What is New?

100+ Lunch Box Ideas That Kids Can Pack Themselves


How to get your kids to eat healthy lunches
I wouldn’t say my kids are the pickiest children on the planet, they are typically willing to try new things and eat more than 2 or 3 items over and over again, but I have always had trouble getting them to finish their school lunches.  What I packed one day (and was completely eaten) would return home the next day untouched.

I never could figure out exactly what my kids would like for lunch on any given day.. and in the morning rush getting ready for school, I was not going to hold a polling session to find out.  Now I totally get it.. I worked outside of the home for many years and had to bring my own lunches to work and somedays you just didn’t FEEL like eating a sandwich or TV dinner or whatever was in my lunch box.  But at least I was in charge of making my own decisions.  I can’t even imagine what I would have thought if lunch was a game of russian roulette every day with someone packing what they THOUGHT I wanted.

So I decided I was going to let my children pack their own lunches.  (Plus.. hey.. less work for me!) They were never fans of sandwiches or little "lunchbox meals” but mostly I found they were eating the “snack” like foods.  Single serving packages of crackers or yogurt or fruit.  Things I knew they could easily pack for themselves.

The problem was.. if I just told them to “pack a lunch” my 3rd grader will fill a bag with cookies and root beer and my 1st grader would pack a single bag of fruit snacks.   They wouldn’t be balanced or they wouldn’t be sized appropriately.  So I had to come up with a system and some guidelines for them, which made sure they were getting the right mix of foods, but were also getting things they WANTED to eat.

The key to my system is diving the foods up into 4 groups and making sure the kids take a fixed number of servings from each group.  I’m going to give you a TON of ideas for each group so even if you kids are really picky, you will be able to find something they will eat.  Maybe your groups will only have a few items (since your child will pick it over and over again) or perhaps your groups will be full of a huge variety as your child figures out exactly what they do and don’t like.  But the key is giving the the CHOICE and including things they want to eat.  (Since at the end of the day, getting your kids to actually eat (and finish) a healthy balanced school lunch is the goal here!) 
My school aged kids are currently in 1st and 3rd grade so the size and breakdown of their lunches reflects that. If your children are older, or if they tend to be lighter or heavier eaters, you will want to change the portion sizes and break down to fit your own needs. 

Simple Sangria Recipe

 Hey y'all!  Mandee from The Kitchen Wife here and I love getting together with my girlfriends.  Whether it's book club, planner group, or just a Friday night, you can bet that a great bottle of wine will probably be involved.  But sometimes you just want to shake things up.  That is why I love this Simple Sangria Recipe


I love that it uses everyday ingredients that you probably already have around the house and it can be thrown together in no time.  I can't wait to share it with you so...

Let's Get Started!

How to Paint Upholstery (Latex Paint and Fabric Medium)

How to paint upholstery
I finally am sharing my tutorial for painting upholstery that I used when I re-did the glider in the baby’s nursery.

I know there are a lot of other bloggers who have shared their method for painting upholstery, but no two are the same.  I have seen people use chalk paint, spray on paint, Rit dye.. etc.  But this method (from Hyphen Interiors) is the one I most closely followed.

The reason I used latex paint and fabric medium is that the consensus is that it gives you the softest finish to the fabric.  Other methods tend to leave you with a stiffer, more leather-like finish, and since this was a rocker that I was going to use with my baby, I wanted it as soft as I could get it.  I was starting with a cotton gingham fabric, so I knew it would take paint really well and didn’t need to slather it on; diluted latex would be perfect.

Here was what my chair looked like when I started.  It was a minty green gingham I had used for both of my daughters.
Chair before
It had a lot of stains from the kids crawling all over it for the past 8 years:
Dirty chair arm
Yeah.. Gross. I know.
Stains on upholstery
That is why it needed a makeover.

The supplies you need:
1 quart Latex paint: I used semi-gloss

DIY Solid Wood Battery Organizing Center

Throwing your batteries in a drawer is a HUGE fire hazard! Plus they can leak acid.  Build this simple wooden organizer out of some stock lumber and never lose track of how many batteries you have on hand!




It is time for another Build It Challenge!  This month the theme was “Organizing” and I decided for my project, I would tackle the messiest space in the house: THE JUNK DRAWER!
Monthly challenge January Organization598x399
There are 8 other bloggers who also came up with fantastic projects for this challenge, so don’t forget to visit them too!

