Friday, 31 May 2013

Garden Project Update

I posted a few days ago about the new home grown goodies garden we started a while ago but I hadn't included any updated photos. Since it started there was an incident with our dog and some of the plants. Sadly we lost the lettuce and one chilli plant.

Our garden patch...

My tomato plant needs some more care and we're having a problem with a caterpillar!
Any tip or advice are more than welcome :)

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Blog Everyday in May Challenge: 10 things that make me really happy

I'm so far behind in this blogging challenge but I refuse to give up! I may not complete every one but I'm going to try to finish a lot of them even if I run right into June.
So here goes in no particular order ....

Ten Things That Make Me Really Happy

1. Shopping - yep just that. I don't need to even spend a cent as I'm just as happy window shopping but I do love a bargain buy.

2. Holidays - Most of our holidays these day are camping and I love it!

3. Watching my favourite TV shows - Here's just a few I love ...
Crime/mystery shows (Dexter, New Tricks, Silent Witness, In Plain Sight)
House & Renovating Shows (The Block,  Selling Houses, Sarah's House)
Shows with a little history (Call the Midwife, Who's Been Sleeping in My House?, Who Do You Think You Are?) and 
Shows that make me smile and laugh (Offspring, House Husbands)
4. Being Creative - I love to creative things. Whether that's creating something on the computer, working on project life, crafting, sewing, painting (yes actual oil & acrylic painting although it's been a looong time) or making something.

5. Completing something I've been working on for a while. There is no greater feeling that a job finished.

6. Coffee, chocolate and ice cream (particularly choc mint magnums)

7. My Family - I love spending time with my little family but I also love spending time with my BIG family. It gets noisy and sometimes there's conflicts with that many strong minded women in one place at one time but I still love it.
8. The Beach - I find sitting on a beach watching the ocean that most calming and relaxing feeling ever.

9. My Job: Teaching Children - There are some parts of my job that aren't so enjoyable (paperwork, report writing) but the actual teaching and spending time with kids is amazing!!

10. Random and unexpected happy mail - who doesn't love a little bit of happy mail for no reason at all. Love it whether it's snail mail, a parcel or an email.

Happy Days!!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Friday's Learning Experiences for Kids #1

Each Friday mornings I run a little 0-4 year old program at the local school. Parents come along with their children for a couple of hours in the morning and participate in activities a little like a supported play group. I have to say it's a lot of fun. I thought I would share with you a sample of the activities we did in our very first session. 
The first week I ran the program was right before Mother's day so I choose a necklace making activity. Threading allows children to practise their fine motor shills and hand/eye coordination while enhancing language and cognitive development. My girls made me one each and they are still hanging up in my study.

At another table there was a colour sorting activity. A provided a variety of options for the kids to sort things how they wanted to. I also provided the children with tongs and scooping implements to again further their fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination. Sorting helps children understand things are alike and different which helps them develop maths skills, learn numbers and letters.The fabulous colour cards are a free printable from a little delightful here.

Play dough is such a great activity for kids. It helps build their finger and hand strentgth while extending their creativity and imagination. Since it was Mother's day coming up I provided some flower props for them. The kids created their own flowers with flower beds and could take them home if they wished.

 At home time I gave each of the children a welcome gift of play dough and 
a cookie cutter for them to take home.

I have to admit it's been a while since I was teaching little kids and I'm still finding my feet again but I sure have missed it. This program has only been running for three sessions now but it's made me remember why I fell in love with teaching in the first place.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

My Little Garden Project

I've long wanted a lovely abundant herb, fruit and vegetable garden and ventured into making this all happen when I was about 6months pregnant with my second child way back at the beginning of 2011. We planted several herbs, lettuce, chilli and a lime tree. 
Well sad to say that they went well for while, then they started to get neglected the more pregnant I became and then when baby number two arrived and proved to be a very hungry thriving, non sleeping active, screaming vocal baby all that survived was the garlic chives!

