Simple Solutions for Healthy School Lunches and After School Snacks

This is a sponsored campaign with Glad®

I've discovered a little secret....

When I let my daughter pack her lunch she eats it all at school and comes home with empty containers and a full tummy!

I know you're thinking that's easier said that done, she's only 6.  How could she pack her own lunch and make all healthy choices?  It's simple.  

Solutions for School Lunch with Kids

We've found an easy solution.  We use the Glad® Food Storage containers to hold each food group for her side items and her sandwich.  She selects them each morning to put in her lunch box. We've been working on food groups & nutrition with our Little Hands that Cook with Books Series so she's learning quite a lot about which belongs in each group.  When we're making a list or shopping we're always looking to build our rainbow of choices too!  At the beginning of the week once we've done our shopping we fill up the containers together and store them. 

Items to keep on hand for Lunch Boxes and After School Snacks

Here are some yummy items we add to our containers.
  • Fruits ~ strawberries, grapes, cantaloupe, watermelon, mandarin oranges, & dried fruit
  • Vegetables ~ baby carrots, celery, edamome, cucumbers, cauliflower, grape tomatoes, & tossed salad
  • Dairy ~ String cheese, cubed cheese, yogurt fruit & veggie dips, & yogurt parfaits
  • Protein ~ rolled meat and cheese, beef jerky, bean salad, & chicken salad
  • Grains ~ pasta Salad, Rice CakesGoldfish  ,Annie's Cheddar Bunnies , Pretzels, Crackers, homemade granola bars & trail mix

Easy Snack Time Solution

When After School Time arrives, she's looking for a snack.  We've got it all set.  She has a spot in the refrigerator and in the pantry to store her snack choices.  That have already been created on the weekends with me and just the right portions. 

Now half the fun is making things together that inspires her to eat her food all gone. Here's our recipe for making our own version of Heart Healthy Energy Bars, which are a big hit at our house and at afterschool playdates.  Here are few more helpful go to recipes to make your own snacks together. Put the recipes onto recipe cards and allow your child to choose one or two each week to make with you.  You'll treasure that cooking time together and they will be more interested in eating it if they've made it!  

Here are some delicious recipes we add to our containers

Recipes to Make Together for Special Snacks

Breakfast Solutions with Kids 

  • Jumbo Breakfast Cookie from Cheerios
  • Place cut fruit or dried fruit the night before in container to put on yogurt or oatmeal in the morning
  • Holds yogurt from larger containers to save money and plastic.
  • Keep fresh cut fruit in containers   

Of course we can always use our containers to store playdough, paint, crayons, beads for some after school fun too!    You get the idea, the options are limitless.  I'm so glad Glad® sent us our storage containers to test out.  It's made our school lunch and snack planning so much easier on our family of 5.  

Lunchbox Ideas for Kids Pinterest Board 

We're always looking for fun things to cook with our children, inspiration for school lunches and recipes to try out.  We invite you to check out our pinterest boards.  Let us do to work for you so you don't have to spend much time online and be able to spend more time with your family.  Follow Us as we pin ideas from some of our favorite kid food bloggers on these 3 Food Boards! 

What are your favorite back to school recipes?

You can share your own Back to School recipes, tips and ideas within the “Mom Made” promotion on Glad’s Facebook page!

Don't forget to include a LUNCH NOTE! Here's our free printable.

I have partnered with The Glad Products Company through DailyBuzz Moms to help promote their Food Storage products. I have been compensated for my time commitment to review this product. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments. Thank you GLAD!

Back to School Week - What Questions Should You Ask Your Child.

Amanda and I both sent our daughters back to school this week!  The girls just turned 6 this past month and are off to First Grade!  As they started back to school we both realized how much we want to know what's going on in their classrooms.  I know we're probably not the only parents who are thinking...
  • What are they learning about?
  • What types of stories are they reading? 
  • What level of books do they have access to?
  • How difficult are the math problems? 
  • Were they giving enough time to creatively write?
  • Are they discovering something new in science?
  • Did they play on the playground everyday?
  • Did they get to be creative in art and music?
  • Did they eat all their lunch?

