Smashing School Lunches

There I stand. In the kitchen. Specifically in front of the fridge. Door wide open, hand on hip, foot tapping.

School bloody lunches.

The thorn in every families side.

The Morrison household has had it too good up until this point. Daycare has provided all of the girls meals, which means I’ve never had to give much thought about how to pack a school lunch box. Until now of course. 2018 is here and that means we’re about to be introduced to the wonderful world of Preschool.

I’m not exactly known for my creativity in the kitchen, so school lunches typically send shivers down my spine. I know I’m not alone though. I see you mama. Reading along. Nodding your head.

School lunches are a pain in the bum. Period.

But I’m going to let you in on some classified information. I’ve got a couple of secret weapons that are going to help me in my quest to nail the perfect lunch box this year and not just for Avery. The whole house is covered. Can I get an amen?!

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The Smash Bento Lunch kit is a great set for little ones or for carrying around on the go when you need to pack snacks. It comes with a 450ml drink bottle, a novelty sandwich cutter and stickers so the kids can personalise their set which is guaranteed to keep them quiet for at least 5.4 seconds so you can have a sip of hot coffee before someone starts whingeing. Did I mention it’s only $10 too? Love a good bargain.

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For those of us who like a little more food, then the Smash Lunch Box is for you. Not only does it look cool AF, it also holds a tonne of food (okay, may not actually hold a whole tonne of food, but you get where I’m going. It’s big.) and is insulated so your “tonne” of food is going to stay fresher for longer. Super fantastic for these 40 degree days we’re having at the moment!

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I’ve saved my favourite until last – the Smash Bento Switch Up. It’s got a detachable insulating liner, you can chuck it in the dishwasher (YAS!!!), the dividers are moveable to customise the size of the individual compartments and it’s leak resistant which makes it pretty much my go to item for Avery’s school bag this year. She’s basically been using it every day since we picked this beauty up and she loves figuring out what she wants to put where. More engagement from her in deciding what goes into her lunch box means she’s more likely to eat it all. Less waste, more healthy options, everyone wins.

So if you, like me are starting to realise that the school year is just around the corner, then head down to your local Big W, check out the Smash range and pick up some items that are going to make your life a whole lot better.

You can thank me later x

This has been a collaboration with Smash Enterprises, but we do not endorse or work with any products or brands we do not use and love.  

Place mats thanks to We Might Be Tiny

 

The Problem with Preschool

2018 marks a big year for the Morrison family, Avery in particular. You see, in February, Avery will start what we in the Nation’s Capital refer to as “Big School”. What we are actually talking about is Preschool, or for those of you who live in most of the other parts of the country – Kindergarten. It’s the year before you start actual school. Ugh can we just have a nationally standardised school system already please?

Anyway, I digress.

Next year, Avery will be breaking free from the shackles of childcare and making her way into the public school system and she can’t wait. She asked for and received a new backpack from Santa this year, and we just braved the Boxing Day sales with Noonsie (AKA Grandma) for a new pair of school shoes.

It all sounds a little too fantastic, doesn’t it…

Of course. Here it comes…

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Swinging into the new year like…

BUT

2018 is going to be a major pain in the butt for the parent’s of the Morrison household, because Preschool in the ACT is only five days a fortnight. Two days one week, three days the next and repeat.

I’ve been chatting to many a parent over the last couple of months to get a feel for how they are going to navigate this weird and wonderful year in the schooling calendar and for most, it’s easy. Pay for a day a week at childcare and then only use it once a fortnight, or pop the kids over with the grandparents once a fortnight for free babysitting family bonding time.

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The Pre School year is a balancing act for many Canberra families

At this stage, Avery is booked into childcare, but to be perfectly honest, I’d rather burn a $100 note once a week than continue to put her in childcare for another year. I’m ready for her to move on. And as for the grandparent option, well… That’s just not an option for us. We don’t have any other family here to rely on. *Cue the violin please reader* Yes, we chose to move away from our families and set up in Canberra, but there’s still a massive amount of jealousy when I hear people talk about how their parents look after their children. I have tried in vain to convince my Mum to move to Canberra, but alas, she’s staying put interstate for the time being. Probably until the kids are both through Preschool and she knows it’s safe to come here without being hit up for a regular babysitting gig. Smart woman.

