School Lunchbox Ideas – The Kindergarten Version

When Miss C started school this year, so did the school lunch box requirements.  Her previous day-care supplied meals, and pre-school only required limited packed food, but starting kindergarten meant that she had to take a full packed lunch everyday. Actually –  it is more like morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea – with pretty strict school requirements on what can and cannot be sent. Anything with nuts is banned, (although I think that is pretty usual these days), pre-packaged food should be avoided and there must be a piece of fresh fruit for the appropriately named ‘fruit break’ in the morning.*

Needless to say I am slowly but surely figuring our what works, and what doesn’t, and am always on the lookout for ideas to keep her lunchbox selections varied. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of days when a vegemite sandwich and whatever fruit I can find lurking in the bottom of the fridge make an appearance, but for the most part I’m lucky that Miss C will generally eat most of what I pack – whatever that might be.

For example, here are Miss C’s lunches from last week:

Day 1: Apple for morning tea, ham and cheese sandwich, cucumber, carrots and sultanas for lunch, and some homemade muesli bars for afternoon tea.

Day 2: Grapes for morning tea, rice crackers with jam, berries and lamington balls for lunch, banana for afternoon tea.

Day 3:  Sliced oranges for morning tea, pasta (leftover from dinner the night before), grapes, dried apricots and a few pretzels for lunch, popcorn for afternoon tea.

Day 4: Banana for morning tea, ham, cheese and lettuce roll ups, cucumber, homemade muesli bar and blueberries for lunch, cheese and crackers for afternoon tea.

Day 5:  Sliced apple for morning tea, a “monster” cheese sandwich, carrots, cucumber and lamington balls for lunch, and popcorn for afternoon tea.

So there you have it – a week of school lunches!

So what generally works for us?

  • Fresh fruit – generally apples, grapes, pears, bananas, oranges, mandarins, berries, watermelon and stone fruit (when in season).
  • Vegetables such as carrots and cucumbers (cherry tomatoes will be sent home uneaten)
  • Plain popcorn, dried fruit, pretzels, muesli bars, home-baked goods for snacks
  • Leftover pasta
  • Cheese and crackers and homemade biscuits

What I try to send but comes back uneaten (accompanied with a look of disgust from Miss C)?

  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Snowpeas
  • Dips

(ps. While I’m all for healthy foods for all, I must say, the ‘rules’ and ‘restrictions’ were quite confronting when we first started packing lunches**, particularly as we are a household that tries to practice the ‘everything in moderation’ mantra. I can only imagine what would be said if I sent Miss C with the sort of lunch that I took to school as a kid. For I suspect that a squashed vegemite sandwich (flattened by the apple that was put in the same brown paper bag), an OJ prima and a mini bag of crisps would probably not cut it.  And let’s not even mention the sneaky Big M and chocolate jam donut from the canteen….)

* I had the ‘audacity’ to send tinned fruit for morning tea a while back – and received a ‘friendly reminder’ of this fact. Yes the school lunch mafia is reaI, people!

** ie. the tinned fruit school lunch mafia….

What about you? Got any lunchbox tips?

Healthy Lamington Balls

This week’s healthy lunchbox treat was named by Miss C. For she is a big fan of lamingtons, and declared these little balls to be rather similar to lamingtons when I packed some in her lunchbox.

But, unlike their cake counterparts, these little balls have no butter, sugar or flour. Rather, they are sweetened with medjool dates, and given their chocolate flavour with some cacao powder.

Some I rolled in coconut….

Others I kept ‘plain’…

But both came together beautifully, and we now have a big bowl of these lamington balls in the fridge to ‘grab and go’ when the afternoon slump hits.

Kid approved!

Print Recipe
Healthy Lamington Balls
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
balls
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
balls
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Process the oats and sunflower seeds in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Add the dates, coconut, honey, chia seeds, coconut oil and cacao powder- and process until combined. Add a little water if you think the mixture needs more liquid.
  3. Roll into balls (and coat with extra coconut if you like). I wet my hands a little to help with this step.
Recipe Notes

These balls are best stored in the fridge.

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Healthier Honey Bubble Bars

Now that I have a little more time on my hands, I’m keen to get back into the kitchen. To develop new recipes, and generally get creative!

