[ T A K I N G  S T O C K - M A R C H ]
Welcome to another 'Taking Stock' post for 2018. If you are new to Teacher by trade, Mother by nature (WELCOME) 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 and grab a copy of the list, if you would like to share on your blog or social media. This is something I have been doing since I started blogging and will continue to do this year, hopefully with no 'breaks'! 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 MARCH...

a family photo book using the Project Life - I DID IT! It should arrive next week (fingers crossed), can't wait to share it with you. 

good ol' mince on toast - it took me back to my childhood!

a cup of tea (for one) in my gorgeous teapot

Miss B's Progress Report for Term 1 - really positive - she's off to a great start at High School. Mama so proud. 

to paint the towel cupboard...it's my least favourite area in our home

forward to following everyone's journey in Project 14 - Round 7, as well as my own. 

volleyball with the kids at Camp. So much fun! (later, not so much...I'm not a teenager anymore) HA!

to rearrange a few things in my Office...I'm kinda loving it...

you all a HOPPY EASTER!

our new roof - we chose Grey Friars for the colour...it looks so good.

for my photo books to arrive - 1 x Project Life Family photo book and 2 x 12x12 Family Photos (our professional photos) - I'm so excited!!

the colours of Autumn

when I'm going to start my new KonMari series...about Organisation...I suppose I'm still fine-tuning areas of my home. Watch this space!

the kids birthday parties! We had a fantastic time and the kids loved their parties. SUCCESS! You can read about M's Paw Patrol Party HERE.

what we are going to do for my son's 5th birthday! Going BIG? or a small gathering..hmmm

Easter treats for the kids - they get some winter pjs, a chocolate egg/treat and we read an Easter book 'We're going on an Easter Hunt' as a family. Easter Egg Hunt on Monday with the in-laws. What are your family traditions at Easter?

The Best of Me on Netflix - helloooo James Marsden

Next watch:
Me Before You on Netflix. Do you have any Netflix recommendations? 

M's bedroom - gave it a Paw Patrol makeover and recently rearranged a couple of things. He loves it.

I get my Teacher Registration Renewal card before it expires - I had to order another Birth Certificate. 

at everyone's Easter baking...drool

to wash our cushion covers and net curtains

what isn't working in our home? What can I (we) do, to make it work?

Hot Cross Buns - delicious!

my dressing gown...we've had some chilly mornings lately

about Miss B, who had another Asthma attack and took a 8 days to recover :(

there are only 8 days left of the school term (this includes a 3 day week - due to Easter Monday & Easter Tuesday - for education sectors only)

about surprising my Nana for her birthday, with my Mum and kids. (Great opportunity for us to get a 4 generation photo)

through our Easter decorations and culling what we don't use/need anymore

our down-lights changed to LED in the kitchen, bathroom and master bedroom. It's made such a difference. Oh and we got a ceiling fan installed in the bathroom earlier this week too. It's all GO GO GO.

ASTHMA #asthmasucks

excited about catching up on my family memory keeping  - getting my photos into the hands of my family. April - I am going to try and get 2015 photo book done. Wish me luck!

on Hot Cross Buns and Easter Eggs - thankfully it only happens once a year

the Steam Train come into Whangarei was pretty cool! 

Now it's YOUR turn...choose a few words from the list above and TAKE STOCK of what's been happening in your life...

Charlene x



No job is too BIG, No pup is too SMALL!
PAW Patrol, We're on a Roll!

We asked master M (Marcus) what kind of party he wanted this year for his 4th birthday - without hesitation he said PAW Patrol! He is obsessed with PP and has requested anything and everything PP since his last birthday, we just rolled with it. 

I have to say, this party has been the most fun to plan - the ideas are endless and because it is such a popular show on Nick Jnr, there is quite a lot of decorations and other items available online and in store. 

Here are ALL the details about Master M's PAW Patrol 4th Birthday PAWty that we celebrated last weekend. Enjoy!


When it comes to invitations, I turn to Etsy! There are so many invitation designs available, it's hard to choose. I picked this one from PrintsForParty - Lisa was super lovely and I love the final product. I printed the invitations and 'thank you' cards from Harvey Norman for only a couple of dollars, and M gave them to his close friends from Playcentre and home-based care.


