101 Lunch Box Ideas and a Lunch Box Planner!

Can you believe it has now been 7 years since I first started packing lunchboxes on this blog! The days are long but the years are so short.

What has changed in that time?  We now have Master O entering his last year of Primary school, so no more cute shaped sandwiches or bento lunch boxes.  Its all about BULK!  That kid eats more than an adult!  Little Miss A is STILL THE FUSSIEST eater you have ever seen.  She tends to request the same lunch EVERY day!  Our little Hurricane is now in full time Pre-Prep and lucky for us they supply all his food. He is by far our best and biggest eater and will request eggs with smoked salmon and French toast for breakfast.

But lunchboxes…..Our 101 ideas is essential to keeping the variety going because come mid term, I am OVER making lunch decisions.  The planner helps ensure we are fulfilling a variety of dietary requirements and nutritional needs.  Even better the planner has been helpful in nurturing independent packers of lunch boxes.  They each know they need to pack something form each category.


Don’t forget if you use it to share a picture on Instagram (tag @theorganisednest or Facebook)

Bento Lunch Ideas



Happy Planning!

How We Keep Our Bathrooms Clean

So apparently with 3 kids and 3 bathrooms, I may actually have a few tips about keeping bathrooms clean! Well HARPIC think so, so they have asked me to share my tips on keeping bathrooms clean.

Bathroom Cleaning

Oh boy have I learnt a thing or two about keeping bathrooms clean since we built this house!  We have 3 bathrooms.  1 downstairs, the main bathroom (for the kids) upstairs and our ensuite.  They all have their down points and some get used more and get messier than others (yep the kids bathroom can get out of control!)

So today I am sharing a few ways I am attempting to keep on top of the bathroom cleaning.


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It literally takes less than three minutes.

  • 10 seconds to squirt toilet with Harpic White & Shine
  • 30 seconds to wipe the mirror
  • 30 seconds to wipe the bench
  • 30 seconds to tidy.
  • 1 minute to go back to the toilet and swipe, flush and wipe over (I use the flushable wipes pictured below)

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I do the downstairs bathroom in the morning just before we leave for the day.  Our ensuite when I am getting ready to go out and the kids bathroom at night after their bath. By doing just a little each day, the bathroom stays relatively clean during the week especially handy when unexpected visitors drop in!


We divide this big job into two parts.

The shower cleaning part of the job is relegated to the husband.  I have a bad neck and am a shortie from way back so the job is much easier for him! On the weekend he will give the showers a good scrub.

The tidying/organsing/floors/washing I do during the week on my designated bathroom cleaning day. (you can see my cleaning schedule HERE)


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She not only helps to bath the “baby” but loves to tidy up the bath! Especially when I give her a wet washer to do the “wiping.”

After their bath it is their job to

  • clean up bath toys and products
  • wipe the bench (with baby wipes!)
  • mop up any water around the bath tub
  • hang all the towels up,
  • check their is toilet paper.


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In our bathroom my makeup was causing a big problem.  I had its all organised in a drawer but I had too much of it and it was eaitly accessible for little fingers to make a mess with!!!!  I have had a big clean out and declutter (thanks to the Konmari method) and now store it in this cheap container on the vanity bench.

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We are lucky enough to have lots of bathroom cupboards which is not only fantastic for storage but easy to put child locks on! I organise each basket and keep them locked away in here.

The less you have in your bathroom, the less there is to clean up!


  •  I keep all the bathroom cleaning products locked in the bathroom cupboard x3. Yep one lot in each bathroom.  This makes it super quick and easy to grab those few spare minutes and do a quick clean.

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  • I have a slight obsession with Blue Loo.  It cleans, looks nice and keeps the bathroom smelling good. For us the in cistern type work better as I have a toddler who loves to attempt to pull the cages out (TRUE STORY)  I have found a “long lasting” version that really does last the distance and hence requires less dirty work by me!

It really is the little things that make life easier, for us these seemingly little jobs make a big difference in how much time we spend cleaning and how clean our house is.

Do you have any bathroom cleaning tips?


