First Week Of School Meal Plan

One of my last things to prep for back to school is my pantry and fridge.  I completed my Freezer Meals, but I also like to so a big stock up of groceries.  I went to Wegmans and Costco which are my favorite stores to shop, and stocked up.

I also like to keep a simple dinner plan for the first week of school.  Everyone is getting back into a new routine, and my kids are tired after those first few long days at school.  That mixed with meetings, activities, and practices means my meals need to be quick to prepare that are also family favorites.  My meal plan is listed below as well as a video showing my grocery haul.  There is also a peak at how my pantry/fridge/freezer look after all my food prep is done!

Monday -  Chicken Nuggets, Rice, and Fruit


Wednesday - Spaghetti with Meatballs from the CrockPot

Thursday - Beef Fried Rice

Friday - Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

Saturday - Out With Friends?  Quick Grab and Go?

Sunday - Shrimp and Veggies with Pasta

What are your quick, easy dinners, that you know your family will love?

Meal Prep | Freezer Meals

Yesterday was by far the longest, most tiring day in a long time, but don't let that deter you.  While my back ached a bit and my feet were tired, I was also let with 14+ meals in my freezer to use throughout the fall months.  I also had a newly repaired dishwasher which felt equally as amazing, but that's another story!  

FOURTEEN Meals!  That doesn't even include the 3 batches of muffins and 6 breakfast bowls.  The muffins were simply from a box mix.  The Breakfast Bowls {shown below} are from a recipe found HERE.

Now onto the dinners.  Every dinner I made I doubled the recipe, so I would get AT LEAST 2 meals out of it.  

I made:

{I cannot find a recipe exactly like mine, but this one is close}

Italian Sausage
This is simply Sweet Italian Sausage in the crock pot with spaghetti sauce, peppers and onions.

{Not the same as mine, but looks fantastic!}

To see my whole process and how I pack the meals for the freezer please watch below!

Back To School Supply Haul

Shopping for school supplies is something I look forward to every year, but it is also the turning point for me, the feeling of summer being over really hits.  We have all but said goodbye to the days of summer, and are in full swing getting prepared to head back to school.  

This is our first time starting the school year in the kids school, as last year we moved mid-year.  I was so surprised at the difference in the supply lists from one district to another.  Below is the links to both supply hauls. 

Homework Command Center

While the amount of homework a child brings home with is something that differs so much from class to class / school to school / child to child, I think it is a great idea to have a homework command center set up at home.  Doing this allows for your child to be set up to have a successful homework experience.  All supplies are ready, distractions become limited, and if things are organized and orderly they will be ready to work.

Today I am going to share out homework command center.

This is a bottom cabinet in our kitchen, removed from our food prep area, but centrally located to the kitchen table where the kids complete homework.  Everything they need is in their reach, and organized in a kid friendly way.

Not only are our homework supplies here, but also crafting materials the kids use regularly.

Here is a look at the space as a whole, does it always look this, no.... I occasionally have to go in and reorganize this space.  However, for the most part, since everything is contained in a bin, it really works.

In the Sterilite drawers is coloring books, paper and notebooks.  

Our homework caddy is a lifesaver.  It has anything that will be needed to complete a regular homework assignment.  Lots of sharpened pencils ready to go, crayons, markers, index cards, and glue.  I even add post it's in the event that I need to attach a quick note to an assignment for the teacher.  What's nice about this is all the compartments click together and it all gets moved together from the cabinet to the table!

Below is a list of storage items used in the space and supplies we can't live without!

Sterilite Shoe Boxes:(Click Here)

Sterilite Drawers:(Click Here)

Sterilite Stack and Carry:(Click Here)

Crayons:(Click Here)

Markers:(Click Here)

Sharpened Pencils:(Click Here)

Scissors:(Click Here)

Index Cards:(Click Here)

Glue:(Click Here)

Paper:(Click Here)

Notebooks:(Click Here)

For more info and to see inside the cabinet please watch the video below!

{Please Note:  Affiliate Links have been used in this post.  If you chose to use them for purchasing I really appreciate your support!}

Lunch Packing Made Easy

Lunch making time used to be one of my most stressful times of day.  Trying to find containers with lids that match, deciding foods.... it made mornings so hectic.  Over the years I have found ways to make lunch packing much easier and manageable. 

Starting with food storage.  Keeping items that we use daily in school lunches together, at the kids reach has helped so much.  Not only can they help during the packing process, but I can also at a glance tell if we are running low on items.

We keep yogurts, applesauce, and fruit cups in a bin in the fridge.  We do the same with any juice we may have and smoothies.

This is all at the kids reach.  It is not only great for lunches, but also them helping make breakfast as well.

In our pantry I keep a bin on the floor that holds snack sized items.  These normally come in awkward  boxes, that do not fit right.  The kids will eat through all of the same kind of snack and get sick of it.  With this bin I can mix chips with crackers, add in cookies, and they can have a large variety without the bags being all over the pantry.  

