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Month: August 2015

Ella Loves Local: Annette from Cutee as a Button

Ella Loves Local: Annette from Cutee as a Button

I love nothing more than supporting a start up business. What makes this ‘Ella Loves Local’ feature even more wonderful is that the super cool Mum behind this business is a fellow Primary School Teacher, who has put her talents to good use. Lucky or all of us! Annette’s love for the humble button has seen her launch a beautiful business – Cutee as a Button – creating personalised, bespoke canvas artworks for childrens’ spaces. Using buttons to add detail to her work, she hand crafts each piece with love and attention. Simple shapes, cute ideas and bright colours make her pieces stand out from the rest. Here are some of my favourites so far…


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1. What inspired you to start Cuteee_as _a_button_?

As a child, I would frequently visit my grandmother. There were never many toys we could play with and so I was drawn to colour sorting buttons. To this day, I am not sure what it was, but I loved playing with them and could do so for hours! It wasn’t up until a few months ago, where I decided to collect as many buttons as I could to potentially create art pieces.

  1. How do you juggle business and family?

I must admit, it is very hard at times, but the best time that I can focus on creating art pieces is when my daughter has her daytime naps. I take this opportunity to really embrace and hone in on what I love to do and that is creating button art pieces.

3.. What has been your proudest moment so far?

My proudest moment so far is receiving feedback, whether it is through a verbal conversation face-to-face, or comments written on social media. It really has boosted my confidence, especially knowing somewhere someone admires what I am making and wants it displayed in their children’s nursery/kids room.

  1. What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge is finding the time to balance everything. I work part time as a primary school teacher, therefore I do a lot of correcting year 4 tasks at home, there is housewife duties and of course being the best mother I can possibly be for my daughter.

  1. What is your advice to others wanting to start their own business?

Have passion for what you intend to do and embrace the journey that lies ahead.

  1. Three words that describe cuteee_as a_button?

unique. creative. handcrafted.

  1. What’s your favourite current product in your line?

My favourite product would be the parrot and toucan button art pieces. Combined, they look amazing.

  1. Pay it forward to another local business. Cuteee_as a_button loves…

Charlie and Jae- creative wall hooks that are handmade

Annette’s creations are just divine! To see her latest creations and order, email her directly via cutee_as_a_button_@outlook.com and check her out via Instagram @cutee_as_a_button

kate

When ‘over sharing’ is caring

When ‘over sharing’ is caring

Last time I posted about this personal issue, I felt a sense of guilt and worry as I shared my feelings with the wider world. With a click of the button, I held my breath, but I needed not worry. Sharing our story of Hudson’s mild hearing loss, and my feelings about dealing with this challenge was met with great support and praise. For this, I am truly thankful to all of you.

As a person, I’ve always been an extrovert and someone who really needs and relies on talking about my feelings in order to come to terms with how I’m feeling and work through a solution. Sometimes this is fine, but sometimes it may border on over sharing. My blog has always been a platform, first and foremost, to document the growing memories of my family. To look back upon, in years to come, much like a photo album. Over the past three years, the blog has evolved into something more. It’s somewhat of a community of followers who share their feelings, advice and stories with me and each other.

Sometimes it’s real easy for me to share my feelings and stories of Motherhood. When it’s great, its wonderful. It’s easy. However when I’m going through things that are challenging, frustrating and sad, I often dwell on whether or not to share. Not because I don’t want to expose myself as a failure, or someone who can’t cope….in the real world it’s actually refreshing to read stories of people who are going through the normal ups and downs. My feelings of reservation are about wanting to protect my children. I am very aware of the fact that I manage and write this blog, and my children have no real say in what is written about them. They have not consented to my posts. They have not given me permission to post photos about them. So I always ask myself if Ella and Hudson would be ok with what I have written. About myself, about them, about our family. This blog is a digital footprint that has the potential to last forever. I hope that they, in years to come, look back over this blog with fondness and smile. I want them to see that our life is wonderful, amongst all of the challenges. I want them to see how much they are loved. I want them to read about how, as a Mum, I have done my best. Being my best is not without feelings of frustration, exhaustion and sometimes a hint of sadness. However it is always outweighed with an overwhelming sense of love, pride and happiness.

