DIY: Baby Food Jar Advent Calendar

I love Advent Calendars and I was super keen to make my own (for Miss B) this year using baby food jars. Now that Master M is almost 9 months old and has been on solids for a while, I have a good collection of empty jars, in the hope that 'one day' I would put them to good use but if you don't have any and would like to make your own advent calendar I recommend asking a friend with a baby (a friend of mine happily collected her jars for me).


#Tuesday Ten - Things I am thankful for RIGHT NOW!

Last night the worst 'blogging' thing happened to me! I (accidentally) deleted my entire #TuesdayTen post - "Things that I am thankful for". I had just finished it and was making a few minor changes, however my quick fingers selected the whole document and with a press of a button it was gone and Blogger automatically saved the new changes (#notcool). I couldn't undo it, or go was GONE. I wanted to cry! It was late and there was nothing I could do about it. So I just closed my laptop and went to bed, absolutely gutted.  

So here I am (again) re-writing my 10 things that I am thankful for RIGHT NOW, not in general, RIGHT THIS MINUTE!

Image Credit: via

1. Master M having a nap
I am so thankful that my son has gone down for his nap this morning so that I can do this post. Fingers crossed he decides to have a BIG nap, because this might take some time!

2. A clean kitchen 
Yesterday I re-started the 20 Day Challenge because I hadn't found a cleaning schedule that I liked or that worked for me - the 20 day Challenge did. So I cleaned my kitchen top to bottom (worked up a sweat too I might add). I even cleaned the cat door (by golly it definitely needed it, eww). Such a great feeling to have a nice, clean & clutter-free kitchen!

3. 20 Day Challenge Facebook Group
I am part of this amazing Facebook group (community) that supports and encourages everyone throughout the challenge. I am able to share my before & after photos, ask/give advice and motivate other members which, in turn, motivates me to keep going when I feel like procrastinating (I am a great procrastinator!) I am also thankful to Katrina @ The Organised Housewife for creating this challenge and Facebook group! You are amazing!

4. Happy & healthy children
I am also thankful that they chose ME to be their Mummy. They mean everything to me and make me who I am today! I love being a Mum and I am truly blessed to have them in my world. Mummy Loves You xxx

5. My partner 
We will be celebrating our 3 year anniversary in April next year. I am so thankful that he is in my our lives. He came into my life knowing that I had a daughter and that didn't bother him one bit. He is great with Miss B and a fantastic father to Master M. He is my rock and I love him so much. I am one very lucky lady to have such an amazing partner. Love you babe xxx

6. My parents
I am thankful that my parents are coming down this weekend to look after my kids so that my partner & I can go to his work-do. This will be the first night out (for me) since Master M arrived! I am very nervous about leaving Master M, however I know he is going to be fine - my parents are very experienced with children, having had 5 of their own and we all turned out alright! So thank you Mum & Dad for being the BEST BABYSITTERS EVER!

7. K-Mart 
Last week a new K-Mart store opened in our city. Everyone loves K-Mart - I mean what's not to love about this store - for me I just love how organised it is! Anyway - I am thankful for K-Mart because when I went in there the other day (for the first time), I saw a few items that I would love to buy for our First Night Out! (Thank you Mum & Dad for my Birthday $ - it will be going towards a new outfit)

8. Birthdays 
{Just putting it out there - it's my birthday this Friday 28th November}. I am thankful to live another year and to celebrate my birthday with my amazing friends and family! My daughter & partner have asked that I make a "Birthday Wish List" so that they can go shopping for my present - I am thankful that I don't have to buy my own presents (like I did before I met my partner).

9. Coffee Groups & SPACE* Mums
I am thankful to the Mums & Bubs that I have met since having Master M. (I am also still in contact with a few mums from when Miss B was a baby). They are an amazing bunch of ladies, who I consider dear friends and I am really glad that they are in our lives. Their babies are Master M's first friends and we will never forget them!
*SPACE - Supporting Parents Alongside Children's Education)

10. Blogging 
I have followed many blogs over the years and I am really glad I created my own blog: Teacher by trade - Mother by nature. It is the 5th wall in my home and my creative outlet - where I can share anything and everything that I am passionate about. I am still fairly new to the blogging world and I am continuously learning and growing my own little community. Blogging is great because it keeps my mind busy and stimulated, it is also something FOR ME and for that, I am thankful to the blogging community and YOU - the people that read my blog inspiring me each and every day!

