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Local Legend: Issy from Seriously Milestones

Local Legend: Issy from Seriously Milestones

Motherhood. Magic, Mayhem, Milestones. Some milestones are well known – first steps, first tooth, first sleep through the night. Then there are the milestones that we all love or hate, that never seem to be ‘celebrated’. Stuff like picking your nose for the first time, throwing your first real tantrum and becoming a threenager. I’ve adored milestone cards for many years as a way to help parents snap and document the incredible moments of joy with their children. However Seriously Milestone Cards takes these events to a new level. Recently my son Hudson turned three, and if you’ve been following along for long enough, you’ll know that some of his milestones have been the result of magical mayhem. Sleep has been an incredible huge challenge in our household, and the first night he slept through the night, I could have shouted it from the roof tops. With Seriously Milestone cards – the Toddler Edit – you can do just that. Issy Ker has developed what is simply the best set of cards to help us all laugh and cherish the times that make us all laugh. Sure, she’s got the set of baby cards as well, but when I was asked to recently test out the toddler edit, I was in love.

Here is a sample of what you can get in this fantastic, real pack!!! Seriously real moments. Seriously real milestones.

Simply Milestone Cards

Simply Milestone Cards

Simply Milestone Cards

Simply Milestone Cards

Simply Milestone Cards

Simply Milestone Cards

Awesome hey!! Issy is a Mum from Bendigo. Let’s hear all about this local legend, and how Seriously Milestones came to be!

1.Tell us a bit about your business, your dream, your story

Seriously Milestones was a total piss-take! My husband and I always talk about ways to make millions of dollars and not have to ‘work’ – this was one of those ideas and it just wouldn’t go away so I decided to run with it. Once I realised that it was actually going to happen, I put a lot of time and effort into making it the best product I could –ensuring the product and packing was all sourced locally and as ecofriendly as possible. Plus I wanted to donate to relevant organisations right from the start, and in less than a year I’ve raised 2K and taken on a sponsor child, which is definitely a highlight.

2. Magic: What is the most magical thing that has happened to you as a small business owner?

Having people believe in my product right from the start. My goal was to have 10 stockists signed up before I launched, which I achieved thanks to some amazing stores who could see my vision. And I say my vision because most of them were on board before I even had a physical product produced. It still blows me away.

3. Mayhem: What has been your greatest challenge, moment of mayhem?

Everyday is mayhem at my house! Honestly! I don’t have an ‘office space’ as such, well, I do, but there is no door…and with 2 crazy kids running around, it can be tough.

I’m super lucky that they are both good sleepers though and get to bed at a decent hour, and my husband works from home too so he can help me wrangle them while I do things if I really need him too.

Actual work challenges are that of most small businesses, the fact that I’d probably earn a better income from stacking shelves at Coles – but at the end of the day it’s about adjusting to the challenges so you can do what you love and what works for your family.

4. Milestone: What has been your greatest achievement, milestone?

There are SO many!

From things mentioned above like getting my first 10 stockist and raising money for charity, to being nominated for business awards and sending products overseas – I feel really lucky that the business is going so well in its first year and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future brings.

5. Pay it Forward: Who do you love? What small business are you lusting over right now?

This question is hard because I live for small businesses and the people who support them too! If I had to say just one right now, it would be @hello_zef because I just picked up a pair of Suzie’s shoes last week and they are to die for! Plus I am in awe of her ability to run this business, plus work another job, all while looking after her son – she is a legend and still totally chilled out!

 

That’s why they call them the terrible two’s

So if you are after something REAL to give to yourself or a friend, then head on over to SERIOUSLY MILESTONES and grab a pack today!

 

An awesome giveaway with The Gro Company Australia!

An awesome giveaway with The Gro Company Australia!

