they open their lunch box to find this adorable edible paper, pencil and eraser.

 

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This Printable School Lunch Box Meal Planner with 85 School Lunch Ideas is a life saver! Helpful back to school tips. Parents will love these healthy and new school lunch ideas for kids.  

The post Free Printable School Lunch Box Planner appeared first on Living Locurto.

Days of the Week Closet Tags

Printable Days of the Week Closet Tags are a simple way to get organized for back to school and help kids get dressed on their own in the mornings!

Printable Days of the Week Closet Tags are a simple way to get organized for back to school and help kids get dressed on their own in the mornings!

Printable Days of the Week Closet Tags

I love this idea for Days of the Week Closet Tags that I came up with to help keep my kids organized and ready for school. It’s been a lifesaver! No more stressful mornings and my kids learned their days of the weeks at a very young age.

Getting organized for back to school and ready for my kid’s daily routines is a huge help for a busy mom like me. To make mornings much easier, we chose clothes for each day of the week and hung them on a low closet rack for my kids to reach. Then I designed some cute Days of the Week Tags to hang on each outfit’s hanger. The Days of the Week Closet Tags have the day of the week written out and a giant letter for kids not old enough to read.

Printable Days of the Week Closet Tags are a simple way to get organized for school and help kids get dressed on their own in the mornings! 

Originally Published on August 26, 2008

How the Days of the Week Closet Tags Work

To help you visualize how these tags work, I’m sharing a photo of my son’s closet from when he was in kindergarten. We still do this and he is now going into the 5th grade!

The night before school, he takes the designated outfit off of the hangers and lays it on the floor by his door. This way he won’t forget to get dressed before coming downstairs. We usually make silly poses with the clothes and that makes it even more fun!

Get organized for school with cute tags to help kids get dressed in the morning! LivingLocurto.com

These Days of the Week Closet Tags are also perfect for my daughter, because she can go a little crazy on the layering! This causes much less decision making stress in the morning! I designed the pastel pinks and purple Days of the Week tags for her closet.

More great ways to get organized for back to school:

 

Get Organized & Print the Days of the Week Closet Tags

Printable Days of the Week Closet Tags are a simple way to get organized for back to school and help kids get dressed on their own in the mornings! Print in primary colors or pastels. #organization #printables #kids #backtoschool #livinglocurto

Please visit my shop to buy these fun printable Days of the Week Closet Tags in primary or pastel colors. I hope this printable design helps you as much as it did me!

UPDATE: My son is now going into the 10th grade and I still use these!! LOL!! What’s great about a printable design is you keep the file and print as much as you like. Enjoy this one for years!

Click here to print Days of the Week Closet Tags

 

Printables By Amy - Party Supplies and Fun Printable Designs**IMPORTANT** If you have clicked here from a site featuring this as a free printable, sorry that freebie has been expired since 2010 (I created this design in 2008 and my readers enjoyed it free for over an entire year). You can purchase the tags here now at a very affordable price. – Thank you!

 

Days of the week closet tags to get kids organized for back to school.

 

 

The post Days of the Week Closet Tags appeared first on Living Locurto.

I’m In The Sweet Spot Of Parenting, And I Don’t Want It To End

A couple of weeks ago I had lunch with a writing colleague and we got to talking about our children. I mentioned something about my kids cleaning their own bathroom, and that I loved how independent they’ve gotten even though in a lot of ways they still feel little to me. “Ah, yeah,” she said knowingly. “You’re in the sweet spot.”

The sweet spot, she told me, is the enchanted period of a child’s growing up when they are past needing you to wipe their asses and tie their shoes and pack their lunches, but haven’t yet become so independent that they’ve decided they don’t need you at all. Sandwiched between diaper bags and poopy blowouts and unfathomable exhaustion on one side and attitude and sneaking around and pulling away on the other, the sweet spot is the golden age of parenthood.

My sister gave birth to her third child a couple of years ago after an extended gap. There are nine years between her second and third kid. That little boy is the most precious angel to ever grace the surface of the earth, but he’s still a baby, and babies are a shit ton of work. My sister had to regress her lifestyle back to scheduling her days around naps, always having extra diapers and a snack everywhere she goes, and planning vacation sleeping arrangements around a baby who goes to bed four hours earlier than the rest of the family. And someone always has to wake up early, because babies wake up freaking early.

