I’m grateful for…scary teachers

It was 1988.  The Austrlalian bicentenial year and following the excitement of the tall ships sailing into Sydney Harbour, my baby brother arrived.  Literally, that day. Australia Day 1988.  A few days later the new school year started.  I LOVED school.  I was studious, concientious and well, “a goody two shoes.”  As I arrived on the first day of Grade 3 I was met by my new teacher.  A MAN.  A GIANT MAN. Well a very big man, with a booming voice, a beard and a stern expression.  

I no longer LOVED school.  I just wanted to go home.  Mum rushed off with the two toddlers and the day old baby and I was left…. with him.  I think I spoke to him twice in the first term.  He was strict and the tone of his voice was enough to send me into tears. If he told me to stop talking (did I mention I was a chatterbox?) the waterworks would begin.  I thought that’s all I remembered about my “scary” teacher.  Until this week. 

Master O has a new stern swimming teacher.  She yells a LOT.  Her voice is the first thing you hear as you push open the door! She is a “mature aged” woman and she likes everyone to follow the rules.  Her rules.  Nobody talks.  Nobody splashes.  You just swim.

Occasionally she offers a word of encouragement, maybe a pat on the back, but never drips them in praise. Those kids don’t move an inch from the side of the pool whilst waiting for their turn.  Suddenly, with the intoxicating scent of the Chlorine, and the anxious look on Master O’s face, my memories of being in Grade 3 came flooding back.

Great now we would go back to being scared of swimming. But……  

He listened.  He watched.  He sat still on the side waiting for his turn. He used his manners. His swimming improved more in one week than he had all year.  

It made me think about my own “scary” teacher experience all those years ago.  That was the teacher that introduced me to my very first computer.  He taught me not to be scared of times tables.  Much to my dismay, he gave me the role of the Narrator in the class play.  That’s right the part with the most speaking.  I dared not tell him that although I loved to talk in class, public speaking was a whole other ball game.  He must of sensed my anxiety.  He told me I could do it.  And I did.  I had so much fun that I was promptly enrolled in Speech and Drama lessons and went every term until I was 22, which is what led me to teaching. He changed the course of my life. That one big scary teacher.

Fast forward many years and  this week the “Scary Swim Instructor” was away.  Instead she was replaced by a recent high school graduate and her boppy personality and jar of lollies.  It took a whole of five minutes for the kids to realise she didn’t mean business. There was splashing parents on the sidelines.  Swimming up and down the step and spurting water out of ones mouth (yes that was my child!)  The class was full of more pool noodle games than anything involving kickboards.  Day 4 of boppy teenager swimming instructor and Master O suddenly doesn’t want to go to lessons anymore.  He misses his old teacher.  Say what? The “scary” one.  Why?

“Cause Mummy I want to learn to swim so I can go in Nanna’s pool. I don’t want to play  games.  I want to swim.”  Out of the mouths of babes.

So I am grateful for the scary teacher, for underneath they sometimes know what they are doing…teaching.  They may not be full of hugs and praise and lollies but they will push you to learn and achieve.    They will offer structure, discipline and routine and sometimes in this crazy world, thats exactly what kids need. 

Saving Photo Memories ~ Things I Know

I know that I am a reformed photo album procrastinator.  Yes it is a condition.  I googled it.

I know that as a result of this Master O does not have a Baby Album.  I know this causes me to loose sleep at night and feel guilty and wonder where it all went wrong.  Was it the overwhelming feeling of realising that in his first year thousands of photos were taken and how could I choose which ones to print? Or the fact that now years later they are stored in a multitude of now unknown places? Are they on my old computer, a blank CD in storage or still on the million memory cards in the junk drawer?

I know that when I think about what I would save if the house was on fire, it would be family photos.  Except I would not be able to find them oh and of course I would save the kids first and my husband and maybe even my IKEA catalogue.

I know that this year is different.  I have photos, printed, organised in an album photos.  For the first time EVER.  I know that this is purely because of Project Life and I have already expressed my gratitude to it HERE.

I know that yesterday I cried.  At a photo of my Nonna wearing one of Little Miss A’s hairbands and making Master O laugh.  She is nearly 80.  How would I forgive myself I lost that photo.  Losing that memory for my children.

