Sunday, January 29, 2012

Crafts and Activities

With a few of our favourite Special events of the year so close, last week was one for some crafting and colouring. The kids have really gotten into their colouring in of late, especially Stella, and its so delightful to see her progress in her drawings, the people now have fingers, and clothes and one last week even had an owl and clouds. Amazing!

I found there wasn't a huge amount around for Australia Day, even on the ever inspiring Pinterest, the Aussie crafts were seriously lacking, so we started with some simple colouring in of our Flag.

Notice the hat? Seriously, this boy wears a hat all.the .time. Even to bed!! SO cute!

The colouring didn't satisfy my craft loving kiddos, so we moved onto some contact hearts for Valentines Day.
VERY simple and such a clean craft, so there is nothing to not like about it. SImply cut out a heart shape from clear contact, sticky tape on either side, sticky side up. Place and decorate with whatever tickles your fancy,we used crepe paper cut into little pieces, then line the back with another piece of contact ( I used a rectangle, then cut around the heart shape).

            Ta-da. Strung up on  a piece of ribbon and attached with itty bitty cute pegs. CUTE or what?

Then on Oz Day Eve, a simple painting activity to help warm into the festivities! I LOVE Australia Day!

I just printed a Boomerang image off the net, and set out a few paper plates with paint splodges and a cotton tip per colour ( paper plates make for easy clean up)

And we painted the Boomerangs with the cotton tips. Spot, spot spot. Max's new word for the day!!

Again, easy, relatively clean (providing your darling son doesn't like to paint his hand, face , everything etc). So easy, I managed to complete this session with 4 kids, having my niece for a play, and everyone had a ball!

Hmmm what to do next?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A few things

Stopping by to share a quick post with you about our " Start of School" organising.
I have been terribly tired of late, even falling asleep ON TOP of our bed whilst watching TV or whilst trying to motivate myself to get up and start Scrapbooking or something. *YAWN*
So the lack of posts are for this reason. I have a planner full with posts, its getting them written that seems to be the problem! Anyhoooo

Last weekend saw the start of many "Back to School" haircutting sessions, with me doing the 3 oldest kids ( Angus certainly doesn't need one and it will be a fair while before he does, he is quite the baldy!)

I created a few wardrobe dividers to help with the Wardrobe organisation of Stella's school clothes. Post of the complete wardrobe coming soon!
I feel I must say that my husband laughed his little head off at me for making these!! He thinks they are a silly idea, and that they are not needed. In my defense, I do things like this because I can. Seriously!!
(I must make a point too that my hubster is a VERY supportive and helpful man, and puts up with ALOT of these sorts of things from me! HaHa)
In my life, and day to day happenings, there are so many things I can not control ( and I am a control freak!) , so many things I can not change and that I have to just live with. If the kids are having a bad day,  I can't control that. If we have alot on our agenda, I can't control that. If I have an unsettled baby, I can't control that. What I CAN control are my surroundings. How clean my house is, how organised I am. How organised the house is. The games and crafts we play and do.
Seeing as though these are things that can make a difference to our lives and can be changed, I take the opportunity. And you know what? They may a difference to me! They make me feel better about the things I can't help and just have to deal with , and make coping with the hard times that little bit easier!! Anyone with me?! Get my drift? Feel my pain?
So, here are the funny wardrobe dividers , that are oh so cute!!

I started with some cute 8 x8 cardstock but you can use any card or paper for this , but the cuter the better I say! And also a few pieces of thicker card , I reused an insert from my new We R Memory Keepers Album.
I then glued the coloured card to the white card.

I used an old CD as the template and simply traced around the outside, on the back of the white card and cut out .

I then took out a small triangle in the side of each circle and completed them with some chipboard lettering, for labels.

                                                                    Aren't they cute?!

       We have also started to read a few school based books, and found a few in our local Target store.
"The Things I LOVE about School "and a cute Charlie and Lola book (thanks Gemma!) "I am too absolutely small for school" and the third one is one I had when I was a kid called "Adams Apple".

