Thursday, 31 May 2012

My Barbecue Basket

We are big on the good old barbecues in this house. Well okay we were until a wheel fell off and it started to fall apart. It ended up on the council's bulk rubbish collection. So we have been without a barbecue for a long time. Our Weber was getting used a lot instead but we really missed the ease of inviting friends over and just saying BYO meat and drinks. 

All is good in the world now though as we finally bought a new barbie. Yay! I love it because it means there is less work for me when entertaining friends so I can actually partake in more adult conversations and not take hours to finish my first drink.

So the other day I dusted off my BBQ basket. This lives under my sink and holds the essentials .. well the essential I need to organise. I just add the sauces and condiments, pull out the pre made salads and rolls. 

Pretty simple really but I have found since doing it years ago (pre-children!) 
 It holds spare cutlery, disposable plates (small ones for the small visitors) and serviettes. One thing I must add is some baby wipes now we have kids to clean up. Oh I don't keep sauce in this baskets as the kids have a low salt one, Brad's likes his 'real' stuff and then there's the barbecue sauce and mustard. That's too many to fit in one basket!

I don't hunt around for the disposable plates, raid the cutlery drawer and hunt down the serviette caddy - it's now just one step and easy to carry outside. Yes I make my friends eat from disposable plates. My theory is less clean up - more time with friends. It's a personal thing I suppose but that's how we prefer it and our friends have never complained. I love this basket as at the end of the night everything goes back quickly and easily back in the cupboard for next time.

Now I just need to restock it (we usually have a much larger stack of plates!) and I want to work on a barbecue cooking basket for the hubbie so he has all his essentials handy and ready to go. I figure the less time we have to get ready for visitors the more time we can play with our kids and catch-up with our friends. 
That's pretty important to me!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Our Farm Theme - Puzzles

Yesterday started like this ...

I find putting things like this on a table makes play easier, more creative and lasts longer.

But then it became a bit of a puzzle day.
Molly and I did some floor puzzles together and Jasmin 'attempted' to do a peg puzzle. 

Jasmin is getting the idea quicker than I thought! We also didn't do them on the floor but on our outdoor coffee table which is a much better height for the kid's floor puzzles.

When we finished the Fisher Price puzzle we got all our Little people farm animals and matched them to the pictures on the puzzle.

The day before we had done some other kinds of puzzles. Molly made some cut and glue puzzles (I cut of course!). I don't mind her cutting but since we needed the pieces to resemble something to make a picture out of, I did the cutting!!

You can find the printable for this and many more farm printables here.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

From My Heart

I want to share with you all something that is dear to my heart - actually someone that is dear to my heart. That person is Jayton.

 He is super cute and one of the most lovable people anyone could ever meet. Molly idolises him. Jayton is my 6 year old great nephew and has Cystic Fibrosis.

In the last six years Jayton has spent a lot of time in hospital and that is how he and his Mum Lisa (my amazing niece) came up with the idea of Jayton's Jammies. Jayton even spent his 5th birthday in hospital.

(That's Molly on the right!)

Jayton's Jammies is based in Perth and is all about making kids feel a little more comfortable and bring a little happiness to their stay.

Here is a little from Lisa about Jayton's Jammies:

As my 6 year old son is a "frequent flyer" at PMH, I have a permanent bag that is always packed with his pillowcase, comforter and bright, happy, comfy PYJAMAS!

It breaks my heart when kids are rushed in, with sleep deprived & stressed out parents and they are "issued" with hospital PYJAMAS! And as we all know... sick kids just want to be comfy!!!

There are no regulations on having personal hospital clothes, there just isn't "funding" to supply all kids with HAPPY PYJAMAS... so I am starting an ongoing public appeal to brighten up the wards!!! 

Jayton's Jammies collected over 141 items in April! Which is fantastic but more and more are needed all the time.

So if you are at the shops please pick up a pair of pyjamas, check out the clearance racks, donate those unwanted or wrong sized pyjamas you were given for your kids.

Lisa and Jayton would like: 

Girls & Boys... 2 piece... Summer & Winter... Button Front preferred. 
(Brand New only please)

Also collecting pillowcases, mummy pjs and socks with lots of bright colours/ patterns!
(Brand New only please)

Just recently Lisa received an email from PMH that the teenage sized pyjamas were being distributed excessively! So don't forget if you are wanting to donate perhaps throw in some teenage sized pyjamas too. 

