Tag Archives: tips

Free Printable Children’s Activities

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A while back I showed you a few educational and fun activity packs I made up for my boy’s to play with.

Activity Packs - Sight Words

Activity Packs - Fine Motor Skills

They have been such a hit, I thought I would trawl the net for some more ideas.  I hit the jackpot when I came across these three sites with amazing children’s prinatables, lots of them free.

They were so amazing, the printer went into overdrive.  The laminator was fired up and I stayed up late making a lot of fun activity that the kids LOVE.

So what sort of activities did I find? Here are just a few…..

The cutest puppets and song sets. These are 5 Little Ducks and 5 Green and Speckled Frogs .

Kid's Printables

Kid's Printables

Colour Match Games.

Kid's Printables

Shadow Match Games.

Kid's Printables

Sequencing Games.

Kid's Printables

Threading and shoe tying help.

Kid's Printables

And lots of shape, reading and writing skills games.

I now have about 20 activity packs all made up.  I have got into the habit of grabbing one or two of them before I leave the house with the boys. They keep the boys well entertained while waiting for the doctor or for the meal to arrive at the cafe. A lifesaver in many ways!

Stop by the following amazing sites to print out your own activities…..

Picklebums, Busy Little Bugs, The Measured Mom.

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Children’s Flash Card and Activity Book Storage

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For the last week I have been on a mission to organise those annoying bits and pieces about the house and garden. I hope to pop some posts up about these little projects because even if your abode doesn’t suffer from the same annoyance, you might get some inspiration to help you with something about the house. I know that is often how I get my ideas on how to tackle things. Today I focused on the tackling some kid’s mess.

My 4-year-old loves activity books.  You know the sort… with pre-writing, easy letter or number activities?

A while back I bought a whole heap of them on sale and they each came with a set of flash cards. He has every conceivable set available – numbers, letters, words just to name a few.

I had these stored in a basket but the boys had got into it for some card-throwing fun.  All the sets were jumbled and their cardboard cases squished.  They needed some organising know how.

Not too long ago I picked up one of these very cute A5 accordion file at Officeworks for just a few dollars.Organising Kid's Flash Cards

I loved the green colour and knew something or other would benefit from its addition to the house.  Enter the flash cards.

After spending a ridiculous amount of time rearranging the cards into their packs, I slotted them into the file and labelled each section.

Organising Kid's Activties

Now the flash cards are secured inside, no accidental drop will send these babies flying.  The box also has a handle which makes it easy to move around the house.Organising Kid's Activties

As for the activity books, they had been kept messily in a  drawer. I thought it best to pull them out and place them into something that made them easier to see and access.

I rummaged through my storage cupboard to find a Mimi Separator from Howards Storage World. I had used it to store things in my freezer of all places but it was no longer needed.

Organising Kid's Activties

It has handles and is perfect for moving to where the action is taking place

Now that these things are neat, I have decided that they are more than welcome to stay out.  I found a place for them in the kids’ playroom. By adding this cute container that once had a life as a recipe holder, I added some pencils and made a little station for these activities.

Organising Kid's Activties

Organising Kid's Activties

I love it when you find a nifty solution to your organising problems. Especially when you find the solution amongst the items making your storage cupboard messy.  It is like killing two birds with one stone!

Sometimes I Just Hate being Short….

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The cold weather is upon us here and I had to go out and buy myself some new winter gear.  You’d  think that would be exciting, hey? But winter means long pants and jeans and I am short.

Apparently, my 5’3″ height is short even by ‘short length’ pant standards, so all my pant purchases need to be re-hemmed.

After procrastinating for about 2 weeks, I finally altered all my new purchases. It wasn’t as difficult as I had remembered the task to be…..maybe my sewing skills have come along a little??

Hemming Pants

Before altering  my jeans I revisited two helpful tutorials at Do it Yourself Divas and Just Something I made.  These gals show you how to reuse the jean hem in your length alteration.  So simple and no need to worry about ruining the look of your distressed jeans with a crisp looking hem.

