DIY Magnetic Chalkboard 3 Ways

Hello!

How are you? I hope that you enjoyed my recent back to school series. Now back to my more regular posts of activities and opportunities for early learning with your little tikes. I'm always looking for interesting ways for children to write! It doesn't always have to be pencil on paper.

Now I can't take credit for this idea - it came from here! But I had a go at making these DIY Magnetic Chalkboards, simply by painting some oven trays in chalkboard/blackboard paint that you can buy at Bunnings (or any other hardware shop I'm sure).

First and foremost - get back to old school and use them with chalk. These days with smart boards and whiteboard, children don't use chalk much any more.



Secondly, they make great magnet boards for letters, numbers and word building.



Finally this little nifty idea - simply paint with water! No mess no fuss! You could also paint over the chalk board letters, numbers or patterns you have done first. 



Well now, a little about what's going on with me... Hubby is out tonight on a bucks night so I'm home with a sleeping toddler (thank goodness!) all set to catch up with what's been happening in the blogging world. I'm bursting to tell you my exciting (blog related) news but I'll just have to wait for the next post! I'm all set to go back to school next week and so excited to get to know my new little people. Little Miss is doing so well, lots of talking, stringing more and more words together. So proud!

Tell me - what's one of your child's (or student's) non pencil + paper ways to write?

Lauren
2

Back to School | Tips for Parents


Well parents - you've nearly made it! 6 weeks of school holidays! I hope you and your families have had a wonderful time. How are you feeling? Ready for the kids to go back to school? Or wishing that holidays lasted that little bit longer?

If you've got a little person who is starting school this year - you may like to read my Separation Anxiety post from the other day (if you haven't already that is). Even if your child doesn't have trouble separating from you in the morning, you may still get some good ideas to help prepare them for school; such as

  • Establish your school morning routine before the first day, this could include practising the drive or walk to school.
  • Involve your child in the process of choosing their backpack, lunch box, drink bottle and even practise packing their lunch and bag as part of your morning routine.
  • Role play 'schools' at home either with you being the teacher, your child being the teacher and you being the student, or suggest they play 'schools' with their toys and teddies.

Do you follow The Organised Housewife? She has some fantastic tips for parents to make sure you and your family are well organised and ready for when school goes back. Some goodies you'll find on her website include;
  • Countdown
  • Checklist
  • Organisation Tips
  • Routine
  • Supplies
  • Printables

Another favourite Aussie blogger of mine is Essentially Jess. She wrote a fantastic back to school post this week - helpful and humorous as much of her writing is :)

It's always a good idea to make a plan for packed lunches for your children. There are lots of great blogs that can give you ideas of things other than sandwiches to make. Some parents like to leave little surprise notes in their child's lunch box too (for children who can read obviously).

One final piece of advice I (as a teacher) would like to give parents is to LABEL EVERYTHING your child brings with them to school - hats, jumpers and drink bottles are the three most commonly lost items. Children loose them, and random unnamed items turn up all the time! Tiny Me is a great website where you can order personalised name label stickers but there are many more.

So, to all the parents out there - be brave when you send your little person off to school next week. Remind your children that school will be a fun, safe and happy place.

As for me - I'm really looking forward to it. It's a very special gift to be a child's first teacher. Can't wait to get to know my new little people :)

Lauren
3

Back to School | Tips for Teachers

If you're an Australian teacher reading this - well then you would know the end of holidays is near... Some of us are relishing in our final days of summer holidays, and some of us are enthusiastically starting to work on our Term 1 Unit plans with bright, shiny new ideas. Either way, today I bring you a round up post of some useful back to school resources I've found, particularly for the early years. Teachers elsewhere in the world - I realise your school year works differently to us - so why not 'pin now and read later'?


Classroom Rules


Whether you prefer to have your classroom rules already done when your children arrive on the first day, or whether you like to come up with a list of rules together as a class - they are such an important part of getting your year off to a good start. I really like this set of rules which are worded as "we" statements. (Click here for this great set I found from prekinders.com).

