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 !

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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 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 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!

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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!

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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

The Threenager 

Wow and just like that the adorable, cutesy cannot-do-wrong two year old is gone…and he’s not even 3 yet!!! 
 I remember this well with Levi and now it’s dawning on me that we are going back into the war zone with Louis. For some reason my boys seem to totally skip terrible twos and become threenagers!!! 
You know you have a threenager when:

  1. You can feel like putting yourself in time out…that feeling that you cannot be without them seems to dim slightly and you can consider having some time away…is this why we start funding 20 free hours in NZ Childcare centres from 3 years? 😂
  2. There is no way in hell there is any compromise…before you could gently coax or ‘ahem’ manipulate them into thinking wearing their gumboots on was a good idea, now it’s an all out brawl! They end up wearing the gumboots but on the wrong feet because they fight for them to be on the wrong feet all the while you feel the grey hairs beginning to sprout on your head. 
  3. Easy tasks are huge tasks…putting a lid on their drink bottle HAS to be done by them, in their time, their way. Half an hour later after a fit of rage, screams and water everywhere the lid is on the bottle!! 
  4. You think you have them pegged in the eating department, you feel you know what they like and what they don’t. Nope it’s like their taste buds change daily and they almost enjoy not liking any food anymore! 
  5. They don’t want to walk anymore…What used to be a fierce independence of walking unchartered territory has now given way to sore legs, tiredness and laziness. You vow not to carry them anymore since they are so heavy but as they scream along behind you in public and attract sympathetic stares from onlookers you reluctantly pick them up and continue walking. They won…again. 
  6. Bedtime is a mission!!!!!! They used to love naps and going to bed, now there is every excuse in the world to not go to bed and will get up numerous times! But they are so exhausted they NEED the sleep, you NEED them to sleep and they will fight to the bitter end! 
  7. You love them unconditionally and they know it. They know that it makes you immensely happy when they tidy up so just as you are about to loose your cool they begin tidying up their toys without being asked! So you scoop them up for a cuddle to thank them for being so amazing, then they tell you not to help as they are tidying THEIR way! 

So it’s time to devise a new plan for our threenager, what boundaries that will not be crossed and what we will let slide. For picking your battles with a threenager is the only way to stay sane as a parent 😉

Posted in Education, Parenting

Easy magnetic words

This is a cheap and easy activity for your child that helps them to identify letters, read, spell and write words.  So easy I have made an extra for a giveaway that I will share with you tomorrow!

I made this activity for $12!  It can be re-used throughout their schooling with their spelling words and is an easy way to make a mundane homework activity fun!  Of course if you already have a baking tray and the alphabet letters it can be absolutely free!

I laminated the word card so it can be reused but you could just as easy write your child’s words on paper and stick it on the tray.

You need:

1 cookie baking tray (Kmart had cheap ones!)

Magnetic alphabet tiles (I found they were cheapest at The Warehouse)

Washi tape or vivid to draw a line on the tray

Method:

  1. Stick washi tape on the tray to make a line for your child to make words on. You could just as easy draw a vivid line on the tray if you did not have tape.
  2. Write the word your child is focusing on paper and stick at the top of the tray.
  3. To start with you can have the letters they need to make the word jumbled on the line, this makes it easier for them to order the letters when learning the word.
  4. The next stage would be to put the letters jumbled at the bottom of the tray.
  5. When they are very confident you can put a group of letters under the line, some won’t be in the word so they have to identify what they need and order them on the line.




This activity can also be adapted to learn their names with younger children.  Why not give this a try I would love to hear how you go!

 

Posted in Parenting

Life as I know it…

If someone was to ask me to sum up my life right now with one word I couldn’t.  Like a traffic jam of holidaymakers returning home, there are too many words to describe this full and eye opening life.

So for now I will share my top seven words instead…

Loud…We are THAT family, the one that turns up at the family events with a roar and a hiss.  I watch as our boys run into houses with confidence…and also noise.  I am kidding myself as I say before an event “right lets just try act normal and no fighting” because most of the time within 10 minutes it’s my two who are scrapping over a toy or shouting out ‘bumhole’ on a silent glow worms cave visit.  I watch people as their eyes widen and then try peel themselves off the wall after our exit.  

Exciting…there are always things to look forward to, given they are small things like on Saturday we are going to make a volcano out of sand or let’s go collect pinecones but they are exciting nevertheless.  Excitement is contagious, but excitement from children is a epidemic!  Watching their delight in what they are doing and/or seeing is priceless.

Chaotic…you only have to call me to get the full force of this crazy life as like bees to honey the whole family is drawn to me while I am on the phone.  A million questions being asked at once, a fight to stop, and tears to wipe away as a superhero toy won’t stand up like he is supposed to.  Throughout this trying to get the balance right of keeping the housework manageable, everyone fed, quality time together and my work up to date.

Fun…our lives are filled with fun, my boys are busy yes but so much fun.  There is nothing better than being silly, running around with the kids and laughing till we fall on the floor. Totally exhausting at times but I doubt I will remember that over all the fun memories we create as a family.

Sick…my medical kit is growing daily, I feel I can diagnose a problem because of the fortnightly visits to the doctors that never cease.  I have been around the alternative remedies route as many recommend…chiropractic, vitamins, whole foods, specialists and our house is warm and dry.  I have come to the conclusion it is in fact…that they are children and they get sick it’s just the way it is!  ALWAYS have enough supplies to deal with the symptoms to prevent yourself going crazy! 

Loved…The best feeling of all.  We have the most amazing group of family and friends who genuinely love us for who we are.  I couldn’t survive without my friends, who are honest and supportive.  We share the ups and downs and encourage one another, we have playdates with our unwell children because we have cabin fever.  Us mums escape our houses for late night Kmart missions to redeem our sanity. 

Complete…there is nowhere I would rather be, no one I would rather do life with than my husband and boys.  They are my world, my crazy, my love, my everything.