What We Got Up to in the Holidays

When people ask how my school holidays were, I say "I feel like I can breathe again". It has been a really hectic term, and a big adjustment going back to work. The kids have still being going to Child Care (for a shorter day) and I've been able to catch up on everything that needed to be done, and just BREATHE. Enjoy time on my own, a quiet house to myself, and getting reacquainted with the blog. On my first day the floors were vacuumed and mops, every dish washed and put away (not just left sitting in the dish rack) and every item of clothing washed, dried, folded and put away (which never happens all at the same time).

I felt like I could breathe again. In my own home, I could breathe again.


You may have read this article I wrote a while back, explaining why I still sent Miss M to child care last year when I was home with Little Man, and a lot of the same reasons apply now during the school holidays. I completely understand that it wouldn't be the choice that everyone would make, but for me, it saved my sanity.

I felt like I could breathe again.

But, we have had awesome fun in the school holidays together as a family! There was so much fun stuff happening and so I wanted to do a quick wrap up to share what we did with you.

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Archie and The Bear {Book Review}

Book reviews are one of my favourite types of posts here at Teacher Types! Books are such an important part of childhood and if I can introduce you to a new book, or give you some activity ideas based on a brilliant book - well then I'm going to do just that.

You may remember Zanni Louise, author of Too Busy Sleeping (which I reviewed back in 2015 before Little Man's arrival and it's still a favourite in this house). I was so excited to hear that Zanni's new book Archie and the Bear was going on a blog tour and of course I put my hand up! Kindly gifted for the purpose of this review.



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A First Pen Pal {Jack the Wombat}

Encouraging children to read and write in a fun way, from an early age can be so instrumental to how they'll flourish at school. Whenever I come across a brilliant product, brand or business which is trying to do just that, I can't help but share!


(Not sponsored)

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Get Creative With... LOOSE PARTS

I often think to myself - how did Instagram become a place for teachers, early childhood educators and parents to turn to for lesson plan and activity ideas? It really is amazing! There are so many brilliant accounts you can follow for daily inspiration. Or search specific hashtags if you're looking for something in particular. You could also get some motivation from accounts such as Get Creative With who have weekly theme prompts. (You may remember I was a guest just for Early Learning 101's scissor theme - and I blogged about it here.)

This week I got to choose the theme "Loose Parts" for our insta-community to "get creative with" and there were some fantastic ideas, but I'll share those later in the post.

Tinker Tray from Invitation to Play

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#PegPeopleOnTour + Giveaway

It was all fun an games over on Instagram last month! Liv (aka Eenie Meenie Miney Mum) challenged me to take photos of these cute Rainbow Friends (from The Creative Toy Shop) in random places purely for her own amusement. But then it turned into a photo challenge - each trying to out do each other with the crazy and sometimes iconic places these little guys ended up. It's been sooooo much fun, and we've both gotten a few weird looks along the way (doesn't look so weird when you have your kids with you because the rainbow friends are totally for them ;)). 


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Little Lion Boutique {Feature}

This post is kindly sponsored by Little Lion Boutique. All opinions are my own :)

I've been so pleased to feature some beautiful local Adelaide businesses lately - and today I'd like to introduce you to Little Lion Boutique. They have some lovely things for babies, toddlers and preschoolers including clothing, play mats, toys, teethers, blankets and more. I recently blogged for them and shared my 5 favourite educational toys from their website - check it out here.

It is also thanks to Little Lion Boutique that I discovered (and fell in love with) the brand Make Me Iconic. The coolest funkiest and uniquely "Aussie" toys I've come across. Firstly this 4 piece watermelon puzzle is magnetic and there's a super cute surprise inside which adds an extra element when your child is putting it back together.

Watermelon Puzzle - SHOP HERE

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Returning to Work After Maternity Leave {again}

So, I wrote this post weeks ago. Right at the start of the term when I had only been back a week or two. Now it's nearly school holidays and I'm getting into the swing of my new routine (well, we all are). Honestly, some days I'd rather be at work and some days I'd rather be at home. Each type of day has it's pros and cons, challenges and benefits. The kids are doing brilliantly at child care and I feel like I'm extending myself as a teacher by learning lots of new things in my new role. 

