School mornings can be rough. Between rousing a kindergarten-sized sleeping beauty, squeezing clothes on a living, breathing Gumby doll, and repeating “eat your breakfast! please eat your breakfast!” five million times, it can get a little trying. Usually I spend the mornings trying desperately to keep my cool until the sweet sight of the yellow school bus rolls up and I can drink coffee and sigh in peace again (relative peace; I still have a toddler yelling “STOP!” and throwing food on the floor).
My best trick for navigating the busy school morning is my best trick for life in general: plan ahead. Before I go to sleep, I have a filled backpack and shoes (or boots) laid out near the breakfast table (along with snow gear, if applicable, which is often the case). If I am feeling particularly inspired, I make a baked oatmeal or mini quiches that will only need to be reheated in the morning for a quick breakfast. But my favorite bit of school prep is absolutely, without a doubt lunch.
My kindergartener, John, is allowed to choose hot lunch up to once a week, but this was a much bigger deal in the beginning of the year. Now he usually prefers his lunch from home (and I love that!). We use the LaLa Lunchbox app to get inspiration for his lunches (see my post here), and I generally pack his lunches in a Bentgo Kids Children’s Lunch Box, in an insulated bag, along with a bottle of water.
But the best part of the lunches, by far, are these tiny little cards I found in the Dollar Section at Target last summer (what can’t Target do for us?!) and have been in love with ever since.
These neat little cards come in packs of 12, and each card either has kid-friendly trivia or a joke on the back. Example: Did you know the last animal listed in the dictionary is the zyzzyva? (I didn’t. I do now. It’s a tiny red beetle. Lunchbox Love cards — educating students of all ages!) The front either has a sweet little note — example: Find something you can like about everyone you meet — or it’s left blank so you can write or draw something original.
So what do I do with these cards?
Well, first of all, I put them in lunches.
If I don’t put them in lunches, I do actually hear about it.
But wait! Lunchbox Love cards also come in seasonal varieties, so we have added some to Christmas gifts or Halloween treats. For Valentine’s Day, John brought in little bags filled with a bracelet, a sucker, a pencil, and a notebook, and we tied a Valentine’s Lunchbox Love card to the the top of each bag. He had a blast reading all of the trivia before deciding which card to give to which classmate. “This one is about butterflies and KACI LOVES BUTTERFLIES!,” for example.
But our most recent use of the cards has proven to be our favorite non-traditional usage — a treasure hunt.
I hid the cards around the house, with clues to lead John to the next hiding spot. The treasure hunt ended, as any great hunt should, with a snack.
I kid you not — he has requested a “Lunchbox Love treasure hunt” daily since the first one. And since our recent Spring Break was mostly cold and snowy (yes, you read that correctly), I largely obliged. Maybe next time I’ll talk up the fun experience of being the “card hider.” I’ll sit and drink coffee while he hides the cards… and OK, I’ll probably be finding them in well-hidden spots for years to come, but anything for a coffee break, yes?
Check out www.sayplease.com to see all that Lunchbox Love has to offer. They aren’t just for kids! There are packs for teens, for loved ones, for strength, for hope — these little cards can be such a light in an oft-dark world.
AND NOW A CHANCE TO WIN! If you would like the opportunity to WIN your own set of Lunchbox Love cards, please SHARE this post on facebook and tag “Premeditated Mama.” Alternatively, you can share the post on twitter and tag @premeditatedmom. Share it both places for double the chances to win! A winner will be chosen on Monday, April 18, so get your shares in before then.