I know that m name is Larissa and I am a Photoholic, I reached baby photo album rock bottom, and I am now climbing my way back, one treasured memory at a time. 

Children’s Chores and Charts ~ It’s easy as 1,2,3

I am all about teaching children responsibility and independence.  I have witnessed many a child starting school who struggles to do the simplest tasks by themselves.  The number of children who refuse tot take up any “helpful”tasks of their own accord, without being offered a reward is growing every year.  So listen up parents, IT STARTS AT HOME.  One of the simplest ways to teach children independence, time management and intrinsic value is to get them to do chores.

1.  Age Appropriate.  Although I really dislike getting the washing off the line, this is not a job to give a four year old!  Start with the basics.  Making their bed.  Setting the table.  Picking up their own toys.  If the job is too difficult you will be fighting a harder battle!  As they become more confident increase the number of jobs.

2. Self Selection.  Although they will need your guidance ask them which jobs they think they should do and add one to the list each week.  You can have “set” jobs that you require of them and a few “self selection”. Also let them have a bit of self selection in when they do these jobs.  This way they can learn time management.  As long as you give them a  broad time frame like watering the plants must be done before dinner tonight, then leave it to them.  This way children learn about leaving things to the last minute, planning ahead and getting your work done before playing!

3.  Intrinsic Value.  This is HUGE.  If you fail to do the previous two, please (for the teachers and child sakes) teach them about doing a job because it makes you feel good not because you will get something.  I am all for rewards and would rather praise than punish but this “have it now” generation is struggling to learn “good behaviour and doing the right thing makes you “feel good” not “gets you something good”  Bribery is paying BEFORE behaviour is delivered.  “If you make your bed I’ll give you $1.”  Instead wait for them to make their bed, then let them know (verbally) what a great job they did and how proud you are of them!  In our house I take a photo, this lets them know how much I love their work!  A surprise reward of a trip to the park when all the jobs are done works better than threat of if you don’t do it we wont be going anywhere!  

All this being said, chores are a great way to teach children about working to earn money.  To find a balance, maybe rule up a list of expected jobs (Make your bed, set the table, pick up your toys) that help the fmaily and household.  Then add a few “voluntary” or “extra” jobs for payment like weed the garden, wash the car, wipe a bench, sort the old newspapers.  

Sometimes a clever chore chart, in which children can self select jobs or move jobs to a done column when they are finished is all the “motivation” they need! 

Here are some clever ways other Mums are keeping track of the chores in their families!

Todays Fabulous Finds

 This is huge but would be great for a large family!  Just hook up each persons jobs!

Putting those hooks to use again Love the visual cues this one is available on etsy


 This one just blends beautifully into your decor…so fancy!


Another store bought American find, love the idea of having three pencil cases for money! One to spend, one to save and one to give!!


 Ok so this is complicated but if you had the time this would last forever!

Feeling crafty?  This one comes with a free template HERE



Lucky sticks!  I use this one in my classroom!  Write the name of the chores on a stick and lucky dip!


An easy and cheap one for toddlers using visual cues and sticky dots!


A clipboard and some pegs, could it get any easier!  Simply clip the peg onto the job once it has been done!  Great for fine motor as well!

Magnetic whiteboards prettied up with ribbons.  Love this simple format.  Great for under 5’s.

and you so know where mine is going…..


close to our Family command centre!

So which one did I choose?  

Can a girl go past ribbons?  I am hoping to make this one myslef and just buy the magnets!

They are sold HERE.  I love that they are visual enough for non readers but still encourage reading!

So what do other Mums think about chores?

My eldest has a chore chart that he gets a tick for each thing he does. He has to make his bed, put his dirty clothes into basket, get his bowl for breakfast, get into his school uniform each day, and then pack his school bag.  Kirsty ~ Mummy to Five

My kids have chores – their rooms are their responsibilities, they also clean up the living room, their study tables and pick up anything lying around the house that is theirs. They also are expected to help with setting the table, put away their dirty clothes in the laundry and clean up their own dishes after breakfast, lunch and dinner. While they do get an allowance (not very much), they are not paid because of the chores they do. My husband & I believe that it’s part of living in the house, we all have our duties & responsibilities and those are theirs. Norlin ~ Baubles, Bubbles and Bags