  • We keep our classroom clean
  • We are nice to others
  • We play safely
  • We listen to the teachers

It's important the the rules are kept simple and clearly displayed somewhere in your classroom.  This language can also be used in your day to day teaching - instead of saying "No running" or "Don't push" you can phrase your words in a more positive way - "We walk in the hallway" or "We use gentle hands". Tell the children what you want them to do - not what you don't want them to do. Be sure your child understand the rules and what is expected of them. It's also a great idea to get them to agree to the rules by writing their name or leaving a handprint.

Here's another great set of 'we statements' I found (for older children perhaps)

  • We celebrate each other's success
  • We create
  • We are a team
  • We learn from our mistakes
  • We respect each other
  • We try our best

In my classroom, one of the most successful set of rules/expectations I've used over the years has been the "5Ls". I can also give the children a nonverbal cue of my expectations by holding up my 5 fingers and then making a capital L shape with my hand.

  • Looking at the teacher
  • Listening to the teacher
  • Hands in Laps
  • Lips locks
  • Legs crossed

All About Me Activities


I love, love, love using bunting to decorate my classroom - last year I had gorgeous rainbow bunting on our windows ready for Day 1 (wish I had of taken a photo!). Anyway, this 'All About Me' bunting would be a perfect first day activity for older year levels. Display it on Day 1 and the kids already feel ownership of their new classrooms.

Click here to download for $1 from TpT

For younger ones (even my littlies would probably need assistance with this sheet) - I found this great 'All About Me' worksheet.

Click here to download the 'Back to School Memory Book' for $5

Learning Your Name


As you probably know, I teach Reception/Kindergarten/Prep whatever you call it in your state. Some children can write their name, and others can't yet. So looking at their names, the letters, counting the letters, and getting to know each other is a great place to start on Day 1. This little sheet will be perfect for my class!

Click here to download the 'Back to School Bundle' for $8 for TpT

I've also found some great Art and Craft ideas for displaying children's names around the classroom - again to help them feel comfortable and give them some ownership of the space. The following two ideas both follow the rainbow theme - Learn to Spell Your Name and Rainbow Name-bow.

Classroom Displays & Organisation


One of my favourite teaching blogs is Kindercraze. Maria certainly has a talent for creating the most stunning, beautiful and visually inviting classrooms. Please have a look at these links for some inspiration!

Classroom Reveal At Last

My Classroom Wasn't Ready and it was OK

It's so important that all of you materials are well organised and clearly labelled. This serves two purposes - firstly obviously so that the children know where to put things back and keep the room tidy, but it's also a great opportunity for them to read! Include picture clues to help younger ones learn where everything goes. These ones from sparkle box are brilliant!

Click here to download - they have many more too! Some are even editable.

Don't forget a visual/daily timetable, days of the week, date, month, season etc are really useful to have somewhere you can refer to them every morning.

Some final thoughts...


Teachers are organised human beings by nature - you could not survive in our job it you weren't! The start of a new year is definitely time to get yourself organised for a successful term. The more you do before the students come in, the smoother your first weeks will be. Whether you photocopy ahead of time, or carefully plan your lessons, be sure your classroom is ready to go with fresh sharp new pencils in pencil pots and everything in its place.

Best of luck teachers for a successful year! What year level are you teaching this year? I invite you to leave a comment below :)

Lauren
6

10 Ways for Working Mums to Help in the Classroom

At the start of a new school year (particularly in Reception/Prep/Kindergarten – whatever you call the first year of school in your state) parents are always eagerly asking how they can assist in the classroom. Many duties actually working with children, or helping in the canteen/office/library happen during the school day, which often working mums cannot do. But there are other ways you can be involved out of school (or work) hours.

This article first appeared on Working Mums Collective and was later re-published in the Mornington Peninsula Kids Magazine with permission.



Here are my first tips!

11

Separation Anxiety | The Back to School Series


It's not long after Christmas when you start to see the "Back to School" stationery, uniforms, lunch boxes, drink bottles and back packs all over the stores. I thought this week would be the perfect time to feature a "Back to School Series" on my blog since many parents and teachers are probably starting to think about it. Parent's may be counting down the days and running out of ideas to keep the kids entertained, and teacher's are enjoying the last few days of their holiday break before they are due back.

