This is a Sponsored Post in collaboration with Adrenalin
After 11 wedding anniversaries, 9 Father’s Day’s and countless birthdays I was well and truly running our of gift ideas for my husband. The kids always contribute with their boundless amounts of homemade cards and artwork but I love for him to know how much he is valued and appreciated by the way of a gift.
So this Father’s Day I searched a little further than the department store junk mail for a gift he would remember. A quick google of “Experience Gifts” and I hit the jackpot, “Adrenalin.”
With 100’s of experiences to choose from I left it to the kids to pick! One loved the idea of Parasailing but he has already done that! Another (can you guess who?) loved the idea of Daddy driving a Race Car. I could only wonder if that is a reflection of his everyday driving skills? Keen for him to not just be a passenger but to experience the thrill of actually driving the car we signed him up for 6 Laps driving a V8 Race Car.
As excited as he was approaching the Race Track he admits he was slightly daunted when he realised just how fast these machines went! He had a choice of cars, a quick safety talk and off he went.
To say he loved it is an understatement. He grabbed a video of the experience on a usb to bring home and we all loved watching the Spedometer to see how fast he was going and the expressions on his face! He loved to talk us through what he had to do at each part of the track and raved about how heart pumping it was.
Honestly, the only negative thing was why didn’t I think of this sooner! To think of all the hours wasted shopping for a present that was then going to sit unused for the rest of the year, when I could have been giving a gift of an experience.
Best of all it was great to see how much our children loved to watch Daddy taking a risk, experiencing and learning something new and that sometimes the best present are not material items but experiences and memories that will last a life time.
When we built our current house, landscaping wasn’t part of of our “Build Package” and it has literally taken years for us to finish it off! Now as we begin to prepare our house for sale we have been paying particular attention to making our yard look it’s best.
Landscaping is an integral part of your property and can either enhance or detract from the overall appeal of your home. In addition to adding valuable outdoor living space, a nicely landscaped home also has better ‘street appeal’ and will increase the value of your property. If your outdoor areas are looking somewhat shabby, here are some ways to improve your home’s landscaping.
1. The Grass Is Always Greener…
A lovely lush, green lawn is often the envy of neighbours in many suburban streets. Not only is it visually appealing for any home; it also adds value to your property and, most importantly, provides an inviting outdoor living space to use and enjoy. Unfortunately, lawns are often the most overlooked element of many gardens. The wonderful thing about turf, however, is how quickly and cost-effectively it can be used to completely transform a tired, under-utilised outdoor area. ‘Hard landscaping’ options like pavers require a great deal more labour, materials and cost. An area can be quickly prepared for turf laying and, if you call in some help, this could be done in a day. By using a turf specialist such as Hancey’s Turf for preparation and installation, you’ll end up with a better quality lawn that is easier to manage and looks sensational. They will also be able to provide invaluable advice on the best turf variety to use at your home and the best ways to maintain it.
2. Does Your Landscape Have a Theme?
It might sound like a funny question, but one of the governing principles for good design in any setting is consistency. We failed dismally with this one when we started and ended up with a real mismatched looking garden. A theme is a great way to achieve this and can provide cohesion and balance to your landscaping. There are many different types of landscape themes to choose from including native, cottage, tropical, Mediterranean, ‘dry-spell’ and contemporary. In fact, some new housing developments insist that you plant a certain amount of “natives” within their covenants.
Before you rush into choosing a theme, however, the most critical thing to think about is your location. Plant selection needs to be determined first and foremost by the climate and soil type of your home. There’s simply no point spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a garden makeover with plants that aren’t suited to your location and will end up dying. There are ways to overcome this in some instances, but it will require a lot of time, effort and probably money to make it work in the long term.
3. Landscaping Must Complement Your Home
Another major consideration for any landscaping project you undertake is the vintage and style of your home. It’s important to base your landscaping choices around this and to make the two blend and work well together. For example, an ultra-modern landscape design against a 1960s or ‘70s house is not likely to look great. Cross the street and look at your property from some distance away. Then try to visual what type of landscaping options will complement your home. If you’re unsure, grab some landscaping magazines and get some tips and inspiration for how to transform your garden.
Improving your home’s landscaping is relatively easy to do once you understand the principles of good design. Depending on the options you choose and whether you call in expert help, improving your home’s landscaping might be easier, faster and more affordable than you think.
Any suggestions on some hardy plants that will survive my kids?