So just a few small things again, that make all the difference. We also cleaned out her backpack ( using an existing one), wiped and disinfectant the new cooler bag, bought new school shoes ( on sale in Target for $8)  and purchased the school supplies.
I have also nearly finished the lunchbox baking, each item is gladwrapped individually and in the freezer ready to go!
It seems all that is left is labelling some containers for her lunch box and her waterbottle, purchasing a school hat and library bag and we will be set! Sob sob

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This year....

I know we are well into the year already, with it nearly being February, but the time is whizzing by, much much faster than my liking!
But lately I have been on a dead set mission to achieve some of my goals for 2012, and get those babies marked off the  list!!
Did you make goals for this year? Some call them "New Years Resolutions" others just yearly goals, whatever title they may hold in your life, I hope you all feel good about them!

So... for the process of "Putting it out there" ( did you read that Mumsy?) here are my goals for 2012
I have documented these in paper form for constant inspiration with these great printables, yet again, from the ever gorgeous Bianca at 'A little delightful!'

- To get fit, and live a healthy and active life (as in sport and exercise, I think I am active enough with my 4 kiddos) I'd love to lose 30kgs but slow and steady wins the race, so for now a goal of 8kg will do!

- To keep up to date with my Project Life album for this year

- To print and get into albums, all of the photos we have taken since Stella was born. Probably in Project Life style, but to create individual albums for each child and also for our holidays, Europe trip 2009, multiple Bali trips , Margaret River etc

- Complete each childs Baby Kit albums

- To devote more of my time each day to my children. More floor and role play, less chores, cleaning, washing etc

- Take better care of myself, expecially my feet and face. Get regular pedicures and maintain crack-less heels, etc and start using eyes creams and the like ( I am starting to look waaayyyy older than 26!!) and try and have regular facials, either DIY or in salon.

- Turn off the computer for a day a week. Sounds simple, but Pinterest, Facebook, photo editing etc, all call my name , frequently!!

- Continue with my Scrapbooking classes and try and complete at least 2 Layouts a week (this will help with the past photos memory keeping!)

- Towards the end of year I would like to take a trip away, solo. Just me (or whoever decides they would like to come with) once I have finished breastfeeding my last child. As a celebration. I have been pregnant or b/feeding for the past 4 years pretty much ,with only a small break inbetween Stella and Max and Lacey, and I would like to go to Sydney or Melbourne, and.... shop. And lunch, and wine and dine and pamper

They sound simple, and I am one determined woman at the moment but we will see!!

Our Family Goals

- Take more time out as a family. Explore the region, and our facilities and venues , and take regular day trips , devoting ourselves to "quality family time"

- I would like for Noel and I to do a few more things as a couple, solo, childless. Even if its grabbing a movie and order nice takeaway and staying home, once the kids are in bed, but more things together.

- Purhaps letting my kids have more sleepovers and playdates ( geez, not just more but starting!!) I am not very good at letting the kids go, but its important to them, and us. It may mean relying on the Grandparents more, but I am sure they won't mind ;)

- Taking our annual trips away. I would like to continue to take these each year with the kids. They love it and so do we, and it doesn't cost the earth!

- Completing the few big jobs we have on our never ending wish list for around our home.

- Cherish each and every day with our gorgeous little people and amazing little/big family!!

I have also made a list of "Blog Goals" which also include;

- Posting on a more regular basis

- Starting our "Theme weeks" again with the kids and posting them for people to join in

- Completing the posts that have been requested by Followers

- Partake in more "Linky Parties"

- And post more frequently on my Facebook page

There you have them. My Goals. I am sure to have forgotten something, but for now, thats it.
I am so excited yet totally anxious about this coming year, particularly the School year. Our baby heads off to Kindy next week, and I just can't believe how time has flown. Stella has grown and matured so much over the past 12 months , its quite remarkable, and I have cherished every moment I have had with all the kids, since becoming a Stay at Home Mum. I has been the best year of my life, testing , yes, but I wouldn't have wished for it any other way!!
Bring on 2012 and all it has to offer. I see big things in our future, and this year is just the beginning!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Preparing for School.....