So a couple of years on and I was ready to try again. I have to say when I told my husband this he seriously laughed at me but I was determined to prove him wrong! I started by moving all the pots we had from our first attempt to a less sunny spot out the back near the washing line. This has been working wonders! Let's face I'm at the washing line nearly everyday so it's easy to check on them and the girls always come with me and help water them with their own watering cans.

In the new spot they get just the right amount of sun with out being blown away when the sea breeze comes in. We started out with just a few herbs and now have garlic, strawberries, parsley, Italian parsley, tomatoes, coriander, basil, spring onions, chilli plant, broccoli and hopefully soon a lime tree. I'm adding slowly to the collection.

One of the things I've been trying out is 'recycling' to grow new plants. I started with planting some spring onions that were wilting in my fridge. I simply stuck them in a pot with some potting mix and they thrived. Then I tried planting the ends of the spring onions after cooking one night and they grew back - major happy dance was done!

This week I got super excited to see that the leek end I planted a few days ago has some green shoots coming up. 

I can't wait to try more things to grow and regrow.

I may have inherited a tiny minuscule of a green thumb from my parents after all :)

Thursday, 16 May 2013

My Camping Tips

  I think most of my readers know that we love to go camping as a family.
Here's some of my hot tips for camping ...

Random Camping Tip #1: Containerise! 
It keeps sand, bugs and animals out.
I keep our cutlery and small utensils in a Tupperware Oyster box.

Random Camping Tip #2: Vacuum Pack
 I seal all our meals using a Sunbeam food vacuum seal system. These are great for making sure no meat juices leak out and they food stay fresh for longer. Meats when vacuum sealed last a lot longer than they would in a glad bag. Before we had our Engels we had a tropical box to keep our food in so vacuum sealing food would mean it could easily float around in half melted ice and not be ruined.

Random Camping Tip #3: Make a list or two or lots!! 
When camping I always make a list! Our needs are constantly changing due to the girls growing up so list making is a must. Molly is so used to this she started her own what to take camping list.

Random Camping Tip #4: Save on Space
 I'm always looking at space saving ideas. I store our coffee and sugar in little decor containers I used to use for freezing baby food. I also buy the smallest size of spreads and condiments and refill when needed.

Salt and Pepper is stored in a Tupperware container that is a freebie at most demonstrations.

Random Camping Tip #5: Make the most of free sample packs
Sample sizes of products are fantastic for camping although I find them a lot harder to come by these days. I keep our dishwashing liquid in an old Dawn sample I got in the mail years ago. 

I don't do washing if we are bush or beach camping but I like to keep a sample sachet handy in case of any accidents or sickness. 

Random Camping Tip #6: Pack child friendly
At Christmas when we went camping I packed normal plastic plates for the kiss but never again! These IKEA plates are much better as the lip on the side prevents most accidental spills. No-one likes sand on their toast!

I'm still safety aware when we are camping with the kids so I take sharp knives that have covers. The yop one is an old Wiltshire stay sharp knife I've had for an extremely long time and the green one is a fairly recent Tupperware purchase. 


Random Camping Tip #7: Look out for bargain camping supplies
Camping is a really cheap holiday option but can be expensive to set up if you buy everything straight away and brand new. It has taken us about 8 years to accumulate what we have. I look out for specials all the time and garage sales are fabulous. There are people who buy everything thinkning they will love camping only to find they hate it so lots of bargains can be found by people selling their stuff on gumtree too.

These are the sorts of bargains you can find on random camping supllies:

I bought these collapsible Tupperware bowls (go-flex) from a friend that had a kitchen clear oput and found she had too many.

I spotted this two pack of chopping boards on special at Woolworths.

Random Camping Tip #8: Have a back-up meal
Let's face it you are camping and in some camping places you can't exactly pop to the local take-away place if you accidentlyu burn or drop dinner!

Our back-up meal consists of two tins of canned spaghetti.

Random Camping Tip #9: Pack quiet stuff for the kids
Don't take a stack load of toys for kids but pack a few quiet activities to whip out when they are tired from all that outdoor adventure. Last time we went camping the only 'toys' I took for the kids were buckets and spades.

