Posts Tagged ‘stonyfield’

Easy healthy lunch snacks for kids

I am the kind of person who loves to have something to count down to. Whether it’s a family vacation, Christmas, or Friday.

I LOVE advent activity calendars as a way to countdown to Christmas and have fun along the way. We’ve done a themed advent a couple of times. One year we did a different Christmas book every day. Another year we did 25 acts of service.

Family advent calendar activities ideas

But sometimes it’s nice to just put a bunch of different activities together to make a whole month of fun family activities leading up to Christmas.

Some of my favorites involve pajamas and hot chocolate. Or waking up my kids really early for a surprise to drive around and look at Christmas lights before they go off for the day. If you’re not an early riser you could do that in the evening before bed with warm slippers, robes and a thermos of hot chocolate and marshmallows. Bringing along Stonyfield Yogurt snack packs as a yummy breakfast to-go.

Family advent calendar activities ideas

These things are brand new and seriously a great snack that make the holiday season easier. Whether you’re hopping on a plane or hitting the road. It’s a healthy option that’s easy to take anywhere.

Family advent calendar activities ideas

Now take a look at this list and see if there are some you can add to your advent calendar activity list. You can do remarkable things with a bit of planning. Or you can ball up all of these ideas and pull a random one out of a Santa hat each day. The important thing to remember is you’re making time to do things together. So have fun with it.

Family advent calendar activities ideas

And please share if you have more ideas. I’ll add it to the list so it can grow year after year.

Advent Calendar Activity Ideas

  • Put up your Christmas tree
  • Have a game night
  • Do an act of service, this can be in the home, or for someone outside of your family.
  • Read a Christmas book
  • Watch a holiday movie
  • Stay up late
  • Set up a nativity
  • Wake up early and visit drive-through Christmas lights in PJs. Stonyfield Yogurt snack packs are the perfect breakfast to-go
  • Read a Christmas book.
  • Make a treat for someone else
  • Decorate your bedroom door for Christmas
  • Write a thank-you note
  • Make hot chocolate
  • Drive around and listen to Christmas music
  • Take holiday pictures
  • Collect toys to donate to charity
  • Have breakfast for dinner
  • Learn about another holiday in December
  • Color a Christmas coloring page
  • Go caroling
  • Write a letter to Santa
  • Do a random act of kindness
  • Go on a train ride (see if there’s a Polar Express near you!)
  • Have a movie night
  • Bundle up and go outside to look for shooting stars
  • Bake holiday cookies
  • Act out a Nativity
  • Have a pajama party
  • Eat a red and green dinner
  • Write and illustrate a holiday book
  • Make gifts for a teacher
  • Collect cans to donate to a food bank
  • Go ice skating
  • Make a snowman (be creative if you don’t have snow)
  • Make popcorn balls
  • Host a scavenger hunt
  • Have a Christmas music dance party
  • Wrap presents
  • Build a gingerbread house
  • Make paper snowflakes
  • Attend a local holiday celebration
  • Make a Christmas ornament
  • Have an indoor snowball fight (with paper balls)
  • Play a board game
  • Make reindeer handprints
  • Make holiday pancakes
  • Host a holiday “tea party”
  • Make a holiday craft
  • Camp in the living room
  • Visit Santa
  • Make a birdfeeder with pine cones, peanut butter and bird seeds
  • Make marshmallow snowmen
  • Craft a paper chain

Family advent calendar activities ideas

There are so many more family activity ideas for your advent calendar but hopefully this will get you going. For all those activities that get you going around town, make sure you bring along some Stonyfield Organic yogurt pouches or snack packs for yummy snacking while on the go.

I owe you an entire post on life with three kids. I feel like I’ve jumped on a high speed train and it hasn’t slowed down. But all of it in one word: Humbling.

My two older babies have been back in public school for nine weeks. NINE WEEKS? How is this possible? I’ve so enjoyed watching them grow but I miss them like crazy.

Remember how the first week of school was a bit dramatic? Well things have gotten better. Much better. My son is LOVING school. I seriously hit the jackpot with a kindergarten teacher. He loves her. She loves him. It’s a match made in heaven. It seriously seems like he’s a different person at school, which makes me a little envious. Though I’d rather he give the sass and attitude at home than in public, I’m not sure how or if homeschooling would work in our future.

