Christmas 2016

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I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, I know it was just last weekend but it already feels like it was ages ago. I still have my tree up, I don’t plan on taking it down anytime soon..  Previous years I have taken it down before Hubby’s Birthday on the 29th December but this year it just looks far too pretty to take down so I’m going to stare at my lights a little longer.  Mum took her tree down last June, I don’t think mine will last that long,  I imagine it would start collecting lots of dust and cobwebs by then (it probably has already).

We had a fairly relaxed Christmas, although it started quite early on with a family Christmas at the In-Laws in late November, followed by a very full December filled with looking at lights, decorating, Movie World White Christmas, visiting the Enchanted Gardens at Roma St Parklands and the lights of the Brisbane CBD, plenty of delicious food, Christmas movies and terrible carols playing in the car – oh and way too much chocolate – why is it that people give chocolate?  I must have been given 10 boxes (I think I gave out 20 too lol) next year i’m doing something other than chocolate so I don’t contribute to someone else’s pants getting way to tight come January!  Speaking of which i’m munching on Cadbury Snow Bites as I type.. they are delicious!

Lights in the Brisbane CBD after visiting the Roma St Parklands Enchanted Garden.

Lights in the Brisbane CBD after visiting the Roma St Parklands Enchanted Garden.

 

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Movie World.. yes we scored an additional child, Miss 15 has herself a BF!

This year was our smaller Christmas, sans stepkidlets although they did come and visit us for dinner a few nights before Christmas Day, I concocted a Christmas feast complete with ham, prawns, pav.. the works.  I would have been happy, but they’re are teenagers so they rarely are, we gave out presents and that raised their spirits for a little while longer.. just long enough to drive around, look at some lights and drop them back home where they will continue to wallow until I pick them up again next Monday for the second half of the holidays.  I hope the little buggers have found their smiles before then. Kinda depressing.. Do they know it’s Christmastime??

 

 

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Christmas Dinner QLD style

Fast forward to Christmas Eve, thankfully that was enough to make anyone happy! Hubby and I splurged (overboard) on Seafood..  Mooloolaba King Praws, Moreton Bay Bugs, Salt & Pepper Calamari, Sand Crabs, Oysters the works.. Since I am so disorganised and ordered 3 days out from Christmas we had to drive 1/2 hour to pick it up, but it was definitely worth the travel. The seafood was divine!  So much so, I can’t even look at a fish & chip shop the same way anymore.. Cudos to Fresh and Wild Seafood at Hamilton, Divine!  We were so full we skipped desert and went straight onto family photos with the Christmas lights.

Although the boys went to bed a little later than normal we still managed to leave out milk and cookies for Santa and sprinkle some reindeer food for Rudolph and the gang.  I was up quite late as I was a little behind wrapping my Christmas presents, I wasn’t as organised as years gone by as I’d spent the night before shopping at the all night shop.. so by this point in time I was a little weary and running on prawn power alone..

Christmas morning was low key, was spent at home opening gifts.. the boys were well and truly spoilt once again and thankfully they had a smile from ear to ear,  I too was spoilt and received an ice cream maker, Pj’s and a new kettle (one that matches my toaster).  We spent the afternoon at my Pop’s place having a family BBQ which was lovely and came home exhausted at around 5pm.  Hubby promptly dozed off on the lounge, he’d been working so hard up until that point, it was his first day off in months so 40 winks was just what he needed.. I fell into bed absolutely exhausted after getting Mr 11 and Mr 5 off to bed. Christmas 2016 was an overall success I slept very soundly.

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Explaining to Pop that its not for smacking bums its for his pizza LOL

Boxing day Mr 5 awoke covered in spots.. I honestly thought he had chicken pox for a fleeting moment.. but thankfully they turned out to be insect bites.  I skipped the sales to stay at home with spotty while Hubby and Mr 11 went in search of a bargain.  They bought a few Christmas lights and Mr 11 spent some of his Christmas money that he got from his Dad.  That afternoon my Nan and Aunt came around for a visit (I did warn them about the spots) which was lovely and the remainder of the afternoon was spent putting away the kids pressies from the day before.  Thankfully Mr 5’s spots had eased the next day and the Doctor was right about the insect bite theory (I had my doubts)

So all in all, the festive season was a good one, it’s such a shame its another whole 11 months until we start it all over again.. But i’m sure it will be here before we know it xx  I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas xoxox

 

 

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Vtech Kidizoom Smart Watch DX Review!

This time of the year can get very busy, one minute its October and before you know it, the Christmas tree is up and we’re in full Christmas Prep mode! One thing I have yet to do is finalise my Christmas shopping, but as many of you know I work better under pressure, so I’m not too concerned, there is always Christmas Eve after all!

