Create a No-Bummer Lunch for Back to School

It’s almost that time……….time for back-to-school.  You want to pack a lunch that is full of nutritious real food that will help keep your kids focused and energized to make it through a whole day of school.  You pack a lunch that you know is going to be a hit with your kids. So why does most of it come home unopened with your child complaining that they are “Starving.”  Why?? Why?? Why??  I have the help you need.

 

Tips for a creating school lunches

Tips for Making “No Bummer” lunches for your kids.

Look at the lunch from your child’s perspective.  They only have a short time to eat.  An ideal lunch is one that is as easy as possible to eat.  Fruit cups and string cheese can be hard to open.  Have you tried it?  What about yogurt tubes?  That stuff ends up all over the place when I open them.  Now imagine it in the hands of your little one.  Have you ever had to use scissors to open a package that you send in a lunch box?  I bet you don’t pack scissors to go with it.

I’ve been packing lunches for quite a few years now.  Here are some tips that I have taken away from all of my experience.  Most of the tips come directly from talking with the kids.

  1. Don’t forget the spoon.  Once your child is sitting down, they are not going to go look for a spoon.  Either they have one or they are not going to eat anything that needs a spoon.
  2. Easy to open.  Transfer foods in “tricky” packaging to simpler to open containers.
  3. Don’t forget the drink container. Make sure your child can open up their refillable water bottle.  If they can not, find a different one for them.
  4. Keep foods bite-sized.  I like to cut up fruit, vegetables, cheese cubes, and other foods into bite-sized pieces.  It makes them easier to eat and if it is easy, your child is more likely to eat it.
  5. Open or Clear lunchbox containers. We like to use containers where all of the food can be seen at one time.  It helps speed things along so that there is more time for eating.
  6. Do NOT try need foods in the lunch box.  The place to try new foods is at home.  The lunch box should be filled with foods that you know your child likes.  Start the school year off by sitting down with your child and making a list of the foods that they like to eat.  This will make shopping and planning your school lunches much simpler.  You can read more about food list-making here.

Leave me a comment with your favorite lunch-making tips.  Have you ever been frustrated with a lunch that wasn’t even touched? What did you do?

If you are looking for help in making the transition to eating more real food, you should check out the Real Food Experience posts. You can get started at the beginning or jump around the challenges. You can find a complete round-up of the program here. Each week’s challenge is full of terrific advice to help you transition from fast and processed food to a real food diet. Changes that will help you to live a healthy lifestyle and have the energy to keep up with your busy schedule. I would also love for you to join me on social media. You can find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram on a regular basis. Leave me a comment and let me know you are there. I love to visit with my readers.

 

For more lunch making tips and advice, check out my lunch box resources page.

lunchbox-series2

 

Real Life: Declutter Challenge for Busy Folks

As you know, I like to keep things real.  I like eating real food and I enjoy my real life which is full of family, friends, and activity.  Like many of you, my family keeps me busy with lots of sports and activities in the evening and on weekends.  My full-time job keeps me busy during the week.  There are just not enough hours in the day to do everything.  My house suffers.  Sure, we keep the kitchen clean, the bathroom gets scrubbed, and we put things away on a daily basis, but the clutter slowly creeps in and gets out of control.

 

Declutterchallengeforbusyfolks

The house didn’t get cluttered in a day, so there is no way that I am going to unclutter it in a day.  I have a bit (a bit, that’s funny) of a perfectionist personality.  I really would prefer to take a week off of work, pull everything out of my house, and only put those things that I really need back into the house.  Since, there is no way in heck that is going to happen, I’ve decided to take a different approach to decluttering.

10 items per day until the mess is gone

My goal each day is to get rid of 10 items per day until the clutter is gone.  I am going to focus on one room at a time so that the change is noticeable to me.  I think this will help me to stay motivated.  Now, is a good time for me to start this project.  I have one son who has graduated from college and moving into his own grown-up home.  I have another son who is just starting college.  Another school year is about to start for my little ones.  Lots of changes.  These changes are really getting me motivated to make some changes.  I invite you to join me this week. Join me in the declutter challenge for busy folks.