The thing I love about the PAW Patrol (yes I am fan too lol), is that it's bright and colourful! I bought the 'Happy Birthday' balloon banner from KMart about 3 months after his 3rd birthday. I love it and it worked well for the party. 

Most of the decorations were from The Warehouse and KMart, with a few items found around our home. I borrowed the table and chairs from our local playcentre to accommodate the kids, leaving the adults sitting on the couches, and dining chairs. I invested in a helium tank to blow up the balloons - I love how they look and it meant they were up on the roof and not right under our feet. The strings were long enough for the kids to grab and play with, and that kept them entertained for quite some time. 

Can you believe that Master M set up the table himself (with a little direction from me)! I think he did a great job! The plates, masks, serviettes and cups were all from The Warehouse NZ (Buy 1 and get the 2nd half price). Under the plates, we had a colouring page (and others were available if the kids wanted to colour), with the crayons placed in the middle of the table with the PAW Patrollers. 

I really enjoyed setting up this party and when it was complete, Master M's eyes just lit up the room! He was a very happy boy, waiting patiently for his friends to arrive. 



One of my favourite photos from the party is this one with the food table set up. My friend made cupcakes for me a day before the party and all I had to do was pop a cupcake edible icing image (from KiwiCakes) and a cupcake topper (fromNickelodean Parents) and cupcake wrapper to set the theme. I had toppers left over so I put them in the jelly. My friends also brought marshmallow slice (a fave at our birthday parties) and some chip & dip. We also served a fruit platter, sausage rolls, cocktail sausages and carrot sticks. I bought a pack of 24 water bottles and added a 'Thanks for coming to Marcus's party' label around the bottles. So cute. The kids (and adults) enjoyed it all and there was not a lot left over so we catered well. 


I couldn't resist making up little loot bags/party favour bags for M's friends. 

The bags were from The Warehouse and so were the blowers and character cookies. I ordered some personalised chocolates from CelesteCeleste Chaplin Photography on Instagram. She did an amazing job and I absolutely LOVE them. (Marcus's friends were buzzing out that his face was on the wrapper). It was a cute party favour and keepsake for us too (we ate the chocolate). Master M found some swirly straws so that was a last minute addition to the bags. Everyone was pretty happy with their little treats. 


When it comes to cakes, I am all about SIMPLE and EFFECTIVE! For this years cake I had a vision and I can't believe I made it become reality! I bought a banana slab cake from BidFood, my friend made some green butter cream icing for me (same friend who made the cupcakes), I put some KitKats around the edge and wrapped it with red and blue ribbon. We had the little miniature PAW Patrollers on hand from a Busy book so I blue-tac'd them to the front of the cake board. To complete the cake, I bought this tower (and about 9 bigger Paw Patrol cars & pups - used as decorations on the table) for only $60 from a friend!!!! (the Tower alone retails around $150, such a score). I was so happy and the best thing is, it doubled up as a present for Master M. Once I gave it a good clean, I propped it on the cake and said 'WOW, that is SOOO COOL!". It looked and tasted amazing! Master M LOVED it and so did our guests.


I don't do party games, the kids just have free-range of the playroom and we also had colouring pages for them to colour in throughout the party. Oh and we had a Paw Patrol DVD on in the background. The kids pretty much entertained themselves. They had a great time! (it took less than 20 minutes to tidy it all up, which was great!)


Each year/birthday I make or have a keepsake to represent the birthday. For M's first birthday I had our guests sign a 'Little Golden Book' with birthday wishes and advice etc. For his second they signed two hard hats. Third birthday was a little different...M actually made a dinosaur mobile at home-based care, so that became the keepsake - it was also used as a feature in his Dinosaur themed bedroom. This year I found a wooden M at KMart for $2 and got his friends (aged 2-4) to sign the M themselves (and the parents signed it too). Now it is displayed in his bedroom.

- PAW Patrol Bedroom Makeover -

Speaking of bedrooms...Master M's bedroom got a bit of makeover (in terms of theme)...he got a new duvet cover and poster for his birthday so we went with it. Miss B coloured in some PAW Patrol pictures which were perfect for one of his bedroom walls (it used to have 'THREE REX' from his third birthday). I moved previous bedroom themed decor to the top of this wardrobe shelf, so he could still see his favourites. I changed the curtains to Cloud ones we already had and it completed the look of the room! It's VERY PAW Patrol, but our pup-mad son thinks it's pretty cool. The MARCUS letters, were a gift from his first birthday - the colours are perfect for the room, don't you think (we might fix them to the wall - haven't finalised it yet).



