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

 

Five Minutes with Seriously Milestones

I’ve been a big fan of Issy and her Seriously Milestone cards ever since I first came across her on Instagram. Understanding that motherhood isn’t exactly the picture perfect world that we often portray on social media, Issy has managed to snag a corner of the market that was missing – milestone cards for those Seriously Real Moments. The ones that sometimes make us cry, but almost always make us laugh.

Mother of two herself, you’ll find Issy on Instagram most likely chatting candidly in her dressing gown, singing in the car (a woman after my own heart) or making some amazing lip sync videos with her bestie, Emma which you can view over at @lipsyncbattleground.

As the mother of girls, I’m always interested to know what “Girl Power” means to you?

Oh wow way to start with a hard one!

Girl power means so many things, it means being able to stand up for yourself without being a bitch; respecting males but understanding that you don’t need one to be happy; not really giving a shit what other people think but also considering people’s feelings.  It is super hard to summarise actually, but maybe I’ll half answer it in the next question.

Who inspires you and why?

On a business level, there are so many amazing women out there who have and continue to inspire me on a daily basis.  The ones who are literally there every step of the way like Leah (@leahladsonphotography), Morgi (@morgimacdesign) and Em (@happyhandshappyheart), to the ones that I have never even met before but have been so generous with their knowledge on this crazy journey – Heather (@kippins_), Cherie (@thedigitalpicnic) and Kim (@captain.and.co).

Anyone who has been generous to me is a winner in my eyes, because it can be so easy to not reply to an email or to forget the ‘little man’, but all of these woman and more have gone out of their way to support me and I am forever grateful for it.

Describe Seriously Milestones in three words:

  • Piss-take
  • Time-consuming
  • Love

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Was it hard to take the leap into running your own business?

I wouldn’t say hard is the right word, it was more exciting.  There were times when it was challenging, but having been on maternity leave for almost 12 months my brain was ready to start up again!  Plus, as I mentioned above, I had a shit tonne of support, so any time I started to doubt my idea, I had a whole tribe behind me telling me that I was going to totally rock this business thing!

If you weren’t running Seriously Milestones, what would you be doing?

Probably back at my office job in a school, trying to ensure that the naughty kids don’t get expelled and sorting out an alternative pathway for the ones that do…See why I’ve had to develop a sense of black humour? I do love that job though, mainly because my boss was so freaking awesome, but she knows I am not coming back any time soon 😉

I love that the Insta-community is so supportive of each other. Share with me your top five Insta-brands and what makes them so special:

Oh god I feel like I’ve totally done a million shout outs, so I’m kinda including those girls in this but I’ll pump out some new ones too –

  • My Little Booky Wooky – she is special because she is new on the scene, and she has that energy and excitement to learn that only a new account can have, so I’m excited to see what she does.
  • Hello Zef – I caught up with Suzi when I was in her home town of Torquay recently and it was so nice to meet someone for the first time who is just exactly what you expect them to be like.
  • Thank-You – Because, they are amazing.  I wouldn’t say we’re supportive of each other, or work in the same circles, but I have a total girl crush on Justine and think the whole brands ideology is something that we should all aspire to.
  • Emmylou Loves – if you haven’t watched her insta stories yet, do yourself a favour! She swears, she gets her kids to film her as if they were her insta husband, and she does not appear to have a filter between thinking and speaking.  Can’t get enough.
  • Hurrah For Gin – I obviously couldn’t do a shout out without mentioning this account, because I do repost her images about once a week.  She is a god, that is all.

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What’s next for Issy and Seriously Milestones?

In August I’m heading to Life Instyle for my first trade fair – I’m so excited! Hopefully it goes well enough that I can convince hubby that we should go to one in New York next year…watch this space.

For me? I’m gearing up to kick the eldest one out of the house for more days a week and into school next year, and I may have to cut the apron strings and put my big baby into some sort of care…but I probably won’t.

Finally, for anyone out there wanting to make a change, what words of advice do you have?

Find your support crew – the people who will champion your idea but also give you constructive feedback.  Probably the ones that know the industry you are going into so they can give you their advice from learned experience.  But most of all? Back yourself, you rock!

To celebrate my chat with Issy, you can get your hands on a free greeting card of your choice over at the Seriously Milestones website when you purchase any set of milestone cards. Simply pick your card and mention the TJM blog in the comments at checkout. Enjoy!

You can find Issy and her awesome cards here

Amy x