Spread the love ~ Lunchbox notes

It may not be Valentine’s Day but
you don’t need to wait for a special occasion to start spreading some love!
How about a cute lunchbox note in your child’s lunch box today! 
It may be a simple smiley face on a post it note (thanks Mum!)
or a crazy joke 
or if you really have some time and want to get creative how about these 
GORGEOUS FREE PRINTABLES!

What a lovely way to brighten your child’s day!
OR
Why not surprise some work colleagues with an anonymous cheery note on their lunch!
So fess up do you pop notes into your childs lunch box??

Wordless Wednesday ~ Cook

 

A cooking masterpiece.  

On the menu ~ Soup of Broccoli, Parsley and Cabbage with a touch of sugar and salt.  

For dessert – Green Berries.  

Otherwise know as leaves, weeds and sand “cooked” over a palm leaf fire with green mulberries smothered in dirt!  If only preparing dinner was really that easy!

Linking up with My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday

Play with your food – Turn your pantry into play opportunities!

Ever find that despite your home being over run with store bought toys, it is the household items that the kids want to play with?   The pots and pans, a ball of string, a cardboard box, the wooden spoons?  Well put the toys away, open up the pantry and you will unearth a tresure trove of play opportunities!  Behind that can of three bean mix, I bet you will discover…… 

shareandremember.blogspot.com

 RICE

Colour me happy.  Uncolored rice naturally works as well as coloured rice for any of these activities but coloured rice is way more fun!  Simply place the quantity of rice you want into a zip lock bag.  Place a few drops of food colouring and a few squirts of hand sanitizer into the bag and shake! Lay the rice out on a tray to dry in the sun!  The hand sanitizer (alcohol) helps the colour to set!  Kids love helping to shake the begs but unless you want a “rice shower” make sure they are securely closed first!

Shake it baby!   Make a maraka.  No childhood is complete without a bottle filled with rice for shaking!  Try different sizes and shapes of bottles to create your own shaking band! Just don’t forget to secure the lid!

Sensory Play.  Forget the sand pit, exploring in rice is a sensory adventure.  Fill a large storage container with rice and then add

  • Gardening tools, shovels, buckets gloves, flowers for some gardening role play without the dirt. (Check out this amazing sensory rice garden below from shareandremember.blogspot.com)
  • Small toys burried underneath the rice for some fine motor exploration and seeking! 
  • Funnels, bowls, jugs, spoons and cups for some role play cooking or just pouring mixing

Chopsticks  This one is for the older kids.  A great fine motor and hand eye coordination activity ask them to pick up grains of rice with their chopsticks and put them into another container!  Or mix up some rice, small pom poms, craft paddlepop sticks or match sticks and even some small toys in a container and ask them to sort it, not using their hands but the chopsticks!!! 
 
Craft it.  Make a rice picture.  Let your child paint some glue onto a piece of paper into any design they like.  Sprinkle rice over the glue and shake off any excess.  It is of course best to do this over a large tray. (kitty litter trays work well)  Experiment with different designs and colours.
PASTA

Don’t cook it!!!!  Play with it!!  Pasta comes in more shapes and sizes than you can imagine!

Wear it.  Who hasn’t made a pasta necklace at some time in their childhood!  Spice it up and use a few different types of pasta.  Children could make a pattern (a valuable maths skill) on their necklace by alternating colours or types of pasta.   Threading is an amazing fine motor skill.  Little ones can thread using penne and older children the smaller macaroni!

onecraftyplace.com

Sort it.  Mix up a whole assortment of pasta and ask the kids to sort it!  A muffin tray makes a great sorter with children being able to place

Count it.  Large pasta makes great counters!  Write some numbers on disposable cups.  Ask your child to place the same number pieces of pasta in each cup!

FOOD COLOURING 

Before you go running in the other direction.  Food colouring doesn’t have to be messy. This is a great activity for children 2years and over.  If you are really worried invest in some rubber gloves!

