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Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Yep it’s official. With about 15 weeks to go until our third child is born, I’m officially nesting! At first I thought it was just “new year motivation” when I got all super organised with the Christmas decorations (as per article below), but it has since moved on to re-organising some stuff in the play room.


The “tank room” is also a work in progress and I’m doing a few things to better organise our downstairs rumpus room, and now we have started on the baby’s nursery too.

Plus the pantry and the linen cupboard are really bugging me so they are also on my list!

I guess part of me feels like I should do all this stuff before the baby comes and while I still can…given I expect my life will be totally put on pause in a few months!

I’ll share some updates as I go!

My New Storage Solution for Christmas

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

It’s been a while since I updated my blog (yes a long while). But I’m back. Well at least for now. In fact I wrote this blog article over a week ago and it’s taken me this long to get it live – so there is still plenty of room for improvement!

We had a massive Christmas season this year and it took me a while to recover from the busy-ness of it all. And I’ve started 2013 with grand plans of being more organised to help me get everything in order for the big year ahead!

So I’ve started off by following an idea I found on this clever lady’s blog post.

Our Christmas decorations have always been messy and hard to find and manage. For the past few years they have been stored like this:


But with a bit of inspiration this year, I’ve tidied them up and this is now how they are stored:



It feels good to have things put away properly! One down, 99 to go (on my to do list!)

Parenting KPIs

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Being a parent gives me many opportunities to fail.

I can fail for not getting the breakfast dishes cleaned up before lunchtime. Or because one of my children refuses to give a grandparent a cuddle goodbye. Or sometimes even when my child refuses to walk up the stairs. And I regularly fail for being late.

In my career I was used to having agreed upon KPIs for performance. These days KPIs are arbitrary and depend on how tough I’m being on myself.

Most days I’m rushing to meet the KPI’s that I think I need to achieve. “By 9:30am I need to have the kids and myself fed, dressed and happy, the kitchen cleaned, have had some one on one play time with each child and have baked and iced cupcakes for our guests”.

The reality is that I regularly don’t meet my goals. Most days I have to skip a few steps… “ok I can do the cupcakes but I can’t clean the kitchen”. The reality is also that no one would usually know, or care.

I’m slowly learning to lower my expectations in terms of what I can achieve in a day and I’m trying to focus on the things that actually matter. But I’m yet to lower the expectations I have of my kids.

I expect them to be well behaved, to be respectful and to be nice human beings. I also (perhaps wrongly) expect them to have some simple logic skills and to know basic right from wrong. And they usually do. Except when we have people over, or go out, or when I really really need them to be good.

But as I do often say to my 3 year old, he is still learning and that is ok. I just need to accept that too.

Kalinga Park

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

With all of this great weather and some extra time with the kids this week, I decided to take them to Kalinga Park at Clayfield today. We used to come here fairly regularly back in 2010 as Oliver had a sports lesson in this park, however it’s been ages since we’ve been and I’m so glad that we went back.


It really is an awesome park for kids with a sand pit, several swings and a huge climbing fort. Some of the steps and areas are just slightly too big for Ethan to navigate by himself. However with a big brother and me hovering nearby we didn’t have any problems. It was also really quiet with only a few other families there which was nice too.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see this sign in the park:

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get it to work though, but I didn’t have much time inbetween all the playing  to try it out!

It was so nice to get out and about on such a lovely day. The kids and I also laid down on the grass and looked up at the sky and trees and I took a few quick iphone photos while I was there. All in all a lovely morning.

Fine Motor Skills + Chipmunks = TICK

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

I had an awesome day with the kids at home today. I think over the last few weeks we have had so many social commitments and have been rushing here and there, whilst today it was quite calm and casual and at our own pace, which was refreshing.

This morning I used a tip I’d found online to do a fine motor skill activity with the boys. I set Ethan up with some muffin baking trays, some tongs and some little felt balls and he very happily played with them, moving them between a jar and the trays and picking them up with the tongs. Later we were able to do some sorting based on colour and size and it proved to be a good activity that both the boys wanted to do.


For Oliver I gave him an oven rack and some different colour ribbons and I showed him how to weave them through the tray. It was surprising to see that this activity didn’t come naturally to Oliver and it took him a few goes to get the “under” and “over” thing working properly, but by the end he was doing it really quickly and taking some pride in the outcome.


