school year cheat sheet

homemade back-to-school lunchbox notes

Aug 15, 2011 // 11 comments // Categories: writing // Tags: , , , , , , , , .

homemade lunchbox love notes

I have been on a major cleaning kick lately, trying to get our family (and home) ready for the new school year. I want to begin on the right foot so that we’re organized, efficient, and sane.

When I hit our work room, I noticed that one major piece of overflowing madness was our Card Box. So today, we sat outside in the end-of-summer cool and created homemade back-to-school lunchbox notes, using recycled greeting cards.

It was easy, it was fun, and now we’re stocked and ready to go for the first few months of school!

And for the very first time in lunchbox note history, Maddy, Owen, and Cora helped to create the little notes, which will add a pretty cool twist to their lunchtime surprises. I think it will give the kids an even bigger smile to receive a note from a brother or sister (or Brady!) rather than regular ole me . . .

Not to mention that this morning’s activity allowed us to sneak in some easy reading and writing practice and some fine motor skill work, and it got our creative juices flowin’!

Here’s the skinny:

  • Homemade Back-to-School Lunchbox Notes: We used recycled greeting cards for these, so the first step was dumping out the Card Box and cutting them down to lunchbox-note size.


homemade back-to-school lunchbox notes

First we dumped our Card Box out on the floor. . .

I found a small square card, about 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ to use as our template.  Sometimes we held it and cut around it, but most times, I encouraged the kids to find the best part of the card and trace the square and then cut.

Our goal was to find the most eye-catching, dazzling, funny, or beautiful parts of cards that were blank on the back and use that part–that way, we could write little messages on the blank side.


homemade back-to-school lunchbox notes. . . and then we cut them down to lunchbox-note size.

homemade back-to-school lunchbox notes

Then I printed out some sample messages to use as ideas; I wanted each Maddy, Owen, and Cora to have something to look at if they needed inspiration.

I modified the Happy Day Note templates that we used when we surprised our neighbors on that crazy-cranky day we had last year. But this time, I made one set of notes with fancy font and the other set with very simple fonts so that Cora and Owen could more easily read them (or copy them).

On the last page of the template, I noted all of the messages so they were on one easy-to-read list.

The Happy, Homemade Lunchbox Notes are here to download if you’d like. (Please remember that if you want it to print normally, it’s best to first download the document and print from your computer instead of printing from the web. Also, you should have the latest pdf-reader on your computer, and you can get that for free on Adobe.)


homemade back-to-school lunchbox notesMaddy works on her lunchbox note.

homemade back-to-school lunchbox notes

And Owen checks out the notes on the drying rack.

homemade back-to-school lunchbox notes

I thought that Maddy, Owen, and Cora might want to decorate some of the Happy Homemade Lunchbox Notes, but they really weren’t feeling it. They were totally into picking out cards and adding their own messages.

I showed them how to make designs in bulk, by picking out a handful of cards and turning them all over and then stamping each one with the same picture. Then I added some stickers, a ‘love you! –Mom’ and we were good to go!

We also created messages using the stamps and stickers we had, like:

  • I [LOVE stamp] you!
  • Have a hoppy day! [rabbit stamp]
  • Hope your day is [classroom sticker--SUPER! / A+ / Fantastic!]


homemade back-to-school lunchbox notes

 Our assembly-line notecard-making. . .


 homemade back-to-school lunchbox notes. . . and our drying rack piling up!

And before we knew it, the morning zipped by.homemade back-to-school lunchbox notes

We made so many notes, that between our Homemade Recycled Card ones today and the ones that I printed out, we will have notes from now until December.

And hopefully when Maddy, Owen, and Cora open up their lunches this fall, they’ll remember this beautiful summer morning–cool and sunny–when we woke up late, ate our breakfast outside and chatted over note-making, with Maddy wearing her pink tutu, Cora wearing too-small ballet slippers, Owen talking Word Feud almost the whole time, and Brady hanging around, trying to steal our stamps and flip-flops and paintbrushes.

I know I will–

And I’ll also remember that just hours later, we experienced our very first (and hopefully last!) earthquake. . .   But that’s a whole other story–

Happy Lunchbox Note Creating!!

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Comment (11) | Leave a comment

  1. Your blog is amazing! I look forward to each post. Have you considered doing a post about how your organize the supplies for all of your wonderful activities? I have 3 little ones & love to keep things neat, but I have found it challenging to arrange & store all our different craft & learning supplies. Any tips? Thanks!

    Julie Barrett
    • JULIE! Thank you, thank you!! I am totally working on one–as we speak. And seriously, I went to grab something this morning for the very post and ended up totally re-doing our laundry room…so now I’m behind but it’s on my list!!

  2. Yay! Thanks for letting me know. I will look forward to reading that!

    Julie Barrett
  3. What a cute idea!

  4. I know from reading your blog that you are in the DC area, did you receive much damage from the earthquake? Is your family ok? Just hoping that you and your family are all ok!

    • OH my gosh, Robin, you are so sweet! Yes, we are here in the DC Metro area, and yes, we felt the 45-minute rumble. But we’re fine. . . I was more shaken than the kids, I think–but reading today’s Kids Post helped them understand more.
      Did you feel it?


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