Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide

I am so very blessed to be able to stay at home with my three kiddos.  And although I loved my job before having kiddos, and completely respect those hard working moms who work outside of the home….I wouldn’t trade my life now for anything.  I have a couple of friends who are, for the first time, now able to stay at home with their kids too, and so I thought I’d give a few tips on how to gracefully make the transition.

Be A Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide {Tips and Tricks for transitioning from the workplace to staying at home with your kids} - Palmettos and Pigtails

My husband’s advice: stock up on BonBons and Soap Operas.  He jokes around about me sitting on my butt all day, but he knows perfectly well how hard of a job it is to be a stay-at home mom.  And I love to remind him of it on the weekends, by leaving him with all three kids for a couple of hours!

I recently ran across this article on Babble about how being a stay-at-home mom is actually a luxury for your spouse.  I saved it because I find that it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you aren’t doing enough.  As a working mom, you stayed busy with non-household related tasks for 8-10 hours a day before coming home to your family…and now, your primary job is family and household.  And now, in the days of Facebook, Pinterest, oversharing and helicopter parenting…it’s easy to feel guilty about not having a pristine house, themed lunches, and crafty playdates.  Not to mention, a healthy homemade dinner on the table every night.  Sorry, but that’s just not realistic!

Be A Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide

You may be a Super Mom, but you are still human, and dealing with some very unstable little people who will throw a kink in any plans you make.  So underestimate the amount of “stuff” you’ll get done in a day, and you won’t disappoint yourself.

Be A Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide

Talk to your spouse about your changing roles in the household.  Establish what “jobs” you will take over, and what he’ll be in charge of.  Dave and I have kind of figured it out by trial and error, but I really wish we had done this.  A specific sit-down chat to determine each other’s expectations of the other will put everything on the table, and hopefully prevent misunderstandings and resentment in the future.

Next, establish a daily/weekly routine.  If you don’t create some sort of organization to your time, you’ll go crazy.  Start simple, day by day.  Personally, I do one major chore a day.  Monday is laundry day, Tuesday is vacuuming, Wednesday is grocery shopping, Thursday is decluttering, and Friday is bathrooms.  So, if I am able to get everybody up, dressed and fed, and do that one chore….I feel like my day has been a success!  I also try to do as many of the Cleaning Calendar chores that I can…not always in order, and some days I am able to do more than one, other days I can’t do any.  My schedule often loosely looks something like this:

5:00 – change and feed the baby
5:30 – shower and get dressed {even if it is just yoga pants!}
6:00 – get Jayna ready for school and Millie ready for the day
6:30 – put Jayna on the bus and eat breakfast with Millie
7:00 – while Millie plays, change and feed the baby, put him back down for morning nap
7:30 – check email and clean up kitchen
8:00 – do daily chore somewhere in here, while Millie is playing and baby is sleeping
8:30 – play or do some sort of project/cooking with Millie
9:30 – change baby, play on the floor with him
10:00 feed Millie a snack
10:30 take the kids out for a bike ride/walk
11:00 while Millie plays, change and feed baby, put him down for lunch nap
12:00 feed Millie lunch
12:30 put Millie down for a nap, change the baby, grab a bite to eat, clean up the kitchen
1:00 blog or sew while baby plays in exersaucer
2:00 finish daily chore if needed and do a cleaning calendar chore
2:45 get Jayna off the bus and get her unpacked and settled in for quiet reading
3:00 change and feed the baby, put him down for afternoon nap, Millie wakes…play with girls
4:00 while girls play together, start prepping dinner, check email
5:30 dinner on the table

It’s funny, as I write this, it seems like there is so much time in the day.  Up until now, I’ve never written down my “schedule.”  In fact, it took me quite a while to think about what I actually do on a daily basis.  So when I wrote down the minimum things in my day, there seems like so many gaps.  But then fill those gaps with potty breaks, tantrums, tying shoes, tears, hugs, time-outs, fussiness, tea parties, lap sitting, boo boos, reading books, etc.  No wonder I don’t get more done!

