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Sunday Shout Out #1 – Playful Little Learners

Welcome to my first Sunday Shout out Post! This week’s Shout out is for Amy at Playful Little Learners

You can read all about Amy Here What a women I tell you! She is a Australian Teacher who has taken time off to be with her 4 children, yes you heard right…4 children, hats off to her right there! She has accomplished so much and is passionate about teaching children. So about a month a go I came across playful little learners on Instagram. I was scrolling though my Instagram feed late one night in bed, I couldn’t sleep stupid pregnancy insomnia while my partner was fast asleep snoring next to me when I clicked on a link and it took me to the Playful Little Learners Instagram Page. It got my attention straight away as it was colourful and bright and right off the bat there were so many great ideas I could do with my own children! I was inspired and excited! But most of all, it is real. It is not always picture perfect, there is chaos and mess….a daily occurrence in my house. Any posts which inspire, excite and is relatable and real has my vote!! If you have seen My Instagram Feed, most of the time there is no filter, its not colourful or pretty or been designed in anyway, I’ve kept it REAL. Its just photos I have taken and put up there with or without a little story. I do love both the real and the picture perfect Instagram feeds, they all lead to some sort of inspiration! Amy has the most amazing set up in her house, that’s my goals for the future! I love her reasoning behind the activities she has chosen to do, So many sensory ideas and great set ups. The pictures and the fun that comes through is great to look at. She would be the perfect person to do a playdate with! Amy comes across as a friend you could sit and chat with over coffee, while the kids run riot. her personality shines through on her site and pages and she feels very relatable.

On playful little learners Instagram there are stories, videos, pictures which most of us are able to relate to. There are ideas which cater to both the older and younger children and play safe ideas. I am not the most creative person, so this helps trying to find activities which cater for my outgoing and very messy almost 4 year old, yet are also perfect for my 14month old too ūüôā one of my favourite ideas, which Is pure genius is this post for¬† Taste Safe Sand I gave this a try with my boys, they had the most fun!! I have wanted to do a sand tray for a while, but been put off as Elijah will just eat the sand….anything he see’s goes straight into his mouth, if only he was that keen when it came to his vegetables!! I have tried pasta, and wanted to make it colourful, but kept it plain just because of above mentioned problem.cof

 

 

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Taste Safe Sand play fun with Polenta.

Amy gives great ideas on what sort of items can be used to put all the play essentials in. I had been trying to think of a suitable container for ages, and could not find the right one when Amy suggested an under bed storage container from Kmart. I went the very next day and brought one. I have filled it with a few plastic bugs and animals which Timmy loves playing with and I have so many great ideas I want to do with this container, its the perfect play space and what I have used for the taste safe sand activity!

I love the Rainbow rice sensory idea. I had fun making the rainbow rice with Timmy and then letting the kids play with it. Elijah loves rice, but just wanted to eat it, and ended up with a blue mouth so I think I will leave this activity for when Elijah is asleep and let Timmy play with this one on his own.

 

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Rainbow rice play fun.

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cofOn her website, I love how all the activities are categorised, sensory ideas, small worlds set ups which I can not wait to try some of them out! creative literacy play ect… there are so many fun and learning activities on there the ideas are endless and I encourage any parent, carer, educator to get on to her website¬†playfullittlelearners.com I guarantee there is something on there for everyone. Can you tell I just LOVE the site and pages? That’s why I just had to feature her in my Sunday Shout Out!

I had to send Amy who runs Playful little learners a message to let her know how much I loved her page and how she has inspired me with my own children. She was very sweet and appreciative, and that’s nice to know an opinion matters! I always love to tell people if I love their stuff. I think its important to give feedback, both positive and negative. I always encourage others to do the same to me, I love feedback.

If you have popped over to check out Playful Little Learners, let me know what you thought, have you used some of her ideas? Have you found inspiration? I would love to know, as I’m sure Amy would also love your feedback ūüôā

Amy didn’t know I was going to do this post, I sent her a message to let her know though! She was very surprised and happy I was going to do it, which was lovely. I genuinely love her site and was inspired and felt it deserves a shout out! All thoughts and opinions are solely 100% my own.

If you or anyone you know needs a Sunday Shout out, send me a link to their page so I can check them out. It can be about anything, if its inspiring, heartfelt, genuine and honest then I’m more then happy to feature them! small or big, whatever niche, lets show some love!

Candice x

The blog

Our Family Trip to Queensland

We were lucky enough to be able to go to QLD for a week for a family holiday! Carl got a week off work, and I desperately wanted to go visit my granny again, as she had not yet met Elijah. So we decided if we are going all the way to Grafton to visit granny, lets go the extra 3 hours and visit Surfers Paradise while we are there.

