Spring Cleaning: What a Sham (WOW)

We are a few days into Spring, and I have not Spring cleaned a thing yet. (gasp!)

I take that back, I scrubbed the kitchen floor the other day. It was gloriously clean for an entire day for a hot minute. Then it snowed. Not just a little flurry, but a ridiculous 4 inches of heavy wet SPRING insanity, and it didn’t matter that people took off their shoes. I still had to bring the groceries in the house the day of the SPRING blizzard of 2015 and that made for a messy floor.

So here I am, a queen of domesticity about to tell you 7 Reasons Why Spring Cleaning is a Sham (WOW).

1.) Unpredictable weather: Let’s just call Spring in the Midwest what it is, shall we? Toddler of weather. I want to build a snowman, no wait, I want to pick flowers, no wait, I want to splash in puddles, no wait, I want to fly a kite. I WANT TO RUN IN SPRINKLERSSS!!! GET OUT THE SIDEWALK CHALK! WHERE’S MY SNOW BOOTS! Get in the basement there’s a tornado warning! This is currently the state of my front hall because every day there is a new kind of clothing to be worn, and I refuse to put any of it away until this kid known as weather makes up his damn mind!


2.) School is still in session: When school is going on there is homework, and papers, and activities, and so many more things to keep track of that it just doesn’t seem to be a good time to add in a huge reorganization and cleaning of the entire house. And the papers! The school papers are everywhere. You know that old saying about when you pluck a gray hair and 6 more grow in its place? I’m pretty sure that for every school paper I throw away, a million more multiply.


3.) Spring is busy: My family and I have a lot going on in the Spring and mostly we are just trying to keep afloat. Soccer, ice skating, ballet recital rehearsals, local elections, Listen to Your Mother practices, TAXES, extra writing submissions, CCD, Brian out of town, me out of town, dinners out, and that is in addition to everything else. I refuse to Spring clean. So, I do the only logical thing. I straighten up and hide things in the closet when people are coming over.

4.) When the weather actually is nice: Those first few gorgeous days when the sun is out, and you don’t have to wear a jacket and it is still light out past 4:00 p.m., I really don’t want to spend that time cleaning. I would so much rather take the kids outside (because it might be snowing tomorrow, again). See ya!


5.) Did I mention the papers? I don’t think you guys realize the papers. So, I’ll show you again.


6.) Project time: Since my house looks like a bomb of papers and weather appropriate clothing went off anyway, this is the time of year I usually do some household projects. Then, when I am ready to do a big clean and organizing project, I just clean everything up at one time. This is called not re-inventing the wheel, or something like that.


7.) Spring Break: There are very few people who have the opportunity to spend a week all together as a family. Because my husband is in education, he has an entire week to spend with us and the kids who are also off school the at the same time. We usually spend that week taking day trips to places around town and spending time together. There is no way I am trading scrubbing baseboard and organizing toys for that!

I saving the Spring Cleaning for Summer!

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Installing a Rail with Hooks Saves Space (and Tears)

There was a day not that long ago where Brian called to see how things were going at home. I am lucky to have a husband that texts and calls to see how we are throughout the day. However, on this particular day, I am sure he was sorry he asked because I was close to tears about how messy the kids rooms were. (I know, first world problems.)

Hear me out, though.

I am not going to follow my kids into their rooms and pick up after them every day, nor do we have a cleaning lady. The kids used to have a place for everything, but it seemed just like their growing bodies their stuff was taking up more space.  They just seemed to need more room. Clothes were overflowing dresser drawers, books were scattered everywhere, socks were strewn about, Legos and other crap that didn’t belong in certain places was just everywhere!

It was like they were TRYING to put stuff away, but they just didn’t have anywhere else to put it all.

I wasn’t going to run out and buy a ton of furniture. As you know, I am kind of a make due with what I have kind of gal. Plus, I would so much rather refinish a bunch of furniture for the kids before buying them anything new and fancy. But something had to be done ASAP!