After almost 5 years of blogging about Organised Spaces, I am still constantly searching for inspiration on how to maintain an organised home. It is easy to get caught up in the Pinterest and Instagram homes and their meticulously organised spaces. But there is still nothing better than seeing a “real” space, to motivate you to get organised and provide you with fresh ideas that have a realistic price tag and practicality in their perfection.
So without further adieu I would love to share an Organised Space of one of our readers. Alicia’s Master Wardrobe caught my eye with its uniformity, dual purpose (dressing area as well as wardrobe) great storage options and it simple yet beautifully styled practicality. She recently shared her space with me and how she made it happen.
Who uses this space?
As the main wardrobe for both myself and my husband I had always dreamed of something classy yet that still appeased my long suffering husband and his fears of when I go on an organisation bender. Cue disgruntled remarks, “Where are my undies now!” On that note I knew keeping it as simple as possible and yet still stylish was the key when organising this space.
Why did you choose this space to organise?
I’m a firm believer of ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’. Being a space that I visit frequently each day I knew that I wanted my wardrobe to be a place that made me feel good about myself every time I got dressed. So when I found myself having to wade through a sea of floor clothes to get dressed each morning I knew that it time to make some changes.
How did you tackle it?
To tackle the problem head on the first thing I did was purge, purge, purge! I sorted through all of our clothes, keeping those we actually used and either donating or binning the rest (some rather holey ‘lucky’ shorts may have been smuggled out in the wheelie bin).
What products did you use?
The bones of the closet were created using the Bunning’s Clever Closet system. This was originally purchased as a cheap alternative with dreams of custom cabinetry for the long term however I have fallen in love with the simple elegance of the system (and also the price tag – the whole set up cost only approximately $200). I created specific zones for both mine and my husband’s clothes to make it as functional as possible. The system is completely customisable enabling me to take full use of just one wall of hanging space.
The white chest of drawers were a previously owned item but I kept with the crisp white colour pattern to make the space feel bright and clean. The white baskets were an awesome find from Woolworths – I seriously have about twenty of these babies all over my house. They come in white or black and two sizes. I used these to store all of our less commonly used clothes like jumpers and my husband’s insanely large football hat collection out of sight.
The dark stain timber coat hangers were my splurge item, however to ease the cost I slowly built up a supply over several months. They were from Howards Storage at $32.95 for a pack of 18. But any matching hanger will create the same effect and make the space feel more put together.
Any tips or tricks?
I love how by just making everything uniform a space can really feel finished and together. By just having the same repeating white basket and matching hangers it creates a feel of harmony.
How is the end product working for you now?
I absolutely love this wardrobe now! My hearts sings a happy little organised song every time I glance it! And no more cries of lost undies from the hubby to date!
Thanks so much to Alicia for sharing her space with us.
and check out her Pantry!
Have you got an organised space you would love to share? We would love to see it! Email email@example.com
Bath Time! Whilst pregnant with our third baby, bath time was one of those parts of our daily routine that I was stressed about. We were finally at a stage in our lives, where both children could shower or bath themselves with only supervision needed to make sure they didn’t flood the bathroom and were actually washing themselves! Now we were throwing a baby into the bath time mix. (ok not literally, I assure you there was no throwing of the baby)
Of course in the end, I had nothing to worry about as our bath time routines were so habitualised, adding a baby was more fun than chaos.
How we create calm, happy and healthy bath times……..
Routine, Routine, Routine
We have always followed the same routine. Now the baby joins in the routine too! We have a cute little routine chart in the bathroom just incase anyone gets sidetracked or carried away with mucking around when they should be getting ready to have a bath! It has both pictures (for non readers) and words to help remind them of the order in which they do things at bath time.
By following a routine, everyone knows what they SHOULD be doing. It also ensures that some practical and safety aspects of bathing three children occur. For example, going to the toilet before you get in the bath ensures that you don’t need to leave one child in the bath to take another one to the toilet or have wet slippery children attempting to walk across the tiles to go to the toilet.
One In All In
This is one of those practical, bathing multiple children tips. I find it easiest to have the one bath time for everyone. Luckily for me, our main bathroom has a separate toilet, vanity area, shower and bath. Plenty of room for 3 kids and an adult! First I run the bath for the baby and Little Miss A (5). Once the bath is full, Master O then has a shower.
Splish, Splash, Learn
Bath time is not just a fun time and a time to get clean. It is the perfect opportunity to encourage learning!
