Packing tips

“Life Changing” Lunches

Written by Audrey Monke for Gold Arrow Camp

45 hours.

That’s a conservative estimate of how much time I spent making my children’s lunches each school year.  I used 15 minutes a day for my estimate, because I am not at my best in the early morning.  I spent a lot of time staring at the lunch boxes, trying to remember what was still needed — fruit group? dairy?  protein?

After seeing my friend Stacey’s Facebook post last week, where she said she had “finished making lunches for the next two weeks,” I read further to see that she had made and frozen sandwiches.  I remembered my mother doing the same thing when I was a kid.   Mine were turkey and cheese on wheat, and they always were thawed and tasted great at lunch.

I had an epiphany.  I’m a big proponent of teaching kids independence and responsibility, so why was I still packing my kids’ lunches?  I think it was because I feared the choices a few of my kids would make if given free reign, and I wanted to make sure that they were getting the nutrients they needed to be healthy.  So, I came up with a solution:  “Sunshine’sLunch Packing Instructions,” which my children could use to pack their own lunches — the night before or even several days at a time.

The timing was perfect for my new discovery.  I was going to be out of town for — gasp — three school lunches!  I went over the instructions and watched — giddily — as my sons, ages 8 & 11, packed three lunches each.  Ta – da!  Done!

I am sharing my Instructions with the caveat that my kids often are packing all that they will eat between 7:30 am and 4:00 pm, so it is definitely lunch plus snacks before sports, etc.  You may need to edit according to your child’s schedule.

I had to organize my refrigerator and pantry a bit, but it was well worth the time.  I put all of the dairy items in one area on the lowest shelf, and I made a lunch fruit and veggie drawer out of one of the produce drawers.  I put apples and other loose fruits in there, but also bagged up some baby carrots and grapes.  I also made a “chip/extra” bin in the pantry with chips, granola bars, etc. and a “treat” plastic drawer with some pre-bagged cookies, fruit roll-ups, and other sweet items.

When I shared the story of my lunch-packing epiphany with my friend Julie, she said I had “changed her life.”  I like that kind of positive reinforcement, so I was encouraged to share more!  So, here, for all of your enjoyment (and hopefully use!) are:

Sunshine’s Lunch Packing Instructions
1.    Main Entrée:
  • Sandwich
  • Lunchable
  • Pasta
  • Trader Joe’s Salad or Wrap
  • Salami & Cheese + Crackers
  • Other approved main entrée
2.     Dairy:
  • Yogurt
  • Gogurt
  • String cheese
  • Milk or Chocolate milk
  • Yogurt drink
3.     Fruits/Veggies (Pack 2)
  • Piece of fruit (any)
  • Canned fruit (mandarin oranges, pineapple, etc.)
  • Apple sauce
  • Bagged veggies/fruits (baby carrots, grapes, red pepper slices)
4.     Chips/extra
  • crackers
  • chips
  • Goldfish
  • pretzels
  • granola bar
5.    Dessert/Treat
  • Oreos/other cookies (2-3)
  • Tigers Milk bar
  • Caramel sauce with apple slices
  • Candy (if you have from some event)
6.     Snacks/Extra
  • Chose any extra item from 2, 3, or 4
Don’t forget water bottle, napkin, and spoon/fork (as needed)!
Have more lunch ideas?  Email

Let me know if you have any fun ideas of good lunch items, or any suggestions for improvement.   And, I’d love to hear what you plan to do with those extra 45 hours.

Categories: Being Positive, Communication, Family, Fun, Health, Healthy Lunches, Kids, Optimism, Organizing, Packing tips, Parents, Raising Happiness, Self-Esteem, Social Skills | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Experience Nature: Fighting NDD and EA

Written by Audrey Monke, Director of  Gold Arrow Camp

Experience Nature: Fighting NDD and EA

“Nature Deficit Disorder” (NDD), coined by Richard Louv, and “Electronics Addiction” (EA – coined by yours truly and others) can both be combated by a camp experience. When was the last time your kid hiked through the woods or got a mosquito bite? For that matter, when was the last time your child took out their headphones or turned off their cell phone? In Lenore Skenazy’s book, Free Range Kids, she elaborates on how we have somehow skewed parenting into something resembling packing our kids in bubble wrap and avoiding all experiences in order to avoid any negative ones. We live in fear of all the “what ifs” and end up not allowing our children any freedom. Electronics fill in the gap nicely. In Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods, he talks about what our kids are missing out on from not being exposed to nature. He coined the term “Nature Deficit Disorder” to refer to a generation of kids who may never experience nature because it’s too “scary” or foreign to them. He predicts they will grow into adults who prefer staying inside with their TVs, computers, and other electronics.

Most camps have “electronics free” policies and don’t allow campers to bring electronic games, cell phones, computers, etc. While disconnecting from technology, campers learn to relate better to other people, face to face, without headphones on or a cell phone in hand. This break from electronics is great for kids, as they quickly learn that they can get by without them. In this technology-crazed world, camp is one of the few remaining bastions of freedom from electronics.

Gone are the days when kids spent hours playing unsupervised in the fresh air, making up games, finding bugs, and just being kids. Instead, childhood activities are mostly structured and adult-supervised. Play dates are organized by parents and almost never spontaneous. While camp activities are supervised, kids still get an enormous amount of exposure to nature, a sense of freedom, and a chance to make new friends. For many first-time campers, camp is their first chance to sleep outdoors, gain a love for recreational activities ranging from archery to sailing, and see what the stars look like away from city lights. The love and respect for nature that camp experiences foster in our kids may ensure that they grow up to be adults who care what happens to their world. And who get off their computers and go outside once in a while.

Categories: Benefits of Camp, Campfire, Communication, Community, Councelors, Friendship, GAC, Health, Kids, Packing tips, Parents, Safety, Self-Esteem, Social Skills, Team Building, Technology, Tradition, Traditions | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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