So after feeling like we had accomplished something the kids had a quick play outside while I got morning tea (and lunch) ready and after having morning tea we then left to go and try out the new play centre at the shops at the end of the street – Chipmonks. It was AWESOME! Normally when I go to a play centre I go with others girls and enjoy a bit of a catchup, but today it was just us and it was actually great to be crawling through the play centre and exploring it for the first time with the boys. There was a cool (soft) carousel that the boys loved as well as a little trampoline area and a great ball pit. Plus lots of tunnels and climbing areas and some really fast slides! All in all it was a great time and we even managed to catch up with one of Oliver’s cousin down there after they called while we were there.



The afternoon doesn’t rate mention (sleeps/work + TV and grocery shopping and cooking) but a wonderful day in summary!

Circus Theme Bedroom is Finished!

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

One of my “projects” over the last few months has been to decorate Oliver’s new bedroom. We recently moved Oliver from his racing car (first) bed to a new trundle bed (with the ulteria motive of giving the car bed to his little brother in the coming months). I also decided to move Oliver’s bedroom across the hall so thought I would do it all at once and do a bit of redecorating at the same time.

I decided on a circus theme for the room as Oliver loves the circus (particular the acrobats) and it is a nice bright theme that can be fun and flexible. For the last few months I have been scouring the Internet to look for decorations and things to add to the room. I’ve bought quite a few things online (yay for parcels being delivered) and I’ve made quite a few trips to places like Ikea, light shops and bedding shops in search of the perfect items. It’s been kind of fun actually – and now it’s finally done.

The hardest bit was by far the wallpaper which was my first ever wallpaper attempt. But thanks to Mr Google who provided some great videos and tips, along with some help from the lovely Cody, the wallpaper went up without any major issues! Thanks also to Benji’s Dad who helped with some framing and to all my other friends who have listed to me go on about this bedroom for months!

I’m happy to say that Oliver loves his room and is very excited about it.

So here is how the finished circus room looks:



I always find it helpful when I read blogs if I can find out where they got their pieces from – so here goes:

My Little 3 Year Old

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Having a three year old is a very challenging time.  My little boy is old enough to talk back, argue a point, ask hundreds of questions a day and demand lollipops for breakfast. He can throw tantrums, interrupt every sentence I say and play up to get my attention. Or just to press my buttons.

But at the same time, I do have an awesome son. And whilst it’s easy to see and share the testing times he puts me through, I want to take a moment to appreciate the moments of gold which make it all worth while.

Because having a three year old also means having lots of fun, hearing some priceless lines, giggling over silly things and getting a new perspective on the world. Everyday things excite him so much and bring joy into our lives. Here are some of the fun times I’ve had recently with Oliver:

  • He regularly says “Mum, do you know how much I love you?” – “All the way to the moon and back”. Or sometimes it’s “all the way to America, then skiing, then to the moon and to grandma’s and back”.
  • The other day he was playing cricket with Grandad who is teaching him to bowl and bat. After Oliver bowled the ball and Grandad hit it, Oliver said “Good job Grandad!”  A priceless moment when the student praised the teacher!
  • Last week Oliver told me that Mickey Mouse has 2 pairs of shoes. One yellow (on TV) and also a black pair that he wore when we saw him on the Disney boat. How observant.
  • He is a great big brother and it is so precious to see my kids playing together. In particular they like pushing each other in the car (or on the mower), having tea parties and playing in the cubby.
  • I recently got a new computer and made a big deal out of opening it and showing the kids. The next morning Oliver said to me “Mum, it’s so exciting that you got a new computer!” That’s my boy!
  • Last night Oliver helped to set the table. He then came up to me and said “Is there anything else I can do to help you Mum?” I just want to bottle that!

I can really feel the connection that I’m building with Oliver at the moment and I know Steve does too.  So even though you may occasionally hear me sigh and roll my eyes when you ask how the kids are, just know that there are many parts I absolutely love and cherish every day!

Kids Crafts – it’s not the outcome, it’s the journey!

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

We’ve had a big week of kids activities in the last week and I thought I’d share a few of them (and keep a record for my own notes!)

After buying Oliver a new bed recently, we had some big boxes around, so I used them to build a little cubby for the kids.