So, after sorting the drawers, and picking up, and trying to find a place for everything, I had a brilliant idea of using the wall space as storage.

Awhile back, I saw the Bygel Rail and hooks at Ikea. So I purchased one, and decided to hang one in Caroline’s room to see how it goes for awhile. Well, now I can buy out the store and start hanging them all over the kids’ rooms. I have decided they are AWESOME!

Paired with those little buckets from the dollar spot at Target, these this rail has been a lifesaver. The buckets hold her hair ties, clips, and little things, the hooks can hold anything from bags, to towels, to pjs, to ballet clothes, to everything! I also like the idea of some of the accessories they sell at Ikea to go with the Rail to sort and store other things.

Installation was easy.


Dollhouse not needed for installation.

I measured about on the wall where I wanted the rail to go. I asked one of the kids to hold the rail against the wall while I made sure it was level. Then using a pencil, I marked where the holes should go.

For extra security, rather than securing the rail right to the wall with screw, I decided to use mollies. I figured if the kids hung backpacks or anything with a little weight to them, I’d rather be safe than sorry. So, I drilled holes where I marked the the wall, tapped the mollies in (GENTLY!)


Then, I affixed the rail to the wall drilling screws into the mollies.



The rail was ready for hooks and stuff.


Now, to install these all over the kids rooms, then perhaps Brian will avoid tearful phone calls.

What is and organizational item that makes your life easier?

If you like this post and would like to read more about all things domestic with a touch of humor, become a Home Everyday follower! For blog updates or to see other places I write such as ChicagoNow or Chicago Parent follow Home Everyday on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

A 2015 Mantra: Simplicity, Creativity, Generosity, and Gratitude

Hello, 2015! I feel like I have been waiting for you to get here for a few weeks now.

I have never been one to wish away my days. In fact, I would consider myself to be about as sentimental as they come. Hoping to soak every last minute, second, moment out of an event or milestone.

I also always felt that a new start can begin at any time. You don’t need a new year to begin a new routine, to try something new, to start fresh.


A new desk to refinish! Hooray!

Like anyone I have always made goals throughout the year. Specifically, I do this at the beginning of every school year, or even at the beginning of a season. I know statistically I am destined to fail at the beginning of a new year, so I try not to pressure myself too much. Mostly, I am happy if I get the Christmas crap down before I start debating if I should start a new trend known as the “Valentine’s Bush.”

However, for some reason, I am feeling like 2015 was just whispering me to come along and get moving with it.

2015 just seems like a nice even number. Years from now I can say something like, well in 2015 I started my book, or in 2015 I took a meeting with an executive at Netflix about my series, etc. etc. Also, 2014 gave me some good and bad experiences that helped give me the skills I need to help me achieve those goals, and give me a little perspective.

Rather that make long list of goals with detailed milestones, and then when those goals are inevitably unmet, crying and falling into a slump an ice cream despair a Netflix binge watch session while eating Twizzlers in my bed, I decided a long list was not the way to go. Instead, I would focus on a few simple words that would become my mantra for every area of my life.

This will be the year of simplicity, creativity/productivity, generosity, and gratitude.

When there is a decision to be made, something that needs to be done, a problem to be solved, or when I am feeling aimless. I will ask: Is this simple? Is this creative or productive? Am I acting generous? Am I acting with gratitude?

Simple: Last year I think I wanted to do too much, and in doing that I got overwhelmed very easily. Whether it be with writing, responsibilities with the kids, household projects, or anything. I was overdoing it. I also think that when things become overwhelming, more waste is created, more money is spent, more time is wasted. I just want to simplify and streamline things. I consider myself to be a pretty organized person, but there is only so much an organized person can do in a day too, and I realized that everything I was doing was done quickly, last minute, and without my eventual end goal in mind. I need to simplify. So, some things will have to be cut from the list. If something isn’t for the betterment of getting my end goal (helping my family, writing career, saving money, streamlining) I have to say no or it has to go.