Sniff sniff......
Stella starts kindy in a few weeks. There will be tears, lots of tears.
From me.
She will be fine. Infact , she now says to me " You will get sad Mum, when I go to school, you will cry, but thats ok, I will give you a hug when you pick me up"
Sweet Stella, my friend. I will miss her......

But its the inevitable and I can't keep her home just because I am a sook now can I? Or should I?

This week is all about preparing and organising for the start of the school year, and making our families transition into one with School aged children, a little easier. Not to mention the fact I don't have all the time in the world.

At Stella's kindy, they don't have a uniform, so to try and nip any morning fights during dressing time over her outfit in the bud, I have decided she will have seperate clothes just for school. I plan on having them all hanging seperately in the wardrobe so they are easily identified to her , and it should also make dressing a lot quicker in the mornings. ( I plan on choosing her clothes the night before as a part of our night time routine)

Seeing as though they do alot of arts and crafts at Kindy, I didnt want to spend a fortune on the clothes, so  have taken advantage of the sales on at the moment. Unfortunately our town only has a Target and Best and Less as major clothing stores, but they still seemed to come through with the goods again!
The other day we purchased this stack of clothes for a mere $62 !!
4 tops, 2 dresses, 3 skirts and a tights and top set. Thats only $6 an item , which in the long run, a pretty cheap uniform! Not only that , Stella will still look pretty cute too!!
( We also managed to buy the 3 big kids bathers and PJ's for next summer and they will be a part of their Christmas presents, these were only $6-$8 aswell!!)
At the end of winter, I did the same thing, went in at sale time, and spent about $70 on nice pants, groovy knitted jumpers and simple tops , all for school.

I printed off this great Lunch Box Planner from the talented Bianca at "A Little Delightful" , and covered a basic clipboard to hang next to our Meal Planner (also a wonderful Printable that Bianca created, isn't she clever?) I am looking forward to planning Stella's meals and lunch box treats and keeping track of it all here.

Pinterest has been a fantastic inspiration and resource when it comes to organising and printables aswell. I found this cool Photo checklist, to jog the memory as to different things you should photograph of the big first day and the whole event! Available HERE (My ink was a little low at the end, its a brighter red)

This Interview/ Questionaire I hope to complete with Stella before she goes to school and then again at the end of the year, and then we can compare the answers. Available HERE

                                                       Isn't my clipboard Preeetttttyyyyy?

And the last printable a "Back to School Checklist" which has been a great list to have on the bench, some of the things are relavant but most are. Available from The Organised Housewife HERE

Lastly, some time ago , when Purchasing the " Meeting the New baby " books for the Hospital bags , I also came across this book and put it away for this very special time. It has activities and stickers inside, and will be something special that Stella and I can complete together over a few days while the twins are napping.

This is such a special time for us, helping our little girl prepare for school, but also a nerve wrecking and stressful one. The mornings are going to be chaos and I am sure patience will run low and tiredness levels will be high in the first few weeks , so anything I can do to make it easier, the better!!

A post on how I plan to organise her wardrobe with her school clothes is coming soon!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Big Beds

After sharing a pic of Angus' room, I received a few requests for an updated post on Max and Lacey's room.
Well a few weeks before Christmas, we decided to try them out in Big beds.The decision was that spontaneous we had to go out and buy Mattresses and linen that very same day!!
Luckily we had already purchased their beds in an End of Financial Year Sale earlier on in the year ( at EOFYS time of course!) 
EEEeeeeeek.Were we crazy? Hmmm yes!!
However a few days after Christmas we went on our annual family holiday to Horrocks and didn't want to cart 2 portacots there, and instead use the 2 sets of bunks in the 2nd bedroom for the 3 big kids (and Angus slept in his bassinet attachment on the pram).