Miss M and I when she came to visit my school on Open Day.

I was feeling motivated by the IBOT link up to get something up today - and thought that this would be just the story to share...

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It's beginning to look a lot like Easter...

Since when did Easter become the new Christmas?

I started pondering this question when I saw Kmart selling "Easter twig trees" for $15 (yes I bought one!). My Instagram friends then filled me in on the symbolism of this German tradition in which the decorated twig or branch represents new life.


I guess what I mean is; it feels like the commercialisation of Easter is what's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Easter themed products, decorations, gifts, cutlery, treats and hot cross buns have been flooding the shops since January - and I wonder if the main message of Easter is being forgotten in all the hype and sugar? (Not to mention, the popular TV show & movie themed Easter gift packs which are catching the attention of little eyes every time they go through the check out - why oh why to they make life hard for parents by forcing you to walk past these products to leave the store?).

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Lovely Blocks By {The Little Wooden}

It makes my heart happy to support a local biz mum who hand makes her products. Erica from The Little Wooden and I met up at a play cafe last month and our little ones had a lovely time (she is also expecting number two which is very exciting!). We got to sample her story blocks and geo pattern blocks (gifted for the purpose of this review) and I'd love to share a few of our play and activity ideas!


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The Story of the Bare Footed Ring Bearer

You might have seen on my Instagram that we recently celebrated my brother's wedding! And Miss M had a special job of being the ring bearer.


So let me tell you the story of how the bare footed ring bearer came to be...

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And then she was FOUR

Well this post is a few weeks too late - but you know, life happens! (#bloggerlife #mumlife #teacherlife lol). 

Earlier this month Miss M turned four. Can you believe that? I started this blog when she was 9 months old... Just take a look back on how she's grown over her past birthdays...

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Easter Art for Kids {Little Picassos Art Class}

Sponsored by Little Picassos, Adelaide. All opinions are my own.

There are so many activities on offer for kids these days - swimming, dancing, endless sports, kindergyms and playgroup. But are you aware of any art classes in your area?

Miss M and I recently attended a class especially for preschoolers at Little Picassos, Adelaide. I would love to take you through what we did step by step and share with you how brilliant it was. I was super impressed and Miss M (the keen artist that she is) absolutely loved it. She was so eager and just wanted to dive right in to every task, but when she paused for those instructional moments and I watched and observed her - she really listened and took in what the teacher was saying.


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Teacher By Day {Kate}

Today I'm sharing another Teacher by Day interview. The fourth one so far! I'm just going to dive right in, because the first question is kind of like an intro in itself. Everyone, meet Kate from Happy Ella After + Name it Prints...

1. Kate I’ve followed you for so long now! Even since before you had Hudson I think. You were one of the first bloggers I reached out to via email to connect with. So tell us, how old are the kids now and what kinds of activities are they loving?

Oh Lauren thank you so much! The blogging community certainly are like a family. Many of whom I feel like I know, but have never met face to face (like you!). My Ella just turned 5 last weekend. Five years old! I can’t believe she has grown so much, and this blog – her name sake – is five years old too! Hudson is two and a half. They are such a joy and fill our lives with such happiness. My kids couldn’t be more different if I wanted to them to be. Ella is a quintessential girl who loves ballet, art and craft and anything pink. She is very creative and whilst quite shy at first, shows her true colours within minutes, dancing, twirling and singing as though she is on stage! Huddy is like a hurricane. He is the energiser bunny. He never, ever, ever stops. He loves construction, building things and smashing them down. Trains, trucks and tantrums! That said, we adore them to bits!


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How To Stop Sabotaging Your Child’s Sleep

Sleep!! It's the holy grail of parenting! We all talk about it. We ask each other "How are they sleeping?", "Are you getting enough sleep?". We all want that magical (sometimes mythical) 'slept-through-the-night' night. I'll start by saying that of course every child is different, and they can be complete mysteries, impossible to figure out and you may be constantly questioning your decisions. I'm so glad to have an expert on this topic to be here today! Meet Bianca from Hush a Bee, a certified sleep consultant to share her tips with us. 

Currently we have a 4 year old who is very energetic at bed time and takes a while to wind down, coupled with a hungry 14 month old who is in the bottle-to-go-back-to-sleep phase (and who also sometimes wants to start his day at 5am). So I am definitely taking note of Bianca's suggestions.


