Monday, April 20, 2015

5 Tips For Choosing The Best School For Your Child

SchoolPlaces.com.au helps take the pressure off families looking for a private school vacancy for their child. Search real-time vacancies and claim a last-minute place at one of Australia’s leading schools. Get on board and start saving today.

It's hard to believe that I started this blog just after Miss Daisy was born... and next year she will start school! We're currently locked in a decision making tug of war as we try to decide between two schools. It was interesting to put our own considerations into words and share them here.

Don't choose a school for your child until you've looked into these 5 important considerationsSelecting a school for your child can be a complicated and stressful process. It's important to consider which school will best benefit your child's learning and development and build upon the foundations you've begun at home.

1. First and foremost you need to know what you want
This will usually come down to a combination of the needs of your child and your own expectations and belief systems. A simple exercise is to write a list of features which are important to you and your child. You then have a reference point to work from as you consider individual schools in your area. Your child's opinion may be of greater relevance as they get older and become more aware of their own interests and needs in relation to their education.

2. Consider potential schools for their location
No, I'm not talking about a school with beach views (although I did teach at a school who had a special ring of the bell when a whale was passing by and we would run out and whale watch at the front fence! Amazing!), I'm talking about considering the benefits of the school's location in relation to your home. Consider whether the school is close to your home or workplace. What mode of transport will your child have to use and for how long each day? Also remember that your child's friends will generally live in a nearby radius to that school so if you are willing to travel for schooling, are you also willing to travel for play dates and sporting commitments that may arise from their attendance at that particular school.

3. What's the school's reputation?
Consider what you know about the school via word of mouth - gather as many opinions from friends, neighbours or locals that you can. Also consider looking at the school's academic reputation which is available online or often shared on the school's website.
Sometimes the best way to know what a school is like is to go straight to those parents, students, teachers and community members who are involved directly with it. We're really impressed with our local school and have friends who are heavily involved and extremely happy. This definitely stands out in our minds as we consider school choices.

4. Shop around online
In this age of technology it is easy to do lots of school research on the internet. Most government and non government schools have a website and you are able to gain access to their school ethos, curriculum, staff, extracurricular activities, resources and so much more! This is an excellent way for you to research schools that match the criteria you've decided on above and start a list of the schools you'd like to visit or pursue further! School Places is a great place to start and find current vacancies at private schools in your area to suit the grade level you are looking for from Preschool to Grade 12.

5. Visit and observe schools
Once you've narrowed your list of potential schools it's important for you and your child to visit the schools and observe the teachers and students in action.
You'll get a general feel from the school from simple things like the office staff at the beginning of your visit and the school's appearance and general daily happenings.
Meet with the principal or your child's potential teacher(s) if you can. Take advantage of school open days or parent information sessions and find out about the parent/community involvement within the school.

All of these considerations above will hopefully make it easier for us to decide on a school for our children to attend. And perhaps it can help you too!

What was the biggest factor for you when choosing your child's school?
Or are you still deciding like we are!?



This post is part of a Nuffnang native advertising series.
SchoolPlaces.com.au helps take the pressure off families looking for a private school vacancy for their child. Search real-time vacancies and claim a last-minute place at one of Australia’s leading schools. Get on board and start saving today.

Friday, April 17, 2015

CleverPatch might just save your sanity!

We were recently lucky enough to receive a box of goodies from the wonderful people at CleverPatch! The girls love receiving letters in the mail so you can imagine their excitement when a big box came. Even greater excitement came (from all of us) as we unpacked all of this amazing crafty goodness from our parcel.
I had used CleverPatch through my teaching career but hadn't given it a second thought as something I could use as a crafty mummy and it had gone right off my radar. Boy has that changed!
CleverPatch has a really easy to navigate website showcasing all of their fabulous products or you can check out their online catalogues for extra information. I particularly liked how the catalogues and online product selection is listed in product categories as well as being sorted into occasions and subjects to make it easy to find what you want!


For my Australian readers why not check out CleverPatch's ANZAC Day and Mother's Day crafts for these upcoming holidays. They have fabulous kits for playgroups, classrooms or buy them individually for your own use at home.
I love crafting with the girls and these new products were just the boost we needed with a new baby in the house and lots of extra home days on our hands!
We also decided that the CleverKits we were sent would make the perfect afternoon play date with our neighbours... and we had a wonderful time crafting with these kits together!

We're not shy when it comes to crafts or having craft products strewn around our house... (glitter is where I usually draw the line!) but if you're just starting out in your crafty endeavours check out CleverPatch's parent section and some of their great products for crafting at home!