I have friends on the other side of the sweet spot too, friends whose kids are firmly entrenched in their teenage years. My blood pressure rises when they relay their stories of explicit social media exchanges, drugs and alcohol and sneaking around, anxiety over grades and getting into college. I still have total control over what my kids see on the Internet, whether their homework gets done, who they talk too, where they go and for how long and what time they come home… How am I going to relinquish this control?

Seriously, I’m asking. How do you do it?? I think the teen years might actually kill me.

My kids are right in the beautiful, comparatively calm middle of these two extremes. They are capable of impressive levels of critical thinking, and yet still assume I know way more than they do. Just today my son and I had a conversation about terminal velocity. He had no idea he went over my head with his talk of how atmosphere and gravity limits the maximum speed of a falling object. He still thinks I know everything, and far be it for me to correct him just yet.

My 8-year-old daughter is independent, preparing her own breakfast, cleaning her own room, riding her bike by herself to the neighbor’s house down the street. But she still needs me to do a few small things, like brush her hair in the morning before school or read that special picture book just because. When she cries, I am still the first person she runs to. I love that she still needs me like this. She is still my baby, but minus the work of an actual baby.

It’s the same with my 12-year-old. He’s gotten to where he can cook with a fair amount of confidence (and without catching the house on fire), and when he does chores, it’s a genuine help. He cleans the bathroom as thoroughly as I do and even mows the lawn. And yet he still often climbs into my lap for a snuggle. He still likes me to lie beside him at bedtime while he reads his book. He’s not a baby anymore, but he still likes hanging out with me.

Here in the sweet spot, we get to stay out late but can still keep tabs on our kids. I no longer dread the nuclear meltdown that will happen at 8:01 because my baby is not in bed at exactly the appointed time. This past New Year’s Eve we stayed at a friends’ party until 3:00 a.m. My daughter crashed on the couch with a few other kids around 1:00, and my son stayed up partying with the other big kids until 3:00.

And yet my kids aren’t old enough to go out by themselves and get into trouble. I cannot imagine the fear and frustration of waiting up for a kid who is breaking curfew. What if they’re not responding to texts? What if they’re hurt? Or worse? How do parents get through this stage??

I’m going to cherish every moment of this sweet spot. The teenage years are fast approaching, and based on the stories my friends tell, I’ve got a serious roller coaster ride ahead of me. For now though, I’ll put on my blinders and enjoy what time I have left with these sweet babies who, thank goodness, aren’t actual babies.

The post I’m In The Sweet Spot Of Parenting, And I Don’t Want It To End appeared first on Scary Mommy.

One Of My Closest Friendships Ended, And It Still Hurts Like Hell

Around this time two years ago, I was facing an emotional crisis. I started to drift from one of the greatest loves of my life. And it hurt more than anything I’d ever experienced with any boyfriend in the past.

The falling out was spontaneous and I was accused of being neglectful and irritable during pregnancy. There was a time when I saw my moodiness as the cause of the falling out but, truthfully, it was just an excuse. We’d started drifting apart long before, and I didn’t have the heart to let go.

That lost love was the end of my relationship with my best friend. As a result, I began sulking and having nightmares a few times a year. But even though the relationship was over, that wasn’t the end of this person in my life. Whenever she needed someone to increase her confidence or reassure her that [insert name of current boyfriend] was the problem and not her, she’d reappear — only to vanish from my life when I’d seek closure or grow accustomed to her presence.

Each disappearance hurt a thousand times worse than the last. It didn’t take long to see that I was being used. I started catching her telling me pointless lies. And it was clear she didn’t want to commit to my friendship as much as she did her other relationships.

Then one day, she just stopped responding to my messages altogether. And it hurt like hell. 

Honestly, I’m not sure if I’ll ever completely heal from that pain. But I know I have to learn to move on if I ever hope to be okay. I know I’m one of many girls who was left high and dry by their best friends after some huge life event. If I had the chance, here’s what I’d like to say to my former friend:

How are you? I hope all is well.

I spend a lot of time thinking about you. A lot more than I should. Especially for someone who decided they didn’t want to be a part of my life anymore.

Sometimes you’re in my dreams. Often it’s me sitting there. You appear and we’re in conflict, but it always gets better. We always reconcile and start the process of rebuilding what we had.