Each month I do a chore chart up for my three children, at the moment, we are only focusing on one particular “item” that each child is having issues with..every day if that item or job is completed they get a gold spot on their chart. At the end of the month they get pocket money. I believe they should help with general chores etc but this is more like an incentive to focus on one particular thing, and it’s working!! Michelle ~ Farmer’s Wifey

My 22mth old son helps me empty the dishwasher by putting his plasticware in their cupboard! He will also “help” by putting the dirty ones in, but I have to stack them properly of course. Alyce ~ Blossom Heart 

Be consistent, have fun and put the kids to work.  You will thank yourself and your child’s teacher will thank you too!!!


Teacher Gifts ~ Home Made by YOU!

Teachers are very special people.  We all can remember a teacher in our life that made a big difference, wether it be positive or negative.  Master O has been blessed by two remarkable teachers!  They put up with 22, 4 year olds every day complete with spew, runny noses and toilet accidents. They deserve a medal!  But a gift will have to do! World Teachers Day is celebrated around the world on the 5th October but in Australia (because we are on school holidays at the time) we celebrate our teachers on 28th October.  But do you really need a specific day to celebrate the amazing teachers in your life?  I am sure they would love these presents any time of year!


Coffee loving teacher?  YES PLEASE!  A mug with a flavoured coffee sachet wrapped up nicely…”Thanks a Latte for your hard work”..how clever!

A great free printable, frame it for the classroom!  Good for a male or female teacher!


This is just too clever!  Wouldn’t it make a classroom door decoration!  I need to find a clever Mum to make one for me!


Simple and oh so sweet!  How about a plant for the classroom or for the teacher to take home!  Love the sunny yellow pot and the chalkboard label!

An erray of cheap and VERY EASY gifts!  You may even have some at home it’s all in the clever labels!  

I have to make this one!  Take an old jar or can, hot glue some crayons around the outside, wrap in ribbon and you have a divine vase!

Ok so this isn’t a home made one but you could easily do this to a frame you have at home!  Even if you just added the pencil and ribbon!


Have some highlighters around?  Teachers can never have enough highlighters!  This present could easily be done at the last minute for under $2!!!



Don’t forget the specialist teachers!  The poor Music and PE teachers often miss out because they don’t have a class of their own!  Take a bucket and add a sticker to the front and fill!  How about some cute novelty whistles for the PE teacher!

Another creative way to make a vase!  Some new coloured pencils wrapped with a tape measure!


I absolutely adore this idea!  Especially for kindy or daycare teachers!  Some personalised handwash or hand sanitiser!  You can buy clear sticker sheets from Officeworks, put them through the printer ane you have this nifty idea covered!


If only I could find some rulers this cute!  I would just use a regular photo frame and glue some rulers straight to the top of it!  What a lovely memento!


This free printable is oh so vintage and oh so sweet!  It would make a lovely notebook cover or simply framed!

The possibilities are only limited by your creativity!  There are too many for just one post!  I will bring you more later this week…but until then…get the glue gun ready!

Oh and…..I BLOG ON TUESDAY’s!!!!  Linking up with Diary of a Stay at Home Mum!

What’s for Dinner? Meal Plan Monday ~ The International Edition

This week we are spicing it up a bit and attempting some International cuisine.  Growing up in an Italian household, as children we ate the most AMAZING meals.  BUT I can’t say we ever had a greek souvlaki, a pad thai or some chinese dumplings!

So this week I am going outside my comfort zone whilst stating with some EASY international cuisine!

Monday ~ Greek Lamb Souvlaki

This is soo easy!  We bought a “box” Souvlaki kit form Aldi.  Add some lamb, natural youghurt and fillings such as lettuce, onion, tomato and cheese.  This was DELICIOUS!  I used the leftover lamb for a salad the next day!  Highly recommend it!  We just place all the fillings on a divided serving platter and every body chooses their own filing!  The garlic youghurt was so good we managed to get master O to eat lettuce, tomato and cucumber as he dipped it in the yoghurt!

Tuesday ~ Pad Thai

My kids love noodles and this was a great way to do something different with them!  We added chicken and skipped the nuts for the kids.  We used a sachet mixture as a recipe base.

