Lunchbox hacks for every day

With four kiddos in the house packing lunches every day can be a CHORE.

I have bought individualized snacks.. it can get very expensive! Especially when you have to buy them in bulk! The individualized Pringle’s or Lays chips or Cheez-Its… there are few packs in the box and with four kids, they disappear quickly.

I also try to buy some healthy snacks so our kids aren’t eating junk all day long at school.

Here’s what works the best in our house and makes mornings much easier!

Individual yogurt, jello, applesauce and fruit – I just throw them in the fridge on the door or throw them in a plastic container in the fridge. Not all of this has to be refrigerated but with limited storage space in my house this is the best place to store them! The kids can literally open the fridge, grab, and go! I also pre-package fresh fruits and veggies (like baby carrots and grapes) and keep them in the fruit drawer for easy access!

I buy large bags of animal cookies or Doritos for example (because what kid doesn’t love doritos) and then individually bag them up for the week! Graham crackers, fig newtons, and cheez doodles are other choices! Once I bag them up I throw them in a zipper bag so they are all in one place and the kids can grab them easily!

My kids love salad so I’ll also pack salads for them to eat during the week and store them in the fridge for each day!

Our kids pack their own lunches! I haven’t packed their lunches in a couple of years now and teaching them to do this has made a huge difference in the mornings! They know they are limited to a lunch + 3 snacks for the day and they typically stick to it. Make 👏🏻 your 👏🏻 kids 👏🏻 be 👏🏻 responsible 👏🏻 and 👏🏻 independent! All I do is purchase the food and make it easy for them to access! They do the rest!

Honestly I would go insane if I had to pack lunches every day!

Xoxo,

MK

To My Daughters: Marry the man who will always be there

I know it’s easy to fall for the other guy. The one who looks good and talks sweet. The one who takes chances and lives on the edge. Or maybe it’s the one who is nice but doesn’t pay enough attention. He misses your new haircut or doesn’t hold the door for you.

You can love them, but leave them behind. They aren’t for you.

Marry the man who is going to pay attention. Marry the one who opens the door for you and comments on how beautiful you look, even when you’re in a t-shirt, hair in a messy bun, and no makeup on.

Marry the man who is going to wash your hair in the shower and rub your feet on the couch.

Marry the man who makes you laugh… the one who will do his best to make you smile when you’re having a bad day.

Marry the man who is going to cook dinner and doesn’t mind vacuuming the floor… the one who lets you sleep in on Sundays and when you’re not feeling well, lets you go to bed early.

Marry the man who takes care of the kids… who not only disciplines them, but enjoys them. Marry the man who will play with your toddler on the floor, and let your preschooler sleep in the bed with you… sacrificing his own sleep so that kiddo can be close to you.

Marry the man who cleans up the dog messes on the floor and helps you pick up dirty socks. Marry the man who works all day and comes home to work some more, just so you don’t have to do it all on your own.

Marry the man who would rather hang out and drink beer with you than his buddies. Marry the man who enjoys watching your tv dramas on the couch with you. Marry the man who loves to travel with you, takes you places, and lives to make memories with you.

Marry the man who worries with you. Marry the one who hides his stress most days just so you don’t stress more. Marry the man who will get through the bad times with you. Marry the man who is willing to see your perspective and understand how you feel. Marry the man who will stay when things get hard.

Marry the man who is willing to chip in… who is going to help you be a mom… who is going to make you happy… who is going to be your best friend… who is going to make you a better person.

It won’t always be easy. Even the good guy is going to make mistakes. YOU are going to make mistakes. He’s going to say the wrong things at times. He’s going to forget to pick up something on your shopping list. He’s not going to be perfect. But, he’s going to be perfect for you and he’s going to be there. He will always be there. And I promise you… you deserve THAT life.

Xoxo,

Mama

Feeling Defeated

While the Green Bay Packers are getting defeated in reality tonight, (insert crying face) I’ve been thinking about how I’ve felt defeated lately as a mama.

Mothering teens is rough. Mothering period is rough. The fact is children are going to be children. Do we expect too much from them? Probably. Do we get frustrated too easily? Definitely. Do we still love them unconditionally no matter how much they mess up? Absolutely.

The truth is while I believe that I am putting too much pressure on the kids… I’m actually putting too much pressure on myself as a mom. I am constantly worrying about whether their rooms are clean, whether they’ve done their homework, did they remember to take a lunch today, have they brushed their teeth… when really… I end up worrying myself to pieces and I STILL find myself failing at something.

I try to tell myself to let it go… they’re only children for such a short time. I read reminders daily all over the internet about how the dishes can wait and we need to take advantage of the time we have with them. I’ve read the mom blogs where other devoted mamas are inspiring women to shake it off and enjoy the simple things. I’ve read stories of parents who have lost their children and would give anything to have these parenting problems again. Tomorrow is never promised. All of that is SO TRUE.

But when you’re in the moment.. it is hard to remember all of that.

When you’re tween daughter gets the award for Miss Attitude of the South or when your five year old is throwing a tantrum because his Legos won’t stay together. When one of them decides to spill an entire cup of apple juice on your freshly mopped floor. Or how about when your middle schooler believes he is God and makes an argument about every little thing. It. Is. Hard. It is hard not to just want five minutes of peace in the bathroom. It is hard to not want them to go to bed at 7:00. It is hard to NOT yell and scream when they are pushing your very last button.