In particular, I want to create some lunchbox treats. Lately I’ve been relying on pre-packaged snacks all too often for the kids, and their ingredient list is far from desirable.

So with the rain falling heavily outside the other day, I got to work on my first lunchbox treat.

A healthier honey bubble bar.

As soon as I began pulling bowls out of the drawer, Little J arrived curiously at the kitchen bench. Actually, she is quite the shadow when I am in the kitchen, always eager to help out. And this being a no-bake treat, well that was just perfect for little hands!

I measured out the ingredients, and she poured them all into a big bowl and gave them a good stir. “Pat-pat-patting” the slice into the baking tin was also a big hit.

In the mix? Puffed rice, shredded coconut, chia seeds, sunflower kernels, butter and honey. Oh some chocolate chips for a little indulgence too.

Pressed into a lined tray, and allowed to firm up overnight in the fridge.

The following day, it was simply a matter of slicing the mixture into bars.

The bars were sweet, without being over-sweet, although I made the rookie mistake of adding the chocolate chips before the melted butter and honey (ie. the chocolate melted).

The honey also made the bases a little sticky,  so I wrapped each bar in some baking paper for ease of transport.

And just like that, my baking mojo has officially returned! Not to mention being able to share some time in the kitchen with Little J.

Stay tuned for more lunchbox treats in the weeks to come!

Healthier Honey Bubble Bars

  • 4 cups puffed rice
  • 2 tbs chia seeds
  • 3 tbs sunflower seeds
  • 1.5 cups shredded coconut
  • 125g butter
  • 220g honey
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  1. Grease and line a slice tray with baking paper.
  2. Combine the puffed rice, chia seeds, sunflower seeds and coconut in a large bowl.
  3. Heat the butter and honey in the microwave until melted and combined. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir to coat the mixture well. Add the chocolate chips and stir.
  4. Press firmly into the lined tray, and place in the fridge overnight to firm.
  5. Remove from the fridge, and cut into slices. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

Ten tips for cruising with kids

I have to start this post by clarifying a few things.

First, I am in no way an expert when it comes to cruising with kids. I simply picked up a few tips along the way, that I thought would be nice to share (particularly for those who are thinking of taking a cruise with kids in the near future!)

Second – I am sure that some of these tips may not work for you.  This is simply a collection of what things worked for us (and what things didn’t!). I am acutely aware that every family is unique, with different needs and routines.

Third – This was our first big holiday with two kids, with C being almost 4, and J having just turned 1. I am certain that our experience would have been completely different if the kids were older.

But now, let’s get to it!

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1. Establish a Holiday Routine

“What?” I hear you say. Routine, with kids, on a holiday??

Yes this routine-loving gal made sure to try and keep both kids on a pretty regular routine (albeit a holiday-relaxed routine) even though we were in a new environment. I felt as if it provided some structure to our day, and the girls knew what to expect next.

J still required two naps per day, and although they were not taken in their usual cot, we made sure to give her plenty of opportunity to get the rest she needed. Most of the time she took a nap in the pram, and sometimes in the Ergo, but we kept her nap times pretty much to schedule.

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Generally our days went something like this: Up, breakfast, nap for Josie, gym, kids club & play (or Island adventure), lunch, nap for Josie, pool & play (or Island adventure), baths, dinner, bed for the kids.

We took the early dinner time-slot (5.45pm), meaning that both girls could be tucked up in bed not long after 7pm each night.

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On that note – don’t forget to pack your little one’s favourite teddy! I think having “Scout” and “Teddy” along with us assisted with the change in environment, and also made for smoother bedtimes as both girls had their bed buddies.

IMG_67982. Take enough nappies to cover the whole cruise

J is obviously still in nappies, and we made sure to take enough nappies and wipes  to cover the whole holiday. Yes, it took up a tonne of room in our suitcase – but it meant that we didn’t have to go searching for spares (and pay, what I expect, would have been top dollar) if we ran out.

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We also took a tonne of swim nappies, however once on board we realised that that non-toilet trained kids were not allowed in the pool (even with a swim nappy on). So we probably could have saved some suitcase space by leaving those at home.

3. Don’t forget the other ‘regular’ items

For us, a few things spring to mind as having been invaluable.