 Oh my Little Man when he was so tiny and he slept all the time, any time any where. 

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Mirror Play for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

Hi everyone! (*waves) Today's post is all about mirrors. Such magical things and so intriguing to young children. Identity and belonging are key components of the Early Years Framework and through mirror play, even very young children begin to learn about who they are. I love that moment when a baby realises "it's ME" in the mirror looking back at them, not a different baby! A mirror is a fantastic addition to your sensory play resources and I've compiled a list of activity ideas for every age through the early years.

*This post contains affiliate links


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From High Energy to Calm {Guest Post}

Know that feeling either at home or in the classroom when your kids are bouncing off the walls? Don't we all? Kids have a lot of energy (obviously) and it's important that they have opportunities each day to expel that energy is a positive way. It's also important they have opportunities for calm and quiet time as well (especially if they no longer have a day sleep). On a typical day at school I always try to calm the class down after recess and lunch breaks by taking a few deep breaths, a high five breathing (which I found here at Childhood 101) or a few moments of mindfulness. The art of practicing mindfulness is a hot topic within schools at the moment and we are becoming more aware of the benefits. My guest blogger today Beth from Kids Mind Body Spirit has some great ideas that we can do to bring a little more calm into our kids' day.


Thanks for being here today Beth!

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Fabulous Gifts for FOUR Year Olds

Believe it or not Miss M is almost FOUR! I started this blog when she was 9 months old so if you've followed me for a while you would have seen her grow up before your eyes. She is such a little lady now with amazing language skills, so chatty and really interested in learning. Her confidence has bloomed and she has surprised me with all the new things she's tried and accomplished over recent months. It feels like we've only just had Christmas and Little Man's birthday - but now it's almost time to give Miss M a special celebration!

I always love sharing gift ideas with you - especially for specific ages. Friends with children of the same age are always asking for ideas, and I stalked my favourite internet stores to bring you some fantastic new ideas that you may not have seen before!

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Nature Play at it's BEST {Wild Imagination}


This post is sponsored by Wild Imagination. All opinions are my own.

It was a few weeks ago now that Miss M, some friends and I attended Wild Imagination - a nature play event in the Adelaide parklands. A unique vacation care program like no other, which also opened up for "family days" to cater for the under school aged children to come along with their parents. We were not disappointed! It was absolutely amazing and I could not fault it at all. It was the actual BEST.

Miss M and her friends were kept busy with the huge variety of activities for three hours! No waiting in lines with plenty of nature play experiences to do. It was really well organised and staff were always nearby to help and guide where required. I cannot express how awesome it is that an organisation is embracing nature play whole heartedly. Wild Imagination's mission is to encourage our children to get back into nature play and experience all it has to offer. All the things that we used to do when we were kids before anyone had an iPad addiction.

Miss M's first time on a tyre swing. 

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Following Up With The Sunshine Collective {GIVEAWAY}

Since I went back to work, Miss M has been super interested in "school work". She wants to know what the kids do all, day. I bring home spare worksheets for her to colour in and our dining table has quickly been taken over by "art". Endless pieces of paper, mini books, crayons and pencils, scissors and glue. And the best part is that she wants to learn! Her pictures are really starting to look like actual things with more detail. She explains what she's drawn and writes her name and numbers. She draws treasure maps and then we go on adventures in the back yard, and tick things off our scavenger hunt list as we go.

And she's almost four! It really is an awesome age!

Do you remember this product review I did for The Sunshine Collective? In particular we worked our way through the Preschool box, ideal for Miss M's age. Well on Friday afternoon we zipped to the post office before they closed to pick up our Foundation (reception/prep/first year of school) box to try out. Keep reading to find out how you can win one tailer made for your child.


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How to Promote Language at Home {Guest Post}

We have another wonderful guest contributor today at Teacher Types. Molly from The Speech Teacher is going to share some practical tips of how to encourage your child's language development at home in your day to day activities and interactions.


You may remember this post when I interviewed my friend Kate who is also a Speech Pathologist and it's been one of my most popular! Seems like many parents can be concerned about their child's speech and language development and want to know what they can do. Obviously all children develop at their own pace, some are quicker to talk than others (classic example Miss M vs Little Man. She was saying way more words than him at his age). 