In the world in my head, it doesn’t take long for things to return to normal. We laugh like we used to. We smile like we used to. And we stay out until the wee hours of the morning, laughing at dumb shit like we used to.

The seven to eight hours in dreamland feel like months or years. It’s so convincing that I return to the times you were the first person I would call when anything happened. Certainly long enough for me to expect to see your name attached to the notification on my phone when I wake up.

But a return to consciousness means a return on pain. Each blink of my eyes erodes the world of hope for reconciliation and returns me to a contemporary land of abandonment and lies. More often than not, I cry.

I miss the way we could find something funny about a blank sheet of paper.

We’ve seen each other naked, without awkwardness, more times than I could count. We had a level of intimacy that knew no bounds. I would sit in the bathroom and talk with you while you showered or talk with you through the door while you used the toilet. 

You were more than my friend. You were my sister. We were Thema and Lousie.

I’ve wiped the tears from your eyes with my hand. In the past, you have given me the literal shirt off your back.

Our book of history had more stories than one could imagine. But now all I have are the pictures.

The pictures of my biggest successes that all have one thing in common — you are there. Until one day, you weren’t anymore.

Now I’m left with these pictures that I am afraid to delete because I would hate for you to come back one day and I’d have not saved them.  

We’ve fought before, but never for this long. We’re different people now.

I don’t know why, but I can feel it. I have little faith we will be together again, and it’s been painful.  

But then something changed. You found something that you always wanted, and we didn’t fit anymore.

It hurts that you went from self-proclaimed godmother to not acknowledging the birth of my first child.

But there’s something that I want you to know. Hearing your name might be like a punch to the gut, but I wish still you success in life. I check on you through social media to be sure you’re okay. I ask mutual friends how you’re doing. And I always will.

I do not regret a single late night rush to be at your side. I would not take back a single dollar spent to see you smile. I will never try to replace the hole that you left in my heart when you decided you didn’t want to be my friend anymore.

But I cannot hold on and obsess any longer. You have made it very clear where you stand. And I am now letting go.

Making Friends As A Mom Is Really Hard, But Here’s What I’ve Learned

I’d just moved 800 miles away from my family when I found out I was expecting a child. My husband’s job required that he work unpredictable hours and travel for extended periods of time. Like many expecting moms, I was lonely. To make things worse, I’m an ambivert — there are times when I crave and enjoy social interaction, but there are often times when I want to be left alone, only emerging to make sure that my son has food and someone to dump his potty.

In a perfect world, moms like me could type in their interests into an app and be connected to a compatible mommy buddy. Just think about it, a Tinder for mom friends — swipes and all. Imagine how much benefit we could get from that. So many of us have tried to use Facebook as a friend finder, but let’s be real, those relationships hardly ever turn into anything aside from broken playdate promises.

Bottom line: It’s really hard to find friends as a new mom.

And for people like me who battle anxiety and depression, making friends can be exceptionally hard. Thankfully, I’ve learned a little bit about some of the best ways to establish and cultivate new friendships. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned:

Be upfront.

I’ve noticed that things go better for me when I let others know exactly what to expect from me when I feel an interest in the relationship. I also understand that some people think that might be revealing too much too soon. But as I said before, there are periods of time when my friends won’t hear from me for weeks, if not months, at a time. There’s nothing wrong with taking the space you need as long as you are transparent about it within your relationships. No one deserves to be strung along and discarded suddenly.

If you are the type of person who needs space from time to time, let your friends know that. Any good friend will understand.

Don’t pretend.

It’s never good to pretend to be someone you’re not. This is especially important when trying to establish new friendships. When I first moved to the place I live now, I was in dire need of friends. So I started meeting up with mothers who shared some of my secondary interests — things that I thought were cool, but did not have a deep understanding of or desire to learn, like knitting and sewing.

At the time, I was excited to have moms to interact with and feel like I had a circle of friends. Fast forward years later and I don’t interact with any of those women. We had very different political beliefs, including ideas about religion, oppression, and gender equality. At the time, though, I saw those minor interests as a gateway to a long-term relationship. They weren’t.

There’s nothing wrong with trying new things, but it’s also okay if you don’t get along with everyone. It’s perfectly fine to miss out on a few friendship meet-ups if it saves you the few weeks or years of heartbreak.

Don’t take it personally.

