Monthly Archives: January 2014

Freezer Cooking: Quick, Kid Friendly Lunchbox Snacks and Midweek Meals

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My eldest starts school this week so I have been making a few lunchbox snacks to keep in the freezer. As I am also anticipating a lot of exhausted and hungry afternoons, I thought it might be best to get together a few kid friendly meals that I could whip out of the freezer if I needed to.  Here is what I made….

Cheese and bacon scrolls and cinnamon scrolls, ready to defrost and bake.

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

Fruity Pikelets.

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

Bliss balls.

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

And for dinners…..

Kid size lasagne,

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

and pumpkin arancini balls.Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

This bit of effort should save me some trouble in the next few weeks. Whoo-hoo!

I also have dozens of other lunchbox recipes and ideas I want to get around to trying out.  I have been pinning madly so that I don’t loose them! If you want to gather some inspiration, or grab the recipe for any of the things I made above, take a look at my Lunchbox Recipes Pinterest page.

Have a great week.

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Free Printable Children’s Activities

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A while back I showed you a few educational and fun activity packs I made up for my boy’s to play with.

Activity Packs - Sight Words

Activity Packs - Fine Motor Skills

They have been such a hit, I thought I would trawl the net for some more ideas.  I hit the jackpot when I came across these three sites with amazing children’s prinatables, lots of them free.

They were so amazing, the printer went into overdrive.  The laminator was fired up and I stayed up late making a lot of fun activity that the kids LOVE.

So what sort of activities did I find? Here are just a few…..

The cutest puppets and song sets. These are 5 Little Ducks and 5 Green and Speckled Frogs .

Kid's Printables

Kid's Printables

Colour Match Games.

Kid's Printables

Shadow Match Games.

Kid's Printables

Sequencing Games.

Kid's Printables

Threading and shoe tying help.

Kid's Printables

And lots of shape, reading and writing skills games.

I now have about 20 activity packs all made up.  I have got into the habit of grabbing one or two of them before I leave the house with the boys. They keep the boys well entertained while waiting for the doctor or for the meal to arrive at the cafe. A lifesaver in many ways!

Stop by the following amazing sites to print out your own activities…..

Picklebums, Busy Little Bugs, The Measured Mom.

Organising Children’s Art Supplies With Tupperware

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A while back I gave my pantry a makeover.  With the addition of the Thermomix in the kitchen, my pantry underwent a change.  There were a lot less cans and processed foods and a whole lot more basic ingredients. I desperately needed more storage containers and I was just not prepared to drop a grand on Tupperware to house it. As I hate to miss-match, the Tupperware I did own, came out of the pantry and went into storage.

Looking at the Tupperware taking up space in my storage cupboard today, I decided I had to make use of it.  I went to my most hated storage solution, the kids’ craft tub and decided that Tupperware might just save the day.

The old craft tub was huge and filled with a million bits and pieces. The half empty packets and the buttons and  beads laying loose made finding what I needed a challenge.

After a good purge and some help from the littlies to sort, we filled most of my spare Tupperware containers.

Using Tupperware to Organise Craft Supplies

Using Tupperware to Organise Craft Supplies

If our little collection of craft supplies should exceed our Tupperware collection, I will just pick up the super cheap knock-off version you can get in Kmart.

Kmart's Tupperware Knock-off

I love that I regained some space and made good use of the once wasted Tupperware.  I think that craft time will be a lot less painful with this storage solution. 

Starting School: Lunchbox Preparation

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Next week my eldest starts school for the first time <Insert welling tears>.

Here in Australia, the school year follows a calendar year. So, after a long summer holiday celebrating Christmas and New Year, we have to prepare to return to a new school year.

I am trying to bury my growing nervousness with organising ourselves for this new adventure.  Oh. So. Much. Organising!

So far the most challenging for me has been lunchbox/lunch logistics.

In the past I have been less than organised in this department and I plan to rectify that this year.  Here is the game plan…….

I have created myself a Lunch Box Planner.  The idea will be to sit down and organise what Master O will take for the week when I create the household meal plan. Hopefully my munchkin will help out with that bit!

Lunch Box Planner

I have printed and laminated the planner so I can write on it with whiteboard markers and wipe it clean.  I have secured it inside the door of the lunchbox cupboard using velcro dots so I will be able to remove and replace it each week.

