TAKING STOCK - FEBRUARY 2017



Welcome to the another 'Taking Stock' post for 2017. You can read all of my 'Taking Stock' posts HERE. Pip from Meet Me At Mike is the mastermind behind this series, so be sure to check out her blog. This is something I have done since I started blogging and will continue to do this year - I love looking back at previous months. In a nutshell, it's simply taking a step back and 'taking stock' of what's currently happening in your life. 

Here's what's been happening in the month of FEBRUARY..


Making: decorations for Master M's birthday. These are going to be Dinosaur Balloons! Free template download from Mel at Flicker & Flock.


Reading: junk mail - it's a guilty pleasure

Wanting & Needing: to get a haircut this week! It's been way to long eek.

Enjoying: my new job, teaching in a Bi-lingual unit. I'm also teaching whole school Te Reo Māori. 

Looking: forward to the kids birthdays!

Eating
: 'Snickerlicious' treats my friend made using Chelsea Winter's recipe - from your book 'Scrumptious'.


Wishing: everyone who celebrated a birthday this month, a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU ALL! 

Liking: getting in the picture with my kids.


Buying: hair dye tomorrow. Self care - Colour & Cut in a week. 

Loving: Zone Cleaning! Have you tried it?

ZONE CLEANING: Kitchen

ZONE CLEANING: Master Bedroom

ZONE CLEANING: Bathroom

ZONE CLEANING: Kids Bedrooms 

ZONE CLEANING: Lounge and Dining

ZONE CLEANING: Office

ZONE CLEANING: Playroom 
Playing: in the sandpit at Playcentre - volcanoes, pools and moats! I love Playcentre. 

Hoping: everything goes to plan this weekend - we have a lot happening: Birthdays, family day, school trip and a trip to the Zoo! 

Marvelling: at my son's spunky new hair. So handsome. I can't believe he's going to be 3 on Sunday, and my daughter is going to be 12, three days later. Eek. 

Admiring: Our Learning Story wall at Playcentre. Now we have special place to display our kids art and learning stories.

 

Feeling: so much lighter since I KonMari'd the kids clothes & books! Paper, Komono and Sentimental to go! Check out my new series: KonMari With Kids.




Watching: Season 7 of Gilmore Girls! I'm on the home stretch. I have loved watching all the episodes from the beginning. 

Celebrating: International Correspondence month thanks to my Insta gal-pal Kim for sending me the gorgeous card at the top of this post! I love #happymail.

Sharing: Master M's Construction Party details on the blog. It was such a fun party. See it HERE



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Now it's YOUR turn...

Tell me, what's been happening in YOUR world? How was FEBRUARY for you?
Choose three (or more) words from the list and 'take stock' in the comments below.


Have a wonderful week
Charlene



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KIDS PARTIES: CONSTRUCTION PARTY



Do you have a little one who is obsessed with 'DUMP TRUCKS & DIGGERS'? 
If you answered YES, then a 'Construction Party' is the perfect theme for their next birthday and today I am sharing all the details of my son's Construction Party we had last year, celebrating his 2nd Birthday. Better late than never right? 

Enjoy!


Would you believe me if I told you I WON all of the items above for $21 in an auction on TradeMe? It's TRUE!! I did! I couldn't believe it either.  I placed my bid on a Thursday and completely forgot about it until I received an email, on the following Saturday, from the seller - congratulating me on winning her auction. I was super excited. 

Everything I needed, plus MORE, to decorate a pretty cool Construction themed party for only $21!
Includes:
  • Bunting 
  • Cones
  • 2 x Flash lights
  • 6 x handmade vests
  • Streamers
  • Balloons (black and yellow) + sticks and tops
  • Plates & Platters
  • Serviettes
  • Cutlery
  • Cups
  • 2 x Table cloths
  • 'Happy Birthday' banner
  • A mixture of cardboard construction/road work signs + laminated prints of signs and construction vehicles
  • Rolls of CAUTION/DANGER tape
I stored everything in a 40L container until the day - it was literally a 'PARTY IN A BOX'. I was thrilled and I thanked the seller many times.

- THE INVITATION - 

I ordered my son's birthday invitation from Etsy member DesignsbyCarrieLee, however she is no longer active on Etsy, so I have found this one by Etsy member 'Villa Custom Creations' who has created the same invitation.

I printed these invitations at Warehouse Stationery on 6x4 photo paper, and hand delivered them a couple of weeks prior to the party. I also created an event on Facebook, so I could keep track of who was coming. 



- DECORATIONS - 

We hired our Playcentre for the day, because it was more spacious and there was more room for the kids to play, not to mention the big sandpit, perfect for a construction site.