I’m starting in the master bedroom.  The place that everyone likes to dump their stuff and the place that clutter often goes to hide.  It should be our sanctuary from the craziness and stress of the world.  We want our sanctuary back!  Find 10 things each day this week and either relocate it to its proper place, toss it, or donate it, or sell it.  Keep it simple.  We have all day to reach our 10 item goal.

 As I look around my room, I noticed the following items that are major sources of clutter in the master bedroom. 

  1. Extra pillows that just end up on the floor
  2. Stuffed animals
  3. Old lotions
  4. Old perfumes
  5. Paperwork
  6. Extra memorabilia
  7. Décor that is outdated or no longer loved
  8. Clean clothing: belongs in closet or drawers or donated
  9. Items that belong to the children
  10. Laundry
  11. Old medicines
  12. Broken costume jewelry
  13. Anything from your ex
  14. Broken TV remote controls
  15. Manuals to things you no longer need
  16. Worn out or stained linens
  17. Dirty clothing: make sure still like and will wear or wash and donate or throw away
  18. Accessories you no longer use like scarves, purses, etc.
  19. Old school papers
  20. Magazines
  21. Ticket stubs

Printable List for your reference

Are you joining me on my declutter challange?  What room do you find to be most problematic. What clutter drives you the most crazy?

 

Let’s Get Real Friday Party # 101

Woot! Woot! Let’s get this Friday started!  Can you believe we’ve been doing this for over 100 weeks??  From the start, Let’s Get Real has been all about Healthy Living and that is quite an appeal to lots of folks. We are all about Real Food, fitness, health and wellness, and home life tips and tricks. Each week, I encourage you to take a few moments just for yourself.  We can all use some time for ourselves.  Grab a comfortable spot to sit and enjoy getting to know some of the best bloggers I know.

 

Let's Get Real Linky Party

** Special Note: If you are a blogger looking for an active sharing group, we have the group for you!  The         Let’s Get Real Facebook group has daily follow threads, support, and friendship. Come on over and join us.**

 

Hosts of Let's Get Real Christina Wiley

 

I‘m not big on rules (since this is what I do for fun), but I do have a couple of guidelines.

1. Follow all your hosts. We follow back! Leave a comment for us on the post and we will know you are a new follower.

 2. Please don’t link and run! Follow and comment on at least three (3) other blogs. The more effort you put into getting to know everyone, the more you will get in return. Everyone is here to get more readers and traffic to their blogs so let’s show them some love!

3. Let people know where you party! Add our party badge or link back to the party on your blog or post.

Let's Get Real Linky Party
We will be pinning our favorites!!
My Let’s Get Real Featured blogger this week is:

(Drum Roll Please)

A Mind “Full” Mom

close-up-of-peach-and-kale-salad

This grilled peach and kale salad really got me excited.  Fresh peaches are so delicious this time of year and grilling them is a great idea to really bring out the flavor.  Let’s keep enjoying grilling season as long as it lasts.


Real Life: 7 Ways to Stress Less

When I talk about my week………work, blogging, volunteer positions, all of the kids’ activities, and preparing real food meals………..people always say to me the same thing. “I don’t know how you do it. My answer? “It’s not easy”.  I’m no different than any other busy mom. Juggling the demands of a busy family is not easy for any of us. In fact, it is very stressful. If we are not careful, it can start to affect our health. 7 Ways to stress less and Enjoy Life More

7 Ways to Stress Less

My oldest is 22 years old. I can’t even believe that I am old enough to have a 22 year old. I often say that I learned how to mother with his help. I’ve learned quite a lot over the years thanks to my 4 children and today I want to share my 7 favorite tips to stress less. Life is so much nicer when I can relax and really enjoy my family. The stressors are not going away. They just are not. However, we can manage the stressors so that we can be better parents and lead more enjoyable lives

