It’s really not possible that it’s back-to-school time already, Is it?

I feel like I just got STARTED on enjoying all the wonderfulness that summer has to offer.  I know it’s strange – J. and I still work full-time, no matter what the season, and our kids have continued to go to their year-round preschool program – so technically, summer shouldn’t feel as deliciously lazy and free as it does.  And yet, there is something about the heat and the sunshine and the water and the yearning to be outdoors that slows down time in the summer.  It makes everything a little sleepy and a little more golden.  Back-to-school time will change that.

This is our first year with a REAL back-to-schooler.  L.’s starting Kindergarten at a neighborhood school, the first time he’s changed schools in over 3 years.  Obviously there’s excitement and apprehension floating around our household (probably more apprehension for J. and me than for him).  We’ve been immersing ourselves in the flurry of preparations – buying uniforms, getting a new backpack and cool new lunchbox, taking that first-ever trip to Target for school supplies – and I’m starting to experience the distinctly uncomfortable feeling that, as far as Kindergarten goes, the whole exercise is way more about us, as parents, not failing than it is about L.

He’ll be FINE.  We, on the other hand, find ourselves in the position of reading “Parent Agreements” and navigating the volunteer-hours expectations for Kindergarten parents; obsessing over whether it’s REALLY okay to buy some of the uniform pieces from a different supplier (okay, maybe that one was just me); trying to understand how we, as parents, fit into a whole new – and very different – school culture in a way that will support L. best.   I feel a little of that old back-to-school fire in my belly, the kind that used to well up each August as I contemplated how to start out a new school year, and how little old overachiever me would do.

So, in short, I’m probably projecting.

But since I can’t really control much about L.’s first “real school” experience – not gym class, nor recess, nor reading, nor math – I can only focus on the details.  And obviously, for me, a MAJOR detail has to be lunch.   It is, as always, all about the FOOD in my household.  I want his lunches to be awesome, to be nourishing, to do all the good stuff for his body and brain that a proper lunch ought to do – and to keep him happy, to boot.  No small order.  But then again, I’m pretty good at this food thing, and packing lunches is old hat at this point.  If nothing else, I can guarantee myself that I will not fail lunch.

Happily, neither will you, dear blog readers.  I’ve been thinking about this all summer (you know that’s true, right?  Because I’m a horrible geek that way?), and I figured out that ROUGHLY, there are 36 weeks of any given year in which our kids will be in school.  So…doesn’t it make sense for me to come up with 36 lunches for you?  One per week, to keep things from getting stale?

Of COURSE it does!  And, of course, I DID.  I won’t make you wait 36 weeks to get all the ideas, though.  Instead, I’m offering up this lunch-packing inspiration guide as a six-part series.  Six posts, six lunches each, every Monday here on RRG.  Today’s theme is Easy Bites, because frankly, it’s still darned hot and summery and I KNOW none of us are really ready to get back to the lunch-packing grind.  So we’re starting simple, with lunches that require little to NO actual cooking and still offer all the freshness, variety, and nutritional punch you want for back-to-school brains.

On the Menu this week:
Pizza Dip
Cheeseburger Kebabs
Pesto Tuna Rollups
Salami Cups
Pretzel Kebabs
Fruit and Nut Chicken Salad