Homeschool Lunch Made EASY

I hate stopping in the middle of the school day to make lunch.  Even more than that, I hate to clean up after lunch.  When I stumbled upon EasyLunchboxes, I was HOOKED even before they arrived.

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We were recently sent a set of Easy Lunchboxes along with a cooler to review. I am about to admit how truly dorky I am. I was probably more excited for these to arrive in the mail than I have been for any other item we have had sent to us for a review!!!!! Yup, I LOVE containers and I knew if these ended up being half as great in person as they appeared online, I was in for a plastic container state of bliss.

They arrived and I tore into the box to find my plastic slice of heaven. They ARE better in person! I honestly had 2 main concerns that I knew I would have to figure out when they actually arrived…

  1. How easy the lids came off, and if they sealed enough for my liking without being too tight or too loose. They are PERFECT, seriously. Somehow they stay on, but yet the kids can open them alone.
  2. The quality of the plastic itself. I have used both Tupperware and also Ziploc…and I don’t loveeither. Tupperware tends to be a bit too tough for my liking, and the lids are often too tight and secure for me. Ziploc {and other cheaper brands} are too flimsy and don’t cut it for me either. Easy Lunchboxes are the perfect middle ground, Honestly I was shocked, they are much sturdier than Ziploc-ish containers, but the lids are still able to be removed easily.

Within hours of their arrival, they were neatly stacked in my fridge like this…IMG_3418…all ready for the next day. I also decided to color coordinate the boys’ juice cups {they only get 1 per day} and pre-fill those too. The container under the juice cups is the morning snack, and to the left are the boys’ water bottles.

Lunch the next day was a dream {and each day since then}. I pulled out the boxes and handed them out. It was wonderful.IMG_3514

After lunch, what wasn’t eaten, got left in the Easy Lunchbox and put right back into the fridge to be eaten before afternoon snack!!!! This was a feature I hadn’t thought of! It makes lunch easily re-storable for those little sweethearts who don’t eat all of their healthy food only to beg for snacks later. We don’t offer our children alternative meals, and if they don’t eat what is served, they are either done for the day {if it is dinner} or if it can be saved, it will be saved for the next time they are hungry. Easy Lunchboxes make this plan work beautifully!!!!

The boxes that were emptied went into the sink, and that was the ONLY mess I had to worry about! I didn’t have to clean up the entire kitchen after preparing lunch in the middle of our homeschooling day. Nor did I need to stop early to begin preparing lunch!!!! Doing the prep work at night saved me tons of stress!!!

I LOVE these things!!!!!! I highly recommend them to all of you…both for home use and for traveling use. Whether you homeschool or pack your child’s lunch for “going” school…they are perfect!

Raising Rock Stars Preschool ~ Letter Xx

Raising Rock Stars Preschool Letter X

This is the main section of our preschool posts-focusing on what we do for our Raising Rock Stars Preschool Curriculum. I am not sharing photos of each part every week, just what I happen to catch! We do the entire unit even if I don’t show it here in the photos!

Our letter this week ~ Xx, our verse: EXcept you be converted and become as little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.

A view from the floor. I was sitting on the floor working with Krash and looked up and snapped a shot, for those of you who like a peek ;-). We added in BODY books this week to go with X is for X-ray. We also used books focused on Jesus and children.IMG_3311

Krash colors his verse…IMG_3299

He still loves cutting, and was in love with the box and fox cards…first time he really acknowledged rhyming words on his own!!!IMG_3301

He was blown away to find himself in the easy reader ;-)IMG_3424

A little cutting, gluing, and matching for the craft of the week…IMG_3793 He was oh-so-thrilled to have this shot taken ;-)IMG_3812

This week Pac helped him tape his verse together…

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He did really well this week reading and tracking along with the easy reader on the PowerPoint.