And there you have it - this weeks #TuesdayTen - 10 Things that I am thankful for RIGHT NOW!
(Thanks again to Master M who has had a massive nap)

What are you thankful for RIGHT NOW? 


Kids Parties: Cars

If your child loves cars - they will absolutely love this Car Themed Birthday party - hosted by one of my friends, Katrina, who celebrated her son's First Birthday over the weekend. 

Katrina (and her family/friends), did such a fantastic job creating an amazing party atmosphere. She was happy for me to share some photos of the day with you! (Thank You Katrina)

Car themed birthday parties are a lot of fun, and the decoration ideas are endless! Check out some ideas below.


Car themed bouncy castle for entertainment


Can you believe it? Katrina cut out each and every one of these little cars! That's dedication to the theme - they looked fantastic! 

I think every child (and adult) was in heaven when they saw the "CANDY BAR" - including little white paper bags to fill with your favourite confectionary. What a great idea! 


Made by the very talented at-home baker & working mama, Katrina! 
Top: Traffic Light cake & Bottom: Chocolate cake

The Cake was so delicious! Well done Katrina!

Present Time!

1st Birthday Keepsake!
Signature Number

Traffic Light Party Bags!

What do you think? 


Sunday Nail Art!

Before Master M arrived, Miss B and I started this little tradition, that I paint her nails a funky colour or design on a Sunday afternoon, hence the name - Sunday Nail Art! It's our special mother/daughter activity that allows us to sit down for half an hour or so and have a little gossip session while Miss B gets pampered (it should be the other way around ha!). I enjoy it though, I find it quite therapeutic painting her nails - especially when it's a tricky design - I do love a challenge! Miss B already has a good collection of nail polish and accessories at the young age of 9! This is how I store her nail polish. She also has another container for her accessories (Storage: Sistema Klipo Organiser). 

Here are the designs for November!  (so far) 

Which design do you like the best? 
Check out some more designs HERE or click the Nail Art tab under my blog header.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Second Pregnancies and Baby Showers {Guest Post}

I came across Courtney's lovely blog Bliss & Baby Brain via Kiwi Mummy Blogs - another fellow New Zealand Blogger I happen to have a few things in common with. We are both stay-at-home mums, teachers by trade & new to the blogging world.

I recently asked Courtney if she would like to be a Guest Blogger and share one of her amazing & honest blogposts on Teacher by trade - Mother by nature. I was very happy when she replied Yes! So today she is here, sharing a post that she wrote earlier this month - "Second Pregnancies and Baby Showers"(3/11/14). I encourage you to head over to Courtney's blog and read some of her other posts and LIKE her Facebook page here for more regular updates.

Here's Courtney! Enjoy!
Bliss & Baby Brain
Hi everyone! I'm Courtney; a 27 year old mama who has been blogging for nearly a year now...Mostly about (but not limited to) my opinions and experiences in this journey of motherhood. A Social Sciences teacher by trade, and we are just 2 weeks away from expecting another little blessing! What an honour it is being asked to guest post on this fantastic blog! Thank you Charlene and I hope you all enjoy.

Second Pregnancies and Baby ShowersIMG_8183.PNG

Yesterday my best friend threw a baby shower for me in celebration of bubba #2, something I was hesitant about at first.
Having a baby shower for a second child is considered to not be very traditional, and since I had only just had one less than a year and a half ago, I kept telling my bestie I wasn’t sure about it when she’d bring up the subject.
But she kept insisting I should have one and that she wanted to organise it… and I’m so glad she did!
It is so important to celebrate each new life that you are bringing into the world. It doesn’t need to be a baby shower; it could be a simple brunch, a blessingway (I keep reading about how these are growing in popularity), a baby ‘sprinkle’ or ‘nappy shower’, a gender reveal party, anything at all to share the joy of your new baby with your loved ones.
I call yesterday’s celebration a ‘baby shower’ but the one thing I didn’t want a big focus on this time was the gift-giving aspect. We were so spoilt last year and there really isn’t a lot we need to buy this time around. I wanted most of all to just celebrate with the people closest to me and for there to not be any pressure on them to bring along a present.
Yesterday’s celebrations were also a great opportunity for me to take some time out. My partner and daughter headed out for the day and stayed the night at his family’s home, giving me some time to rest. Typically, I had a terrible sleep without them and still woke up at 6.30 (sigh!) but it was definitely nice to have an evening / morning with just me and the bump. I recently wrote about how different this pregnancy has been (here) and how it feels like it’s whizzing by unnoticed at times. It was so great to bring my focus back to our new arrival.
I have read comments online on this topic that are mostly quite positive, however the odd person has said that it is rude, inconsiderate and tacky to have another baby shower, particularly if gifts are given. What about parents who have a huge gap in age between children? Or perhaps are having a child of a different gender for the first time? Or simply are so busy being parents already that they just haven’t had the time to really think about and get excited for their new arrival? If someone offers to throw you a baby shower / sprinkle / brunch / blessingway or whatever, don’t feel embarrassed! The people who truly care about you will want to celebrate with you, and if they think it is in bad taste well that’s their problem and they don’t have to attend.
If it’s something you truly don’t feel comfortable with then obviously it’s ok to go ahead and politely decline the offer, but don’t do so because you’re worried about what everyone else will think. There are no “rules”. Why do people keep referring to all these imaginary “rules” about baby shower etiquette that they just pulled out of thin air? What imaginary person is going to punish you for not following these “rules”? I mean honestly.
Don’t we want every child to know that there was joy and anticipation surrounding their birth? Do SOMETHING to celebrate the impending arrival of all your children, whatever that may be. Create memories and stir up some excitement for both you and your family.
Courts xox
Thank you so much for being my first Guest Blogger, Courtney. It was an absolute pleasure having you here! I wish you all the best for the upcoming birth of your second child and look forward to following your blogging/motherhood journey. Arohanui, 
Update: As of 22 February 2015, Courtney has a new blog design and a new blog name -
Raising Queens