Creativity/Productivy: There are times, when I am the biggest time waster of them all. I was watching Aziz Ansari’s Dangerously Delicious comedy special and how he talked about how he gets distracted on the internet doing Joe Pesci research. I laughed particularly hard, because as I was watching this, I was elbow deep on IMDB looking up the complete filmography of Mary Lynn Rajskub (don’t know her, look her up) because of a very minuscule scene she was in on Gilmore Girls that I had watched two days prior. I scoff at your time wasting, Aziz Anari! Long story short, if I am not doing something to create or produce (i.e. better myself, my health, my family, my writing) I think it has to go too.

Generosity: I am bringing back the email. Remember when you’d open your inbox and there would be an email from someone just to check in and see how you are, and not a a bunch of Zappos coupons and Zulily ads? Hell, I might even bring back snail mail. The post office might even stay in business because of me this year. I just want to be more generous with my words this year as well as my time, my cooking, my baking, my comments, and Facebook shares with fellow writers. I want spread the love.

Grateful: I’m just going to say thank you all the damn time. There is always, always, always something to be thankful for. Always.

Simplicity, creativity, generosity, and gratitude. I should probably write that down somewhere.

What is going to be your mantra for 2015?

If you like this post and would like to read more about all things domestic with a touch of humor, become a Home Everyday follower! For blog updates or to see other places I write such as ChicagoNow or Chicago Parent follow Home Everyday on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

I Would Not, Could Not Skip Thanksgiving: A Holiday Planning Guide

I was just barely getting over a Halloween hangover when I was smacked in the face with a midterm election. Now, everywhere I turn there seems to be Christmas in the air.

All of my favorite stores are betraying with me holiday stuff, discounts, and I swear I smelled peppermint in Starbucks the other day. Some of the blogs I read are sharing gift guides, and things to do to get ready for “the season.”

Some people are Holiday Crazy, that is great. I applaud you. I used to be like them. In the past, I would be playing holiday music already, putting autumn decor away, buying gifts, hiding them, begging my husband to let me put out just a few holiday decorations before Thanksgiving, and coming up with schemes for that damn elf.

However, considering my Autumn Decor has not been up that long, I don’t think I should be getting out any more decorations just yet. Also, I am still getting used to the homework routine this school year, so I doubt I can add a little bit of Christmas to anything just yet. Also, I realized I seemed to be skipping over Thanksgiving. It was like a gateway holiday getting lost in the shuffle of other holiday preparations.

This was breaking my heart as I used to claim Thanksgiving was one of my favorite holidays. In the past, I would spend days preparing a Friendsgiving Meal, and making a spare turkey for leftover sandwiches. I would take the time to meet people for brunch, and go to church. I Would Not, Could Not Skip Thanksgiving. Nope. This year is going to be different.

I am going to plan ahead so that no longer happens. I can hopefully use my time wisely and knock some of those smaller things off the TO DO LIST now so that I can enjoy myself the week of Thanksgiving. I am sick of spending that week, running errands, buying gifts, and starting Christmas cards. This Thanksgiving, I will be eating turkey sandwiches and enjoying my family.

First Week of November

  • Create Holiday Card List
  • Update Addresses
  • Make Appointment for Family Photos
  • Create a gift list (family, friends, teachers, neighbors, coworkers, hostess gifts)
  • Send holiday party invites
  • Do online shopping
Second Week of November
  • Purchase smaller gifts like gift cards, bottles of wine, or other non food gifts.
  • Plan family photo outfits
  • Do a gift wrap inventory and purchase anything needed (tape, ribbon, etc)
  • Plan which cookies and treats to bake
  • Pick out Holiday Cards
Third Week of November
  • Have family photo taken
  • Purchase baking ingredients sugar, flour, vanilla, (freeze butter), etc.
  • Wrap any gifts already purchased.
  • Start addressing envelopes
  • Do a thorough clean of house to be ready for holiday decor
  • Be Thankful!
Don’t get me wrong, I will still have things to do, but everything will be ready to go. I won’t be wasting time running to Target for more tape, stopping at the grocery store for more vanilla, trying to put together teacher gifts the night before the last day of school, or addressing envelopes at 2  in the morning. Best of all, I will be enjoying my time with my family.

