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 Great Dollhouse Renovation!

My girls were the lucky recipients of a hand-me-down dollhouse from their Mardie and Pardie (is anyone else noticing that none of my children’s grandparents have normal names yet?) a couple of years ago. It’s wooden, beautifully handmade, and very solid.

But kind of old-fashioned.

And as you might have figured out if you’re familiar with my Instagram page, I don’t really do old-fashioned at home.

*cue music* It’s time for a makeover!

I had hinted to Benji for quite a while that the dollhouse could use with a bit of a face lift, but my whinging hinting fell on deaf ears. So there was only one thing left to do – get the job done girl.

With special thanks to Ryobi tools, this is how I made our little dolls house go from drab, to fab.

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“She’s wearing overalls, she must know how to use tools”

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “she’s wearing overalls, she must know how to use tools.”

WRONG!

My idea of DIY, is getting stuff out of the shed and then standing behind Benji, loudly offering my guidance on what I think he’s doing wrong as he goes about the task at hand. But this time I was determined to do it myself. I’m a woman, I can do anything!

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Benji: “Are you sure you want to do this?” Getouttamyway Benji.

Using the One+ 18V Compact Drill was easy, but kind of counter intuitive to start with for a thinking girl – “So I have to push the drill into the dollhouse to get the screws out? Huh?” Once my brain got over that little fact, and realised that this was going to make my life approximately 1052 times easier, I got into it and removed all those screws holding the house together quicker than I can make my way through a packet of Tim Tams.

The backing board was next to come off, and that was just a matter of using a little elbow grease and some pent-up frustration. A few strong taps (“like you mean it” according to Benji) and it was off.

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Eek, there’s no turning back now.

It was at about this point – five minutes in, that I got a little bored out in the shed and needed a little something to keep me going. Luckily, this is where the One+ 18V Bluetooth Radio comes in handy. It’s small, lightweight, has AM/FM, aux and Bluetooth capabilities and uses the same battery pack as my drill. Sorry neighbours, but this bad boy is getting turned up and I’m getting my shed-oke (totes a word) on.

Now, the wall of the dollhouse was probably the part of the house I disliked the most and was most keen to replace. To get rid of the old wallpaper, I set my 2000W Corded Heat Gun to low and warmed up the backing enough to scrape that bad boy off. Good riddance! Using my limited computer skills to good use, I made up some wall paper, printed it on card and using 84 2 rolls of double-sided tape, lived out my fantasy of having a house with beautiful wallpaper in every room, in miniature form.

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New versus old… Ugh, get rid of it now!

In hindsight, I should have used PVA to glue down the paper, as the taped paper buckled slightly. If I was a perfectionist, I would have redone it, but it isn’t noticeable to anyone but me, so I’ve left it as is!

Next came the part I was dreading the most, and more than likely was the reason I avoided doing the renovation myself for so long – the sanding. Ugh…

Thankfully though, thanks to the 100W Multipad Sander, the old varnish came off that bad boy fast and easy. I decided not to disassemble the entire dollhouse because I’m lazy like that, which meant there were lots of little nooks to get into. The sander handled these with ease and I was able to sand the timber back to its former glory without too much mess or fuss. Smooth as bruh.

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Super easy to use. Dare I say it made sanding fun? Too far?

Because I’m a narcissist at heart, I decided the colour scheme for the dollhouse would mimic that of our renovation that we’re about to undertake, so off I went to Bunnings and picked up some sample pots of the colours I’ve had my eye on – Dune for the exterior walls and Basalt for the Roof. Snow Peak for the interior walls which I watered down to whitewash the floorboards to show the beautiful wood grain.

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The whitewashed flooring and herringbone “marble tiling”. So chic. So what I wish I could have in my actual big house.

Finally, it was time to put the house back together and see if it actually looked any good…

Drum roll please…

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Time to see if it’s been worth the effort or if I’ve just ruined a perfectly fine dollhouse…

Success! Avery running out to see the finished product and looking at me with delight was a major highlight. “I love it!”