Lil’ J is doing well. She’s reading more and more on her own versus asking me to read things to her. She always hops off the bus with a smile on her face and rattles on about her day. She talks about wanting to homeschool again now and then, but she’s still enjoying her time at her school.

It’s hard having them gone all day but I’ve enjoyed getting one on one time with Lee Lee and the quality time I get with the kids when they get home. Which leads me to what I want to share with you today…

Ways to surprise and delight your school kids when you’ve been missing them all day

Call me a dork, but sometimes when I’m missing them and feeling mopey, I’ll come up with a random little surprise for them that I hope will brighten their day. Here are some of my antics so far.

1. Lunch Notes

Write lunch notes to your kids

This is how it started. Little notes in their lunch boxes. I draw pictures with small words for my son, and write out notes for Lil’ J to read. She’s gotten so used to them that I don’t dare miss one.

2. Surprise Visits/ Lunch Dates

The one day I didn’t put one in her lunch I surprised her and brought one with me while I ate with her. I’ve also eaten with Big T once and my husband has gone to eat with him several times. Almost once a week when he has weekdays off.

3. After School Snack Bar

When they come home they’re starving. My son usually grabs and eats the rest of his lunch at the table. But sometimes, if I have extra time, I’ll make a little snack bar for them. One day I set up these new Stonyfield Organic Snack Packs out. I opened one of each flavor so they could dip and try them all and decide on their favorites. Lil’ J loves the strawberry graham cracker and Big T likes the chocolate pretzel. I’ve also done this with trail mix and other assorted things to get them to try new things. These snack packs are delicious and you can click here too see if they’re available at a store near you. January they’re adding new flavors and launching nationwide!

4. Movie Night

We’ve always had unofficial movie nights, but we just made it official and now take turns choosing the movie we’ll watch when it’s your week (we used to all vote on one). It cut down on arguing on a movie, and it’s something the kids have started to look forward to all week. We have popcorn, snacks, dim the lights. The whole nine yards. And everyone has to sit and watch together. No running off to watch your own thing.

5. Breakfast in Bed

Ok, so this isn’t something I’ve done on a school day yet because they have to wake up at 6am to catch the bus at 6:40, but it’s something I’ve done occasionally on weekends when I beat them out of bed. The idea is simple, set up a tray and bring them in their favorite breakfast to enjoy before starting the day. Although it’s early I think I’ll give this a try soon and see how they react.

Do you ever do things like this? Or does this seem strange? What other ideas do you have?

I may add more to this list as the year goes on and I try more things.My son told me he wants to do another poetry tea party so I think I’ll set the table for one that’s waiting for them when they get off the bus Friday.

This high speed train is just flying by and I wish I could pump the breaks. I may not be able to slow it down, but I can try my best to make it one fun ride.

Easy healthy lunch snacks for kids

“We are going to the park.”

Those six words were like magic when I was a little girl. When I was about 8 or 9 years old, my mom would take my sister Heather and I to the city park that had a giant (to me back then) pond, a long row of swings, and a jungle gym we would climb all over and hang upside down on.

My mom would sometimes bring leftover bread for us to feed to the ducks.

We’d run across the field, and roll in the grass. Play tag or hide and seek with new friends. Such a simple pleasure transcends generations.

playing at the park with kids Stonyfields

But like most things, we know better and want better for our children. When I take my kids to nearby parks I notice things that are different these days. Many have large sun canopies over the playgrounds if they aren’t shaded by trees. Signs read not to feed the ducks bread because apparently it’s bad for their guts. We never wore sunscreen, where now I happily lather it on my kids. And that glorious grass we loved to roll in was likely covered in potentially harmful pesticides and fertilizers. Not much has changed in that regard, but some people are working to fix that.

playing at the park with kids Stonyfields

Stonyfield is a brand we already know and love because of their delicious organic yogurts we enjoy. For more than 35 years their cows have grazed on organic fields. Now they have a new mission to bring the same standard to the playing fields.

playing at the park with kids Stonyfields

Over 26 million kids play on sports fields and most are sprayed with harmful pesticides. Stonyfield hopes to make all playing fields organic and free from those. Their new StonyFIELDS (see what they did there) initiative is to help communities across the United States take the necessary steps to convert to organic field maintenance and help give us resources to make changes in our own communities. Their website even gives tips to starting in our own backyards.