I made sure to pack a muslin cloth that we could cover the pram with to help J fall asleep. Without it she would fight her nap, but with it, she would generally fall asleep within minutes.

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Ahem, well most of the time…..

We also packed our baby monitor which worked a treat in the evenings. We would put the girls to bed in our room, then hang out in our family’s adjoining room – with the monitor easily reaching between the two.

And, if your kids are anything like mine, one (or both) of them will inevitably get sick. We didn’t face anything too major whilst away, but J did have a never-ending runny nose and spiked a couple fevers. Thankfully we had brought an ’emergency medical kit’ with us – including panadol, baby nurofen, bandaids, stingose and the thermometer.

4. Food, food and more food

I don’t know about you, but our kids love to snack.

On board, there was a lot of food available at the scheduled meal times – but in between the offerings were quite slim (and mainly consisted of hot chips, ice-cream and pizza).

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So I brought some ziplock bags with me – and at breakfast each morning I made a couple extra sandwiches to ‘take away’. I also grabbed some fruit and yoghurt to keep in the fridge in our room. That way, the girls could snack on some healthier options throughout their day (although they did still have their fair share of hot chips and ice-cream too!).

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5. Pack the pram and carrier

We took a small pram on the ship, that folded up easily and was not heavy at all. Not only was it great for moving a non-walker from place to place throughout the day, it was a useful ‘nap’ option as mentioned above.

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I also took the Ergo carrier which was perfect for our shore excursions – and when the pram was not going to be convenient.

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On that note, it pays to properly understand the shore excursions beforehand. We did have one incident where we thought we could take the pram – however we realised at the last minute that the ‘train’ was too small and we had to wake up a sleeping J and dash back to the ship to swap the pram for the carrier.

6. Call ahead for a cot

I was advised that the ship only has a limited number of cots, so I made sure to call well in advance to secure one. In truth, I was fretting about the logistics of getting two kids, two massive suitcases, two backpacks and the pram from the train to the ship (and then on-board!) so not having to worry about finding an extra arm to carry a portacot too was a relief!

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7. Take your bottle to dinner and have the waiters fill it with warm milk

J has a bottle of warm cows milk each evening before bed. The only problem was – how to get heated milk?

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Our dinner waiters were more than happy to oblige our request to fill the bottle with warm milk each evening after we finished our meal, which I then took back to our cabin. Brilliant!

8. Use the laundry service

I was on holiday and therefore had no desire to spend a day washing, drying and ironing clothes. The laundry service was a perfect alternative – with a 24 hour turnaround and reasonable fees.

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And, as you know, adventurous kids go through a lot of clothes!

9. Split the kids up at dinner

Ok this was possible as we were cruising with 6 other people, so I appreciate that it might not work for everyone.

Basically, our kids are pretty ‘new’ to formal dining environments (probably because we don’t, in all reality, go out to restaurants all that often).

Well, the first dinner was rather horrible. J didn’t want to sit still and kept throwing things on the floor and trying to get out of the high-chair. C, being her usual energetic self, didn’t want to sit still long enough to eat her dinner (she is pretty picky these days).

The combination of the two kids together + 2 nagging parents alongside = not a fun night at all.

So, the next night we decided to change tactics. We positioned the kids at opposite ends of the table – with Mr BBB and I alternating which child we sat next to each evening (and the our other family members playing musical chairs in between).

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We found this really improved the situation, and let us both have some one on one time with the girls. Add in the understanding waiters (and their dance and origami skills) and well dinner times became a lot more fun!

Tips for new cruisers – In addition to the regular dinner menu, there was also special kids menu which included all the usual suspects  – burgers, fish, pasta etc. We would usually order one meal for the girls to share, with a plate of vegetables on the side, and C generally ordered jelly for dessert. 

10. Make use of the Kids Club

Where do I begin?

C absolutely LOVED kids club – particularly as it meant she could escape from the adults and hang out with kids her own age for a few hours.

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Similar to the brochure outlining all the on-board activities, there was a full schedule of kids activities for the various age-groups on board.

We registered both girls for Kids Club on the day we boarded, and they were given a wrist band to wear for the remainder of the cruise. We were also allocated a mobile phone that the Club staff could call us on if they needed too.