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The Power Point lessons are located in the Members Only section. You can see a video here showing a PowerPoint lesson. You can learn more about the Members Only section here. The entire printable unit {everything else you see pictured above} is available for FREE on the main RRSP page…

You can download the entire letter Xx unit here.

in the box {A few things that were in his preschool workboxes for the week, not all activities are pictured}

He did one drawing from his Kumon Drawing book this week. This is definitely not his favorite thing, so I don’t push him to do more than one a week for now ;-).IMG_3316

He did #1-7 of our Pom Pom Numbers. He wanted the colors to match {his idea} so we worked together to get them sorted and then figured out which color went on which card {they are self-correcting, as each # is a different color}IMG_3308

Xx’s on a Play Doh matIMG_3825

We did a few fun letter of the week activities. Here he is doing his very first color-by-number! I was amazed with how well he did and how much he enjoyed this!!!IMG_3470

Matching xylophone shapes…IMG_3562

He dot painted a xylophone… IMG_3314

We finally got back to our ABC Crafts and will now be matching the letters we have left with our RRSP units. Here he is making X is for Xray…IMG_3566

He matched clothespin colorsIMG_3467

Pounding the ABCsIMG_3474

He did these 3 Letter puzzles and after he finished them we flipped them over and worked on letter sounds together. He still doesn’t grasp the blending part, but he’ll get it soon, no rush!IMG_3568

 

star boxes This is where I share the 3 special open-ended toys that were in our Star Boxes for the week.

Our 3 STAR boxes for the week: Foam ABCs, Wedgits, Lacing Beads {which he literally did not touch all week long}. The letters were the favorite item of the week. He had the brilliant idea to connect them all to make a road for his cars…IMG_3321 We did this on more than one day…IMG_3535

Krash likes our Wedgits, but not nearly as much as Ladybug and Pac Man do ;-) IMG_3600

 

game time IMG_3320

Our game this week was Chutes n Ladders. I must be honest and say this is probably my LEAST favorite children’s game, ever. But, I was a good Mommy and we played every.single.day. I dislike this game because it can go on and on and on and on. 1 chute and you’re history. The boys, however, LOVE this silly game!

See more of our favorite preschool games here.

Life School This is where I share games, toys, and life experiences that occur outside of our planned preschool time.

Although K hasn’t begun to read on his own yet, he is VERY interested in learning to read. He has all of the readiness signs, and we’re just continuing to work with him. By “we” I mean Pac Man also! P loves to teach and thankfully K loves to be taught sometimes! Here Pac was teaching him in great detail using a book he loves.IMG_3781

Krash loves to explore Ladybug’s Tot Trays ;-p, brings back good memories for him I suppose! I try to challenge him a bit with her trays when he shows interest in them. Here I had him trying to drop the stick in while holding them higher . IMG_3373

$5 for a water hopscotch=two VERY happy boys. Krash loved learning to play hopscotch ;-P {it was from Target}IMG_3338

Anyone else watch Minute to Win It? We are in LOVE, Krash is attempting Noodling Around ;-)IMG_3532

Moms favIMG_3833 It was impossible to choose just one this week, so here’s a few more favorites…IMG_3894IMG_3958IMG_3776

 

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More Preschool Links…

Be sure to visit Preschool Corner to see all of the other amazing home-preschool moms!

Raising Rock Stars ~ Samson

Samson

I must admit, I wasn’t all that excited to get to the story of Samson.  I don’t really like Samson, honestly-he gets on my nerves.  I really don’t like the images for children that only seem to focus on how strong he was.  The real truth is that he was a messed up man who could have had it all and chose a more selfish path.  His life was filled with many sins not suitable for teaching to very young children, so I knew it would be hard to teach the true lesson from this “familiar” story.  Thankfully I found some posts from Kristi, here and here…which helped me put words to my thoughts and concerns.  Her words helped me prepare my heart to teach this story to my boys during our family time.

Daddy had read the story straight from Judges all week, and now it was my turn to bring it to life in a meaningful way.  I had a board book that I think I bought from a dollar store somewhere ;-), so I used that to start off with.  Then I had the boys color a simple picture I made as I shared what the text on the coloring page meant.Samson Coloring

We talked about how Samson’s strength came only from God, and that he was actually a weak man who made lots of foolish decisions in his life.  God can use us even when we are weak…God is BIGGER than our mistakes!