The transfer was actually very successful and they both loved being in "Big peoples beds" and the first sleep (during the day) was perfect. The nights followed suit and it seemed like we had got out of the situation Scott free! Hmmm until we went to Horrocks and they began to play up. One night Lacey was so tired, her eyes were red and her head was hanging and she still continued to come out to us, over 40 times! Seriously!!
God know where these kids get their stubborn and determined genes from! haha I wonder?!
Anyway, a few nights of tough love, a hard bed time hour for us, but we are now back on track! Phew!

So , here is how we succesfully manage 2 littlies in the same bedroom and a small one at that, despite the Boy/Girl combo. I am not 100% happy with their room, but as with Angus' , its a work in progress and I am slowly changing things to make them work!

Their room is just down the hall from Stella's at the end of the house , so we have just had an Aircon installed as it was stifling hot in there!

The pink Birdie thing is another gorgeous clip holder and they love their Wheely Bugs!

The day we moved the cots out and the beds in!! Such excitement!

Sleeping beauties!! Their first day time sleep!

And their rooms now. I purchased the quilts at Spotlight just last week, they were 40% off, such a bargain!
I have been on the prowl for matching bed linen for them. I love polka dots, and wanted a pale blue spot and pale pink, do you think I could find some? No, so I had to make do for now!

The bookshelf in the middle holds all their precious things up high, books and the white basket is for Lacey's things and the white tin on the bottom is for Max's.

                                     A small collage for Max's prints, and hanging mobile above his bed
(The canvas was $5 at Cotton on Kids, the Owl frame was given to him for his 1st birthday, the "I love you" print was created by a clever friend and the truck was purchased at a local baby boutique sale for $5. In total it was inexpensive and yet very effective!

And Lacey's above hers (her hanging Babushka thing was broken in a "jump on the bed and grab at it" attack!!
Lacey's canvas is from Cotton On Kids aswell, the "I Love You" print by my beautiful friend, the bird picture  was a free artwork found on the internet I just printed and the Verse print was a gift for her birthday also, and its a beautiful poem about twins!

This was a small space we also use for storage with a small Expedit from Ikea. The baskets hold spare blankets, toys, and Clothes that are too big.
The hooks are great for hanging bits and pieces and the baskets hanging hold their hats. I like to have them easy to access as we use them on a daily basis ( and Max wears one day and night , seriously, he wears them to bed!!)

You can also see in the bottom corner a toy bag, they have one each at the end of their bed and at the moment they house their new Christmas gifts. I often find them sitting quietly on the floor playing!

Its a small room, but we make it work, and they love being with each other (while they sleep !!) but that doesnt mean that its ideal!!
Under their beds we have storage tubs for the clothes in the next size up, and also a basket each for their precious toys. We think its important, even though they all have a communal toy room and toys, that each child still has their own precious toys that they don't have to share!

As I said its a work in progress  but its their little abode, and I promise the house tour is coming, to those who have asked, I haven't forgotten!
Do your kids share a room?
Any tips on making it work?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Car Kits

A few weeks  before Christmas, I finally managed to organise and complete one of the tasks on my never ending "Must Do" list. You know the one that you think "Oh I'd like to do something like that one day", well creating a car kit was one of mine.
Obviously, having 4 kids, the chances of a incident or reason for needing a kit , is increased , hence my reasoning behind the kit, before the bulk of our Christmas parties, functions and BBQ's started.

I tried for a few days to think of all the things I thought I would need "if....happened". Hmm the possibilites are endless and unless we want a Mini Van full of "STUFF", not precious kiddie cargo, the list had to be narrowed down. Not only that, but space was an issue. We may have a wonderful Kia Carnival, but we also have 4 kids, 4 carseats, 3 rows of seats, a pram and all the luggage and bags we take on outings on an everyday basis. 

