Monday, 31 December 2012

A New Year

 Well it's New Year's Eve and a time when I'm usually excited to reflect on the year gone by and the year ahead. We have certainly had some great times, some sad times and my kids have grown up way too fast!

Right now I'm finding it really hard to get into the excitement of 2013. While I am ever so grateful to be married to a wonderful man and have two beautiful healthy children I have a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach as I know that the year ahead is going to bring some very difficult times. I know that in the following year it is more than likely my husband will lose his father and my children their grandfather. 

The last several months have been extremely difficult for our little family. My father-in-law is very ill and we've been told that we could lose him anytime but in no certain time frame. The suggestion of a year was responded with unlikely. Currently he is hospitalised but soon arrangements will be made to his future living arrangements whether full time care at home or care in a home. My husband has been under an extreme amount of stress related to this. He has had to take over all his affairs, attended lots of meetings, filled out mountains of paperwork and sorted out some very complicated financial issues. There is so so so much more and I won't be going into all the details. I seriously don't know how my husband has still managed to run a business so well and professionally whilst spending time with his children and me. I love him dearly and my heart breaks to see him so emotionally, mentally and physically pushed to his limits.

One thing I do know was that if we had not taken gone away with his family for Christmas and had a well earned holiday he may well have had a breakdown. We don't have a lot of help with the kids, they are in our care pretty much 24/7. We were lucky enough in November to have family take the girls for a day at their house and that was pure bliss. I know many of you are in the same boat. I also know that it's just life and that everybody is busy with their own problems but it still doesn't change the fact that it's just plain hard at times. One other thing I have learnt is that kid's certainly do pick up on stress and it reflects in their behaviour.  I've had those moments of despair and exhaustion where I've sat on the kitchen floor and cried a bucket load of tears. 

Going away camping with my MIL and her husband over Christmas gave us some time out from our kids even though they were only a few meters away. Someone else was there to help give them breakfast, change nappies and entertain them. Isn't it amazing how wonderful it is to be able to have a conversation with your husband with the constant interruptions. It was such a beautful time with our kids and we will treasure those memories forever. We both feel recharged in ourselves, as a couple and as a family.

I'm going to need all that recharged energy to get my house back in order and finish lots and lots of projects I have on the go. What a mess my house is at the moment! While I love have a neat and tidy house I know that life sometimes gets in the way and in the end it what really matters is love and hugs and more love.

Sorry for such a non positive post but I've been meaning to write about this for a while. I'll be very nervous when a hit the publish button but I wanted you to know why sometimes I just disappear for a while, don't post for ages or forget to respond to comments. Life's a juggle at the moment and sometimes I drop balls!

I hope you all have a wonderful time celebrating the new year and wishing you all 
lots of good things and great moments in 2013!


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Teacher Gifts 2012

We have been so lucky this year to have such lovely teacher's for Molly. She started out on her first days as so quiet and shy and grew into a confident chatty little girl. Molly loved school and it was always her highlight to the week. 

When I explained to her the other day that school was finishing for the year and her teachers were going on holiday she asked if she could go with them! Yep she really loves them that much. So when when it came to the end of year gifts I wanted to make sure they knew how much I appreciated all that they had done for Molly and all the time and hard work they had put in.

I went with this plan:
A bright summer colour theme
Something to drink (A bottle of cider)
Something to eat (a roll of fruit tingles)
Something to use (a notebook)
and all in a container they can re purpose at home or in their classroom.

I also threw in a few straws I had purchased at clearance prices from a party store for fun.

I found this cute printable here and popped it in a frame for the teacher.

You might be wondering the costing of all this so here's my breakdown:
Cider - ($6) 3 for $18
Fruit tingles - (70c) on special at Woolies
Notepads - ($3.33) 3 for $10 at Typo
Buckets - ($3) on clearance at Riot
Photo frame - ($3) Reject Shop

Total cost:
Teacher Assistant - $13 
Teacher - $16

I was happy with that. Not that much more than a good quality box of chocolates really.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Christmas Crafting

We have been busy enjoying doing some Christmas Craft in this house. I'm loving that Jasmin is old enough to do some craft and that Molly can do more complicated craft. Yes I'm loving it just as much as the kids! Here's some of what we've made so far.

Some simple Christmas wreathes. I made the circles by simply tracing around some different sized bowls. The girls glued on sequins and poms poms using craft glue.