We loooorve everything from the Gro Company! From their famous sleeping bags, to their Gro Clock, their products literally save our lives!  To celebrate the launch of The Gro Company new Australian website (click here!) we have teamed up with this company to give one lucky follower the chance to win a hamper of their goodies valued at almost $500! It includes:

Insect Shield Grobag – 0.5tog – $59.95
Orla Kiely Grobag – 2.5tog – $84.95
Orla Kiely Swaddle Grobag – Owl Newborn, Light – $44.95
Grohush $49.95
Groegg $49.95
Groclock $59.95
Carrie Cat Breathable Grofriend $19.95
Gertie Guinea Pig Flat Comforter $16.95
Giraffe Teether Comforter – $19.95
Have a Giraffe Groswaddle $24.95
Be A Dazzler Grosuit – 6-9 months $27.95
Muslin 3 Pack – $44.95

Total Value $496.40

The perfect prize for a new Mum, or Mum to be!

To enter, it’s simple!

Head to @happyellaafter on Instagram here. 
1. Follow @happyellaafter & @thegrowcompanyaus
2. Like this pic
3. Tag two friends (no comp accounts please).

Open to Australian Residents only.

T’s & C’s & Stuff
Comp opens Monday 27th March @ 9pm AEDST and closes Wed 29th March @ 9pm AEST.
One entry per person (no comp accounts please)
To see the entire list of what is included, head over to my blog (link in profile).
This giveaway is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by Instagram. By entering you are confirming that your are 18+ years of age, and release Instagram of any and all responsibility and agree to their terms of use!

GOOD LUCK!

 

 

It takes a village to raise a parent.

It takes a village to raise a parent.

Today, I’ve been having one of those days. One of those days that we struggle to parent. Where everything goes wrong. When it rains, it pours, or rather buckets down. Today I had that twinge of guilt when I (fleetingly) felt like I didn’t want to be dealing with Motherhood today (don’t hate me).

You see my day started off like this:

8am: Kids yelling and screaming at each other

8.10am: Ella started crying because Hudson tipped all of her Shopkins down the ducted heating vent

8.20am: Hudson took his nappy off and wee’d down the corridor

8.30am: Whilst the kids were eating breakfast, I tried to get ready (highlight tried). Ella screams’ MUUUUM’ and I return to find my two year old son had climbed up onto the bench, helped himself to the honey, took it back and squeezed it all over the carpet. Having a ball at the same time I might add.

8.30-9am: After googling, ‘how to remove honey from carpet’ I use a whole packet of wipes to try to remove it, without damaging the carpet.

9.15am: kids are ready, Mum is ready, gather everyone and everything up to head out to do erands before ballet. Can’t find keys.

9.16am: realise my keys are in hubby’s car. Call Hubby. He has my keys. Realise that my day is screwed. Hubby puts keys in an uber.

9.45am: Uber arrives with keys. We head off to ballet.

We all have days like this. Days that are hard. Days that we know are an anomaly. You see the thing that has made me feel better though is knowing that I’m not alone. Knowing that whilst I’m sitting here cleaning up honey from my carpet with baby wipes, that somehow, somewhere there is someone else doing the same thing. Having a rubbish day. After sharing my horrid start to the day with my friends and followers, I was ‘virtually’ picked back up onto my feet by the dozens of messages. Messages of empathy. Messages from friends and strangers who exist in this ‘virtual’ village. This village of Motherhood. Sometimes they are people who I know, and who know me. They know that I am someone who needs to talk things through to get through them. To be ‘talked out’ of what feels like, catastrophe. To vent. And then there are those ‘friends’ who I only know as their IG handle. Those virtual friends who often and regularly share messages of support, knodding through cyberspace.

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Well I can tell you that all of this helps. Whether its virtual or in real life, getting behind your mates when they are having a rough day is often the thing that gets them through. Motherhood is blissful and wonderful, but sometimes it can be downright hard to tackle. It’s the phone call from a friend, or a message from someone who you ‘know’ or funnily enough even don’t, that can change the way you feel about your day, and yourself.

None of us can really know how to ‘Mother’ until we do it in real life. We go to school, we practice driving a car, we test out recipes. But Motherhood? We only know how to do it, when we do it. We succeed, we make mistakes. Lots of them. Some of us are lucky to have family close by, and others call their friends their family. No matter what we are, or who we are, we are all human and all need help from time to time. It takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to raise a parent.

