Posted in Christmas, Family fun, Kindness, Parenting

Our Christmas Kindness Calendar

I love Christmas time with our kids!  Seeing The magic of Christmas through their eyes is the most awesome part to witness.

In our family we have quite a few Christmas traditions now that our eldest is six.  We have Treacle the house elf who arrives and causes mahem every night, driving around seeing the Christmas lights, watching Elf the movie together and going to the Christmas church service at our Church.

Something to help teach our children about spreading the joy of Christmas is our Christmas Kindness Advent Calendar!  Where each day of the month we have an act of kindness or special Christmas activity to do.  Why not help our children to not only think of themselves in this season but others too!

I know some activities may be a little old if your children are young but even if you carry out these and your children witness these can be equally as good as they look up to you!

I have had lots of feedback on this idea and followers wanted to know what we do in our household so I have the document below that you can print and use if you wish!

As always I would love to see how these worked for you so feel free to share your pictures with me or tag Raising Oaks in your Insta stories!  I will update you daily on our activities too so make sure you are following!

Our Christmas Kindness Calendar !

Posted in Parenting

Sleep…where are you?

Life with a newborn is turbulent.  You look at your adorable baby not knowing how you can love them anymore yet wishing you could just sneak a little more shut eye in…not a little, a lot 😂

Sometimes I find myself talking to people and having an inner monologue with myself saying things like ‘open your eyes, don’t repeat yourself, are you even making sense?’ 

Over the last few weeks I have done some utterly stupid things on not much sleep! 

Texting before thinking…

In a group chat with friends I seem to text without thinking!  One morning I thought the royal baby was already on it’s way into the world without actually hearing Kate was pregnant! 

Or getting the days mixed up…I complained to my friends my favourite show wasn’t on that night!  Went on and on but found out it was only Tuesday not Thursday!
Loosing my phone….I lost my phone twice in one morning so I had to call in reinforcements to help me…

 Buying the same thing twice…
I went out twice and bought the same birthday card for the same birthday girl – I wondered why I had a sense I had done this before!

Using the men’s toilet

I went to the bathroom and looked at the signs on the door, and still went in and used the men’s toilet in McDs!  I was so embarrassed!

Putting things away in the weirdest places…

Cups of tea in the pantry, clothes in the freezer and toys in the machine (this I’m sure wasn’t my fault and know that this was not how the washing machine stopped)

It’s a small price to pay for my gorgeous newborn and my wonderful family!  Knowing that I need to take each day as it comes and try not to expect so much from myself is the key!  

‘I am proud of many things in life but nothing beats being a mother’

Posted in Classroom, Education, Family fun, Parenting

Super STEM challenges 

You may have noticed on my Instagram I am often posting our latest STEM challenge.  You may be thinking what is a STEM challenge? Why do a STEM challenge?  Why does she love them so much? 

STEM challenge stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  It is a group challenge that is set that includes using aspects of these subjects aswell as cooperative learning and team play!  Sometimes these challenges can be adapted to a STEAM challenge, this is when Art is added!

I have found STEM challenges have improved the ability for students to work together, problem solve, communicate clearly, encourage one another and most importantly work as a team.  STEM challenges obviously help use their knowledge and skills in engineering, science, technology and mathematics in a practical way.  

Basically they are given a task with a specific purpose, having a mountain fun and working collaboratively to solve the problem.  Something we all have to learn to do when we join the workforce.  Students are given a set time frame, and materials.  They are able to use all materials or only some.  At the end we look at who completed the challenge and what obstacles they found.  We also have a team work discussion, talking about how we can improve our cooperation skills. 

Some examples of STEM challenges I have completed with my class are:

–  Creating a freestanding balloon tower with 10 balloons and a piece of masking tape.

–  Using ice block sticks and masking tape to create a bridge to hold the most weight. 

–  Creating a slingshot to send an army soldier the furtherest using 5 ice block sticks, a plastic cup, two rubber bands, tape and a piece of string.

–  Creating a Tinfoil boat that will hold the most marbles without sinking with one piece of tinfoil.

–  Creating an egg carrier for a running race.

The ideas are endless!  Why not try one these school holidays with the kids?  

Posted in Environmentally friendly, Healthy eating with kids, Parenting

The Lunchbox War

I have a war in my kitchen with trying to keep as much processed food and added sugar away from the lunch boxes. I’m definitely not anti sugar but with the amount of sugars that are added to our foods I would like the boys to have a good balance in their diets.  