Today's first post in the series (written by me) was previously published here - on the Adelaide Mummy Meetings website (I am a guest adviser for AMM). So here it is, with permission of course and a few adaptations :)

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As teachers, we see separation anxiety all the time. It’s quite common at the start of a new year. We’ve seen it all and have many tricks up our sleeve to help your little one settle into kindy or school, so please try to have confidence in our abilities to do so. Having said that, since becoming a mum I can see separation anxiety from the parent's point of view. My little one is quite the clingy koala at times. She gradually became comfortable with her grandparents looking after her, required many transition sessions at child care, and even now she is a bit upset when I leave, but is willing to go to the carers and doesn't scream and howl like she used to.

Firstly I’d like to suggest some strategies for before your child has even started school or kindy (before the separation anxiety has become an issue). You know what they say - prevention is better than a cure!

  • Begin preparing them for the transitional early. School visits, meeting the teacher and seeing the classroom they will be in can help your child become familiar with their new surroundings.
  • Try to meet some other parents from the class and arrange play dates with other children. It’s great if your child already has a few friends in their new class (then when the time comes make the teacher aware of these friendships so they can ‘buddy’ them up).
  • Try to establish your school morning routine a week or two before school starts. This will help your child predict what’s going to happen next. Involve them in packing their lunches and choosing a new backpack they will take with them to school.
  • Do some role-plays at home of what school will be like. Let the child play ‘teacher’ and you play the ‘student’ or encourage them to ‘play teacher’ with their teddies or dolls.
  • Practise the drive or walk to school, chatting all the way about all the exciting things they’ll get to learn and play! Be positive about the whole experience.

If separation anxiety has already become an issue here’s a few things that might help your little one who’s having trouble leaving you in the mornings.

  • Make your goodbye quick! Try not to drag it out. A quick kiss and a cuddle, say “goodbye”, and reassure your child that you’ll come back at the end of the day.
  • Try to stay positive with a smile on your face! If you cry chances are they’ll pick up on your emotions and will cry as well.
  • If your child is having difficulty saying goodbye to you, try to get to school before the morning bell to give the teacher a chance to help them get settled before they have to start calling the roll and begin morning lessons.
  • Allow your child to take a special toy or photo with them to remind them of home. But try to phase it out after a week or two. Maybe it can sit on their desk in the first week, in the bag for the second week and after that it stays home. It would be terrible if that special comfort toy got lost at school!
  • Talk to your child’s teacher about the issue. Is there a particular interest that your child has that the teacher can use? Do they love dinosaurs? It could be as simple as the teacher talking to them about some different types of dinosaurs and getting their dinosaur toys out of the cupboard!
  • Once you’ve walked out of the classroom – as tempting as it is, don’t go back in! Most school’s will be able to let you know how your child is going if you give them a quick phone call around morning recess time. Chances are they only cried for a couple of minutes.
  • Try some different types of ‘drop offs’ for example, the drop off zone rather than classroom, an older sibling could walk them to class, try a relative or the other parent. If there is an improvement, keep the change for a few days and then try again yourself.
  • For more extreme cases, the school may have a counsellor, learning support teacher or SSO who can be in the classroom to assist the teacher and support the child. If the problems are persisting, I would suggest asking the school about these kinds of support staff.

Finally, these two picture books may be helpful.


So if you have a child starting school this year - I hope these strategies will be useful to you.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more posts in the "Back to School Series" on teacher types.

Lauren
0

Meet Kerry - from 'Kids in Harmony'

A first for me today on the blog, I am privileged to welcome Kerry from Kids in Harmony who kindly accepted my offer to answer some questions for me. I met (well virtually met) Kerry through our 'Aussie Parenting Bloggers' Facebook group, and I was drawn to her website as soon as I saw the word 'mindfulness' as this is a focus at my school in 2015 and I wanted to learn more. 'Kids in Harmony' is a program Kerry facilities in Townsville, QLD. With a focus on play and music, her aim is to 'nurture the whole family'. Kerry has a background in Early Childhood and Counselling, among several other qualifications. She is one of the most positive and kind online friends I've connected with and I hope parents and teachers alike will enjoy reading her words of wisdom below. 