We made these reindeers last year too by tracing around the one foot and two hands for the girls. The one above is Jasmin's and the one below is Molly's. Molly insisted that her reindeer needed a body so I quickly cut out an oval shape and got Molly to concertina fold some legs. I thought she's need some help with the folding but apparently not. She told me that she knew how to do it because they'd done it on playschool. To my surprise she really didn't need any help!!

Molly made a Christmas Card for her teacher. The one on the right is mine (my sample one from my teaching days) and the one of the right is hers. I cut out most of the shapes and let her do the yellow strips and gluing.

The girls also did some stamping using cheap Christmas stamps I found at Big W. They got them in their advent bags as a treat.

I'm off to do some more craft with the girls now :)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Christmas Activities

I thought I would share some of the Christmas activities I prepared for my kids during this wonderful festive season. I did most of these several weeks ago so I could devote most of December crafting with my girls. I thought I would be less flat out busy this way ... haha who was I kidding! Silly me just decided to do more stuff instead!!

The first couple are some magnetic play sets. I got these free printables here and here.

I printed them straight onto magnetic printer paper that I found by accident at Officeworks. I highly recommend printing the background on to magnetic paper too as the magnetic paper isn't strong enough to go through the laminated paper. I made the nativity set and elf set. The Christmas tree decorating set while cute just has too many tiny pieces for my girls but would be great for older kids.

If you don't want to go to the expensive of magnetic paper you could just print them out and collage with them. 

More great printables can be found here and here.
I've printed out writing cards, cards for snap, worksheets, sequencing cards and much more.

Friday, 30 November 2012

24 Christmas Books Wrapped and Ready to Go!

I was busy putting the finishing touches to our collection of Christmas books last night. Each night before bed we will unwrap a Christmas book to read together. I'm so excited about this because my girls love their bedtime stories! This is one of the many great ideas I've from on Pinterest.

Being a teacher I already had a good stash of Christmas books before I had kids and I have slowly added to the collection each year. I haven't got 24 books yet as I'm still waiting on a few new ones from book depository. We have enough to get us started though. 

I wrapped them up using Christmas paper I had leftover from last year and printed the numbers from here. I printed them on white card for durability and used a scalloped punch to cut them out. You could also print them straight onto label paper.

Check out the how Liz from Bizzy Dayz has done hers here
She even has some gorgeous countdown labels from Bianca at a little delightful to print out if you want to do your own.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

My DIY Christmas Card Hanger

I've been slowing adding little bits of Christmas Cheer all over the house. It's coming together slowly but nicely. Actually I've enjoyed starting early because it means I'll be finished by the first of December instead of rushing around madly trying to get everything up in one weekend.

The other day we received our first Christmas cards. It seems my husbands grandparents are super organised this year! We got a card and the girls got their own Christmas card too. I have to tell you that the joy the kids get receiving snail mail is amazing. Molly gets so excited and examines the envelope and the stamp for ages before opening it. The girls were a little thrilled to find some money in their cards too!

Over the years I've found that the tradition of sending Christmas Cards has dwindled. The amount we received of course halved when I stopped teaching and stop getting them from my students. I used to sting our Christmas cards up around the room but now the number of cards we receive is small I wanted to come up with a new way of the displaying them. 

It literally took me no time at all. I grabbed a felt Christmas ornament I had in the box, attached a long piece of ribbon I bought from spotlight on Monday and I was just about done. I grabbed some left over wooden pegs from my advent calendar project and glued some ribbon to one side. 
If by some strange chance I suddenly get a lot of Christmas cards I can easily whip up another one!
 Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Our Christmas Advent Calendar

This project has been a long drawn out one and not because it is in anyway hard! But at long last I have finished preparing the kid's advent calendar for this year. I can't wait to start it on Saturday.

 How did this advent calendar come about? There are a number of reasons:

1. Molly + chocolate everyday for 24 days = total hypo nightmare!
2. Jasmin + too much chocolate = nightmare nappies!
3. I love the advent cards made by Bianca from A little delightful.
4. I wanted to start a family tradition that we could re-use every year.

So I decided to sew 24 advent bags that I could pop an advent card in and a little treasure for the kids.
Trust me I kept the sewing simple - just straight lines for me!