We don’t have your traditional rubber duckies but instead lots of empty shampoo, and baby bath containers! The most fought over are always the pump action ones. Playing with items like these is a great way to introduce new vocabulary and concepts like empty and full, sink and float, heavy and light.
Little Miss A (5) also loves to teach her baby brother how to wash himself. “This is the way we wash our belly/legs/face” she sings and demonstrates!
SINGING! Incy Wincy Spider (complete with water falling down!) Rub A Dub-Dub, Wet Washing Hanging on the line (using a wash cloth) are bath favourites.
Sensory stimulation. Water is a great way to stimulate senses, so are bubbles! We love to create a bubbly bath (using the Johnsons top to toe bath so it doesn’t sting their eyes) and then use the bubbles to blow at each other, create Santa beards or shark fins! You can also smear some shaving cream on the tiles and let them squish and finger paint with it!
All of this language, sensory stimulation and modeling is important for babies development and gives older siblings a great opportunity to bond with the baby!
I make sure the dinner has been turned off, the phone is off and I have all my attention on bath time. Before anybody gets in the bath we check we have towels, washcloths, soap, pajamas at the ready. This allows me to NEVER leave a child unattended in the bathroom.
Wash Up, Clean Up
Cleaning up after the bath is all part of the routine. Putting away toys, putting lids back on bottles, hanging up towels, emptying the bath, putting dirty clothes down the laundry chute and drying the floor, all encourages cooperation amongst siblings and makes sure the bathroom is left clean, safe and tidy ready for the next day.
It Never Ends
Our bath time routine doesn’t end with the bath. Afterwards we brush our hair, moisturise (poor Little Miss A is especially prone to dry skin) and our Little Hurricane gets his nightly massage. For a child that is never still, a massage has him chilling out! Studies have shown that routine touch and massage can lead to improved physiological, cognitive, emotional and social development. Specifically, routine baby massage has been shown to improve cognitive performance and increase alertness and attentiveness. I just love massaging those chunky arms and legs!
With a few simple routines in place, a few great products and some organisation, bath time can be a calm and happy time that stimulate the senses, promotes growth and development and special bonding time with even the smallest member of the household.
We were lucky enough, many years ago, to build our own home. One of the biggest deciding factors for us to build and not just buy was that we would get a floor plan, perfectly suited to our needs. Once we found a block of land we found that our floor plan needs changed. Not only would it need to fit our lifestyle but it had to fit on our block! With a narrow lot we opted for a two storey design, in order to fit more house on our land and optimise space for a backyard.
Like houses, floor plans come in all shapes and sizes. The best one for your home depends on a range of factors such as your budget, block size, as well as your design preferences and size requirements. When building a new home with a builder such as Coral Homes, there are a number of different house designs and floor plans available to choose from.
Single Storey Floor Plans
Single storey floor plans are the most commonly chosen floor plan for newly built homes. From a building perspective, they are often the cheapest to build as they suit many blocks of land. Because of the number of designs available, there are both large and small single storey plans with different layouts. Designs vary from simple rectangle floor plans, which may be small or large based on the amount square footage and the number of bedrooms required. Complex single storey floor plans may have separate wings extending from main part of the building.
Narrow Block Floor Plans
As their name suggests, narrow block floor plans have a narrow width. They are primarily used on small blocks and those with a narrow street frontage, often in inner city areas. They usually have a sun room, front or rear porches, and almost always have a hallway. Because of their limited width, double garages may be difficult to accommodate in the floor plan on a narrow block. Depending on the overall size of the home, they may be more affordable to build than some other floor plan styles.
Split Level Floor Plans
Split-level floor plans are used in homes that have multiple floors but don’t necessarily have the same amount of space on each floor. Split-level homes are often well accommodated on sloped blocks, working with the contours of the land. On a block that slopes gently upwards, the lower level including laundry, garage and spare bedroom can partly be built into the hill, providing much of the support for the upper level. The majority of the living space is then accommodated on the upper floor. Split-level floor plans are often more expensive to build, especially if extensive earthmoving and site works are required.
Double Storey Floor Plans
Double storey floor are often popular with larger families and those with older children. A complex double storey floor plan may have separate entrances on each level, as well as kitchen, bathroom and bedroom facilities to make each floor fully self-contained. Because of their size and the amount of materials used, double storey floor plans are always more expensive than single storey homes. It is a myth, however, that they are double the price.