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Hi Kerry! Welcome to 'Teacher Types' for the day. So, your son is 13? Do you feel like those 13 years flew by?


When I look back over time, the years feel like they flew, however newborn to around 5, I felt like time stood still.  I found it a whole lot more challenging in the early years as I had a little bit of perfect parent syndrome happening.  I was so fearful of doing it wrong and fearful of how to get it right.  Thankfully for everybody, I recognized what I had been doing and worked towards more inner calm and connection.  From the outside I was calm but on the inside I gave myself a very hard time. This is one of the reasons I am passionate about parent support.  Now I look back and all the effort and energy required to parent with a gentle and positive parenting approach was worth it.  I am a better person for being my son’s mother.

My daughter is 22 months old. Do you have a memory that stands out in your mind of your son at this age?


Oh, so many.  He was adorable and it is the most precious age for freedom and all things movement.  My son was like an ever ready battery, he had boundless energy and a love of music and free play.  He was never a great sleeper and I often wondered where his inner energy came from.  I certainly could not match what he had lol.  One of my fondest memories is the way he snuggled right in.  He still cuddles but he is the same size as me now, so sometimes I feel like he is cuddling me, not me cuddling him.  Which is wonderful too.   As a parent, I wish I knew then what I know now and I would have been a lot more relaxed about things in the early years.  I took my parenting extremely serious back then.  I do now, but with a more relaxed approach and I am way more confident and calmer than 11 years ago.

Do you have a favourite song or musical activity that you use in your 'Kids in Harmony' programs?


My favourite is the Kids in Harmony friendship song.  It’s the circle song we do at the end and it is so beautiful.  The message is clear, cherish yourself, your friends, your family and your community.

Kids in Harmony cherish their family
Cherish themselves as well, they feel so good they want to yell.
Kids in Harmony cherish their family
Cherish their community, they choose to live more happily.

So simple, yet such a wonder affirmation for children and their families.

Would you mind giving us a brief description of 'mindfulness'?


I have a beautiful blog on mindfulness titled “Don’t just function in your parenting… flourish".

Mindfulness is a sure way to flourish.  It can be described as being fully aware of the present moment. The dictionary tells us it is ‘the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something’.
Keeping it nice and simple, mindfulness is our ability to notice what is happening within us and around us, without judgment.  Mindfulness helps us to not jump forward into the future with the worry of ‘what if’ or constantly lament or revisit the past with ‘but why?’.  It helps us to find steadiness in the right here and now, to be “fully present, aware and awake”.
With mindfulness you can bring more ease into the smallest of jobs like doing the dishes or a bigger challenge like handling a tantrum (yours or your child’s).

I teach Reception students (5 year olds). Can you offer one or two suggestions to incorporate mindfulness into our busy classroom day?


Oh, how wonderful for you!  Any exercises that makes them aware of their breath is a great place to start. Two activities come to mind.

Flower Breath – Visualisation and creative play.


You will need:  White paper and colour pencils.

Give the children a white piece of paper and coloured pencils in front of their desk or in front of the floor if they are sitting on a mat.  If you feel these will be a distraction you can bring them out straight after the breathing exercise.

Have the children touch their nose and breath in as if they are smelling a flower.  Breathe out through the nose and repeat.  Then encourage them to have their feet flat to the floor and back straight, hands gently on laps and if it’s comfortable close their eyes.  Imagine a flower, choose any flower you like.  Then have them do the ‘flower breathing’ with the visualization of the flower they choose.  When they are finished have them draw the flower they imagined and visualized in their head.  Once they are finished you can ask them questions.

  • What made you choose that flower?
  • How did it make you feel when you were visualizing the flower?
  • How did you feel in your body when you were flower breathing?
  • What words describe your feelings?

