Car Organisation

Two kids and one long car trip means a neverending pile of tissues, baby wipes and colouring in books.  This is our attempt to keep the mess and the tantrums under control!

This basket sits between the kids two carseats.  In it we have tissues, wipes, drink bottles, pencils, travel case for Master O, and sticker/colouring in books.  I personally prefer a basket rather than the over seat organisers.  We have portable dvd players over the seat so it makes attaching organisers tricky.  I purposefully chose a basket with handles so it is easy to take out of the car when we are stopped or staying overnight somewhere.  This one was under $10 from a discount store.

If only I had of found this travel case years ago!  It is prefect for an older child to carry ipods, ds’s, headphones, pencils, notepad even a small toy or two.  Even better it has his favourite jet plane on the front.  It is from Smiggle and retails for $24.95.

 

Loving these $3 pencil tins from Kmart complete with sharpener in the lid!  Wish I would have bought more as they would be perfect stocking fillers or birthday party gifts! 

 Little Miss A is obsessed with Stickers and I am hoping some of these will help pass the time on the long drive.   She cnat quite put them in the right spots yet but she just loves looking at the real life pictures.  These were reduced to $2 at Big W.

We can only hope all of this will make our two day drive bearable.  It may take more than a basket, I’m thinking panadol and a stiff drink?  

What do you do to survive car trips with the kids?

The Christmas Table

Forget about the food, what’s a Christmas meal without a beautifully set table!  Stick with a simple colour scheme, use what you already have, even let the kids help decorate your masterpiece!  Here are some simple and divinely effective ideas you can try at home!

Such simplicity can be so effective.  White napkins tied up with a sprig of rosemary and some red ribbon.

I love that this table is Christmasey without sticking to the traditional red and green.  So fresh and modern.

Of course “House of Smiths” had to make it into this list!  I love this wintery table centrepiece and decor.

Handy with the sewing machine?  Turn some pillow cases into chair covers with a Christmasy theme!  Love that even Rudolph gets a seat!

Yet again simple red and white with some basic candles decorated using some ribbon and candy canes cut up at the place cards.

The Kids Table!  This one is all set up ready to decorate some ice cream cones! How cute are those snow men!

Dessert tables are always a winner and this is no exception!  Love the colour coordinated stockings!

Feeling crafty?  Get the kids to help you paint some pine cones!  

A Winter Wonderland with what looks like plastic plates!  You have to love anything that requires less washing up!

Do you decorate your Christmas table?

You can find out more about these ideas and many more on PINTEREST

Tina Gray {dot} Me

Home is where your heart is.

We spend a lot of time thinking about what we don’t have.  Of course there is always the new car, a million dollars, an overseas trip but in particular we spend a lot of time thinking about “in the next house”.  

And then we found a block of land.  Naturally we got really excited and started imagining what we could do.  We are positive thinkers, well dreamers actually and it took “him” to bring me back to reality.   It would mean moving.  Twice.  Once into a rental and then into the new home.  It would mean building stress right as Master O starts school for the first time.  It would mean selling our house during a bad market time.  It would mean selling the home that both our children were born into.  The home we built together, with dreams of a family.  A place of baptisms, birthdays, and BBQ’s.   It dawned us.  We have spent so much time thinking about what we would do differently next time we don’t appreciate what is right here under our feet.  

We have just been living in our house.  We haven’t put much effort into making it into our HOME.  The poor thing is six years old and has not been appreciated for everything she is.  So this week I am grateful for our home.  I am grateful for finally realising that we need to appreciate everything we have and not what we don’t have.

 So starting now and continuing in 2012 we will show our HOME how much we appreciate her.  We will decorate, organise,  de-clutter, transform and add our own fingerprints to every inch of this HOME.  It will change with the seasons, with our growth, with the budget and with us.  

Each month we will tackle a new room, a new project, a new junk collection, a new way of making our lives organised, beautiful, smart and fun! Naturally I will be sharing with the flock every step of our journey! In fact I would love your inspiration, your ideas, and your photos as we go from room to room, project to project!

So 2012 is going to be the year we stop living in the clouds and instead live where our hearts are every day and where our heads rest every night.  

Back to School ~ The List Making

I know I am a list maker.  I know that there is not a day without a list.  I know there are usually more than one list on the go at any given time!  I know I am currently drowning in lists like the Christmas present list, card list, to do list, holiday packing list, shopping lists and of course….THE MASTER O IS STARTING SCHOOL LIST!  As you can see the very lucky lists move from handwritten to typed table status!