Here are the details again:

Invitation -PrintsForParty
Personalised Chocolates - Celeste Chaplin Photography
Happy Birthday Balloon banner - KMart
PAW Patrol items - The Warehouse & Trade Me (table cloth)
Helium balloon tank - KMart
PAW Patrol Cupcake Toppers/Wrappers (FREE) - Cupcake Toppers & Cupcake Wrappers
Paw Patrol Water Bottle Labels (FREE) Water labels (Mom's Tot School)

All in all, it was a fantastic party and a lot of fun to plan and prepare! If you're looking for PAW Patrol ideas, I hope you found some inspiration from this post!

Thanks for stopping by,

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TAKING STOCK - February 2018

[ T A K I N G S T O C K - F E B R U A R Y ]
Welcome to my second 'Taking Stock' post for 2018. (I originally posted this on my Facebook page because I was having a few technical issues with my blog....but all fixed now...so here it is :)  

If you are new to Teacher by trade, Mother by nature (WELCOME) 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 been doing since I started blogging and will continue to do this year, hopefully with no 'breaks'! 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: plans for my kid's birthdays
Cooking: Lasagne & salad for dinner
Drinking: a cup of tea
Reading: and filling out application forms
Wanting: a holiday! To pack a suitcase and just go somewhere!
Looking: forward to a new month
Playing: Maori games with my students
Deciding: on what colour our new roof will be...oh the choices
Enjoying: watching my daughter settle into high school
Waiting: to hear when we can get our home insulated
Liking: routines and systems - it makes a huge difference to my day-to-day life - I thrive when I have a routine
Loving: my new work/blog planner - a Happy Planner from the amazing Tania (Tidying with Tania)
Pondering: if I should dye my hair - back to Bitter Sweet Chocolate
Considering: a change
Buying: party decorations and presents for the kids birthdays (M is turning 4 and B is turning 13 eek!)
Watching: MAFS (Married at First Sight - Australia)
Next watch: Grey's Anatomy (returns on Friday - ONDEMAND)
Hoping: to print a family year book next month - it's one of my goals!
Marvelling: at our new deck curtains at Playcentre
Needing: to win Lotto (a girl can dream right?)
Questioning: so many things...
Wearing: jandals on rainy day
Following: Love Ultimately - really enjoying their podcasts
Noticing: both kids have had a growth spurt
Knowing: how I'm going to set up the house for the kids birthday parties (map also drawn hehe)
Thinking: about my friends and family 
Admiring: teachers!
Sorting: through photos (digital)
Getting: my teacher registration renewed
Bookmarking: Paw Patrol party ideas
Snacking: on the grazing table I recently made for our Cluster Meeting
Disliking: double ear infections, high fevers and asthma
Opening: happy mail from Lime & Mortar - I'm in love with the Bloom Mystery Lime Mail bundle 
Feeling: run down...the past couple of weeks have been
really hard...fingers crossed next month is better

Now it's YOUR turn...choose a few words from the list above and TAKE STOCK of what's been happening in your life...
x Charlene

Taking Stock - January 2018

Welcome to my first 'Taking Stock' post for 2018. If you are new to Teacher by trade, Mother by nature (WELCOME) 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 been doing since I started blogging and will continue to do this year, hopefully with no 'breaks'! 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 JANUARY...
Making: play dough for Master M
Cooking: dinner - Lasagne, Chicken Burgers and Bacon & Egg pie were on the menu this week
Drinking: lots of water
Reading: Spark Joy (again) - by Marie Kondo

Next read: I would love to read Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver - waiting for it to hit the shelves in NZ
Wanting: to get photo books printed this year - I'm on a mission!
Looking: forward to getting back into routine - work, playcentre and blogging - using my LBD planner to keep me organised

Playing: 10 pin bowling with M at home
Deciding: how much money I need to save each month for my England/Paris trip with my daughter
Wishing: all January babies a very Happy Birthday! Hope you have/had a wonderful day x
Enjoying: catching up and connecting with friends and family
Waiting: for quotes for our roof

Liking: a day spent at the beach with my family
Wondering: what to have for dinner this week...
Loving: Figgy & Co's Cleaning Paste - I deep cleaned our dining room chairs and they look brand new again (including under the padded seat) - Highly Recommend.