Now Grafton is north from where we live and its a good 10 hours drive. I know what you are thinking, 10 hours in a car with a 3 year old and a 4 month old are we mad?! Well, I can honestly say our kiddies were made to travel! They did amazing, although I was not worried about Timmy at all. He has done more travelling in his short 3 years life time then most have done and he has always done well, never complains and just takes it all in his stride! He has actually done this long Grafton journey 2x before. However I was not so sure how Elijah would cope as we have not yet traveled with him before and he does not like being kept in his car seat for long periods of time. He was amazing! He got a good 9 hours in before he decided enough was enough and had a good cry. Honestly, we got lucky with our boys and their ability to travel well.

We set out at 5am in the morning, so we could get through Sydney before peak hour traffic started. We got through, no worries at all we even had a couple of stops for breakfast and feeding baby. We even stopped at the Iconic Big Banana where Timmy had to eat a frozen banana dipped in chocolate and some much needed coffee for us Adults! We made it to Grafton at 4pm and checked into our accommodation. We normally stay in hotels, but this time around we thought we would give self serviced apartments a try. I can honestly say it was the best decision we made and in future when travelling with kids, I will always go this way. No more hotels for us! We had a bedroom for the kiddies, and a bedroom for us. Kitchen, bathrooms and our own space. Its nice to be able to relax after such a long journey in a separate room from the kids and with a nice glass of wine. If it wasn’t so cold, we would have made use of the balcony!

We cofvisited Granny, it was so lovely to see her with her great grand-kids. I love we were able to travel and take the kids to see her. She has met Timmy twice before, but this was her first time meeting Elijah.  So after a short but sweet visit with Granny, we went back to the apartment, bathed the kiddies put them to bed and we sat down with a takeaway Chinese and wine for dinner before crashing ourselves as we were up early again and heading further north to QLD! Once there, we checked into our apartment, this time with an Ocean view, a very large balcony and a spa bath! Talk about feeling spoiled! The Atrium apartments complex also had a roof top pool and a heated spa. Was such a beautiful place. Once we checked in we decided we wanted to extend our stay, we originally booked on for 2 nights, but we decided 3 nights would be better! we came all this way, lets make the most of it. It had been a while since we had a proper family holiday. So we unloaded the car, and headed straight out to Movie World.

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Timmy with daddy on his favorite ride the merry go round!

I was so excited to take Timmy and see all the characters and just watch his little brain take in everything he was seeing. I love watching him experience the rides and everything all for the first time. I remember going there for the first time when I was younger, it was such a magical place for me, so to see Timmy experience that was incredible. Timmy absolutely loved the Dodgem cars with Daddy, but his favorite was the merry go round! After a very busy day, we headed to Woolies and stocked up on groceries for the next few days and headed back to the apartment where we relaxed and fell asleep exhausted.
The following day we woke and headed for¬†Sea world. This place was absolutely Timmy’s favorite place. Carl loved it too! We watched the Dolphin show, Seals, polar bears, stingrays and Timmy really enjoyed the under water world.

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There were sharks, fish…he found Nemo and Dory! Timmy loved all the rides, they were a lot more catered to his age. He loved the Flying Banana and the submarine. I even managed to get him on a small roller coaster, but there was no way he was going on that a second time! So that night back at the apartment, we all sat down and decided were should we go on our third day? We could go back to Movie World or Sea world or we could try some of the other parks. Timmy was sure he wanted to go back to Sea world. As we all loved it so much, a second day at sea world it was!! But as it was a Saturday, it was a lot busier then it had been the day before so we had to Que a lot for rides and wait a lot longer for everything. But even when it was time to leave Timmy did not want to go! He got to meet Dora and watch Dora’s show. He had such a great time!

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Then on our last day, we woke went for a walk along the beach and found a lovely place to have some breakfast. Then we headed into Surfers Paradise, sat on the beach and let Timmy have a little play, had some lunch before going back to our apartment. Timmy had a swim in the heated spa which I joined them with Elijah. Was lovely and exactly what we all needed!

Then we headed back to Grafton to visit granny for the day¬†on the way home. We stayed in another serviced apartment, this time a little closer to where Granny lives. We went to dinner and then the following day up and on the road by 5am again. We made it back home by 4pm. I honestly did not want to come home and back to normal life. I could have happily stayed another week at least! This trip was exactly what we needed! I can’t wait to do another holiday.

IMG_20170812_170722.jpg CHEERS TO GREAT FAMILY HOLIDAYS!

The blog

Living in Oz – 8 month update!

It has been 5 month’s since my last update on how we are all settling into OZ. So it’s about time I filled you all in as I get asked all the time how we are going over here, and a lot has changed since my last update living in oz, 3 month update¬†so read on to find out.