I know this age are not fluent writers, you could record the conversations or write them down yourself.  Or you can do the exercise without the children writing anything and purely enjoying the conversation.

Star Jumps and Star Fish


Performing Jumping Jacks to the song 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'.  Then at the end have the children lay in star fish.  On the floor with legs and arms out wide.

Leave them laying in Starfish until they have come back to calm and centred.

Then come back together and asked them questions.

  • How did you feel when your body was energized and moving?
  • Did you notice your heart beating faster?
  • Did you notice your breath?
  • How did you feel in star fish?
  • What happened to your body in star fish?

And you can keep adding to the questions.

Both of these activities are to enhance self-awareness, which is the foundation of mindfulness.

Hope you enjoy them and please let me know how the children enjoy them.

Similarly - do you have any tips to help manage my daughter's sometimes epic toddler tantrums! And how I can remain calm?


Focus on the feelings not the behaviour.  I think if you can practice the power of pause quick enough to tune into your child’s feelings and not the behaviour it can prevent you from having your own mother melt down.  I have a crazy to calm free video series that are really quick videos explaining power of pause and some other great strategies for parenting in the moment (www.crazytocalm.com). Your parents and teachers may find this really helpful.

If you focus on feelings you can tap into the empathy bank very quickly.

  • “I see you are furious, it’s okay to be angry”
  • “I see you are upset, it’s okay to cry Mumma is here for you”
  • “I see you need some time to vent, let it out and when you are ready we can talk about it”

This strategy helps to defuse the emotional triggers we have as parents and limits the possibility of shaming, or labelling or punishing our child.

AND, it takes a lot of practice, we are not perfect, we lose our cool and sometimes they are valuable lessons for our child to see we make mistakes, we forgive ourselves and others.

Have you done the VIA Character Strenghths survey? I did at a staff PD day last year and I got 'zest' as my top strength. What was your top character strength? Do you agree with this result?


Yes, I did the VIA survey years ago and I love their work.  I must say it’s been a while since I looked at it.  The survey is wonderful and there is an option for youth’s to do the survey too.  It is a very useful tool to better know yourself.  Zest is one of my faves.
When I did mine, I got Wisdom and Knowledge.  I could definitely relate to it and it was fun to do.  I have some of my coaching clients perform the survey and they find it really helpful too.  I really love Martin Seligman’s work, especially his theory on P.E.R.M.A for wellbeing and flourishing.

  • Positive Emotions
  • Engagement
  • Relationships
  • Meaning
  • Accomplishment

This theory really resonates with me and my work.

I'd love to try out your colouring book with my class. How best can I use it?


to download your own copy go to Kids in Harmony

That is lovely.  A great way to use it, is share one of your favourite virtues/values from the list of 30 (If you have the picture book The Little Book of Harmony you could read it to them first but you don’t need it of course ).  Talk to the children about why you value it, why it is important to you and how you see it ‘in action’ within the classroom.  Have that one photo copied for the class and have them experience the colouring in.  Encourage them that it is not about correct colour, colouring within the lines or doing it perfect, it is an opportunity for them to create and express in any way they choose.  There is space for drawing on the page.

Then have a lovely conversation on what the virtue means for them and how they feel about it.

Example.  You choose ‘KINDNESS’

"I really value kindness as a teacher as it helps me to connect with you all. I look for ways to show my kindness every day to each and every one of you. Some kind things I have done today is …"

"Would anyone like to share one act of kindness that they have done or seen today?"

I would do all of this before you do the colouring in.

I had been requested to do a colouring in book for a long time and I was apprehensive as I did not want it to be about stifling creativity.  For me, it is about the words on the page, the actions, feelings and connections we want to create.  Children (and some adults) love to colour.  It is so therapeutic and gives a time for calm and peace.  The Little Book of Harmony Colouring in based from the original picture book I published in March last year.   Which is a wisdom book for children, I’d love to send you and your class a copy as a gift from me.

Thank you Kerry - how kind :)

Finally, could you share a favourite motivational quote with us?


Oh, I would love to.

made with canva

Without a doubt this is my all-time favourite as a parent and parent educator.