My next alteration task is shortening the cuffs on a jacket.  While my sewing skills have come along, I think I am still a way off doing cuffs.  Perhaps that is a job for a professional.

Do you have any helpful alteration tips for the vertically challenged?

Dabbling in Freezer Cooking

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After a visit to my favourite butcher who sells bulk meat, I dreaded the prospect of breaking the meat up into batches and vacuum sealing  it to be frozen.  I did however, feel slightly more enthusiastic about cooking.  So I set out to make some freezer meals.

I have at various times dabbled in freezer cooking.  I certainly loved the convenience of having ready-made meals when I was busy at work or when I was a new mum.  I didn’t hate the cooking days, in fact I quite liked them. So I wondered why I never really stuck to it and made an art of it.

I think in my case it came down to not having enough of a freezer meal catalogue.  In the old days I made the same things ….spaghetti sauce, lasagne, cottage pie, a curry or two and soups. Boring. If only I had looked to the internet for inspiration!

There are hundred of sites and bloggers out there praising freezer cooking.  Many have it down to a fine art – menu plans, recipes, shopping lists, cooking days, even providing sticker templates to print and  attach to your made meal.  There are thousands of amazing recipes out there to suit every taste and even cooking preference.  It really is an eye opener.

As it is coming into winter here in the Southern hemisphere, I am keen to get the slow cooker working.  I found whole sites devoted to creating frozen baggies of ingredients, that you defrost and pop into the crock pot to cook.  Really, who thought you could make crock pot cooking even easier than it already was?

The more I traversed the sites, the more I was beginning to be sold on the idea of freezer cooking.  I don’t know that I would have the majority of meals out of the freezer as I like to eat a fresh, clean and raw as possible, but it definitely has benefits.  It undoubtably saves money as you can shop the sale items and use seasonal produce.  You are less likely to resort to expensive take out on the days when you don’t feel like cooking.  I can see there would be less washing up and probably less food waste.

So if you are keen to dabble in freezer cooking like me, here are some sites that are worth a visit.

Money Saving Mom – Huge recipe selection and some great printables for those organising freaks, like me.

One a Month Mom – Everything you need to be a freezer cooking genius.  Menu plans for all sorts of dietary needs including paleo, vegetarian and baby. Heaps available for free on the site or become a member to receive ongoing menus and recipes.

Who Needs a Cape? – Make 40 meals in 4 hours! Lots of crock pot freezer recipes here.

Life as Mom – Lots of tips on how to freezer cook and every month a new cooking plan to follow.

I have also started to pin some of my favourite freezer meals.  You are welcome to follow along here.

So what did I cook and freeze the other day, you ask?

Freezer Meals

Healthy Butter Chicken – I used a fantastic spice mix from this company

lasagne

Chicken enchiladas

Freezer Meals

Slow cooker braised lamb

Freezer Bread

Pear and raspberry coconut bread.  Yummo! I will share this recipe with you soon.

If you are interested in freezer cooking, be sure to follow along.  I intend to do a lot more freezer cooking and I will share what I make on here.

Have a great day.

 

Know Your Feel Good Clean

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The weekend has left the Crooked Household….well…..crooked. Today is one of those days, where you can see there are a million things that need to be cleaned, done and fixed, but you just don’t know where to start.  You know there is no chance that you will get everything done and the whole thing is making  you annoyed.

It’s on days like this you need to do your Feel Good Clean before you tackle anything else.  You know what I mean, the cleaning tasks that take little effort but show big gains.  The tasks that instantly make your house feel lighter, cleaner and less cluttered.  The tasks that make you feel better about your home.

Everyone’s Feel Good Clean is different.  If you haven’t really thought about what those cleaning tasks are for you, they are most probably the ones you rush to when you get a last minute house guest.

Today I thought I would share with you my Feel Good Cleaning tasks.