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A great Christmas idea I was fortunate enough to be gifted from the lovely people at Vtech is the Kidizoom Smart Watch DX, branded as the next gen smart watch for kids it’s recommended for children aged 4+.   Mr 5 has been road testing it the past few weeks and I must say I am impressed or is that jealous?!  Its hard to tell really.. because it’s such a cool watch!! My watch just sits on my arm, is kind of heavy and the only thing it tells me is the time.. But the Kidizoom Smart Watch DX, it goes way above and beyond!  Not only does it have a lightweight durable design but it is jam packed with features such as;

  • Touch Screen
  • Voice Recorder
  • Camera
  • Rechargeable Battery that lasts ages!
  • It’s splash proof for everyday play

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You can also connect your Kidizoom Smart Watch DX to your computer to recharge the battery, upload the photos and videos taken on the watch and download more FREE learning games!

There is so much to love about this watch it definitely has A LOT going on but one of the primary functions that I love about it starts with the functionality of the watch itself as an actual watch! it has so many cool features from learning to tell the time, telling the time and recording the time.

I adore that you can toggle between digital and analog modes simply by touching the screen.  Kids often get caught up learning one way or another, for example my younger Brother could only ever tell digital time (his first watch was a digital watch) and I saw him struggle with this as he grew over the years.  If I said to him it is quarter past 11 he would ask, what time is that? I would then have to say 11:15.

The Kidizoom Smart Watch DX  allows kids to become curious about both digital and analogue time and easily learn to recognise/compare both.  Kids can choose from over 50 different digital/analog designs simply by scrolling through and choosing a design to suit their taste.  Each design is very cute and kids can change it as often as they like, every second if they wanted to (and they will) Mr 5 changes his watch design many times a day.  There is even a cute snowman screen for Christmas!

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There is even a ‘Time Master’ feature, simply find the owl icon on the home screen for an interactive time-teaching lesson or press the mouth icon on the watch face and the Vtech Kidizoom Smart Watch DX will tell kids the time out loud.  Just be wary when your little ones start to know the time, they can also point out how late you are running… which in my case is never a good thing!

 

Aside from telling time, the Kidizoom Smart Watch DX by Vtech has many other features that kids love;

The Camera, Video Camera and Voice Recorder..  How cool are these features!?  The Kidizoom Smart Watch DX has its own camera on board so kids can take photo’s and videos on the go!  Mr 5 has filled his with embarrassing shots of his siblings (and a few of me I may add) I’m sure these will make for great blackmail material as he gets older.  But it’s seriously good fun, the picture and sound qualities are nice and clear and the camera function is easy to use.  The kids can even edit their photo’s with onboard ‘Photo Effects’  such as frames and filters.

Inbuilt Games – with so many end of year school functions to go to lately, the inbuilt games on the Kidizoom Smart Watch DX have been a lifesaver!  No need to lug along the iPad when they have 8 inbuilt games right at their fingertips.. The games whilst simple are  both fun and educational and even keep the older kids amused!  Good old noughts and crosses is even built in, perfect for long car trips when visiting family this Christmas.  One of Mr 5’s favourites is the ‘Monster Identity Detector’  Kids place their finger on the screen and it ‘scans’ them and lets then know what Monster type they are.. I am a ‘Music Monster’.

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There are also Motion Games – the Motion Games encourage kiddies to get up and moving and to challenge themselves.  There are games to encourage jumping, running and dancing!

 

The Kidizoom Smart Watch DX also has a built in Pedometer so you can see how many steps your little ones are taking, this was a real novelty for Mr 5 because he was always so keen on my FitBit, kids can keep a track of their steps too just like Mum and Dad.

There are other useful features such as a calendar, stop watch, alarm clock and timer.

It is an attractive looking watch, comfortable to wear with a large watch face and easy to clean silicone watch band that is fully adjustable (it even fits on my wrist) we were gifted the blue watch but it comes in pink also.  The beauty of the watch is that the games and watch faces appeal to such a wide audience so there is bound to be something to interest your child no matter what their interests.

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Vtech Pink Design – Image credit target.com.au

The Kidizoom Smart Watch DX by Vtech is absolutely LOADED with features that your kids will adore! It is easy to navigate, fun to use and will impress even the most tech-savvy Kids this Christmas!  You can find the Vtech Kidizoom Smart Watch DX in store at Target and other good toy retailers this Christmas so add one to your shopping list and cross another present off the to-do list!

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Well it certainly has been awhile..

 

Hi There

Well it certainly has been awhile!

Thats not to say I haven’t sat at this page and typed some words countless times, only to get distracted, wander off and come back to a post that is totally irrelevant days later!

I’m sure like everyone, life has been crazy busy of late!  If i’m not working i’m cleaning the house, if i’m not cleaning the house, I tend to be at the grocery shop or taking the kids Pokemon Hunting.

Each night I fall into bed to get Mr 5 to sleep and that is the end of me, I doze off and another day is done and dusted.