I strongly believe that each and every child deserves an adult in their life that believes in them.  That one or more adults that encourage, nurture and ignite self believe within a child.  As adults we have the opportunity to support a child to know that they are worthy, valuable and they already have strengths within them to live to their potential.

It is a powerful quote to remind us all, to bend down to a child and whisper ‘’grow”.

Thank you so much for your time Kerry.  


You are more than welcome.  I feel honoured to be invited into your amazing community and your inspiring work!

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To connect with Kerry, whether you live in Townsville or are simply interested in reading more of her advice, you can find her here. Parenting coaching is also available by phone or skype even if you don't live in the area.

Website - Kids in Harmony
email - info@kidsinharmony.com.au
2

Melbourne Hightlights | Our Mini Family Getaway

Do you know that feeling when you've just returned home from a holiday? You may feel a tad tired but overall you're probably relaxed and rejuvenated after taking a well earned break from your daily life. Well this is NOT how you feel when you return home from a holiday with a toddler! Don't get me wrong, we had a great time, but it was HARD work! Read a bit more about our mini-family getaway to Melbourne below. 
{not a sponsored post}
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It's always nice to get away over the Christmas/New Year holiday break. We spent a day at the river with my family, a day at the beach with my in-laws, and a few days in Melbourne. Our goals for this family trip were - a short flight (nothing with airport transfers), a nice hotel with a pool (we stayed at Mantra, Southbank), and a few fun kid friendly places we could visit as a family.

With only two full days, we had a few ideas on our wish list - the aquarium, the zoo, the museum and botanic gardens. But it all depended on the weather (turned out to be really hot!) Kid friendly eating venues are also a must, so I did a bit of research into these as well. It's so nice to be able to have an amazing (almost fancy) meal, but still feel like your children are welcome.

Flight 


It's sometimes just down to luck - but we had a spare seat next to us, so once the 'fasten seat belt' signs were off, Little Miss could have her own chair. We entertained her with mixture of fun new 'mini' toys (she loves everything 'mini' at the moment), some Peppa Pig episodes on the iPhone, snacks and books, and were there before we knew it. Miss M insisted on walking all around the airport on her own (let's rename her to Little Miss Independent).

Day 1


We began with a trip to Sea Life Aquarium and it was magical (I just wished we had have bought our tickets online to avoid the queues). Miss M very much dislikes her pram at the moment, but with a bit of bargaining luckily we managed to strap her in for the 15 minute walk, and let her roam free around the aquarium. It was a bonus too that we could leave the pram at the front desk. We loved looking at the fish, sharks, penguins, turtles, crocodile, frogs and many more. They have lots of interactive things for little tikes to do - hands on rock pools, decorate your own fish (scan and turn into a virtual aquarium), fun little tunnels underneath aquariums and stamps to collect at each area.

{aquarium photos taken by James Hunt - aka hubby}







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The plan for was for me to have some free shopping time while Miss M had her day sleep - but alas she had other ideas (hubby tried to give me as long as possible before telling me!) So they both chilled out in the hotel room for a bit and we met out for a late lunch, and a swim, followed by a great dinner out at Meat & Wine Co. After a day of delightful behaviour from this 22 month old - Melbourne must have been too exciting for her to go to sleep at bed time! zzz

Day 2


We headed out for an early walk to Birrarung Park along the river before it got too hot (this playground was a bit too old for Little Miss but she had fun walking along the bridges). Then a quick bite to eat at a cafe in the Atrium (at Fedaration Square) and a taxi to Highpoint shopping centre (by this stage we just needed to beat the heat). Back at the hotel luckily Miss M had her day sleep and we could relax and a nice afternoon swim followed.

I rarely say anything negative on my blog, but the only disappointment of the trip I must say, was the Ice Bar in Southgate. In my opinion, it really was not suitable for under 3's (which I later discovered it says on their website, but the staff did not inform me of this when I asked). It was quite expensive just to get in, you aren't allowed to take your own photos (you have to pay extra before you've even seen if the automatic photo is any good!) We weren't even in there for 10 minutes, and not that I was after a refund - some kind of gesture would have been appreciated seeing as we had a toddler with us.