Wednesday ~ Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls

This was a great activity do with the kids!  The ingredients are very cheap and easy.  We wrapped rice nodles, lettuce, coriander and chicken for the kids and some prawns for the adults!

Thursday ~ Make your own burger

This could be Australian or American but it doesn’t matter as long as it is delicious! After the success  of the choose your own souvlaki filling we made some basic rissoles with your average breadroll and then put the other options on the table!  Try beetroot, pineapple, lettuce, tomato, cheese and of course some sauce! 

Friday ~ Eggplant Parmigiana

I had to sneak an italian one in there!  This is a time consuming but DELICIOUS dinner and makes even better leftovers!

International cuisine does not have to be complicated or expensive and can be very kid friendly whist introducing them to something new!  A win for everyone!

So what’s for dinner at your house this week?

Linking up with The Organised Housewife.


Pantry Inspiration ~ That’s Pinterest..ing

This week before we gave our Pantry a much needed makeover I went to my favourite place for some inspiration….PINTEREST


Glass jars anyone?

next house WE MUST HAVE a Butler’s Pantry!

Do it yourself coordinating labels!

Love the colour in the pantry!  Would never have thought of that!

and mine!  Yep it’s there on Pinterest too!!!

To view all the “my Pigeon Pair” pinterest Pantry inspiration click HERE!

Linking up with Tina Gray Dot Me for Ooh That’s Pinteresting!

I’m grateful for…chaos

This week can be best described as chaotic.

I’m grateful for a chaotic house.  It means that we are living, having fun and using the things we own.  Boy has our playroom got a work out these holidays!

I’m grateful for a chaotic day.  Sometimes when nothing goes to plan we discover ourselves doing things we didn’t know existed.  After an unscheduled trip to the shops for the second time in one day I was frustrated at myself for not being more organised.  But whilst we were there, a school holiday song and dance crew were performing.  Master O busted out the moves and had the audience in hysterics!

I’m grateful for a a chaotic mind.  Sometime I struggle to go to sleep at night as my head is bursting with chaos.  Blog ideas, house plans, this terms unit of school work, worries all swimming around trying to vie for my attention.  But it means I am healthy and capable of free thought.  If I am thinking it I can do it.  For that I am grateful.

I’m grateful for chaotic kids.  They seem to be in a routine of getting a second burst of energy just before bedtime.  They chase and squeel at each other whilst raining at full speed around the kitchen.  I should be angry at their bedtme routine but we cant help but laugh at the way Master O squeels at the age of 4 as he tries to run from his tiny “monster” sister!  

So this week I’m grateful for the chaos and all the laughter, fun and unexpected excitment it brings into our lives.

Linking up with Maxabella Loves

Homework, Study Space, Work Station??

We are lucky enough to have a purpose built study in our house.  Back in the days before children, laptops and wifi we used it all the time.  It is a uniquely shaped room, small but with lots of windows and the first room you come to in our house.  Unfortunatley it now sits unused as we are usually on the laptop at the dinner table.  This year I have been obsessed with creating a “launch pad” for our family.  Until now I have been tied down to one room in particular but yesterday I had a light bulb moment! Why not use the study as a new study/homework/reading/launch pad area!  It just seems like the perfect idea but is it practical?  Wont we just use the dining table for homework?  Does a 5 year old need a desk?  It is a lovely sunny and quiet space free from the distraction of the playroom and TV.  So off to the web I go looking for some ideas and inspiration.  Where is everybody doing their homework?


What a brilliant idea!  Every thing your child could possibly need to assist them with their homework in a portable “Homework Station”.  This could easily be adapted to suit any age group.  !00’s chart, sightwords, conversion tables, handwriting or phonics charts all right where you are!  It also provides privacy and limits distraction…all at the kitchen bench or dining table!


What a great creative way to have all of your supplies at your fingertips!  Portable storage!

A turn table with buckets! can “turn” your dining table into a study space.


I fyou have the space a desk is a great way to encourage good study habits and keep everything organised.  With lots of room for storing all those important bits and pieces no time will be lost searching for things.  It also gives the child a “distinct and defined space” which they know is for study.  I love the inspirational words on the wall!


Great for a computer and neat and gorgeous enough to blend in with your decor!  Love that there were some picture for “boy” studies!


