Thursday, June 20, 2013

Operation slash your snacks

 photo operationsnackcontrol2002.jpg

Around here, we snack.  And by we, I mean the little people.  We wake up wanting a snack.  We snack before breakfast.  After breakfast.  Before lunch.  After lunch.  Before we even get up from the supper table, somebody's asking if they can have a snack.  It's crazy.  I'm crazy.  I'm tired of answering the ongoing question, "Can I have a snack?!"

My dear, sweet little sister called me the other day with a fantastic idea.  She had seen the idea on Lemonade Makin' Mama and thought it would be great for this snack-crazed family.  And I couldn't agree more.

Welcome to 'Operation slash your Snacks'. 

We now have what we call our snack basket. 

 photo operationsnackcontrol2003.jpg

I took Sasha's idea and fixed it to fit this family. Thank you Sasha.  And Kimberly.

First of all, snacks before breakfast is over.  I mean we all know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? 

So, I fix a basket of snacks at the beginning of each week.  Enough to last the kiddos for that week.  Every morning after breakfast, I set the snack basket out on the counter.  The kids are welcome to get a snack at any time during the day.  The best part is they know they do not have to ask me!   Even though the snacks are to last a week, they can chose to eat them all in 2 days or they can make them last the week.  Either way, when the basket is empty, the snacks are gone until the next week. I also like that because even at 6 and almost 4 they are learning to practice self-control and make their own decisions.  And I think we parents try to dictate our children's EVERY move and it's not a good thing.  They grow up to never be able to make a good decision on their own, therefore they follow.  Good or bad.  They follow.  Okay, enough of that rant.

You can see they are not real adventureous eaters.  Although they are venturing out a tad.  When I originally went shopping for our snack basket, I grabbed a buggy full of pre-packaged snacks.  But before I could get out of there, I had had a big change of heart and emptied pretty much all of it.  I am totally into the money saving right now, so I just couldn't justify it.  For instance, instead of the already made Rice Krispies I bought the stuff to make them and made about 4 times as many for the same price. I individually wrapped each square in that cuss-ed plastic wrap and put enough for the week in the basket and still had several left over for the next week.  They may not keep that well, and if not, I'll just make a smaller batch next time.  Either way, it's so much cheaper.   A fav right now is Jello pudding.  But it can get expensive.  Especially when Daddy eats 2 or 3 a day as well. So instead of buying them already packaged, I mixed up a big bowl of pudding and found some super handy little cups to put it in.  You'll see those later in the post.  I bought some little snack bags and bagged grapes and Whales. There's not many things that frustrate me more than an open box of Whales or chips or crackers strewn all over the house.  Not to mention the waste.  Remember, we're saving money, people.  Since they are bagged individually, the kids can put them back in the basket or frig if they don't want them all and finish them later. 

Of course this took some time in the kitchen, and I'll tell you.  I'm not a fan of being in the kitchen that much {although I'm coming around and starting to enjoy it more}, but I AM a fan of organization and less chaos.  Anything to lessen stress and chaos is good.  So it's worth it to me.

And another bonus is if you like to be on a budget, this is a good way to tangibly see where the money is going and how much is being spent/eaten in a weeks time.  It's like how Dave Ramsey says to use cash instead of the card as much as possible.  There's just something about being able to 'see' the money/food disappear.

 photo operationsnackcontrol005.jpg

Jell-O is a perfect summer snack that is cheap and easy.  Two of my favorite words!  So I made up several boxes and put it in a pan and cut it into squares.  Of course they need a little help with this one.

 photo operationsnackcontrol008.jpg

Here are the cutest, handiest little things ever.

 photo operationsnackcontrol007.jpg

They are dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe.  And BPA free.  I love it!  We can re-use them over and over.  And I was very surprised at how sturdy they actually were.  You just have to make sure the lid is snapped down tightly.

As for drinks...oh my goodness.  We could drink a pond.  Daily.  These children around here are spoiled.  So water is not at the top of their list.  They prefer Capri Suns, sweet tea, kool-aid, Gatorade and the little girly could drink a milk cow dry.  But most of those are not necessarily healthy and are expensive.

I buy V8 Capri Suns and the smaller size Gatorades.  I make sweet tea daily because there is a much bigger love that lives here that drinks a gallon/day.  And the kiddos think it's the bomb dot com.  I think I know why...I put 1 1/2 cups of sugar in each gallon.  Yikes!!! But that's how they like it and that's why we have to have some boundaries.   I don't mind the Gatorade so much but truthfully it's full of sugar as well.  So, they are allowed to have one Gatorade or one Capri Sun per day.  Once that has been drank, they can have a glass of tea.  After that, it's water!  No exceptions!  {And for the little milk drinker, well, she can have several cups of that a day.}  This way I don't have little heads hanging in the frig ALL DAY LONG and I'm not finding empty, flat Capri Suns under every chair, bed, sitting on the counters, out at the swing set, on the trampoline, in the middle of the backyard, etc....  This also applies to friends.  Cause let me tell you, a group of those little devils can do away with several boxes of Capri Suns and Gatorades! 

The snacks come out after breakfast and are put back in the cabinet after 4 p.m.  As I mentioned before, my kids are not really big eaters.  So they have to have some limits.  And if I see that we are not eating our 'food', the snacks will be cut back. 

I don't want to be the snack Natzi and I want the kids to enjoy this.   I want them to have some freedom.  I mean it is summer and we should cut loose a little more during the summer.  I think.   But Mama still needs some organization and boundaries.  I just think that's with any part of life.  Boundaries are good.  It keeps us sane.  It helps us stay on track.  On budget.

 photo operationsnackcontrol2001.jpg

With most anything around here there are exceptions.   Especially when it comes to homemade ice cream!

Hope y'all are enjoying the sweet {hot} summertime!



Mamy K said...

Wonderful! Just wonderful! So glad I found this for yall! As soon as I saw the picutre of Sasha's snack basket I immediately said "Beth"! Hope the kiddos are excited and will stick with it! Love yall!

Nancy, Jeremy, and Jack said...

I have a snack basket similar to this in our pantry but I am going to look for those cool cups with lids. I agree with you on the drinks!

Anonymous said...

I love this!! This just may work for my little snackers!! I love the cups, too!!