The Erin Condren Teacher Planner

It’s HERE!  After much anticipation the new ERIN CONDREN TEACHER PLANNER has been released!  I have had two years with my EC Teacher Planner and I LOVE IT!  Its practical, functional, colourful and so much more gorgeous to look at then your regular Teacher Planner.  It comes with pockets, a sheet protector, stickers and also a whole range of additional extras.  That is a whole other post!  But what I get asked about the most is…..it “looks” great but what are the “guts” of the planner like.  So I am now going to take you on a little tour!


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Ready To Ship Cover

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Personalised Cover

There are two kinds of cover for your planner

1. Ready To Ship (RTS)   If you in a hurry (which I doubt most Australians are as we still have 6 months left of the current school year) Ready To Ship means your cover will be standard (see pic above) with no personalisation but it will get to you super fast!

2. Personalised. For me one of the things I love most about everything Erin Condren is the personalisation.  If you choose this option your planner will take longer to ship but three are literally dozens of cover options!

ALL covers are

  • wire coil bound
  • interchangeable (they remove off the coil when you feel like changing them)
  • laminated
  • durable
  • colourful
  • double sided


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On the first page of the planner you have the inside image of your cover on the left and on the right your contact information/cover page.  Here you can also see the tabs which are laminated and colourful.


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Motivational quote pages are scattered throughout the planner and the first one is on the next page followed by a handy page to record personal information, passwords etc


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Ok here is the first teeny issue with the planner for Australian teachers.  The important dates are printed according to the american school year.  This is an easy fix.  Using the blank stickers at the back of your planner you can simply re-label the headings, changing them into the calendar year order.


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A birthday chart.  Again it’s in the American year order, BUT I leave it as in Queensland students are enrolled according to their age in a July-June year.  So the oldest students will have their birthdays in July and the youngest in June.  I actually find this incredibly helpful.  Especially as I always teach in the younger grades I often look at test results, behaviour, social skills and adjust my expectations based on their age/development.


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I use this page a bit differently as our attendance is recorded electronically. I use these in two ways.

  1. To record who is absent for assessment pieces.  I write the assessment name in the name column, the date in the next and the students who miss the assessment in the reason column.  I then tick off in the note column when I have caught them up with the assessment.
  2. I also use a set of the pages to record when parents notify my in advance of upcoming time off school for holidays, surgery etc.


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I love to rearrange my classroom!  This makes it so easy! You could also use it to chart reading levels or results.


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Again it’s in the American order. I LOVE the way this example tracks different curriculum in colour codes across the year!  I use it in the same way but using the curriculum codes I need to cover and asses in each term.  This year I think I will also use it to colour code with my job share partner who is covering what!


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For us Australians you can request during the personalisation stage of purchase to have a January start so your months are in Calendar year order instead of financial year order.  The Monthly layouts are double page, Sunday start with a column for notes and a quick reference calendar.  The monthly layouts are UNDATED but the planner comes with colourful date dot stickers to label!

WEEKLY LAYOUT (40 double pages)

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The planner comes with 40 WEEKS worth of weekly layouts.  It is a horizontal layout with days down the rows and periods or curriculum across the top.  I have seen am nay people that have reversed the layout!  They covered the days with periods or curriculum and used the boxes across the top for days.  I use it as intended but do not write the subjects in at the top.  I work in a P-12 school so we all use a 6 period day.  I write the Period and time across the top, but as my “subjects” change each day depending on my timetable, specialist lessons, assemblies etc.  I just use the lines in the rows to write the subject and a basic outline of what I am covering.

CHECKLISTS (7 double spreads)

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Oh this would have to be one of my favourite parts! look at those colours!  No more going cross eyed trying to read marks in gray boxes!  You can even add more checklist pages, for a small additional cost (a few dollars).

STICKERS!!!! (4 pages)

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Get sick of writing the same things over and over again?  You can use a pre printed sticker instead! There are two sheets of pre-printed stickers and two sheets of blank stickers for you to write on yourself.  Pre printed stickers include things like reminders, testing dates, report cards due, library time, emergency drills, assemblies and staff meetings.  If you need more you can order additional “event” stickers in the accessories section of the website!


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A double sided, durable, laminated finish pocket to hold all those pieces of paper in.  This has undergone a few changes each year since I have had one!


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Each planner comes with ONE plastic sheet protector but you can add more (for $1.50 each) when you personalise it through the check out process.  Right at the back there is also a small zippered clear pouch great for all those little extra bits and pieces.

and then the back cover!  As colourful and laminated as the front cover!

