Home Lunches Made Easy

Hey there.

Our first day of school is this week and we couldn’t be more excited. Well, some of us could be more excited, but that’s because some of us are teenagers and we don’t get excited about much. ūüôā

One of the big changes around here this year is that we are going to pack a home lunch instead of taking school lunches. Let me start off by saying, I have no problem with school lunches. They have served my kids well for that last few years and I am grateful to the lunch workers that continually put together meals for my children.

The decision to go to home lunch was purely mathematical. I have 4 – count them 4 – kids who need lunch. At $40 each, that’s $120/month for lunches. Multiply that by 9 months and you get $1,080. Now, I figured we could pack them home lunches for about half that and,¬†BOOM! $540 in my pocket! So we are¬†brown bagging it this year.

My kids are all old enough that they can pack their own lunch, but we’ve packed home lunches before and the pantry looks like a 5-year-old had the best day of their life in there when it’s all said and done. I wanted to avoid that this year, so I set up a LUNCH STATION on a shelf they can all reach.¬†Take a look.

lunch shelf

As you can see, I have a basket for something sweet, a fruit cup, lunch bags, crackers, and a small jar for milk money. If you look on the right, I’ve got a good stock of peanut¬†butter for sandwiches (red lids.) There’s enough here to last us at least two weeks. They will need to grab a bag of peas or something out of the fridge to complete the lunch, but overall, this will make it much easier for us all and it only took about 15 minutes to put together.

I think this can be transferred to anyone’s home. You could use a cupboard or counter space if you have it. You could also¬†dedicate a shelf in the fridge – crackers won’t go bad because they are cold. Do you use a lunch shelf? I’d love to hear how you organize to make making lunches easier for you or your kids. Just leave a comment below.



Ah, Sumertime

I am always looking for ways for my kids to be creative and stay away from the TV during the summer. Projects that keep them interested without my supervision are all the better. That’s why, when the local library sneaked¬†a “Build a Robot Contest” flier into my library bag, I was pretty happy to hand it over to Mr. 10 and let him go.

Mr. 10 has what we call an “engineer brain.” He learns visually which can make some parts of school more difficult; but, he can also read schematics, plans, and graphics like a champ. He can put things together because somehow his brain just knows what to do. When it came time to assemble the new basketball hoop for the front yard, he was right there with the tools and know-how to get it done. I love how his brain works – it’s like a super power.

He spent a full day drawing out ideas. I wish he’d saved a few of the early plans because they were pretty awesome. In the end, this is what he came up with.



Meet Rover the Robot!

Rover has some pretty cool options. For example, he has a computer screen on his belly where you can type up your homework assignment.

Homework Screen

He also has jet packs so he can go where ever you need him to and get there fast.


Check out the propeller.


All in all, he spent over a week planning, gathering materials, and actually building the thing. I have to admit, I helped with the spray paint and the hot glue. There are a few things I wasn’t ready to turn him loose with yet.


Once we got Rover to the library, Mr. 10 had to say goodbye. He’ll get Rover back at the end of the summer. They were so excited that they put him in the front display window. You can drive by and check him out. Mr. 10 wasn’t sad to see him go because he made Rover with the intent to put him in the contest. I’m happy the library wants to keep him all summer because that means I won’t have to find a place to store him for a few more months. All in all, it was a wonderful week for Mr. 10 and he was truly pleased with the outcome.

Now I have to ask, what are we going to do for the rest of the summer?!


End of School Teacher Gift

ImageWith the end of another school year fast approaching, I tremble with fear and a whole lot more excitement. I love having my children home. They are each others best friends and truly creative in their play.

But, they have also had fantastic teachers this year and we wanted to give them a little something that let them know we appreciated their efforts. So this is what we came up with.




I’m not sure if you can read the note. It says, “Thanks for a joyous year! We love you to pieces!”

Then we bought a bag of Almond Joy Pieces, punched a couple holes in the top, and tied it all up with ribbons. This one was minimal because it was coming from Mr. 7 and he didn’t want it to look too girlie. ūüôā

I hope you have a fantastic summer. I can’t wait for it to begin.

Dr. Seuss Simple Lorax Costume

March 7:¬†Cindy C. Bennett¬†‚Äʬ†A Book a Day


Here’s a mother’s tid-bit of wisdom I’ve gained from having four children and making countless costumes: Children’s happiness with their costume is not proportionate to the amount of effort I put into said costume.

No, seriously, this is a real thing!

I’ve spent hours upon hours at the sewing machine covered in fake fur and itching my nose to get the same response that I’ve gotten for slapping something together at the last minute. Kids don’t care about the french seams, the button holes, or the perfect zipper – they care about the image representation.

For example, today is Dress as a Dr. Seuss Character Day at my kids’ school. At first, Mr. 9 wanted to be the cat in the hat, but we didn’t have the hat. So he decided he wanted to be the Lorax. He already had a pair of orange pants from when he was a chicken in the school Christmas program and he has an orange shirt, so we just needed something on his face.

