Back to school & gluten free lunchbox tip #1

An Indian summer has hit sunny (or pretty foggy, as this summer goes) Marin. We cram in a couple of beach days, laden with g-free goats cheese sandwiches, fruit and kettle corn before school starts mid week. The sunscreen bottles are running low pretty quickly and I can’t quite believe that it’s 110 degrees (43 for those in Europe) as I exit Trader Joes ( at 5pm with a pile of lunch box goodies in tow on Tuesday.

From one beach trip (Sausalito kiddy beach – or seatreck beach, as it is now becoming known as) I conclude that some people really do need a reality check in life. ( There I am minding my own business, chatting to my friend, watching four happy kids play and splash around in the water and throwing a ball for the dog, when I suddenly realize that someone is screeching at me from my right hand side. Given that I’ve only tuned in mid-screech, I need to ask the screecher to repeat herself. That just makes her screech even louder and longer. Oh boy. The bottom line is that her dog is on a leash. So her dog is pissed that he can’t chase the ball with my dog and suddenly it’s all my fault and I’m apparently completely oblivious to everyone around me and I find myself being threatened with a fine – what?. Old Nicola would have screeched right back – louder. In my new calm world that has been put into serious perspective, I can’t really find the energy to get annoyed about stuff like that. Well – kind of. I have a bit of a delayed reaction and find myself being irritated hours later.

From another beach trip – this time to Muir – (, I conclude that the kids are growing up fast. The gaggle of seven year olds already seem like budding teenagers. Help! The boys show off with their boogie boards, the girls splash about and giggle while looking over their shoulders to ensure that the boys are taking note.

I dread getting up for the first day of school. We’ve been zzz’ing until around 9am for most of the summer, so leaving the house with backpack and lunchbox in hand by 8am feels a tad daunting. For some reason preparing the lunchbox the night before seems to take a weight off my shoulders. Preparing a g-free lunchbox really doesn’t need to be as complicated as it seems, once you get into the groove of it. Here is what I pack on day 1. It gets the thumbs up:

Lunchbox tip no. 1

Chicken sausage, sliced (Trader Joes), rice crackers (Trader Joes), organic baby carrots, organic Fresh berries

An Envirokidz bar for mid-morning snack (

Day one turns out to be a success. C loves his new teacher and has some great kids in his class. Allowing T to tag along for drop-off in his pj’s and feeding him breakfast en route is the only way of ensuring that we get to school on time, but it would have been too much of a miracle to expect all of us to be happy about the early start.

We head to the pool for a swim after school and then out for a celebratory dinner with one of C’s fellow second graders. It’s been a big day and there are no complaints about bedtime this evening.


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