Wide Frontage Floor Plans
Wide frontage floor plans are suited to large and wide blocks of land, including corner blocks that allow two street entrances, as well as acreage or ranch style homes. Because of their size, they may be a long rectangle or U or L shaped. Wide frontage floor plans are suited to large families and those that like a lot of space.
The dimensions and size of your block will likely dictate the floor plan that you choose; however, within each category a number of different options and layouts are available. When choosing the right floor plan for you, it’s important to consider the position of certain rooms in relation to on another, their location on the lot, and their size.
Once you have a general idea of the type of your home you wish to build you can start considering other aspects of the floor plan. How many bedrooms? Bathrooms? Bedrooms to the rear of the plan? Outdoor living space off the kitchen? The possibilities are endless!
What would you prioritise in a new home floor plan?
All plans and images were taken form the Coral Homes website.
Can you believe the youngest member of our family (The Hurricane) is now 15 months old?
He is fast, agile, never sleeps and eats like a champion! In a busy family he has no time to be fussy and eats what we eat.
Now I know you are really here for the recipes but first a few things about meals for our youngest member.
He has 14 teeth (so even chunky meat is a breeze)
All recipes have to be great for the whole family as I don’t cook him separate meals. He eats what we eat, when we eat.
Majority of meals must be able to be eaten independently using either a fork, spoon, or fingers. This encourages fine motor, hand eye coordination and speech skills (little speakers grow strong jaws and agile tongues when they are eating chunky foods)
So what do we eat? Here are some of our favourite Toddler approved, family friendly recipes.
OUR FAVOURITE RECIPES
Oven Baked Salmon with Asparagus and Broccolini.
Salmon is one of those wonder foods and “the hurricane” can’t get enough of it! Bake it in the oven over some slices of lemon and covered in foil. Steam broccolini and asparagus. These are two easy vegetables to cook and for little hands to hold!
Pumpkin and Tuna Penne
Grate Pumpkin. Sauté it in a fry pan with some olive oil and then add a tin of tuna. In a pot boil the pasta. We choose Penne as it is easy to stick a fork into or if all else fails, fingers! Combine the Pumpkin and Tuna mixture with the pasta, squeeze some lemon over the top and a serve with a bit of chopped parsley.
Ravioli with Meatballs
This is one of my favourite last minute meals. I always keep a container of ready-made ravioli in the freezer. You can actually cook it in the pot from frozen, no defrosting necessary. I also make a double batch of meatballs (pork mince with fennel is our favourite) and keep some in the freezer. Cook the meatballs in some crushed tomatoes and here is the trick, add a jar of Heinz Beef and Vegetable Casserole. Trust me it’s delish and a great way of adding some hidden veggies!
Who doesn’t love a burger! We love to have a “create your own burger bar” with everyone choosing their own toppings! The hidden secret is in the muesli!
200g lean beef mince
2 Tbsp Farex® Muesli with Apple
1 Tbsp finely grated onion
1 Tbsp finely grated carrot
1 Tbsp finely grated peeled apple
1 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
Combine Ingredients to make small patties and fry or BBQ.
Great for our bento lunch boxes and snacks on the run the sushi sandwich options are endless! Simply cut the crusts off bread, give it a quick roll to flatten. Lay out your ingredients on the bread, roll and cut! It looks fancy but it really is not. These are great bite size snack for a toddler to grab but also fit perfectly in a school lunch box.
After school and on the way to extra curriculuar activities or even at home in his high chair whilst Mummy has her coffee, Banana pikelets are a winner.
1 cup self-raising flour
¼ tsp bi-carbonate of soda
¾ cup milk
¼ cup natural yoghurt
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 banana, finely sliced
1x 120g pouch HEINZ® Strawberry & Vanilla Custard
Combine flour and bi-carb in a large mixing bowl. Add milk, yoghurt and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Pre-heat a frying pan over medium low heat. Spray with oil and spoon tablespoons of mixture into pan. Place a slice of banana on top of each pikelet. Cook for 3-4 minutes each side.
Serve pikelets with a dollop of Heinz® pouch and favourite soft fresh fruit.
As much as we encourage independent feeding for our toddler sometimes circumstances call for a quicker, cleaner option. Especially for on the plane (oh boy, feeding children when travelling can be a thing of nightmares) I love the baby food pouches especially ones filled with ingredients I wouldn’t normally buy like a great way to explore some new flavours without the mess and fuss.
