Summer Camp Lunches Made Easy

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Mott’s®. The opinions and text are all mine. #MottsMovieBonus

Summer Camp Lunches Made Easy

My boys have one week left of school, just one more week!  They are looking forward to summer and frankly, so am I.  I may be singing a different tune come August but for now I welcome the more relaxed schedule for them.  My schedule however, doesn’t change all that much because it’s summer time so I have to adjust a bit to keep things working smoothly here at Casa Gonzalez.
One big difference that happens in the summer is that both my boys will be taking their lunches to camp daily.  My oldest (12 years old) usually eats at the cafeteria during the school year, but once he enters camp, he will be taking his lunch with him daily.  My youngest (5 years old) always takes either lunch or a snack to school.  He is the kind that if he doesn’t like his school lunch, he won’t eat until I pick him up, so a heavy snack is necessary.  Since I am already thinking of different lunches to send my boys off with, I have partnered with one of my favorite snack companies – Mott’s® – to bring you summer lunch ideas for kids!

Summer Camp Lunches Made Easy

The Mott’s Apple Juices are a treat for my boys.  I want them to make smart snacking choices and there is no better time to learn than when you are young.

Summer Camp Lunches Made Easy

There are a lot of options for lunch or snacks that are fun and nutritious.  My kids like crunchy things, (I think we all do) so I like to add a few veggie chips to their lunches.  Mott’s Apple Juice and Mott’s Applesauce are a staple in their lunch boxes.  I usually buy them the original flavors but there are applesauces in various other choices, such as Mott’s Apple Cherry which is a new flavor.  Also, fresh fruit, cheese sticks, yogurt… so many options so that they don’t get bored with lunch.

Summer Camp Lunches Made Easy

And the trick to lunches made easy?  Having a stocked refrigerator.  I tell my boys which are their snacks for home and which are for camp.  They know that the deli drawer is my camp stash.

Summer Camp Lunches Made Easy

Most of the time, their lunches look like this.  That little sandwich that you saw in the picture above, is a Cuban Medianoche.  Do not fear, I will translate.  Medianoche means midnight and these sandwiches became popular in Cuba many moons ago when they were traditionally served as a midnight snack in restaurants.  This is an adaptation on the sandwich because they are made with fresh roasted pork and are finished off on a press…yum!

But we are keeping it easy over here – it’s the summer after all!  I just make the sandwiches with a sweet Hawaiian bread roll, a slather of mayo or mustard (or both), roasted ham, roasted pork (or even turkey, if you want), swiss cheese and a pickle.  Voila – Mini Medianoche!

Summer Camp Lunches Made Easy

I want to teach my boys about eating smart now that they are little.  My boys don’t like every vegetable or fruit, so I just find the ones that they like and I alternate them in their lunch bag.  The most important tip is definitely to keep your pantry or refrigerator stocked and organized so that in the morning, before the coffee has taken effect, you can quickly throw together a delicious summer lunch for the kids.  A finishing touch is a little note that I add to my 5 year old’s bag.  If I did this to my 12-year-old, there would be consequences to pay.  :-)

Summer Camp Lunches Made Easy

One more thing!  There is a super cool offer that you can take advantage of – I did!  I found all of the products in this post, sans the lunch bag :-) , at Walmart and I was sure to keep my receipt.  Why?  Check out the offer details below:

Summer Camp Lunches Made Easy

You will notice that the products have The Secret Life of Pets characters on packaging.

  • Purchase any 3 Mott’s Juices or Applesauces to Receive a Free Childs Ticket (Mott’s on pack offer) for The Secret Life of Pets
  • Purchase any 5 Mott’s Juices or Applesauces to Receive an additional $8 movie voucher  Note: Offers can be stacked – Purchases of 5 are eligible to receive the Free Childs Ticket as well as the $8 movie voucher

It’s really easy to do…below is a screenshot of when I did it.

Summer Camp Lunches Made Easy

If you want more details of either promotion, you can click here :

I hope you all enjoy your summer.  The school year went by so quickly and I think summer will too.  Enjoy every minute of it, snack wisely and stay safe!


Back to School Organization Tips

Back to School Organization Tips


My boys will be going back to school in 14 days and 3 hours but hey, who’s counting?!  As soon as the school year starts once more, I jump for joy start missing those sweet boys!  All kidding aside, the summer is fun but the school routine is a welcome change in our home.  Here are my favorite tips to get organized for getting back to “school mode”.


1.  Restore the sleep routine.

Yes, all those weeks of saying “ah, let them stay up.  There’s no school.” can catch up to you.  It’s important that a week or two before school starts, we start to cut back on bed time.  They should start to slowly adjust back to their sleep schedule prior to summer.

Back to School Organization Tips


2.  Create a space for homework.

Clearing out their desks or designating a spot in the home to do homework can be important in them being able to focus once again on school and their homework responsibilities.

Back to School Organization Tips


My son’s desk has a few items including a desk mat to protect his desk, sharpened colored pencils (he loves to draw) and a diffuser.  I use the diffuser to either diffuse oils that help him focus while doing homework or lavender to help him rest at night.  If the boys have colds or congestion, I use oils that help with that.  We all have diffusers in our rooms but I was glad to find this black one for him because it was a perfect match for his room and as he would say “it’s manly”.