And that question we all turn to as a parent...
  • Are they making any friends?
We're crossing our fingers and hoping that they both are amazing teachers who communicate well with parents and students and have a love of teaching.  However there are some things we plan to do each week at home to ensure they are reaching their fullest potentional this year. 

As we begin this school year we hope to share with you how our weeks are going each week with After School Express on Sundays.  We take what our children are learning in the classroom and work on bringing it to life at home.  We know that schools at times aren't able to provide all the learning opportunities a child needs so we are building up resources so that we can provide enrichment for our children in our home and community.  We're building opportunities for learning that are...
  • Hands On
  • Creative
  • Real World
  • Engaging
  • Challenging
  • Adventurous
  • Rewarding
with the goal of creating Higher Level Thinkers and a Love of Learning! We'll share more tips in the After School Community on Google + JOIN US! .  Plus we'll have a After School Pinterest Board to feature all these activities from The Educators' Spin On It and some of our favorite Kid Bloggers 

We'd love for you to join us on this After School Journey of Enrichment.  We believe that Parents are a Child's First Teacher.  This week we invite you to share about your First Week at School.  Since many schools start on different schedules we'll leave this link open for longer than normal.  Throughout the school year the After School Express Party Opens on Sundays and closes on Saturday nights. {UPDATE MONDAY PARTIES NOW!} Please come back each week and share your after school activities.  We can't wait to see how your First Week of School went. 

Leave a comment below of TOPICS you'd like to see us 
share on After School Express!


Follow the After School PINEREST Board!  

Bloggers Filling Backpacks

Photobucket We're so excited to invite you to to do something that can change the lives of hundreds of children!  Andie from Crayon Freckles took on this project,  which is also very dear to our hearts, and invited The Educators' Spin On It to become involved too.

We have partnered with over 40 bloggers to help support their Tools for Back to School campaign.  It helps parents and students prepare for school by providing school supplies and resources to the youth they serve.  Here's what the Boys & Girls Club of America has to say about the campaign:

Too many kids in America are falling behind inschool and life before they even get started. Oftentimes, this is not due to alack of ability but to the lack of access to both basic tools, such as notebooks and pens, and to quality after-school programming that helps preparekids for academic success and, inevitably, a great future.

Our goal is for us to raise $500.   So, will you make a difference?  Everyone who makes a $10 (or more) donation will get the Boredom-Buster Backpack: 50+ Activities to Keep Children Busy ebook!  The ebook is filled with amazing activities contributed by over 20 bloggers that will keep your children busy, learning, and having fun.

Go to the Bloggers Filling Backpacks BGCA fundraising page and make your $10 donation for your copy of this awesome ebook!  Not only will you get tons of fun activities to do with your child, you'll help other children have the supplies they need to start school successfully!

You can find the Boys & Girls Club of America on Facebook, Twitter, or their Website. 

Kevin Henkes Giveaway- Wemberly Worried


This week's Virtual Book Club for Kids Blog Hop is featuring books by Kevin Henkes... We are so excited to announce a special Book Giveaway Week sponsored by Harper Collins Publishers.
We're sharing activities that we did which were inspired by the book Wemberly Worried. You can also find a activities and browse the book over on the Kevin Henkes website.

We are so excited to share this book with you! We have one free copy of Wemberly Worried to give away this week! There are also giveaways on several other blogs listed below... so hurry over and enter their giveaways too and maybe you'll wind up with a whole library of Kevin Henkes books!!
Here's how you enter the giveaway:
Simply add a comment stating that you did each of the following:
(Please include your email address with each entry)

1. Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment with your email address below.
** Please remember to leave your email address with your entry. That is mandatory to enter into the giveaway.

2. Additional Optional Entries:

- Tell us the title of your favorite Kevin Henkes book in a separate comment.