There was CAUTION/DANGER tape EVERYWHERE - the Playcentre was starting to resemble a construction site. It looked great - all the decorations were used in one way or another. We had the food and drink tables set up, plus a table for presents.



The sandpit was definitely the focal point of the party. The barricade netting was a great backdrop, and the sand pit was filled with cones, spades and construction vehicles (some from home, a couple from the centre and I borrowed a couple from my son's home-based carer).




The bunting, 'Happy Birthday' banner and construction site posters & prints added a pop of colour to the centre, which really set the theme of the party. I also had a SITE ACCESS sign on our front gate, and a few balloons.




Every month I took a photo of my son on his trike, and created this birthday bunting (like how I did for his first birthday) - it's so cool looking back and seeing how much he has grown over the year. I'm hoping to do something similar for this 3rd birthday, which is only a week away.



- FOOD & DRINK - 

I made the jelly shots (pictured below) and also asked our friends to bring along a plate of food to share. They were more than happy to do this, and it's something we all do each year for our kids birthdays. It saves a lot of time, money and prep work. We had a good variety of savoury and sweet things, plus a Fruit Traffic Light, which was very popular. We supplied the drinks - soft drinks, orange juice and plenty of water, plus hot drinks for adults. 'Drinks' sign - free download printable from Lime & Mortar. 



FRUIT Traffic Light

How cute are these jelly shots with the 'road work signs'! A must-have at any construction party! Free Printable download via Lime & Mortar .

'DIG IN' Jelly shots


- BIRTHDAY KEEPSAKE -

For my son's first birthday, I got everyone to write a little message in A Little Golden Book, so for his second birthday I wanted to do something similar. I bought two hard hats from a local dollar store and a couple of sharpies and had our friends and family sign the hats. They are now displayed on the shelf in his room. 



- PARTY FAVOURS - 

When I bought the invitations, it came with a free 5x3 'Thank You For Loads of Fun' printable which I used for our party favours. I found a tub of 'Halloween' M&M's' at The Clearance Shed for $5. I got my daughter and niece to sort them into bags and I stapled the printable on each bag. Just a little something for our friends thanking them for coming to celebrate our son's birthday.




 - THE CAKE -

I like to keep my kids birthday cakes simple, yet specific to the theme of the party.  I bought a Goofy Chocolate slab cake from BidVest Foodservice for under $30 (to cater our guests). 
Fun Fact: I used to be Telemarketer at BidVest before I started my teaching career and these slab cakes are delicious!

I bought a new packet of CAT Mini Workers for $9 from KMart, cleaned them and popped them on the cake with a variety of chocolates (Flake, Maltesters & Crunchie) to represent the rubble and rocks. I also used a few mini road signs, which were a FREE download from Lime & Mortar.  
(See Road Work Signs & Dig In Jello signs)

To complete the cake, I wrapped some CAUTION tape around the base and added a '2' candle. Master M's face lit up when he saw the diggers, loader and dump truck! He was very happy with his cake. 


*** BIRTHDAY BOY ***

Master M wore his 'DIG FOR FUN' t-shirt and denim shorts. He loves his dump trucks and diggers (and still does, a year later) - he spent most of the party in the sandpit with his friends, playing with the construction vehicles. 


*** HAPPY 2nd BIRTHDAY MASTER M ***


Our Birthday display at home


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It was such a great party! The kids had 'truck loads' of fun. We finished the day with a BBQ dinner back at home with our family, oh and had more cake - one for Master M and one for Miss B (they're birthdays are 3 days apart).

I hope you found some inspiration from this post! Here are the details again:

PARTY SUPPLIES & DETAILS

'Dump Everything' Invitation: Villa Custom Creations
Decorations: Won off TradeMe for $21 
M&M's (Halloween theme) - The Clearance Shed
Road Work, Dig In and Drinks Printable: Lime & Mortar. 


Thanks for stopping by, 
Charlene 

For more ideas - check out my Construction Party Pinterest board
Click HERE for more KIDS PARTIES

*** Since our own Construction Party, two of my friends have borrowed my 'Construction Party - Party in a Box' for their own son's birthdays, which is pretty cool ***


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KONMARI WITH KIDS: BOOKS


Welcome to my new series: 'KonMari With Kids'. 

Last week I shared how I KonMari'd my kids clothes - Baby, Toddler and Tween. You can read all about it HERE.

If you have just joined me - WELCOME - I recently completed the KonMari method with my OWN belongings, read 'My KonMari Journey' to see how I did.  Now, it's time to get stuck into my kid's stuff - I have two children: Miss B, soon to be 12 years old and Master M, soon to be 3 years old. 

Marie suggests children as young as three years old can decide what gives them joy and the key principle is that each person should be making the decisions for themselves. Before you tackle your kids items, she does recommend you KonMari your own belongings first. 