For for information on how and where to donate go to Jayton's Jammies facebook page here where you'll find all the details. I know times are tough in some families so even if you yourself can't donate please like their page and share with your friends.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart

Monday, 28 May 2012

Our Farm Theme - A Start

Today we started a farm theme in our house. My girls love farm animals and since we already have lots of resources to use at home I thought this was a great theme to start with.

The first thing I did this morning was set up our Fisher Price farm. 
This was a given to the girls by my sister since her kids were now to grown up for it. Jas is so cute trying sound out 'mooo'.

We made some extremely cute sheep that I had found via Pinterest. 

All you need: 
  a paper plate
cotton wool balls
craft glue
black card 
googly eyes
coloured ribbon

You could free draw your own head and legs but I used the template from the original site here. I was going to try to get Jasmin to make one with LOTS of help from me but she just wanted to put her hands in the glue. So I let her draw instead! 

Molly made her a little one later in the morning. I love that she has to make one for her sister.

Then Molly played with her farm felt book. I blogged about these book here.

My mum came around in the afternoon. Molly was very excited to show her the sheep she made. After we had a picnic lunch outside Mum read the girls the book we made about our Visit to Landsdale Farm you can find here.

We also did some cut and glue puzzles that I will share with you another time. We did more today than I had planned but Molly was loving it so much I just rolled with it!

Friday, 25 May 2012

My Kid's Top 5 Favourite Apps

Yesterday I posted some photos on my facebook page showing my kid's addiction to my iPad and iPhone. 

Yes even Jasmin loves it now! 
So I though I'd share with you their top 5 favourite apps.

1. Peekaboo Barn

This is the only one Jasmin is really able to manipulate herself. It's simple enough for her to use but even Molly who's nearly three still enjoys it.

2. Play School Art Maker

I love to take screen shots of her creations to keep and pop in Project Life.

3. Monkey Pre-school Lunch Box

Molly has this Lunch Box Monkey down pat. I wish there were harder levels. 

4. Monkey Pre-school: When I Grow Up

This is by the same makers of Lunch box monkey

5. My Very First App - Eric Carle

Molly loves memory games so this is right up her alley.

We've tried lots of other games but Molly always goes back to these top 5. 
Luckily for us we recently upgraded our phones so the kids have our old iPhone 3 to play with.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Washing - My Way

A few weeks ago lovely new reader emailed me with a few questions about some of the things she had read about on my blog. One of the questions was about the way I do my washing. When I was answering this question I had a light bulb moment that I should do a blog post about this. So here goes ...

In my laundry I have a compartmentalised laundry basket from Ikea. 

I has four sections (2 in each).

1. Whites and delicates
2. Towels, flannels and tea towels
3. Darks and hubbies work clothes
4. Colours.

I also have a washing basket in our ensuite which I regularly bring into the laundry and sort in to the laundry basket.

Now my lovely reader wondered why I washed my towels separate to my other washing. My mother doesn't and it drives me batty!! Well the reason I wash my towels separate because of pilling. Basically lint from towels comes loose and attaches to other clothes in the same wash. And even though there are lint removers I prefer to prevent it from happening in the first place.

You can read more about how to have lint free washing here

I also don't wash woollens with anything. I wash all my cardigans, jumpers, scarves, beanies etc on a delicate wash with wool wash (I use Coles home brand). They keep their shape longer and don't pill.

Washing Powder. 
I am extremely fussy about my what I wash my clothes with and I swear by OMO powder and Napisan. I grew up with my parents always using OMO and it stuck with me. I find I use a lot of certain brand products simply because I grew up with them.

When I met my husband he would use the cheapest washing powder he could buy but after I made him buy OMO once he never looked back. He told me once he never releases clothes were supposed to smell clean. I also believe that by buying a good washing powder I'm saving money as my clothes last longer.

I also chuck a bit of Napisan in with every white wash and sheets wash (I wash sheets separate too as they get washed at a higher temperature).

OMO can be expensive and buying bulk packs is hardly ever cost effective. I stock up and buy 4-6 packs when it's on special at Coles or Woolworths for about $6 a kilo. Even CHOICE recommends it as the top stuff and their tests revealed you can use a quarter of the recommended dose and it hardly reduces its effectiveness. I only ever use a full cups if it's a really really dirty load so a box of OMO lasts for ages.

Oh and your stained items washed in Napisan must be hung out in direct sunlight for the day - this helps with the stain removing but I have no idea why! My sister gave me that tip years and years ago.

When I wash has to be worked around when kids sleep. The laundry is right next to Miss Jas's room and she is a light sleeper. So every night I prepare a load of washing in the machine so that in the morning I simply have to turn it on. Sometimes I fit another load in after their afternoon rest/sleep time. I have a large top loader machine (water saver one though) so I have the advantage of washing a lot in one load. I have no set days for set washes. I simply look at my washing basket and pick the fullest. 