With a little preparation and creative thinking feeding a toddler doesn’t have to be stressful and messy! With a few key ingredients it’s easy to create meals that your toddler will eat and the whole family will love. Check out the Heinz website and Facebook page for more tips and recipe ideas!
You can also find our list of 100 Kids Bento Lunch Ideas HERE
Last year saw big changes for our extended family. We have had both our parents downsize and move into new houses. Funnily enough, in two completely different states and towns, they both made a similar move. Downsizing the size of the house, but also upsizing the size of the land. For one family it was so that they would have room for a shed (to house retirement hobbies) and a For the other it was for more room to accommodate our grandparents.
For both families it meant one thing, RENOVATION! So what can you do to bring your home into the 21st century and make it suit your needs? Before you bring in the wrecking ball, follow these five tips to help renovate your home without starting from scratch.
1. Create an outdoor living space
Building a dedicated area for you and your family to enjoy the outdoors adds another space to entertain, relax and spend time in. You can lay concrete and cover it with a shade cloth to create a patio or erect a deck to overlook your backyard. An outdoor area that connects to your home creates a highly sought-after indoor/outdoor lifestyle that will add significant value to your home. Its also the perfect place for those big family gatherings and celebrations.
2. Add extra living space
Many homes have unused backyard space that can fit a separate area to work, live or even sleep in. For growing households, or those with a number of generations living under the one roof, modular buildings such as a granny flat can add significant living space and even be rented out separately. Expert companies such as Pop Blocks can erect a modular granny flat and other self-contained living spaces on existing land, adding much-needed square footage.
3. Renovate the kitchen and bathroom
For dwellings that need major renovations, the best rooms to start improving are often the kitchen and bathroom. These rooms have more utility per square metre. This means that your kitchen and bathroom may become tired looking faster than the other rooms in your house. Think about replacing old, peeling or dated bench tops and cabinetry with new doors and easy-to-clean surfaces. New tiles and splashbacks can also go a long way to make your rooms feel fresh and new.
4. Update your window furnishings
It’s time to tear down the tired curtains or dusty roll-a-blinds and invest in some fresh, new window furnishings. Venetian blinds come in a variety of colours and materials, including timber, PVC and aluminium. Thick curtains afford privacy, and transparent window shears filter light into the room. Windows can make or break a room, so remember to match the window treatments to the style of your home and its existing decor. Always consider installing new window furnishings if existing options are damaged, faded or dirty.
Often your home gives away its age most in its paintwork. A fresh coat of paint can take years off and help to brighten both indoor and outdoor spaces. A more contemporary colour scheme can bring your home into the modern era; replace those oranges, browns and olive greens from the 70s with something fresh and current. In fact, after a real estate agent recently went through our own home (which is only 10 years old) she recommended we update our walls from cream to white as it was ageing our home! Here I was thinking we were going for a classic look!
If the structure of your house is sound, the good news is that renovating your home really can be a delight—just like the real estate agent said! Happy Renovating.
Sometimes there’s nothing better to do on a weekend than fixing up a tired old piece of furniture, or maybe building some storage racks that you’ve been putting off doing for a long time. Maybe all you need is some wood, a can of paint and a power tool or two to achieve a little bit of weekend DIY glory. The hardware store is your friend. But better yet, there is more to backyard DIY then getting handy. DIY is a perfect time to involve your kids in some hands on educational activites.
Here are five ideas for DIY projects that will keep you busy between Friday and Monday.
BUILD A SWING SET
Kids love swings, so why not build a set that they’ll cherish for years ahead? For a basic A-frame set, all you’ll need is the timber, some nails, paint, wood glue and chains. A power drill might help as well when you need to attach the chain to the cross-beam and thread the chain through the seats to secure them. Get the kids involved too. Ask them to draw a plan of what it is they want, give them th tape measure to measure out the area and involve them in decisions regarding cost and even safety. In fact making deisions about their safety is part of the old Early Years Curriculum Guidelines!
RESTORE SOME FURNITURE
Remember that old buffet that’s been gathering dust in the garage for years? Maybe it’s time to give it new lease on life with a clean-up and a coat of paint. Years of neglect probably mean the surface is rough, so it will need to be prepared before the paint goes on. If you don’t have the patience to sand by hand, head to your local hardware store to see their selection of sanders. Popular brands such as Ryobi manufacture a range of quality tools for any need. Find one that suits your needs and sand away the years in readiness for a fresh coat of paint. This is a great lesson in recycling and those little hands love to paint, strengthening fine motor skills.