In a nutshell, Marie Kondo has four rules she recommends people follow when doing the KonMari Method:

1. Tidy in one shot, as quickly and completely as possible
2. Sort by category, not by location
3. Selection Criterion: Does it 'spark joy?'
4. Order of tidying: Clothes, Books, Documents (Paper), Miscellaneous items (Komono), and Mementos (Sentimental)

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Today I am sharing: KIDS BOOKS 




BABY & TODDLER

As a Mum and Teacher, I know how important it is to read to and with your children. When my daughter was younger, we had A LOT of books, probably 3 times more than the photo above, many of which were not read because she had her favourites, as they do. So when we moved out of our home (she was 7), we culled her books, only keeping the ones she absolutely loved and donated the rest. Fast forward a few years and those books are now in her little brother's collection. 

When we moved into our new home, the previous owners left a buffet table unit with shelves and slider cupboard doors - which has become a fantastic storage unit for kids toys and books. I put baby toys, books and puzzles in one side of the unit. 

I organise the books by colour, as this makes it a lot easier when it is time to tidy up and after a while our toddler was able to return books on his own - and plus, who doesn't love looking at a rainbow of books. 

Our son is turning 3 in March, so I figured it was time to make changes to this cupboard. As you can see in the picture below, it's overflowing with items that are no longer suitable for our son. It's also a good time to go through the books and remove any 'baby' books. 

BEFORE:


We also have a front facing library shelf in the playroom, where I rotate a collection of his books.


Following Kondo's rules, I took all of the books out of the cupboard and put them on the lounge floor. I also grabbed a small collection of Little Golden Books that were in his room, and added them to the pile. 


I had my little helper, helping me decide which books 'spark joy' and which books don't. I didn't think he would say no to any, but he did. He found a few new favourites too.


DONATE PILE

As you can see our donate pile is fairly small, that being said - it is made up of baby books, duplicates and books we don't read, so we are passing them on. I think we had two books that needed to be discarded because they were badly ripped. 


AFTER:

I decided to organise the books by colour again because it is a system that works for our family and it is helping our son with colour recognition, so it's a win win. I have also taken away a lot of the 'baby' toys and puzzles and replaced them with puzzles and activities that are age appropriate. I donated the puzzles and discovery bottles to his home-based carer who has two under 2's. 



TWEEN

As I mentioned above, when my daughter was younger, she had A LOT of books. By the time we moved in with my partner, Miss B was 7 and she was starting to read chapter books more. So we donated majority of her picture books to a local op-shop - only keeping her/our favourites.

Fast forward a few years, her book collection has grown - not by much though because she got into the habit of loaning her books from the school library or public library (which is a great idea), and all of her picture books were passed on to Master M.

We corralled her books together and she started to pick out her favourites and donated the ones she no longer wanted. I forgot to take a photo, but there were about 5 or 6 that went into the donate bin.

BEFORE:

AFTER:

Miss B has her books stored on an 8-shelf unit in her wardrobe. She still loans books from the library, and asks for a book every Christmas and Birthday (which is just around the corner), so for now her collection is small, however she loves each of these books and will happily read them over and over again. 




KonMari With Kids: BOOKS - COMPLETED

To be honest with you, I thought this category was going to be hard, but it actually wasn't. Yes it can be very overwhelming and a tad daunting when you put ALL of the books in one place, however it's a good opportunity to see what you have, corral like books together and organise them in a way that is going to benefit the whole family and make it easier to maintain.

TIP: If you have hundreds of books (and I know of some families who do), simply categorise them into groups - picture books, baby/board books, chapter books, topic/theme books, non-fiction/fiction etc and tackle each category one by one. 

Once you have sorted the books, one idea is to start a library system where each child or member of your home can 'issue' 4-5 books a week, to keep in a little basket in their room. 

Ideally, you want ALL of your books in one place, but that doesn't work for us. We have, what I think, is a manageable amount of books in our home and our collection will grow over the years, the great thing is, we have systems in place that work (for us), to help us not become overwhelmed. If a book no longer sparks joy, we donate it.

You might also like: My KonMari Journey: BOOKS - my own journey of using the method with my book collection.

Coming Up Next: KonMari With Kids: PAPER (Art Work)
My kids don't have A LOT of paper (definitely not as much as I did), however they do bring home A LOT of Art Work, so that is what I plan to tackle next. Watch this space. 

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I am super excited about this new series 'KonMari With Kids' and would love for you to follow along in this process, better yet, join me - Subscribe to my Blog, so you don't miss a post and together we CAN KonMari With Kids. I will also be sharing my journey on my Facebook page, and Instagram, so be sure to follow me there too.


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