Now I must confess that I actually like doing washing! Weird I know!!
But I am also rather fussy about how I hang out my washing but I'll leave that for another time. 

Note: This post was not sponsored or paid for in any way. 
These are just simply my opinions :)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Kid's Chores

In recent weeks I read a few blog posts on kid's chores and responsibilities around the house so I thought I'd share with you what happens in my house. 

Yes Molly is only 2 but approaching 3 a few months. I have to say that I am very lucky that Molly loves to help and seems to have a natural organisational and independence streak. I've always tried to involve my girls in what ever household chore I'm during throughout the day. My philosophy is simple ... 

Monkey see 
Monkey do!

Might seem odd to some people but I think it works.
Molly helps:

  • pack away her toys at the end of the day.
  • do the washing including putting it in the machine, handing me pegs when I hang it out and carrying our clothes to our bed for me to put away.
  • put away some of her clothes in her drawers - she knows what goes in which drawers.
  • set the table for dinner - putting out plates, cutlery and water bottles for everybody. I have taught her how to carry plates one at a time with two hands and so far no issues!
  • empty the dishwasher - she puts away all the plastic plates, cup and bowls. Recently she insisted on putting the cutlery away (I remove sharp knives) and she got them in all the right places.
  • put her own lunch dishes/plates/cutlery in the sink and yogurt tubs in bin.
  • take the rubbish out.
  • get the post.
  • making the beds - her main job in putting the decorative pillows on. 
  Helping load the washing machine

Writing a shopping list for Mum

The first time she ever set the table

She doesn't do these things everyday and everytime but these are the things she can do and has done. The only thing that she 'has' to do is help pack away the toys at the end of the day - the rest she wants to help. And yes it takes longer in the beginning to show her and to allow her to do things at her own pace but now that she can do so many things herself it's actually saving me heaps of time. I always joke to my husband that I'm going to made redundant soon by my own daughter!!

Also if she makes a mess on purpose I get her to clean it up herself. Yes I've had yogurt on the TV, crayon on my walls, lip balm on my windows. Accidental spills I do myself but often she wants to help.

The next thing that I would really love to happen to help me with the housework is for Miss Jasmin to stop being so totally terrified of the vaccuum and my Robomaid - I'm over sweeping all the time!!

I read this, this morning from Becky Higgins on her facebook page:

Part of cultivating a good life is allowing your kids to see you do housework HAPPILY. Your attitude toward chores will have a deep + lasting impact on how your children view housework - now + later.

I think this is super important even though it's sooo super hard to do some days!!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Car Organisation and Kit

Recently I was lucky enough to get my hands on a Tupperware carry away. 
Have I told you lately that I LOVE containers?!

There are a few things you can do with this. It could be used as a first aid box, picnic set, sewing box, kid's activity box or even a craft box. I was going to use it to keep some colouring in things in for Molly but when it arrived I decided the bottom section wasn't quite tall enough for me. Since I had already been planning to make a car kit I thought it would be perfect!

Before I started planning my kit too much I pulled out the kit I already had  that was in a reusable shopping bag in my boot. Then I had a look around for some inspiration. I found these kits here:

Just click on them to see the links

I made a list, collected all the things around the house I wanted and got to organising!

Here's the top section:

The containers inside are also Tupperware and called oyster sets. My mini first aid kit has bandaids, a bandage, sterile gauze, steri-strips, splinter remover, alcohol swabs, and saline solution (great for washing out wound and emergency contact lens rinsing).
Here's the bottom section:

The kid's have a whole outfit each including socks. The disposable bibs are from Target. The old cloth nappy is great for water spills or when you child is car sick.

Here it is in the back of my car with a picnic rug on the top. I keep it in the car as I have limited room in my boot.

 Tucked in each of the back seat pockets is a Fisher Price mini doodle pro and a couple of books for the kids.

On my front seat is a small fabric bag to hold essential that I may need to reach easily like another snack box, face wipes, tissues, hand sanitiser, small water bottle, rubbish bag and a container for putting receipts in that I need for tax purposes.

But that's not all! In my boot I have a reuseable shopping bag with my pram's rain cover, shade cover and a spare baby blanket. In my car's centre consoles I keep spare change, business cards, two pens, a car bottle warmer and playschool cd's. In glove box is my car manual and a spare set of sunglasses.

One thing missing is some sick bags. I'm going to pick up some of them 
next time I go to the chemist. 

Have I missed anything that you would recommend?
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