This morning I woke up again at 3:00, wide awake and raring to get organised in the office so i’ve been doing a bit of pottering around for the past hour and a half which is going to make tomorrow all that easier.  Our small business is keeping us quite busy, it has actually turned into quite the full time job for Hubby which has proved tricky on top of his regular full time job.  Finding a home/work/life balance has been rather hard pressed lately but we are hoping to allow the business a few more months to grow and stretch its legs before taking it on full time.  So at the moment there is a mix of both excitement and fear as we lead into that.  But its a big goal for Hubby and something he has looked forward to long before he started his business so it is definitely worth the slog at the moment, even though sometimes you have to remind yourself of that many times a day!

 

Aside from that we celebrated Mr 5’s birthday the other day, 5! How insane is that.. it just felt like yesterday that he was a little baby, now he’s half way through his first decade.  Hubby and I spent the day with him playing at home with his presents and in the evening we went out for dinner with the family.    Last weekend we had a Kindy party for him at Inflatable World which was chaotic with 16 x 4/5 year old’s running about, but seriously good fun all at the same time.  He was the topic of discussion all last week at Kindy and because it was the first party of the year it was great to get to know some of the Mum’s and Dad’s that I otherwise simply breeze past each morning and afternoon.

Yesterday was all about decluttering.. I made a point to start on one room and rid it of all the mess and unnecessary furniture that has been bogging it down lately.  It’s amazing how you can make a few dollars off of things that are just sitting around collecting dust!  It’s definitely kept me motivated to continue my efforts today.

Oh well on that note I’d best go and wake Hubby for work.. no rest for the wicked after all!

It was nice touching base.. I hope I am able to do it more regularly, but as usual cant make any promises :)

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Hanging onto the Weekend..

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How I have loved the school holidays!!! I could do 100 more of these weeks and never tire of having my 2 gorgeous boys at home with me 24/7.  Yes some days get a little weary, between the bickering and the ‘I’m boreds’  but seriously it’s a small price to pay for not having to wake up early, make lunches, iron uniforms or drive in that dreaded morning/afternoon traffic!  I’m sure there are others out there who agree with me?  Don’t get me wrong I enjoy my time when the boys are at school also, but not as much.. I feel more productive when they are at home.. not necessarily being productive around the house or office, but by actually achieving something with them.  For example if I don’t get the washing, dishes and bedrooms tidied on the school holidays, that is completely acceptable (I was probably doing something with the kids) but it’s  not so acceptable to get jack squat done if the kids are both at school.. see, it’s all bad.  And if the boys are both at school I have to go to work – but if they are on holidays, I don’t have to work because Teachers like myself (of a supply nature) don’t work on School holidays.. So school holidays to me are the be all and end all (Minus the not getting any pay part of course..)

The past week we have basked in school holiday glory, we have been to the coast, we have been to parks, we have hosted cousins for sleepovers and caught up with mates for playdates (or hung out as it’s now apparently called) we have dined at our favourite restaurant (or as you may have it pigged out at our favourite buffet) we’ve seen movies, slept in, stayed up late, caught up on all of the Shrek movies (so funny) and i’ve spoilt the kids rotten by impulse buying them an Xbox One because we wanted to play Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2 (and you can’t buy that on Xbox 360) But seriously it’s been one of my most favourite school holidays in such a loooooong time so i’m reluctant for it to come to an end.

But alas, school must return on Monday, and with it another child will be added to our household for Term 2.  Lately i’ve been selfishly enjoying the peace which comes with our smaller family. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of my kids, but sometimes their baggage feels like a heavy weight on my shoulders, sometimes looking after them is so very very draining.  So I love this quiet, I love this calm before the storm, it helps me weather it a little better. It helps me to be a little stronger for all of our Children.

So i’m really hanging onto this weekend, I will use it to recharge my batteries before tackling Term 2.. we can do this xx

 

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Hello April..

Wow I can hardly believe it is April already.. I say it every month, but this year is truly flying by so quickly..

This morning I woke up at 3am.. which for those who know me is quite an early start.. I am NOT a morning person at all!

But then again I always used to be a night person.. but now I can hardly keep my eyes open past 10pm so I guess it’s a trade-off!   I woke up hell-bent on getting organised for April I didn’t want another month to start off on the wrong foot.. so I jumped out of bed (more so rolled out) and managed to sort the bills and taxes for the month ahead.

March seemed to be a great month.. we have been rather busy so it’s hard to tell sometimes if you’re having fun or if your just going with the flow. But despite a couple of colds that the kids have had, we’ve had a pretty good month.  I managed to see a couple of movies with friends ‘How to Be Single’ and ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’, I worked a few more days teaching (which I plan to steadily increase as the year goes on) Our small business got crazy busy which is promising for the future & we had a lovely family filled Easter.