- Share a Kevin Henkes inspired activity that you did this month (copy and paste the link in the comments or just tell us what you did)

- Be the first or last one to enter and get an EXTRA entry!!

*** Make sure to leave a comment for each additional optional entry so that we can make sure to count it. You get one point for each entry. If you write everything in one comment, then it will only count as one entry.

Entry Guidelines:
- This giveaway is open for entry from Tuesday, August 21st to Tuesday, August 28th at
11:59pm (PST)

- The random entry will be drawn on August 29th and announced on this post. We will notify the winner via email.
- The winner will need to reply to me within 72 hours of this announcement/email. If there is no response, a new winner will be drawn.
- US Residents only.

Here are some other blogs that are doing Kevin Henkes book giveaways during this week... so go check them out too:
Chester's Way- Toddler Approved
Sheila Rae the Brave- Juggling with Kids
Lily's Purple Plastic Purse- Mommy and Me Book Club
Chrysanthemum- Teach Preschool
SHHHH- Pleasantest Thing
Old Bear- No Twiddle Twaddle
My Garden- Crafty Moms Share
Chrysanthemum- Ready.Set.Read!
A Good Day- Adventures in Reading
Old Bear- Reading Confetti
Circle Dogs- Inspiration Laboratories
Wemberly Worried - The Eductors' Spin On It
Penny and Her Song - Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
Jessica - Crayon Freckles
Owen - Royal Baloo
Don't forget to check out our Activities we created for
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes!
Congrats to our giveaway winner!  Amandine


Wemberly Worried: Kevin Henkes Virtual Book Club

Helping children with feelings of anxiety is a part of parenthood and childhood.  We hug them in the dark and when they hear scary noises.  We hold their hand as we go to new places and while meeting new people.  We talk with them about their fears and worries and even show our children there are no monsters in the closet from time to time.

Starting school can bring up some worries within our children.  Some worries are about if they will make friends, will they get lost, will the teacher be nice and like them or even will it be too difficult.

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes is a great book to read to children to help them with their feelings of anxiety about the world around them and starting school.  In the story Wemberly worries about big things and little things and her parents are concerned she worries too much.  I love how it addresses some common worries of children so that they can relate to her and know that they are not alone in their worries. One of her biggest worries is about starting school.  At the end, she finds that she's not the only one who worries through a special friend who somehow makes things a little less worrisome. 

Here are some Activities for those Back to School Worries

Identify your child's worries with them.  Are they big worries or little worries?


We used a board to write down and discuss our worries.  You could easily use a sheet of paper too.  As we wrote down our worries we put them under Big Worries or Little Worries.  Sometimes it helps them to be able to sort out what we should really worry about because it's dangerous or something that just might happen but it's not a big deal.  As you talk about your child's concern about School or anything for that matter encourage them to categorize these concerns with you.  It's a difficult thing for smaller children to do, just think of how intensely you may have felt when you thought a shadow was a "real monster".  But the more you talk about when it's not really happening the more they will begin to understand. Have them relocate those worries if they've placed them in the incorrect category.  Some terms to use as you discuss these worries are the likelihood of them happening. 

Ask them to sort their worries into groups of just might happen or not likely 


Once you've identified some true concerns that just might happen it's time to talk about them and come up with strategies for them. 

Here are some Examples and Strategies

Worry: I will forget my lunch
Truthfully it just might happen.... so make a plan.  Having them come with you to give the food service money might assure them that there is money there waiting for them just in case they leave their lunchbox at home.   

Worry: I won't have any friends
We hope that this never happens to any child but know that it is a big concern and rightly so.  Come up with strategies for your child to make new friends.  I encouraged my daughter to just remember only 3 names the first day of school.  It can be overwhelming to meet so many people at once.  The next day I asked her to remember who she sat by at lunch or who she stood by in the line.  Encouraging them to make those connections will help with forming friendships. 

