Back to School Lunch Ideas, DIYs & Fun Fonts

Hey friends, we are back from our big road trip, unpacking, and doing loads and loads of laundry. It’s tax-free shopping weekend round here and school registration starts tomorrow morning, followed by a last minute school fundraiser/pool party we’re throwing on Tuesday.

Whew, you won’t find me in any stores this weekend, but to say I’m switching from vacation mode to mom mode would be an understatement. Thankfully folks have been super busy on Pinterest this week collecting some fabulous ideas for healthy school lunches and coincidentally saving me tons of time. I’m filing these away to use all year long and I’m encouraging you to do the same.

Y’all are going to love these!
The most popular back to school lunch ideas on Pinterest right now - plenty of healthy, sandwich alternatives. Many gluten-free and nut free as well, perfect for kids who have allergies or have friends who do.

Top 5 Pins of the Week:

**All of these ideas were repinned 500 times or more so you know their good pinning material.

Easy Lunchbox Snack Ideas from Family Fresh Cooking
Read the post –> Part of Project Lunchbox: The ultimate source of lunch inspiration
See the pin –> 100′s of Healthy Lunchbox Snack Ideas

Loads of Lunchbox Recipes from Peanut Blossom
Read the post –> 30 Days of Lunches, No Repeats!
Pin for Later –> Awesome list of a month’s worth of school lunch ideas

20 Non-Sandwich School Lunch Ideas from Keeley Mcguire 
Read the Post –> Lunches made easy
See the pin –> Lots of gluten free ideas for school lunches

Jello Fruit Snacks from Six Sisters Stuff
Read the post –> 3 ingredient Jello Fruit Snacks!
Pin for Later –> Homemade Jello Fruit Snacks

Free School Fonts from Over the Big Moon
Read the post –> Fabulously Free School Fonts
See the pin –> Fun School Themed Fonts

Since we didn’t get to have a Top Pins post last week, I rounded up the Top 10 performing pins of the last 2 weeks. Here’s the second set of awesome pins

Some of the best ideas on Pinterest this week: Princess Putty, Smart ideas for your wallet, DIYs and ways to play with your kids!

How to make Princess Putty from The Gunny Sack
Read the post –> Glittery Princess Putty
See the pin –> Princess Putty Party Favors

The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Your Purse from Cooking At Cafe D
Read the post –> Organize your gift cards once and for all
See the pin –> Such a clever idea to save space in your wallet!

15 Ways to Play With Cornstarch from Fun At Home With Kids
Read the post –> Creative Ways to Play with Cornstarch
See the pin –> Lots of fun ways to play with the kids

Build Your Own Sliding Barn Doors from My Repurposed Life
Read the post –> DIY Faux Barn Doors
See the pin –> Make Your Own Barn Doors!

No Sew Magnetic Blinds from The Charming Zebra
Read the post –> Ridiculously Easy, No Sew Blinds
See the pin –> Magnetic, Moveable No Sew Blinds

Our little Sunday Pinterest Party is still evolving, I’m thinking a linky party might be the best way for you to share your most popular pins of the week? What do you think? Need some more eye candy and easy pinning material from these posts? Let’s give it a go and see what happens.

It’s a Pinterest Party!

Sweet Style: Back to School Look

Back to School Outfits from Old Navy

Her: “You know what I want to do today Mom?”

Me: “No, baby what?”

Her: “I want to line up all my animals in my room, make my bed, play some fun music and put on a fashion show”

Me: {Heart Leaps} … “really?!, that was my favorite thing to do as a little girl too.”

KSW Style | Cute owls and Capris

We’re entering a new stage of childhood right now. One where hairstyle’s and cute clothes and whether your socks match are starting to play a more important role. Sweet has ALWAYS had great style and can make an outfit work like nobody’s business, but now she’s beginning to see the joy in it and I can’t wait to see where that takes her!

KSW Lookbook _ Details

We have plans to make a few clothes of our own next week, with my sweet friends from Kids Clothes Week but in the mean time I wanted to show you the first back to school outfit she’s picked out. I know, I know it’s only July … but I’m a cheapskate and I buy things when they are on sale and these awesome capris were on sale (still are on sale, plus 30% off till 7/17) and are so absolutely 100% her.

Cute, comfy, and practical — her beauty can shine through while still allowing her to be “one of the boys” and comfortable in her own skin.

Sweet’s Tips on rocking these capris:

- Have fun with your shoes! The length allows you to wear funky bright sneakers, or cute slip-ons or sandals.

- Punch it up with color! I like mixing the deep gray here, but I also like wearing these with pops of pink and bright citrus hues

- Anything goes! I’m wearing a long tee here, but I also picked up a striped cardi and fun sweater so I can wear these all year long

What Sweet’s wearing: Graphic Top  (last season) & Navy Capris - Old Navy / Cute Shoes – Crocs (scored on zulily.com)

Back to School Shopping

School shopping – One of my favorite past times since … well – ever! Still this year I’m a bit older and a bit wiser and little bit less eager to hand over my cash for things like paper, socks and shoes. Lucky for me, I like a great bargain and a good deal almost as much as I like shopping.