This list was mainly started as the notes from school requesting all the specifics had started rolling in.  Uniform lists, book lists, specific requests for labels and lunchboxes.  I needed it all in one place.  This is how I did it.
 

 

1. Compile all lists into one MASTER list.  Start with Uniforms and Book Lists.

2.  Don’t forget to add other school essentials such as 

  • lunchboxes
  • drinkbottles
  • art smocks
  • pencil cases
  • school bags
  • shoes

3.  As you add each item on to the list include any sizing information, quantity and price.

4. Now that you have all items listed you can also work out how many labels you will need to label EVERY item.  Include shoes, socks, jumpers, smocks, lunchboxes, individual pencils, EVERYTHING! You can see my tally on the right hand side.

5. Now I print my list off and get the highlighter ready!  I categorise my list into three priority buying times, using three different colours.  I know that I display OCD traits!

Yellow – Buy NOW (October/November) – Text books, socks, tie, school bag (anything he won’t grow out of)

Orange – Buy for Christmas (December) – Lunch box, drink bottle, pencil case, library bag and novelty stationery.  He is so excited about starting school that choosing some of the more personal items now makes for great Christmas presents.

Pink – Buy at the Back to School Sales (January). Shoes, Uniforms the rest of the stationery.

I know that if you are ever looking for a list Inner-B have a huge range of FREE Downloadable checklists including a great Back to School one!  Just click HERE

Now that all my lists are in one place, prioritised and starting to be ticked off, I know I feel more in control, more organised and hopefully prepared for what is going to be such an exciting and nerve wracking occasion in our house!

What do you know about list making?

School Book Covers ~ The Easy Way!

I know it is still two months until school goes back but a conversation over at Mummy Smiles had me wanting to share these great school book covers!  A few years ago during the Back To School sales I discovered these great “Spencil” plastic slip on book covers!  I was looking for something to put over some old contacted books I had at home for Master O’s artwork.  But they are great for school books!

The Front.

This cover we have had for 2 years and it still looks as good as new!  They are sturdy , excellent quality, with a dedicated place on the front for their name and subject.  This one is the A4 book size but they come in exercise book and scrapbook size.

The inside of the cover.

 

You simply “slip” them over your book.  They are wipeable and come in a HUGE range of designs for both boys and girls!

The Back

Each design is different on the front and back.  They are  extremely affordable with each cover retailing for between $2-2.50 each.  You could even remove the cover at the end of the year and reuse it the following year!

Easy, affordable and stylish a hands down winner for covering books! The one catch… I can’t buy them this year as Master O’s school has requested texts books be covered in clear contact!  Wish me luck….I HATE CONTACT!

To view the full range of “Spencil” book covers click HERE 

I was in no way paid for this post, I just love clever ideas and want to share them with the flock! 

5 ways to display Christmas cards

If you are anything like us the Christmas Cards have already begun to roll in.  We are pretty boring when it comes to displaying Christmas Cards and we simply hang them over a line of Christmas Stars.  If only I had of discovered these simple and creative ideas for displaying cards last week!

Simply blu tac on a wall in the shape of Christmas Tree! This would be great for the kids cards in their room!

Hang off some branches to create a gorgeous card tree

Usin a wreath base peg cards on creating a Christmas Card Wreath that can be used every year.

A few pieces of ribbon tied onto a door serves as a gorgeous and effective way to display cards!

 

We have the perfect banister for this clever idea!

and then when Christmas is over what do you do with all those cards?

Cut out some of your Christmas Cards into circles (a round paper punch would be great for this) and create a Christmas Wreath for next year!

How do you display your Christmas cards?

 You can find these and many more great ideas on my PINTEREST Boards HERE

Tina Gray {dot} Me

Things I know ~ About Finishing Kindy.

First Day at Kindy 2011

I know that I cried on my sons last day of Kindy and I am afraid that was two days ago and I am still sad.  I know that this means that I chose the right Kindy all those months ago.  I know he loved it not because of the resources, equipment or location but because of the people.  They were patient, gentle, nurturing, fair and fun.  When you walked in those doors you felt welcomed, supported and appreciated.  I know that as a parent that was what was really important.

First Day at Kindy 2011

I know that my son was accepted for every little bit of person he is.  They never forced him to do anything or to become anything he didnt want to be.  He was given the opportunity to explore activities and friendships with such a wide range of people and things that he too has become accepting of all people regardless of their interests or abilities.

I wonder if they will have polka dot aprons at School?