I found the beautiful fabric from Spotlight and was lucky to buy it when they had 30% off. I bought a meter of each. I bought white for the back of the bags in case the pegs for the numbers didn't work out. My back-up plan was to use a stencil and fabric paint to do the numbers. 

Thankfully I was quite happy with the pegs. They are just plain old wooden pegs from Coles and I used some stamps and an ink pad I already had. They turned out more rustic looking than I had planned but I still think they look cute.
Inside each of the bags I put a treat/gift and one of the advent cards from A little delightful. You can find them here.

Here's some of the treats/gifts I included in the bags:
Chocolate freddos
Note pads
Cookie cutters
Games (bingo, snap, memory)

Big W had some great little Christmas gifts that I found on my girls weekend away last month. Discount stores have some great little pencils and novelty items too.

 I used a December calendar to plan and record the treats and activities we're doing.
 It's another wonderful download from A little delightful you can find here.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Camping and a Little Outdoor Activity

A couple of weekends ago we escaped for a little camping getaway on the beach. We love camping and Molly has been asking to go for a long time. In the week leading up to the weekend she was asking us several times a day! 

I knew that the weather wasn't going to be ideal for spending too much time at the beach so I wanted to have a couple of activities up my sleeve for the kids if they need something 'constructive' to do. We took some colouring in books along and these scavenger hunt egg cartons.

Here are a few photos of our little weekend.


This is where Jasmin choose to eat her weetbix on the first day. It was such a cute moment.

There was some sand castling constructing with their Uncle and we even spotted a seal on the beach.

 In the afternoon while we were starting to think about baths and dinner the girls started to hit that time when I needed to bring out the scavenger hunt egg cartons. I got the idea for these from here. Of course this was an American site so I needed something that was more specific to the beach and where we live. So I designed one using word and simple clip art in word. I decided on sand, leaves (two different colours), grass, rocks, sticks, nuts, shells and I left four of the spots open to just finding things of a certain colour.

 Jasmin was too young of course and anything went in hers but Molly had quite a lot of fun on her little scavenger hunt. 

 Unfortunately I didn't manage to get a photo of her final collection as little sisters do like to tip things out! Maybe next time.

If you want to make your own Scavenger hunt egg carton you can download the free printable here.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Christmas Presents 2012

Last year I bought some cheap storage boxes from Ikea to store the kid's Christmas presents in. You can read about it here.

The system for storing Christmas presents that I started last year was so fabulous that I haven't changed it at all this year! But I did think you might like a sneaky peak in the boxes.

I'm still waiting on a number of other things I've ordered the girls. I also need to buy more books, clothes, hair accessories and a joint present.

My all time favourites that the girls will be receiving are these treasures below.

These beautiful dolls are from Bit of Whimsy Dolls. Just gorgeous to me! 
 A very special person put me on to these beauties - Thanks ;)

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Introducing Eco Gift Shop

Living on a Latte has a brand new sponsor. Welcome to Eco Gift Shop

I am so happy to introduce you to this beautiful new on-line store just before Christmas.I have been drooling over many of their fabulous products.

Eco Gift Shop prides itself on on being the place to buy unique, stylish, earth friendly gifts for kids as well as lovely new baby gifts.

Here's what I love ..

1. Plan Toys Creative Block Set
2. Debut Scooter
3. Sewing Lacing Kit

They have some fabulous stocking fillers too ..

Happy Shopping!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Tabcoosh Giveaway

Do you remember the fabulous tabCoosh my husband bought me for my birthday? 
If you don't have a look here.

Well we still use it all the time. I'm still loving it and the kid's are still loving it!

 Ioco have recently released a brand new range of tabCoosh products. 

They now have them to suit Samsung Galaxys. kindles and other smaller tablets and readers as well as the iPads. Check them out here.

The clever people at tabCoosh have been kind enough to give you my wonderful readers a chance to win one of two orange swoosh tabCoosh products worth $49.95 each. A great gift for yourself or for someone special at Christmas.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Terms and Conditions

The competitions is open Australianresidents only.

Competition finishes on the 8th November 2012

The Winner is chosen by

The winner will be announced on this blog post.  

The winner has 3 days to contact and email me in regards to their prize or I reserve the right to redraw another.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Lesson not learnt!

This happened yesterday ...

It seems I still haven't learnt to keep my moisturiser safe from little hands.
Some of you who have been following me for a while may remember this from last year ....

And yes in both photos my kids choose their own clothes!!

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