My Labour & Birth Story!

I have finally finished writing My Labour and Birth Story. It has been sitting in my Draft folder for a while now, and I have been adding bits to it each day. It actually started off with just photos - that's all I was going to share, kind of like the 'Wordless Wednesday' posts you see on other blogs - however, for me I really wanted to 'talk' to each photo and share my experiences. Now that I have my story, I can print it off and pop it in Master M's Baby Record Book for him to read when he is older, so for that purpose I have omitted the really gory details of my birth, (you are welcome, Son). I share some special moments about the day our son arrived - it actually makes me a little teary eyed just thinking back to when he was a newborn - just looking at the photos, I am instantly taken back to that day and the emotions that I was feeling. 

Anyway...I really hope you enjoy my story...

Wednesday 5th March, 2014 - The Arrival of Master M
Leading up to this day, I had gone past...way past my due date of 24th February, I had a false alarm the weekend before & two stretch and sweeps (note: they are not very nice). Miss B's birthday was on the 8th March, so I booked in with my midwife to be induced on Wednesday 5th March, so if all went well, we would be home in time for her birthday. 

The day finally came around. I was nervous, yet very excited, because today was the day that I was going to meet my baby boy! My partner was pretty nervous too! We dropped Miss B off at a friends house just after 7 because we had to be at the hospital at 7:30am. I told her that Nana & Papa will pick her up after school and bring her to the hospital so that she can meet her baby brother - just saying those words to her, made it VERY REAL for her and for us! 
7:30am We arrived at the hospital, got settled in and waited for the midwife to arrive. 
My amazing partner & soon to be a FIRST-TIME Dad!
8am: I was hooked up to the monitor to check on baby's stats and my midwife did an internal exam to see how dilated I was. She told me I was 4-5cm dilated and that she will just break my waters, with my consent! I was like, "Sure - Let's do this!"...eek one step closer! My partner got to help out - just holding stuff for the midwife (nothing else)! It was nice that he was involved in the process. There wasn't much fluid when my waters broke, just a bit of a trickle really (you do hear stories of gushes and all sorts). Once I got dressed, my midwife told me to get up off the bed and go for a walk, go up and down the stairs - start getting that baby down into that pelvis - and that's exactly what I did. 