There will be plenty of people who you think you hit it off with, but they feel completely different about the relationship. It’s normal to get a friend request, but they never respond to your messages again. It just means that you two were not compatible. I know it’s difficult, but don’t take it personally. You deserve to have friends who have mutual investment in the relationship. Don’t try to force any type of relationship that comes off as one-sided. You’ll feel better in the long run.

Keep searching.

I cannot overstate the importance of not giving up on the journey for finding compatible friends. I know, you’re tired of meeting duds and going on friendship dates with nothing to show for it. But I promise someone is out there for you. You can believe someone is out there based off of some kind of divine inspiration of the universe looking out for you. Or you can look at it through the lens of social science like I do.

As much as we like to believe we are extremely diverse as humans, we’re not. There is less than 0.1% difference in each of us regardless of race, religion, or gender orientation. That said, I can statistically guarantee you that there is someone out there who shares your feelings and will be compatible with your friendship style. All you have to do is find them.

Moving forced me to do a lot of thinking about the work involved in establishing friendships. I was surprised to discover that old cliche “I was looking for something that was right in front of me” was true. The people that you met earlier on in your life could be exactly what you need when you’re feeling lonely. I’ve gotten much closer to my hometown friends in the last few years. The distance may be great, but the love feels greater.

Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List

I love a good list. LOVE. THEM. A few years ago, I covered our kitchen chalkboard in this epic Summer Bucket List.

That was two years ago and it was perfect for the sort of summer I wanted for my kids. They were the perfect age to go DO ALL THE THINGS! No more diaper bags. Everyone could make it through the day without a nap. I had just left a job where I had been working full-time, outside of my house and I felt like I was missing out.

It was time to pack in the fun!

 

And we did. It was so great and I’m so glad we did it.

But as my kids have gotten just a bit older, I’m ready to shift gears a little bit.

To shift from “Entertainment Director” to “Life Coach.”

It sounds so boring, right?

As if I’ll be asking my kids to spend the summer grinding their own wheat and beating their clothes on rocks to clean them.

Here me out.

For the last few years, the “Summer Bucket List” or “Holiday Fun List” has been a study in my ability to conduct expert Google searches for entertainment and activities and “must see” events.

But I’ve noticed that we’re tip-toeing into a world where my kids arise from bed every morning wondering what wonderful thing we’ve prepared for them today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of wonderful things. BIG. FAN. (Just went to Disneyland, so I’m not trying to pretend I’m not all about the magic.) But I’m also a big believer in boredom as a creativity booster.

Also; there are no Entertainment Directors when you’re a grown up. Life is not always a non-stop party and I want my kids to learn these critical skills:

  1. Connecting with people.
  2. Finding the joy in everyday things.

 

I decided to rethink our Summer Bucket List.

Instead of “what should we do?” I asked “what do I want to get out of this summer?”

  • Quality time and connection.
  • Practice skills for a happy life.
  • Practice being a big kid.

This shift means that instead of a long list of ticketed activities, I’ve got a summer bucket list that looks something like this:

Teach the kids “slow fun.”

Screen-free old school fun; puzzles, board games, cards, reading in the shade. If you don’t bust out the board games, how are your kids going to learn the art of trash-talking, or how darn smart their Grandpa is, or how sneaky their Grandma can be. My kids come from a long-line of card players—they need to be properly trained. Those are the moments that connect you to your family and reinforce how to have fun, without a screen.

Spend time with our extended family.

Sunday BBQ’s, cook with Grandma, camping and visits with our extended family. Traditions are built one Sunday, and one summer at a time. More people knowing, loving, and enriching the lives of my kids is a good thing.

Connection to the neighborhood.

Knock on doors, use up all the sidewalk chalk, share our popsicles. Those are the things that really belong on a summer bucket list. I’m not setting up “playdates” or texting to make arrangements to play. They need to figure this stuff out.

Appreciation and exposure to the outdoors.

Hike, go to the lake, hit the bike trail, post-dinner walks to the park, dinner picnics in the mountains. We are lucky to live 25 minutes away from straight-up wilderness, we should be taking advantage of it more.

Room to be creative with their time!

Protect downtime and provide open access to craft supplies and the blanket fort box. “Boredom” breeds some of the most entertaining creative play I’ve ever had the privilege to eavesdrop on. 

Learn a few routines and responsibilities.

Standard chores, help with big projects, work for hire. I’ve not been consistent with chores and now sometimes my kids simply walk away from their dinner plate and, OH HECK NO, that’s not going to work for me. Or for them in the long term.