Molly comes to us all the way from New York (a city I've never been to but have always wanted to visit). Welcome Molly! xx

*Photographs by me - Lauren @Teacher Types

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A Ferret Named Phil {The Sequel}

Remember this little guy?


If you don't, click here before you read on.

Phil the Ferret is back with a new story filled with fun and excitement at the circus - "A Ferret Named Phil and the old Ferris Wheel". Key themes of resilience, bravery, kindness, confidence, forgiveness, honesty, and remorse are woven throughout. In schools these are crucial for a student's emotional development. Aimed at children aged 3-8, both books are teaching valuable life lessons.

Gifted for the purpose of this review.

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1 Minute Maths {With ORIGO Education}

Thanks to ORIGO Education for sponsoring this post.

Teachers - today I'm talking to you!
(Parents, if you're interested in learning about how you can teach your school aged children Maths at home, please keep reading!).

So we all have to do professional development. The latest trends in education are always changing and evolving, so it's important for us to be life long learners. Just like we aim for our students to be. For me returning from maternity leave AND being in a new (older) year level, this is even more important, especially when it comes to Maths.



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Teacher by Day {Eliza}

I'm loving my Teacher by Day interview series - and today's teacher biz mum is Eliza from Healthy Active Mums. We connected in the Mums with Hustle Biz club and I just love what she's all about. Meet Eliza!



How long have you been teaching for? 

My first year of teaching was in 2011. I was really fortunate to gain a full time teaching role in PREP in Mackay-8 hours from home. I was then transferred west of Mackay to a very small town called Dysart a mining community. I spent the next two years teaching Prep and Year 4. Since 2014 I have been on Maternity Leave. I returned to work at the end of 2014 to continue teaching as a relief teacher. My degree is a Bachelor of Education Middle School-Majoring in lower primary. I am qualified to teach grades Prep-10.

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Setting up a Play Kitchen to Encourage Imaginative Play

Our play kitchen has been one of our most used areas by both of the kids. Miss M got it for her second birthday, and since Little Man turned one, he has become more interested in it. He opens and shuts the doors, presses buttons, bangs on the pots and empties out baskets (we are entering that "trash the house" phase with him). Miss M's interest comes and goes, but it's always sparked when we add something new or change it up a bit.

We've added to our collection of resources over time (some #gifted for features on the blog and social media) - so this post aims to be a bit of a "one stop shop" if you're looking to set up a play kitchen or want to add some new things to your existing one. If you don't have one, it's the ideal present for a toddler or preschooler.

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Play Ideas From Your Kitchen Cupboard {Guest Post}

Sometimes I find the best play ideas are the simplest ones. The activities which don't require many materials. You don't even need to go to the craft shop. In fact you probably already have these items in your pantry, utensil drawer or kitchen cupboard. That's the theme of today's guest post by Amy from The Egg Box Parent. She has some fantastic ideas to share with you all today (and something for all ages!).

Thanks Amy! The floor is yours!
--------

My name is Amy I am mum to a very busy one year old. I have lots of qualification in early childhood and I am currently finishing my masters in Child Development. I have worked within early years my entire carer both in Australia and in the United Kingdom. My most recent role led me to work with some of the most disadvantaged children and families in Australia. Upon meeting these families it soon became apparent that these children needed to gain the same skills as any other child, without any toys, flash cards or printouts. Through this my Instagram page The Egg Box Parent was born. My philosophy leans heavily towards education. I believe that children do not need copious amounts of toys to help them achieve their developmental milestones and we already have all the resources we need to get them there. We all know that the favourite present at Christmas is the box the toy came in, I have embraced this and try to create as many learning opportunities as possible with what I can find in the cupboard at home.

- Musical pots and pans
- Tissue box scarves
- Fine motor with cotton balls
- Pasta in a tub!

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Fairy Play Five Ways

Imaginary play is a key ingredient in any childhood and there is something just so magical about fairy play! It's enchanting, special and allows children to escape to another world. I love those opportunities when I just get to observe Miss M at play and listen to the stories and scenarios she comes up with!

