Weekly Lunch Planning Form {with Printables!}

Quick & Easy Lunches

So lately I’ve decided to get back to planning our lunches because I’d like to get the girls to help and if I’m not organized, they can’t do it.

weekly lunch planning form

To help, I’ve made this weekly lunch planning form. There are spots to plan a lunch (or theme) for each day of the week plus 6 unlabeled boxes as the bottom to use as you see fit. I use them for food groups because I like variety within my meals. It also ensures that even picky eaters have an item or two the like.

If you pack lunches, it would be a great way to help kids pack their own lunches using options laid out on the chart. Alternately, you could lay out themes by days of the week and be specific in the boxes by day for 6 days a week. This could be helpful for older homeschoolers who help with lunch prep.

Big Lunch Idea List

If you are stuck on lunch planning, try this Big List of Lunch Ideas printable, as well as my 5 Tips for Quick and Easy Lunches that I wrote over at Homemakers Challenge last week.

What is your biggest lunchtime challenge?

Jen S.


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Odyssey Adventure Club iPad Mini Giveaway!

Disclaimer: This post was provided as a part of a sponsored campaign.

The end of summer is in sight, and OAC is giving away an iPad Mini back-to-school bundle!
It might seem like summer just began for your kids, so if they need some added motivation to get their homework done, remind them they can jump on the Odyssey Adventure Club after their papers are written and their math problems are solved.

As members, your kids can also listen to Album 58 before the album is released to the public! Sign up today for just $5!

Here’s what part one is about (which you can listen to for free HERE):

It’s a time of surprises as Wooton becomes the celebrity guest at Comic-Connellsville and Whit finds himself in conflict over the upcoming “Let’s Get Together Festival” in Odyssey. Plus, hear an interview with writer-director Paul McCusker about the entire 14-part series.

Album 58 was inspired by Focus on the Family’s The Family Project, a 12-session small group experience that explores the theological, philosophical, and cultural underpinnings of the traditional family, and combines that information with inspiring stories and practical tools to help 21st-century families thrive.
Plus, here’s a sneak peek of a new episode called “The Lone Lawman”!

LoneLawman_Final 2

Jason, Whit, Red and the gang rustle up herds of fun while performing a new Kids’ Radio show set in the Old West. “The Lone Lawman” features a confused boy getting mixed up with a shifty band of bank robbers. Can a hero on horseback set things right? See just how wild the West can get in this action-packed send-up of old-time radio dramas.

NOW . . . on to the iPad Mini back-to-school bundle.
One grand prize winner will receive:

  • An iPad Mini

Hurry, the giveaway ends on August 27th. All winners will be announced August 28th on the widget on this page.

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit this page again on the 28th to see if you won! (You’ll see the winner’s name in the widget.)

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Happy Kids Songs {Schoolhouse Review Crew}

Disclaimer:  I received these items in exchange for an honest review.



Both of my daughters have a secondary auditory style of learning and enjoy music. We always seem to be having a character issue of some sort (my fault, I’m sure), so when I saw the offerings from Happy Kids Songs, I was optimistic.



Happy Kids Songs

Happy Kids Songs produces music that is designed to influence the behaviors & habits of children 3-8 years old. Kid-friendly lyrics paired with adult quality music entertain & educate. The songs from HKS cover a variety of genres & styles. They produce 8 albums, each with a free PDF containing the lyrics and a corresponding worksheet. To facilitate our review, we received:

The albums are available as MP3 downloads for $4.99 each and the workbook is $13.95.


Likes & Dislikes

We used these CD’s while picking up and doing chores in the afternoon. I also brought them out when someone needed the messages, though I played the whole album so as not to finger wag :). We will be resuming circle time next week and plan to play a song each day. My older daughter can do the worksheet activities and the younger can color the lyric sheet. I may add in an extra activity or two that they may enjoy.


The songs cover a variety of genres & styles. Some were sung by kids, some by several people like a play or dialogue, and others by adults. The music had quite a range; some was modern pop, some felt like music I listened to in the late 90′s.  Most of it was pretty hard to pinpoint, but if I had to, I would say showtune — catchy music and easy to understand lyrics. Some of the songs were funny, some were catchy (I had one in my head for weeks!), and others were just okay. The nice thing about that is that there is such a wide range of style that almost everyone will find some they like.

My 3 year old liked them but had a short attention span. Once she realized kid music was on (about 2-3 songs in), she wanted “Anna & Elsa music.” The 6 year old is pickier and not that much of a music fan so 1 album was plenty for her. Luckily, an album is about all it takes to clean up the living room :).



Overall, the Happy Kids Songs were kind of a mixed bag for us. I liked some songs and not others. Some kids liked them & some didn’t. The messages were all good ones, but like most music, its all up to individual taste, you know?

By signing up for their email newsletter, you can get access to all their PDF’s and get a free song each month. And if you go to their website, you can listen to previews of each song. I will probably go that route for the Talking & Listening and the Respect & Responsibility albums, which are high on my wish list right now.