9am: I listened to my midwife (a lot) and got off the bed and went for a walk. My partner actually had to go back home to get a couple of things for me so I walked him down to the car park (which is down a bit of a hill). On the way back up the hill, the driver of the Hospital Taxi (kind of like a Tuk-Tuk) took one look at me and asked if I was okay and if I wanted a lift...I responded (with a huge smile on my face) "No thanks, I'm good - I need to get this baby!" We both laughed. It must have looked so funny watching this heavily pregnant woman walk up and down this hill with sheer determination and a massive smile on her face - I actually wish someone took a photo of me walking up that hill. I did it three times in an hour and a half! Phew!
10am After going up and down the hill a couple of times, I then took to the stairs. There are 6 floors in our hospital and I managed to go up to the top and then back down...sideways...again I must of looked like a weirdo, holding onto the rail with both hands and walking up the stairs sideways. Every time someone walked past, I'd stop so that I wouldn't get embarrassed. One person actually caught me and said "Well that looks like fun!". Once I got back to the bottom floor, I continued walking...back down to the car park to wait for my partner (who was taking his time getting back I might add lol). I was on my feet for over an hour and a half, so we (my partner and I) headed back to the Maternity Ward ready for the next step. 
10:30am Back on the monitor and I was given Syntocinon (a synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin) through an intravenous drip, allowing the hormone to go straight into my bloodstream. Once the contractions began, the rate of the drip was adjusted and increased. It allowed the contractions to happen often enough to make my cervix dilate, without becoming too powerful. I got comfortable sitting on the swiss ball - as I didn't want to be on the bed (well not just yet).
11am: About half an hour of being on the Syntocinon (that I called my 'Best Friend') - I was moved to the Delivery Suite (Kowhai Room)...eek another step closer! Getting a few more niggles at this stage...starting to feel the contractions more and more. Lots of breathing!
12pm: No matter what was happening, I still had a smile on my face...a goofy one I might add! I was feeling really positive about everything, just taking it all in and enjoying the moment! 

12:40pm - Waiting, waiting, waiting! Contractions started getting closer and closer. A lot of the pain was in my back - baby's back was on my back (ouchy)...thankfully I had my partner & my parents there to rub my back through each contraction. Still smiling - I had to take this opportunity to get a "During Labour Selfie" with my Mama because I knew I probably wouldn't be able to hold a camera in a hour or smiling for that matter. 

2pm: See!Not so smiley now...the Syntocinon was cranked up quite a bit and the contractions were coming hard and fast - a few actually made me cry, they were THAT painful - Yes contractions are painful! Note: I have had no pain relief whatsoever, with every contraction I just closed my eyes and remembered to breathe (self-hypnosis). Swaying my hips and rocking on the swiss ball helped a lot too. 
3pm ish: It's time! I'm ready! I hopped on the bed and held on to the hand rails because these contractions were a b*&%#! I didn't want anyone touching me, just needed to hold something!
I should mention that I had my partner, my Mum & Dad, Midwife & a Student Midwife in the room with me. Both my parents were present at Miss B's birth and it felt right to have them there for my second (my partner was happy about that too). I am really glad they were there...their words of encouragement helped a lot. Having my partner there was amazing too - I would occasionally stop and ask him if he was alright and if he's still there (phew, he didn't faint lol). My mum was in charge of making sure the flannel was cold and wet for me, my poor Dad almost lost his shirt (I grabbed it a few times during intense contractions) & my partner was next to me on the other side saying "You can do it babe, he's almost here!"
3:55pm: After 45 minutes of pushing, Our son, Master M is FINALLY HERE!! YAAAAAYE!!! There was not a dry eye in the room, everyone was so happy - hugs, kisses & high 5's all around. I looked at my son and instantly fell in love. I looked at my partner and instantly fell in love with him (again) too! He is officially a Dad (awww). It is THE best feeling in the world seeing your man look at his baby for the first time - he was totally chuffed - such a proud moment...and then he looked at me, gave me the "You are a LEGEND" look! He was totally proud of me for giving birth to our son (without pain relief I might add). We looked at our son and commented that he is so handsome and BIG! My partner rang his family to let them know that baby had arrived safe and sound. They were so happy and Congratulated us both.