Paper towel art.  Water down some food colouring in a clear plastic cup.  Don’t dilute it too much you want the colour to be strong.  Using an eyedropper, drop a drop of the coloured water onto some papertowel.  The colour spreads to create a gorgeous coloured effect!  Drop a different colour close by and you will see the colours mix!  

fabmum.com

Oil and water.  Mix some food colouring into some oil.  Fill a kiity litter tray with about 5cms o water.  Using the eyedropper again drop a drop of your coloured water onto the water.  Do this with a few different colours.  Now gently place a piece of paper on top of the water for a second and lift it off.  The colour in the water transfers to the paper!  If you want to really get fancy, swirl the colour in the water with a comb!   This is one of my classes favourite art activities!

So forget the “educational” toys this week, go for a search in the pantry and uncover a recipe for fun and learning just waiting to be discovered.

Menu Plan Monday ~ The Busy Mum’s Freezer Edition

We are a very BUSY family of four.  I am ashamed to admit that sometimes, especially on the days I work, I have not exactly made the best meals for my family.  But it’s time to take stock and fix the problem.   Of course I have a secret weapon that I have swooped on.

Frost Bite By Susan Austin

I have occasionally made an extra batch of pasta sauce or a lasagne or quiche to put in the freezer but I wouldn’t exactly call that creative or life saving!  Frost Bite has some sensational ideas and recipes for your freezer!  It even includes the best method for defrosting each recipe.  The large glossy pages are adorned with easy to follow instructions accompanied by pictures of each meal that are as drool worthy as the recipe itself!  I particularly love that it is a complete cookbook. Frost Bite includes sections on baby food, party food and even food for lunchboxes!  I have a large collection of those mini cookbooks and you loose yourself remembeirng wether that recipe your searching for is in the 5 minute dinners, fast and fresh or quick and easy cook book!  Frost Bite is a one book for all, cookbook!

So this week I am doing things a little differently.  

1. On the days I have only one child at home (and a little more time) I am going to try and make a back up meal for the freezer.  By keeping it similar to the meal I am already making I should only be adding an extra half hour to my cooking time.

2. Make salads in advance.  I have heard of a lot of people doing this and now it’s my turn.  Lettuce, washed and pre cut. Cherry Tomatoes.  Cheese Cubed.  Grated Carrot.  Cucumber Sliced.  Maybe even some olives, croutons and parmesan for some variety! I will do this on Sunday night and again on Wednesday night.

3.  Take the easy option once a week.  I am all for quick and easy.  I like to have a stand by of easy options, especially for Friday nights and hopefully it will prevent us from getting takeaway!! By knowing in advance, that we will have one easy night, I might try and put in a bit of effort on the other nights!  I am not perfect and my kids won’t die from fish and chips!

So here it is the BUSY MUMS MENU PLAN!

Monday~ Spinach and Ricotta Canneloni ~ and for the freezer ~ Spinach and Ricotta Tartlets* 

The Canneloni is a regular favourite in this household and I am thinking the tartlets would be great for lunchboxes!

Tuesday ~ Chicken, Bacon and Potato Bake ~ and for the frezer ~ Chicken wrapped in Proscuitto with Pesto Sauce*

The bake is done in the slow cooker so takes little preparation giving me more time to make this delicious chicken and proscuitto dish!

Wednesday ~ Beef Tacos ~ and for the freezer ~ Chilli con Carne*

Prepare salad for Thursday/Friday

Thursday ~ Beef Stroganoff

Is my work day so  a simple Beef Strognaoff in the slow cooker!  The “nanny” may even be able to put it in for me!

Friday ~ Fish and Chips from the freezer!

An easy oven meal ~ Crumbed Fish for kids, Steamed Fish for Adults, Chips and green salad (this takes a whole 5 minutes to prepare!)

I am sticking with 5 nights this week as I think this may be more manageable.  We have no idea what is happening next weekend especially with Father’s Day. 

Besides using “Frost Bite” for my meal plans I will also be able to call on it when wanting to make freezer ready meals for others.  A frozen prepared meal is perfect for a new mother, someone sick, a busy single parent, the elderly, people returning form holidays or how about spreading some kindness to your neighbours!