Back to School Organization Tips


3.  Buy school supplies.

Many school websites already have a general list available detailing what the kids will need for the school year.  I like purchasing supplies as soon as I can so that I can beat the rush at the stores right before school.  I also like to stock-up his desk with new supplies so that he is excited to work at home as well.  Freshly sharpened pencils are waiting to be used in his drawer.

Back to School Organization Tips


4.  Create a launch/landing pad.

Depending on the age of the child, they will need a spot to place their book bag and possibly a wallet or keys.  I found this little shelf at Target last year (from the Young House Love line for Target) and I spray painted it to match his room.  For now, it only holds his book bag.  It’s important to have a launch/landing pad so that mornings are smoother and important items don’t get lost.  This will help them develop this important habit for the future.

Back to School Organization Tips

5.  Organize clothing and closet.

My boys use uniforms for school so I just removed last years uniforms and replaced them with the new ones.  This is a great time to go through their clothing and get rid of items that no longer fit.  That way you don’t have to hear in the morning “Mom, I don’t have jeans!  Nothing fits!”.

Back to School Organization Tips


Kids (and parents) can be anxious before school starts and having things in order can make us all feel more calm and ready to tackle the next school year! What is your favorite tip to avoid the back-to-school madness?

~ This posts contains links, a few are affiliate links.  Affiliate links don’t affect what you pay for the item, so you don’t pay more by purchasing through the link.   As always, thank you for your support of Graceful Order!

Kid Zone – Powered by kids and Loved by parents

Kid Zone - Powered by kids and Loved by parents  

My boys watch their favorite shows on a daily basis. They each have their shows and sometimes (especially in the mornings) they both sit down to watch cartoons together. My oldest doesn’t mind watching his little brother’s cartoons, relaxing on the couch while his dad and I sip away at our coffee.

Kid Zone - Powered by kids and Loved by parents

We have had XFINITY as our cable provider for years and we love that there are so many channels available to choose from. However, we used to worry about the kids stumbling upon programming that wasn’t designated for their age. They have to switch through so many channels to get to the one they are looking for, that it’s a valid concern for a parent to want to keep kids from seeing a program or even a commercial that is not appropriate for their age. The solution for us is kids zone brought to you by XFINITY! kids zone is a safe and secure destination for kids (2-12) to independently browse and watch their favorite movies and shows which have already been branded age appropriate by Common Sense Media.

Kid Zone - Powered by kids and Loved by parents

Kids can easily explore their favorite live TV, popular shows, movies, on-demand and DVR library, all in one place. I love how it is personalized and simple and how we can filter by age and search by theme or genre. kids zone on the X1 operating system by XFINITY offers more content for kids to choose from, with over 6,500 kids shows and movies!

Kid Zone - Powered by kids and Loved by parents

Now we have peace of mind with the kids zone on the X1 operating system by XFINITY because our kids can easily and safely navigate age-appropriate shows without supervision. And my husband and I can enjoy 30 minutes each morning of uninterrupted conversation – if you have little ones you know that is priceless!

Kid Zone - Powered by kids and Loved by parents

Organizing Kids Bookshelves

My 9-year olds bookshelf.  He uses it for books but I also use the bottom shelves for toy storage.  I don’t know if you can identify but no matter how many times I fix this bookshelf it ends up looking like this:


He has had those orange and brown baskets for years and they started to show it.  When he was smaller they served their purpose but now he needed stronger baskets.  I had to find baskets that wouldn’t warp and could handle being pulled out by kids who are not always the most gentle on their toys.  I also needed larger baskets to house the countless cards that my son collects.

Target saved the day.  Again.  I found these bins with the basket weave design which are VERY sturdy and I chose the putty color.  I also purchased some white ones that I will use for some bathroom storage.  I will post on that later.  They had the bins in white, putty and brown.  The baskets also nest but that wasn’t my intention with these.


I used one of the small baskets to hold magformers.  I love that toy!  They are like legos with magnets and kids (and adults) don’t seem to outgrow them.  I purchased them like 4 years ago on


Next, I used this sandwich container to hold one of his little card games and its pieces.  That’s the thing with kids toys…ALL THE SMALL PIECES!  They end up scattered everywhere especially when they don’t have a home.


This container was $1. and not the best quality for lunch but perfect for this little game.


There were cards that he only had a small set of.  I used small bags to put those in and I added a label.  I placed the bags inside one of the tins seen in the pictures below.


The second small bin is only for card games.  It holds tins that are full of cards and the sandwich container.


The large bin was a good size to organize all the miscellaneous small toys.  I used boxes on the inside to keep them in place.  If I used a separate small basket for each type of toy I would have a wall of baskets and bins.  Not an option.  This bin was large enough to fit the smaller items and his DS perfectly.


The finished product.


The bins fit nicely in the shelves.


Notice the labels on the shelves.  My son did that on his own with my label maker.  Should I be proud or scared that he is doing this?  At least it’s not color-coordinated.  Now I am giving myself ideas. :-)


Of course we all know that this much order wont last in a kids room but creating systems for everything makes the clean-up easier.  If it’s easier, then the kids are more likely to do it.  If not, at least it’s easier for mom.