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It’s been playing on my mind lately to ensure that I remain positive and don’t let the feelings of negativity take over. I’ve been appreciating so many small moments lately, and with Hudson’s new challenge of wearing hearing aides, this has really helped me to see small steps as giant leaps. Hudson has been wearing his hearing aides only at home, and with me by his side, reminding him, and praising him for wearing them. We put them in, he takes them off, we put them back in. I’m getting so much quicker at putting them in his tiny little ears. They are personalised for his ear shape and so you need to know the right parts to pull and poke to have the perfect fit. My life saver has been the safety strap that connects to the back of the aides and the back of his jumper. Much like a sunglass strap does, this helps to ensure that they don’t get lost if he pulls them out. That said, he has learned that he can just ‘yank’ the strap to pull them out, and then happily chews away on the silicone ear buds. Needless to say I’ve already had to reorder a new pair.

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Some positives also include the fact that he leans his head towards me when I attempt to put them in. Clearly he is learning the routine. He can wear them for about an hour before it just gets too much for both Hudson and myself. During that time we do some reading to ensure that he hears a range of sounds, talking and playing. I’m still unsure whether or not he feels a difference himself as his behaviours have always been age appropriate. But we’ll see!

When I write these things down I feel a great sense of relief and pride. I’m proud of the small things we are achieving. I’m proud of Hudson, and I’m proud of myself. Over sharing or not, it is helping me to help my son. Surely that can only be a good thing. Maybe over sharing is caring….sometimes!

Until next time…..

kate

What’s new on NETFLIX?

What’s new on NETFLIX?

As a member of the NETFLIX Stream Team, we’ve not only been lucky enough to try this amazing service across, but also to access some very cool content before it Is released to the public. We’ve simply been loving the ability to tailor your user experience according to each member of the family’s tastes and interest. Ella, myself and Daniel each have a user profile, and Netflix gives us suggestions based on what we’ve been watching recently. We can watch it on the television, on our iPad, and on our iPhones. It’s honestly such a wonderful service, and as long as you’ve got appropriate internet bandwidth, then you are set to access anything and everything you please! No more fighting over the remote, when each of you can watch it on separate devices.

Some of the shows we’ve been watching lately, some of which are due to be released soon are:

Ella

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Project Mc² features four brilliant fierce teen spies who present how girls can use science skills and mathematical problem-solving to save the world – without giving up their individuality. Total #GirlPower inspo. The show premieres on Netflix Aug. 7
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Dinotrux has more than meets the tire, er, eye – these prehistoric hybrid dinosaur-construction vehicles team up to work together using their different skills to solve problems. Even the most uncommon of pairs, like Ty-Rux and Revvit, form friendships of a lifetime. The show premieres Aug. 14, only on Netflix.

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Good? Evil? Your actions, behaviors and friends are your choice! The offspring of favorite fairytale characters in Ever After High: Way Too Wonderland (8/14) show kids that their stories are their own to write – this time at Wonderland High!

Kate

Stop at Nothing – The Lance Armstrong Story

I love documentaries, and I am sad to say that I used to love and adore Lance Armstrong. I read his books from cover to cover. I was in awe of his talent and courage. You think you know this story? You don’t. From the producers of Academy Award winning film, ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER, and BAFTA Award winning Director Alex Holmes, this documentary is an intimate but explosive portrait of the man behind the greatest fraud in sporting history. Lance Armstrong enriched himself by cheating his fans, his sport and the truth. But the former friends whose lives and careers he destroyed, would prove to be his nemesis.

