Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lunch bag blues

( Harmony's bag)

(my favorite container for their lunch bags. A rubber maid take a long)

( the counter on "bagging day"

Sometimes it seems like life hits a fast forward button!! I can't believe that is has been so long since I updated this blog! We have had a few sickie kids, a whole lot of church and school events. Throw in a few Girl Scout meetings and a sprinkling of homework, family movie nights and work (for Ben) and you have our life for this past little bit!

I am waiting for a cheese pizza to cook (boboli crust...no homemade this time!!) and decided to update. Yesterday I did some grocery shopping and did some "lunch prep" for the next few weeks.

Lunch bags. My enemy...my friend. My enemy on days when I have woken up late, or there is no bread, when the kids are bored with the same old stuff.

My friend when I have a fun idea ( I have a Halloween lunch bag idea that I will be sharing on Friday), or when I am prepared. Also, the fact that a school lunch for one child is $3.25...that makes it my friend.

We have all heard that to save money, we should buy the bigger bags of items ( cookies, crackers, chips etc) and put them in our own baggies. It is so simple to toss one of those pre-packaged snacks in right? But yes they are so expensive! Maybe I look at everything differently though. I always look at things times 4! At the commissary a 12 pack box of Scooby Snacks was 3.50! That doesn't even cover a whole week of lunches!! So here is what I do...

1) Look for the discounts. We do not have a sales ad here. The commissary is kind of hit and miss. So I always check out the clearance section first. Yesterday I found a box of wheat thins for .90 and a box of granola bars for .75. A case of Pringles mini's was $2 for 16 snacks. This wasn't the best deal but I needed something orange. You will understand what I am talking about in the Halloween lunch bag post!

2) Then I look for the good deal! The Nabisco snack sacks were all $1. So I bought 12 different bags. Well...three of each kind. I also bought 2 boxes of store brand snack sized bags (these were $1 each).

3) I came home and lined them up on the counter. I turned my ipod and started "bagging". I got 100 bags of snacks, for $15. This includes the price of bags. I used the wheat thins and all the other bags.

4) I looked in the pantry for bags that were almost empty and put the rest into baggies.

5) I have 2 baskets in the pantry. One for salty snacks and one for sweet treats. Every morning all I have to do is grab those and I am all set. My own pre-packaged treats. Lets pretend that I did buy those scooby snacks for a second. To get the same amount of snack bags, I would have to buy 8 boxes. (That is actually only 96 bags) it would cost $42!! I spent $15! Score!

6) My kids don't like sandwiches. They rrrrreally don't. I can get away with it about once a week. One thing I do is have a Mom's "cheat sheet". Harmony likes ham with mustard no mayo. Ethan likes ham and turkey with both. Connor only likes turkey with mayo etc. etc. Connor doesn't like pb & j but he does like pb & honey. So I keep track that way.

7) Uncrustables are expensive. At our commissary they are $1.85 for a box of 4. You guessed it, that is only one lunch! So I buy 2 loaves of bread. I buy one that is not the cheapest but is a nice moist wheat bread. (We don't have bread outlets here, that is where I used to buy bread and will when we are stateside again!)I make one loaf into pb & j and one into pb & honey. I use my circle cutter (from Pampered Chef) to take the crusts off. I then bag them and toss them in the freezer.

8) I like to have my kids lunches in containers not using a zillion bags. But sometimes it happens. I also prefer the kind of lunch bag that lays down. This way I can throw in a gladware container of leftovers.

9) My kids, poor babies,log a lot of time on the bus. So I also make sure they have a reusable water bottle. We fill it in the morning and they have it with them all day.

10) I used to stick a bottle of hand sanitizer in their bags. But they let all their friends use them, and the bottles were empty after a day or so. I want them to use it but...not that quickly! So I just put a wipe in there!

One last thing...Ivan doesn't eat lunch at school. Pre-k is out at 10:15. But I make his lunch bag anyway. That way if I am having to go somewhere after school, he already has a snack. Even if we are home...it is still fun to eat out of a lunch bag!

Well my pizza is done. Let me know any other lunch bag tips you have! I always love to hear them as it is something I have to do every day!


Susan said...

My kids don't like sandwiches either - what's up with that? Heather will eat pb on Ritz crackers as a substitute or ham and cheese on her "special bread" (a Hoagie bun), but that's about it. What else have you tried for sandwich substitutes?

Your school lunches are $3.50?? Seriously? Ours are $1.75.

Marie said...

In Norfolk, school lunches were $1.35! A couple of times I actually paid with change out of my little basket!

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