Skills for a happy life.

Cooking nutritious meals, eating outside, watching sunsets, sitting on the porch and enjoying a bowl of ice cream after dinner. Yes, I realize most of those revolve around food. But food is an absolutely GLORIOUS part of life and I want my kids to be able to cook delicious food for themselves one day.

To try new things and challenge ourselves.

Try the climbing gym. Try a slack line. Train for the next Taekwondo tournament. My kids are well out of that window where everything is new and hard and takes so much work to master—remember when we were pumped when our kids learned to walk? I want them to have a chance to be a beginner again. Brave is a muscle. You have to use it to keep it.

Do FUN Things with our tribe.

Meet our friends at the food truck park. Take a small army of moms and kids to the lake. Driveway fireworks party with the neighbors. Family is wonderful, but the family you pick? Those people are magic.

Serve others.

Think of ways to help, surprise, and dish up joy to the friends, family, and even strangers in our lives. Learn how good it feels to do something because you know that someone is going to feel special because of your efforts.

So, maybe this isn’t the big dazzling summer bucket list you were hoping for when you clicked on this post, but I’m looking forward to a summer of spending less; less money, less time on screens, and less time hustling.

And getting more;

More quality time together.
More feeling like I’m helping raise my kids into wonderful adults.
More memories with the people we love.

There is such a huge benefit for kids when families can focus their energy and finances on experiences over things. (Kalli wrote a fantastic post about this around Christmas time. Go read it.)

Other posts you might enjoy…

Planning a Family Vacation? When Should You Begin?

10 Tips for a Stress-Free Family Road Trip

On the Ugly Business of Comparison: A Letter to Us Moms

The post Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List appeared first on TodaysMama.

Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List

I love a good list. LOVE. THEM. A few years ago, I covered our kitchen chalkboard in this epic Summer Bucket List.

That was two years ago and it was perfect for the sort of summer I wanted for my kids. They were the perfect age to go DO ALL THE THINGS! No more diaper bags. Everyone could make it through the day without a nap. I had just left a job where I had been working full-time, outside of my house and I felt like I was missing out.

It was time to pack in the fun!

 

And we did. It was so great and I’m so glad we did it.

But as my kids have gotten just a bit older, I’m ready to shift gears a little bit.

To shift from “Entertainment Director” to “Life Coach.”

It sounds so boring, right?

As if I’ll be asking my kids to spend the summer grinding their own wheat and beating their clothes on rocks to clean them.

Here me out.

For the last few years, the “Summer Bucket List” or “Holiday Fun List” has been a study in my ability to conduct expert Google searches for entertainment and activities and “must see” events.

But I’ve noticed that we’re tip-toeing into a world where my kids arise from bed every morning wondering what wonderful thing we’ve prepared for them today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of wonderful things. BIG. FAN. (Just went to Disneyland, so I’m not trying to pretend I’m not all about the magic.) But I’m also a big believer in boredom as a creativity booster.

Also; there are no Entertainment Directors when you’re a grown up. Life is not always a non-stop party and I want my kids to learn these critical skills:

  1. Connecting with people.
  2. Finding the joy in everyday things.

 

I decided to rethink our Summer Bucket List.

Instead of “what should we do?” I asked “what do I want to get out of this summer?”

  • Quality time and connection.
  • Practice skills for a happy life.
  • Practice being a big kid.

This shift means that instead of a long list of ticketed activities, I’ve got a summer bucket list that looks something like this:

Teach the kids “slow fun.”

Screen-free old school fun; puzzles, board games, cards, reading in the shade. If you don’t bust out the board games, how are your kids going to learn the art of trash-talking, or how darn smart their Grandpa is, or how sneaky their Grandma can be. My kids come from a long-line of card players—they need to be properly trained. Those are the moments that connect you to your family and reinforce how to have fun, without a screen.

Spend time with our extended family.

Sunday BBQ’s, cook with Grandma, camping and visits with our extended family. Traditions are built one Sunday, and one summer at a time. More people knowing, loving, and enriching the lives of my kids is a good thing.

Connection to the neighborhood.

Knock on doors, use up all the sidewalk chalk, share our popsicles. Those are the things that really belong on a summer bucket list. I’m not setting up “playdates” or texting to make arrangements to play. They need to figure this stuff out.