If you like this post and would like to read more about all things domestic with a touch of humor, become a Home Everyday follower! For blog updates or to see other places I write such as ChicagoNow or Chicago Parent follow Home Everyday on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

School Year Organization: 10 Things I’m Doing Now to Keep Myself Sane Later

Yesterday, I was lamenting about my internal struggle about how this time of year seems to be quite difficult for me as there is so much to do and not do all at the same time. In an effort to make the beginning of the year go smoothly, I organized some parts of the house over the summer so that we can spend the last bit of summer relaxing.

Here are ten things I did while the kids were home to get ready for back to school.

1.) Got Rid of Old Clothes: There is no sense cluttering up the kids drawers with clothes that are too small or clothes that have tears or stains from summer. I typically don’t do any “back to school” clothes shopping until the weather starts to change a bit (and I can hit up sales) as they have plenty of clothes to get them through those first few warms weeks of school. This way it is easier for them to find what they want to wear, and there is room for new clothes.

2.) Organized High Traffic Areas: The craft table, desks, and front hall closet got an overhaul. These are areas that typically see a lot of traffic during the school year. The kids tend to drop school bags, shin guards, ballet shoes, homework, and everything else in these places. I tried to make sure that everything has a place so that when we are in a hurry, we can find everything in a jiffy.

3.) Found a Place for All the Papers: So much for the digital age! Since my kids have started school, I cannot believe the amount of paper they come home with every day. Try as I might to get rid of a little bit every day, there are still some papers that I have to hold onto. I found a way to organize everything perfectly, while still allowing me to save time.


4.) Got the Kitchen Ready: I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like my kitchen get a break in the summer, and when school starts I am back to cooking, baking, fixing meals multiple times a day. Since I was cooking less this summer, the kids helped me do a little kitchen organization.

5.) Went Through the Toys: Once the school year starts, our family doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room in our schedule. So, I try and take an afternoon to talk toys with the kids and talk about what they don’t play with anymore and what can be donated. This helps make room for upcoming birthdays and holidays too.

6.) School Supplies for Home: When I do decide to go school supply shopping (I’m the worst), not only do I try and purchase school supplies for school, but I also try and purchase a few extra of everything for home. This helps especially for homework or craft projects at home, and everything is cheaper and can be bought in bulk this time of year.

7.) Got Everyone Back on Schedule: Over the summer we are all going to bed a little later and sleeping a little later. The last part of summer, I am slowly but surely trying to get my kids to bed a little earlier and to wake up a little earlier too. I don’t want to their teachers to experience how cranky they can be when they are sleep deprived that first day of school. We have been doing this in about 20 minute increments, little by little. Rome wasn’t built in a day after all.


8.) Got Myself on Schedule: This school year, I will have pockets of time where I will be alone, so I want to be able to fill those with productive things so that when the kids are home I am able to make time for them.

9.) Bought a Surprise: I bought each of the kids a special surprise for their first day of school. It is nothing expensive or lavish, but it is just a little token to let them know we are thinking of them that day. These are things I keep my eye out for over the summer and buy when I see them. This year, I got them each a book about the grade they are going into this year.


10.) Pack in the Fun: I scheduled a ton of playdates, events and fun for the last few weeks of summer as I could so we can spend time playing and enjoying the nice weather and each other.

If you like this post and would like to read more about all things domestic with a touch of humor, become a Home Everyday follower! For blog updates or to see other places I write such as ChicagoNow or Chicago Parent follow Home Everyday on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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5 Practical and Funny Spring Cleaning Tips


If you scour
(see what I did there?) Pinterest you can find hundreds of
printables with Spring cleaning schedules, organized lists, and advice for how to
clean and organize your home this time of year. If you follow me on Pinterest, you will see, I am no stranger to obsessively
pinning these types of things. Here is the caveat though, I was finding that
these lists and plans were good in theory but were hardly ever actually put
into practice in my home.
I discovered many of these lists had few things that made them worthy of my time. Overall, they were missing the mark for what worked for my home and my family. So, I
decided to come up with some SPRING CLEANING TIPS that got our house lemony
fresh just in time for Spring. 