You can add a pen holder to the back cover but this is an additional extra.

A huge bonus to this planner is the massive range of accessories that you can buy to go with it, but that is a whole other post!

Now the COST!

It is usually $59USD but is currently 25% off.  You can also get a further $10 off by using this link ;

International Shipping is $19.95 which is a lot cheaper than it used to be.  Don’t forget many employers will reimburse you for some of the cost of a planner and it’s also a tax deduction!

Erin Condren have a great loyalty program and the more you buy, the more you save.  I am up to my fifth purchase which then gives me a $25 voucher.


*This is not a sponsored post and I am not paid by Erin Condren (I just love the stuff!) but I do get a $10 credit every time someone uses my referral link!



Meal Plan Monday

Meal planning is my saviour.  Lately I have completely fallen of the bandwagon.  Not sure why or how but it has to stop!  I have started spending way too much money on little every second day shops.  So here it is this weeks Meal Plan.


Roast Lamb with CousCous and Roast Mediterranean Veg.

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This is a family fave.  Lamb is a protein that EVERYONE including my pickiest Little Miss A will eat.  Our Roast Veg. are Eggplant, Zucchini, Capsicum, Pumpkin and Potato. Even better the left overs make a great salad for me to take to work the next day.


Beef Stroganoff

Work day for me so slow cooker it is!  Unlike some though I don’t like to have it in there all day as I love when the meat is chunky!  Served With rice and steamed Brocollini.


Pumpkin and Fetta Agnolotti with Basil Pesto sauce.

Another work day for me and this is the EASIEST, QUICKEST dinner and takes literally 5 minutes.  Woolworths recently had a 1/2 price special on these ready made pastas so I grabbed a few and threw them in the Freezer.  For the sauce?  Graba container of Basil pesto dip and stir through while the pasta is hot!  Master O and the baby love it, and Little Miss A will have the pasta plain.


Lemon Crumbed Chicken with Caesar Salad

This is on weekly rotation in our house!  Either using drumsticks (cheap as chips) or Chicken Thighs marinate in  lemon and Olive oil, crumb, roast in the oven and serve!  SIMPLE!



Salmon and Vegie Mash

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Ok so Salmon is a bit pricey BUT I recently found 4 packs at Aldi for under $13!!!!  I have everything crossed it wasn’t a special item and becomes a regular line in their store as we all LOVE salmon.  Vegie mash is a fave with my boys and I am literally able to throw every veg imaginable in it and they will eat it.  Little Miss A on the other hand will not eat either Salmon or Vegie Mash so she will be having steamed potato, broccoli and Sausages (keeping it real peeps)

All images taste.com.au








Creating a Family Launch Pad ~ What we used

Boy has this been a long time coming!  Over the years we have had various versions of school stations, organisation stations, launch pads but none have quite been as HUGE as this one. 

Introducing our Family Launch Pad.


Our Family Launch Pad ~ The Organised Nest

So what is a “Launch Pad?’ It is a place for us as a family to “Launch” into our day, whatever it holds. Whether it’s off to school, grocery shopping, out on a family trip, basically anything that involves leaving the house!

Before I go into how this works for us, the most common question I get is how we created it.  You need to start at IKEA.

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IKEA – KALLAX – 1×4 Shelving Unit

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IKEA – KALLAX – Insert with 2 Drawers

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IKEA – KALLAX – 2 x4 Shelving Unit

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IKEA – TROFAST – Storage box

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 When assembling the Kallax 1 x 4 shelving unit, we simply left one shelf out so that we would have an extra high space to fit a school bag.

You could alter this setup to include more or less family members or tailor it to your own individual budget.  We already had the Trofast boxes and the 2 x4 shelving unit in Master O’s room where it sat disorganised and created a toy dumping ground.  The most expensive part of this was the drawers.  To cut costs you could use  shelves (also sold as part of the Kallax range) or just use the Kallax as is.  We have a really open plan lower level of the house so I wanted this unit to be as disguised as possible so for me the drawers were the answer.  Be warned the drawers sit inside the unit so you loose a bit of space but we still comfortably fit a pair of shoes (or two kindy size) or a library bag and book, or homework folder in one.

In the next post I will detail how we use it!!!! Can somebody say LOVE!  This is already up there with the best Organising feature of our home!!!