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Resources used this week:

Visit the Raising Rock Stars Webpage to download your own notebook pages and to see links to previous Rock Stars posts!

Behind the Scenes ~ Rotating Toys

Behind the Scenes ~ Rotating Toys



Long ago when I was trained in child development, I remember learning something cool regarding the rotation and rotating toys and the specific placement of toys. The concept is more recently called “strewing,” as I have seen it spread around a few blogs I read lately. The idea I am talking about isn’t exactly what is described there, but it’s pretty close. I don’t remember if it even had a name back when I learned about it ;-) but I remember thinking it was a genius idea and that when I was a parent I would be consistent with the concept in my own home.

Fast forward to now, I am a mother of 3, with a house full of toys. I am busy and brain-less at times. Remembering to change things around to keep their environment interesting is something I often forget to do.

Lately I got back on the band wagon with intention and I have already seen great results. I thought I would share with you what is working for us based around this idea of keeping the learning and living environment fresh, fun, engaging, and new for our children.

I am VERY forgetful, so one day I walked around my house and picked some key areas I wanted to be sure to change out on a regular basis, and I brainstormed what my goals were with each area. I won’t share all of my areas, as all homes are different, but I will share some key areas that would probably be in most homes.

I also made a list with goal time frames of when I wanted to remind myself to change out particular areas. This is not set in stone, but at least it reminds me so I can check on the area if it hasn’t been updated.

 

My “Rotating” Areas…

 

The Dishwasher {could be fridge, washer/dryer, etc based on your house}. Once a week I am putting up a new magnet set for the kids to explore freely. Ladybug in particular has really enjoyed this!!!! You’ll notice a bowl in the photo, she loves to take the magnets off and put them into something and then put them all back up!IMG_8475

 

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Living Room Toy Basketwe have one area on our entertainment center where we allow an assortment of small toys. Usually this has been a junky gathering place, until lately. I decided to make this a family-toy basket…choosing a special toy that could be enjoyed by all 3 of my children, rather than just one. The first week I put some of our Little People and some of the smaller pieces from their sets. The next week I put in our puppets. The boys hadn’t touched our puppets in MONTHS or longer, but when I put them there for them to find, they got busy doing puppet shows without me ever saying a thing! Right now I have our felt food from The Felted Pear, and it’s getting a lot of attention from all 3 kids!

IMG_3202K is a hoarder, especially when he LOVES something!!!! He loves this food!

 

Ladybug’s Books…she has a few areas where her books are available, one is a basket in the living room, one is a low shelf in her room {it’s from Ikea, imagine that, & please ignore the fact that it”fell” off of the wall due to my inability to hang shelves properly-my sweet husband will be fixing it soon}. IMG_2103 I make a point to change out her board books, and hide the ones not in use in either of those places, so her books are rotating regularly. This girl LOVES to read and is very excited on the day she finds I have rotated her books!

 

Mom & Dad’s Room…we don’t allow toys to be just hanging out in our room, but we’ve always tried to keep something in our room for the times we need to have a child in our room with us. Currently only Ladybug has something in our room and I am now intentionally rotating what is there. I have found that just by moving her bigger items around, she plays with them more and engages differently. Currently her large dragon is in there. It takes up space, yes…but I prefer that to tons of tiny toys all over the floor!

 

Mommy’s Office…sometimes Ladybug is in here while I am working and she loves to just sit and play. After determining that pens and pencils weren’t the best toys for her, I set up a low shelf where I now rotate something for her. Currently her favorite piggy is in here, and it gets MUCH loving since she loves to hang out with me!IMG_2129

 

I have a few other areas in my home, but they are more specific to our house. I suggest going around your home and look for places where toys seems to gather. Even with all of the “those are upstairs toys” rule we have, we have a little person who we have labeled the “toy migrator” he seems to reposition toys in our home secretively! Since I started rotating toys, he does this less and less! Each child also has a basket in our living room to collect any migrated toys ;-).