Using the mask I found on this site: http://www.annakoriginals.com/the-lorax-costume/

And the glasses I found on this site: http://www.firstpalette.com/tool_box/printables/eyeglasses.pdf

we put together this look:

Lorax Costume

Is it perfect? No. Is it amazing? Not really. Is he happy? Undoubtedly, yes.

And that’s the point of all my efforts. I want my children to be happy. But they will be just as happy with a decent costume as they will with an opera house worthy creation. And, at the end of the night, I was able to drop into bed with a book instead of spend the evening with my sewing machine. Mom’s happy, kids are happy, the school is happy – everybody’s happy! That is a good day as a mom!

Make Your Own Crayons

DSC_2582My primary class had a lesson on service. I wanted to actually have them put into practice the things we were talking about. After shaking my brain over it, I came up with this brilliant idea.

¬†We spent the last ten minutes of class pealing crayons from one of the library’s crayon bags. Then I brought them home and melted them into new crayons. They look like this.

  To get that awesome shape I used some mini-muffin tins.


Once the crayons were sorted by color and broken into small pieces, I set the pan over a warm burner to melt the wax. After they melt, I let them cool on my bread board and then put them in the freezer for a few  minutes before tapping them out on the counter.

The pans cleaned up really easily. I warmed them up again and wiped off the extra wax with a paper towel. Please do this before putting them in the dishwasher because the wax will melt off in the hot water and then harden in your pipes!

¬†So I’m really excited to take our new crayons back and show the kids. Maybe we’ll take another bag home next week.

Valentine’s Box Ideas

Every year the kids make cute boxes to take to school to hold their valentines. When I am busy, we cover a box with stickers and call it good. When I have a few minutes, we make something good. 

Here’s a¬†link¬†to the ones we made last year and here are a couple pictures. It can be hard to come up with a good Valentine box for a boy. They don’t want anything too cute or frilly.¬†

This year they came to me with visions of what they wanted. It wasn’t easy (took us an entire weekend) but here they are.

<–The Toilet Valentine’s Box

The Toss Game Valentines Box–>


I was so pleased with the way they turned out. The toilet is a little rough around the edges. I could even it out with some sandpaper (and I do love my kids) I’m just not willing to spend 45 minutes sanding a toilet for them. ūüôā

¬†Toss Game Valentine’s Box¬†

Let’s talk about the toss game first. We took a paper box – you know one of those boxes that paper comes in when you buy it in bulk? – and pulled one of the long sides down so it laid flat. Then we cut the remaining sides at an angle that would support the front¬†panel. We covered it in red tissue paper and added hearts. So festive!

¬†¬†We poked holes all around the particle board and inserted Christmas lights for bling-bling. We also used glue and painter’s tape to make a white, glitter boarder before inserting the lights. As you can see here.¬†

We added the cutouts and glued on the words and shapes (I’m aware the s’s are on backwards. It was done for a bit of¬†whimsy as this is¬†supposed¬†to look like a carnival game.) Anyway, glued the front of the board to the box with hot glue, plugged it in and we were done.¬†¬†

Third-grader LOVES it!


Toilet Valentines Box

 When sixth-grader said he wanted a toilet that would flush I about died. I mean, flush? Come on! 

Turns out it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. We used white elastics to create tension to both hold the flap up and pull it down. We hid all the elastics and such in the box on the back. What would a toilet be without a tank?



So here’s how it turned out. You lift the lid, put your valentine inside. (Notice the heart shaped seat? Cute right?)


Pull the handle.


¬†And – PLOP goes your valentine. (See you can see how the flap drops down and then so does the treat.) When the handle is released the elastic¬†pulls¬†the flapper back up for the next person. I’m pretty sure no one else will have a box like this.¬†



Sixth-grader LOVES it!

¬†I want to put his name on the top of the tank before he takes it to school. With such¬†outrageous boxes I’m thinking of driving them in the morning. Good luck with your boxes this year. Let me know what you come up with – I still have many more years of Valentine’s boxes to make.

Teacher Appreciation Door Decorating Ideas

This week was Teacher Appreciation Week at our¬†elementary¬†school. To show our appreciation the PTA asked moms to decorate the teachers’ doors. There were so many wonderful and creative doors I had to share some of the great ideas. They are not all my ideas, but they are all cute. I missed a few because the teachers had their doors closed for testing when I was snapping photos. However, this should give you a variety of good ideas.

All Star Teacher

Good Better Best Mrs. Lopez never lets us rest until our good is better and our better’s best!

We’re you’re #1 fans.

I don’t know if you can see it in the photo, but the flags are made with #2 pencils.

I loved this one because the numbers on the sidelines are done in chalk Рso cute.