C was in the 2 to 5 years program, which had activities running from 10am to 1am on sea days (yes you read that right, 1am?!), and 7:45am to 1am on Island days. The club closed for a couple hours before dinner, and did not supply lunch.

There were far more limited hours that J, being under 2, could use the Club. A few hours in the morning before the older kids arrived, and some hours later in the day (again when the bigger kids were away). We therefore didn’t use it a lot for her, just a few times while we were at the gym.  Actually, the whole cruise was probably the most frustrating for J as she is not yet walking – and couldn’t just roam free like she would around the house. But we made use of our balcony and the quieter parts of the upper decks that were a little quieter so that she could crawl around and burn off some energy!

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Tips for new cruisers: We expected that there might be a nanny or baby sitting service on board, however that was not the case. Kids Club stayed open quite late, but there was no option to have a baby-sitter watch the kids in your room or separately. 

So there you have it…..cruising with kids, in a nutshell.  We found it challenging at times, but mostly rewarding, and I felt like our little family adapted really well to our time on the sea.

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It was a great opportunity to spend some quality time together, with the added bonus of having to only unpack once!

I hope you enjoyed this little series about our cruising adventure. I’ll be back to regular food and fitness blogging soon, but in case you missed the other posts in the series, here are the links:

What about you? Do you have any tips for cruising with kids?

 

Our Carnival Legend Cruise – The Details

If you follow me on Instagram, you would have noticed that my feed has recently been filled with all things sunshine, seas and sailing.

IMG_6834 For our family took a long overdue holiday – a 9 night cruise around New Caledonia. It was our first cruise, and our first holiday with two kids, and we didn’t have a great idea beforehand of what exactly we were getting ourselves into.

But we returned home relaxed and happy, a little sun-kissed and otherwise filled with fond memories of our time on “the sea”.

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A few of you have enquired about our cruise experience generally. While I could regale you with endless pictures of tropical islands and my assessment of the best to worst cocktails on board (which I may or may not do at a later time…) perhaps a run-down of the finer details would be of more benefit to any of the cruise-newbies out there?

I’ll break it down into a few parts though – mainly to keep it from becoming an epic-novel:

  • Part 1 – The Details
  • Part 2 – The Islands
  • Part 3 – The Highlights
  • Part 4 – 10 tips for cruising with Kids

So grab a cocktail and let’s do this!

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PART 1 – THE DETAILS

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The Planning

Running a small business means that we cannot just step away and take ‘leave’ in the way that you do in a regular employment environment. Rather, we had to plan well in advance – so much so that we found ourselves researching possible cruises back January 2015 – i.e. over a year ago. The idea of only having to unpack once, and having catering and the like all taken care of, was definitely the appeal of taking a cruise rather than another form of holiday. And as for destinations – well we are all lovers of warmer weather – so an Island getaway sounded just perfect.

Searching through Cruise Republic – we came across a cruise that fitted in with our  schedules and we booked it pretty much straight away. We also asked Mr BBB’s family if they would like to join us – and they jumped at the chance – so we soon had ourselves quite the family adventure planned!

The Cruise

We chose a 9-night New Caledonia cruise on the Carnival Legend, an impressive 2000+ capacity ship that seemed to have fun for all ages on board.

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We departed from Sydney – spending a couple days at sea before visiting Isle of Pines, Lifou and Noumea. We were supposed to visit another Island (Mare) however the cyclone in Fiji prevented that, so we had an extra sea day on the return trip home instead.

The Booking

We booked through an online agent – Cruise Republic – which was a relatively simple process from start to finish. I placed a call with the agent to confirm which room he thought would suit our needs, and he recommended a suite. He also helpfully suggested that we book rooms on the left side of the ship as this was the side that normally faced the islands when the ship docked (ie they usually gave a better view).

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I loved that the online booking system let us view the rooms, and reserve a particular cabin –  not just a cabin type. As such, we  were able to secure 3 balcony suites next door to each other – with a deposit being payable at the time of the booking (and the balance a few months before departure).

We were also able to finalise our booking online, adding passport numbers and dinner seating preferences before we set sail. An itinerary with boarding passes, luggage tags etc was emailed to us – which we could print off and take along.

In fact, the only time I needed to speak with someone regarding our booking (aside from the initial query regarding room type) was when I requested a cot be placed in our room for Josephine.  The rest of the process was completed online / by email.