Be A Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide

Some of the ways I keep organized, are by planning out my meals.  I do this in a variety of ways, from preparing freezer meals ahead of time, to participating in the eMeals program {and letting them do all the meal planning for me!}.  Either way, I use a Weekly Meal Planner worksheet to get a visual of what I’ve planned for the week, which also helps Dave on the nights that I need him to start dinner for me.

Another important thing to remember is that although it’s important {and your job now!} to spend more time with your kids, don’t feel like it all has to be structured.  As a former teacher and a mommy-blogger, it’s second nature to me to want to have a project, craft or game ready for the kids at all times.  But you have to remember that by having structured activities or even excursions {think zoo, children’s museum, etc.} all the time will create expectations and dependency from your kids.  It’s good for them to play alone or with each other.  It’s beneficial for them to learn to leave you alone sometimes.  And it’s a valuable skill that you may need to teach them, since they will be SO EXCITED to have you at home with them.  All. of. the. time.  I try to balance structured activities {from simple painting to complex slime recipes and scavenger hunts} with free play, and adding the occasional “field trip” excursion about twice a month.  {And the grocery store counts as an excursion, right?!?!}

Be A Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide

And my final thought is, don’t feel guilty about taking some “me” time.  Whether it’s in the evenings or weekends, when your spouse can take over for a bit, or during nap time, make sure it happens.  It’s easy to get so wrapped up in daily duties and childcare that you forget to take care of yourself.  And if you are stressed out, tired or burned out, you can’t be a good mom or wife.  So don’t feel guilty about that hour on Facebook or Pinterest…I guarantee your working friends and spouses spend at least an hour during the day surfing the internet!

Be A Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide

And last but not least, enjoy!  Your kids will grow up.  That temper tantrum will only last about three minutes.  That snuggle on the couch will be fleeting.  Soak these kiddie moments up, because there will always be dishes!

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The Seven Project: Intro

My small group just started a new study by Jen Hatmaker, called Seven.  This awesomely funny chick decided to shake up her family’s world by identifying seven areas of excess in their lives, and fighting back.  Each month, she chose a different area of excess to focus on.

Food, Clothes, Shopping, Media, Waste, Stress and Possessions.

Seven - Jen Hatmaker: My small group's journey to rid excess from our lives too!

So my Bible Study group decided to take the challenge with her, by following along and participating in the challenge each week {rather than month, like she did}.  Although technically, this was just the “intro” week for the group, Dave and I decided to start a week early, since we’ll be traveling next week and will have a hard time limiting our food.

So, for the first seven days, we will whittle our diet down to  seven items.  Total.

Chicken, pasta, lettuce, tomatoes, bananas, eggs and bell peppers.

This study comes at a perfect time…because all I can think about is “simplifying” lately.  On a daily basis, I’m horrified by the wasted food, unappreciated toys and plethora of clothes that compel me to think I have”nothing to wear.”  It’s quite sad.  And I’ve been fixated on it for awhile.  I stumbled across this article on Living Well, Spending Less about minimalism when it comes to toys, and it started snowballing from there.  So when my Small Group suggested this study, I went right out and bought Seven, and struggled to resist reading it immediately.  So I’m ecstatic to be jumping into this journey, and sharing it with you!

Stay tuned to hear the results of our version of The Seven Project: Foods!

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13 DIY Halloween Costumes for Couples

Way back before children, Dave and I were party animals.  We loved entertaining at our house, and our favorite party to throw was a massive Halloween party.  We had a haunted maze in the garage, a life-sized animatronic Hannibal Lector, and tons of Halloween themed food!  But our biggest claim to fame was the costume contest.  Everyone came to our party in costume, and we had prizes for Best Couple, Most Creative, and Funniest….with bottles of wine {with poison labels} as prizes!

13 DIY Halloween Costumes for Couples from Palmettos and Pigtails

Our friends turned out to be quite innovative!  Over the years, we saw some terrifically creative Halloween costumes for couples that were easy and cheap to make.  Today, I thought I’d share some of my favorites:

The Bra: 13 DIY Halloween Costumes for Couples from Palmettos and Pigtails

The Bra:  Easy to make with white undershirts and a pair of matching lacy tank tops!  The trick is to stay together at the party though!