Here’s how I saved while stocking up this year:

1) I Cleaned out my kids closets.

Before we even thought about shopping this year we gave our closets a total overhaul. I handed down items that could move from one brother to another, held on to sentimental pieces I am hoping to turn in to a handmade quilt and washed and sorted the rest to take to local consignment shops.

I made almost $100 with a trunk full of too small clothes and still had 2 large boxes to sell elsewhere or donate to kids who really need them.

Amount Saved – Over $100

2) I Bought Used.

With my cash from cleaning out the closets in hand, I scoured the same consignment shop racking up like-new polos for school, swim shorts my boys can wear here in Texas year round and nice jeans for my daughter I never would have paid full price for. By purchasing the same day I sold, my items were tax free too – saving me another 8%!

Amount Saved – Approx. $130

3) I Only Buy Kids Stuff on Sale.

I’m not sure I have ever paid full price for an item for my kids. Seriously, some times they ask more than I am willing to pay for my own clothes! It kills me to think of paying so much for such a tiny piece of fabric. I buy clothes on sale, during buy one, get one 1/2 off or other promos, with reward points and on store credit as often as I can. Military appreciation days and shopping at the Base or Post Exchange for brand name shoes are a personal money saving favorite of mine. I scored the Nikes in this photo for $25 from our local PX, that’s the most I ever pay for my kids shoes. The fun purple sneakers for my daughter were $17 on sale at Target last week.

Amount Saved – $200

4) Stock Up All Year

No one says you have to buy all your back to school items in July & August. Look for great deals in stores and online all year long. Even scour flea markets and thrift shops for barely used back packs and binders and things. I bought my daughter’s Hello Kitty lunch box, exactly as pictured 2 for $10 last year on sale at my local grocery store. My youngest got the Spider Man lunch bag I pack for us when we’re on the go.

I found the cutest colored socks ever, almost like the ones in this photo on sale at Walmart yesterday for $4. She has enough rainbow socks for 2 weeks of school for less than $10. This may not sound like a huge saving, but this little one is all about the crazy colored socks and the smile on her face when she saw them made them worth the purchase. If your little girl likes cool socks too, you can often find them in the $1 aisle at Target.

Amount Saved – $50

5) Jump on a Great Deal When You See It

I know I just told you I only buy things for my kids when they are on sale … but with this purchase, I didnt have to wait. We started looking for a nice, quality back pack for my son months ago. I wanted something built to last and something he wouldn’t grow tired of or be embarrassed of later. I thought I had settled on a sturdy lifetime guarantee Lands End backpack, but when we found this option at Target for just $10 and it was solidly constructed – I knew we had our winner. We plan to jazz it up a bit for him with some angry bird keychains on the zippers.

This step also covers all the incredible back to school supplies sales. Crayons for $.25 – check, Markers for $.50, check, folders for $.05, you betcha! School supply shopping is truly my favorite part of this season. We stock up our homeschool and writing center too. This year, I even grabbed these great deals on tax free weekend so I saved even more!

Amount Saved – $35

6) Take advantage of your rewards

I picked up both the dresses you see here thanks to gift cards from Target and reward points from Old Navy for less than $10. You can still find the Purple here and Blue Polka Dots here.

Amount Saved – $15 (this month)

So there you have it, that’s how I saved more than I spent on back to school shopping — we saved more than $525 this year!!

Have a tip of your own? Share it with us in the comments section so we can all save a little more. We’ll thank you big time come holiday shopping season.

Don’t miss the rest of our Back to School posts this year, join me on Facebook or get plenty of lunch ideas sent straight to your inbox.

Caramel Apple Breakfast Bars

Whole Wheat Applesauce Cake

adapted from recipe by Trainer Momma

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup caramel bits
3/4 cup chopped peacans
1 cup mini marshmallows

Mix it all together and pour it in a 9×13 pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes (or until the knife comes out clean)

The original recipe was for Whole Wheat Applesauce cake. It appeared in my reader one morning and I jumped up to make a batch right away. I was stoked for something wholesome and simple and new to feed the kids in the morning, but alals I was out of chocolate chips. I ended up creating my own very different version and noticed later it had all the ingredients of a caramel apple. I’d love to try using bits of real or dried apple in this as well.

You can add just about anything to this mix to make your own version of breakfast bars – we’ve since tried peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, raisins, and craisins. The perfect accompaniment to a berry smoothie in the morning and they held up so well I think I’ll make some to take with us on a VERY LONG road trip I’ll be telling you about real soon.

The base of this recipe was so tasty I’m going to try making some banana bread out of it too.

The kids & I baked this together so it is a very kid-friendly recipe and just in time for back to school. Oh yeah & speaking of back to school, I’m guest posting over at Simply Modern Mom today with a ton of ideas on what to pack for school lunches. I hope you’ll head over and check it out, it’s my first guest post and I’m a  little nervous. :)