*All recipes form “Frost Bite” by Susan Austin

“Frost Bite” is available at David Jones and other good book retailers.  

Follow Susan’s blog at frostbitefood.blogspot.com 

Linking up with The Organised Housewife

 

 

 

Father’s Day ~ Print It!

 This is my last Father’s Day 2011 post…..I promise.

I just had to share these amazing and creative free printable designed by other Mummy Bloggers out there in the blogosphere!  Why not use this weekend to print away!  Simply click on the link under each print and discover a whole new world of bloggers and printables!  These are free printables.  A lot of love and time went into them so be kind, say hi, and let them know “a little birdie sent you”!

rebeccacooper.blogspot.com

This one has my name written all over it.  Well his name actually!  Gorgeous framed or use it as a card.  It even comes in a variety of colours! 

bnute.blogspot.com
bnute.blogspot.com

Remember how much I love “chatterboxes”? This is a great one!  He may even “land” on “Have the remote all day!”   Easy to make, the kids can even help!

anythingbutperfect.com

Got a bike loving Dad or even one who loves to help their kids on their bikes?  This play on words is just brilliant!

delightfullynoted.blogspot.com

This one is great for grandfathers as well!  I know we don’t really call soft drink “pop” here in Australia, but the idea is still so effective.

LivingLocurto.com

Some special coupons for Dad.  A card and a gift in one!

pizzazzerie.com
pizzazzerie.com
pizzazzerie.com

Thats right, three from Pizzazzerie, because this lady knows how to make great printables.  These are great for cupcakes, or put them on a bottle of his favourite drink or make them into a banner!

handsonhousewife.blogspot.com

My absolute favourite!  I LOVE the Keep Calm and Carry On series of prints and this one is perfect for Father’s Day!

mydelightfuldesigns.wordpress.com

This one even includes a design to be used as an iron on transfer!  Why not surprise Dad with his own “Super Dad” T-Shirt!

 Now there are no excuses to not make something simple yet beautiful for that special man in your kids life, so print, make and enjoy Father’s Day!

I’m grateful for ….sports day

You will find me on the opposite end of the sporty spectrum to olympic athletes.  There I lounge with the other couch potatoes and uncoordinated runners  as we console each other with similar tales of defeat.   My own childhood sports days are filled with memories of dissapointment and embarrsment, of fumbling tunnel ball and watching the backs of those long legged runners beating me by a mile.  By some stroke of fate, I have since managed to avoid all things sport and even as a teacher, I have generally either been too pregnant to participate  or convieniently on maternity leave. The sports day nightmares have eluded me. Until….last week. 

I begrudgingly put on my rarely worn joggers with my always worn jeans.  This “special” kind of outfit is thankfully only required for events such as these, in the hope that I may be able to disguise my sporting inability in an outfit that at least imitates the part.  I headed off with my bag packed full of gatorade (when else is it acceptable to drink something blue?) and panadol for the migraine I knew would ensue after a day managing 25 over excited 5 year olds in the blazing sun.  In my teacher basket of goodies, were a lifetime supply of tissues for the tears that will follow each dissapointing moment of realising that you are never going to make The Australian Olympic team.

I approached the oval with its tell tale chalky line markings with as much as excitement as a trip to the dentist.  And there they were. Covered in coloured face paint, smiles for miles and eagerly weilding crepe paper pom poms clutched in hope that they would be able to fling them around as they screamed out war cries.  Who was I to steal the dreams  of 5 year olds or put a downer on their day?

I am not sure wether it was their eagerness to participate in events that would usually send me running in the other direction or too much blue gatorade, but what ensued next is nothing short of a miracle.    As the kids lined up at the starting line their faces a mix of dread, anticipation and nerves, I threw off my sunglasses and joined them.   The starting bell sounded. My uncoordinated running style was lost amoungst the squeling and hand holding.   We laughed and dragged the dawdlers along ensuring no one was left behind.  We swerved out of our lanes, we chased each other, we ran backwards, we skiped and we hopped.  We were so busy puffing and laughing at the crazy teacher with the flock of wild children participating in the race, that we didn’t see the finish line.  Amidst the footloose and fancy free runners we could not remember who won or who came last.  We were having too much fun.