I know that the end of Kindy is the end of so many things.  No more plain clothes to pick out in the morning.  No more sitting and trying to get him to do some craft with me.  No more being able to let Little Miss A wander around and grab every baby doll out of the place and gather them at my feet.  No more tap, tap as little hands hammer little nails sitting at little tables and little chairs.  No more veggie gardens and mud pits. No more midday sleeps with sheet sets and stretcher beds. No more flexible schedules picking your child up at any time between 2 and 2.30.  No more weekdays home with his Mummy.

Even Tricksy the Elf got to go to Kindy!

I know that this means the start of a new adventure, School.  I know that this has me anxious, nervous and no where near as excited as I thought I would be.  I know that so many new things all at once has ME loosing sleep, forget about how he feels.  I know that such a wonderful kindy expereince has left me with such high expectations to match when it comes to school.  

The Last Day…Green Crafty Hands saying good bye!

I know that he will survive and thrive at school.  I know that he is soooo ready for something new and challenging.  I know that he will be tired maybe even exhausted by the new full time schedule but that his little mind and body will cope and more than ever he NEEDS this.  I know that the tears have only just begun.  I will be one of those mothers crying in the car n the first day next year.  But I know there will also be many more smiles, stories, and moments of pride and joy.  

I know I better start stockpiling the tissues.

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The Book Basket ~ Christmas

Each term in a classroom you enrich your students lives by providing with them with a “text rich environment”.  A text rich environment is one that provides children with many different forms of texts to read, create, play and explore with.  

How do you create a text rich environment?

Provide children with books of varying genre and style, magazines, newspapers, menus, brochures, audio books, electronic texts, phone books, maps, paper and collage materials to create your own texts anything that helps a child establish a love of reading!  Children need to know that text comes in all varieties but it always does one thing, delivers meaning and message.

Generally our classroom has a theme for a month or a term.  This allows children to gain information and insight into particular concepts using so many different form of texts!  They are bound to find one that appeals to them! We have a LOT of books in our house!  I wish I could say I have a system of rotating them but basically I just grab a few different books off a bookshelf and put them on the kids bookshelf whenever I am tidying up!  But we do have one book idea working in our home that was inspired by what is working in my classroom!  

Introducing the Book Basket!

Each month I am going to gather up some texts centred around a different theme and put them in our book basket.  Of course our current book basket theme is….CHRISTMAS!!!

The old faithful Little Golden Books!  

Some traditional and some fun, larger picture books!

We have a variety of religious, traditional, Santa and Aussie fun!  I am hoping they will be able to learn that the “Christmas Story” can be very different for different people!  We are going to point out the differences between the “Stereotypical” christmas (snow, hot chocolate, chimneys) and an “Aussie” Christmas.  We are going to play with words from tradtional Christmas songs (Aussie Jingle Bells) and explore the reason for the season through some gorgeous illustrated versions of the Nativity story.

If you dont have a lot of books at home try your local public library, op shops, ebay or amazon.  After Christmas is a great time to pick up cheap books!  But remember it doesn’t have to be books!  Grab some travel brochures from your local travel agent, if travelling grab tourist brochures and maps along the way, keep your takeaway menus and junk mail!  Or even better how about swapping the usual” lights and sound” plastic present for an audio book this Christmas!  Your child (and their teacher) will be forever grateful!

Do you think you have a text rich environment in your home?

Mischief ~ Wordless Wednesday

Someone has been getting up to mischief at our house!

Tricksy has just been hanging around!  He didn’t get the initial reaction we had intended!  Master O was actually a bit scared of him but Little Miss A promptly began treating him like a baby doll!

Do you have an elf getting up to mischief?

My Little Drummer Boys

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A Christmas Station

Every spare space in our home has been overflowing with Christmas paraphenalia! Christmas cards, labels, calendars, craft and lists.  Remember our organisation station

I still had a second one of these clever IKEA storage boxes, so it’s time to get this Christmas sorted and create a “Christmas” station.

So I am now keeping pens, sticky tape, Christmas Cards, stamps, address labels, craft books, stickers and lists all in one place!  On the clipboard folder I have two calendars, a gift list and christmas card list.  I ended up using two calendars.  One for gift buying, christmas events, functions, parties, holiday bookings etc.  The second one for our Advent Activities and Elf on the shelf.  At last one place for all things Christmas!  

I am hoping to make this little station a permanent fixture in our house.  A space to keep our seasonal bits and pieces under control.  Back to School, Easter, Birthdays.  I think it will be getting a lot of use!

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