BUILD A DECK
You’ve had the idea in your mind for the last four years but just never got around to it. Next weekend the weather is predicted to be fine. You have the plans and measurements for the materials, and the tools. All you need is the timber. No excuses, this weekend is the one when you’ll finally build that deck. Once you’ve chosen the location ask the kids to help with the measuring and recording of numbers. Draw simple plans together and for the older kids get out some graph paper and let them create some scale drawings of the deck plans.
GREEN THE BALCONY
If you’re living in an apartment, or even have a tiny backyard like us, DIY decks and patios are obviously not possible. But if you have a balcony with enough space after the clothes hanger is set up, why not consider a few plants? They can provide extra shade in summer, give you some free tomatoes, and their green leaves are easy on the eyes. With plant nurseries scattered liberally across the suburbs, you’re never far from one and plants are surprising easy to care for. Just ask any cactus owner. Ask the kids to map the backyard and then record where the sun hits at different times of the day. With this data they can research (or even just ask their local nursery) what plants will suit which areas. As they watch the plants grow they make valuable predictions on how long they will take and what factors influence the growth of different plants. Whilst they are in the backyard they can use berries, leaves, twigs and stones to play their own cooking games!
Cleaning doesn’t really need to wait until spring; why not do it this weekend? Most of us view cleaning as a chore on which to procrastinate, but few would argue that the effort isn’t worth it once the job is complete. Windows, walls, gutters and architraves sometime fall victim to unintentional neglect, so why not give them the love they deserve this weekend? Give the kids a spray bottle of water to spray the plants or a bucket of water and a paintbrush and get them to “paint” the fence or cubby house. If you are game give them the hose to play with! It keeps them occupied whilst you get busy!
So apparently with 3 kids and 3 bathrooms, I may actually have a few tips about keeping bathrooms clean! Well HARPIC think so, so they have asked me to share my tips on keeping bathrooms clean.
Oh boy have I learnt a thing or two about keeping bathrooms clean since we built this house! We have 3 bathrooms. 1 downstairs, the main bathroom (for the kids) upstairs and our ensuite. They all have their down points and some get used more and get messier than others (yep the kids bathroom can get out of control!)
So today I am sharing a few ways I am attempting to keep on top of the bathroom cleaning.
It literally takes less than three minutes.
10 seconds to squirt toilet with Harpic White & Shine
30 seconds to wipe the mirror
30 seconds to wipe the bench
30 seconds to tidy.
1 minute to go back to the toilet and swipe, flush and wipe over (I use the flushable wipes pictured below)
I do the downstairs bathroom in the morning just before we leave for the day. Our ensuite when I am getting ready to go out and the kids bathroom at night after their bath. By doing just a little each day, the bathroom stays relatively clean during the week especially handy when unexpected visitors drop in!
DEEP CLEAN ONCE A WEEK.
We divide this big job into two parts.
The shower cleaning part of the job is relegated to the husband. I have a bad neck and am a shortie from way back so the job is much easier for him! On the weekend he will give the showers a good scrub.
In our bathroom my makeup was causing a big problem. I had its all organised in a drawer but I had too much of it and it was eaitly accessible for little fingers to make a mess with!!!! I have had a big clean out and declutter (thanks to the Konmari method) and now store it in this cheap container on the vanity bench.
We are lucky enough to have lots of bathroom cupboards which is not only fantastic for storage but easy to put child locks on! I organise each basket and keep them locked away in here.
The less you have in your bathroom, the less there is to clean up!
MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER
I keep all the bathroom cleaning products locked in the bathroom cupboard x3. Yep one lot in each bathroom. This makes it super quick and easy to grab those few spare minutes and do a quick clean.
I have a slight obsession with Blue Loo. It cleans, looks nice and keeps the bathroom smelling good. For us the in cistern type work better as I have a toddler who loves to attempt to pull the cages out (TRUE STORY) I have found a “long lasting” version that really does last the distance and hence requires less dirty work by me!
It really is the little things that make life easier, for us these seemingly little jobs make a big difference in how much time we spend cleaning and how clean our house is.
It’s HERE! After much anticipation the new ERIN CONDREN TEACHER PLANNER has been released! I have had two years with my EC Teacher Planner and I LOVE IT! Its practical, functional, colourful and so much more gorgeous to look at then your regular Teacher Planner. It comes with pockets, a sheet protector, stickers and also a whole range of additional extras. That is a whole other post! But what I get asked about the most is…..it “looks” great but what are the “guts” of the planner like. So I am now going to take you on a little tour!