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So if you haven’t signed up to NETFLIX yet, but you are wondering if it’s worthwhile, then I can tell you that it is. It’s not expensive, and it allows you to carry all your favourite shows with you, where ever you go! Accessibility is second to none, and we are simply loving it!

kate

‘Finish’ those dirty dishes with ease

‘Finish’ those dirty dishes with ease

*A sponsored post from Finish Quantum Dishwashing tablets

I love cooking, but I hate doing dishes. Like most parents, I love nothing more than a one pot meal. It means less cleaning. Each night after cooking up a storm, I have to make sure that my kitchen is clean, wiped own, dishes stacked and unstacked ready for the next day. After investing in a great dishwasher years ago, I’ve come to rely on it like a friend. It is stacked at night, and unpacked in the morning. If I miss my routine it means that dishes end up stacked high, and whilst I could use my hands and elbow grease to clean them myself, as a busy Mum I rely on my good old dishwasher to get things done. Couldn’t live without it!

That said, there is one thing I’ve learned, like most things, you get what you pay for. This can be said for dishwashers, and it can also be said for detergent. It can be tempting to spend nothing on dishwashing tablets to clean your dishes, but I’ve found out, by experience that if you spend nothing, you get nothing. You get what you put in, dirty dishes. Finish Powerball dishwashing tablets however, ensure that your dishes are not only cleaned, but come out looking as good as new. There is nothing more satisfying than putting away clean, sparkling dishes, still hot from drying in the dishwasher.

According to Finish, their new Quantum tablets contain fewer chemicals than any other brand.

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POWER

  • Their new formula has Boosted Active Oxygen, to power away stubborn stains
  • Their Power Gel delivers a pre-soaking action
  • Their Powerball fights spots and watermarks for a clean so clean it shines

PURE

  • Get the results you expect from Finish with less chemicals
  • This special formulation has no added phosphonate, and less dyes and allergens

So if you are like me, and simply want your dishes cleaned so that you don’t have to….invest in something that will get the job done! Available in all leading supermarkets

http://www.finishinfo.com.au/products/detergents/quantum-max/finish-quantum-max-tablets-power-pure/

kate

Product Review: Love to Dream Inventa Sleep Bag

Product Review: Love to Dream Inventa Sleep Bag

Sleeping Bags are the best invention ever. Honestly. No worrying about your child getting cold, unless that is they get out of it. Sleeping Bags are the best invention ever. Honestly. No worrying about your child getting cold, unless that is they get out of it. With two young children, I’ve been through my share of various sleeping bags, from various companies. Expensive and cheap. What I’ve learned is that you get what you pay for. Recently I purchased a sleeping bag for Hudson from a well known, Australian brand and it was hopeless. The first thing I would say is that zips are king. No press studs (unless you want them to learn straight away how to get out of it). 

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So when I was approached by Love To Dream to try their INVENTA 2.5TOG Sleep Bag, I was curious and excited. Being winter, I was on the look out for a sleeping bag that would keep Hudson warm (first and foremost), and…well…contained. Before I share my thoughts after a few weeks of trialling this product…here is, well, a bit about the product!

According to their website, ‘The Love To INVENTA Sleep BagTM features our Genius Cooling System that helps you to moderate your little one’s temperature simply by opening or closing the mesh vents, without disturbing their precious sleep routine’ 

Other features include:

 

  • Hypo-allergenic
  • 100% natural bamboo fill
  • 100% cotton lining is brushed for a cosy feel
  • Ergonomic Design, soft stretch fabric for increased comfort
  • Longa ShortaTM length feature
  • The INVENTATM range of sleeping bags for babies & sleeping bags for toddlers is available in 3 TOGS, making the range suitable for all seasons: 0.5 Tog for the warmer months – 1.0 Tog for use all year round – 2.5 Tog for the colder months

So after we trialled the bag for two weeks, my conclusions are:

  1. It’s great. Really great. Thick, heavy fabric that you know has been made and stitched together well. 
  2. It has zips. Hooray!! It’s on the front too which helps in the night if you need to change a nappy.
  3. This one was unexpected. It features one shoulder with a press stud, and one that is sewn shut. This means that you can access your baby, but the baby cannot get out. Pure genius. 
  4. It is extremely long, and features the ability to fold the bag up and shorten the length with press studs. This means that you can keep it and use it for a very, very long time!
  5. Whilst we didn’t use it, being winter, the mesh insert allows you to make the bag cooler in the summer months. Another great feature particularly when transitioning from cooler to warmer weather, and you still want your baby to be in a heavier tog bag. 