::: We were gifted some product from CleverPatch but all opinions here are my own :::


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

10 Fete Friendly Recipes - Perfect for the Cake Stall

This weekend is a busy one for us. It's our state election day and the local school runs a cake stall at the hall where voting takes place. Last year I made a few things... amongst those was 3 dozen hot blueberry muffins which were popular with the first voters at 8am!
I'm not super keen to rise at 5:30am this year to start baking so I've decided to go with some other recipes that I can make in advance and a few that I'll do on Saturday morning!

1. Banana Bread
Cake stalls are funny things... some people want to buy a full cake to enjoy where others are there for something to nibble on immediately. I'll make a loaf of my Banana Bread to go with the full cakes for sale!


2. Shortbread
My mum gave me a Donna Hay Christmas recipes book last Christmas and it's got a delicious recipe for shortbread! It's amazing! I've made it twice this week already (Oops!) and will make one or two trays full for the cake stall! I couldn't find the Donna Hay recipe I'm using on the web but this one looked amazing!
Basic shortbread

3. Giant Freckles
These look simple but fun for kids to bug their parents for on the day! And they're cheap to make and therefore cheap to sell which is great for impulse cake stall buyers!
Big Freckles

4. Scones
Scones are popular and I must say that my scone recipe is to die for! These are easy to make in bulk and will be a good one to do fresh on Saturday morning!
Just For Daisy : Scones Recipe

5. Jam Drops
We haven't made these in a while but it's a really simple recipe and a favourite for so many people. These cookies will be a popular addition I'm sure!


6. Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes
These are another great option for kids on the day! Can be sold for a reasonable price per cupcake. No wrappers so no waste!
Ice-cream cone cupcakes

7. Choc Coconut Slice
Last year I made this one and we divided up all of the slices and made mixed trays of slice for people to purchase and this was a popular option.


8. Choc Crackles
2 ingredients and super yummy and popular with kids and grown ups alike!


9. Mini Custard Tarts
I'm not super sure if I'll make these as I have to prioritise this list! But I wanted to make a custard tart last week and so when I saw these I thought they'd be super yummy!
Mini strawberry custard tarts

10. Caramel Fudge
Another great cake stall option is fudge! I think it's all about tempting the patrons! hehe! And fudge is sure to tempt you, right!?
Caramel fudge

I'm trying to narrow this list down a teensy bit so I'm not making ALL of them but I think I'm going to make most! I'm happy that there are a few real quick and cheap options in here and for the slices/cakes I already have all the ingredients on hand anyway.

Our weekend continues with our own school's fete on the afternoon of the election and then a party for Grandma on Sunday! So lots of things to do! Let me get through all the baking first!

What's your favourite thing to buy at a cake stall?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Something like Baby Led Weaning. And a giveaway for you!!

COMPETITION CLOSED: Winner - Kate Lloyd, Congratulations!

Can you believe this little lion cub of ours is over 6 months old! How in the world does that happen!?
I can't believe that we've had half a year with this gorgeous boy and love seeing his little personality emerge!

We're delving into the stage of experimenting with first foods and I'm taking a similar approach to how we approached food with Li'l Peppa... relaxed, informal, non routine... you get it... I'm mostly saying that he's a third child and he'll get food when Mumma remembers or there's some form of scrap to throw his way! ;)

Because Li'l Peppa wasn't sleeping well at 4 months the early childhood nurse told me we should try starting solids. This only made her oh so much more unhappy and I went off that idea and she was almost exclusively breastfed until we tried again with food at 8 months or so. She'd have the crusts off Miss Daisy's toast or a rusk or piece of vegetable here and there but mostly we just left it.



This little guy seems to love food... he is more than happy to gobble down roast pumpkin, sweet potato, beetroot and of course he loves anything with apple in it! We don't seem to like banana! (At both ends!)

He's also had a few of the prepackaged purees (mostly fruity) which was the trap I fell into with Miss Daisy and led to her having quite a sweet tooth as a baby... beware of hidden 'apple' in lots of those blends to sweeten them up!


And of course anything that you can hold onto and munch on is fun too! He wasn't sure about the flowery end of the broccoli but the stem itself he was quite happy to munch and suck on!


I was lucky enough to have the lovely people at Funky Giraffe Australia send me some fabulous bandana bibs for our groovy little man to wear. You can also find them on facebook.

He's a real dribbler so these are perfect for wearing at all times to keep his clothes super dry and also great for meal times as they have plenty of coverage!

Funky Giraffe have got lots of great designs using different fabrics and they're offering a $25 voucher for one of my readers to get a nice stash of bibs for their bub too!

Head over to their website and tell me in the comments below which bib design is your favourite for your chance to win the $25 voucher!

And you can check out the cute flipagram of our lion cub with his collection of Funky Giraffe bibs on instagram! 

Competition open to Australian residents only. 
Entries close on Friday 20 March 2015 AEST
Winner will be notified by email and if not responded in 5 days a new winner will be drawn. 
Good luck!