Appreciation and exposure to the outdoors.

Hike, go to the lake, hit the bike trail, post-dinner walks to the park, dinner picnics in the mountains. We are lucky to live 25 minutes away from straight-up wilderness, we should be taking advantage of it more.

Room to be creative with their time!

Protect downtime and provide open access to craft supplies and the blanket fort box. “Boredom” breeds some of the most entertaining creative play I’ve ever had the privilege to eavesdrop on. 

Learn a few routines and responsibilities.

Standard chores, help with big projects, work for hire. I’ve not been consistent with chores and now sometimes my kids simply walk away from their dinner plate and, OH HECK NO, that’s not going to work for me. Or for them in the long term.

Skills for a happy life.

Cooking nutritious meals, eating outside, watching sunsets, sitting on the porch and enjoying a bowl of ice cream after dinner. Yes, I realize most of those revolve around food. But food is an absolutely GLORIOUS part of life and I want my kids to be able to cook delicious food for themselves one day.

To try new things and challenge ourselves.

Try the climbing gym. Try a slack line. Train for the next Taekwondo tournament. My kids are well out of that window where everything is new and hard and takes so much work to master—remember when we were pumped when our kids learned to walk? I want them to have a chance to be a beginner again. Brave is a muscle. You have to use it to keep it.

Do FUN Things with our tribe.

Meet our friends at the food truck park. Take a small army of moms and kids to the lake. Driveway fireworks party with the neighbors. Family is wonderful, but the family you pick? Those people are magic.

Serve others.

Think of ways to help, surprise, and dish up joy to the friends, family, and even strangers in our lives. Learn how good it feels to do something because you know that someone is going to feel special because of your efforts.

So, maybe this isn’t the big dazzling summer bucket list you were hoping for when you clicked on this post, but I’m looking forward to a summer of spending less; less money, less time on screens, and less time hustling.

And getting more;

More quality time together.
More feeling like I’m helping raise my kids into wonderful adults.
More memories with the people we love.

There is such a huge benefit for kids when families can focus their energy and finances on experiences over things. (Kalli wrote a fantastic post about this around Christmas time. Go read it.)

Other posts you might enjoy…

Planning a Family Vacation? When Should You Begin?

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On the Ugly Business of Comparison: A Letter to Us Moms

The post Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List appeared first on TodaysMama.

Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List

I love a good list. LOVE. THEM. A few years ago, I covered our kitchen chalkboard in this epic Summer Bucket List.

That was two years ago and it was perfect for the sort of summer I wanted for my kids. They were the perfect age to go DO ALL THE THINGS! No more diaper bags. Everyone could make it through the day without a nap. I had just left a job where I had been working full-time, outside of my house and I felt like I was missing out.

It was time to pack in the fun!

 

And we did. It was so great and I’m so glad we did it.

But as my kids have gotten just a bit older, I’m ready to shift gears a little bit.

To shift from “Entertainment Director” to “Life Coach.”

It sounds so boring, right?

As if I’ll be asking my kids to spend the summer grinding their own wheat and beating their clothes on rocks to clean them.

Here me out.

For the last few years, the “Summer Bucket List” or “Holiday Fun List” has been a study in my ability to conduct expert Google searches for entertainment and activities and “must see” events.

But I’ve noticed that we’re tip-toeing into a world where my kids arise from bed every morning wondering what wonderful thing we’ve prepared for them today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of wonderful things. BIG. FAN. (Just went to Disneyland, so I’m not trying to pretend I’m not all about the magic.) But I’m also a big believer in boredom as a creativity booster.

Also; there are no Entertainment Directors when you’re a grown up. Life is not always a non-stop party and I want my kids to learn these critical skills:

  1. Connecting with people.
  2. Finding the joy in everyday things.

 

I decided to rethink our Summer Bucket List.

Instead of “what should we do?” I asked “what do I want to get out of this summer?”

  • Quality time and connection.
  • Practice skills for a happy life.
  • Practice being a big kid.

This shift means that instead of a long list of ticketed activities, I’ve got a summer bucket list that looks something like this:

Teach the kids “slow fun.”

Screen-free old school fun; puzzles, board games, cards, reading in the shade. If you don’t bust out the board games, how are your kids going to learn the art of trash-talking, or how darn smart their Grandpa is, or how sneaky their Grandma can be. My kids come from a long-line of card players—they need to be properly trained. Those are the moments that connect you to your family and reinforce how to have fun, without a screen.