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So all in all, a fabulous product. Currently on sale for $59.95 (normal RRP $79.95), it is definitely worth the investment!

To purchase, head to their website here: www.lovetodream.com.au

kate

 

 

 

 

I hope you can hear me…

I hope you can hear me…

The last few months has, in some ways, been a journey that parents kind of wish they didn’t have to go through. It’s hard for me to write about, firstly because, well. it’s still hard to come to terms with, but also secondly, because I feel a great sense of guilt for feeling sad about something that I know could be a great deal worse. Still, as a Mum, I just want my children to have the best of everything. The best of opportunity, the best of happiness and most of all the best of health. We all do, and when things don’t go perfectly, there is a little ping inside your heart that hurts.

As a Prem baby, we already knew that he was going to have a few issues, most of which paled into insignificance when it came to the struggles of other very premature babies. At five weeks early, our little man was tiny, weighing in at 2kg and spent some time in special care nursery, learning to feed and put on weight. It was a hard time for us, and we had to get used to the experience of him coming into the world in a very different manner in which his sister arrived. That said, he was in the best care, and we knew that we were lucky. When Hudson was three days old, as all new babies are in Australia (thank God) he was screened for hearing. He failed the test and after it was repeated with the same result, we were refereed to an audilogy clinic for futher testing.

That beautiful windy smile!
our beautiful boy

I hate admiting it, but i spent those first few weeks googling my heart out. Trying to make myself feel better about his possible deafness. Trying to work out why it had happened. There was no family history.  Trying to tell myself that it could be much worse. I don’t mean to upset anyone as I write this, but I was devastated. We were both so confused. I felt like I had some part to play, and was trying to find a way to explain it to my Husband. Finally after attending a clinic, and being assessed as having mild deafness, we were relieved to find that it was unlikely that he would require ‘intervention’. Months of testing has ensued as the process proves difficult to complete on babies, and especially restless boys who like to squirm. Initial testing gave way to him needing to show us what he could hear. All in all, he can hear. He responds to his name. He is starting to make sounds. He claps. He waves. All seems well.

Except the fact that he misses approximately 20% of the high pitch, soft sounds required for normal speech development. Needing the audiologists to explain what this means and then having to explain it to family has been really hard. It means that there is a possibility that he is missing out on hearing some of the sounds that he needs to speak properly, and therefore have normal conversation. What makes it hard is the fact that he cannot tell us right now exactly what he can and can’t hear. At this age he is learning to speak, and therefore does not have the ability to show us exactly what he is capable of.

Technology is amazing, but it is also frustrating. Children with Hudson’s type of hearing loss often go undetected, and become children who either cope and get by, or struggle. I don’t want that for my little boy. I don’t want him to struggle in any way. I know, of course he will, in lots of ways…all kids do. It’s totally normal. However hearing for the first time that our little man needs hearing aids to help him hear everything he needs to, has made me really test my ability to remain rational and sensible. He WILL be fine. It COULD be so much worse. He is so lucky to be living in a country where children who are deaf not only get amazing support, but get the support for FREE! It’s not something I’ve written about or shared with people beyond our family and friends, until now. Given the fact that we got them yesterday, it’s something that has become our real reality…and I want it to be positive.

That said, I just want my baby to fly, to be happy, to kick ass and conquer the world. I want him to play footy. To play an instrument. To wrestle. To swim. To do what ever his heart desires. The moment I heard that he had to wear hearing aides made my heart sink, and questions whether or not he will be able to do all of those things. Of course I know, he will. He can do what ever he wants. I just need to stick to listening to my sensible self and know that everything will be ok.

There is a great possibility that he may not need them forever. Every parent who has a child who has been through this surely must also go through a similar set of emotions. Confusion, grief, sadness, acceptance. I’m trying to stay optimistic, and know that there is nothing I’ve done to make things this way. It’s just the way it is.

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I just want Hudson to be able to hear the glorious world. The cheer of the crowd at the footy. The sound of running water. Amazing music. Beautiful birds singing. His sister laughing. Most of all, I hope he can hear us tell him over and over how much we love him. Heck, if he needs hearing aides to do that, then that is just fine.

