Our April was completely taken over with the chaos of moving house. In all the packing and stress and chaos, I lost the one thing keeping all the loose ends straight in my head – my precious rose gold Kmart/Kikki K planner!
It was missing for weeks. Seriously I couldn’t find it anywhere. All our appointments and reminders and Lottie’s school stuff was spread over post it notes, phone calendar apps and my frazzled brain.
So a few weeks ago I took the plunge and bought myself an early birthday present – a Mom On The Go planner from In The Leafy Tree Tops.
I am not an LDS mum so the Mormon Mom Planner wasn’t the right fit for me but I was so impressed by the gorgeous and thoughtful layout of their non-denominational Mom On The Go planner! I have now binge watched what seems like every MOTG planner review and unboxing on YouTube I knew it would be exactly what I needed and I was right! I love this planner.
The Home + Family section at the back with pages for your spouse and children is especially useful. I have teacher contacts and shoes sizes with me all the time. The monthly planning sections at the front and back of each month section has plenty of space to manage home, work, kids, medication, crochet WIPs, business & blog goals and anything else I need to track. And now that I’ve used a vertical three part day weekly spread, I don’t think I can ever go back!
I can’t thank Melinda from In The Leafy Treetops enough for designing such a functional and beautiful planner. Oh and as for shipping to far flung Sydney, Australia from Salt Lake City, USA? It only took two weeks. Trust me, that is great timing for something like this to be delivered from overseas. Check out the gorgeous range at https://intheleafytreetops.com/
We’re slowly but surely acting on our plan to explore more of Australia.
Hubby & I have seen 7 out of 8 states/territories but we want to explore them all again as a family. We’ve taken Lottie to 4 so far.
This week we’ve been exploring Adelaide and South Australia. I can’t wait to write up all the details – free & frugal sightseeing, top tips for exploring the naturally pink Lake Bumbunga (baby wipes people – trust me 🙄), mixing wineries & whiny kids, and how my travel capsule wardrobe works for me.
My little family has been visiting extended family and exploring England and France over the past few weeks.
I really took the time to step away from my phone (and blog and email) and breathe. Travel is such a wonderful experience for kids. Watching Lottie’s face light up meeting her cousins in London for the first time, letting her hand her passport to the customs officers at the airport, and providing cuddles, encouragement and quick language lesson when the children in the playground in France couldn’t understand her asking to join their game – all incredibly special and memorable experiences I wouldn’t trade for the world.
Now that I’m back I can’t wait to get back in the groove of blogging and to catch up on my WordPress reading!
It took its time this year but winter has arrived in Sydney. Along with the comfy knits, cozy coffee dates and sweet children in mittens comes sniffy noses, chapped lips and frozen little fingers on dreary days.
Here I’ve collected the recipes, patterns and ideas that get me and my family through winter that I’d like to share with others. All these can be found on my Winter Essentials Pinterest board which I love to add to whenever I come across something new.
I love the Burt’s Bees lip balm but hate the price tag. Although the ingredients to get started with this recipe can cost a bit they last and last. The ingredients for 2015’s Christmas presents lasted all through the winter and must have produced hundreds of homemade beauty products. I’ve found Karrie’s recipe sets in pots as well as cleaned out chap stick tubes.
We all reach for the Vick’s when the family is sick. I’ve joined the ranks of mums who swear by vick’s on a little one’s feet covered by clean cotton socks to stop night time coughs but there are two drawbacks to Vick’s – 1) price per jar 2) I don’t know exactly what’s in it. And with a husband riddled with allergies from dust to grass to shell fish, I’d rather I wrote the ingredient list until our little one is a little older.
Here is Everyday Roots wonderful recipe for homemade, all natural vapour rub.
Quick and easy is my favourite kind of crochet.These wide and warm headbands work up quickly in double crochet, are dead simple for beginners and make thoughtful little gifts. I made matching ones for a friend’s daughters (I’ll have to make another soon as she has baby girl #3 on the way!) and my own Little Lottie loves her blue ‘Elsa’ headband.
Crocheting mittens took me a bit of practice but this somewhat famous pattern that pops up all over Pinterest helped me out a lot. Brenda’s pattern comes in little kids, older kids and women’s sizes and once you’ve gotten used to it, is easy to customize.
Everything about this sewing pattern is a big YES for me.
Cheap? Yes. Easy? Yes. Quick? Yes. Can I do it in the Disney print my kid picked out? Yes.
You will have to register for email newsletters for the template PDFs but it’s worth it (and the newsletters are actually great). This pattern is by Denise, is great for keeping little fingers warm and it’s not a disaster if one is lost at preschool or the park. I fiddled with the wrist seam and added a blue ribbon drawstring on the last pair I did.
Of course my favourite crochet queen was going to feature on this list. The woman who’s videos reawakened my love of crochet and turbo charged my skills with her Youtube tutorials created perhaps the best video tutorial series on beanies ever.
This link leads to the 12 months – 3 years size beanie as that is the size I tend to make the most however she has written patterns for 0-6 months, 6-12 months, 3yrs- pre teen, teen – small ladies and also ladies to men’s sizes as well. You must register or log in to download the pattern or head to Laura’s youtube channel for the full tutorial.
Unfortunately I only found this pattern AFTER I had spent $10 on one very similar beanie in Cotton On Kids. So cute, not too fiddly and the colour combinations are wide. I already have a request for a purple and pink bunny (or a “Twilight Sparkle Bunny hat” as little Lottie put it).
I make my own little heart shaped fleece rice bags as hand warmers for our cold morning commutes. The best all round article on making your own can be found on TipNut.com. The lady behind TipNut doesn’t share her name but her site has been around for 10 years (!) and is a treasure trove of useful household articles.
Hot Toddies & Hot Chocolate
I got the flu the week before my wedding. An English friend took one look at miserable and panicked me and immediately prescribed hot toddies. The basic ingredients are simple; hot water, lemon, honey, brandy or whiskey, but everyone has their own variation. This is one version I whip up the most although if I have them on hand, mine usually includes cinnamon and cloves.
I agree with Elena who wrote this recipe 100%. Hot chocolate should be a rich indulgence that warms you to the very depths. Her recipe is everything I expect from a hot chocolate; thick, creamy, rich and topped with cream.
It’s just a simple wooden puzzle board with the letters of the alphabet but the effect on Lottie’s literacy has been instant and massive.
She’ll sit at the table and pick up each letter listing the words she knows that start with that letter – the friends names she learned at preschool and basic words from our books at home, arrange them to match small words like “Pig the Pug” and hand out the letters to visitors who’s names start with them. Auntie Kate gets a K, Daddy gets a D or an O for Oli.
We’ve come up with a few little literacy games, perfect for the evening while dinner is cooking or weekend afternoons.
Lesson #1 – Match the Letters
This is my favourite. All you need is one of your child’s favourite books. Boards books with few words and large print work best. We’ve been using a Peppa Pig one.
Just choose a page, ask your child what is happening in the story and then to pick a word on the page. They then choose the letters from their puzzle and lay them beside the word, sounding out the letters as they go.
Lesson #2 – Amazing Letter Race
This works best with two children but another adult can play along too. Pop all the letters from the puzzle in a bag, give each player a basket and then pull a letter from from the bag. Put 1 minute on the timer and race to find as many objects that start with that letter as possible. A calmer option would be to walk together around the house with the chosen letter pointing out all the things that start with that letter.
Lesson #3 -Alphabet Bingo
Always a solid choice, another game for 2 children or you and your child. Keeping the puzzle pieces in the bag, have a piece of paper with the alphabet written on it or the child’s name and some markers to place on the letters as they are drawn.