 It seems at home they scream for snacks and sugar so this puts my mind to rest that there are good foods in their bodies during the day and they have no choice but to eat up or eat nothing!  I still have a fair way to go…but I’m feeling confident we are creating a great start for the kids.  

I have learnt that preparation is the key in making healthy easy lunches and of course I am lucky that one of my children loves vegetables, the other has to grim and bear it as his favourite catch phrase at the moment is “I like crap food.”  

My husband and I have a deal where he makes sandwiches/wraps and prepares the fruit and vegetables the night before and I pack all the other stuff the next morning.  I can’t stand making sandwhiches in the morning while getting the kids ready!  Having my husband help also gives me peace of mind for when our third arrives in August that everything may not go completely out the window! 

At the beginning of the week I shop a lunchbox shop where I make sure I have enough for everyday of the week, this usually means the following:

– A block of Edam cheese to cut into sticks

– Pretzels, popcorn or Potato sticks

– Meat sticks

– Yoghurt

– Wraps, bread or making pikelets 

– Fruit & Vegetables (try to cut these up and put in water in the fridge so that they are ready in the mornings)

– Baking supplies for bliss balls or baking (muffins, Anzac biscuits, afghans)

– Dates

– Frozen Edamame beans 

– Hummus 

I have also found that lunchboxes with compartments make lunches easier and cheaper for me to manage. If I can open the lunchbox and see all the compartments I can see what I need to add straight away. In this way I can buy big packs of pretzels which I split into their lunches over the week.  Thus also following a ‘green’ initiative where there is less packaging used daily too!  These lunch boxes I use were introduced to me by my mother in law and have been amazing, quite an investment but a family friend has used these right through the school years for her kids.  

There are lots of lunchboxes in this style out there now and can be very reasonably priced too!

So I have managed to conquer the time and money challenge with careful planning and preparation however the allergy challenge is a difficult one.  In so many blog posts they add it’s great for children to have nuts and/or eggs in their lunches, but in the younger years our children cannot take these as there are other children with allergies.  So I am still hunting for ways to add these proteins into the lunchboxes without putting any other children at risk.

I will keep you posted…and as for my own lunches?  Let’s just say one battle at a time!  I am a self confessed boring eater so marmite and cheese on crackers is putting in a big effort for me!  My husband freaks to hear me say if there was a pill for each meal I would take it as I find eating a bit of a waste of time!  Maybe I should start packing my own healthy lunch at the beginning of the day 😂. No way making two lunches a day is enough!  

Ps Share with me your lunchbox ideas your kids love, I would love to hear what you are doing! 

Posted in Parenting

Making watercolours

Tuesday’s toddler tip:

Have lots of dried up old felt tips?  Why not recycle them to make watercolours!

Get children to group old felts into similar colours and leave in jars of water. Within minutes the colours start to mix with the water to create water colours!

It’s great getting a second life out of something that is deemed useless and going to be thrown out! 

Posted in Education, Parenting

Two quick and easy word games

Sometimes we just need to freshen things up for children to stay motivated in their learning.  Actually this is not just children we all need this in our lives, it keeps us motivated and pushing to the next level of learning.

Here are two quick and easy activities that make learning fun!

Colour palette rhyming words

Rhyming is an important skill in the reading process, it helps children notice the sounds within words, it shows them the rhythm of language which will help them to use expression and also helps them to make predictions when they read.  Eg. The boy read the b..ook (that word has the same ending as look so I will add the b sound to the beginning)

Grab some colour palettes from your local hardware store and write rhyming words on them.  You can first use these by just reading together each card and then later cut them up for your child to regroup them.

Ooooo Im a sucker for bright colours!


Sight word match

I printed out my son’s recent sight words and stuck them onto some cars (pre approved by him of course) and then used the same words on the car track.  He had to find the corresponding car say it twice then send it down the ramp!  This had my three year old wanting to do the same!



So there you are, two quick and easy games to try at home!  As I have said before I do love to hear from you and how they worked in your home!  Ive loved reading your messages!

Posted in Parenting

My first published article!


A while back the Parenting place (an organisation that runs workshops, advice, a magazine and a website for parents ) approached me to ask if they could publish my blog post on My ‘Threenager’ in their hot tips series.


Today the magazine arrived in the mail and I couldn’t be more excited!  Writing is my passion along with parenting and teaching, so I am walking on air right now that my article has been published!

See here for the original article

Thanks to my amazing family for their support, love and driving me crazy from time to time!  I am blessed to have you!

Thanks to all my followers, here, on Instagram and Facebook, your support and comments continually make me smile and inspire me to write more.