Pack Your Lunch! (Free Printable)


My Secret #4582 to Parenting is : Make the Kids Do it.

It can be applied to anything from helping with laundry, taking care of the pets, cleaning their rooms, getting their own cups of water to packing lunch for school. That’s right, I said: your kids can pack their own lunch. Maybe not the kindergartners, but with a little prodding and instruction my fourth grader is totally capable of making sandwiches and filling his lunch box (and sometimes he helps his sister pack hers, too). Somehow that extra 10 minutes in the morning has the power to totally save my whole day – or at least gives me time to drink a cup of coffee.

But what if they just fill their lunch box with sugary snacks?! You ask. This is where today’s free printable comes in. If you have been blessed with children who generally follow instruction, this printable can be your saving grace. My kids really do stand at the fridge and read through my instructions, making sure they have checked off each category. They especially love that last category. And although I am not packing the lunch, I am typically milling around the kitchen keeping an eye on things so giant packages of Oreos don’t go stowing away into their lunch bags.

Aside from saving me a little time each morning, the thing I like about this genius method of mine is that the kids can’t complain about not liking their lunch if they packed it themselves. They still get all the food groups I want them to get, but it’s on their terms. I am seeing a lot less food coming back home uneaten since implementing this beautiful little game changer and that is validation enough for me. Also, more time for coffee. 

Here’s the little list of rules for packing lunch that I made for my kids:


Feel free to use my printable and trick your own kids into doing chores for you, too. If you are looking at my list and thinking, “That’s not MY definition of a healthy school lunch!” or “Those fonts are horrible Jen!” – no worries, you can make your own list at or even by opening up Microsoft Word (or LibreOffice if you are an open source daredevil like me) or heck, get out some crayons and a sheet of paper and go nuts. There are no rules here except the ones you want your kids to follow.

So what are you going to do with that extra 10 minutes in the morning?

2015 Reading Challenge: Checking In


I thought I’d check in on my progress for Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2015 Reading Challenge. I have four more categories to check off and about 3 months to do so, so I guess I need to get hustling if I want to finish in time.

So far I have finished:

a book you’ve been meaning to read – yes please by amy poehler
a book published this year – The Heir by Kiera Cass
a book in a genre you typically don’t read – the girl with all the gifts by m.r. carey
a book from your childhood – Betsy Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace
a book your mom loves
a book that was originally written in a different language
a book “everyone” has read but you – this one might actually be all set, our current book club book is immensely popular – 
a book you chose because of the cover – The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
a book by a favorite author – An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
a book recommended by someone with great taste – May B by Caroline Starr Rose
a book you should have read in high school
a book that’s currently on the bestseller list – the girl on the train by Paula Hawkins 

So I need to talk to my mom and get a book recommendation from her, find a book written in a different language and track down a book that I should have read in high school – so probably some kind of classic book that might have been required reading or something – or perhaps just a book that I wish I’d read in high school?

Any recommendations for books to help me check off these last few categories?

Sunday Coffee Chat: Let’s have coffee & hang out!

Let’s pretend that we are super close besties with busy lives and every Sunday (or so) we make it a point to get together, have a cup of coffee (or tea, or hot toddies, whatever – there’s no judging on Sunday Coffee Chat Day) and just talk about our lives. 


I thought it might be nice to take a few minutes to just write about what’s been going on – a bit of old school blogging about my actual life and not just the printables I’ve been designing, books I’ve been reading, etc. (although those are fun, too!) So get yourself a cuppa something delicious (I’m sipping slowly on a latte from my new coffee mug (pictured above) from The Pioneer Woman’s new collection at Walmart) and let’s gossip like housewives apparently do.

So my kids just got their progress reports back from school – we’ve been in school for about 4 weeks now so this report is really a very small snapshot of what their overall grades will look like, but I think it’s cool that they start the reports early so we have plenty of time to be aware of areas that need attention.

MM pretty much knew what his problem areas were before he even read the report – much like last year, he knew he needed to work better on writing in complete sentences on assignments and keeping his handwriting legible. I can already tell he is working on this so I’m not terribly concerned about it.

BB is a smart cookie and doing really well. Her lowest subject is phonics right now – she has no problem reading words but the first graders are getting their first taste of labeling vowel sounds, etc. and it’s totally new material for her so she hasn’t mastered it – yet. I’m just giggling over the fact that my six year old daughter is learning to do things that I was never taught in all my years of schooling. Basically, private school education continues to impress. Most importantly, both kids seem really happy and nobody appears to be drowning in school work yet.

MM is back in karate lessons after taking a little time off due to his stitches and working hard to catch up with his classmates. He and Dan have started working on basic strength training / core exercises in the mornings because after a quick few minutes watching him work on home practice for karate, it became evident that both he and Dan could use more effort there. I’m just staying quiet over here drinking my latte, hoping they don’t notice me. lol

Did I tell you yet that BB learned to tie her shoes over the summer and has been wearing sneakers with shoelaces for about a month now? This is an exciting development but also often results in me standing around biting my tongue, waiting for her to finish tying her shoes. Again. She is quite resistant to the double knot despite my ranting about how it will mean she won’t have to tie her shoes so often during the day. Remember when they were tiny blobs and I could do all of this myself?


My newest hobby #473 is adult coloring books. I tried buying books like these for the kids and was all “noooo you are doing it wrong!!!!!” when they started coloring like normal 6-9 year olds so I picked up one of these books so that I’d leave them alone and stop trying to live vicariously through them so much. I even splurged on these colored pencils using some Amazon points I’d earned. The tin is super pretty and makes me feel like I’m doing something important (yay for lying to being delusional).20150927_092154

The dog is doing some new dog training classes that might help him to be a more respectable member of canine society or maybe at least I’ll stop feeling like a prisoner in my own home when somebody knocks on the door or rings the doorbell. I’ve developed a Pavlovian twinge whenever I hear a doorbell and I think that alone is a sign that we needed to try something new. So far the new classes seem like they might be on point as far as targeting the behaviors that we need to work on so cross your fingers for us.

So I could go on, but this post is getting preeeeeeetttttty long. Let’s call it a day and pay attention to our familes and stuff. But before I go, it’s your turn to dish. What’s going on with your life? Join in on the conversation in the comments section!