  1. Embrace the mess: I don’t know any mother who truly “does it all”. It’s a myth. Something has got to give.…….the house, the job, the kids, meal prep. Something. I don’t like to have a horribly messy house, but I do realize that if I am spending all of my hours at work and with the kids then I don’t have too many hours left to clean. I do the best I can and accept it. If you want to bring your white gloves to my house, you will certainly walk away with dusty gloves most days. The dust that is created from softball cleats and playground sneakers is my current phase of life. My children are happy and that helps me to stress less.
  2. Cut back on driving as much as possible: My commute used to take a ton of time out of my schedule. Missing out on time with my family is a huge stressor. I found a job closer to home and it has made all the difference. Take a look at where you drive. Could you find a doctor closer to home? Is the dance school a long drive? Do you really have to go to the grocery store all of the way across town? Spending time with my children makes me and them happy and that helps me to stress less.
  3. Sleep: I know so many parents that think if they sleep less they can get more done. While that may be true for a while, missing out on sleep will likely affect your overall mood and affect your long-term health. Make sure you are getting the sleep you need. Being a well-rested mommy makes my kids happy and that helps me to stress less.
  4. Eat real food: This one probably seems obvious here at Juggling Real Food and Real Life. To be blunt……….digestive problems from eating bad food is a real stressor. When I eat real food, my body performs better. There is no getting around that fact. A healthy mom makes my kids happy and that helps me to stress less.
  5. Learn to say “No.”: It is just not easy to tell people “no”, but learning to politely decline can be a huge stress reducer.  So often I am offered opportunities to help out with worthy causes, but there is only so much time in a day. I couldn’t possible do a good job with everything I am offered and still have time for my family. My friend Gaye over at Calm.Healthy.Sexy. taught me that saying “Yes” to someone is saying “No” to someone else. It is important to remember that if you are volunteering all of the time at the school while your kids are at home with a babysitter, it may not feel quite as good as volunteering together.  Spending time with my kids helps me to stress less.
  6. Strive for balance over a period of time: Don’t worry about getting everything done every day. If you have to drive through a snowstorm to get home after your daughter’s dance class, it certainly is OK to skip the laundry and relax with a glass of wine. The laundry will still be there the next day and you won’t hate it as much if you take a night off. We also try to use the 80/20 rule for our food. We strive to eat real food 80% of the time. Certainly, if football practice runs late and I forget to start the crock pot in the morning, a quick pizza never hurt anyone. We just go back to our real food for the next meal. Balance helps me to stress less.
  7. Do something just for you: Blogging, reading a good book, and scrapbooking are all things that help me to relax. Relaxing with creative endeavors helps me to stress less.

OK………I’ve got one more for you.

Church: I find that having time for my faith helps me to look at the bigger picture and know that I am not in this alone. He is there with me every step of the way. Above all else that helps me to stress less.

What are your tips to stressing less and enjoying life more? Are you the same mom with your oldest as you are with your youngest? What types of hobbies help you to relax?  I hope you enjoyed this “Real Life” post.  If you would like to see more articles like this, please leave me a comment below.

If you are looking for help in making the transition to eating more real food, you should check out the Real Food Experience posts. You can get started at the beginning or jump around the challenges. You can find a complete round-up of the program here. Each week’s challenge is full of terrific advice to help you transition from fast and processed food to a real food diet. Changes that will help you to live a healthy lifestyle and have the energy to keep up with your busy schedule. I would also love for you to join me on social media. You can find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram on a regular basis. Leave me a comment and let me know you are there. I love to visit with my readers.

7 Easy Real Food Breakfast Recipes

Breakfast…….the most important meal of the day.  I know lots of people who don’t eat breakfast, but I just don’t know how they do it.  I need my real food meals to start right away.  My brain just doesn’t seem to get going until I have had some real food to eat.  I don’t usually feel like eating very much first thing in the morning, but I certainly can’t skip a meal.  Skipping breakfast leaves me unfocused and cranky.  The same is true for my kids.  Unfocused and cranky is no way to send your kids off to school.