Now back to MY DREADED JUNK DRAWER…


Admit it.. we all have one.  And getting control of it can be a huge headache, since it is the place you put stuff that has nowhere better to go.  For us it is things like rubber bands, match books, flash lights, take out menus, paper clips, safety pins and super glue.  And one of my most populous ‘homeless’ items has always been batteries.
Junk drawer
After Christmas this year, our junk drawer was awash in close to 100 batteries (since you can never have too many on hand with all the hand held electronics and other gadgets that are floating around this house) and of course, they are all different types and brands.  It was a mess!  This was the pile of batteries I dug out of the junk drawer:
Messy batteriesAnd now, inspired by this challenge.. Here was my solution:

School Lunches that Nourish Both Tummies and Hearts

Encouraging Lunchbox Notes To Pack For Your KidsAny mom knows that when your kids get old enough for school, a little piece of your heart walks away every time they head to school.  Walking to lunch
And often, as a mom, I worry about what the world is telling my kids. The messages that they hear every day, repeating in their heads and slowly chipping away at their self esteem.  I don’t think kids can ever have too much encouragement.
Playing in the water

20 Places You May Not Be Vacuuming But Should Be


20 things you should be vacuuming.  Besides carpets and floors, vacuums can clean so much more
 It is pretty likely that most households own at least one vacuum cleaner.  But are you using your vacuum up to it’s full potential?  Today I’m sharing 20 places in and around your home that you can clean with your vacuum that you may not have thought of. 


You're Gonna Love It: The Vintage Edition

I'm so happy you have swung by to our weekly linky party!   I cant' wait to get right to it: 

The most popular link this week was:

Scrappy Log Cabin Heart Quilted Pillow Cover (An Ikea Hack)

Scrappy Log Cabin Heart Pillow Ikea Hack
It has been a long time since I’ve done any quilting, well, besides my “daily temperature quilt” which is chugging along, but when I was on Pinterest this week I saw this darling vintage quilt (photographed in an antique store) which was made from a modified log cabin and I KNEW i had to throw together a block just like it. Quilt log cabin heartI wasn’t going to make a whole quilt, but I thought it would be a great block for a pillow.  The problem was that I didn’t feel like sewing and a pillow cover.. I only wanted to make the block.   And that is when I turned to my Ikea stash.  I have used blank Ikea pillow covers before (like for my sea shell stamping project) but I’ve never actually sewed on them.

Butternut Squash Creme Brûlée or Pot de Creme (Video)

Butternut squash creme brulee
I have ordered Creme Brûlée in MANY restuarnts but have always been intimidated by the techniques to actually make it. I mean, it seems like such a hassle.. the drawn out prep time, the water bath for baking, the sugar torching...

But it turns out that preparing Creme Brûlée (and it’s sugarless counterpart, the Pot de Creme) is not that much harder than preparing a heat and serve pudding.  If anything, it is a little bit easier, because you do all your cooking in the oven.  There is no constant stirring or worrying about the milk scorching.

5 Tips to Tackle Board Game and Puzzle Organization

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Glad, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #pressnsealhacks http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV
Organize Board Games, Card Games and Puzzle with these five tips. You will never lose those game pieces again!
Having three kids with an age range of 2-10 means we have large variety of games and puzzles in our house.  From the most basic of wooden board puzzles to complicated hundred piece games like Risk or Monopoly.. we have a little something for everyone.  And because of that, it is important to have a system to keep all the pieces in place and everything sorted.   Plus I like to sell my board games and puzzles on consignment after my kids have outgrown them, and knowing you have ALL the pieces for a game is important.

With these five tips you will be much more likely to never lose a game piece or put it in the wrong place! 

TIP 1: Keep an Inventory of Game Pieces

The time a game piece is most likely to get lost is during the time you are putting the game pieces away after you have finished playing.   We used to just throw the game pieces back into the game box and put on the lid and that was that… then a few hours (or days) later we would find an extra piece under the sofa and it would get thrown back into the game cabinet since tracking down he box and putting it away was to much of a hassle.  You would have to dig the box back out, open it up, and put everything away again.  FORGET IT!

Once a game piece wasn't back in the original box, we may have well just thrown it away because chances of reuniting the piece with the original game was pretty slim.