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: 13 DIY Halloween Costumes for Couples from Palmettos and Pigtails

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown:  If you happen to have a giant pumpkin costume laying around, it would be easy to personify  Linus, Pigpen, or Charlie Brown to go along with it!

American Gothic: 13 DIY Halloween Costumes for Couples from Palmettos and Pigtails

American Gothic:  By far one of my favorite Halloween costumes for couples…a trip to Goodwill for a frumpy blouse and an old picture frame will just about complete this easy pairing.

Hans and Franz: 13 DIY Halloween Costumes for Couples from Palmettos and Pigtails

Hans and Franz: Stuff sweatshirts to create muscles, practice your German accents and get ready to “pump, you up!”

Charlie and Goose from 'Top Gun': 13 DIY Halloween Costumes for Couples from Palmettos and Pigtails

Charlie and Goose from ‘Top Gun': Being near the Air Force base guaranteed access to some pilot gear…and you probably already have the sunglasses…

Olivia Newton-John and Richard Simmons: 13 DIY Halloween Costumes for Couples from Palmettos and Pigtails

Olivia Newton-John and Richard Simmons:  In case you needed an excuse to be “Sweatin’ to the Oldies…”

Gram and Gramps: 13 DIY Halloween Costumes for Couples from Palmettos and Pigtails

Gram and Gramps: Don’t forget the little details that make this costume so believable…a catheter collection bag, lipstick on your teeth, and big ‘ole saggy boobs!

The Stock Market Crash: 13 DIY Halloween Costumes for Couples from Palmettos and Pigtails

The Stock Market Crash: Can you tell this costume was from 2008?  “I was once a Broker, but now I’m just broke!”

Bun in the Oven: 13 DIY Halloween Costumes for Couples from Palmettos and Pigtails

Baker and Bun in the Oven:  Perfect Halloween Costumes for couples who are expecting!  I bought this one on Amazon, but I’ve seen people make their own from a box.  I highly recommend wearing a real outfit underneath….I shed my oven halfway through the night and was glad I was decent underneath!

UPS Man and his Package: 13 DIY Halloween Costumes for Couples from Palmettos and Pigtails

UPS/Mail Man and a Package:  This was a spur of the moment costume, as Loo didn’t know we were having a party when she came to visit…can you tell we had finally convinced her to move to Charleston?

Cowboy and Indian: v13 DIY Halloween Costumes for Couples from Palmettos and Pigtails

Cowboy and Indian: A classic

Allstate's "Mayhem" and Progressive's "Flo": 13 DIY Halloween Costumes for Couples from Palmettos and Pigtails

Allstate’s “Mayhem” and Progressive’s “Flo”: Another one of my favorites! This Mayhem was the “Hot Chick out Jogging.”

Mr. Clean and Molly Maid: 13 DIY Halloween Costumes for Couples from Palmettos and Pigtails

and finally,

Mr. Clean and Molly Maid: It helps if you already sport a bald head, bushy eyebrows and goatee…then all you have to do is borrow one of your wife’s earrings!

Happy Haunting!

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Breathing Room

I have a wonderful small group of women that I meet with on a weekly basis from my church.  Yes, we do Bible Studies.  But we also do deep conversations, laughter, rants, tears, and affirmations.  My Wednesday nights are what get me through the week.

Breathing Room - thoughts on Andy Stanley's study {Palmettos and Pigtails}

The study that we are currently doing is a video series by Andy Stanley, called “Breathing Room.”  We have discovered, as a group, that one of our biggest challenges and weaknesses is the lack of margin in our lives.  We ALL have a very hard time saying “No,” we are jamming as many activities, things and experiences into our lives as possible.  And for what?  Stress?  No sleep?  A messy house?    All for the sake of “keeping up” and “making the most of the time we have.”

In our attempts to make the most out of life, we lose control over what is important.  Our stress levels rise, our focus narrows…and so other areas suffer.  But it’s still so hard to give ourselves a little room to breathe.  A little less clutter.  We jam as much in because we have a fear of missing out on something, of falling behind, of not leaving a tiny imprint in our world.