Things improved though with a wonderful dinner at Bluetrain in Southgate (upper level). It has everything you need to be child friendly - pram parking, high chairs, children's menus, colouring in and super quick service. Could not recommend it highly enough.

Flight home


Well, all I can say is that Little Miss did the best she could. Alternating between my lap and her dad's, m&ms and Peppa Pig episodes, we managed with only one mini-meltdown when she needed to put her seat belt back on for landing. I made a real effort during the trip to take note of those little moments when she was being good, breathe deep and appreciate them (and her). I think sometimes during or immediately after those epic toddler tantrums, that's all you are thinking about and it's hard to remember the positives.

Here's a snippet of some of my iPhone-ography. If you follow me on Instragram, or Fat Mum Slim Photo a Day, you may have seen some of these before.


Well, teacher types has been rather busy to start the new year. Some exciting things are in the pipe line and I can't wait to share them with you.

Thanks for reading,
Lauren
9

I've Been Nominated for a Liebster Award!

One of the things I love about the blogging world is that the 'pay it forward' notion is so prevalent. Bloggers help out other bloggers. And that's what the Liebster Award is all about. I was nominated by the lovely Jess over at The New Mum Blog. Jess is a fellow Aussie Parenting Blogger and we found each other via the Facebook group we are apart of. Jess writes all about being mum to her little boy Leo. I loved her incredibly honest post about becoming a parent - The Frightful Ten and another favourite was the humorous The Food's Sometimes Bland But the Company's Not. Thank you for the nomination Jess - here are my answers to your questions.

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1. If you had one hour to yourself, no commitments, what would you do for you?

Just one hour? Hmmm, a pedicure following by a bit of shopping if I could squeeze it in. It is pure bliss shopping without a toddler who refuses to sit in her pram!

2. $10,000 is deposited into your account for adventure purposes only, where do you go?

Wow! I would have to say I'd go to Queensland, explore the islands and the reef, go on all the rides at the Gold Coast theme parks. Is this adventurous enough for you Jess?

3. What time do you set your alarm?

On work days, 6:00 am so I have a bit of time to get ready before Miss M wakes up. On non-work days, my body clock alarm usually wakes me up between 6:30 - 7. But I'm an early to bed kind of girl.

4. What book are you reading at the moment? Should I read it?

Gone Girl. Decided to read the book before seeing the movie. And yes you should!

5. One word to describe your personality?

Positive.

6. Best date you have ever been on?

McLaren Vale (here in SA) with hubby in our very early days (November 2008). We had a great lunch and went to a few wineries. It was kind of the turning point between seeing each other and becoming a couple. 

7. What was your favourite childhood toy?

I had a toy 'Fat Cat'. Does anyone who grew up in the 80s remember him? Do you remember he used to tell all the children to go to bed at 7pm just like the modern day 'Giggle and Hoot'? He went everywhere with me, got left at a variety of places - the fish & chip shop is one I vaguely remember. 

8. What would you rather, coffee, tea or juice?

Coffee with a capital C.O.F.F.E.E. :)

9. What is your favourite CD to drive to?

Snow Patrol - Up To Now. It's their greatest hits album. Love it!

10. What was your greatest achievement of 2014?

I've got three. Raising my daughter the best way I knew how. Successfully returning to work part time and teaching a wonderful class of five year olds. And starting/maintaining this blog teacher types!

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I would now like to nominate the following lovely bloggers. I've included a little bio about each :)

Alison - The Way He Plays
You would have probably seen/read about my collaboration with Alison in November last year when we compiled a collection of 20 Busy Bags. Alison's blog is a lovely place of nature play and adventures she has with her son. She is also an Adelaidian blogger like me!

Lauren - Big Shoes to Fill
Another Adelaidian blogger, Lauren writes about fashion food, music, events, books and much more. I loved her "Letter to Adelaide" she included on her about page, and her tag line "A little nook of loveliness" drew me in on my first visit.