But now I keep a little index card and a zip-top bag (or bags) inside the boxes with a list of what goes inside.  Sort of a ‘check list’ for game pieces.   That way when we are cleaning up we know exactly what is supposed to be in the bag and we are sure we have all the pieces.
Organizing board game pieces
If you have old games and you aren’t sure if anything is already missing, you can check on the game instructions since they almost always come with a list of contents.  If you have lost a few cards or a game piece, you can note it on your index card so when you are putting stuff away you are sure you are putting back the right number every time.
Tips for not losing game pieces
Some games will require a lot of little bags, or sometimes items don’t fit in the bags, but I want to make sure they go back.   Here is an example of a game where the spinner doesn’t fit in the bag, but it is included on the checklist.
Organizing game pieces
Making sure everything gets back in the bag (and the box) after playing is the key to not losing the pieces.  Plus the zip-top bag means the pieces won’t slip or fall out when the top of the box gets loose.. another time when game pieces tend to get lost.   (And helps with the clean up!)

Tip 2:  Store Wooden Puzzles Vertically and Keep Pieces in Place

How to store puzzles easily
In our game cabinet, horizontal space is at a premium, and sliding puzzles in and out tended to dislodge the pieces and create a huge mess.  Luckily I discovered Glad Press’n Seal when visiting some thrift sales.  I saw people were wrapping their board puzzles in this cool film wrap and it was securing their pieces perfectly.   And because it releases easily it doesn’t damage the pieces:
Securing puzzle piecesThe kids can take it off and on themselves, it is reusable and since it is food safe and BPA free, I’m not worried about them playing with it. Plus you can find it at WalMart which means I can pick it up on my regular shopping trips.

Tip 3:  Store Card Games in Dollar Store Cheese Containers

In our house the cardboard boxes that card games (or even playing cards) come in tend to get beat up and broken. It is hard for my kids to get all the cards back in the box.  But American sliced cheese storage containers are the perfect size.
Keep cards from getting bent or lost if you no longer have the original box.  Use a cheap dollar store cheese storage box!
Plus as a bonus, the edges of the cards don’t get bent like if you stored them in a rubber band.  Plus I make sure to keep the instructions inside the container as well… so we never forget how to play!

Tip 4:  Don’t Lose Puzzle Pieces when you take a break! 

For the older kids, puzzles take a lot longer to complete than one sitting. Often they will get halfway through a puzzle and leave it on the dining room table.  That is a recipe for DISASTER.  Between siblings and pets, loose pieces sitting on a soon to be on the floor, kicked under the rug, and pretty much lost..
Keep puzzles organized
But after I discovered the board puzzle trick with Glad Press’n Seal, I realized it would work on other puzzles as well.  You can seal down half finished puzzles, or even loose pieces, to the table and they aren’t going anywhere.
Sealing down puzzles
And just like the board puzzles, you can peel it off without damaging the cardboard puzzles: Press n seal for puzzlesNo more scattered puzzle pieces all over the floor!

Bonus Tip: If you want to move assembled puzzles from place to place or store them, using Glad Press’n Seal on a cookie sheet is a great solution.  they won’t slide around and they will stay in place and assembled, even during transport!
Taking puzzles on the go

Tip 5:  Number The Backside of Puzzle Pieces for Easier Sorting

This is a tip I learned from our local library.  The librarian would have to sort and assemble dozens of board puzzles at the end of the day and knowing which pieces went where (especially when they were upside down) was a headache. Organizing puzzles
So they started numbering the backside of each piece so it was easy to figure out which pieces went together.  Now you can easily find and sort the pieces.. yeah, you still have to put them back together, but I aways recruit my kids to help me.
Number puzzle piecesThen we seal them up in Glad Press'n Seal!
Store puzzles vertically
Hopefully these five tips will give you some ideas on how to tackle your own Puzzle, Board and Card Game Chaos!  So you can spend more time playing and less time lamenting the lost pieces!!
Organizing games and puzzles

The Good Dinosaur Handprint Craft & Activity Sheets

Good Dinosaur Handprint Artwork
I recently took my 9 year old to a preview screening of Disney and Pixar's latest movie, The Good Dinosaur and we both really enjoyed it.   Since the kids are off school this week, we had a little free time so we came up with a craft idea based off the film.

In case you haven’t heard of The Good Dinosaur, or are curious about my opinion of the film, here is my short synopsis and review:

100 FREE Printable School Valentines

One Hundred Free Printable School Valentines, Easy ideas to print off and give to classmates.

