Is your little one starting school this year? Or are you struggling plan what to give your kids for school? I may have a solution for you at or at least some inspiration.
My daughter is starting prep this year and I was a bit anxious about what I am going to give her for lunch. Until now she has spent most of the time with me and a couple of days at kindy, where all the kids are served the same kid-friendly meal. At home, she is pretty good at eating just about whatever I give her. However, when we eat out or she’s not with me, she’s very picky. So I thought we could create a meal plan for her, so she has a good breakfast in the morning and healthy meals throughout the school week. When I approached her with the idea she was really excited about it. Especially since she is excited to use her new Yumbox (bento lunch box) and Thermos lunch jar.
So one afternoon we sat down together and talking about foods she liked and what she is most likely to eat by herself at school. We browsed lots of pictures of lunchbox, kid-friendly foods and recipes. From that, we came up with a variety of breakfasts, lunches, sides and snacks that interested her. From there we looked for pictures that represented the foods and easy recipe that I could meal prep in advance. Next, I made up an A4 poster for breakfast and an A3 poster for lunch, as well as another document with a collection of pictures of the foods we planned to use. Lastly, I had my posters and food images professional printed and laminated.
So this is the template that I came up with:
And this is the result of our template. I attached the pictures to the poster, with velcro tap, but you could also use blue tack. My side dishes and snacks are missing from my poster currently. I will probably attach them next to the main dishes with blue tack since I didn’t want to add more velcro strips.
If this is something you would like to try out with your little people and would like a copy of my meal plan templates simply private message me on my Live Eat Colour Facebook page or my Instagram page and I will email you the documents directly. You can feel free to alter the colours, font and meal breaks for your child’s school. Just note that I will be on holidays until the 26th of January, so I may not be able to send them until after that date.
If you want some recommendations for non-toxic lunch bags, lunch boxes and accessories, please see my previous posts:
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday celebration and start to the New Years. I can’t believe its already 2020, it seems like just yesterday 2000 upon us. When we think about the people we were and the world we lived in, it completely mind-blowing. I’m feeling pretty optimistic about 2020. Not just for the world but also for myself.
Whats coming in 2020
So before I look back at the past year this blog, I thought I would do an update on what’s coming up in this year.
So my baby boy is coming in late May. I am 20 weeks today! I just had my 2nd-trimester ultrasound, which went really well. It made me feel better seeing that he’s still alive in there because he either kicks me for hours or is completely still. He was quite well behaved for the sonographer and she was easily about to capture all his important bits. He is kicking quite a lot now and finally hard enough for my family to just feel him from the outside. I’ve had quite mixed feelings about this pregnancy because I know exactly what to expect in terms of birth and all the sleep recently gained is going to be clawed back off me. But I’m also excited about meeting the little guy and having lots of fun baby time. Things will also be so different now that I can drive, have a few more parenting hacks up my sleeve and more confidence as a mother.
Before the baby comes I wanted to do another little trip with my family. So in a couple of weeks, we are heading to Tasmania! I’ve never been before, so I’m super excited to see what’s it all about and taste all the fresh produce.
I’ve already put together the itinerary for our 7-day road trip. It will begin and end in Hobart. But every day we will stay in a different town and visit others along the way. Some of the stops include Queenstown, Cradle Mountain, East Devonport, Launceston, Campbell Town, Oatlands, Richmond and Port Arthur. So it’s going to be quiet a fast pace road trip, with plenty of sites to see and cafes and restaurants to try. I won’t be able to do any hiking as I had originally hoped. This second pregnancy is a bit more difficult and I can only do 2 hrs walks in an air-conditioned shopping centre at this stage. But who knows, my usual travel boost may power me up so I can go for longer. Normally when I travel I only sleep 4 hours a night and don’t feel like I’ve had a great day unless I’ve been walking for 10-14 hrs. But it’s a lot different carrying a baby in my belly then in a baby carrier or in a pram.
As for the rest of the year ahead, I have no idea what is going to happen. I intend on being focused on my family, doing lots of activities and outings for the kids and trying my hand at meal prepping and new recipes. I’ve already been trying many new recipes from my Christmas present, Dinner: Changing the Game, by Melissa Clarke. So far I’ve made Black Bean Skillet Dinner, Sesame Chicken with Cashews and Dates, Zucchini Corn Cakes with Mint Coriander Pesto, Pomegranate Quinoa with Crunchy Chickpeas, Stir-Fried Tofu with Summer Squash, Basil and Coconut, and Fusilli & Roasted Cauliflower with Capers. And yes, they all taste just as amazing as they sound. Many are similar recipes that I have put together before, but just have that extra kick of flavour. So far my family have been a huge fan of all the recipes. Especially the Sesame Chicken, which has been requested to return weekly. I also really loved the Black Beans Skillet, which is so easy to put together and really satisfying. I recommend this book for you or as a present for any of your foodie friends. Its definitely going to be my go-to gift for upcoming birthdays this year.