So how do you handle it all? Just take it day by day and one day they’ll be all grown up and then you’ll feel guilty all over again because they’re gone? The guilt cycle is fierce!

Choices. We have choices. We have to choose when to lose it… do I want to lose it in the car because they won’t stop hitting each other or do I want to lose it later when they’re fighting in their bedroom? We have to choose what to stress about.

Learn to let things go even when it feels impossible to. There are always going to be other factors that are weighing in on how you react as a parent. Parents are loaded down with stress from finances, jobs, relationships… the list could be endless! The stress isn’t going to disappear but we can control our stress levels by how we react to situations.

That is huge in parenting. Our reactions are not only shaping our children’s personalities, and teaching them values, but our reactions are also completely controlling our own happiness.

The ups and downs of parenting are just a part of it. We aren’t going to do everything perfect. God knows I make mistakes daily. We will be wrong sometimes. Just know they are children and they are not going to think or act on your level. They are going to make mistakes whether they are five or fifteen. They don’t act responsible because they aren’t yet. They need our help to get there.

When the going gets tough and the tough gets going… think about your choices. Know they will love you no matter what. While you are in bed contemplating how you could have handled that argument with your nine year old differently, she’s probably already forgotten about it. Children forgive and forget much easier and faster than we do.

Those mom bloggers are right! With each new day, know that it’s another chance to love your kiddos. You are everything to them, too. Sometimes we just forget how significant that is.

Xoxo,

MK

Confessions of a Not So Perfect Mama

Ok confession. I’ve really been sucking lately at being a mom. No, no I know we all say that but for real. I Could sit here and list all of my “mom flaws” but what I really want to do is give myself this reminder: it’s ok to be imperfect and it doesn’t matter if you have a bad day. (Or week or month)

It doesn’t matter because these kids love us no. matter. what. Their love is so unbelievably unconditional.

I witnessed this last night. I have been a bear. A mama bear in the most literal way. I have had no patience, I may or may not be drinking too much wine, and I have snapped at them much too quickly over the little things. Last night, after all of that.. Heidi crawls up in my lap at 9 years old and lays her head down on me and begins to rub my arm.

That’s what I’m talking about. Our kids are amazing when we’re not. They will easily forgive us. What we beat ourselves up over most of the time doesn’t even register with them as a problem!

We put too much pressure on ourselves as mamas and sometimes it gets to me. I feel like I don’t do enough. I’m not as compassionate to their needs or as understanding when they’re upset. I hate that I’m sometimes dismissive when I want time for myself.

I want to be there for them and as our kiddos grow older I want them to trust that I will always protect and take care of them.

My daily flaws do not define me as a mother.

So I’ll try not to yell when they track mud in the house or don’t take a shower on the first command. I’ll try not to lose my temper when my girls almost kill each other. I’ll take a deep breath the next time Brady pees on the bathroom floor. I’ll smile when they complain about the dinner I cook (probably not as likely to happen).

I won’t be perfect but I can be better than I was yesterday. Hey, I’m just winging it over here. But the reality is this is the ONLY childhood I get to spend with them.

This is it.

One day they’ll be gone and grown and I’ll look back and either laugh or cry or more than likely…both.

But one thing I know for sure… No matter how many times I might feel like I’m failing… I will love them fiercely and if at the end of every day, my kids feel that love… I am good enough.

Xoxo,

MK

For a Little Bit

We get up, go to work, come home, fix dinner, pack lunchboxes, do homework, bathe kids, get them in bed… all before we can go to bed ourselves. And just when we get to bed, lay down… snuggle under the covers and push the thoughts and reminders running through our minds to the side… we finally drift off to sleep.

Until…. our motherly instincts wake us up when the pitter patter of little feet come running down the hallway to our bedside.

“Mommy…”

“Yes Brady… what’s wrong?”

“I want you.”

Famous words from a toddler.

And as he climbs in bed and wedges his tiny body between us, I say, “I want you too Brady. I always want you.”

Even when it’s 2 AM and I can barely open my eyes. Even when you kick us in the side all night long and I have about 2 cm of space to sleep on the very edge of the bed. I still want you.

I want you now and tomorrow and ten years from now when you’re 13 and don’t care about me anymore. At least on the outside.

I will want you when you hit your first homerun. I will want you when you get your first girlfriend. I will want you when you drive your first truck and when you graduate high school.

I will want you when you find a woman who is worthy of you and you decide to give our family name away to her. I will still want you.

I will always want you to be my baby. And you will always be my baby.

We give this away. We are exhausted, and stressed… we live the day to day without giving any extra thought to the fact that time does not stand still. We pray for bedtime to hurry. We pray for them to fall asleep sooner. And we naturally wish the days away.

But… every now and then… we get a subtle reminder that we don’t always want it to be bedtime… we don’t always want them to be able to walk so we don’t have to tote them anymore… we don’t always want them to be able to eat on their own so they won’t nurse 24/7…. we don’t always want them to sleep in their own bed (especially at 2 AM)…

These reminders… they are the sweet part of life. They snap us back to reality. We then realize for a split second that time doesn’t slow down. Our kids won’t be babies forever. And we hold them tighter… for just a little bit.

-MK