I am a sucker for homemade school Valentine’s but I have total sympathy for all the busy moms out there that don’t have time or energy to whip them up from scratch.  So today I thought I would make it easy on you, but rounding up ONE HUNDRED Valentines idea all of which include a free printable.  There are two categories.  Printables to attach to a small gift or treat, and Printables that don't need anything else!

You're Gonna Love It: MLK Day Edition!


Happy Monday!  Since it is MLK day, the kids have off from school today and we have just been hanging out, not doing much of anything.  It is a little rainy here in Northern California, so this is great day to just hang around the house.

I hope you are having a great start of the week as well.  Now, I know what you are really here for!  Some great projects and posts!  Let's get to it! 

What were the linky features from last week? 

Fireplace Makeover Using Beadboard Wallpaper

Fireplace update with paint and molding. It looks like custom built ins now! Plus she used beadboard textured wallpaper as an alternative to real beadboard. It is so fast, so easy and a lot less expensive.
I am finally tackling a project that has been on my “to do” list for months, and now that it is done, I’m kicking myself I didn’t do it sooner.. Since it LITERALLY took me less than 15 minutes start to finish.   I added beadboard paneling above my fireplace mantel shelf  to give the whole thing a more custom ‘built in’ look.

To appreciate the full transformation of these built ins, you first need to see how they looked when we bought the place:
Oak built in arounds fireplace
They were pretty awful.  The oak, the brass on the fireplace screen, the odd floating mantel shelf.

DIY Embroidered Cork Coasters

Hello friends! Steph at The Silly Pearl here with a craft tutorial to make your own Embroidered Cork Coasters! These coasters are both easy and fun to make, and you'll have a new set of coasters in no time.

Supplies
  • 12x12x0.25-inch cork tile
  • Round template (I used a wide-mouthed mason jar lid)
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • 1/4-inch hole punch (or awl or screw punch)
  • Embroidery floss
  • Tapestry needle 
  • Fuzzy kitty tail (optional)
Directions

Average Daily Temperature Quilt: A Year Long Project

Average Daily Temperature Quilt
Today’s post isn’t actually about a finished project, but about a project I plan on working on, every day, for the entire year.  I wanted to share it with you now, and then at the end of the year I hope to share the finished project.

It is a Daily Average Temperature Quilt, where every block symbolizes a day of the year.  
This project was actually inspired by this Facebook photo from Repeat Crafter Me featuring Bernat yarns in different colors to create a temperature afghan.  For that project you added a new row to the afghan every day using the yarns featured below. TemperatureGaugeAfghan 256x700
The problem was that 1. I don’t crochet (or knit) and 2. add a full row of stitches every day seemed like a big commitment.  I needed something that was more in my wheel house.

And that would be… QUILTING.

You Melt My Heart Perler Bead Valentine (Free Printable)

An easy valentine idea that kids can make on their own. Perler bead "you make my heart melt"
I have a confession to make about this craft idea.  This was actually a Valentine idea I came up with because I was just looking for reasons for my kids to create Perler Bead creations that I wouldn’t actually have to keep in my house.


You're Gonna Love It & January's Featured Business of The Month



Welcome back to another great party! 
Since last week was the Anything Goes party, this week I get to pick a "Featured Business" of the month.  

Since you can link up your etsy shops or store fronts the first Monday of the month (Did you know you can link up any business.. design, photography, furniture.. you name it?) I thought I would thank one of those linkers every month by featuring one of them. I know these people work HARD and so please consider visiting these businesses!

This month's featured business is:
The Krafty Owl's Etsy Shop, Maria's Krafty Designs

Maria has some darling printables available in her shop, and right now she is featuring her 2016 planner.  I love that it comes in either blue or pink! 

IF YOU HAVE A BUSINESS RELATED SITE OR POST, PLEASE LINK IT UP NEXT MONTH (February 1st) SINCE WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR PEOPLE TO FEATURE! 

Now for our regular features: 

Wonder Woman Jewelry Organizer

Wonder woman jewelry organizer using cabinet hardware
On Friday’s post I shared my Wonder Woman Rast Hack where I transformed a dresser with paint and vinyl, but that wasn’t the end of my “Wonder Woman” inspiration.  I had another part of that project to share, but in order to keep that post a reasonable length, I broke this second part of the project (a jewelry organizer) into it’s own post.
Wonder Woman Jewelry holder made from cabinet knobs. Since every woman can be a wonder woman!
 
Copyright © 2017 The Kim Six Fix. Proudly Blogging on Blogger