I want to take a moment to personally thank my Midwife - You are absolutely amazing! You really got me through this labour and birth with your positivity and words of encouragement - and didn't mention the words "pain relief", so from the bottom of my heart - Thank You!
I got to have skin-to-skin with my son for just over an hour, which was really nice. My partner cut the cord once it had stopped pulsating and the placenta came out not long after. Master M had his first feed and took to the breast like a pro. After an hour of skin-to-skin, my son was getting quite it was time for the weigh in. The Midwife said "Place your bets now - he's a whopper"! She was thinking definitely in the 10 pound range. My guess was 9lb 5oz I think and the others were around the same...well...BOY WERE WE WRONG!!
Weight: 10lb 14oz Whaaaaaat?? Yes, 10lb 14oz - I couldn't believe it...4930gm and length 54cm - the Midwife's 2nd biggest baby she had delivered in her whole career (only by 20gm) - Well done Son! I kept saying "Are you kidding me" "Really" "OMG" (and I say it again - NO PAIN RELIEF - sorry (not sorry) but I am just REALLY proud of myself)...I think my partner was in shock that Master M actually came out of me! He is our Gigantor baby! (his nickname since I was 6 months pregnant). I can't believe it. We knew he was going to be big...but not THAT big.   
Big yawn from our little (big) guy - Such a big day for him! Check ups all done - HEALTHY baby boy! Ready to meet and have cuddles with the family - Daddy first!
A proud Daddy holding his son for the very first time. He was totally chuffed! My partner had the biggest smile on his face - he was totally smitten by this Lil Creature (another nickname). After having cuddles, my Mum and Dad headed off to pick up Miss B, which was good because that gave my partner and I a chance to just take it all in before she arrived. 
5:30pm: Miss B got to meet her little brother for the first time! She loved him from the first time she met him, saying he was so cute and handsome, lots of hair and a cute button nose. She bought her little brother a giraffe soft toy (as that was our theme and still is) and for a gift to Miss B from Master M - a silver necklace with a intertwined heart - she absolutely LOVED it - she wanted to put it on straight away and wore it very proudly. It was the perfect gift for a Big Sister!  I got Miss B to help me announce his full name to those present in the room. It was a perfect moment. 
WHAT A DAY! WOW 10lb 14oz JUST WOW! 
It was getting late, so my parents took Miss B home (promising that she will get to see her little brother tomorrow). My partner stayed with us until we were moved to the Maternity Ward. When it was time for me to get up and have a shower, I stood up very slowly and had to sit straight back and lie down again because I got really light-headed, my body wasn't quite ready to move. The midwife told me that it is totally normal, she said "you have just given birth to an almost 11pounder and your lungs are in shock"! (which is totally understandable, I guess, after being squashed in my chest for the past few months), so I had to wait about half an hour, before I tried it again. This time, I managed to get up and walk to the shower. I couldn't walk upright and it felt like I had smoked two packets of cigarettes...such an insane feeling not carrying the weight of a baby anymore (and there was a lot of weight to carry)...I had my shower, it was so nice to be clean, feel refreshed and wearing my new pajamas I bought especially for this occasion. I felt like a new woman! We were moved to the Maternity Ward shortly after, where my partner and I just sat, still in shock by Master M's birth weight, however totally in awe of our son - He is the 'Definition of Perfection' (in our eyes)! 

8:30pm: My partner went home to have a beer with my parents and to celebrate the arrival of his son. It was a bit daunting at first after he had left, I found myself looking at Master M and thinking - 'You are here!' 'How did you fit in my tummy?' 'I love you and your sister so much' I felt like a first time mummy all over again - such a surreal feeling. I was also in quite a bit of pain, obviously, after just giving birth to a whopper, and found it hard to walk to the toilet - my legs were really sore too (must have been all that walking and stair climbing I did this morning). I knew it was going to take some time for my body to recover. 
Believe it or not - it was probably 4-5 hours before I actually got to hold my son again, since he was born everyone else had cuddles then would put him in the bassinet to sleep. I picked up my son and gave him a cuddle and just took it all in. I kept thinking 'he is so handsome and so perfect', the little noises he made and expressions on his face just made me melt. I had created this little (big) human (with the help from my partner of course) and he was finally here, in my arms. We had a good start to breastfeeding; Master M latched on really well, and fed every 3-4 hours overnight - which was great because it meant I got some sleep! He is so content and placid, doesn't cry - just like Miss B was when she was born. I am truly blessed.  
 The next day: My partner came to the hospital in the morning, then my parents brought Miss B up after lunch, and after I had a nap (TIP: sleep when baby sleeps - you won't regret it!). My partners parents came for a visit too - it was so lovely to show off our son to our family. Miss B absolutely loves her little brother - she is very smitten too.  I love this photo - Master M was yawning (again) and she was copying him! Oh-so cute.

Next thing I know, we were getting ready to be discharged to go home. I was feeling a little anxious about going home because it made it REAL - I have two children - A newborn baby and a 9 year old! How am I going to cope? I wasn't 100% confident about the breastfeeding either, yes I have done it before (I breastfed my daughter for 25 months), however, every child is different and it was like 7 years ago since I last breastfed. My partner assured me that everything will be okay, and it made me feel better - he is such an amazing, supportive partner - I love him so much (naww). We got home and everything just felt right - it was so good to be home! Miss B made a 'Welcome Home' sign for her little brother and set up Master M's bassinet in the lounge with a Baby Boy balloon. There was only one thing left to do...
(also used as our Birth Announcement on Facebook)
I love my little family xxx 

Teacher by trade, Mother by nature

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