Sad, but true.  I am a prime example.  I am a blogger.  A blogger that usually has a lot of photos in my posts.  I have three kids, whom I love more than anything….and I love to give them experiences and memories.  And, I love to document those experiences.  And although I don’t usually plan our family activities around the blog, I am always aware of opportunities to share about them on my blog.  So I really have to reel myself in from taking a million and three photos from every angle, and I have to consciously live in the moment…reminding myself to just enjoy the experience with my kids…not to worry so much about what I’ll write about, and if the lighting is good for photos.  Margin needed.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalms 90:12

The Breathing Room study is teaching us to cherish each moment.  One of the examples that Andy gave in the video, was to think about the little tiny blip of time that is our lifespan…when compared to God’s timeline.  Think about how fast our lives go and how quickly our children grow up, and then think about how fast it must seem to God.  Imagining the finite spanse of my lifetime makes me re-focus on what is really important.  The whole concept kind of blows my mind.

Remembering that our time is limited provides us with the wisdom to know how to spend our limited time
-Andy Stanley

Another pivotal moment in the video was the story of a woman who worked in Hospice, and asked people at the end of their lives what their greatest regrets were.  And the top two answers were, “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard” and “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to me, not what others expected of me.”

That second regret really hit home.  Initially, I’d say I don’t really worry what others think of me too much.  I’ve pretty much accepted the way I look, dress and act.  But then, digging deeper, I thought about my life in relation to how I portray it on my blog.  As much as I try to keep it real on here for you, there are certain pressures that I struggle to ignore.  I mean, I love Pinterest as much as the next gal, but  I have to admit that it does often make me feel a bit inferior to all of those crafty pinners.  The expectations for a blogger are high…in order to get paid, we are expected to have quality posts about stuff our readers care about…several times a week, with excellent photos, original ideas, and clean houses to stage everything in.  And thanks to Pinterest and Photoshop, that’s what a lot of you think our reality is.  I mean, who am I really trying to impress?

Family? Close friends?

Y’all know me better than that…you know that any clean surface of my home that is in a photo, really just has stuff shoved to the side {out of frame, of course}, that will resume it’s place as soon as the flash goes off.

Strangers who don’t know me personally?

Let’s be honest, most of them don’t care.  In fact…they probably aren’t even reading this because they didn’t find this post on Facebook or Pinterest.  There aren’t any pretty pictures.  And they don’t really care about getting to know the real me anyway.  They just want to know what my next project is.  So why do I feel so pressured to make them like me?  Golly….it’s like high school all over again.

Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love that there are more of you than ever reading my thoughts on a weekly basis.  But I hope you want to know me.  And connect with the real me.

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Summer Recap 2014

It’s official….the summer has yet again, flown by!  So today I thought I’d give you a quick recap of our summer in pictures!

Summer 2014 Recap from Palmettos and Pigtails

Millie graduated with honors from the 2 year old class at her pre-school…mastering the potty, recognizing the letters in her name, and making silly faces instead of smiling.  Jayna aced the 4 year old class and bittersweetly moved on to kindergarten.  She is reading chapter books, writing letters and riding her bike!

Summer 2014 Recap from Palmettos and Pigtails

Did I mention that we had a baby?  Lincoln Christopher joined us in mid-May and is rounding into his fourth month already!

Summer 2014 Recap from Palmettos and Pigtails

He is a completely chill baby who will smile at just about anyone!

Summer 2014 Recap from Palmettos and Pigtails

The girls had a whole lot of Loo Loo time while I bonded with Lincoln.

Caution Tape Construction Wreath for Vacation Bible School Decor from Palmettos and Pigtails

Both girls got to experience a couple of Vacation Bible School sessions over the summer.  Although I couldn’t volunteer during the sessions this year, I was able to help out with decorating for the “Workshop of Wonders” construction theme.

Summer 2014 Recap from Palmettos and Pigtails

Summer 2014 Recap from Palmettos and Pigtails

Our summer was filled with neighborhood gatherings, from a festive 4th of July parade and fireworks show, to a laid back Bluegrass and BBQ festival.  There were also less formal occasions, as our closest neighbors shared meals, childcare and old-fashioned fun!