Towards the end of March we started working a little more in the backyard.  Last year we neglected the yard during the cooler months and it took so much time to get it back for Spring/Summer so this year I plan on tending to it during the cooler months as well so it’s not such a task come the warmer months.  Last weekend we converted the Puppy Castle we made last year for Molly’s puppies into Mr 4’s Cubby (which was always the plan from the start it just took us longer getting around to it)  it looks fantastic so far.   This weekend we plan on cutting out a servery style window for the front, painting a blackboard wall & installing a shelf for some of the kids playthings.  We also have plans to start a veggie garden in a disused area of our yard which will also house the chook pen in the future.  It’s nice to have plans and goals to work towards for the yard again, the house often takes up so much of our time and focus it’s nice to be able to work on something else for a little while.

This month will see the return of Mr 12, this year he will be with us for terms 2 & 4 ~ his siblings Mr 15 & Miss 14 will stay on with their Mum for the time being.  As they grow we have offered them a little more freedom in their living arrangements and so far it is working well for all involved.  It’s sad we don’t get to see them as often, but on the flip side they are less angry & happier when we do. So as of next week we’ll have a high-schooler in the house again.. I’m hoping it will be smooth sailing, he’s usually pretty good and so far when he’s been here on our weekends we haven’t noticed anything to the contrary, however, whilst at his Mums he has been getting into a little trouble at school (nothing major just silly attitude/behaviour problems).  But it will be nice for the boys to have their Brother home again.

The month ahead will also see Mr 15’s, 16th Birthday.. he’s requested an Xbox One controller or Xbox $$ — neither of which I planned on buying because he is ADDICTED to his Xbox so badly.  I really need to figure out a way to broaden his horizons so I plan on putting money towards driving lessons/obtaining his learners.   The other week he came home and declared that after year 12 he planned on taking a gap year.. not to travel or work, but to rest and play Xbox.. Hahaha.. great way to use up one’s private school education right there.  Needless to say I had a chat to him and offered him some advice about tertiary studies or work and mumbled something about it never going to happen!  Later this year I plan on taking him to some of the Uni open days so he can start to think over his options.. thankfully he still has 1 more year at school so he’s got plenty of time to change his mind and hopefully head in a direction that might lead him to somewhere other than his Mothers couch for the next 30 years (because it certainly won’t be my couch!) I have painstakingly watched my Brother and his apparent failure to launch for the past 20 years and I must say it’s dismal to see a grown man return time and again to sponge off of my parents good will.  But I know behind Mr 15’s desire of a slow start to his adult life, there is a passion for achieving so much more he just hasn’t realised it yet.

On a brighter note, I’m glad we’ve still got one more week left of school holidays.. I’m not really ready to start packing lunch boxes and ironing uniforms just yet.. I’m really enjoying spending time with the kids and the slower starts to our day.

So a big hello to April! Here’s to the next 3o days ahead!

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Easter 2016

Happy Easter 2016

I hope everyone had a safe & Happy Easter over the past weekend.  I have had a lovely Easter, so much so that I’m actually chalking it up to one of our more/most successful ones..

Initially I was bummed that we were unable to join the rest of the family in Bundaberg to farewell a much-loved family member who is moving away, but in the end our weekend turned out just what we needed it to be – a restful one. We didn’t get up to much, it was quite relaxing really ~ we watched movies, ate yummy food, caught up on crossword puzzles, played in the backyard, went for a bush walk and generally chilled out.  It was so nice to not have to be anywhere or do anything. We’ve been quite busy lately so the change of pace was definitely well received.  And if you can’t relax on a 4 day long weekend, when can you?!

Our Easter was celebrated over 2 weekends, last weekend with my Stepchildren and this weekend as our smaller family unit.  Last weekend we gave the kids Pyjama’s, a beach towel and a chocolate bunny, this weekend we celebrated a little larger (as I still like to keep the main focus on the actual day) there were more presents for the boys as well as their eggs from the Easter Bunny.

My boys spoilt me rotten as per usual with 2 pairs of Winter Pj’s and my fave Lindt Easter pack.  Flannie Pj’s at Easter is a bit of a tradition in our family at Easter time (which stems from my childhood) I’ve always been given warm pyjamas, dressing gowns and slippers for as long as I can remember at Easter time, so I too have done the same.  The boys got new dressing gowns this year as well & I had a giggle at the PJ top I bought Hubby that says ‘Don’t go Bacon my Heart’.  With Easter being so early this year, I’m not too sure when I’ll get to wear my Winter woolies, but when the cold comes, I’m ready for it!

Easter Spoilt

Mum & Dad came over for Easter Brunch on Sunday which was nice, I served it all buffet style ~ we had your Sunday morning staples such as Bacon, Eggs, Garlic Mushrooms, Onions, Tomatoes, Croissants & Toast.  After they left we spent the afternoon at the Walkabout Creek Nature Centre, such a great place.. I’ll write more about it on the blog later this week but seeing a Platypus for the first time in real life, was AMAZING!

