This year, with a new baby coming in just about 7 weeks, I'm feeling some extra pressure to get organized from the start and set ourselves up for a smooth school year.
We've spent this week getting ready for school, and I thought I'd share a few of the things we're doing to make mornings easier.
I try really hard to make the kids healthy and varied lunches. But I'll be honest, by December, we usually fall into the peanut butter and jelly rut (which works since my kids like peanut butter and jelly) and eventually we are scrambling in the mornings to even get those made.
Enter frozen ahead of time homemade uncrustable sandwiches! For the days I know are coming when I just don't have the time to make lunch or even get the kids to make their own sandwiches. Grab in the morning and they are thawed by lunch!
I picked up this Pampered Chef cut and seal tool a few years ago and it makes the perfect copycat uncrustable sandwiches using your own favorite ingredients.
We typically fill ours with natural peanut butter (we are not a peanut free school, Sunbutter is a great alternative if yours is) and strawberry jam. But you can use any sort of filling that freezes.
I spoon the filling into the middle of the bread to leave the edges clean and save those in the freezer to make french toast casserole of stuffing later. No waste!
After they are all assembled, I flash freeze and then throw them all in a freezer bag to grab as needed.
So now we have 4 weeks worth of sandwiches in our freezer for the days we just don't have time to make lunch!
Next thing we did to speed up the mornings, was prep some overnight oatmeal that they can quickly get out themselves in the morning for breakfast.
I bought some extra half pint canning jars to make sure we had 25 dedicated *just* to school day breakfasts.
There are a million recipes for overnight oats on pinterest. We've used some in the past, but mostly just wing it at this point with whatever we are in the mood for. We went simple this week, and I let the kids pick out some pie fillings. We've also done various fruits and honey, but this is a quick way that requires very little prep work. This week they picked strawberry, blueberry and pumpkin.
So here are the ingredients I gathered:
Coconut milk (you can use regular milk and even yogurt in addition to the milk, but we like to keep ours dairy free)
Chia seeds (especially helpful if you aren't using yogurt to help thicken it up)
Blueberry and Strawberry canned pie filling
Honey (to add to the pumpkin since it's not already sweetened)
I am kind of terrible at following recipes and even measuring. I mostly cook by adding things until it looks/tastes good. So all measurements are approximate.
I added about 1/3 cup of quick oats to each jar.
Then 1T of chia seeds.
Scooped a few spoonfuls of pie filling or pumpkin into each jar, and about a tablespoon of honey to the pumpkin jars.
Poured milk over the top leaving a little bit of head room to allow for shaking. (sometimes you have to wait for the milk to settle into the oats a bit and then add some more)
Put on lids, and shake! This is the kids favorite part, and with 25 jars at a time, I am happy to have some help. The pumpkin is thicker than the filling, so a few of those required stirring by spoon to mix completely.
And that's it! They last about a week in the fridge for most toppings, so we are set until next weekend on school morning breakfasts. If your kids prefer hot oatmeal, they can be heated in the microwave, but mine like it better cold, which means one less step for me!
Hoping we can keep this routine up for a while to make mornings run smoothly.
Next, I am brainstorming and researching ways to make getting dressed in the morning a little bit easier each day.