Home Schooling, Parenting

Tidy Time Madness!

It’s 3 o’clock.

School is done for the day, what a relief! There is only one problem….the only way we could get through our school day is by letting our gorgeous 3 year old get out any toy he liked!

Mess drives me crazy. I have learnt to live with it though. I don’t know that it is possible to keep a perfectly tidy house when you have 5 kids who are home all the time. I do know  that I am a much more happy, relaxed Mummy if things are tidy and organised though.

Often I can’t stand the mess and I will enforce the ‘one toy out at a time rule’. Other times it’s not worth the effort – I’d rather use the time to teach the other kids and let Dami get out whatever he likes. Once one toy is out he gets quite attached to it, but he wants more toys out as well. Today it was his Marble tower, so carefully made, but not yet ready to pack away even though he had finished playing with it. I tried packing it up and all I heard was “No! Not my Marble tower, Beth helped me make it!” His cars are out, along with his Octonauts toys. Add in there a couple of other toys, and it’s madness!


I often tell all the kids, if all of them leave just 5 things lying around, that’s 25 things to tidy up. If they do that in a few rooms in the house, then that quickly becomes a messy house.

Even though my house doesn’t seem to stay tidy for long, I have a few tricks up my sleeve for getting people to tidy fast.

In case my tricks will help anyone else then here you go…

  1. NUMBER PICK UP – I pick a number generally between 15  -30 (depending on how much time we have or how messy the place is) and I tell the kids – in a very enthusiastic voice – “Right! Everyone pick up 20 things and put them in their correct place…on your marks, get set, GO!” Everyone (including me) rushes around to see who can make the target number first. As we are running around we often yell out what number we are on. No one argues about whose things they are tidying up because it doesn’t matter. This doesn’t get the place completely tidy but it does make a huge difference.
  2. CATEGORY COLLECT – This one takes a little longer but makes tidying fun for the little ones. As quickly as they can they need to tidy up toys that fit in a particular category…”Pick up all the red/orange/hard/soft/round/little/big toys”. Keep changing categories until all or most of the toys are picked up.
  3. LOADER SCOOP – My younger kids are always the ones who need some encouragement to tidy. Left to their own devices they would get nothing done. This game gives them an easy job. They are the loader and they need to scoop up all the toys and place them in the middle of the room. The older kids then put the pile into categories to make it easier to put them away. Some kids can sort and others can put away. It does save time when tidying so you aren’t going back and forth to the same toy box each time you find yet another toy that belongs there.

These games don’t just include tidying up toys. Anything that is not in its proper home is included in the game.


Anyone have any other ideas for keeping a tidy house? Please share your ideas with me and help me to keep a tidy house ! 🙂


Home Schooling, My Daybook, Uncategorized

My Daybook – April

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW I SEE…. our new pot plants. We spent one day last week doing some gardening. It was a lovely holiday activity.


I AM GIVING THANKS….. that my Dad is able to come and babysit tonight. Also, that after our last trip to the dentist for Dom it looks like his broken tooth is starting to heal.

I AM PRAYING FOR……..a family friend’s brother whose funeral was today.

I AM LISTENING TO…. Dami and Zac playing in the play room. Jay playing his guitar. Beth and Zac are playing lego.

I AM THINKING ABOUT….going out for dinner tonight. We are taking out Dom for his graduation dinner. It’s a bit late because he couldn’t really eat properly before with his broken tooth.

I AM LEARNING….all about the gut and its importance in being able to have good health.

I AM READING….I have just finished reading ‘To the Heights‘ and have just started ‘100 Cupboards‘. I seem to read a lot of the kids books, and I love it.


I AM CREATING…. fermented foods.


IN THE SCHOOLROOM….not much – it’s holidays!!!

COOKING IN THE KITCHEN….coconut yoghurt, fermented apples, kefir, and hopefully soon some kombucha.

IN THE MORNING BASKET… I don’t know yet, I haven’t decided what we will do next term.

I NEVER WANT TO FORGET….How cute my littlest boy is.  Also, how brave my two other boys have been with their fractures. I am also enjoying my snuggle morning time. Dami and I (and sometime Zac too) often spend the first part of our day snuggling on the couch reading books.

PLANNING FOR THE WEEK AHEAD….School begins. I really need to do some planning and I still need to catch up on some marking from last term. We also have a hospital appointment for Zac to see if his broken shoulder has healed yet.

Family, Parenting, Uncategorized

Tree Acrobatics

Just when you think that you can’t possible have another injury in the house….along comes another one!

Zac broken shoulder
Zac is looking very serious here. We also had to cut his favourite top to be able to see the injury better.

It was Wednesday, early evening. I was cooking dinner and Paul was practising the piano ready to go and play at a Church service. Zac and Dami were both playing beautifully on the back lawn and I was enjoying watching them as I cooked. I was thinking how beautiful it was to watch my 7 and 2 year olds playing so nicely together.