Our family is building our new home on a beautiful 2 acre lot that has more than an acre of greenbelt, home to lots of critters. Some we’ll happily welcome, like deer and squirrels. Others I’m sure we won’t be too fond of. Namely spiders and snakes. As much as I want to douse the entire place with all the bug killer, this is making me want to be more conservative in our approach. My husband and I are discussing getting a cat to help keep snakes at bay, and I’m reading essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus and cinnamon can repel spiders.

new home building organic pest control

Now I’m thinking we may even plant a little organic garden of our own. My dream is for us to spend a lot of time back there and I think part of that means getting used to some critters.

Head over to the StonyFIELDS PlayFree site for more information on how you can improve your play space or nominate your community to get a donation for one of your local playgrounds or parks.

Easy healthy lunch snacks for kids

This is part 2 of our first week of school you can read part 1 here

“You don’t want to miss the bus!”

Early bus ride kindergarten
 

It’s pretty much the one thought that motivates my son to wake up and get moving in the morning.

He’s not morning person. So getting him to go from eating his breakfast to out the door isn’t the easiest thing at 6:30am.

Easy healthy lunch snacks for kids
 

While Lil’ J can eat her breakfast on the go, my son prefers his Stonyfield yogurt in his lunch. But he didn’t get around to eating it his third day of school because lunchtime is when the drama went down in the cafeteria. Shortly after I left the meeting with the assistant principal and my daughter’s teachers I got a message from my son’s saying that he was very upset after someone popped a bag of chips in the lunchroom. I knew this was probably a sweet Kindergarten teacher’s way of saying “Holy crap your kid lost his mind!”

He was crying for a period of time, but finally calmed down by recess.

Interestingly enough on their kindergarten “get to know you” sheet, responding to the question “What is your child afraid of?” we wrote down loud noises, like fireworks or balloons popping. Almost as a joke. Little did I realize he’d be experiencing one of his worst fears the first week of school.

Now I know my son and I know he holds grudges. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to get him to trust the cafeteria again. When he got home we spoke to him about it and told him it wouldn’t happen again. It was an accident. And we bribed him like crazy. That’s right. We aren’t above bribes.

“Friday you’ll get a new toy!” And I crossed my fingers it would work.

The next day I got a call from the assistant principal, not about my daughter, but my son. He was refusing to go into the cafeteria. He was scared. She let him eat in her office that day but she told him this couldn’t be an everyday solution. I said that my husband or I would come up there with him to help the next day.

Friday my husband went up to the school and watched as our son got ready to go into the cafeteria. He said said Big T was fine at first. They walked in together and though he was a little nervous, Big T sat down and was smiling and having fun. Then once he pulled his little lunch out… BOOM! It went off again. And our poor little guy start crying hysterically and had to leave.

My husband said it sounds way louder than he’d imagine a bag of chips sounding… More like if someone blew up a paper bag and smashed it as loud as they could. He felt bad for our son–Especially since we had been telling him it wouldn’t happen again the last couple of days.

A cafeteria worker got him some headphones to help muffle out the sound and he finally agreed to go back in. My husband who started out like “he just needs to get over this!” said it was a sad, strange experience but we’d just need to try to have him eat lunch with noise canceling headphones so that he wouldn’t be scared to go in the cafeteria.

So I ordered some in his favorite color and cried a little, then put in a call to our pediatrician to see if something else could be going on. I ate lunch with him the next time and he was totally fine, and thankfully has been since then. He still wears his headphones during lunch and takes them off right after.

 

At the end of the week I sat and laughed with my husband over all the tears shed and how much time I’d spent worrying about our two big kids this week. Our baby was just along for the crazy ride… I thought she was going to be the difficult one this year and boy was I wrong.

So that’s the truth behind our first week of school photos. There were quite a few tears behind those smiles of mine. So if you’ve experienced similar, know you’re not alone.

I’ll keep you posted on how the kids are doing and what I learn about 504s (if you’re interested). But I’m still very optimistic about this school year. The only part that stays consistently difficult is waking up. I’m not trying to be overly ambitious making a hot breakfast for the kids (unless hot from the toaster counts). And I prep things like their outfits and lunches the night before but it’s still a challenge for me not being used to getting started so early not to mention with an infant.

Easy healthy lunch snacks for kids
 

I’m so thankful for brands like Stonyfield that keep busy parents in mind when they create products that are easy to pack or grab and go with, but also are still organic and delicious for kids. I’m also thankful for my kids’ caring teachers and administrators who message me updates about their day and help keep my anxiety at bay. And I’m very thankful for school busses. Even though I still have to wake up at a crazy hour to cat it, no one has to see me in my PJs at the drop off line.