So, are you a toy-rotater, a strewer? How do you do it? How do you WISH you did it {for those of us who have big dreams and little time}? Do you have a post about this topic on your blog? Leave a link to it in the comments!!!!

See more of my Behind the Scenes posts here!

Tot School

~Ladybug is currently 15 months old~

I was much more prepared and focused this week ;-).  I am still in the figure-it-out mode as I try to develop a new schedule for us now that Ladybug does not nap in the mornings.  We tried a few things out this past week, and I hope to find the routine I like soon!  For now we are still pretty go-with-the-flow as far as the schooling schedule, but we are still spending loads of time in the schoolroom!!!

Tot TraysI set up 3 Tot Trays for Ladybug this week and she explored them each day.  She REALLY enjoyed them all, and we had lots of fun working together!!

Tray #1…colored stirring sticks {from Target}, and an empty coffee creamer bottle.  In and out, in and out, in and out…shake, shake, shake…TOTAL fun for a young tot!!!IMG_3456

I was surprised when she pulled her froggy watering can over and began to put the sticks into the small hole on the top of his head!  She added her own extension to her Tot Tray!!!! IMG_3461

Tray #2…I selected 12 bumpy beads form our pop bead set and put them in an empty almond container, along with an empty Happy Bellies frozen baby food tray.  She used her tiny fingers {strengthening those muscles} to put the beads in between the clear bottle and the tray.  At first she just dumped the beads on the tray, but then I showed her how to put one bead into one hole and she repeated it!  Each day she did this over and over again and loved playing with this!!!!IMG_3435 IMG_3441

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She then combined two of her trays and began adding her beads in with her sticks ;-)IMG_3584

 Tray #3…a small blue cup and 5 wooden slotted clothespins.  I showed her how the clothespins slid onto the edge of the cup and she pulled them all off to put them back into the cup.  She can’t get them to slip onto the edge but definitely tried hard!  Eventually she would hand it to me to show her again!

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Learning ToysI bought Ladybug some Crayola baby crayons and she loved them.  She hasn’t quite learned how to color with them {that’s K’s demonstration for her on the sheet}, but she had fun trying!!!

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A little ring stacking time with Daddy…IMG_3761

 

The couple of photos I showed last week to share what school time looks like seemed to be a hit ;-), so I will try to do that more often.  The planned stuff is great, but I know many of you wonder if my school time is as hectic and chaotic as yours is…I assure you it IS.  I will try to capture the “mess” more!  Here Ladybug was done with her stuff and climbing up to “ask” for the Bristle Blocks.  Pac Man was getting them down, basically so she could toss them around the room. IMG_3598

Krash was playing with Wedgits, Pac Man joined in and Ladybug came to knock it all down {moments after I snapped this shot}.  Great lessons in patience and selfLESSness going on during these times! IMG_3609

 

Life School Ladybug lives to take things out.  She loves to unload shelves, bins, baskets, boxes…anything.  She slings things over her shoulder and occasionally will sit down and peruse what she has uncovered. Here she is unloading her bookshelf, specifically her “big girl” Fancy Nancy books…IMG_3746She managed to sling a few of her board books down too and enjoyed a unique read of Twinkle, Twinkle Little StarIMG_3751

I added 3M Hooks low on her shelves in her room and she has just recently learned how to hang things on them and LOVES doing this!!!IMG_3764

 

Moms Favorite

One night last week, I walked in to find Daddy and Ladybug spending some quality time together.  I couldn’t get my hands on my camera fast enough!

She chose…IMG_3692

He styled…

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IMG_3719 {most of the the hair bows shown were made by my mom using crocheted flowers from this Etsy store}

Miss CHEESER…this is her new face that she only does when Daddy is around!!!!IMG_3715

This Weeks Tools

See more ideas for 12-18 month old tots…Tot-School-Ideas-Ages-12-18-Months.jpg