Summer 2014 Recap from Palmettos and Pigtails

We were able to get up to Montreat again this year, to catch up with our best friends and reminisce a little about my summers there.  And last weekend, we were SO excited to welcome our newest God-daughter, Penny!  Lulabelle and Ro will be such great big sisters!

Summer 2014 Recap from Palmettos and Pigtails

Summer 2014 Recap from Palmettos and Pigtails

We had lots of visitors…including Great-Grandparents on both sides of the family!  I’m so proud and thankful that my kids know their Greats so well!

Summer 2014 Recap from Palmettos and Pigtails

We also traveled around the state of Florida to visit the grandparents in St. Augustine and St. George Island.  The girls had lots of beach days and lots of day trips!

Summer 2014 Recap from Palmettos and Pigtails

I was hoping that we’d have a nice relaxing summer…you’d think that would be easy with a newborn, right?  Not for this busy family!  We were just as active as ever, but had a wonderful summer!

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From Florida with Love: Saint Augustine

Our last stop in our roundabout tour of Florida {to visit the grandparents}, was to the quaint old town of Saint Augustine, just south of Jacksonville.

Recap of our Florida Vacation from Palmettos and  Pigtails

We obviously needed a break from all of that relaxing in Saint George Island….so we packed as much as we could into this trip!  Every day was a new adventure.

First up was a quick {and hot!} tour of the Castillo de San Marcos.  Otherwise known by my girls as “The Fort.”  MomMom and GP took the girls here when they visited in the spring….and the firing of the cannons was all they talked about for days after their little vacation!  Millie loves shouting, “Cover your ears!”  We also ran into a few pirates who wander the town on a daily basis.  This guy happened to be a “good guy,” offering to pose for a picture and giving the girls Gold Doubloons {aka pirate booty}.

One evening, we headed into town to find out that the evening concert that we’d been headed to, had been canceled.  But the night was saved when we ran into this pack of princesses, who were participating in a photo shoot.  We did nothing less than stalk them for an hour, posing for pictures and borrowing their props {Ariel even had a Dinglehopper!}.

Right up the road from MomMom and GP’s house is the Saint Augustine Alligator Farm.  It’s a zoo that has at least one of every type of alligator and crocodile in the world.  Not to mention the hundreds of alligators that we were able to help feed in the massive pond there.  As we walked across the boardwalk that spanned the pond, the alligators were literally climbing all over each other to get to the “Gator Nuggets” we were throwing to them.  But the highlight of the girls’ day was the unexpectedly social Komodo Dragons!

On the hottest day of the week, we took advantage of the half price offerings of the Jacksonville Zoo due to the high temperatures.  We actually lucked out, because thanks to a few rainstorms, in never got too hot…but there were no crowds either!  Jayna and Millie  got to actually touch the sting rays {which was exciting because they had seen a few in the water in SGI}, and they had an amazing tiger habitat that let the animals travel through multiple exhibits.

But my favorite part, was seeing family! My grandparents and my aunt came to visit from Ft. Myers and Atlanta to meet Lincoln and spend some time with the girls.  The girls are so blessed to have such wonderful relationships with all five of their great grandparents!  And Lincoln turned out to be a complete Great-Grandma’s boy!

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From Florida with Love: Saint George Island

Recap of our Florida Vacation from Palmettos and  Pigtails

So, I may be kicked out of the family for saying this, but my in-laws are crazy.  I love them dearly, but they are absolutely nuts.   After moving only once in the past 9 years…I can safely say that I find it to be extremely stressful and a huge hassle.  However, my in-laws don’t seem to mind it!  Last time we were together, we counted and in the 6 years that Dave and I have been married, they have lived in 7 houses in three different states.  Crazy, right?

Now, don’t get me wrong…most of these moves have been due to job changes {and now, finally retirement!}.  But after about a year in a location, we kind of start expecting an announcement of their next location.

You may remember back in 2012, our family joined SueSue and Papaw {and Granna and Paw Paw} in Saint George Island, Florida.  The beach, located on the panhandle of Florida on the Gulf Coast, is a favorite vacation spot in the family.  So when they announced their most recent relocation, we were thrilled that they had decided to retire to SGI!