Spend time with our extended family.

Sunday BBQ’s, cook with Grandma, camping and visits with our extended family. Traditions are built one Sunday, and one summer at a time. More people knowing, loving, and enriching the lives of my kids is a good thing.

Connection to the neighborhood.

Knock on doors, use up all the sidewalk chalk, share our popsicles. Those are the things that really belong on a summer bucket list. I’m not setting up “playdates” or texting to make arrangements to play. They need to figure this stuff out.

Appreciation and exposure to the outdoors.

Hike, go to the lake, hit the bike trail, post-dinner walks to the park, dinner picnics in the mountains. We are lucky to live 25 minutes away from straight-up wilderness, we should be taking advantage of it more.

Room to be creative with their time!

Protect downtime and provide open access to craft supplies and the blanket fort box. “Boredom” breeds some of the most entertaining creative play I’ve ever had the privilege to eavesdrop on. 

Learn a few routines and responsibilities.

Standard chores, help with big projects, work for hire. I’ve not been consistent with chores and now sometimes my kids simply walk away from their dinner plate and, OH HECK NO, that’s not going to work for me. Or for them in the long term.

Skills for a happy life.

Cooking nutritious meals, eating outside, watching sunsets, sitting on the porch and enjoying a bowl of ice cream after dinner. Yes, I realize most of those revolve around food. But food is an absolutely GLORIOUS part of life and I want my kids to be able to cook delicious food for themselves one day.

To try new things and challenge ourselves.

Try the climbing gym. Try a slack line. Train for the next Taekwondo tournament. My kids are well out of that window where everything is new and hard and takes so much work to master—remember when we were pumped when our kids learned to walk? I want them to have a chance to be a beginner again. Brave is a muscle. You have to use it to keep it.

Do FUN Things with our tribe.

Meet our friends at the food truck park. Take a small army of moms and kids to the lake. Driveway fireworks party with the neighbors. Family is wonderful, but the family you pick? Those people are magic.

Serve others.

Think of ways to help, surprise, and dish up joy to the friends, family, and even strangers in our lives. Learn how good it feels to do something because you know that someone is going to feel special because of your efforts.

So, maybe this isn’t the big dazzling summer bucket list you were hoping for when you clicked on this post, but I’m looking forward to a summer of spending less; less money, less time on screens, and less time hustling.

And getting more;

More quality time together.
More feeling like I’m helping raise my kids into wonderful adults.
More memories with the people we love.

There is such a huge benefit for kids when families can focus their energy and finances on experiences over things. (Kalli wrote a fantastic post about this around Christmas time. Go read it.)

Other posts you might enjoy…

Planning a Family Vacation? When Should You Begin?

10 Tips for a Stress-Free Family Road Trip

On the Ugly Business of Comparison: A Letter to Us Moms

The post Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List appeared first on TodaysMama.

10 Things That Made 90s Summers All That (And a Bag of Chips)

It was 1996. School was out for the summer. And there we were, red Squeez-Its in hand, taking a much-deserved break from our latest MC Hammer trampoline choreography. I’d seen a million days like this—though we did throw some No Doubt, Will Smith, and Aqua into the dance mix for good measure—and I’d see what felt like a million more.

But then the 90s ended and things changed. Frosted tips were out, and so were my perfect childhood summers. But if I could bring just 10 things back from those beautiful days, you bet it’d be these.

90s summer fun

1. Rollerblading—Duh. The quintessential form of exercise, mode of transportation, and reason for road rash of the 90s.

2. Trampoline sleepovers—Waking up sweating in your sleeping bag, smashed on every side because the eeny-meeny-miny-mo gods condemned you to the middle spot…again. And—bonus—there were no concerns about four young girls being snatched from the un-fenced side yard.

3. Boy Meets World—Because let’s face it, Girl Meets World just isn’t cutting it and nothing could ever represent the definitively 90s neighborhood vibes better than Eric yelling Feeeeeeeeeney out the back door.

4. Land lines—Yes, the prank calling was best done with the provocative risk of a parent answering, but what I really want back is the idea of not being at everyone else’s beck and call 1440 minutes a day (that’s all of them, by the way) because of the blessed/cursed mass propagation of the cell phone.