It wasn’t super stable! But the kids had a great time going in and out and playing peek-a-boo through the windows!

And then, I got the idea of making paper plate masks with Oliver and when we started to do it, he reminded me of something we’d seen on Art Attack where they had done paper mache masks (using bottles) and I decided to combine the ideas and do paper plate-paper mache masks with him. I’m not sure why I felt confident about this as I haven’t done paper mache in as long as I can remember, but good old Dr Google helped me out and in no time we were on our way! So we decided on some animals (pig, bear, bird) and I cut out the eyes and added a few features to our plates.


We then made some paper mache glue and started sticking.

I have to admit that whilst Oliver quite enjoyed this, he wasn’t overly efficient at covering the plates (or using an appropriate amount of glue!) but it was fairly easy to add more paper and finish them off.

We then left the masks to dry for a few days before we started painting. Ethan joined in this step although he mainly  painted paper while Oliver and I tackled the masks.


Oliver did a good job of painting the bear mask, although he would have been happy leaving it like this :)


So we finished the painting and let them dry, added some elastic and voila:


The kids are still having a good time playing with these.

And to round off the week, we tried this super easy biscuit recipe that I found. It was very easy to make with the kids and they loved it, but we all would agree that they didn’t taste as good as some biscuits we have made before!

All in all a very creative week! Over the next week I’m going to try and do some work on Oliver’s new room, so keep an eye out for an update in a week or two!

All About Family

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Yesterday I went to a funeral and it was a lovely service. And of course it was sad. I was especially sad to see people I care about upset. The experience has made me ponder the role of family and makes me acknowledge again how important family is in life.

When I was growing up my father often used to get upset with me wanting to spend time with my friends – potentially at the cost of spending that time with family. Fundamentally I’m still the same girl because friends are still very important to me. But I also appreciate my family and now I also have my own little family unit– and they give life a new purpose.

The relationship between family members is so unique. The support between parents and children, between brothers and sisters, between cousins and between extended family was evident everywhere I looked yesterday. Family are there for the good times and the bad. And they give you a reason to hang out with age groups and generations other than your own. Even my three year old will randomly state out loud “…and, I love my cousins”. I’m so grateful that he is getting that experience, and it doesn’t even matter that some of the cousins he loves so much are more than three times his age.

The family at the funeral yesterday was large. Seven children and over 20 grandchildren. Many of them played a role in the service yesterday and it was lovely to see them all supporting each other in this time of sadness.

In a way I think it’s sad that families these days are smaller than they were a generation ago. Whilst my Mum came from a small family, my dad had eight brothers and sisters and my in-laws had five and six kids in their families.

Rarely do you see such big families now. Two kids seems to be the norm and I know several families with three, but few (if any) with four children. I can’t imagine the chaos in a house with nine kids!

I’m very lucky to have such a supportive family and am grateful to have such a good relationship with my in-laws too. And then there is my wonderful husband and my very special kids plus all of my extended family. I think about my family often, including those relatives I don’t get to see that often. In fact I’m going to go and get in contact with some of them right now…

It’s Way Cheaper To Buy Wallpaper From The UK

Friday, March 9th, 2012

One of the fun things I’m doing at the moment is decorating Oliver’s new bedroom. I have decided on a circus theme and that involves getting some stripped wallpaper for one wall. Ive found what I wanted online and have done some shopping around to compare prices. And check this out:

Australian website: wallpaper is $350 AUD
UK website: wallpaper is $84.80 AUD

So, guess where I’m getting it from? I can get it delivered to my door from the UK for around 30% of what it would cost me to buy locally.

This really highlights to me that things really are so much cheaper overseas, and not just for electrical equipment but boring things like wallpaper. Is it because the Aussie site I was looking at is a fancy interior design type site (maybe, although no one else had it much cheaper), or is it just that Australia is super expensive?

Either way, sites like this one, which directed me onto the UK wallpaper site, are doing a good job of highlighting overseas retailers who will deliver to Australia and help consumers to purchase at a lower price point. I really think local providers need to have a good look at what they are doing and push their suppliers harder. This has just started happening that I’m aware of – look what JB Hi-Fi have managed to do with their current Nikon arrangement.

Come on Aussie retailers, get it together!