On the whole I managed to fulfil all of my Easter expectations.. from making little goodie bags for Mr 4’s kindy friends, right down to the lamb roast for dinner & the marshmallow bunnies I searched high & low for all day Saturday (pictured below)

Elusive but tasty bunny..

                                                      Elusive but tasty bunny..

Easter 2016

 

I am officially Easter’d out! Tomorrow I can pack my Easter goodies away completely content!  Right now I’m looking forward to 2 weeks of school holidays.. here’s to sleep in’s, no school lunches to pack & no ironing! 

How was your Easter?

Did you overdose on Chocolate yet?  Whats your favourite Easter Egg?

 

Linking up with

Kirsty from My Home Truths 

Jess from Essentially Jess for #IBOT

 

 

 

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A couple of weeks ago we decided to go coastal for the Valentines Day weekend, we headed down the Gold Coast with the two boys to celebrate both Valentines Day and also Mr 11’s Birthday which is also celebrated on the day of love!  We kept the whole idea under wraps and the boys, despite my terrible efforts at keeping it secret were pretty surprised and impressed when we reached Surfers. We kicked off the weekend by checking out the Gold Coast Sand Safari, which were a series of sand-sculptures depicting the Dreamworks characters out of movies such as How to Train your Dragon, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda (which we can’t wait to see at the movies!) The sculptures were pretty impressive and lined the esplanade, the sand artists were still working on them on the Saturday but they looked great.. what patience those sand artists must have!

Sand Safari Alex Zebra

Gold Coast Sand Safari Donkey Shrek

Whilst in Surfers we decided to go to Timezone for Mr 11’s birthday surprise, we hadn’t been for a few years and the boys had an absolute blast for 2 hours of various unlimited gameplay, best $50.00 i’ve spent in a long while.. they couldn’t stop grinning the whole time.

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We stayed overnight at the Meriton Southport, which I would thoroughly recommend.  We had a lovely 2 bedroom apartment with quite a nice view, full kitchen, laundry and 2 bathrooms, it had all the mod con’s and felt like home away from home (but even cleaner).  It wasn’t close to any beaches, but it was nearby the Broadwater at Southport and was nice and quiet at night.  I would have loved to stay longer!

Meriton Serviced Apartments Southport

 

We took the kids out for dinner at Sharks Leagues Club which happens to be Mr 11’s favourite restaurant, because of Chinese New Year, the buffet had an Asian theme in addition to their regular menu so that was pretty good timing.  I left there feeling rather full although a little disappointed that I only managed to fit in 2 plates for main and 1 desert..

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The next morning Mr 11 opened up his Birthday Pressies & I cooked up a Valentines Day/Birthday Breakkie feast for my boys.  We then headed for a swim, we had a quick dip the evening before but the boys were keen to go for another swim,  the pool at the Meriton was fantastic as it was heated, which was great because even though it was warm, pools still have a tendency to be bloody cold!  We then spent the rest of the morning hanging out at Broadbeach before heading to Pacific Fair at Mr 11’s request & who could possibly deny a boy shopping on his Birthday.. not I!

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Because we had to pick up the other kids at 3pm for them to come and celebrate Mr 11’s Birthday we didn’t have a lot of time to spend down the coast but the time we did have was great.. sometimes it’s nice to just take a mini-break, relax and unwind (as best you can with kidlets in tow)  not to mention it was a lovely way to spend Valentines Day with Hubby and I’m sure Mr 11 wont forget his Birthday weekend in a very long time.

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Smiggle Fun for Everyone – {Review}

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Growing up, I loved back to school shopping and I remember from a young age wanting my school supplies to be coordinating and funky.  Mind you this was the late 80’s/early 90’s so it wasn’t always easy being on trend.  Back in those days a canvas duffle bag and a Pacer pencil was considered a big deal, but I aimed for something a little higher.. One year I wanted all of my stationary to be baby pink, so I spent my holidays decorating my books, folders and pencil cases often having to find gift wrap, paint, ribbons and even cuttings from magazines (Smash Hits anyone?)  to adorn them.  I  absolutely LOVED my ‘coordinating stationary’ that year and so many memories come flooding back when preparing my own children’s things for school.

My kids  love taking cool things to school so it’s no surprise that one of their favourite stores is Smiggle!  Rarely can we walk past our local Smiggle without stopping to take a look at their huge range of bright and colourful accessories.  We’re like kids in a candy store.. it’s so much easier for kids to be on trend these days with such awesome shops right at their fingertips & online.

So you could imagine their delight when we were sent some wonderful Smiggle items to review last week and you could also imagine I was doubly excited when I realised that many of the items would be fantastic for me too.  It was pretty good timing that the package arrived when the kids were at school, first dibs for me!