The phone rang and I went down to my room to be able to talk (otherwise I wouldn’t hear anything over the sound of the piano). A little while later I heard a commotion at the back door, Beth was calling, “It’s an emergency! Zac has fallen out of the tree!” I quickly got off the phone went to see what had happened. Paul was already there and Zac was lying on the grass crying in a lot of pain. After questioning the kids we found out that Zac had been trying to jump from the top of the climbing frame to a tree branch where he grabbed on with both hands and then swung like a monkey. This worked the first few times, but the last time he tried he slipped and fell to the ground.

After working out that his only pain was his shoulder, we moved him inside. I could see he was in a lot of pain so I thought it best to take him to the hospital. After getting an x-ray it was evident that he had broken his shoulder – his humorous bone. He now has to wear a special sling for six weeks. Unfortunately he is right handed so school will be tricky now for a while.

So who would have guessed that we could have three fractures in the house at once? I feel like I am running an orthopaedic ward! Friends have suggested to wrap the kids in bubble wrap! I think that sounds like a good idea.



My Baby is Growing Up

His first night in a big bed.

dami sleeping


He didn’t get out once! So far so good. Our little trick for keeping kids from getting in and out of a bed….

  • Don’t let them play on their bed – it is only for sleeping!
  • Tell them that they only get in and out of the bed when you are there.
  • Practise with them calling you when they wake up. We did this a few times last night.
  • This morning when he woke up I waited outside his door and then told him to call me. I went into his room and got him out of bed, rather than telling him to get out himself.


This has worked with all the kids so far and we have never had any trouble with them getting in and out of bed. Once I put them to bed at night I only want to do it once….not over and over again!



Parenting, sewing

Activity Bags

It’s a little girl’s 3rd birthday today. She is a clever little cookie and she likes to be kept busy. Her mum also has a beautiful baby boy who hasn’t been too fond of sleeping at night. As a result, mum is understandably very tired. She knows that she wants activities for her little girl to do but she can’t be trying to think every day of new activities. So, along come….

activity bags

the activity bags!

The plan is now to do 2 activity bags a day. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. A simple little timetable will be made so her sweet pea knows when to look forward to her bags. The timetable will be blocks of time, not time slots. A three year old can understand, ‘What comes next?’ So when they see their day planned out they can look forward to things which come up next. The timetable is not something to worry or stress about, it is purely just a guide. And often, as we know well from having kids, the plan rarely happens because a little thing called ‘real life’ gets in the way. But for those days which are dragging by, the timetable is a nice thing to have.

Timetable 3 year old

The birthday girl
The birthday girl

mali bday 2

So now, what to put in the activity bags? The list is endless;

  • kinetic sand
  • plasticine/play dough
  • audio CD
  • puzzles
  • dress ups
  • special textas and book
  • jumping frogs
  • a cleaning bag (duster, cloth, spray bottle)
  • paints
  • chalk to draw on driveway
  • pom poms and paper towel tube (stick tube on wall and child posts pom poms through tube and into a container)
  • board books
  • magnetic play dress ups
  • music CD for ‘dancing’ time
  • pipe cleaners and beads for threading
  • pasta and shoelace
  • muffin tin and gem stones  (if they don’t put things in their mouths)
  • bubbles to blow
  • tea set, water in tea pot and something healthy like corn puffs for the food
  • baking tin, raw rice and tea set
  • felt boards
  • small white board with markers
  • games – like connect 4 or snap cards

activity bags plus activities

Things which are too big for the bag can have a card put in there with a picture on it for what activity you want them to do.

Because I am not a particularly good sewer, I used this to guide me.  They were actually very easy to make and I was able to make another set for my own dear 2 year old.


A Letter to the Lady in the Park

Dear Lady-in-the-Park,

You surprised me today. I didn’t know mothers could be so mean to other people’s children. I guess I should have known. I have heard, but never been on the receiving end. Even after 13 years of taking my kids to parks, I have never had a mother speak to my own child the way you did. After you wagged your finger at Zac and sternly said, “I don’t like you,  you’re a horrible boy!” he came to me crying because he knew that he didn’t even so much as touch your son. I know you think you saw Zac push your son off the playground ladder, you are wrong. You are speaking about a boy who doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He is the sort of child who offers sacrifices for others. He is certainly not perfect (as none of us are) and I know his faults and failings, but he is not one to be intentionally horrible to others.

What has annoyed me most was that you attacked the child and not the behaviour. If you thought he pushed your son over then be mad at his action not him as a person. Don’t tell him that you don’t like him – you don’t even know him! You didn’t know that he was looking after his 3 year old cousin and trying to keep her safe. Also, don’t tell him that he is a horrible boy. Even if he did push your son, he is not a horrible boy – but that sure would be horrible behaviour!! And behaviour that I would not accept!

I am sorry for shouting at you. When you wouldn’t listen to my explanation and you stormed off,  I just saw red. I shouldn’t have called you a horrible woman, I should have said calmly that you have horrible behaviour.

Anyway, Zac and I have forgiven you. We have prayed for you. And one day maybe we will meet under better circumstances.


Katie & Zac