There is something about that beach that is just magical…and I only had one other trip there under my belt.  I can’t even imagine how the rest of the family feels, after having vacationed there for 25 years!  So to be able to retire and spend all of your days in this friendly town, seems like perfection!

SueSue and Papaw’s new house is about two blocks off the beach…a three minute walk or so.  It’s so nice to be able to leave our umbrellas and chairs on the beach, come back for lunch and naps, and then head back in the afternoon when it’s a bit cooler.  Dave and his dad love to sneak out in the evenings to go surf fishing.  I like reading on their massive screened in porch {because I prefer not to know what they are catching in the water that I swim in!!}.

Jayna and her Dad started prepping for the school year, by getting up early and walking on the beach to see the sun rise.  They also spotted crabs, dolphins, sting rays, starfish, and clams.  But more importantly, they formed a bond between the two of them that hadn’t existed before this summer.  Hopefully their relationship will continue to grow since Daddy will be the one getting Jayna ready for school and putting her on the bus in the mornings.

Since Saint George Island is about 9 hours away from our house, we are going to have adjust to not seeing SueSue and Papaw on a fairly regular basis anymore! =( So we celebrated Millie’s birthday early, with homemade cake and a purse-shaped piggybank!

One of the things I love about their house is how creatively the girls get to play there.  With only blocks, stuffed animals and an abundance of purses and Mardi Gras beads….the girls were still able to play all week long without getting bored!

Between the beach, climbing the forest of live oaks in the backyard, swinging on the porch swings under the deck, and taking trips into town or into Apalachiacola for shopping…..we stayed just busy enough.  And I was happy because I got to read an entire book AND take a nap almost every day!  My kind of vacation!

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Montreat 2014

My favorite summer tradition is going to Montreat, NC.  This tiny college town on the edge of Black Mountain and about 20 minutes northeast of Asheville is my Mecca.  Each summer the kids and I trek there to meet our oldest and bestest friends from Maryland.  They are youth councilors at the church we grew up in, and take their group of high schoolers to Montreat for the annual Presbyterian youth conference.

But luckily for us, the schedule at the conference is flexible enough that we get some amazing Betsy and Jay time while the teenagers are in their small groups in the middle of the day.

And now that my parents have moved to Florida, it’s really the only one reliable time that the kids get to see their God-parents!  I just love that all of our kids are so close in age….just wish they could spend more time together.

But there is another reason why I love taking the kids there each year.  It’s because of the actual conference.  The convergence of hundreds of teenagers from around the country.  Watching the interactions between groups of teens, participation in silly games, and getting a glimpse of their Christian journey is magical to me {especially since I lived it!}.   And I can specifically say that Betsy and Jay’s group of teens are “no exception.  My girls {especially Jayna} loooove the Big Kids.  She talked the whole way home about her new “Teenager Friends, ” Anna and Victoria…and how she wished she could stay longer to hang out with them.

Each year, I am tickled to briefly get to know these teens again {I watched most of them as babies when I was a teenager, volunteering in our church nursery!}.  I’m always amazing at how polite and caring they are, choosing to not only spend some of their free time with Betsy and Jay’s kids {who they know well}, but also with mine!

And sure, they are teenagers…so my kids get a little exposure to a little rough language, short shorts and rough play…but overall I feel just fine about having my girls look up to them.  And I can only hope my kids turn out just as well!

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Five Years of of First Days

Yesterday was the first day of school for Jayna.  She started kindergarten this year, at “Big School.”  Also known as the local Elementary school….but we’ve been calling it “Big School” for years now to differentiate it from the preschool she went to for four years.

2010-2011 School Year {18 month class}

She started preschool when she was only 18 months old!  Crazy, I know!  But at the time, we didn’t have many stay-at-home mom friends with kids the same age…so it was more for the socialization aspect than anything.  So she started her school “career” in Ms. Leigh’s class {who is Millie’s teacher this year too!}.

2011-2012 School Year {2 year old class}

Throughout her four years in preschool, she kind of stayed with the same {Tuesday/Thursday} group of friends, until last year…as all of the kids went four days a week.  Needless to say she’s pretty well socialized at this point! =)

2013-2014 School Year {4 year old class}

So four years, four classes, and 8 teachers later….here we are in public school.  Kindergarten.