*heart swells with pride*

I made this for her. Me. Not Benji. Just me. I must admit, I didn’t realise how proud of myself I would be at the end of this project. It wasn’t particularly difficult, or challenging, but it was something that I would usually make Benji do for me. I feel a real sense of pride in my achievement and I must admit, I’ve developed a bit of a taste for DIY…

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Happy girl, happy Mum

Watch out shed, I’m coming to see what else I can play with next!

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

Ryobi delivers affordable power tools with pro features, all backed by their 6 Year Warranty* and are available exclusively at Bunnings Australia and New Zealand.

* 6 year warranty applies to cordless products registered at http://www.ryobi.com.au. Batteries and chargers have 3 year warranty only. Corded tools have a 4 year warranty.

 

Feeding Made Simple – Munchkin Latch 

Flashback around 9 months ago. Breastfeeding isn’t going great the second time around, I’m desperate for a break, if only for a couple of hours and I’ve been pumping my heart out to build a stockpile so I can go out and get that alone time I so badly need.

The time has come to get those precious few hours to myself and surprisingly, Niamh doesn’t take to the three year old bottle we’ve pulled out of the back of the cupboard. I watch 150ml of breast milk get poured down the drain. A couple of days later we try again, this time with a different bottle we’ve gone out and purchased from the local supermarket. Same result. another 150ml of that precious milk, down the drain. Third time’s the charm right? No, no it’s not. More milk down the drain, along with it money from another failed bottle purchase and finally, there goes my sanity too. Glug glug glug. You know the saying, “There’s no use crying over spilt milk?” Ignore it if you’re talking about expressed breast milk. Cry away.

Next thing I know, I’m sitting in a crumpled heap, crying my eyes out proclaiming, “I’m never going to be free!”

True story. I kid you not.

I thought feeding babies was supposed to be easy?

Thankfully ,things got better after that point in time, but I’ll never forget that feeling of helplessness. Anyone who has a baby who is fussy with bottles will tell you that trying to find the right one can be one of the most stressful times in a tired, frazzled, new family’s life.

Thanks to this experience, I’m always in search for products that are going to make my life easier and the transition from breast to bottle to beyond a non-event for Niamh and for the rest of the family too! Here are a few of my new favourites;

First up – Munchkin Latch Sterilize Bags 

Wow. Just wow. For both of the girls, I had the largest monstrosity of a steriliser that took up the best part of a cupboard in my kitchen, not to mention a lot of space on the bench in those early days where EVERYTHING needed to be sterilised ALL THE TIME. Not anymore! Enter the Latch Sterilize Bags. Small, portable and re-usable for up to 30 uses. Big enough to hold two wide mouth bottles or the parts for a double breast pump and a Cool-Touch grip that ensures you won’t have to worry about burning your fingers (something I did plenty of with ol’ Bertha that I previously mentioned). These bags were a welcome change in our house. Farewell Bertha. You’re services are no longer required.

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Most Importantly – Munchkin Latch Bottle 

The Latch Bottle does what others claim to do and fail – mimics the breast in movement and function. Niamh took to the Latch nipple with ease. The flexibility of the Latch nipple moved with Niamh’s movements without disrupting her feeding, which for an easily distracted baby is amazing. The shape of the bottle was easy for her to hold herself (she’s a fiercely independent woman you know) and big enough to hold a full bottle without being so big that it became heavy and cumbersome. The anti-colic valve at the base of the bottle allows the milk to flow without bubbles travelling through, helping to reduce gassiness. There are a range of nipples available, ensuring that the Latch Bottle will grow with your baby from the newborn stage, up until they are ready to ditch the bottle and move to a transition cup.

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Lastly – Munchkin Latch Bottle and Valve Brush 

This was Avery’s favourite product in the range (no surprises there really). The size and shape of the brush ensured that she was able to clean the bottle, nipple and anti-colic valve with ease. The suction cup bottom was also a big hit for Avery (because, fun), as well as for me (because, germs). Lastly, and one of my non negotiables – it’s dishwasher safe. Hallelujah!

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Overall, I’ve been really impressed with the Latch range. It’s functional, easy to use and does what it promises to. It helps that it’s easy to look at and is fun for older kids to get involved in the cleaning side of things. I’ll definitely be recommending the Latch range to my new Mama friends.

You can learn more about the Latch range here or just head straight to your local Amcal Pharmacy to pick yours up!

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