5. All-day play dates—That were never called that. It was called life. You left in the morning and, so long as you came home at night, what you did in between was a time warp left to your imagination. So many adventures that could never happen with today’s structured “play” regimen.

6. The community pool—Do these still exist? I mean, the way they used to? With the entire family there, picnicking between high dives and underwater somersaulting contests?

7. The Skip-It—Obviously the ankle cuts were worth it, but “the very best part of aaaaaaall, there’s a <pause> counter on this ball!!” I’ll never forget that jam. And was there a greater accomplishment than outskipping your BFFs? I think not.

90s summer skipit

8. Reasonable pay for family chores—There was over half an acre of grass on our property and if I mowed the entire thing, I earned $9. That would now be a job for professionals with a trailer full of equipment and they’d charge $100. Ugh. What has happened to slave child labor?

9. Caboodles—How else would you carry your Polly Pocket collection, LipSmackers, and Pogs all at the same time??

10. Innocence—And not just mine. But the world’s. Sure, there was OJ. And the Lewinsky stuff. And… Well, maybe it wasn’t all the best, but as a kid, it wasn’t shoved in our faces like today. We were ignorantly blissful for the most part, like kids should get to be.

 

See More on TodaysMama.com!

Scientific Proof That a Beyoncé Concert Could Literally Change Your Life

Cake Mix Cookies The Monster List of Recipes

Planning a Family Vacation – When Should You Begin?

The post 10 Things That Made 90s Summers All That (And a Bag of Chips) appeared first on TodaysMama.

10 Things That Made 90s Summers All That (And a Bag of Chips)

It was 1996. School was out for the summer. And there we were, red Squeez-Its in hand, taking a much-deserved break from our latest MC Hammer trampoline choreography. I’d seen a million days like this—though we did throw some No Doubt, Will Smith, and Aqua into the dance mix for good measure—and I’d see what felt like a million more.

But then the 90s ended and things changed. Frosted tips were out, and so were my perfect childhood summers. But if I could bring just 10 things back from those beautiful days, you bet it’d be these.

90s summer fun

1. Rollerblading—Duh. The quintessential form of exercise, mode of transportation, and reason for road rash of the 90s.

2. Trampoline sleepovers—Waking up sweating in your sleeping bag, smashed on every side because the eeny-meeny-miny-mo gods condemned you to the middle spot…again. And—bonus—there were no concerns about four young girls being snatched from the un-fenced side yard.

3. Boy Meets World—Because let’s face it, Girl Meets World just isn’t cutting it and nothing could ever represent the definitively 90s neighborhood vibes better than Eric yelling Feeeeeeeeeney out the back door.

4. Land lines—Yes, the prank calling was best done with the provocative risk of a parent answering, but what I really want back is the idea of not being at everyone else’s beck and call 1440 minutes a day (that’s all of them, by the way) because of the blessed/cursed mass propagation of the cell phone.

5. All-day play dates—That were never called that. It was called life. You left in the morning and, so long as you came home at night, what you did in between was a time warp left to your imagination. So many adventures that could never happen with today’s structured “play” regimen.

6. The community pool—Do these still exist? I mean, the way they used to? With the entire family there, picnicking between high dives and underwater somersaulting contests?

7. The Skip-It—Obviously the ankle cuts were worth it, but “the very best part of aaaaaaall, there’s a <pause> counter on this ball!!” I’ll never forget that jam. And was there a greater accomplishment than outskipping your BFFs? I think not.

90s summer skipit

8. Reasonable pay for family chores—There was over half an acre of grass on our property and if I mowed the entire thing, I earned $9. That would now be a job for professionals with a trailer full of equipment and they’d charge $100. Ugh. What has happened to slave child labor?

9. Caboodles—How else would you carry your Polly Pocket collection, LipSmackers, and Pogs all at the same time??

10. Innocence—And not just mine. But the world’s. Sure, there was OJ. And the Lewinsky stuff. And… Well, maybe it wasn’t all the best, but as a kid, it wasn’t shoved in our faces like today. We were ignorantly blissful for the most part, like kids should get to be.

 

See More on TodaysMama.com!

Scientific Proof That a Beyoncé Concert Could Literally Change Your Life

Cake Mix Cookies The Monster List of Recipes

Planning a Family Vacation – When Should You Begin?

The post 10 Things That Made 90s Summers All That (And a Bag of Chips) appeared first on TodaysMama.