Just a few simple materials can enhance a fairy play experience and there's a few different ways to go about it... So today I'm bringing you fairy play - FIVE ways.


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Walk a Mile in a Teacher's Shoes

When you think of a teacher at school, how do you picture them?
Sitting at their desk marking?
Standing out the front of the classroom teaching?
Circulating around the classroom assisting?
Or racing around like a headless chook?

Well let me tell you, a day in the life of a teacher is a combination of all of the above.
PENNi Sandals by FRANKiE 4 Footwear

I recently got the opportunity to collaborate with FRANKiE 4 Footwear! You may have seen super stylish Insta gals rockin' their shoes such as Nikki @Styling You (who even has a shoe named after her), Alex from What the Teacher Wears (who is going to have a shoe named after her), as well as Adelaide bloggers Jenni @Styling Curvy and Sonia Styling. FRANKiE 4 shoes are designed by Caroline, a podiatrist and physiotherapist which is what sets them apart from other brands. They’re comfortable and kind to your feet, but still dressy enough for school. With lots of casual options as well depending on your school dress code, plus various heel heights and some little numbers that you could certainly wear on a night out! (If you still went on nights out I mean #teachermummy)

TL - Nikki, TR - Jenni, BL - Sonia, BR - Alex wearing some of my faves!

Anyway, this is how far I would walk on a typical day at school...
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All About Being One

When I was one I had just begun.
- A. A. Milne

This Little Man has been one for a month now, and he's changed so much in that short amount of time - particularly with walking and how much he is understanding what we say. Today's post is a parenting one, all about being ONE! For other parenting stories - just look for the tab along the top, or in the drop down menu.

Please keep in mind these are just my experiences, all babies are different and develop at their own pace. 


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Back to School With Essential Oils {Guest Post}

One of my favourite (real life) blogger friends is here to guest post today! You may remember/recognise Sarah Poppy from Working Mums Collective (I interviewed her back in 2015). She recently handed the reigns of WMC over, but is embracing her new business with doTERRA Essential Oils and is going to share how they can help kids, parents and teachers during this busy back to school time. Trouble sleeping? Feeling anxious? Need to calm the kids down? Want them to focus on their homework better? As Sarah says "There's an oil for that!". 

Welcome Sarah. My blog is yours for the day! x


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Teacher by Day {Rin}

Hey everyone and happy Monday! I got such an awesome response from my first Teacher by Day interview (and because I have some really exciting interviewees coming up) - I've decided that I can't possibly wait a whole month before publishing my next one.

Today's beautiful lady is one of the most special souls you'll meet on Instagram. You probably already follow her, and you may not know that she's a teacher by day. I would love for you all to meet Rin from Papered Thoughts. She's the girl who paints rocks with motivational messages and is all about spreading kindness around the world. I was so excited that she agreed to be here today! I love what she's about - and her shop is only open for 2 more weeks before she goes back to full time work PLUS study. So if you want to get your hands on her rocks or any of her other products, now is the time!

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A Very Hungry Caterpillar Tea Party {With Story Stones}

I'd be very surprised if you told me that your child didn't own a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar (and if they don't I insist you get one!). It's one of my absolute favourites with so many opportunities for early learning. The clever way that Eric Carle integrates concepts of days of the week, numbers, healthy/unhealthy food as well as the life cycle of a caterpillar is like no other early childhood text.

So when Johanna from Hello Pear asked me if I would like to help her launch her 'Very Hungry Caterpillar' story stones, of course I said YES!

Kindly gifted for the purpose of this review. 
Not sponsored.

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Teacher Types Top Tips for Back to School

Not long to go now and the kids and teachers across the country will be getting back into school mode ready for another big year of learning! (Did you see my best back to school products post last week? You still have time to order some of these goodies!). Seems that some states go back earlier than others do... hmmm. Anyone know why they do this? We here in SA are back on the 30th of Jan :)



I've teamed up with a fabulous group of Aussie parenting bloggers to bring you the Aussie back to school blog hop! 11 awesome articles on a variety of back to school topics - we've got you covered (all links will be at the end of this post). Be sure to check them out and show them some love :)

As for me, I'm giving you my TOP TIPS for heading back to school

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Kid & Hub {NOW OPEN IN ADELAIDE}

*This is a sponsored post brought to you by Kid & Hub.
*All opinions are my own.