*Tip for new cruisers: some cruises have policies in relation to minimum sail ages / pregnancy etc. For ours, Josie had to be at least one year old. 

Our room

We booked an Ocean suite – with the other family members grabbing similar suites either side of us.

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It was not the cheapest option, but certainly a comfortable one – with a king bed and a single bed (converted from a sofa) for Charlotte and a cot alongside our bed for Josie. There was also a pull-down bunk above the sofa had we needed an extra bed. I was surprised to see how much storage / cupboard / hanging space there was, and the bathroom was rather spacious too.

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As a bonus, once we were on board, the staff were able to open the doors connecting our family’s respective balconies to make one long balcony between the rooms. Great for passing between rooms, and giving the girls some extra room to play.

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Another nice touch was that you had the same housekeepers throughout the cruise, who would make up your room each morning and turn down the room each night. Anjana and Katrina (our housekeepers) would always greet us and the kids with a big smile, and were more than happy to help us in any way they could (be it getting some ice, or a power board etc).

Tip for new cruisers: there is only 1 or 2 power points in your room and they wont let you bring any double adaptors etc on board. They will, however, supply you with a power board on request when you embark.

On board

A big plus of this cruise was that I didn’t need to worry about carting my wallet around everywhere. Rather, at check-in, we were given a Sign & Sail card, which not only was our room key but basically our on-board EFTPOS card!

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Be it booking tours, ordering cocktails, buying photographs or even playing a few bingo games, everything was charged to the Sign & Sail card – with the balance being deducted from our bank account at the end of the cruise. There were machines around the ship that would allow us to check the running balance (cocktails can add up!) and I think you could also make cash deposits onto the card if you wanted to.

I appreciate that it could be a little dangerous if you didn’t keep track of your spending, but I really enjoyed being able to leave my room without lugging a purse around.

IMG_6749*Tip for new cruisers – The card did not come with the lanyard you see in the above photo – we purchased these from the gift shop soon after we boarded. It was much more handy ‘wearing’ the card, and the lanyard had a clip to remove the card when handing it over to make payment etc

Food

There was rarely a moment that I felt hungry on this cruise – not due to any lack of appetite but because as soon as one meal was over, we would generally be gearing up for the next.

We usually had breakfast early – around 7.30am – which was served Buffet Style on the Lido deck. There were both hot and cold breakfast options, tea, coffee, yoghurt, fruit and a tonne of pastries. Most mornings we kept it simple – eggs, toast and yoghurt  (and I’d often take some yoghurt, fruit and a few sandwiches back to our room in case the kids got hungry mid morning).

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For lunch on sea days, we would again generally hit the buffet, then eat it at one of the tables pool side. There were lots of hot lunch options (pasta, curry, soup, pies, sandwiches etc), and a well stocked salad bar. And dessert bar.

Many cocktails were consumed, generally by the pool while we swam and munched on hot chips from the outdoor all-day burger cafe (and snuck in a few ice-creams from the 24-hour soft serve machines too).

IMG_6751 Then there was dinner.

And what a wonderful part of our cruise that was.

Given the girls are still quite young, we chose the early dinner sitting at 5.30pm (I think the later one was at 7.45pm?). We were allocated the same table in the dining room each evening, and the same 3 friendly waiters – who made the whole dining experience fantastic.

IMG_5184 IMG_7259 Dinner was served ala-carte – with a range of options being available for entrée, main and dessert (half of the menu changed each evening). My girls aren’t the greatest when it comes to formal dining (more on that in my Cruising with Kids post), but the waiters didn’t seem to mind and always went out of their way to talk to them, dance and generally make them laugh.

*Tip for new cruisers – Most cruises have a couple ‘theme’ nights and ‘cruise elegant’ nights – which you may want to take into account when packing. Our cruise had two formal nights- where cocktail dresses / suits were recommended (and jeans / tshirts were discouraged). Our theme nights were Caribbean and Mexican – with menus and music to match! We didn’t dress in theme, but I did see some people in Hawaiian shirts and sombreros. 

Activities

I had an expectation before this holiday that cruising would allow you to be as active, or as idle, as you would like.

And that expectation was pretty much spot on.