Random Camping Tip #10: Pack some family games or cards for the adults.
Night time can get too peaceful sometimes so play a game of cards together. Sometimes you eally can run out of things to talk about!

 Random Camping Tip #11: Make everything easily accessible

I kept all the kids and my toilets in this old Avon hanging toiletry bag. I hang in the tent and if we are staying in a caravan park it's easy to carry to the toilet/shower block and hangs on the back of the shower door. Space to put your stuff is so limited in those shower cubicles and hanging it up high means there is less chance it gets wet.


 Random Camping Tip #12: Invest in cheap black bedding
 We used to take our bedding from home and it always got stained from dirty feet. I like that black sheets don't show the dirt but shows the beach sand so I know when the bed needs a good shake out.

Random Camping Tip #13: Pack car air fresheners trees
If you camping on a site with long drop toilets take a couple of trees or similiar with you. Just hang them up and they do a great job at masking the not so nice smell.

Random Camping Tip #14: Baby wipes
Do I need to explain? Fantastic for clean-ups (not just the kids), great for wiping down the table, stove etc. When you are camping with limited water you don't want to needing to rinse out a dish cloth all the time.

Random Camping Tip #15: Do not under any circumstance forget the coffee cups. 
Well okay maybe it's just me that wouldn't cope with that! I love my non-spill Tupperware ones.

 So I'm at the end but trust me I'm sure I have lots more random camping tips to share in the future.

Happy Camping People!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Review: Poster Candy Love

Poster Candy

 My house is a never ending project. I can honestly say that in my eyes one room in our house is completely finished. I really want work on that this year. One of the major points of focus for me this year is the walls. I simply do not have enough photos, pictures, art on my walls. They are all looking a little blank to me. I do have to make a confession though .... there are lots of empty frames waiting for me to fill and find a space for. A couple of years ago I purchased these Ribba frames from Ikea to go in our bedroom. They matched our furniture and I was going to put them up above our bedhead. Then I changed my mind and now we have a different bedroom suite. The frames sat in the bottom of my walk-in-robe for a few years until Poster Candy came along.

I'd seen a friend on Instagram hang several of these amazing photo collages of her Instagram shots on her walls. She shared that they were from Poster Candy and she raved about them! I fell in lust after them right then! When I took the plunge to use Poster Candy  I was seriously impressed at how easy and quick it was to use. I like that all the available sizes fit into standard Ikea frames which keeps the overall cost low. 

I was worried at first that I wouldn't have enough photos as I really hadn't been using Instagram for that long ... or had I? I don't think I'd realised how much I was hooked on Instagram. I think I was in denial from my addiction.


  So did I have enough photos? Haha um definitely yes!!! I created one of all the shots of my two beautiful little monkeys and one of general photos since I started using Instagram. I love looking at them as it's such an amazing trip down memory lane in just one poster.
You find Poster Candy right here.

 Sizes available include 30cm x 40cm (RRP $19.95), 40cm x 50cm (RRP $24.95), 50cm x 50cm (RRP $29.95), 
50cm x 70cm (RRP $34.95) and 70cm x 100cm (RRP $49.95), plus $9.95 Australia-wide shipping.

Are you an Instagram addict too? Or are you still in denial?

 Disclosure: Poster Candy supplied me with the posters but the frames were mine. I was not paid for this review.  All opinions are mine.  

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Blog Everyday in May Challenge: An apology

An Apology

So this challenge was about issuing a public apology and I thought this was a great opportunity to apologise for some seriously terrible actions on my part......

I hereby apologise that if you rock up to my house completely unexpectedly and unannounced you may find me in my pyjamas! They might even be my brand new penguin flannelettes that Molly picked out all by herself for me on Mother's Day. She was so excited about giving them to me and so proud of herself that she picked out such cute pyjamas for her mummy :)

And if you are one of my neighbours who seemed to find this quite shocking on the occasion she found me in my Pyjamas be careful who you go gossipping to in the street about this. The other neighbour might find it absolutely hilarious that you were so mortified by this as she too likes to hang out in her pj's on the weekends all morning long and sometimes all day! In fact we've been known to have lovely chats to each in the middle of the street while both still in our pj's.