So as soon as Carl was not on his Tourist Visa and got put on his Bridging visa, he started looking for work. He spoke with a few recruitment agencies and had a couple of job interviews before finally landing a job. When he started looking for work, we had 2 options. He could find work in the city, which meant a move closer that way and the travel by train every day, or we could look down south and try find a place to live down there. He found a job down south he liked with decent pay where he could support us all while I’m off work with the children and with decent hours so we would be seeing more of him. So south it was, he accepted the job and it was time for us to find a house to move into. We looked close to where he was working, but they were great let downs, you could not have paid me to live in any of them. Plus there was not a great selection or options available. So we decided to look around the area my family live in, it would mean a 45 minute commute to work for Carl every day though. We looked at a few houses, but none me and Carl could agree on, until the real estate agent convinced us to look at one property, which was a good $50PW over our budget. ¬†We are glad he did, as it was perfect. Carl was sold before he even walked in the door! We agree’d that although our budget would be tight, we would make it work! We applied, and we got the house. Next, I needed to stop my temping work, which by this stage I was becoming very heavily pregnant and I was missing being home with my son so I handed in my notice. I would need to drive Carl to work every day, (45 min there, 45 min back). He had just gone for his learners licence which he passed, but he needs to drive with a full licenced driver in the car at all times. He has gone for some lessons, and hopefully will soon go for his test to get his green p’s so I do not have to take him to work every day.

So I stopped working, Carl started work and we moved into our new house. After we moved in there were a few teething issues with the house, which the first month or two were spent with different contractors coming and going to fix these issues, but all has settled down now, and we are settling in properly. I spent my days going to and from various doctors and specialists appointments. I had gestational diabetes which I struggled to control and was put on insulin, so this meant lots of appointments every week and all in Campbelltown. A fair drive from where we live. Timmy was in school 2 days a week, these were ‘my day’s off’. Then comes march, and little Elijah joins us. Read about his birth story here:¬†Laboring Eli¬†. If I thought life was hard with one, I was in for a shock when baby came along. I could handle the Baby who sleeps lots, feeds well and rarely cries. What I was not prepared for was Timmy’s stage he would soon start of back chatting and finding naughty ways of seeking extra attention. He has moments when he is just so beautiful, sweet and caring but then days when I want to hide in the cupboard with a bottle of wine and wait until its all over. Since the wine and cupboard are not an option, it’s lot’s of yelling, naughty corners and being put in his bedroom. Needless to say, days when he is at school are my favorite days of the week!! But recently I have started doing a “Me and Timmy day” when Carl is off I leave baby with him and I take Timmy out and we go to cafe’s, the park, reading time at the library. Basically anywhere. Its really nice to just have a bit of us Time again. He tends to behave really well on these outings.

When we first moved from England to Australia, we started potty training Timmy. It took a few months for him to start going by himself, but he did eventually. While we were living with family, he wasn’t interested much in potty training. We tried the stickers when he would wee and poo, we tried the kiddie seat on the toilet, we tried an actual potty, we even resorted to bribing with treats, bad I know! but a lot of the time he would not do it. It was when he started school, he started to want to do it by himself. I guess he saw other children using the toilet and was keen to copy them. Now he goes by himself and only needs help when he does a poo, we need to wipe his bum. Accidents are rare these days, and I find when he does an accident, its not an accident, its on purpose to get some attention.

So we are all adjusting to being a family of 4, Carl is really happy in his job and I have just enrolled myself to study a Diploma of Early Learning Childcare and Education. I was very undecided about what I wanted to do after having Timmy, but what sealed the deal was doing the temping reception/ admin work when I first got to OZ and I decided that was just too boring and mind numbing work. It was OK for a week or 2, but after that I hated it. So childcare is def where I want to start working when I enter the work force again. But for right now, I’m content with my newest little man, and my eldest little terror. They are challenging enough.

I have had a few social outings where I have met up with some friends, had some play dates with all their kiddies which has been really nice and refreshing. We have had a few family days out, to the Blue Mountains, Botanic Gardens and to Featherdale Wild Life Park. I visit the family once or twice a week to say hi and catch up, or just to annoy them. In a couple of weeks it is Timmy’s Birthday, so I am currently starting to plan his birthday party. He is into Thomas, and more currently Spider Man! So he wants a Spider Man cake and jumping Castle, but he wants Thomas decorations. I have asked a good friend to make Timmy’s spider-man cake. Timmy is very excited about his party. I took him shopping to help choose his decorations. I could not get a spider-man jumping castle, as it was too big for the yard, so we had to settle on a smaller cars themed one. That’s fine, does the same job!! I will be sure to write a post all about his party at a later stage. It is my first time organising a party! His first birthday was in Reading, England. I didn’t do a party, just met some mum friends in the park and had a picnic, and also Carl had a work function on his birthday, so we went to that! Then his second birthday we were on Sark again, he had a birthday party which I held at his preschool. I just had to send out some invites and arrange food, they set everything up and hosted it which was great! So this year will be my first time properly organizing and hosting a birthday party!

