Beginning with breakfast

My babies are starting school next week.

I have a mixture of excitement and nervousness, especially as The Artist is starting kindergarten. She’s going to a new school, wearing a uniform – gah, all the mama emotions are coming out. She’s got her pencil bag, her crayons, and her composition notebook – and she’s got a very early school start time.

And, being the planner that I am, I have some quick and easy breakfasts that I wanted to share in case you, like me, will be tossing breakfast to kids in the backseat and eating in the car.

1) Breakfast sandwiches
I do food prep on Sunday afternoons, getting The Engineer’s lunches for the week together and, if need, planning breakfasts. Breakfast sandwiches can be made in advance, made to certain likes and dislikes, and eaten on the run. Plus, if I make them, they’re generally healthier than store-bought. I like using ciabatta bread and stuffing with scrambled eggs, deli ham or turkey, and cheese. And everyone gets a personalized breakfast. The Engineer doesn’t eat eggs in any form, so she gets meat and cheese. Kyle and The Artist don’t like any white cheese on their breakfast sandwiches (The Artist refers to it as “wedding cheese” for some reason), so they get cheddar, eggs, and ham. And I want veggies on mine, so I get that. Wrap in wax paper and plastic wrap and stick in the fridge. Microwave or put in the oven for a few minutes, and breakfast is ready. Side note – you can also make these as breakfast burritos if you have kids who are less messy than mine.

2) Smoothies
Kyle and I love smoothies, but the kids will not eat them. I have no idea why. This summer they lived on spinach popsicles (literally yogurt, spinach, and milk – that was it), but make it in a drink form, and they won’t touch it. However, it’s nice that Kyle and I can get some green veggies in our breakfast, even if the kids may not. And I make a variety of smoothies – with coconut milk, almond milk, frozen fruit, fresh fruit – but I generally always add spinach. We don’t eat too many veggies, so I try to sneak them in whenever I can.

3) The really-on-the-run
This is when you toss back a fruit, a squeeze-type food (Gogurt or GoGoSqueez, for example), and some type of carb – waffles, toast, nutriagrain bar, etc. Listen. Some days, it’s survival mode. As long as everyone gets fed, you win.

4) PB English muffins
I don’t get to send peanut butter with The Engineer at MDO, and as she is not a big protein eater, I like to give her peanut butter whenever I can. She also likes to dip things, so PB and apple, PB on toast, PB on a raisin bagel – whatever.

5) Some type of homemade bar
There are several options for this on Pinterest. We’ve used the energy bites and the oatmeal bars, but there’s also blueberry quinoa bars if you have any leftover blueberries from this summer.

Now that school is upon us – what are you fixing your kids in the morning? Give me some ideas!

1 thought on “Beginning with breakfast”


    I wrote this column years ago when my daughter first started college. This time of year parents need encouragement as schools of all kinds restart again.
    I wrote this column many years ago. It gets republished most years in our local paper. I can still feel it. Thanks for sharing your school year heart.

    Dear Joy,

    I can’t forget the very first time.

    Your first bus ride on that cool September day needed a steaming cup of brew that morning. Cheerful and slightly fearful, Mom, you, and I walked to the corner to wait for the bus. It’s my first recollection of the adventure, aloneness, excitement, and yes, fear of letting you go.

    Trusting God doesn’t get easier for a parent. Unbelief is a regular temptation for moms and dads. By Scripture and experience, we know “the world” is a dangerous playground with unfriendly participants. Fall’s bite that September day mirrored the pain of outwardly warm, happy parental faces. For you, when your hands let go of ours you bounced into a yellow limousine that would transport you to an adventurous fantasyland. We turned from the corner with our hearts full.

    Like green leaves picked from a plant to ensure greater growth, inevitable separations are filled with faith’s mysteries and challenges. Togetherness becomes singleness; experience turns into memories; innocence is overcome by vulnerability. Joy, faith, and peace are redefined and grow fresh sprouts.

    Parents know separation’s many faces for sure. But others have experienced its tension: A grandmother leaving visiting day at her grandson’s prison knows; a supervisor without a budget anymore understands when she has to let good employees go; a sailor’s girlfriend at dockside comprehends it; a frightened patient in the operating waiting room smarts from it.

    Most of all, our heavenly Father and Jesus His Son understand. When Christmas began, Father and Son had been together forever (John 1:1). Still, they voluntarily separated for a greater plan. They laid aside their rights and personal closeness to present eternal life to an uninterested but hurting universe.

    By proclamation and authentic experience, they remind us of God’s perfect understanding (Hebrews 4:15), precise timing (Galatians 4:4), purposeful plan (2 Corinthians 1:6-7), and patient care (1 Peter 5:6-7). Because Father and Son truly know and have experienced separation’s blessings and pain, we can, too.

    Now, God has again called us to live by faith in the One who truly understands. A yellow school bus on the corner has been replaced by corrugated boxes in a college parking lot. Each time a box is unloaded, our hearts are again offered the adventure and challenge of faith. The parking lot is holy ground for us, stained by faith’s tears, adorned with its hugs, and protected with its promises.

    Every semester you and I are reminded of the Father’s and Son’s personal identification with our separation, and their continuing provision as we hold tightly to them. In God’s limitless grace, He presents us with faith’s growing emotions and questions, including: How will we grow in Christlikeness? Where will it all lead? Who around us needs to hear how God has touched our aching hearts?

    Joy, let’s continue on in trust and praise to “…the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us…so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). And, come home as soon as you can!

    Love, Dad


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