1. Vacuum. Since having children and all the floor mess that comes along with them, I have perfected the art of the quick vacuum clean. Heaven help the toy or child that gets in the way of Mum with the Dyson.

2. Mop. Again I have perfected the quick mop.  When I want fast results I use a microfibre mop head with just a spritz of water.  The floor is cleaned really well and it is dry and ready to walk on in a minute.

Microfibre Mop

3. Make the beds.  Don’t worry, we always make the beds, but it is on my Feel Good Clean list as it instantly makes the bedrooms look neater.

Dinosaur themed boys bedroom

4. Tidy the kitchen benchtops.  We have an open plan house so the kitchen is visible from the living areas.  By removing the everyday clutter – books, loaves of bread, dishes and appliances,  I feel the house is less cluttered.

5. Polish the dining room table.  Again, as we have an open plan house and a glass dining table, the sticky little finger marks from meal times are visible to one and all.

6. Straighten couch cushions and floor rug.  Nothing entertains my boys more than messing with the couch cushions and sliding about on the rug.  Straightening them will most likely last about 20 minutes,  but for those 20 minutes, my lounge room looks good.

7. Clean the windows. The rear of our house, the living area, is almost entirely made up of glass.  When I do a Feel Good Clean I choose one or two sections of glass and give them a polish.  You can read how I have made cleaning window’s easier here. Nothing makes me happier than looking out of my freshly cleaned windows.  Weird, huh?

glass-mirror-wipes-viva

I did all of these jobs in just over 30 minutes this morning.  I was a whirlwind, but at the end of it the house looked neater and I felt a whole heap better.

I also scored some bonus cleaning in that time by warning the kids I was about to vacuum and mop.  They instantly jumped into protection mode, packing away toys and parking them on their play mat. Score!

What are your Feel Good Cleaning jobs?

Birthday and Anniversary Calendar

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Last week I received a member’s $10 birthday voucher to spend at Kikki K – a truly divine stationery store with some amazing organising products.  So today I popped in, excited with the prospect of finding a little project to do. I know….. I am crazy.

I ended up buying a birthday and anniversary calendar.  Absolutely perfect.

Birthday and Anniversary Calendar

There are always dates that I struggle to remember or fail to transfer into my new diary or calendar.  There is a constant stream of new additions to the family and friend’s families that I don’t want to forget. This will hopefully be my saviour.

I love that I now will never ‘lose’ an important date, it will just remain on the calendar for future years.  I also plan to include anniversaries of special, yet different, events I don’t want to forget.  I love recalling and putting favourite events in context like,  “It was 6 years ago we took off to Italy” or “It was 7 years ago today we bought our house”.

Birthday and Anniversary Calendar

After a little session of filling in dates I did know and writing a list of dates I needed to find out,  I hung the calendar in the office on my noticeboard.

Birthday and Anniversary Calendar

I know I will see it everyday here and hopefully I will always be on top of special events.

Under the Sea Sensory Tub

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Yesterday I told you about the ‘Under the Sea’ theme I began with my kids and our great seaside dessert.  Today we had a bit of wet and messy fun investigating our sensory tub.

Children learn best when they engage their whole body and this tactile activity is especially stimulating.

Under the Sea Sensory Tub

I filled a tub with water, some water beads and a variety of plastic sea animals, shells and pebbles.  The boys put on waterproof smocks and I let them go for it.

Under the Sea Sensory Tub

This was a great activity for both my 1-year-old and 4-year-old.  Master O helped his little brother by naming the different animals as he played with them.  As they explored, we talked about  what we knew about the animals and identified a few things we wanted to learn about their habits.

Under the Sea Sensory Tub

This was our first proper sensory tub and I think the kids and I are hooked.   They got a little wet, despite the smocks, but I guess that is part of the fun.  It is certainly cheap fun.  It didn’t cost anything as I just gathered items we had sitting around the house.