So today, thanks to your messages of empathy, humour and hope….my day has indeed gotten better.  We’ve had a laugh, we’ve baked a cake, we’ve played some games. I’ve left the mess and just sat on the couch and read a book with my little ones.

I hope that you all, no matter what you are doing have someone to pep you up if you are feeling down. It may even be topped off with a kiss from your little ones.

Keep calm and Mother on.

It takes a village to raise a parent

kate

 

The baby gear that saved our life…

The baby gear that saved our life…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my BC self. Before children. In particular, I’ve been thinking about all the things that I thought I had to have in order to be a ‘good’ parent, and survive Motherhood. The race to ensure that you have everything you ‘need’. So many questions, so many unanswered. What is the best nappy brand? Which pram do I get? Which bottles? Do I need a breast pump? Which size clothes do I buy? A vaporiser? Bumpers on the cot, or no bumpers? Swaddle or sleep suit? on, and on, and on the questions go……..

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Looking back at photos of myself in the early days of parenthood I know exactly what I was thinking. There is so much baby gear…where do you start?! As any new parent knows, you feel incredibly blessed to have been given so many wonderful presents, gifts and words of advice from those Mothers who have come with pearls of wisdom and years of experience. The thing is, that until you go through it yourself….you really will not realise just how much stuff there is out there, and most of it….you won’t use. I received so much advice that just went in one ear and out the other. I wish I had have listened to one thing, and that is….you really don’t need that much. They do actually grow really quickly, and you don’t need to get them an entire wardrobe before they are born. Sure, we are all different, but having had my second child come prematurely, we were thrown into the world of ‘quick, get some things together’, and this period showed me that you really only need a few things to get by, and thrive. Some of these things are indeed worth the investment, and some of these things are cheaper than a litre of milk.

In my world right now, there are lots of beautiful women I know who are about to embark on Motherhood for the first time. If I could step back in time and give my BC (before children) self some advice, it would be to make sure that you focus on fewer better quality things, than thinking that you need to fill your house with every type of product under the baby marketing sun. I remember stepping into Baby Bunting for the first time, and walking around looking at a million different types of dummies. Seriously, how many types of teats can you possible have? It’s good to be prepared, but far out, there is so much stuff out there that it is no wonder parents to be get overwhelmed, and that is before the baby even arrives. I recently read this great article by Zoe Blake. It’s real and true. It made me think about all of the stuff that I had, that I just didn’t need. It also made me think about the ridiculous money I spent on some things that was a waste of cash.

So with that, my advice to any expectant parent would be:

Worth the investment products….

  1. Buy the best pram you can afford. That sucker will get used more than your kettle. Well, maybe not quite. Yes, we invested in a Bugaboo chameleon, and then a donkey when we had two. However there are really a number a of great prams out there. I’d get yourself into a store and try one out yourself, or even better….ask you friends who’ve road tested them. I would simply have died without mine, and yes….I love my double pram. But that’s just me…

  2. Get a baby carrier. Whether it’s a Bjorn, a Ergo or another brand, they will save you arms from dropping off. I used mine a great deal more when I had two little kids, but they are well worth the investment, and your arms will thank you.

  3. Breast Pump. A good one. Trust me, you don’t want a cheap pump working in that area.

  4. The baby Bjorn portacot. A little $, but again…worth it in every way. It is only 5kg and folds down to a case, so when you travel it’s simply the best thing you could bring with you.

5. Boon Grass Drying rack. Sits on your bench and allows your bottles to drip dry in an ordered place, without clogging up your bench, Looks great too.

Its the small things….

  1. Terry Towing bath ramp: This is the shiz. Lay your little one in the bath on this ramp made of towelling. No more sore back, neck, arms. The towelling soaks up the water and so is nice and warm for little tushies to lean on. You can take the towell off and wash it to. I got ours from Target for about $15. Saved. My. Life

  2. Portable hose attachment: From Bunnings, or any hardware shop, this little hose connects to any tap and you can instantly fill your baby bath up from anywhere. Genius.