I thought I’d have more sappy emotion yesterday, dropping my first born off for her first day of school.  But as we were riding to school {we carpooled with neighborhood friends}, I started thinking that although this is a big milestone for her, she’s really a pro at this.  She’s been in school for four years now.  We had already met her teachers, seen her classroom, and established that she had no fewer than three friends that she already knew in her class.  In fact, when we went to “Meet the Teacher,”  she walked right up to her teacher and gave her a huge hug…sight unseen.  Needless to say, she was prepared for school.

First Day of School

So we did all the obligatory photos with friends, in front of the school, and holding her Kindergarten sign.  And when she got to her classroom, she gave me a hug and walked away.  No tears. On either side.

I skipped the “Boo-Hoo Breakfast” that the school puts on for all the teary-eyed moms, and headed home to spend some quality time with my middle child, who proceeded to cry the rest of the morning.  Ironic, huh?

Did you cry when your kid went to kindergarten?

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{From the Archives} School Lunch Ideas

This is an oldie, but goodie!  My school lunch ideas round-up has been one of my most popular posts ever!  So I thought I’d repost it for you with a couple of new ideas at the bottom too!

AND…Don’t forger that I have a giveaway going this week for some Jamberry Nails!     Click here to enter!

It’s that time again!  School starts next week, and this year I’ll need lunches for two kids!   So twice a week for Millie, and 5 days a week for Jayna, I have to come up with fresh, healthy, and portable food to eat.  And their routine lunch of peanut butter and jelly, heated up leftovers, a bunch of grapes, and a fruit snack won’t work at school.  And yes, they really does eat all of that!  And to top it off, I’m just not that creative {or a morning person}….so I can’t be one of these moms.

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

 Source

So I’ve been scouring the internet {aka Pinterest} for some easy, make ahead meals.  Preferably ones I can maybe freeze too.  Here’s what I came up with:

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

I love the idea of smoothies.  Healthy AND yummy.  But they are kind of a pain to make every morning…..but, if I make several and freeze them, by the time Jayna’s lunchtime rolls around, they shold be nice and thawed in her lunchbox!  This site has a bunch of different flavor ideas.

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

Meet the Dubiens

And I found a bunch of cute ideas of muffin-tin lunches.  Although the kids won’t have access to a microwave, I’m hoping if I heat them up and wrap them in foil, they’ll stay pretty warm.

Little Potpies stocked with veggies and meat and topped with Bisquick!

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

Betty Crocker

Don’t you just love the tiny pepperoni?

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

Really From Pinterest

Here’s one I’ve actually made before.  The personalized mac and cheese bites are definitely a crowd pleaser!

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Bites Recipe - A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

Palmettos and Pigtails

And the next two are from my friend Jaima….she has tons of great freezer and toddler recipes on her site.

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

 Ring Around the Rosies

And the seven layer dip that we bring to um, every single party? What if I just make them in little individual Tupperware instead?

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

The Girl Who Ate Everything 

I also had a few of my own ideas too! {gasp!}

  • I make these little cream cheese pinwheels for parties using tortillas, cream cheese and dry ranch dressing….I’m thinking of doing those again, but adding more veggies (like peppers, broccoli, carrot strips,etc.) inside before rolling them up and slicing them.
  • We routinely make stuffed crescent rolls for dinner and it has become a favorite quick dinner.  We’ve done pesto, mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes….cheddar, apples and onion vinagrette….and of course string cheese, pizza sauce and pepperoni (I’m sure you can find that on pinterest!!).  What about ham and cheese?  Or bacon and eggs inside?  Super portable and freezer-friendly!
  • I also thought about making little burrito bowls.  Taco meat, cheese and salsa in a Tupperware in the freezer.  Thaw it out and top with sour cream for the lunchbox? Hmmmm…..

I also plan on stocking up on and pre-washing, cutting and bagging various fruit, veggies, cheese cubes, dried fruit and crackers.

How about you?  Got any ideas for me?  Leave me a comment!

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