Each evening our housekeeper would deliver a newsletter outlining the various activities on offer for the following day. From trivia, to scavenger hunts, to dance competitions and karaoke – there really was something for everyone. Most were free, although some had a small fee (such as bingo).

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Or, if you wanted to take it easy, there were a tonne of lounge chairs by the pool and on the upper decks – perfect for lazing and reading (not that we did much of either with two kids!).

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Speaking of the kids, Kids Club started from age 2 – and was  jam-packed with kid-friendly activities. Charlotte had a ball visiting for a couple hours most days and making lots of friends along the way. Although Josie was too young to attend the formal program, we could still take her to the play room at certain times of the day so that she could crawl around and play with the toys (again, more on that later).

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After dinner, there was also a full program of music, shows, comedy acts and pub trivia. We saw a few shows throughout the cruise, and also had some ‘down nights’ – convening in one of our family member’s rooms (after the girls had been put to bed next door) to play various games or just catch up on the days happenings.

Obviously our days on the Islands were a little different, but I’ll talk about those separately.

Exercise

I’d read that there was a jogging track on the ship, so I had grand plans of taking a daily run. Alas, it was on the very top deck, extremely windy, wet and only 100m long?!

Instead, if Josie woke early, I would take her for a walk around the ship (either on the lower outdoor deck which was 400m long, or even around the indoor corridors to get some steps in). Then, after breakfast, I hit up the gym for 30-45 minutes on the elliptical.

The gym itself was well equipped – with lots of cardio and weights equipment, and a spa. I found that working out on the moving ship could be a little nauseating on sea days, but not too bad when we were docked. Mr BBB and I made a pact that we would try to fit in a workout everyday and clock up 10,000 steps (as a way to (hopefully) counterbalance the abundance of good food and drinks) – and I am pleased to report that we were successful in our cruise-fitness mission!

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Other than the gym – you could also take the stairs between decks – which made for a nice little bit of incidental exercise too!

Getting there / getting away

As we live in Canberra, we had to travel to Sydney to board the ship. We weren’t all that keen on flying there, and parking would have cost us a fortune if we drove, so we all took the train up! It took approximately 4 hours to get to Central Station. From there we took a short train ride to Circular Quay where the ship was located.

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Once we arrived at the ship, the whole boarding process was amazingly smooth. We dropped our luggage off, headed through immigration, collected our room cards, went through security and voila.

We were on board.

We were then ushered to the dining room for lunch, snuck in a sneaky first cocktail by the pool, and then a few hours later we were advised that our rooms were ready – our luggage having been delivered straight there.

As for disembarkation, it was similarly seamless. We chose the ‘self help’ option, which allowed us to carry our own luggage off. The process started at 7.00am on our final day, and I think we were off the ship by 7.20am. Points for efficiency right there!

So there you have it, a little of the logistics of cruising in general. I’ll touch more on cruising with kids shortly, but if you have any questions in the meantime, please feel free to ask!

Otherwise – stay tuned for Part 2 – The Islands!

 

Blueberry Chia Muffins

IMG_4256 This weekend just gone, Mr BBB was away for both days. Which meant I had solo parenting duties all weekend – and no Saturday hike or Sunday brunch buddy. I did, however, spend a crazy amount of time making cardboard-box cars, nursing, painting, grocery shopping, nursing, walking, lego-ing, nursing, dancing, nursing….you get the idea! Oh and there was a trip to the vet with all in tow when the furry member of our family got into a neighbourhood scrap. Don’t get me wrong, we had a lot of fun together – but I was well and truly t-i-r-e-d when Sunday night rolled around (hats off to all the super-hero single parents out there!) I also spent a little time in the kitchen baking with Miss C.  And muffins – being relatively straightforward and kid-friendly – seemed the perfect treat to bake. IMG_4229 On the menu? Chia blueberry muffins – that turned out to be a little random when Miss C kept adding ingredients while my back was turned haha IMG_4240 She had a ball stirring all the ingredients together, and sprinkling the top with oats. IMG_4248 (^^ and sampling the yoghurt, by the looks of things….) IMG_4252 The end result? Well they were rather delicious.  Not as sweet as your regular muffins – but packed with bursts of blueberries and a little crunch from the chia seeds. IMG_4253 A tasty afternoon in the kitchen indeed. IMG_4257 Blueberry Chia Muffins (makes 10)

  • 2 cups self raising flour – sifted
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1ts cinnamon
  • 2 tbs chia seeds
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup natural yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oats + extra
  • 1/2 cup blueberries + extra
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a muffin pan with cases.
  2. Combine dry ingredients, and make a well in the centre.
  3. Combine eggs, oil, yoghurt and milk – and pour into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined, then fold through the blueberries and oats.
  4. Spoon into the muffin cases, and top with extra oats and blueberries.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes – or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

What about you? What is your favourite thing to cook with kids?