  3. BBox Sippy cup: for little ones, this cup will save your mind, and your toddler’s. The straw has a weight in the bottom, so if your child moves the bottle, the straw moves with it. No more getting confused about how to use this cup. Believe me. Worth it.

There are loads of other things that you will end up getting that you just don’t need. My only real advice on this is:

  • DON’T buy singles without press studs on the bottom. They simply ride up and get really annoying!
  • DON’T buy too many clothes in sizes 0000 and 000. They honestly fit into these for only a couple of weeks. Don’t waster your money!
  • DON’T buy wraps or bibs that are too small. Go for generous sizes as they will wear better, and help you to wrap your baby nice and snug.

mums-grapevine1So if you think that it is all too much, then you are totally in luck! New Mums, or Mums to Be can win your very own Goodie Bag worth $6000. You read that right! $6000! Mums Grapevine are currently giving one of their readers the chance to win some amazing goodies to help you get started. They are simply divine! To enter, simply head to http://mumsgrapevine.com.au/2015/09/win-elise-swallows-6000-baby-shower/. Now I know what you are thinking….that would be awesome! Entering this could just change your life…..or make someone else’s day!

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

 

 

Busy Bags for busy little people (and their busy parents)

Busy Bags for busy little people (and their busy parents)

I feel bad that I’ve been neglecting my blog lately. The personal side of my blog. The moments that make us Mums and Dads. The little moments, the big moments. I confess that I’ve been neglecting my writing becauase I’ve been, well, busy. Crazy busy. Busy working as a Deputy Principal, busy designing prints (here is an unashamed plug to my new NAME IT range here), busy being a Mum! Like all of us, the days seem to be rolling into weeks and months quicker than I can keep up. When I write the date, I literally have to stop and think what number I need to write. Whilst it’s currently July, I’m totally sure that I will wake up in the morning and it will be December. Far out….being busy is exhasuting!!!

Well now that school holidays are here (cue clapping sounds), I have a few moments more to spend on the things that I’ve missed, like writing about being a Mum and the things that we can all relate to. Something that has been keeping my mind really occupied lately is how to keep Miss Ella engaged and happy in those moments that Im helping Hudson, settling, cooking dinner etc. Whilst I’m partial to rely on my good old friend Mr iPad, I am becoming more and more conscious of the screen time she is facing each day. Whilst it is a great tool for learning, there is no substitute for other ideas that get her to use her senses. Being immersed in activities that encourage her to use her hands, her eyes, coordination, fine motor skills. It’s hard to think of ideas, and its even harder to find places to store the never ending supply toys, puzzles and games that seem to be filling our house. So what to do???……..

After attending Masada (also known as baby sleep heaven), we were encouraged to create ‘busy bags’ for our toddlers whilst we were busy settling our babies. Busy bags are small games that can be easily created that focus on fine motor skills, and keep toddlers engaged (ideally), thus giving you a moment to do the things you need to do. Obviously it would be great if you too can sit down with your toddler and play together, but there are just some times that you need time to do things around the house, and you need your toddler to be busy doing something on their own. I’ve recently made a few busy bags for Ella and I can tell you that like all things new, she really finds them fun and engaging.

All you need is a printer, laminator and some other crafty things like popsical sticks, pom poms etc. and bobs your uncle. There are loads and loads of ideas on the web and today I thought I’d share some of the activities I’ve created with you. Best thing of all, these are FREE to download and print.

So if you need some ideas to keep your little one busy whilst you are, then feel free to download and print away. All you need is a snap lock back to keep everything in it’s place….or you will be very busy cleaning up!

Click on each link to go to the game…

Sillouhette

 Matching Game

Screenshot 2015-06-30 10.00.27

Snowflake Cotton Bud Pattern Game
Screenshot 2015-06-30 10.02.10
Counting Caterpillars
Screenshot 2015-06-30 10.03.15
Animal Puzzles
Screenshot 2015-06-30 10.04.27
Alphabet Road Trip Tracing Game
Screenshot 2015-06-30 10.05.22
If you want more ideas, just Google ‘busy bags’ and ‘printable PDF’.
Hope they help you!!!!
kate
*Links to resources are via each image

Enjoy!