1.) Plan a Party: I am the type of person that usually works better with deadlines and
sometimes under some sort of pressure. My family is like that too. Also, whether
the party be big or small, I always invite at least ONE PERSON that a.) it his/her first time to my home or b.) he/she will slightly judge me on the
cleanliness of my home. I realized this is not a time to be having a BBQ with my family
or my best friends who don’t care if there toys strewn about. This helps
up the ante a little bit. Every time I want to give up, I remember so and so is
coming and they haven’t been to our house yet, and I will most definitely
continue on my cleaning journey.

2.) Get the
Family Involved:
When I start on my SPRING CLEANING, I try to make a list of
jobs, and figure out who can do a particular job best. For example: who has the best skills for the
job? or Who will complain the least? I also try and figure out who might be
good helpers for a particular job. Like, my husband complains the least
about bathrooms, so he does them. I complain least about deep cleaning the
kitchen so I get that job. The kids are limber and small so they get jobs like
cleaning under the couches and washing baseboards.

3.) Break Up Each Room Into Smaller Tasks: I really needed to stop thinking that I could get all of my SPRING CLEANING done in one day or even one week. With all we have to do as a family, I really needed to break things up. For example, I know I have to sweep floors anyway, so one day, I took a spray bottle full of 2
TBS Mrs. Meyers Clean Day, 1 ½ Cups Distilled Water and while you swept the floor, I sprayed the baseboards in the kitchen with the solution. I, then, and asked the kids (who were playing on the floor anyway) to wipe them down with a rag. Another example: The next time you
empty the dishwasher, set the timer on your phone for 15 minutes and clean out
the junk drawer in your kitchen. Doing one or two of these little tasks every
day really helped go a long way to accomplish each task on our SPRING


4.) Reward
I am the type of person who is more likely to do something if I know
there is going to be a reward at the end. For me, sleep is the ultimate reward.
I love going to bed early. I know it sounds absolutely lame, but for me if I
can knock a few things off the To Do List, I will go to bed and get an extra
hour of sleep. It is glorious and I love it! Next time you have something to do, hold off on watching your favorite show until you complete a
task on your SPRING CLEAN list. Better yet, check off 5 tasks in a week and
allow yourself a night free from cooking. 


5.) Don’t
Get Trapped:
When you live in a house with well… anyone, it is easy to get
frustrated and caught up in the clean house trap. I am often catching myself saying things
like, “I just cleaned this place!” or “I’m never cleaning again, what’s the
point?” I have found though, there are a few things that can help in situations
like this: a.) alchohol or chocolate and b.) a little perspective. The alcohol
or chocolate is to calm those nerves and the perspective is to remind yourself
that it is better to be living in a home with people you love that is a little
messy than to be living alone in a house that is immaculately clean.


There you have it! Five practical and (sorta) funny spring cleaning tips!
If you like this post and would like to read more about all things domestic with a touch of humor, become a Home Everyday follower! For blog updates or to see other places I write such as ChicagoNow or Chicago Parent follow Home Everyday on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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Spring Bucket List: The Clean Edition

Yesterday, I talked about my Spring Fun Bucket List and how we came up with it and displayed it. It has almost everything we will be up to now that the weather is finally nice.

Notice I said, almost.

I made a little to do list for myself for the spring!

There are a few things on my Spring Cleaning Bucket List. Sure, for some, this list is not as fun as flying kites and bike rides, but, for me, there is nothing better than a clean house so that I sit back and enjoy the nice weather!


Over the winter time things pile up, what projects are you anxious to get done?

