Category Archives: Back to School

Reimagined Tasty and Healthy Lunches (No Sandwiches Thank You)

First day of pre-school? It’s tough seeing your little one all grown up! For me, that was awhile ago, my kids are now 11 and 9 years old, but I do remember those days… Your kids are going to have so much fun, it’s great for socialization and independence, and, most importantly, more time to yourself! The school routine will work itself out, but now’s the time to get a head start on what your child will eat for lunch.

I’ve always been a firm believer of using whole ingredients to feed my kids. From the first time they started to eat, I was steaming up fruits and veggies and blending them up. I couldn’t face giving them anything that could sit on the shelf for ages with all the additives and preservatives. Besides, that jarred stuff tasted pretty disgusting! I believe there are some great frozen brands out in the supermarket now, in fact, I had pondered on launching a line of baby foods back when I was in the thick of it. Anyway, as a result of starting out on real foods, it was an easy transition to solids and happily my kids both continue to eat really well.

Packing a school lunch shouldn’t be daunting, you want something fast and easy that you KNOW your child will eat. You already know his/her food likes and dislikes, so there’s no reason why you can’t utilize your dinner food and save a bit for your little one’s lunch. I promise, this is just as easy as reaching for those packed-with-processed-everything Lunchables and other “convenient” snacks. A lot of parents tell me their kids don’t like sandwiches. Personally I think that’s a great thing, where it allows you to pack real food, make it fun and colorful with lots of fruits and vegetables. It’s much more nutritious than bread and luncheon meat of any sort. While homemade, and even organic is ideal, there are still ways you can make each of these meals work if you purchase from a reputable (non-fast food) establishment – where you know that people actually make the food, not machines.

I use a PlanetBox lunchbox which is great because it makes me want to fill each section up with lots of goodies. It’s like a picnic (or the healthy version of those old-fashioned TV dinners, ha ha). I’ve seen some really cute packed lunches, where people cut sandwiches into cute shapes with cookie cutters and really make an effort to decorate their kids lunch. But to be honest, I have no time or patience for that, and at the end of the day, I know that all my kid really needs is to eat a substantial lunch to get through the school day.

We always have a bag of frozen dumplings in the freezer. I fry a few of them up in the morning and put it in a thermos for a nice hot meal.

We always have a bag of frozen dumplings in the freezer. I fry a few of them up in the morning and put it in a thermos for a nice hot meal.

Whether homemade, or store-bought, this muffin and chicken can be a tasty treat. Fruit that can be eaten without being too messy is perfect.

Whether homemade, or store-bought, this muffin and chicken can be a tasty treat. Fruit that can be eaten without being too messy is perfect.

A true "picnic" style lunch. While the weather is hot out, save a bit from the weekend barbecue for Monday's lunch! When we make burgers, we usually make  sliders (mini-burgers), which are fun for both kids and adults to eat.

A true “picnic” style lunch. While the weather is hot out, save a bit from the weekend barbecue for Monday’s lunch! When we make burgers, we usually make sliders (mini-burgers), which are fun for both kids and adults to eat.

Almonds or any nuts (if your school allows them) are a great source of protein. These are pizza rolls with a small bit of fresh tomato sauce for dipping. Give a variety of fruit throughout the week, taking advantage of what's in season.

Almonds or any nuts (if your school allows them) are a great source of protein. These are pizza rolls with a small bit of fresh tomato sauce for dipping. Give a variety of fruit throughout the week, taking advantage of what’s in season.

Avocado, pasta, meatballs and a little sauce from the other night (I saved this before putting it all together).

Avocado, pasta, meatballs and a little sauce from the other night (I saved this before putting it all together).

Add some fresh vegetables to a leftover stir-fry.

Add some fresh vegetables to a leftover stir-fry.

 Leftover pasta with ragu. Just prepare the thermos with hot water, heat it up the food, and you're ready to go! Fun cocktail toothpicks for happy, easy eating. Usually my kids have water with their lunch, and only on occasion milk or an organic juice.

Leftover pasta with ragu. Just prepare the thermos with hot water, heat up the food, and you’re ready to go! Fun cocktail toothpicks for happy, easy eating. Usually my kids have water with their lunch, and only on occasional milk or an organic juice.

For more creative ways to feed the family visit c-cooking.

 

 

Favorite Books for August

Now that we’re back in school mode, we’ve picked out books focused on writing, ABCs, healthy lunches and friendship. Here are a few of our new favorites for August.