As many of you know, i’m heading back to work as a Teacher next week so I was pretty excited by this awesome 2016 Diary.. isn’t she pretty!?  I haven’t used a diary for many years so I am excited over the prospect of getting organised with this little beauty.  The other day I sat down with a Chai Latte & wrote in all of my important dates.  I love that there is room to hang your pen on the side and with a day on each page there is plenty of room to write.  I love the funky coloured ribbons so I can mark various dates/spots throughout the diary – term dates are marked in the front of the diary (believe me, I’ll be counting down to the holidays!) and there is a useful notes/addresses section in the back of the diary.  It really is quite a comprehensive little diary and would be suitable for students or adults, the kids dipped out on this one though.. I love it too much!

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Coordinating perfectly with my new diary is the S10 Media Tablet Case, just like the hardtop pencil cases that the kids love so much from Smiggle, this is an oversized version perfect for holding your iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab etc.  It has come in handy for my iPad Air and even folds into a sturdy viewing stand, great when watching You Tube video’s (educational ones of course!) Its nice and soft on the inside but very sturdy on the outside which is just what kids need to keep their technology safe!

The other day Mr 4 and I had to go along to Mr 10’s Leadership Parade at school so I packed the iPad into the media case and the Smiggle Headphones & Mr 4 remained entertained during the duration of the morning.  The headphones are a great size for Mr 4 and because they are adjustable they even fit my big noggin! They are soft and comfortable and have great sound quality.  This set in particular has white cats on them, but Smiggle headphones come in a range of styles/designs.

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But it can’t be all work and no play!  Check out these cute Active Soft Keyring’s that coordinate with the active range.. aren’t they just the sweetest!  Hang them on your bag or pencil-case to make a super cute statement.  I adore the horse on my key ring and Miss 14 has hung the mouse and cat on her school bag.   With Valentines Day fast approaching, these would make such a sweet valentine gift for your kids too.  They come in 3 cute designs, horse, cat or mouse and are $7.95 each.

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So after snaffling up those items for myself I let the kids swoop down on the remaining Smiggle items.. they didn’t last long!

Mr 4 quickly fell in love with the Fluffy Character Backpack, it’s a great little bag for day trips and the cute little penguin on the front of the bag detaches and can be played with separately.  She soon became a favourite and had to come with us wherever we went.  The bag has a large zippered compartment with comfy zipper tabs for small fingers and a smaller zippered section inside the bag also. It has comfy padded shoulder straps which are adjustable and makes a great bag for Sleepovers, Kindy,  School or even just a day trip.  The Fluffy Character backpack is suitable for children aged 18 months + and retails for $49.95.

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Mr 10 was impressed with the Measure Up, Stencil and Writing pack which contained a 30cm non-smudge ruler, an alphabet stencil, numerical and animal stencil and protractor.  Using it at home he has taken it out a few times and drawn with it.  It will come in handy for school projects and most recently he used it to write the names of his friends on his Birthday Party invitations. It’s made out of durable plastic and stores inside its cardboard pouch quite easily, A4 pieces of paper that you use with the stencils  can also fit back into the pouch.

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Smiggle Pencils & erasers are always a must-have item in the school pencil-case each year.  Mr 10 always buys a handful of pencils/erasers at the beginning of each term and loves to collect all of the different designs.  Adding to his collection is the Tonal Pencil, Jelly Twist Eraser and Purple Eraser Wand.  Smiggle pencils/erasers make great behaviour incentive awards for Teachers to hand out as well, because they are inexpensive and very popular with the kids who love to work extra hard to get a Smiggle reward at the end of the day.

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Smiggle also has a pretty impressive range of novelty and gift lines which can be a lot of fun.. Mr 10 was pretty impressed with the Light up, bouncy, glittery GOO V2.  It bounces, stretches, shapes and glows.. Check out my Instagram to see a video of the goo in action, it is pretty cool & very bright!

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So head to your local Smiggle or jump online to Smiggle.com.au to check out their awesome range of products for back to school & everyday fun! To find your closest store click HERE or to shop online, click HERE 

 

*This is a review post & as such all of the opinions expressed in the post are my own.  I did not receive payment for this review, however, I did get to keep all of the lovely Smiggle items that were discussed in the review.  Thanks for taking the time to read our review on these fantastic products. Several Kinds of Crazy.com.au only review and write about products our family loves & supports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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School Holidays ~ that’s a wrap! 

I can hardly believe school goes back tomorrow! Talk about a downer! Iv been having so much fun sleeping in, not packing lunches, not ironing, not racing about every morning {to still be late mind you} it’s been great. And tomorrow that  unorganised bliss has to come to an end & organised chaos will instead replace it.  

To be honest I’m not looking forward to the 2016 school year.. I have so much anxiety wrapped around all of the ‘firsts & lasts’ that this year is going to be full of.. First year of Kindy, last year of Primary School, first year of highschool etc etc.. But as a fellow Mum pointed out the other day, next year is going to be much worse when I’m able to add to that list to include first day of prep, first day of highschool & last year of highschool!  So perhaps I should look on the bright side for now.  I’ve been tossing & turning the past few nights, unable to get a whole heap of sleep.. So many ‘what if’s’ going round my mind.. Our babies grow up too darn quickly!!  