Imagine a "one stop shop" in Adelaide for kid's activities, free play opportunities, COFFEE, healthy food - a convenient place for families.

Yes a haven like this does exist! (And it's open now!)


Through the magic of social media and online mummies groups I came across the lovely duo Giuliana and Stacey (turns out Stacey and I went to the same high school #thatsadelaide) and I am so thrilled to be working with them to share Kid & Hub with my Adelaide based community of readers (because you all know how enthusiastic I am about my beautiful city).

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Creepy Crawly Small World Play {Guest Post}

I love love LOVE when my friends come to write for my blog. It makes me all kinds of happy. Today's guest blogger is the delightful Casey from Little Lifelong Learners. She had I have so much in common. We're teacher mummas, passionate about all things early learning and we each have a girl and a boy (roughly the same age). She has a beautiful Instagram feed, fantastic printables on her website and TODAY she releases her "Sensory Play for your little learners" ebook to the world! Is there anything this teacher mumma can't do?

To celebrate the launch her her book, she's sharing an awesome creepy crawly small world play idea. I can't wait to try this one out myself!


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Teacher By Day {Alyssa}

I'm really excited to be bringing a brand new interview series to Teacher Types this year! It's called Teacher by Day, and it's all about sharing the awesome work of teacher + biz mums. Teacher types who work in our schools, have a small biz on the side, plus make time for their family life as well. I want to know how they do it all. How do they manage their time? I want to share their businesses with you to help them increase their audience and brand awareness. I want to get to know them a little better, because internet friends are great friends to have in your corner!

My first teacher by day biz mum is Alyssa, from Mae-Saye Designs.


Hey Alyssa...

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Best Back to School Products for 2017!

Have you noticed all the 'back to school' displays at the shops lately? It's kind of hard to miss! The summer holidays are an amazing time for travel, beach hangs, movie days, play dates and family time. But if you're the type who likes to get organised early, you may already be thinking about getting your kid's back to school stuff sorted (especially if you want to order online you'll want to make sure everything arrives in time for that exciting first day of school!)

So I've found some awesome products from around the web. Some for kids, some for parents and some for teachers! READ ON!

*Not sponsored. 
*Just love sharing small businesses and helping families get organised for back to school time!

Zivia Designs Teacher Planner
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Ready Made Busy Bags {From Flying Sprout}

Yay welcome to my first product review for 2017!

Busy bags can be a life saver when you're out and about or travelling - and I love to make my own (sometimes rather haphazardly thrown together). But if you'd like someone else to do that for you (who also has a teaching background I might add) then look no further than Bianca from Flying Sprout.

So Miss M got busy testing them out - and I got to thinking about how they could be easily adapted to suit children of various ages and abilities with a few simple alterations.

*Kindly gifted for the purpose of this review
*Not sponsored


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Minecraft as an Educational Tool {Guest Post}

Minecraft.
What actually is it?
I'll be honest, I have no idea.
But I'm teaching Year 2s next year and apparently Minecraft is super popular with this age group - so I've asked another teacher/mummy blogger Fi from Mumma Morrison to help me understand it with a guest post explaining some Minecraft activities she did with her class in 2015 before she had her little boy and commenced maternity leave.


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Happy New Year & Happy Blogiversary Teacher Types

Surprise! I'm back!

What do you think?

Like my new look?

I've been bursting to show you all. And what a perfect day to do it! We say hello to 2017 and it's Teacher Types' 3rd blogiversary.

So we had Christmas and it was absolutely magical (but oh so very hot - at least I wasn't 38 weeks pregnant this time!).

On the 30th of December we celebrated the Little Man's first birthday! He had a very happy day hanging out at one of our favourite play cafes with hot chips for lunch. And yesterday our close family came over to celebrate with us. I've been doing 'photo a month' with him like I did with Miss M. (You'll notice that 6 months is missing - I took one just not on this rug, and I had to double up on a few to fill the grid). But I just love it! It shows so many little milestone from the year - the smiles, the dribble, the rolling over, finding his feet, clapping hands, the teeth and all of the smiles. (Rug from Ecoviva and Milestone cards from Turquoise Designs). 

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