So ... I'm sorry I love pj days

Are you a Pyjamas lover too?

Review: Betts Kids Shoes

I don't know about you but there is a lot I can't remember too much about my childhood but there are some things that really stuck in my mind.  One of the memories I have is of shoe shopping. My parents were extremely particular when it came to buying shoes. They had to be good quality shoes and it was a big trip to the city to purchase them. I always remember the big day out in the city when mum would take my sister and I (we were the only two still left living at home) for our biannual shopping trip. The shoes had to be good quality shoes that were properly fitted and that would last. I always remember the massive Betts and Betts shoe store in the city that we went to. The kids section was tucked up the back and I always remember my eyes darting around at all the lovely adult shoes as we headed towards the back of the massive store.

Now when Molly was little I was a bit 'whatever' with her shoe purchases. She has wide feet and was a little hard to buy for. I soon realised that she had so many shoes that didn't fit her properly and didn't last very long. Soon the only pair she still had going that were comfortable and I liked were the pair I had invested money in. So last summer I decided that Molly was having one good pair of shoes with a couple of pairs of  thongs. We went to Betts Kids, got fitted and found some gorgeous white sandles. You know what? .... they are still going. Unfortunately Molly can't do the buckles up herself which she needs to be able to do at school on Wednesdays.

When Betts Kids offered to send me a pair of shoes each for my girls I was thrilled! To be offered kids shoes is nice but I probably would have declined since I really wasalready Betts Kids loyal fan. So to be offered the ones that we genuinely love and trust was unbelievable.

I got to choose from a range of gorgeous shoes in the Autumn range.
I picked these little beauties ...

Yes I picked matching shoes for the girls and they love them. I'm going to be truthful here, they did take a little while to wear in. There were a few blisters for a while but they went and my girls wear these shoes nearly everyday. The even greater thing is both of the girls can put these shoes on themselves! Yay for Mum :)

Now I shared these beauties on Living on a Latte's facebook page and on Instagram but I was waiting to see how they were wearing and whether the girls liked them before I probably reviewed them. It's been about 5 weeks now and I am just so impressed with how these shoes are lasting. Lots of people comment on how cute they are too. I seriously recommend spending the money of good quality pair of shoes for your kids.

Check out the full rangeof great kids shoes at Betts Kids here

 The autumn/winter look book is gorgeous
Disclosure: Betts Kids supplied me with the shoes but I was not paid for this review. 
All opinions are mine. 

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Blog Everyday in May Challenge: A Moment in My Day

A Moment In My Day

This prompt in the challenge was on Thursday. On Thusday I was busy preparing these little welcome gifts for the kids that will be attending the 0-4yr old program I am now running each Friday morning at the local primary school.
Our first day was great and it will be even better next week now I'm over my first jitters.

Our Playroom - Inside

The post I did the other day about our playroom seemed quite popular but I did realise that I didn't show you what was inside. So here goes ...

The buckets in the expedit hold baby toys (put aside for visitors) and the other holds babies and dolls.

The drawers hold lots of things. The skubb boxes I already had in the drawers came in handy too.

One of the drawers holds, shopping baskets, cash registers, an old computer keyboard, calculator etc. These things are great for setting up pretend offices, schools, shops etc.

The very cute suitcases that I LOVE hold their DVDs, beauty kits, baby clothes & baby stuff. Two are empty but I have future plans for those :)

The little blue containers I picked up from The Reject Shop last year hold cars and more cars!

Oh and yes I did have all the duplo sorted into labelled trofast containers but it just wasn't working so they all got tipped into a blue stripy bag/box from Big W. Love it!!

So there you go .. nothing too fancy as we just used what we had.
Somethings will definitely be changed but it will be a bit by bit process.
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