A letter of thanks from a grateful Mum

A letter of thanks from a grateful Mum

To the amazing staff at Masada, and the friends I met along the way…

There is nothing like being a sleep deprived parent. The feeling of helplessness and frustration as everything you try, to help your baby sleep, doesn’t work. A few nights turn into a few months, and after a long period of time, the sleep deprivation takes it’s toll.  After nine months, and what seemed like a lifetime, I decided that I needed some help.  I was at the point of breaking and felt so many negative emotions that I simply didn’t feel like myself, or like the person who I was becoming.

I felt guilty that I couldn’t help my son sleep.  Surely given the fact that I was a second time Mum, I had a toolbox of strategies to help us help Hudson. We had been through a very challenging time with Ella when she was one, and we had used a range of strategies to get her to sleep well. Surely, we could do it on our own. I started to feel like a failure, and this, coupled with sleep deprivation made me lose confidence and become negative. I hated the Mum I was becoming. I felt terrible about the wife I had become. I was negative all the time. I felt flat. I was stressed. I was short with Ella all of the time. I’d complain each day (with good reason, sometimes I know). However, I just simply hated the fact that I couldn’t enjoy being Hudson’s Mum, and worse that I couldn’t fix his unsettled sleep, and in turn get some for myself. I knew I was so lucky to have great support. Especially from my amazing husband and wonderful family. However things were not working, and my exhaustion just kept growing. It seemed relentless and endless.

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Then one day, I bit the bullet and rang Masada Mother and Baby Unit. I had heard about it from lots of other people, however I needed to come to the decision to go on my own, and with the support of my husband. Upon deciding to go, and after great stories from friends who had experienced dramatic changes in their children, I had high hopes.  Upon walking through the doors, I knew that things would be great. I felt nervous, but calm. It didn’t seem like the ‘baby boot camp’ that I thought it would be. What I didn’t know however is the incredible way in which my son would be transformed, and the friends that I would make along the way.  For this I will be eternally grateful.

I hold nothing but deep gratitude, respect and thanks to all of the staff at Masada for what they have done for my family. They have helped Hudson sleep through the night. They have helped him sleep soundly in the day. They have helped me be a confident support to him, to help him settle. They have helped me to feel comfortable with my feelings prior to coming in. I was at a loss to know what to do, and they helped show me the way. Some small changes have had dramatic impact. For this, I will be eternally grateful.

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I have found my week at Masada to be calming, supportive and empowering. The staff was never judgemental or critical. They have simply helped us all to see a new angle, and have simply given us our lives back. For this I will be eternally grateful.

I have found new friends who have been brave enough to share their stories and ask for help. Each of us came here for differing reasons, but with the same goal of wanting our babies to be happier, and in turn, help us to feel happier Mothers. We have stuck together. Sat in the corridors, pacing the hallways, praying for things to be better. We have listened to one another, comforted and encouraged each other. We have developed wonderful connections in such a short period of time. Most of all, we’ve made friends who have come together to help each other. For this, I will be eternally grateful.

I know that coming home won’t be easy, and there will be stressful times. I know that managing a baby and a toddler can be tough, but I know that with the strategies and knowledge I have taken away with me, I am confident to tackle what may come. I know that consistency is the key. I know that I have help if I need it, and that I’m not alone. For this, I will be eternally grateful.

When my husband rang each day, he asked how my day had been. It has been a long time since I have confidently been able to say ‘great’. I am going home thankful, not only because my baby is sleeping like a rock star, but confident that I will be able to help him through the tough times. I know that this will help me to enjoy Motherhood again. I know that this will help me to enjoy being a happy wife to my beautiful husband. However, most importantly I know that this experience will help me to get a piece of myself back.

For my experience at Masada this week, for my children, for my husband and for myself…I will be eternally grateful.

kate