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Cabin Fever Means Cabinet Organization

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I don’t know if you heard, but the midwest is in the middle of a big freeze. Road are treacherous and in some cases impassable, schools are not in session, and it is recommended people stay indoors. There are only so many books you can read, TV shows you can watch, and games you can play with three little ones before we start getting a little stir crazy.

So, since we are beginning a new year, and I wanted to get some organizing done anyway, I thought it best to have the little ones help. I thought that helping me do a few projects around the house would help alleviate any cabin fever we were experiencing.

This cabinet is the bane of my existence. The plastic storage container cabinet. This is also where I keep all the “kid dishes” in the house so that the kids are able to help set the table. It is a corner cabinet with a Lazy Susan.


This cabinet was jammed with crap. So much crap that I could no longer turn the Lazy Susan, meaning I only had access to about 1/8 of the things I needed.

The first step to organizing this awful space was to just remove everything. This is where the kids were exceptionally helpful, they were so happy to make a mess and pull everything out of the cabinet.


The next step was to sort all of this stuff. I asked the kids to get all the lids and gather them up. Then, the gathered up all the containers. I sat at the kitchen table and tried to find matches of lids and containers (even princesses need to help sort the Tupperware cabinet sometimes).


I was so happy to sort all this stuff, and get rid of everything we didn’t need anymore. I also used some of the larger containers without matching lids to help house little things like lids and sippy cup straws.


Now, that this cabinet is organized, I wonder what other organizational mischief I will get into with this cold weather.

For more about organization, DIY, gardening, cooking, baking or all other things domestic, become a Home Everyday follower! For blog updates or to see other places I write follow Home Everyday on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.


I Was Tired of Being a Taskmaster So I Made a Chore Chart

My children are at wonderful ages. They are young enough to think helping with chores is fun, and they are old enough to start doing them without a lot of direction or intervention from an adult.

Mostly, because they are still little, the kids just need a subtle reminder of ways they can help around the house. I have been a little tired of repeating myself and feeling like the taskmaster this summer. So, I thought it was time to make a chore chart for each of my kids. 


I scoured Pinterest looking for the perfect one. I saw printable ones, sticker charts, pocket charts, magnetic charts, and popsicle stick charts. I was not at all prepared for the options available and to be honest I was a little overwhelmed.
So, I took the best parts of all the ones that I saw around the internet, and made my own magnetic chore chart for each of the kids. 


Here is how I did it.SUPPLIES

Metal Board (I found mine at JoAnn Fabrics)
Letter Stickers
Child’s Photo
Glass Beads with Flat Bottoms (JoAnn Fabrics or Michaels)
Mod Podge (Gloss or Matte finish)
Sponge Brush
Heavy Duty Magnets (Michaels)
Double Stick Tape
Hot Glue Gun with Glue
1 inch diameter circle punch (Creative Memories)
Pictures of various chores (Google Images) printed on card stock 


Step 1: As Bella Karolyi would say, “Stick it!” 
The first thing I focussed on was making the boards that the magnets would stick to. I found these adorable and colorful boards at JoAnn Fabrics. I liked them because of the small holes all around the edges that would make it easy for hanging them anywhere using some 3M hooks. Using some double stick tape, I secured a photo of my child to the board. Then, I added some large stickers with the kids’ initials and created two columns with the words “to do” and “done” 



Step 2: Print it out!
This part was the hardest for me, but I did find some cute photos of chores that I liked. Once, I found images I liked, I printed a few trial pages to make sure they were the right size to be punched out. I printed on a medium to heavy weight paper because I thought it might be more durable, but honestly, I think regular paper would be fine. The chores I chose to include (FOR NOW) are Get Dressed, Make Bed, Clean Dishes, Pick Up Toys, Brush Teeth, Read a Book, and Be Kind. I thought they were all good reminders for my kids, and appropriate for their ages.Step 3: Cut and Paste (the old fashioned way)

Yes, I had to use actual scissors, a hole punch, and actual glue (Mod Podge) for this part of making the magnets. I used a one inch diameter hole punch and cut out the images. 