Easy healthy lunch snacks for kids

My kids survived their first week of public school. But of course they did. It was I who nearly suffered a nervous breakdown. Though we stood outside and took some adorable first day of school photos, the truth of the matter is, it wasn’t all roses and sunshine.

Getting out the door is the first hurdle. We’re used to sleeping in past 8am and starting school leisurely during breakfast. The first week the kids got on the bus at 6:57am. Yea, you read that right. For a start time of 7:35. Talk about brutal. Then week three they changed it to a bus time of 6:39am!

Easy healthy lunch snacks for kids

I waited at the bus stop with them after the first day (we drove them) and more than once they were finishing their breakfast at the bus stop. We pack their lunches and get everything ready the night before but just getting moving in the morning is hard enough. We had to chase the bus down one day when it was a few minutes early. And another day Lil’ J was downing her Stonyfield Yogurt Kids Pouch a few seconds before she hopped on.

If you watched my Instagram stories last week you likely saw my tearful laments about dropping my kids off the first day. I wasn’t as worried about my son who was only slightly nervous about me leaving him all day at Kindergarten. I didn’t even cry. But when I went to my daughter’s third grade class and she sat down to a get to know you worksheet at her desk the mood shifted.

First day of school

She looked at the worksheet and asked me what it said. I read the first section to her asking about her hobbies and interests. Then she looked at me with her big bright eyes holding back tears telling me she didn’t know how to spell it.

My heart began to crumble in my chest. I told her to try her best to sound it out, or ask the teacher, though she likely wouldn’t penalize her for spelling. I glanced at the child next to her who looked to be writing paragraphs with perfect penmanship and I nearly lost it.

First day of school dyslexia

We took a few pictures then I did my best to kiss her quickly and run out of the room before I cried all over the kids. I barely made it out the door before I started sobbing. I had a chance to tell the teacher about her dyslexia and reading struggles but I wasn’t sure if I should have elaborated more, sent a detailed note, or whatever.

I doubted the entire situation and replayed those last few moments in my head over and over sobbing all the way home and the next six hours. I envisioned her crying at school then sitting alone at lunch. I worried she’d be called on to read something aloud and feel embarrassed. The last hour before we left I managed to compose myself and lift my spirits by lunging myself into advocating for her needs.

When I went to pick her up at school she skipped up to me and told me how amazing her day was. She loved her teacher and her class. School was fun! What a relief! Later that night I asked if she had any insecurities about school and she said she was worried she’d get on the wrong bus home.

That was it.

At meet the teacher night I ran into the assistant principal and asked her about setting up an IEP for my daughter for her dyslexia. She said they did 504s and we scheduled a meeting to talk about it on Wednesday.

I spent the next 48 hours researching the difference between 504s and IEPs, gathering Lil’ J’s previous work, confirming details with her tutor, and praying.

I was prepared to walk into the meeting with a list of demands including a written one that they begin a formal evaluation within 60 days and keep me informed on the progress. I was so nervous and the meeting went nothing like I expected.

The assistant principal greeted me politely and walked me to a conference room with the dyslexia tutor and my daughter’s teacher. I was able to tell them her backstory of how she’d been memorizing books in kinder, and it took me awhile to realize she wasn’t not trying… she was trying, very hard. But has a more serious issue. I told them about her tutor and where her reading level is currently. And I was able to tell them how smart she is, and how she loves learning, and school, and how her comprehension is incredible.

They all nodded in understanding and told me with my permission, they would start the evaluation the next day. There was no need for my formal letter or my list of demands. We’ll meet again after the evaluation is complete (very quickly) and talk about the recommendations for services and accommodations. The assistant principal even shared that her daughter is dyslexic and they had a similar experience in the beginning finding out about it.

I walked out of that meeting on cloud 9. Thrilled that it had gone so much better than I had envisioned and confidant that this year back in public school would be great for my kids.

Then, I got a message from my son’s teacher that changed my mind.

To be continued… Part 2 live tomorrow morning.

We had big smiles for our first week of school photos, but the truth of the matter is, I was hiding a mess of emotions and a bit of chaos. Big thanks to @Stonyfield, the makers of the easy and delicious on-the-go yogurts for kids for sponsoring my new post sharing how it really went went down the first week of school. This is part one. Grab some popcorn cause it’s a doozy.

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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