After running with such wild abandon, my memories of childhood awkwardness had now been replaced with thoughts of fun, pride and running whilst laughing until you collapsed. 

 So this week I am grateful for leaving my inhibitions behind and  learning to laugh at myself. Even if it was for a just for one race.  I am grateful for the joy,  laughter and acceptance a group of five year olds can bring to your life.  But most of all I am grateful that I took the time to grab life by its horns,  live in that moment, and run with it.

Linking up with Maxabella Loves 

A little birdie saved my fashion – Birdsnest

Remember how much I just LOVE clothes shopping with two children?

The hijacking of other peoples changerooms, the awkward looks from shop attendants and not to mention the hours spent hunting  for something vaguely resembling fashion, in stores that clearly have no desire to cater for Mums!

Somewhere between the birthing suite and maternity bras I have lost all contact with what is “in fashion.”  I used to love to dress in the latest styles but my changing body shape and limited magazine reading time has left me dressing like a schlumpadinka (thanks Oprah)

I need a stylist.  I need a makeover. I need a saviour.

I. HAVE. FOUND. THE. ANSWER.

SIT DOWN.   THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

Enter….

 

Birdsnest is not just sensational because, like me, they have a love of bird logos. They have more than a clever gimic to woo online shoppers.  They have a concept that is an online clothes shopping revolution.  Think shopping in your pyjamas, with a stylist, your honest best friend a social ettiquette expert and a babysitter.   

Enter their online store and…..

You can shop by body type 

 By occasion

 By Personality

and even by colour. 

 You can even browse their huge range of completely styled outfits.  

Take the guess work out of do these shoes go with this dress!

Once you have chosen your outfit or item of interest (and believe me there are a million possibilites)  They become your own personal stylist and ettiquette expert.

I can now see a fully styled outfit with each individual piece priced AND it even lets me know what body shapes and occasions it would suit! 

Birdsnest do not just  stock womens fashion.  They also have a great range of mens and kids clothes, as well as the all important accesories.   But who am I kidding…it’s all about me!  Finally a store has listened to its customers.  Variety, quality, a range of affordable price points and most of more CONVIENIENCE!

At long last I can bid farwell to my changeroom nightmare.  With a cup of coffee, tucked up in my warm bed I can now shop for the latest fashion, with my secret stylist ready to tell me if my bum will look big in those jeans!

you can find Birdsnest at

www.birdsnest.com.au

This is NOT a sponsored post.  This is just me sharing my own DIVINE fashion finds!

What you REALLY need to teach your child….Keeping it R.E.A.L

 
 
 
Want to know the most common question I am asked as an Early Childhood Teacher?
 
  What can I do to help my child at home?
  
Naturally this would usually come with a long winded, personalised to the child and situation answer, but really the simple answer is……
Keep it R.E.A.L
 
R is for READING  
Reading is THE most valuable gift you can give to your child.  Read everyday,  every thing, everyone needs to read! –  Reading is so much more than stories!  Don’t restrict yourself to reading the old faithful bedtime story.  From an early age it is important for children to realise that print carries meaning.  The words on a stop sign mean that the car has to stop here.  The print on a menu tells me what I can choose to eat.  The print in the phonebook helps me find someone to come and fix the fridge.  The print on the street signs tell me where I live.  The print on shop signage tells me what the shop is called.  PRINT IS EVERYWHERE!  
Let your child look at the menu at the cafe while you read out the options.   Read out the recipe while you are cooking.  Let them play with books and role play reading! 