Real Food Breakfast Recipes

When working on my meal plan for breakfast, I like to plan for some days to be sweet and some days to be savory.   I think it keeps things interesting.  Variety is the spice of life!  Grab your free printable meal plan.

How do I get these real food breakfasts to the table, when everyone is in a hurry to get out the door in the morning?

I’d like to say that I get up before the rest of my family and start cooking.  That would be nice, but I like my sleep.  I run non-stop all day at work and then all night with the housework and kids’ activities.  I need to sleep a little.  And confession………my hair and makeup take way longer to do than I would like.   Instead of getting up hours before everyone else, I like to freeze muffins, waffles, and pancakes.  Muffins can thaw overnight or defrost in the microwave and the waffles and pancakes can be heated in the toaster.  Oatmeal can cook while I’m in the shower or made the night before and reheated.  Some of these can even be eaten on the way to the bus stop or in the car on the way to work.

Day 1:  Monkey Bites 

Monkey Bites

Day 2: Cinnamon Maple Oats

Cinnamon Maple Oats

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3: Cinnamon Spelt Pancakes

Cinnamon Spelt Pancakes

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4:  Peanut Butter and Jelly Whole Wheat Muffins

Peanut Butter and Jelly Whole Wheat Muffins

 

 

 

 

 

Day 5:  Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich

Sausage egg and cheese breakfast sandwich

 

 

 

 

Day 6: Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

 

 

 

 

 

Day 7:  Strawberry Whole Wheat Waffles

Strawberry Whole Wheat Waffle Recipe

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoy these fast and easy real food recipes as much as my family does.  With just a little practice, you will be Juggling Real Food and Real Life like a pro!

If you are looking for help in making the transition to eating more real food, you should check out the Real Food Experience posts. You can get started at the beginning or jump around the challenges. You can find a complete round-up of the program here. Each week’s challenge is full of terrific advice to help you transition from fast and processed food to a real food diet. Changes that will help you to live a healthy lifestyle and have the energy to keep up with your busy schedule. I would also love for you to join me on social media. You can find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram on a regular basis. Leave me a comment and let me know you are there. I love to visit with my readers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Get Real Friday Party # 100

Woot! Woot! Let’s get this Friday started and this Friday is extra special!  We’ve made it to 100 weeks of Let’s Get Real. From the start, Let’s Get Real has been all about Healthy Living and that is quite an appeal to lots of folks. We are all about Real Food, fitness, health and wellness, and home life tips and tricks. Each week, I encourage you to take a few moments just for yourself.  We can all use some time for ourselves.  Grab a comfortable spot to sit and enjoy getting to know some of the best bloggers I know.


Let's Get Real 100





** Special Note: If you are a blogger looking for an active sharing group, we have the group for you. The Let’s Get Real Facebook group has daily follow threads, support, and friendship. Come on over and join us.**

Let's Get Real Weekly

Nicole: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +/Instagram
Nicky:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+
Gaye:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+
Heather:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Google+

Let's Get Real Ladies2

 

I‘m not big on rules (since this is what I do for fun), but I do have a couple of guidelines.

 

1. Follow all your hosts. We follow back! Leave a comment for us on the post and we will know you are a new follower.


 2. Please don’t link and run! Follow and comment on at least three (3) other blogs. The more effort you put into getting to know everyone, the more you will get in return. Everyone is here to get more readers and traffic to their blogs so let’s show them some love!

3. Let people know where you party! Add our party badge or link back to the party on your blog or post.


We will be pinning our favorites!!
My Let’s Get Real Featured blogger this week is:

(Drum Roll Please)






Urban Girl Bakes

Rosemary, chicken, and vegetables………what could be better?  This dish is perfect for weeknights or special dinners.