BPFK_August Books 2013

The Obstinate Pen
This gem will have your kiddo cracking up. The entire family loves this one. Great illustrations and a sense of humor.
This is what Uncle Flood wants to write with his new pen: “The following story is all true.
But the pen does not write that sentence. Instead it writes: “You have a big nose!
Who knows what to do with a pen that has a will of its own? Not Uncle Flood. Not Officer Wonkle.
But young Horace has an idea…

ABC
This classic has been a favorite for a long time in our house. But we thought it would be a great way to kick off the new Pre-K school year.

Fast Food
I wish I came up with this idea for a book. The food art is so fun and inspiring. Your little one will learn about different modes of transportation while being introduced to fruits and veggies such as plantains, kumquat, snap peas, ginger, rhubarb leaf, Chinese eggplant and more!

I Broke My Trunk
I love to read this one very, very enthusiastically (okay, almost obnoxiously). Gerald tells Piggie the long, crazy story about breaking his trunk. Again, great illustrations and I love the use of talk bubbles throughout the book.

Back-To-School Crew Craze

BPFK_old_school_crew

As you can probably tell from some recent posts, we’re gearing up for the new school year in STYLE. Check out these crafty old-school crews we made on this Sunday Funday. All you need are two empty toilet paper rolls, a blue Sharpie, and a pair of scissors. Just cut the toilet paper rolls vertically so they can slip on comfortably over your little one’s calves. Then draw horizontal stripes for a pair of classic crew socks. In about 10 minutes your little trendsetter will be rockin’ some new socks that are sure to be all the rage…in pre-k. 

 

Back-To-School Bash

It’s back-to-school season and we’re kicking off this academic year with a little celebration. We picked up some fresh school supplies, some new books, and some healthy red apples to gear up for class. But what’s a party without favors and what’s a back-to-school bash without some educational fun? Just have the kiddos bring a clean empty milk carton from home, stick-on our appropriately-themed, BPFK school bus stickers, and let the good times roll. You can even squeeze in a quick lesson about the importance of recycling.
BPFK_Back-to-School_2013_sm

All of our stickers are printed on 100% recycled, uncoated paper so don’t be afraid to let your little pupils customize their new toys with markers or crayons. Another idea: Help your kiddo write his name neatly and this yellow bus becomes the perfect desk name tag.

D is for Dylan

 

Teachers Rule!

If you have kiddos, you know the school year is winding down. What better way to show your appreciation for your favorite teacher than with a sweet DIY gift. This cute ruler vase only set us back about $10, took less than an hour to make, and should last forever on your teacher’s desk (unlike real flowers)! Here’s how we did it:

Supplies: 12 wooden rulers, craft glue, silk flowers, floral foam, and any kind of square base equal in width to that of three rulers. {Hint: Check your local dollar store. We found the rulers in packs of 4 for $1 and scored a square, mesh, pencil holder exactly the width of three rulers – also $1}.

teacher.craft_1

 

Step 1: Glue three rulers together to make a wall. Repete to make four walls. {Hint: If you have some scrap card stock laying around, use it to reinforce the walls}.

teacher.craft_2

teacher.craft_3

 

Step 2: Start gluing each wall around the sides of your square base. We turned the pencil holder upside down so the rulers could sit on along the lip. {Hint: Use hot glue if you’re the impatient type}.

teacher.craft_4

 

Step 3: Before you finish putting the walls up, stack and glue floral foam to your base. teacher.craft_5

Step 4: Finishing gluing the remaining ruler walls to your base. As soon as the glue dries, you’re ready to pop the flowers in the foam and voilà – a ruler vase for your teacher!

teacher.craft_6

Step 5: Don’t forget to personalize your vase with a little note. Teachers Rule!

teacher.craft_8

 

 

Free Back-to-School Printable: Red is for Top

Head on over to our website to download our free back-to-school printable



This stoplight sticker is another idea that came directly from Chloe – the 2-year-old inspiration behind Box Play for Kids. She came home the other day from preschool and informed her parents that “green is for go, lellow is for sloooooooow down, and red is for top {still working on our S sound…}.” All with very enthusiastic hand movements. She’s all ready for her future career as a crossing guard.


I printed two of these out for my two kids {almost 5 yo girl and 2 1/2 yo boy}. We’re playing “Red Light, Green Light” with one of the stickers and using the other one a traffic signal for a town we created with all of our toy cars. We even store some of the cars in the egg carton when we’re done playing. 


Good luck to all you parents out there getting ready for the new school year! I’m still in complete denial that my baby started Kindergarten a few weeks ago. It took two weeks and she’s already decided that she loves Justin Bieber. Sigh.


Be sure to check out our Pinterest boards for some back-to-school inspiration.