E is for ENGAGE
Engage your child in everything you do.   Invaluable learning skills can be gained and reinforced doing the most everyday tasks!  
Whilst doing the groceries talk about what you are doing. 
Can they choose 4 red apples for you?  (colour, counting) 
Older children could choose the cereal that is the best value for money (comparison between size and cost) 
Whilst your cooking dinner? If I cut this tomato down the middle I will now have two halves.(fractions)  
Could you write on the shopping list, milk? (writing,phonics)  
Let your children gain independence, social and communication skills, by doing things that you would normally do.  Let them talk to the checkout operator and handle the money.  Let them ask the post office for a stamp and put the letter in the mailbox.  Engaging in the every day not only lets your child acquire invaluable life long skills but can help end whinging! Once they are school age,  ENGAGE in your child’s education. Year after year it amazes me the direct correlation between parents that you never see at school or show no interest in what their child is doing and underachieving or misbehaving students.
  
A is for APPLAUD AND APPRECIATE
Your child is an individual with talents that need to be appreciated and applauded.  You are the primary teacher of confidence and self esteem.  Don’t dwell on the negatives, appreciate your child’s talents and applaud their effort regardless of the otucome.  It is amazing to see a child’s confidence soar with a bit of appreciation and encouragement.
 
L is for LOVE, LAUGH and LEARN together.  
A teacher can teach your child to love learning, but it is your job to LOVE your child.  Teach them to laugh.  Laugh when times are tough or you make a mistake. Keep it in perspective, maybe the fact that little Billy only wants to play in home corner seems like a big deal now, but you WILL be laughing about this on his 16th Birthday. Seeing you relaxed and laughing at the situation helps your child do the same.  Being able to “laugh it off” helps teach your child resilience and self coping skills.  LEARNING IS FUN.  Try not to battle over it! Let your child know that learning is a life long process.  Even you don’t know everything (even if you think you do!)
 
 
Learning is something we can not deny.  It happens every day wether we are aware of it or not.  By keeping it R.E.A.L as parents, we can create confident, enthusiastic, learners who will have a love of learning for life!
 
For more ideas on how to prepare your child for school check out our article
Preparing Your Child For School” over at Lovely Living.

Wordless Wednesday ~ Sneaky!

Who stole the rice bubbles from the cereal jar?

Little Miss A’s latest snack favourite!  Dry rice bubbles by the handful!

Linking up with My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday

Father’s Day ~ Make It!

Can you believe that  Father’s Day is just around the corner?  

It usually fills me with dread!   I leave it to the last minute and then resort to getting the kids to do a drawing, pop it in an envelope with a gift voucher and Father’s Day is done!  But this year I WILL BE ORGANISED!  

Here’s what is inspiring this me Father’s Day.

It all starts with the card…This is an amazingly clever and relatively simple idea that anyone with a computer and printer can do at home!

733blog.blogspot.com

Just as easy is framing an inspirational quote about Fathers.  I just love the bus scroll style!  You can find them online or try making it yourself online at wordle! 

blogginwithbobbi.blogspot.com
eighteentwentyfive.blogspot.com 

Short on time?  Get the kids organised for a creative photo! Then just print and frame or have printed onto a canvas!

twogirlzstuff.blogspot.com
tattertotsandjello.blogspot.com

Handprint Art……take two hands and a little paint and you have a gorgeous keepsake of your little ones at this moment in time that Daddy will treasure forever!  I may even just use this idea in the classroom!

 

smilemonsters.blogspot.com
bystephanielynn.com

Hobby Specific…so these ones don’t suit my husband but if he had a hobby they are a great idea.  It’s all in the packaging!  A cute box filled with fishing hooks? 

bedifferentactnormal.com
Martha Stewart

A written snapshot!  This is a hit in my classroom every year!  I do it for Mother’s and Father’s day.  I ask the children some questions about their parent and record their answer word for word!  I especially love their answers to how old their parent is!

bigdandme.com
creativehomemakers.blogspot.com

SO there you have it some creative and easy things to do at home for Father’s Day.  What does my husband want for Father’s Day?    Wait for it………………….

 

 His very own Kitchen Aid!!!

I kid you not!  He is an amazing cook and has been asking for one for ages!

 I think he may be waiting a little longer!