Amanda Brunker: 'Why I dread the Easter holidays'
Hands up who dreads the Easter holidays?
Yes, if like me, you're almost enraged about the amount of time your kids are getting off school, you'll probably be in a head-spin trying to figure out how to occupy them.
Seriously, my kids are getting three weeks. In my book, that's too much time off. I'm all up for being patriotic and eating chocolate but I don't need a greedy three weeks to do that.
My concerns are the same as everyone else's. I'm not looking forward to the arguments that come with spending too much time together. Several items in my house will inevitably be broken with the extended wrestling sessions that will take place. But I'll take a fractured lamp over an arm or skull anytime…
The only break I want to hear this Easter is the snapping sound of a large Cadbury's Malteser egg, so universe, please don't include a trip to A&E over the Easter break for me. Thanking you in advance!
But of course, the main worry is money. School holidays are always expensive. Whether you're forking out for camps or just days out, money is essential.
So what can we do to make life easier? Well, I've a few suggestions that could make life a little less stressful.
I know everyone who follows me on social media thinks I'm mad with the baking, but honestly, it's the cheapest way to give your kids treats. PLUS, it's a great way of bonding and filling up the empty evenings.
If you're clueless when it comes to recipes, pick up a few of the ready-made cake mixes and buy a few cheap baking tins in Dealz or Aldi. There's hours of fun to be had with baking and you'll save yourself a fortune on sweet stuff at the shops.
If you want to take it a step further, you could buy ice-pop moulds and make (with the kids obviously) your own ice lollies with fruit juices or cordial… but that might lead to jinxing the weather, so probably best to hold off on that activity 'til later in the year.
Okay, let's get even more practical. Babysitting… if you work you'll need help. Have you got your support network organised yet?
I've always been blessed with two grandmothers that dote on my sons, but if you don't have that luxury, you got to reach out to friends, neighbours, school mums and organise time-sharing your kids.
Look at community groups that will accept children on a daily basis, which is much more cost effective than signing them up to camps for a whole week.
Another tip for saving money: charity shops. They're a great places to pick up board games and new gifts. For the ¤30 you'd waste in Smyths, you could give the kids four or five euro and they'd shop like kings in St Vincent de Paul.
Lastly, considering the centenary that's in it. I think we'd all like to educate our kids a little better about our history; and ourselves as well. So get out to our museums and make the most of them. Remember, all the Easter Rising sites will be busy, so get there early. (Note: Kilmainham Gaol advises come before 11:30am or you'll be refused)
Best of luck to us all!