I must have that chair!  Check out the storage on the back!  What is not to love about this gorgeous desk and decor.  Do the beautifully dressed children come with the purchase?


So now I am really dreaming but this is just drool worthy.  This would be a dream space fro my little Miss A.  A creative and divine decor, you  guessed it…from Pottery Barn!



SO if you really have the space to dedicate an entire room to study and homework or you homeschool these work stations are almost enough for me to want to have more children (I said ALMOST!)

The picture above is a perfect corner solution LOVE the chairs large work space and lots of storage!


WOW!  A home office/study/display area. Check out all that storage!  Love the sunny outlook and the comfy armchair for reading!!


Love this idea as an easy way to keep an eye on what everyone is doing!  A neutral colour pallette and all that WORK SPACE!

Same set up with a different colour scheme!

Ok now this is totally unrealistic, two children quietly sitting at their beautiful workspace in their freshly ironed outfits! 

And whilst we are dreaming,  we may as well dream about this AMAZING space!


Whatever the space you choose for your child, its what works best for your situation, wether it is the dining table, the kitchen bench, a desk or a study it should be a place for learning and maybe the occasional argument over doing your homework!!!



The Pantry is Organized!

 Thank goodness for school holidays!  Surely they timed it with “spring” cleaning for a reason?  We have got to work on our pantry!  When I say work I mean culling, scrubbing, sorting, buying and rearranging. Are you ready?  Here it is…. 

What an improvement.  It is now neat, organised, compartmentalised, accessible and CLEAN! 

and because I LOVE before and after photos…..

I am sure I don’t need to tell you how we did it.  But it certainly helps if you are in a culling frame of mind because boy did we find some things that needed to get thrown out! (That is a whole other post!)

Top shelf (where the Earl Gray used to be hiding!)

L to R – Medication, Coffee and Tea collection.   Drink Coolers. Serviettes, Paper towel and Alcohol.  Behind the alcohol is our our punch bowl and Coffee perculator.

Middle Shelf One – Pasta and Rice in new containers. Noodles. Baby Food. Tins and jars – Stocks and Gravy’s.  Spices.  Oils and Vinegars.

Middle Shelf Two- Baking goods. Sachets.  Back basket food archive. Front Basket snacks. Spreads.  Food Colouring. The sneaky rice bubble container to keep it away from little fingers!

Bottom Shelf. Trail mix.  Cereals. Vegetables including our own home grown pumpkin! Drinks. Behind the cereal is spare cereal and another food archive.

On the Floor.  A NEW STEP LADDER!  So I can reach the top shelf!


Here is a closer look 

We used mostly these clear handled storage caddies from Kmart.  They cost $3.  It is great to see inside the containers and they are easy to remove and put on the bench when you are cooking!  The large container for oils and vinegars was from Howards Storage World.   They are called a “Separator” and come in a variety of sizes.  This one is the biggest!  We also bought our tin and jar holder from Howard’s.  The two containers came to $24.95.  In the catalogue they have it called a pull out organiser. It has little wheels on the back to help it glide in and out of your pantry.  It is a must have!  The clean out revealed that where our tins were sitting the paint on the shelves has started to chip and peel!  If you can’t find the caddy’s at Kmart, Howard’s had a huge range of all different sizes from about $4.95.  Boy could we have spent up in that store!  Next purchase is a gorgeous spice rack and something better to hold the veggies in!  

The wicker baskets were also from Kmart and were $9 each.  I was so excited to find these as I have baskets similar to these all over the house that I bought from IKEA 4 years ago and now IKEA doesn’t stock them anymore!  They also come in brown.

To be ABSOLUTLEY honest.  In a dream world I would have decked the pantry out in Tupperware.  BUT I am impatient and I wanted to do it now!  We achieved all of this for under $140 (Including the step ladder!).  The Tell Fresh Decor containers were drastically reduced at BIG W.  They are easy to stack, easy to label and come in a massive range of shapes and sizes.  To use Tupperware would have cost close to $500.  So not in our budget right now.  I particularly would love to save for better cereal containers from tupperware to maintain freshness.   After looking at all the gorgeous pantries online I noticed they were all decked out in Tupperware but I wanted to show you that they don’t have to be!  There are other great practical options out there that are less expensive.

So what do you think???