So where to from here? Ben and I are toying with the idea of us taking a day off once every four weeks, but realistically I don’t think we can actually afford to do that and we have to save our annual leave for the bloody school holidays (don’t get me started on those.) We could look at a nanny, but again, there’s the whole money factor. I’ve tried to hit up parents who have kids in school the same days as us to see if they want to do a sharing arrangement between the four parents so we would only have to take off a day every eight weeks, but haven’t had much success with that yet either.

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Someone is hanging to start Preschool. It’s not me, give you the hot tip.

So, here we are, with six-ish weeks to figure something out, I’m a little bit stuck. Not quite sure how this is going to work. And to be honest, I’m probably going to let it be Future Amy’s problem, because Present-Day Amy is still a little full and tired from Christmas to be thinking too hard about schooling schedules.

Sorry ’bout that Future Amy x

 

The Six Stages of Preparing for a Kid’s Party

Here I stand, in a friend’s kitchen, close to 10pm. Four piping bags cluttering the bench, bowls and gel icing everywhere. I’m exhausted because 9:30 is usually my bedtime #doiknowhowtoliveorwhat but yet I persist. This bloody cake is going to be the death of me…

It’s birthday party season. You see, apparently September is the most popular month of the year to be born, mostly because people seem to get, ummmm, busy during the Christmas/New Year festivities. True story. So for all the Mums and Dads out there gearing themselves up for another onslaught of birthday parties, this one’s for you.

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So pink. Much glitter.

SHOCK

“Are you sure? It’s only a month until Avery’s birthday? Really? Seriously, didn’t we just have her third birthday party?”

This is a common conversation I started having with my friends and husband around August. There’s that lovely quote about how the days are long but the years are short… I’m pretty sure that was written by a parent that was in shock that they already had to start thinking about another birthday party. FML.

DENIAL

“She’s only turning four. Do we really have to have a party? Surely she won’t notice…” Usually heard coming out of Benji’s mouth.

“Nope, she’s my baby. She’s never growing up.” Usually heard coming out of my mouth as I scoop up my “baby” and smother her with kisses as she rolls her eyes at me and reminds me that, “I’m not a baby anymore Mum. Actually I’m turning four soon”. Ugh.

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This one is still a baby at least. For now…

ANGER

“This is bullshit! Why do we have to bow down to society’s expectations of what a birthday party should entail? We are setting our children up for a life of keeping up with the Jones’, one iced cupcake at a time. I’m taking a stand. No cake! No lolly bags! I’m going to be the change I want to see in the world of kid’s parties!”

This stage looks a lot like me stropping around the house only to sit in front of my computer to trawl through Pinterest for party inspo… Sigh.

BARGAINING

“Okay. So obviously we have to have a cake. And lolly bags. We’re not monsters. But how about we buy a sponge from Woolies and just ice it? And let’s look into a play centre so we don’t have to turn the house upside down making it party ready. How does that sound?”

This is when it all starts to come together. Plans are made. Negotiations are heard and conditions agreed upon.  Breathe Amy.

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Because I’m not a monster

DEPRESSION

“Ugggggggh, fuck. Why did I say I was going to make a unicorn cake. Whyyyyyyy? Benji, does this look like a penis? Seriously. I’m going to stick in on the top of our daughter’s cake. I can’t have it look like a cock.”

This is when I start to doubt everything. RSVP’s are due tomorrow and I haven’t had a single reply yet… What if the kids don’t want to come? What if Avery doesn’t like the cake? What if her dress doesn’t fit? What if it rains? Oh calm down Amy – you’re having the party indoors! But seriously, what if the unicorn looks like it’s got a cock on it’s head. It’s 10:30 the night before the party. Wahhhhhhh

ACCEPTANCE

And finally, about five minutes before the party starts, “Let’s just enjoy ourselves. I’m sure it’s all going to be fine.”

And of course it always is. Even when things don’t go quite to plan, the kids always have an amazing time. All the effort, sweat and tears is worth it just to see the smiles on their little faces.

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100% worth it

So if you’re about to enter the six stages of planning a kids party, just remember you’re not alone… and just in case you were wondering, I’m pleased to report my unicorn didn’t receive any cock-like comments #nailedit