Kate - Happy Ella After
I started following Kate early in my blogging days, around about the time she welcomed her son Hudson (she also has a daughter Ella hence her clever little blog name). Kate has a passion for supporting local business, and is also a teacher from Melbourne.

Danielle - The nOATbook
Danielle is a blogger and teacher from Melbourne and writes about food, fitness and family. She has two boys and is passionate about healthy eating and cooking. I found her blog through this post - Is your child ready for school?

Rachel - Stimulating Learning
Rachel's blog would have to be my 'go to' blog for new hands on learning experiences for my class. She has loads of inspirational ideas about a variety of topics, as well as literacy and numeracy. Rachel is from England.

Sue - One Time Through
Sue is also a teacher on leave spending time and blogging about her adventures with her son. I found her via the "Love to Learn Linky" a while back. We started our blogs around about the same time. Sue wrote a fantastic A-Z Character Series last year which I really enjoyed following.

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Here are my questions for you ladies, I'm looking forward to reading your answers and getting to know a little more about each of you. 

1. Why do you love blogging?

2. Tell me about your first ever blog post and how does it compare to your writing now?

3. What advice would you give to a blogger starting out?

4. Share below your - all time - favourite photo from your blog.

5. Favourite social media platform?

6. Favourite meal you like to cook? (I'm looking for some delicious inspiration)

7. Favourite childhood movie?

8. Ultimate holiday destination? (Can be somewhere you've already been)

9. One word to sum up 2014?

10. One goal for 2015?

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Until next time, thanks for reading.
Lauren
4

Happy Blogiversary | My Start of 2015

Happy New Year everyone and...
...Happy 1st Birthday Teacher Types! It's my blogiversary and I'm a little bit excited. If you know me in the real world, you can probably imagine me squealing with a "woo" and a clap!

As I've been reading many other bloggers 'wrap up of 2014' type posts, I thought it's awesome that my 'blogiversary' post and my wrap up of 2014 post are one in the same ;)

made with canva

So to summarise my 2014, I went back to work part time, I started my blog, I watched my little girl grow and grow, and during 2014 I experienced the most challenging time in my life thus far...I lost my mum. But I've started to come out of the tunnel of darkness into a new year and a new positive outlook.

So when reflecting on my humble little blog, this is what I came up with...

My favourite post - Twenty Six Letters


I want to do something similar to this in the new year but with numbers instead of letters :)


My most popular post (without meaning to be!) - Fun With Straws


This taught me that participating in a link up + a popular blogger pinning your idea = hundreds of repins = lots of pageviews! (If you're wondering - it was the Link & Learn over at No Time for Flash Cards)


This post received the most comments - Busy Bags Part 1



My favourite photograph was from this post



My Busiest Month (December) - 11 Posts!


'Virtual' friends I've made :)


Quotes Sum Up


Here's a sum up of the little quotes I've had on my sidebar (or elsewhere in various posts) this year. The Organised Housewife does something like this at the end of every month. Love it!


Ok so now it's New Years resolution time! 


Since I love photography and I love blogs, I really need to get onto Fat Mum Slim's Photo-a-Day challenge (I only lasted a few days when I tried it before). Whether it be for one month, one week of every month or the entire year, I really want to give it a good go. Will remind me use Instagram more too.

I want to maintain my blog and see where it could go in 2015. I've gone for a slightly new look with more white and a little less green. I want to use one consistent photo editing program with the same filter and 'teacher types' logo.

I want to enjoy my daughter's childhood, make enough time for her, do activities together and ... just be an all round good mum.

I want to be a great teacher, embrace the 'teachable moments' during a busy day and try out some new ideas, especially hands on learning.

I want to keep going to the gym once or twice a week and make sure our dog gets enough walks. I want to cook more quick and easy meals at home and have less takeaway (pretty standard new years resolution for many I would say).
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Well, our little family of three is off to Melbourne for a few days! I'll be sure to share some highlights of our adventures.

Thanks again to everyone who has read my blog over the year, it's been lovely writing for you.
Lauren
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