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Jo Mo Rob MTEver since I was a little girl, back-to-school time has been my favorite time of year.

Between shopping for new clothes to loading up on school supplies, I simply could not wait for the first few days of fall to arrive and signal that it was time to gear up once again.

My mom and I would make our lists, head out to the mall, and engage in a little retail therapy. We also honored the tradition of fighting in every dressing room regarding the kinds of clothes I wanted to get versus what she felt was appropriate for me to wear. FYI, she typically won these battles.

Later that same day, I would giddily unwrap all of our purchases as soon as we got home, eyeing my new stuff like some treasure chest full of gold and put my new things away in my room.

As a mom, I still love this time of year and it is even more fun being on the mom side of things. In addition to shopping for clothes and supplies for my three kids, I love the consistent rhythm that school days seem to take on their own: snacks and homework at the kitchen table after school while I pack lunches for the next day, everyone at the table for dinner, showers and that fresh smell of clean kids in their pj's (LOL) and clothes laid out the night before. A story or two before bed, a final tuck in, and at long last, lights out.

Until it's time to do it all again the next day.

Of all these daily school duties, there's one that gives me a surprising sense of satisfaction each and every single day: packing the kids' lunches and snacks.

Since my three kids are still young enough where they bring something for snack time and lunch, I love finding fun, new things that they'll enjoy. Of course, since it's always more fun to torture mom by not liking the same things, this often requires a bit of creativity. I am always looking for new ways to jazz up sandwiches (one has to have crusts removed, another prefers wraps, and one will only eat the heel of the in, no sandwich, just bread).

As you can imagine, it's pretty challenging to make a "sandwich" with any staying power when you are forbidden from putting anything on or between the bread per se. That often leads me to packing things like cheese sticks, fruit salads, or things like hummus and veggie sticks to make sure each of them has something satisfying to keep them going throughout the day.

For added fun, I like to add Fruitit Roll-Ups®, yellow raisins, Mott's® Fruit Flavored Snacks, or a bag of pretzels. And what's better than the occasional note from mom, tucked under a napkin, wishing them a great day at school with a big "XO" at the end? One of my kids actually keeps these notes in a shoebox in his room, which is reason enough for me to keep writing them.

When I clean out their lunch bags at the end of the day and I can see what they've eaten (or left behind), it reminds me once again just how much a favorite snack or lunch lets them know that I am thinking of them. It's like a big hug from mom, right in the middle of the school day.

Until next time,


Womensforum is proud to have this week's blog sponsored by Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks  who know a thing or two about packing love and delicious fruit juice into every one of their snacks. Pick some up today and pack a yummy surprise in your child's lunch box!


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