They are good tool, especially for auditory learners. Just make sure you have a time/place in which you plan to use it :). Circle time & pick up time work well for us, but in the car would work well,too.

Click here to find out what other members of the crew had to say about Happy Kids Songs.

Jen S.





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Mother Mary – A Marian Catechism {Book Review}

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


mother mary review covers

Recently I received an invitation from Aquinas & More to review Mother Mary: God’s Gift to You. Mr. Rutherford felt so strongly about this unknown gem that he offered several review copies.

Mother Mary is a Marian catechism that follows the Parable of Willy Wheat. You might be able to do it without reading the Willy Wheat book, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It wouldn’t make much sense. I did purchase the Willy Wheat book after a quick read of Mother Mary and I don’t think the girls would have understood as well without it. You can purchase them individually in hardcover or paperback or as a hardcover set.

mother mary review inside 1

The Mother Mary book came with a small pouch of wheat, a small rosary & a scapular to be used in the lessons. The book itself is a large hardcover divided into 4 chapters. We covered a chapter a week, on Sundays. The first chapter told about how Jesus lives within us and in order to be like like him, we need to change & grow. The second was about the Rosary. The last two are about Mary and how she intercedes for us (think Consecreation to Jesus through Mary for Kids). The illustrations were very colorful (think markers with hand-drawn pictures) and chapters were color-coded. The ONLY thing I disliked was the font; I detest comic sans. The typography book I read once was bad news for me :). I now analyze every font I see.

Mother Mary is intended for all ages and it truly was. Obviously my 1 year old doesn’t understand it, but I was amazed at how much my 3 year old got. She talks about Jesus being inside us every. single. day. The chapters were very simple, repetitive (good for young kids) and in easy to understand language. Each chapter had some questions and a place to draw something. Between the physical items, the questions & the pictures, every learning style was hit. Each chapter also included copious quotes from saints with a devotion to Mary.

mother mary review inside 2

Overall, Mother Mary was very simple & well done, yet somehow quite profound. It didn’t take long to do and we didn’t do the drawing activities, but my 3 year old really got into it. My 6 year old is a little harder–very cerebral :). You never know how much she is turning things over until she mentions something months later. It was a good resource and we will be purposefully getting it out again in a year or two when The Little Man is old enough to understand it.

Jen S.


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8 Steps to Prepping for the New {Home} School Year {5 Days of Back to Homeschool – The Early Years}

Weekly calendar with colorful ribbons

If you haven’t already started your school year, here are 8 easy steps to prepping for your next school year.

1. Put away last years curriculum.

First of all, empty the place where you keep your current curriculum, whether that is shelves or drawers. I keep the kids art supplies there, too, so I reorganized and culled that also.

2. Gather books/teachers manuals for the upcoming year.

Gather all the beautiful new (or new to you) materials that you purchased for this year and stack them up. Can you get through all of it? What should you start with and what can be phased in later?

3. Plan for fun – unit studies, holidays, field trips.

Even PS kids don’t spend every school day doing boring stuff. They have assemblies, pep rallies and field trips. So should you. Don’t forget fun unit studies, holiday parties, and field trips. Visit my post on 3 Ways to Fit Fun into Your Home {School} over at Only Passionate Curiosity for more tips on how we add fun to our year.

4. Reserve library books.

Figure out what library books you need for your students. For my little ones, I use this monthly book theme list for tot-PreK-k. For my second grader, there are books to accompany her history curriculum.

5. Print & laminate as necessary.

I have younger kids and use a lot of printable packets & homemade manipulative activities. If you use a lot of these, print, laminate & cut them in batches. It’s easier that way.

6. Plan first day & first week.

Getting your kids excited about the new school year probably gets harder as time goes by, but try to get them excited about it. I shared our first day of school traditions and transition to school earlier this week. I’m pretty excited about the school supply scavenger hunt myself :).

7. Figure out an ideal weekly school plan or checklist.

Come up with a routine or schedule for your day & week. Then try it out. See how it goes over the first month. Too ambitious? Under disciplined? Tweak it until it feels right. Then post it on your fridge :).

8. Plan a not-back-to-school day for first day of public school return.

Figure out when your local school system starts and plan a field trip that day. We have one heck of a field trip planned. I’ll tell you all about it when we get back ;). Any place that has been crowded all summer would be a good bet. Think museums, parks, even waterparks or pools!

Notebooks and pencils


What do you do to get ready for the next school year?

Jen S.

back-to-homeschool-blog-hop-smThis post is part of the 5 Days of Back to Homeschool Blog Hop by the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Check out these other crew members participating in the hop:

Dawn @ Double O Farms
Tess @ Circling Through This Life
Lisa Marie @ The Canadian Homeschooler
Lexi @ Lextin Academy 
Karen @ My Harbor Lights
Joanie @ Simple Living Mama
Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos
Lori @ Home: where life happens


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