I just repurposed baskets we already had around the house , the brown spotty one is from Red Dot I think and the reed one is from Target ( I got a few on clearance some time ago but I am sure they still have similar).
The spotty kit is for inside the van, inbetween the 2 front seats (there is a gap between them where a tray can flip up or down , and we always have it up, so I stash the basket underneath) and the Square basket is for the boot area , with less used items. 

The car kit contains;
- a few nappies for the twins,
- a packet of wipes
- a box of tissues
- a few disposable change mats (can be used as table cloths, toilet seat covers, or... a change mat!)
- a small box of disposable bibs ( for those times when you decide to have an icecream etc at the park)
- a plastic zip lock case with some nappy sacs and a few plastic bags (bag repurposed from a travel pack of shampoo and conditioners)
- a larger zip lock case (repurposed packaging from a set of kids PJ's from Cotton On) containing some Anti Bac Gel, a few plastic spoons, some Curash cream, a few tampons etc
- Some suncream ( I try and put this towards the bottom of the basket, as sometimes the heat and direct sunlight in the car can make suncreams ineffective) however I always have suncream in my nappy bag and pack a larger tube for park and sun trips
- a calico environmentally friendly shopping bag

And I have since added a few bottles of water and my Spotlight enviro bag (as I go there ALOT!)

The boot basket contains;
- a first aid kit
- a towel
- some plastic plates (for impromtu picnics and dinners when out)
- a blow up head support pillow (just incase you know! ha)

The basket sits neatly in the boot space , and on top of a fold up picnic blanket, which are always handy.

So there you have my simple car kits. As I said, the possibilites are endless as to what they can contain, but they are just simple kits, that will hopefully help in case of an emergency or spontaneous trip or event. The items might not help ideally but some improvisation never hurt anyone.

I also have a basket that gets taken inside and any items that need to go in the car, get put into. Like library books that need to be returned, things that need to be delivered or dropped off, items that need to be returned to a shop, catalogs that I like to use when shopping during sales , things like that. And I also try and put a spare change of clothes for the kids in this basket to save room in my very full nappy bag.

On the back of the 2nd row seats is a seat backer,small and purchased from Target. In this we have a  few books and some simple toys for the girls in the back row, also a small box of tissues, all within an arms reach of Stella as I can not reach them. The tissues are well used for sticky hands, water, noses etc and the toys and books are on rotation as the kids please. When the light is better I will photograph them for you, I forgot today!!

I hope this helped those that had this task on their "To Do List" , and for the clever ones that have already got car kits, whats in yours?

The Night Before Christmas....

For the first time EVER, this Christmas , I had Christmas Eve off. Infact I had every day off, if you don't count my hugely demanding and pretty stressful job of a Mum of 4 young kids, but it was the first year I did not have to work at the salon, as a hairdresser. Battle with staff, Eftpos machines that think its a great day to stop working, cranky and highly stressed customers that have too much left to do , and people that think 3pm on Christmas Eve is a good time to decide to get a spontaneous haircut.
Not this time, yippppeeee!

So... we spent the day , getting ready and into the festive spirit.
It was lovely.

It started with some crafting. Simple Christmas baubles that we coloured in, ran a few stamps over and glued some pretties to, finished with some laminating.

                                       Then some Christmas flowers for a few special people.

                                                     Ahhh a beautiful little vase with our flowers!

                                                  And we made a few bags of Reindeer food.

Set out Santas snacks

And the reindeers food and water bucket, all ready to be filled and put out after we returned home from a yummy dinner at my parents house!

On the way home from dinner (to try and settle a VERY VERY excited Stella) we went for a drive looking at some pretty lights, and sang some songs.

When we got home, the sleeping twins were put to bed, and Stella sprinkled the Reindeer food.

And made sure Santa could get in!!

And finally it was time for bed.

And we got to work, playing Father Christmas......

It was such a magical day with our beautiful family, its the stuff memories are made of!