The last big thing for 2020 will be renovations. At the end of last year, we completely re-tiled downstairs and began renovations on the downstairs bathroom/laundry. It’s pretty much complete, except plaster from the top cupboards to the ceiling and finding a mirror. The toilet, shower and barn door are also done. Marco did quite a bit of work by himself for this renovation. He removed the existing attachments, walls and floor tiles, sprayed the bronze windows black and painted and attached barn door. His father also did the electrical, which also saved us a bit.
Next, we will move onto my en suite and walk-in-robe, the second upstairs bathroom/toilet and lastly the kitchen. I’m most excited about getting a new kitchen, which I have been waiting for nearly 7 years. Since its the most expensive renovation and will have to outsource most of the labour, we may not do this until 2021. But I’m optimistic! We will use the same Carpentry business who did our laundry. They offer exactly the style that I wanted, use good quality materials and do an amazing job.
Look back at 2019
In 2019, I was a bit all over the place with blogging, especially towards the end of the year. The first half of the year was dedicated to my museum internship and the second half I was suffering 1st trimester morning/all day sickness. But I thought I would give you the highlights of all the major posts I wrote, in case you want to go back and check them out.
For the Live section of my blog, I continued writing about our Nordic trip. This 3-week trip took me nearly a year to write about in my off-time because we covered so much. I then began writing about my travels to the USA. It was a few years ago, but it is the only major trip that I hadn’t documented. I haven’t finished this, so I will continue writing about it this year. So far you can read about my first 6 days in New York and some of my older posts Eating through…each city, we well my Tips and guide for the Florida Disney parks and each Disney park in Pictures. Other things I covered this year was my Ancestry DNA results, which have since changed, so I intend to write about this in the future. And also O’s Unicorn Party.
For the Eat section of my blog, I mostly included posts from my travels and a few new recipes. I was pretty lazy in terms of recipe development in 2019. I found myself cooking a lot of the same old meals week to week. They were healthy but also familiar to my difficult child. Here are some of the recipes I did post:
For the Colour section of my blog, I was also quite slack this year. Although, I did spend a lot more time on the pages I coloured and I have improved a lot. Below are some of the book reviews I did with completed pictures and video flip through, as well as my special seasonal colour from a variety of my books.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you had a wonderful day with your family and friends and got spoilt.
My Christmas was relatively quiet this year since most of my family are having an icy Christmas in Europe. Meanwhile, large parts of Australia has been burning. Luckily where I live there are no bush fires and the last couple of days have cooled down and been quite rainy. So I only had to set the table for five and food preparations were much less stressful for this pregnant mama. Despite the limited number of guests, our tree was taken over by large amounts of presents this year. Anything we needed for school for the new year or items we needed and found on sale went under the tree. So you can imagine for a 4 year old, opening all those gifts first thing on Christmas morning was very exciting.
I won’t shock you with how much stuff O ended up. When we lined everything up to take a photo with her I was kind of shocked how much she accumulated from her grandparents, aunts and uncles, us and Santa. But I will show you what I received. So everything was handpicked by me except for the Braun Multi Quick 9. I told Marco I wanted a stick blender so he researched the best one he could find. It was a nice surprise to get a model with some many different features.
There are still a couple of presents that are on their way. The first is the Seed & Sprout Eco Starter Kit which came as a free gift with the Braun Multi Quick 9. It includes 1 x Organic Cotton Pocket Tote, 5 x Organic Cotton Mesh Produce Bags, 6 x Reusable Stretch Lids, 1 x Plant Fibre Dish Brush with replaceable head, and 1 x Reusable Straw & Cleaner & Carry Pouch. I’m pretty excited about this since I don’t have of these reusable items, except for the straw.
The second thing is the e-book Erica Adler’s The Beginner’s Guide to Meal Prep, which is being released on the 2nd of January 2020. I recently discovered Fresh Erica on Youtube on the Goodful channel. She is a professional meal prepper in New York city. I just love watching her videos and seeing how she puts together the most delicious-looking dinners and lunch for her clients. I’ve never been into meal prep since I have plenty of time to make everything fresh, but I’m getting interested in this since I know I have another baby on the way, as well as school lunch to prepare for next year. I’m sure Marco will also be excited to have something more interesting for his work meals.
On Christmas Eve, O and I made some Scandinavian Christmas cookies. They were Pressed Butter Cookies from the Beatrice Ojakangas’s The Great Scandinavian Baking Book. I have never made pressed cookies, but I did buy some cookie presses. I didn’t expect the cookie dough to be so soft and sticky. After about the 8th cookie, O and I got into a good rhythm of dusting the cookie presses with lots of flour before filling them with dough and pressing out the cookies. They aren’t perfect but they were homemade.
This year Santa got one of our Pressed Butter Cookies, a glass of our favourite Vitasoy soy milk and one carrot for his reindeer. I figured we didn’t want to overfill him or his reindeers, since they would be eating something similar in every other house they would be visiting.