Timmy started swimming lessons last week, I was so proud of him. He got straight in and was absolutely loving it! I ran into a friend there also, who takes her little one for swimming lessons on the same day. So that that will be good to see her there next time. I have also plucked up the courage to try out a new playgroup. I have been twice now, Timmy really enjoys it, it’s not busy and its nice to have a girly mum chat about everything once a week. So now my days are pretty full all week now with lots of activities. I am finally finding a bit of a routine to my weeks, It is really nice.

So I think this is us all updated for now.

XX Life In A Mum Shell XX

 

 

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living in oz, 3 month update

So we have been in oz for almost 3 months now. I decided it was time to give an update. relocating from the UK to oz has been a pretty big adjustment. least of all for me, but more so for Timmy and Carl.

So we moved back to oz early October, and have been living with family which was very nice of them to let us stay with them. There have been big adjustments on both sides with this new living arrangement. So my family live in an area that if you don’t have a car or don’t drive, your literally up shit creek without a paddle. Luckily, i have a licence and my family brought a third car before we moved out here, so this is my life line! Since moving out here I’ve managed to get some work through a temping agency doing some admin/reception work which I’m very grateful for, not only does it give us an income so we are not using our savings, it also gets me out of the house and is doing me a world of good. i go stir crazy if I’m stuck at home for too long.

I think Carl is finding it the biggest adjustment of all. Not only has he moved to the other side of the world far away from his family, friends and everything that is familiar to him, due to his visa process he hasn’t been able to work for the first 3 months while in oz. So he has had to be the stay at home dad, which it took a while for him to settle into, but i think he has found his rhythm now, but i know he can not wait to get back to work! its been extra hard for him, he has his learners licence, but no car and hasn’t been for lessons yet. so remember that creek i was telling you about, yep….hes up shit creek and no paddle. he stays home with Timmy most days which would drive anyone mad. especially when Timmy has a bad day and just wants to be a right little shit. Carl has had to adjust to living in a new house with my family….there are 7 adults and a toddler running around, its a busy household, little room for alone time or personal space. But he is doing good, and next month he is able o start work, so fingers crossed he finds something soon! it will do him the world of good.

Poor Timmy has had to also make adjustments, hes had me as the main person looking after him for 2 years, then had to get used to daddy being the main person, get used to a new house which comes with new people and new rules. Its a lot to ask of a child. But i think he is doing very well all things considered. Hes now had to sleep in our room, which there’s only room for a double bed and a blow up mattress on the floor. Its cramped to say the least but it is what it is and its only temporary. I’ve enrolled Timmy into preschool for next year for 2 days a week, which he will love. He desperately needs more children interaction.

Trying not to get under each others feet when you live with other people is almost impossible. If you have ever had to live with family or friends, you will most likely understand what I’m talking about. Every person has a different way of living, how they like things done and its almost impossible to slot into another’s routine. I know my family are being driven mad by us, 3 extra adults to feed, extra washing, a toddler running around, which comes with it’s own issues, constant mess, toys everywhere, smelly bins from nappy’s, waking up to Timmy watching Go Jetters, Hey Dugee, or baby jake on CeeBeeBies, the yelling and tantrums and things getting ‘misplaced’ or broken. Its stressful and hard for everyone involved with lives being cramped and adjustments being made by everyone.

So how will we manage when baby comes along? We don’t know, its literally impossible to fit a baby in the room with us, along with Timmy. We have really no option but to find Carl a job, find a place to rent before we have baby….only time will tell if this is going to be possible. As soon as Carl secures a job, we will be looking for somewhere to live. I think our family is ready to have us out now, and get back to their normal living routines, and i don’t blame them, taking us on was a big task and we greatly appreciate having a roof over our heads.

So like i said the car is our savior. when I’m not working, me Carl and Timmy love going out and exploring new places, parks, walks, picnics, play centers, shopping, visiting family. So that’s us 3 months in. A little limited in our options until Carl’s bridging visa kicks in next month. We are looking forward to the future and hopefully very soon being able to settle in on our own properly. We are going to have a very busy new years with ¬†finding work, finding a place to live and a new baby on the way. Lots of new adventures and challenges ahead of us, but we say, bring it on 2017, were ready!!!!

xx life in a mum shell xx