Worry: I won't know the answers
I think it's human nature to want to know things all the time but encouraging your child to ask questions and know that they are there to learn new things will help with this one.  Also encouraging them to speak up and raise their hands when they don't understand.  A teacher is there to help you learn and understand is a great phrase to teach your child.  

Worry: I'm going to miss my Mommy & Daddy
This is one of those things that you just never know how your child will react until they are there at school.  You can guess from experience in the past with child care providers but I know as a Mom of a crying child the first day of Kindergarten I never saw that coming since he had done so well at preschool the year before.  Literally the teacher had to pry my son off of me so that I could go to teach my classroom for my first day of school too.

Here are some Suggestions for Helping with Back to School Worries

  • Create a heart for them to carry in their pocket or backpack.Curly Birds has a great tutorial on how to create them.  
  • Create First Day of Magic School Dust, we have a printable just for you with ideas.
  • Read lots of books about school.  Here's our list of favorite Back to School Books.
  • Read Kevin Henkes collection of Mouse books they address so many social issues that children go through in school. 
  • Create your own Back to School Book.  We've created a printable for you.  You can sit with your child and personalize their own book about school to talk about some concerns they may have and to also discuss the rules and procedures at school.
Click here to download
writing prompt and craft activity for Wemberly Worried
Image Source Mrs. T's First Grade
  • Create your own Wemberly Worried inspired by Mrs. T's First Grade, she's included tons of printable activity ideas too!
  • Follow our School Pinterest Board for more Resources for Back to School.
  • Role Play with Finger Puppets some of the worries your child may have and some of the words that can use in those situations.   
  • Download Kevin Henkes Wemberly Activity Guide.  Includes a Maze, Dot to Dot, Coloring Page, Finger Puppets, Word Search, Songs and MORE! 

If you haven't read the story here is an online version. 

We wish you the best of luck as your child begins school.  Even if it's their second or third year of school don't forget sometimes their worries might even get more intense as they have memories of year's prior.  Communicate with your child and communicate with your child's teacher to create the best environment for your child.  I think we all have a little Wemberly in all of us!  Who knows they just might want to make Wemberly's Ice Cream Star next! 


Now that we've shared our activities with you, we're excited to see what you came up with! Please add your links to any Kevin Henkes inspired posts to the blog hop linky below.

There are a few rules for this blog hop that we ask you to follow, so make sure to read them:
  1. Link up only posts inspired by Kevin Henkes that share children's book inspired crafts, activities, recipes, etc. Any other posts will be deleted.
  2. Visit other blog posts on the linky and comment on or share the ones you love!
  3. Add our Virtual Book Club button to your post if you'd like.

Check out all these Great Resources for Kevin Henkes book and create your own Book Club with your child. We'd love to hear from you to see how it turned out. You can share on our facebook page or email us!

Click HERE to ENTER our GIVEAWAY of Wemberly Worried from Harper Collins Publishers!

Kevin Henkes Virtual Book Club
Our awesome August blog hop participants are:

20 Picture Books and Activities for Hours of Fun!

This post contains links to Amazon Affiliates, all opinions are 100% my own. 

Did you ever wonder what you can do with a book

You can read the book. 
You can discuss what you see in the pictures. 
You can predict to ending. 
You can summarize the story. 
You can learn about something new
You can even explore far away places!

Here are 20 Picture Books and Activities just for you.  The Educators' Spin On It asked our blogging friends to create Activities to go along with a Picture Book during our Book Exchange.  These activities work great for your home, preschool or classroom.  You could plan a Playdate using the Book and Activities or create a Birthday Package!  Come check out these adorable Books and Activities!   

20 Picture Books and Activities
{Click on the Blog Names to Find Specific Activities for each Book}
  B-Inspired Mama 

Here's WHO created these activities just for you during our Summer Book Exchange.  Make sure you stop by their site and share how your little one enjoyed their Book and Activities!

Do you have a Book and Activity to share? 
We invite you to check out and share on our LOVE BOOKS Page!
Which Book and Activity is your FAVORITE?

Disclaimer~ The book images in this post are affiliate links.
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