But on a brighter note we’ve had a great school holidays, relatively low key ~ it’s been a great way to recharge our batteries. The first half of the holidays, when we had all the kids home was quite busy, this is also when we went away to Coffs Harbour ~ but it was nice having them all home for the Christmas preparations, even if the bickering & nonsense drove us up the walls at times!   Hubby was home for 5 whole weeks, which was FANTASTIC! It was great having that extra pair of hands to help out each day. The other kids went back to their Mums on January 1st, so it’s been relatively quiet since then with just the 2 boys at home, but it’s been a lovely change of pace. Welcome even! But we’ve still been to parks, Dreamworld, the movies, bike rides & had lots of themed nights at home (movie nights, Lego nights, board game nights, pizza night etc) ~ they’ve probably been my favourite part! 

 Well I guess I’d best keep it short & sweet, I need to do some ironing & make some school lunches before tomorrow!  *groan* . 

I hope everyone has a smooth transition back to school & for those with littlies starting, sending big hugs your way xoxo 

Linking up with Jess from Essentially Jess for #IBOT ~ just scraped in again with 20 minutes to spare! (I’ll put the link in tomorrow because my iPad is not cooperating!!) 

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This time last week it honestly felt as though the school holidays were going to last forever..  But earlier today it dawned on me that we only have a little over one week left until the kids head back to school!  I’m a little bit sad, because personally I love school holidays (even more so this year as I’m heading back to teaching!) and i’m a little bummed that it’s all coming to an end so soon.

Last week, I found myself like many Mums starting to think about my ‘Back to School’ shopping and  I began wandering aimlessly around the stationary aisles at my local shops. We hadn’t been shopping long, Mr 10 was getting fed up with the whole ‘Back to School’ shopping experience (apparently EB Games is far more exciting) and Mr 4 wasn’t exactly cooperating either, so we came home with only a few pencils, a rubber and a ruler (if that’s any indication of how well our shopping trip went).

So you could imagine how ELATED I was when I got home, to find a parcel containing all of the things we had been looking for (minus the crowds, screaming kids & tacky mass-produced designs) on my very own doorstep!!! {Not to mention I was a little freaked out by the coincidence}

Regular readers might remember my review a few years ago for 2Kool4Skool.com.au on their fab range of book covers, stationary and school supplies. Kathy from 2Kool has literally saved me from contacting hundreds of books over the past few years!  Would you believe the kids still have the majority of their original book covers?  It’s been such a money saver, I simply clean them up at the end of each year and re-use, they certainly are withstanding the tests of time!  You can find their full range of Book Covers (and your sanity) HERE 

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Well the lovely Kathy from 2Kool4Skool has come to my rescue again, this time with a fantastic range of backpacks, bags, drink bottles and more!  How funky are these designs?

Suddenly Mr 10, who wasn’t at all interested in back to school shopping earlier in the day, became highly interested in all the 2Kool4Skool gear, calling first dibs on a backpack, water bottle and lunchbox.  Mr 4 quickly swooped in and claimed his drink bottle, lunchbox and backpack too.  It was really cool watching them get all excited over the new stuff and took away some of those back to school jitters that I’ve been having (particularly with Mr 4 as he’s off to Kindy this year for the first time ~ sob!)

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We’re big fans of 2Kool4Skool.com.au in this house, it’s been my go-to shop for a lot of stationery supplies over the past few years.. One of our favourite products that I will rave about is actually their Satchel Pencil Case which the kids each use as a pencil-case and library bag, we also have one for our toiletries when going away & another to store Mr 10’s Asthma medications in at home and at school. I am often telling people to check out 2Kool4Skool as I firmly believe in their product quality and what they stand for, i’m always more than happy to support a local small business!

So lets take a look at these new products shall we????

I must say I am impressed with the range of ‘Lunch and Snack stuff’ on the 2Kool4Skool website.  With 5 kids at school this year lunches are something I am going to be making a lot of .. Hubby & I even pack a lunch box for work so it’s essential to get a good stock of lunch boxes, bags and plasticware on hand.  Kathy sent me a great variety of products to show you guys that will make packing lunches EASY!

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I don’t know about you, but I find it frustrating that at the beginning of the year there are literally millions of lunch boxes available in the stores, but if you need to replace a lunchbox once, twice, or maybe ten times (grrrr) throughout the year, your on your own with an ugly plastic lunchbox.. So it’s good news that 2kool4skool stocks a cool range of lunch boxes on their website all year round!

The older kids are loving their 2Kool4Skool ‘Lunch Cube’ which is available in a range of bright colours, with a top zipper and handles, the Lunch Cubes are fully insulated to keep lunches cool, they are 100% AWESOME & are to kool to share (it says so on the box).