On Christmas day we started with these delicious Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls (minus the raisins) from Chloe’s Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli. I have made her Pumpkin scrolls a long time ago, but this was the first time for this recipe. They were so delicious! All the evaporated cane sugar and cinnamon that I used in the filling caramelized inside and on the bottom of the scrolls, making them that much more decadent. I was able to make them the day before and bake them first thing in the morning. This is much easier and gave us time to open presents and make an early start on lunch prep.
My lunch menu was very simple this year. It was centred around a Pork Loin stuffed with apples, rosemary and sage that I bought from my local organic butcher. It was served with Thyme roasted vegetables of garlic, carrots, celery, and onions; Maple roasted brussels sprouts, Hassleback potatoes and sweet potato with homemade breadcrumbs and Pecorino; and simple cut salad. Everything turned out pretty good. My only issue was that my pork loin didn’t have any crackling. None of my knives were strong enough to break the skin, so I wasn’t able to score it. I really should have called my brother, who is a chef to ask him what to do. We spoke later that day and he gave me some tips for next time. Everyone was a huge fan of the hassleback potatoes and brussels sprouts, which is not something you would normally see on a Serbian dinner table.
For dessert, I made a Summer Berry Pie à la mode from Chloe’s Kitchen. I made the dough the day before and let it warm up prior to putting it together. I also defrosted and strained the frozen berries, since they are moist enough without added juices. My latticework was a bit rushed so it didn’t come out as pretty, but I don’t think anyone noticed. Everyone loved it, especially my borderline diabetic father-in-law and blackberry hating child. It wasn’t very sweet since I had used Evaporated cane sugar in the dough and none for the filling. But with a scope of vanilla ice cream, it was sweet enough.
So that was my quiet little Christmas. How was your Christmas this year? What did get? What did you eat?
Oh, I nearly forgot. I’m going on a trip in a few weeks to Tasmania! I’ve never been to Tasmania, so I’m super excited to explore this island state. I’ve heard the food is amazing and the scenery is gorgeous. We will do a seven-day road trip from Hobart, to Queenstown, Launceston, Port Arthur and back to Hobart. There will also be a few other stops in between of small towns. So excited to do my last trip before the baby comes.
On day 6, one of our stops was the amazing American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) on the Upper West Side. It was established back in 1869 and is the largest natural history museum in the world. If you haven’t heard of it, you probably recognise it from films like Wonderstruck and the Night in the Museum trilogy.
The AMNH has several permanent exhibition halls, as well as special temporary exhibitions. The halls include Biodiversity and Environmental Halls, Bird and Reptiles and Amphibians Halls, Earth and Planetary Sciences Halls, Fossil Halls, Grand Gallery, Human Origins and Cultural Halls, Mammal Halls, Rose Center for Earth and Space, Theodore Roosevelt Memorial and the Discovery Room. Each of the halls has one to six specific exhibitions within them.
If you would like to visit this museum you can find Ticket prices are quite reasonable and are cheaper for students, seniors and children. Within the museum, there are also a variety of cafes and food courts, but you can also bring your own food. The museum also offers Sleepovers for children and adults, as well as a range of public and self-guided museum tours. To see the layout, see the map.
Our biggest interest to visit the museum was to see the fossils of dinosaur, animals and human species, as well as geographical cultural and animal life-like displays. So you can see the photos I took are mostly from these sections. We didn’t get around to see all the permanent exhibitions in a few hours. So you plan on seeing it all, make sure you have the entire day. Its unforgettable experience, especially if your a museum junkie like me.
My favourite halls were definitely the North American Mammals and Human Origins species. The halls vary in terms of standard of displays. Some were better lite and detailed, others were a little bland. However, when you compare this with other museums, it’s pretty spectacular as a whole. I did have trouble photographing with the dim lighting and hundreds of other visitors, but I tried as best I could. If you would like to know what I actually photographed, just press the pictures, as I have meticulous labelled most sections.
I’m a bit late posting my Christmas list and traditions this year. I’ve just been so busy with wrapping up kindy, ballet, pregnancy appointments and Christmas shopping. I am finished most of my Christmas shopping and organising my partners birthday. If he isn’t hard enough to buy for already, he needs double the surprises within one week from each other. So Christmas day organisation is not something I have had to a chance to think much about yet. All I know is that its going to be a quiet one this year, since most of my family is in Europe for a white Christmas. Feeling so jealous in this +35 degree heat.
My Christmas list
As usually, most of my Christmas list will be fulfilled by myself and hopefully a couple of things from Marco. To be honest, being my own Santa has been the best thing I’ve been doing the past few years. I never disappoint myself and its an excuse to buy things I have been wanting all year (or just discovered I wanted) while its on sale. I also love wandering around the shops, passing Christmas decorating and listening to the festive music. This year I have had to limit my shopping to 2 hours at a time, as I have been struggling to walk any longer without being utterly exhausted. However, these short trips have been a good excuse to get some walking in most days.
So the images below are some of the items I have already got squirrel away and others I still want. I didn’t want too many colouring books this year. I have so many that I can’t get through, which I haven’t even started. I did want a lot of new cooking books though. I have discovered a few new recipe books that came out this year and Christmas is the best excuse to get them. I am hoping the ones I have ordered will arrive on time.