There are two kinds of cover for your planner
1. Ready To Ship (RTS) If you in a hurry (which I doubt most Australians are as we still have 6 months left of the current school year) Ready To Ship means your cover will be standard (see pic above) with no personalisation but it will get to you super fast!
2. Personalised. For me one of the things I love most about everything Erin Condren is the personalisation. If you choose this option your planner will take longer to ship but three are literally dozens of cover options!
ALL covers are
wire coil bound
interchangeable (they remove off the coil when you feel like changing them)
THE INSIDE or THE “GUTS”
On the first page of the planner you have the inside image of your cover on the left and on the right your contact information/cover page. Here you can also see the tabs which are laminated and colourful.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION PAGE
Motivational quote pages are scattered throughout the planner and the first one is on the next page followed by a handy page to record personal information, passwords etc
DATES TO REMEMBER
Ok here is the first teeny issue with the planner for Australian teachers. The important dates are printed according to the american school year. This is an easy fix. Using the blank stickers at the back of your planner you can simply re-label the headings, changing them into the calendar year order.
A birthday chart. Again it’s in the American year order, BUT I leave it as in Queensland students are enrolled according to their age in a July-June year. So the oldest students will have their birthdays in July and the youngest in June. I actually find this incredibly helpful. Especially as I always teach in the younger grades I often look at test results, behaviour, social skills and adjust my expectations based on their age/development.
ATTENDANCE LOG (6 pages)
I use this page a bit differently as our attendance is recorded electronically. I use these in two ways.
To record who is absent for assessment pieces. I write the assessment name in the name column, the date in the next and the students who miss the assessment in the reason column. I then tick off in the note column when I have caught them up with the assessment.
I also use a set of the pages to record when parents notify my in advance of upcoming time off school for holidays, surgery etc.
GRAPH/GRID PAGES (8 pages)
I love to rearrange my classroom! This makes it so easy! You could also use it to chart reading levels or results.
YEAR AT A GLANCE
Again it’s in the American order. I LOVE the way this example tracks different curriculum in colour codes across the year! I use it in the same way but using the curriculum codes I need to cover and asses in each term. This year I think I will also use it to colour code with my job share partner who is covering what!
For us Australians you can request during the personalisation stage of purchase to have a January start so your months are in Calendar year order instead of financial year order. The Monthly layouts are double page, Sunday start with a column for notes and a quick reference calendar. The monthly layouts are UNDATED but the planner comes with colourful date dot stickers to label!
WEEKLY LAYOUT (40 double pages)
THE WEEKLY LAYOUT
The planner comes with 40 WEEKS worth of weekly layouts. It is a horizontal layout with days down the rows and periods or curriculum across the top. I have seen am nay people that have reversed the layout! They covered the days with periods or curriculum and used the boxes across the top for days. I use it as intended but do not write the subjects in at the top. I work in a P-12 school so we all use a 6 period day. I write the Period and time across the top, but as my “subjects” change each day depending on my timetable, specialist lessons, assemblies etc. I just use the lines in the rows to write the subject and a basic outline of what I am covering.
CHECKLISTS (7 double spreads)
Oh this would have to be one of my favourite parts! look at those colours! No more going cross eyed trying to read marks in gray boxes! You can even add more checklist pages, for a small additional cost (a few dollars).
STICKERS!!!! (4 pages)
Get sick of writing the same things over and over again? You can use a pre printed sticker instead! There are two sheets of pre-printed stickers and two sheets of blank stickers for you to write on yourself. Pre printed stickers include things like reminders, testing dates, report cards due, library time, emergency drills, assemblies and staff meetings. If you need more you can order additional “event” stickers in the accessories section of the website!
KEEP IT TOGETHER POCKET
A double sided, durable, laminated finish pocket to hold all those pieces of paper in. This has undergone a few changes each year since I have had one!
SHEET PROTECTOR and ZIPPER POUCH
Each planner comes with ONE plastic sheet protector but you can add more (for $1.50 each) when you personalise it through the check out process. Right at the back there is also a small zippered clear pouch great for all those little extra bits and pieces.
and then the back cover! As colourful and laminated as the front cover!
You can add a pen holder to the back cover but this is an additional extra.
A huge bonus to this planner is the massive range of accessories that you can buy to go with it, but that is a whole other post!