peanut butterThe beginning of every school year is the same – I start out gung-ho, making lunches that consist of things far more exciting than your run-of-the-mill peanut butter & jelly. I make sure that I have a variety of snacks and plenty of different ingredients for all kinds of delicious sandwiches. Sometimes, I even make my kid’s lunches the night before!

I know, you must be thinking, “Wow! She’s one of those Super Moms!” But before you get too excited, this little school lunch fantasy world I’ve just described doesn’t last. As the school year drags on, I always seem to hit a wall, and I seem to hit that wall earlier and earlier with each passing year. The novelty begins to wear off, I yearn for the sweet relief of weekend mornings, and my pantry shelves begin to show some significant “bald” spots.

Every morning, without fail, I end up hurriedly throwing together whatever I can find, which generally consists of various cheese-coated snacks, some sort of crackers, and granola bars. By some miracle, I’m usually able to get some actual fruit in there as well.

As far as sandwiches go, I slowly begin to turn into Bubba from Forest Gump, only instead of coming up with numerous recipes for shrimp, my forte is peanut butter.*

I bet you didn’t know how many different kinds of sandwiches you could make with peanut butter.

  • Peanut butter & jelly (obviously!)
  • Peanut butter & Nutella (yum!)
  • Peanut butter & Fluff (eh)
  • Peanut butter & banana
  • Peanut butter & apple slices
  • Peanut butter & apple butter
  • Peanut butter & honey
  • Peanut butter & cheese
  • Peanut butter & extra peanut butter
  • Peanut butter & marmalade (okay, I know that’s the same as jelly, but cut me some slack!)

Bear in mind that my ability to actually make any of these sandwiches hinges on whether or not I have enough bread with which to make them. Many times, I do not, in which case, I have get a little creative.

At least I have one kid I can fool. All the other times I run out of bread, I rely on English muffins or wraps, or mac and cheese in a thermos.

If I’m particularly desperate, I’ll let them to buy hot lunch. Don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against hot lunch every now and then. It’s definitely been a life saver a handful of times over the years, and I’m sure that it’s one million times better than when I was a kid. But if I’ve already spent money on groceries, then dammit, my kids are going to eat them no matter how thrown together their lunches are!

My saving grace is that I’ve been blessed with one child who will eat literally anything I pack in his lunch box, even if it’s not his favorite, and another whose appetite is that of a sparrow. And until I can trust them to make their own lunches (which I hope is soon), “peanut butter & whatever” it is.

*I’m very fortunate that neither of my kids are allergic to peanut butter, and I feel for the kids who are (and the parents of those kids). But I suppose that these sandwiches would work just as well with Sunny Butter!

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