Next, using Mod Podge I brushed the front side of the image with a thin layer.


I pressed the flat side of a glass bead to the image.


Next, I brushed another thin layer of Mod Podge to the back of the image, and let dry overnight.



STEP 4: Magnetize!
Once the Mod Podge was dry, I used a hot glue gun to attach the heavy duty magnets to the backs of the glass beads with the images. 


Step 5: Admire your genius!
I was so impressed with how these turned out I took a few minutes to enjoy how awesome they are.




Step 6: Hang them up!
Since the magnetic boards I used already had holes, I was able to use two 3M hooks to hang them on the wall.


The kids already love them, and so do I! No more taskmaster!


If you would like to read more about my craftiness or Gardening, DIY, Cooking, Baking and all other things domestic you can check me out on Facebook or become a follower of Home Everyday here
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Lunch on the Go: Summer Picnic Tips

With the Memorial Day being the unofficial start to summer and kids getting out of school, it means that it is time for family vacations, camps, plenty of time outdoors, and day trips. With us out an about much more, many times meals and snacks need to be eaten on the go. While I do pull into the Culver’s drive through occasionally, this is not a regular occurrence. Also, I realize that packing lunches isn’t much different than the school year except I thought about it a little more and realized that kids at school are eating lunch sitting at a table, indoors, and come home right after school to a snack. Also, when you have picky eaters and kids with allergies, nothing ruins what is supposed to be a fun time like a hungry or sick child.

In the summertime, day trips often call for multiple meals on the road as well as sometimes eating on a blanket outside or if it is raining in the back of the car. With that said, planning for meals away from home takes a little bit more planning.


Here are a few tips I’ve learned:

– When I’m meal planning for the week (you can read more about that here), I make sure to plan portable meals for the days we plan to be out of the house and make sure to add portable foods to our grocery list.
– I think finger foods are the way to go, the less utensils you need for the day the better.
– I hardly ever bring napkins when picnicking anymore. I bring an extra container of wipes. They clean sticky hands and faces better, and they can be used to wipe down picnic tables before eating.
– Some things are better prepackaged like yogurt tubes, applesauce cups, or juice boxes. Typically, I don’t like the extra expense and waste of pre-packaged foods, but when you are on the go, it really is easier to just throw things away than have a bunch of dirty tiny containers or sippy cups to clean when you get home.
– I always pack for the meals we will be out for plus one extra snack. You never know when you are going to get stuck in traffic, make a pit stop, or decide to stay where you are a little longer.
– For long trips, we have invested in an electric cooler like this. We bought it five years ago, and I have to say it was one of the best purchases we have ever made. It was perfect for pre made bottles, storing milk when I was breastfeeding, keeps drinks cold, allows us to pack things like yogurt and cheese, and holds more than a regular cooler because we don’t need ice. Ours comes with an AC adapter for the car. We plug it in the car and we are on our way. When we get to our destination, we use an outlet there.
– I always make sure to pack everyone’s water bottles, and periodically refill them throughout the day. Hydrated kids (and parents) are happy kids (and parents).
– I often free grapes, berries, and yogurt tubes. I put them in the cooler and they are a great cold treat for a hot day frozen or thawed.
– Everyone at our house has their own “picnic” container. I found them at Target last year. They are just divided reusable plastic container with lids. Sometimes, I even divide them further using paper muffin cups. This is perfect because everyone gets the meal or snack made to their needs or wants.



This past week, the weather was perfect for spending the day at the zoo. I packed up lunches, snacks, blankets, and sunscreen, and we headed out for the day. For the kids I packed some assorted berries, cut up cucumbers, cheese sticks, crackers, yogurt tubes, and Goldfish crackers.


For myself, I packed some berries, some Mexican Quinoa Salad I had made the night before, and some tortilla chips.


We had a wonderful day, and got stuck in traffic on the way home. Thank goodness I had snacks and water bottles to hold everyone over until we got home.

What is your favorite picnic food?