So yesterday our little man was fitted with his hearing aides. The team at Hearing Australia have been amazing and we’ve been equipped with knowledge and everything we’ll need to get him started. It’s going to be a long process of him getting used to them. They told us that we will need to use the three P’s – Persistence, Practice and a great deal of patience. Today our little man wore them both for a whole 20 minutes before pulling them out. That was amazing in our eyes. Baby steps. Onward and Upward.

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Hudson, we love you mate. To the moon and back. You can do and achieve what ever your little heart desires. We’ll make sure of it.

kate

It’s time to stop…

It’s time to stop…

Every few months, I seem to have a mini meltdown. Nothing serious or anything, but enough to make me stop and really think about how I am feeling, acting and being. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone when I say that sometimes things just get too much. I hate to say it, but I’m not good at dealing with change, and since becoming a Mum, I’m still trying to sort out how to balance everything in my life. I’m sure that I’ll be learning that for a long time.

As we all do, I try to cut myself some slack but lately I have to admit that I haven’t really liked the Mum and wife that I’ve become. I’ve been really negative and have let some things get be down. I feel myself constantly wanting things to be better, and yet I have everything I could ever wish for. When I say ‘better’ I don’t mean acquiring things that I don’t have. I mean managing better. Managing time. Managing the roles that I have. Managing being a Mum, a wife, a Deputy Principal, a small business owner, a daughter, a sister, a friend. Sometimes I feel on top of the world, like I have it all, and then other times I feel like I’m falling apart. I don’t know why, but all too often, too may of us feel as though we are failing. It’s ridiculous. I am a very driven person, and want to be good at everything I do. This has also meant that I seem to fill my life with things that keep me busy, and in turn this has also created a feeling of exhaustion and negativity. I love every thing in my life, and yet I am currently feeling as though I need to take a step back and enjoy the small things.

I have been trying to control everything in my life with the usual things – routine and consistency. However life doesn’t work that way, and when something happens that doesn’t fit….everything seems to fall apart. Lately I’ve been managing a new print business that has exploded in terms of interest and it has made me incredibly satisfied. Hard work pays off. However the pay off can also mean that the things around you take a back seat, and right now….I don’t want my family to be that sacrifice. I need to realise that it doesn’t matter if you have washing piled up. It doesn’t matter if you get takeaway. It doesn’t matter if you have a bad day…just put it down to being a bad day and move on. A dear friend of mine had a chat with me the other day and helped me realise that I’m not being good to anyone if I continue to beat myself up. If I stress about the washing, the cooking, the cleaning, the business, the pressure. I just need to focus on slowing down and doing a few things well. Mindset is a powerful thing, and lately I’ve not been mindful of being positive which is inherently what I am!

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Working Mums, stay at home Mums….we are all incredibly busy. They say that if you want something done, give it to a busy person. I am also someone who is not good at telling myself that I’ve done a good job, and rely on praise from others to enhance my self confidence. As a teacher I learned quickly that this cannot direct your feeling of self worth, as you need to draw upon feedback from the people that matter most – the children you teach. I think that in my own life, I need to start focussing on the feedback that I get from the people who matter most in my life. My children and my husband. My parents, my siblings, my friends. I need to stop. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. BE with the people who matter most. Switch the phone off sometimes. Close the laptop. Read with the kids. Read a magazine when the kids are asleep. Cook for enjoyment more. Make an effort to really stop and enjoy the small things and appreciate the achievements I’ve made, and be positive about it.

It’s time to stop dwelling in the things that have gone wrong and be positive about the things that have gone right. Be mindful. We are healthy, happy, have an amazing family, beautiful children a roof over our heads, a job I love and a wonderful husband who supports me in all I do. Who cares about the rest. So from today I’m going to start writing down, each day, the things that have made me happy. Right now it’s a sleeping little boy, and a cup of tea in a quiet house. Oh, and I’ve had a shower and washed my hair. Feel amazing!

Today, I hope you all feel good about yourselves, be mindful and enjoy the small things around you….

kate