Buying: a new uniform, stationery, laptop and school bag for Miss B, who is off to High School this year.
Watching: Jane the Virgin on Netflix - I just finished watching all three seasons.
Next watch: Looking for recommendations...what are you watching? I definitely will be watching Season 4 of Jane the Virgin later in the year.
Hoping: my daughter has a great first week at High School
Needing: a fan on in my son's room - it's so hot and he keeps getting nose bleeds
Smelling: French Pear - in my home and in my car - it's my favourite scent

Wearing: my pjs on a lazy Sunday afternoon
Following: Peter Walsh's #31Days2GetOrganized challenge - I'm sharing my journey on my facebook page.
Noticing: my kids are getting taller...my 12 year old niece is even taller than me
Thinking: about what to get my daughter for her 13th birthday! Any suggestions welcome x
Sorting: out the playroom after 2 x Coffee Group catch ups last week - Order has been restored!

Getting: organised for my kid's birthdays (coming up in March)
Bookmarking: ideas for Master M's birthday party
Disliking: the humidity and apparently it's only going to get worse
Giggling: at the kid's facial expressions when we were taking selfies yesterday
Feeling: a little anxious about returning to work and my daughter starting High School next week.
Snacking: Sour Cream & Chives Potato chips
Celebrating: Master M's toilet training - he's been a trooper through it all. So proud of him

If you're not already following me on Social Media...you can find me on Facebook and Instagram.

Now it's YOUR turn...

I'd love for you to tell me, what's been happening in YOUR world? How was JANUARY for you?
Choose three (or more) words from the list and 'take stock' in the comments below.

Read previous Sunday Share: Currently & Taking Stock posts

Have a wonderful week




Hello 2018!

Today is the first blank page in your 365 page book, so make it a good one. 

For me, I'm kicking it off with my ONE WORD, and as you can see above, the word I have chosen for 2018 is CONNECT.

If you have been following me for a while, you will know I don't do resolutions, because I never seem to accomplish them, well I actually forget about them after a couple of months and don't think about them until the 30th/31st of December, when it's a bit late. That being said...I am going to give 'monthly goals' a go with my LBD planner. Keep scrolling to see my goals for January.

ONE WORD is becoming more popular because people find having a focus word, for the year ahead, helps them become more accountable for their behaviour and actions. It can be any word you like, something that you want to achieve throughout the year, whether it be 'play', 'simplify', 'encourage', 'believe' - choose a word that will work for YOU! 

Last year (2017), I chose 'BALANCE' - finding balance in life, my home, work, playcentre and most importantly, with my family. This is definitely ongoing for me - I have systems and strategies in place now and I don't feel as overwhelmed as I used to. In 2016 my 'One Word' was ENJOY - enjoy the little things, enjoy my home, enjoy my family, with my motto being 'Keep It Simple' and in 2015, I also chose the motto - Make it Happen. 

ONE WORD for 2018 - CONNECT 

What is this going to look like for me?
For the past couple of years, I have put a lot my energy into my home, especially with the KonMari method and decluttering etc, and now I feel I can move into the next phase, which is organisation. I want to organise my home and finally get the 'click' moment in each space - thus making me connect with my home - I will be sharing all of this with you, so watch this space. 

This year I also want to connect more with myself (self care, mind, body and soul), - I want to make ME a priority, right up there with my family, friends and my relationship. Connecting with work and playcentre are also on my list too. I want to connect with YOU, my readers, my followers, continue to share my journey, and hopefully inspire you along the way. 

I mentioned above I am giving 'monthly goals' a go. I will be using my LBD 'Flourish' planner and the LBD community to help me stay accountable. My goals were written with my one word -CONNECT- in mind, and I will continue to do this each month for the rest of the year. 

That's all from me...I am excited about the year ahead, I believe CONNECT is the perfect word for me at this moment in my life and I can't wait to share my journey with you. 

What is your ONE WORD for 2018?

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