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An alternate style is the Rainbow Lunch Bag which Mr 10 has snaffled for himself, it’s a double-decker lunchbox with lots of room for kids with big appetites.  This lunchbox would also suit younger children as you could put their little lunch in the top section and their big lunch in the bottom section.  It also has big chunky zipper tabs for little fingers and nice big handles to hold on to.  Once again fully insulated to keep the kids lunches cold.  Don’t you just love the bright primary colours it comes in!?  It also comes in a Purple/Green/Pink and Yellow style also.

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I must admit i’m a bit naughty when it comes to my excessive use of cling wrap and disposable snack bags in lunch boxes so when I saw these Reusable Sandwich & Snack Bags I was a little bit excited.  I will definitely be putting these insulated bags to good use in an effort to save both money & the environment.  I’m loving the bright colours and we’ve even used them on the holidays when out and about with crackers and biscuits.  At just $6.50 for a set, they are great value & they coordinate so well with the 2Kool4Skool Lunch Bags/Cubes too.

 

bottle_groupI LOVE LOVE LOVE these drink bottles.. I don’t know about you, but you can never have too many drink bottles.. It was only last year that I cottoned on to the fact that if I gave each of the kids a drink bottle to take out with us, I would save a bucket-load of money not buying drinks while we were out!!!    So I love that the BPA FREE 2Kool4Skool bottles are double walled, keeping your drinks cooler for longer and that they have a wide range of funky designs.. Mr 10 chose to keep the Graffiti design, which coordinates with his pencil-case, at a massive 600ml it will keep him going throughout the school day and during sports.  The other drink bottle is a Stainless Steel Drink Bottle/Vaacum Flask  featuring the 2Kool4Skool Logo which can keep drinks either hot or cool for a minimum of 12 hours, how kool is that?  I dare say that one will be coming back to school with me :)

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You can find the whole range of 2Kool4Skool’s Lunch & Snack stuff on their website HERE 

Now, moving onto their awesome Bags.. I find bag shopping really tricky.. gone are the days when I used to buy the School Backpack for the kids because each of them now wants a unique bag that suits their personalities and can fit a whole ton of stuff in them. I’m fussy with my handbags too, so I get that BUT there are only so many bags out there and to be honest, I find a lot of them to be either ugly, impractical, horrendously priced  or all of the above..

Cue 2Kool4Skool.com.au

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Check out this awesome Graffiti Backpack! once again Mr 10 has claimed this one as his own and has turfed aside his Surf Shop bag which cost me an arm & a leg last year.

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Yep, you heard it right.. this one is THAT KOOL!

I am really impressed with the backpack, it feels so sturdy and is of great quality.  Its got a fantastic amount of pockets and super comfy padding in the arm-straps and on the back of the bag, which will make carrying heavy loads a lot easier on little ones backs.  The bag itself has 3 roomy compartments plus 2 nice deep pockets on the sides which are great for your drink bottles/umbrella etc.  It even has a divided section inside the main part of the bag for a laptop.  This bag would easily appeal to kids of all ages and also comes in pink/black too.

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Up next is the Robot Backpack, it comes in a great range of colours and once again has lots of space to store all your school gear.  A great little bag to pack for day/road trips or heading out for the day on an excursion. The Robot Backpack is on special for just $14.95 and also comes in red, black, purple and pink.

There is also a similar Classic Backpack which is a rucksack style, perfect for school or holding your kids sports items.  This bag is going to come in handy for Mr 10’s Basketball gear, you could easily pack it with essentials such as spare clothes, towel, nappies, wipes etc and leave it in the back of the car too.

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And a bag that I am particularly fond of, because I have so much trouble buying one each year, is the 2Kool4Skool Swimming /Library /Gym Bag.  This bag is going to get A LOT of use around here. It’s made out of polyester so it will dry quickly and has lots of room for togs, towel and a handy compartment at the front for swimming cap/goggles.  I LOVE IT! It also comes in a range of funky colours so I can get one for each of the kids and not get confused.

You can find the range of Bags from 2Kool4Skool.com.au HERE 

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So I hope that I have helped introduce you to the awesomeness that is 2Kool4Skool.com.au – Head on over to their Facebook page and say a big HELLO to Kathy, she will help you with all of your back to school needs and with next day shipping ALL OVER AUSTRALIA there is still plenty of time to get all of your back to school book covers and essentials!  And if you have a School Locker nearby you can check out their range in store for a list of stores click HERE

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Linking up with Jess over at Essentially Jess for #IBOT

 

 

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    Join me on my journey into my 30's with 2 kidlets, 3 stepkidlets, 1 adorable husband and one ancient home in need of a renovation transformation (coming soon!) I'm a teacher (when I go back) and i'm enjoying life day by day.. the Danielle way :)

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