Canberra dining with kids – Kusina, Weston Creek

I think I mentioned it a little while ago, but Sundays are fast becoming our scheduled ‘brunch’ day.  Mr BBB has the day off work, we generally don’t have any plans, and we tend to find ourselves rather ravenous after a morning swim session.  C still takes a midday nap, so rather than lunch – we’ve preferred the comfort and convenience of a family brunch instead. And, knowing that in the not too distant future our “schedule” is likely to change once again, we’ve been testing out  new places over the past few months with a view to putting together a list of tried and true favourites.  The aim being to find places have an interesting menu, decent meals and are appropriate for an energetic toddler too! And all this ‘taste testing’ it gave me an idea for a new blog series… Canberra dining with kids  The first in this series, is a local Filipino restaurant  that we were pleased to see had recently extended their weekend trading hours (they used to shut down for a period between breakfast and lunch….) Kusina, Weston Creek We’ve actually been here once or twice for lunch, and were eager to try out their fares for brunch. The Service Upon arrival we were greeted with a big smile, and attentive service right from the start. Menus were provided, orders were taken, and in a matter of moments our drink orders arrived. The Food I don’t have a lot of experience when it comes to Filipino food, but all I can say is…yum! I *was* tempted by the “Ube pancakes” (being purple yam pancakes) but sadly they were only available until 11am…next time! Instead, we did our ‘usual’ brunch thing, and ordered a few dishes to share.  Tortang adobo (chicken omelette, served with garlic rice) and Longsilog (garlic sausage, also served with garlic rice and a fried egg)… PicMonkey Collage And, just because we could, we also ordered a side of pandesal – a slightly sweet bread that was nothing short of addictive! IMG_1983 Overall – it was a delicious meal – that had all the hallmarks what I am sure is Kusina’s family touch. For the kids? This is certainly a place where kids are made to feel welcome. C was given her own plastic cup as soon as we sat down (why don’t more places do this!!?) and some pencils and a colouring page. Therefore she was well and truly kept entertained while we waited for our meals. IMG_1977 Oh and they have my favourite plastic IKEA-type highchairs. No complicated strapping systems to be seen! Overall We all really enjoyed this brunch. The food was scrumptious, and a nice change from the usual brunch menu. The service was attentive, and speedy, which when you are dining with a restless toddler is always a plus! Definitely a place that we will be back to. The details Name: Kusina (check our their Facebook page
Where: Cooleman Court, Weston Creek ACT 2611.
Phone: 02 6288 8461 What about you? Have you tried Filipino food?

Banana maple muffins

IMG_6726 It is not unusual, these days, for me to wander around the house humming a nursery rhyme or children’s TV show theme song. For Charlotte loves music, and she certainly loves some of the shows ABC2 has to offer. IMG_6718 It generally only takes Mr BBB or I to start humming a tune, and I guarantee it will remain in both of our heads for the rest of the day. IMG_6720 On this occasion, it was Bananas in Pyjamas. All day. Those silly bananas….. IMG_6723 So it seemed only appropriate(or perhaps it was completely inappropriate ?!) – that I made a batch of banana muffins later in the day. IMG_6729 Flavoured with maple, and topped with walnuts, these were a tasty little treat indeed. IMG_6724 Shame they did nothing to get the tune out of my head! Oh how life has changed…. Banana muffins makes 8

  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 75g melted butter
  • 1.5 cups self raising flour
  • walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 180C, and line 8 muffin cups with liners.
  2. Mix banana with the sugar, egg, maple syrup and butter, until combined.
  3. Add the flour, and stir until just combined.c
  4. Spoon amongst the muffin pans, and top each with a couple walnuts.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.

What about you? Had any songs stuck in your head recently?