With lunchbox planning sorted, I turned to organising what the lunch would be taken to school in.

I researched heaps of different lunch boxes/cooler bags and settled on a Fridge to Go. They guarantee that they stay fridge cold for 8 hours.  Important in our very hot climate.

Fridge to go

 

I want to make Master O’s lunchbox as rubbish free as possible, so I purchased some Keep Leaf snack and Sandwich baggies.

Keep Leaf Baggie

Some Sinchies for yoghurt.Sinchies

And some Nude Food Movers for other bits and pieces.

Snack Boxmuffin container

For Kindy last year I bought Master O a Contigo drink bottle.  Despite the punishment my 4-year-old gave it, including almost daily dropping on concrete,  it is still going strong. This year we thought we would try another Contigo.

Contigo Drink BottleThe final preparations for Master O’s lunchbox continues later this week as I bake a few snack  items to freeze. I have been fishing for some new healthy recipes to try. I will share what I end up making later in the week.

If you are planning for a return to school, good luck! For the rest of you, have a great day!

 

 

Veggie Smuggling: Carrot Cake Porridge

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Like most young ones, my boys are not too keen on veggies.  I am forever hopeful they will eat the peas or broccoli on their plate, but until it actually happens, I resort to hiding additional vege in their meals.

I have my little collection of lunch and dinner recipes that successfully smuggle in additional nutrients, but I always thought it would be great to conquer breakfast as well. Enter this little recipe – Carrot Cake Porridge.

The carrot is reasonably obvious in this recipe, but because the porridge tastes like carrot cake batter (and I sell it to the kids like that) they wolf it down.

This is a Thermomix recipe, but you could easily recreate it on the stove top, just grate the carrots and add them to the oats before cooking. You can serve it warm, but mine love it cold with a huge dollop of vanilla yoghurt.

The recipe is supposed to be 1 serve – it is more like likely to comfortably serve two adults or 3 kids.

Carrot Cake Porridge (adapted from here)

Ingredients

1 carrot
60 grams oats
290 grams milk (any sort or, if you prefer, water)
handful sultanas
handful walnuts (I omit these for the kids)
cinnamon to taste
pinch nutmeg

To Serve

Yogurt
Fruit – blueberries (optional)
sweetener of choice – honey, maple syrup, Natvia, Sugar. Completely optional as the porridge is quite sweet

Method

1. Chop Carrot 3 Sec, Speed 5

2. Add oats, milk, sultanas, walnuts and spices to bowl. Cook 10mins/90 degrees/counter-clockwise operation/speed 2

3. Serve with yogurt, fruit and sweetener (optional)

Carrot Cake Porridge

Enjoy!

Injecting Colour: New Year Sales

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With the start of a new year, I often feel like a change about the house.  It is  the perfect time to do some mini makeovers as everything is on sale. I have certainly taken full advantage of that!

So, with a sweltering summer upon us here in Australia, I felt like the house need some fun summer colours and prints. I love a pop of colour about the place, but up until now I have played it pretty straight with a little bit of red.  This year, I am going all the colours of the rainbow!

Today I thought I would show you the first mini makeover I did – the bedroom. I forgot to take a before picture, but previously I had a set of 3 mirrors hanging above the bed and a nautical-ly inspired blue and white striped duvet. Very understated.

For the makeover I decided to go for a navy and white printed duvet and crisp white sheets.  I usually go for lighter colours in the bedroom, but I loved how this looked. initially, I was so satisfied with this little change that I wasn’t going to do anything else with the bedroom, but then I remembered my desire to inject some colour into the house.  So I decided to go bright and chose sunny yellow to be the colour ‘pop’ in the bedroom.

Before hitting the sales, I shopped my cupboards and found a yellow throw and  cushion (similar to below) I had bought some time ago at Adairs.

Paris cushion

Yellow Throw

To complete the mini makeover, I picked up a bold striped cushion and a few wall art pieces from Freedom.

Striped Cushion

Yellow wall art

So here is my very mini makeover….

Injecting Colour

Injecting Colour

The room looks bright and cheery and I spent next to nothing, which is perfect because come Winter, I will no doubt want another change.