Monday, February 6, 2023

Ask Me Anything: Morning Routines, Breakfast, Lunch, and Snacks, Oh My! and Small But Mighty Marriage Advice

Lots of curious inquisitions about our morning routines and what we eat during the day, and I am here for it!

Tana asks - How do you do breakfast at your house? and Berna asks - What school week breakfast ideas do you have for the kids?

Hi Tana and Berna! We are very lucky that our children's Pre-8th grade Catholic school qualifies for the city's free lunch program. This means that each student who attends the school does not have to qualify individually, everyone is eligible. So we take advantage of this perk, and our children eat the free lunch AND free breakfast each day. They each pack two snacks a day in their lunch box (one fruit and one other snack) and that's all we have to think about until they get home from school.

The high schoolers (we have three this year) are not part of the free lunch program anymore, and lunch at their high school is very expensive so they pack a lunch just about everyday. If they want to treat themselves to some chicken tenders and fries from the cafe, then they can use their own money for that. One of our boys always packs a ham and lettuce sandwich with snacks, one boy packs leftovers from dinner, and our girl packs a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with snacks most days. They typically grab a protein shake for breakfast and drink it as they run out the door. Their favorite protein shakes are these and these.

On the weekends or in the summer, we make a big breakfast once or twice a week, like the sweet bread french toast and bacon we made this past weekend:

The other 5-6 mornings a week, they are eating cereal or "cookie oatmeal" which is just oatmeal with some peanut butter and brown sugar and milk mixed in.  The teens will cook themselves eggs a lot, as they are always trying to eat lots of protein.

Theresa C asked - Whenever you take pictures of food, I can't help but notice your Fiestaware. Do you collect certain colors? Do you ever add to your collection?

Hi Theresa! That red plate up there is Fiestaware, good eye. We have four different color plates (three of each) in red, orange, yellow and teal. You can see the other colors in this old dinner picture below. The little boys were using plastic plates with dividers that they liked. I keep thinking we will get rid of the plastic plates and just let everyone use the breakable plates but I haven't brought myself to do it yet!

Which leads me to a question Elisabeth asked - If you could give a new married couple just one sentence of advice, what would you say?

Elisabeth, I would say that they should buy a king sized bed (my number one marriage advice!) and don't bother registering for china.  Just get some good everyday plates and you won't feel guilt everytime you look at that expensive china you never use.  I bet you were expecting some deep answer and feel I owe you a refund ;)

Back to the food questions...

From Berna - Do your kids eat snacks when they get home from school?

So Phil does the afternoon pickup of kids from school (I do the morning drop off) and I get home about an hour after them so I'm not involved in snack time. He gives them a small snack, usually a fruit and a protein like apple slices with peanut butter or grapes and a cheese stick. We eat dinner pretty early, between 5-5:30, so they don't need much.

Kate asks - What do you and Phil pack to eat at work everyday?

Hi Kate! On Sundays I make a big pot of soup - this week is Chicken Tortilla Soup and I made the corn tortilla strips in the air fryer to be healthy.

I made it in the crockpot and threw the bone broth in there frozen.

Air fryer tortilla strips

We divide the soup into ten glass bowls with lids and each grab one of those in the mornings plus a greek yogurt. We keep kashi peanut butter cereal in our offices to add to the yogurt. Phil makes coffee and a breakfast smoothie for us each morning, that we take to go. The smoothie has protein powder (or greek yogurt), almond milk, fruit, collagen, and chia seeds. So I drink my coffee at work at 8:00, then my protein shake around 9:30. I eat my soup for lunch about 1:00 (I walk on my lunch break) and have the yogurt as an afternoon snack around 3:00 before I head home at 4:00.

Finally from Tana - Do you have tips to get out of the house on time?


We have the elementary school kids lay out their uniforms the night before (including socks, underwear, belt), pack their snacks and fill their water bottles. In the morning, they just have to get dressed and grab their backpack which is ready to go.

The teens are on their own, but they have learned from their younger years and they pack their lunches the night before, pack their sports bags, charge their laptops, and get their backpack ready to go. They do laundry at night if they have a game day uniform they need, etc.

Phil wakes up and will make the smoothies and coffee, then help the little guys get dressed and wake up the teens. He leaves first by 7:00 at the latest and takes whatever teen is ready to go with him to the high school where he works. I need to leave at 7:15 so I start yelling reminding the youngest boys to get in the van at 7:05 which takes them ten minutes usually). I drop them off at 7:30 and drive to work for 8:00. The teen driver takes another car to the high school with whomever else needs to go with him (that didn't ride with Phil) about 7:25.

The doggy goes out to pee and then gets the place to herself :)


  1. When we were about to buy a king sized bed (we started with a full, transitioned to a queen and then were ready for a king), a woman overhead us talking in the furniture store.
    Is this your first king-sized bed? she asked.
    When we said yes, she told us: “this is going to change your life” and it has. I LOVE having a king. We both like to sprawl as we sleep. Anytime we have to sleep in a full (and even a queen to some extent) I feel claustrophobic. So I do NOT feel cheated by your response and agree a king-sized bed is wonderful!

    1. Yay for king size beds! We got ours when I was pregnant with #6 and I was like "Where have you been all my life?"

  2. The free breakfast and lunch at school is MIND BLOWING. What a gift that is. The time and energy I spent making the kids breakfast and packing their lunches before school daily is staggering. That would've made life so much simpler. Older kids started packing their lunches eventually, but some people struggled with morning stuff - especially kids with band, so I often pitched in (or babied) them.

    I'm jealous of the kind bed advice. I LOVE sleeping in a king at a hotel. We never dreamt that we would move out of our first home and a kind would not have fit in our bedroom. My mom gave each of us a generous gift with the money she received when her mom passed away. Tank was a baby at the time. She bought us a bedroom set, because we had no headboard - just the basic frame. I helped pick it out and I love it, but it is a queen. It has sentimental value now and I am so crazy about my quilt that I bought a second one and I have it in a box (in part because the cleaners sort of ruined the original one and I decided to get a second one to use someday). We could use a new mattress, but every time I think about getting one - I think about getting a king size and changing everything and it makes my head spin.

    1. Such a gift!! I think needing a new mattress is a great chance to upgrade. You could move the queen bedroom set to another room? You wouldn't even need a whole king set for your room at steps...


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