The bottom shelf of the pantry holds granola bars, snack bags I have portioned out from full size bagged items, and other miscellaneous snacks we have.

Aside from the food, I also think it is important to have all school lunch making containers together.
I take the cabinet that already contained a majority of our "kid" stuff.

In this cabinet I have our lunch containers (more info on those below), any thermos containers, water bottles, and the kids lunch boxes.

On the inside door of this cabinet I put any papers that come home from school regarding lunches.  Lunch menu, instructions from the teacher, etc.  I also found this great printable from Inkwell Press and added it there as well (Inkwell Printable)  In the past when I would plan out the kids lunches I would put that menu in as well.  Here is my printable calendar to meal plan lunches (HERE)

As far as the products I use and would recommend, the Lands End Lunchboxes.  I have used these for years for the kids and I just LOVE them.  Also Listed below are some of my favorite accessories for packing lunches.

Silicone Cups: (Click Here)

Popsicle Tubes:(Click Here)

Easy Lunchboxes:(Click Here)

Happy Lunchboxes:(Click Here)

Sistema Container:(Click Here)

Congo Water Bottle: (Click Here)

Thermos:(Click Here)

Thermos Water Bottle:(Click Here)

To see more please watch the video below!

{Please note: Affiliate links have been used in this post, I appreciate your support if you chose to use them!}

10 Tips To Prep For Back To School

When it comes to getting the kids ready to head back to school in the fall, I really try to not only prepare them, but also our home, schedules, and myself.  It is a big adjustment from the lazy carefree life we live during those glorious summer months.

The kids adjust much easier if our routines are set, our home is organized, and their mom isn't a frazzled mess!

As I looked back on my Back To School Series from last year, I found it so amazing that my tips this year were pretty much identical to past years (READ HERE) , and the preparations really haven't changed much!

So below are 10 of my tips to prepare, but I would also love to hear yours in the comments as well.

10.  Go through kids clothing and PURGE!  

Depending on where you live and the weather will change this, but the end of August/ beginning of September is a great time of year for us to clear out clothing.  Keeping a few warmer weather pieces, but mostly transition into cooler weather clothing.  I also use this time to clear out anything that doesn't fit, anything with stains, and clean out and organize drawers. 

9. Envision your schedule and anticipate any conflicts.

Nothing stresses me out more than having to be 2 places at the same time.  Since my husband works a bit far from home and has a long commute, most evening activities for the kids rely on me to get them there.  I cannot be more than one place at the same time, no matter how hard I try.  While conflicts cannot always be avoided, I to try to schedule things that won't overlap.

8.  Don't take on TOO much.

Not easy, but totally a necessity to keeping my sanity.  When asked to volunteer for things, I always say I have to check my schedule, so I can sit down outside of that moment of being asked and really determine if it is something I can commit my time to.  I started out when Matthew started school of saying YES to everything, and I got burnt out so quickly.  It wasn't fair to my family, or myself.  

7. Stock your fridge and freezer.

Not eases my stress level more than having a stocked fridge and freezer.  This helps in so many ways.  From not having to run to the store every night for items missing to make dinner, to being able to pull out an easy meal on a night when what was on my meal plan wasn't working.

6. Keep a simple meal plan.

Speaking on menu planning, the first week or so of school I like to keep meals easy and quick.  The less clean up and prep time the better!  I also like to make foods I know my kids won't fuss over.

5.  Have info all in one place.  (Emergency Contact / Addresses)

So many forms come home that first week of school.  I like to gather any information I know I will need before hand, so I have it ready to go.

4. All paperwork in and back out ASAP.

This is probably my favorite tip.  Anytime a paper comes home in the kids folders that needs my attention I do it right then.  I take the 5-10 minutes after school while the kids are putting shoes away, washing hands, and having snack to go through their backpacks.  I sign forms,  makes notes of dates, anything really.  My rule is, any form that comes home in the folder that needs sent back is done on the same day.  Occasionally this doesn't work if I need to confirm something, but for the most part it does.  This helps in not forgetting to send things back, loosing papers.....

3. Establish routines early.

Take the week before school to lock down the routine.  Going to bed early, waking up when you will need to.  Instead of lounging in the morning at a snails pace, we get up / get ready / eat and try to have all those things done by the time we would leave for school.

2.  Binder for all school info.

I simply take a binder, have a tab for each child, and inside you can find anything from sports schedules, class rules, teacher contact info, report cards, progress reports.  Anything that comes home, doesn't get returned, yet I need to keep for reference.  By the end of the year I have quite the pile of paperwork, but it is all things I needed, and it is all organized in a binder, not a pile on a counter or in a drawer.


While I really think getting organized and planning ahead will make things so much easier, just keep things simple, and try not to complicate it too much.  This is an adjustment time for your entire family with routines changing, so it will take some time to get into a groove.

To see my full video on 10 tips to Prep For Back To School Watch Below: