March 19, 2015
by Kylie Gardner
1 Comment

Shoe Tying 101

Save a Teacher's Sanity -  Teach Your Children to Tie Their Shoelaces

Hey there! I’ve missed you guys! I wanted to pop in and share what I’m learning about tying shoes laces. Who’d have thought there’d be so much to say, right? All I know is I have a class of 23 kids, many of whom are struggling with their laces (or asking me to struggle with them!). It’s driving me C R A Z Y!!!!

I was once told never to help boys tie their shoe laces – can you guess why? Every time I do help a little guy with his laces I can’t help think of this advice (hint: it’s got to do with boys learning bathroom skills!).

We haven’t done the shoe laces thing in our house yet. Pebble has buckles and velcro, while Rocky is velcro all the way.

Have you taught your kids to tie their shoe laces? Got any tips for me?

Here’s a few tutorials I found with different shoe tying methods (including a guy called Professor Shoelace!!). Let me know which method you think is best. Or maybe you could just buy no tie shoelaces?!

What’s driving you crazy lately?

March 2, 2015
by Kylie Gardner

The Hand of Time, Adelaide Fringe Festival

The Hand of Time Adelaide Fringe Festival

It’s Fringe time! The Adelaide Fringe Festival has brought it’s magic to town once again. I was lucky enough to be invited along to see a performance of The Hand of Time on Sunday arvo. It sounded like the perfect outing for Pebble and I, and we took my SIL, Julie and niece, Sarah, along for the ride. I was especially keen to because the play was about a girl who could stop time… which has been my ultimate dream super power since I was a kid!

Adelaide turned on the charm for us, it was a beautiful, sunny day, just begging to be enjoyed. The sound of the Clipsal cars screeching around the race track gave the city an electric feel, not to mention the insanely loud jets that blasted through the sky, scaring the pants off us! I thought Pebble would scream in fear but she just covered her ears and stared in wonder.

We wandered into Gluttony, a Fringe Festival venue in Rymill Park, just opposite The Garden of Unearthly Delights aka ‘The Garden’. We were charmed by the hodge-podge collection of vintage furniture scattered around Gluttony, along with the coloured lights and fringed lamp shades dotting the trees. Pebble and Sarah had fun playing around at being monkeys and riding (fake) pigs. There was totem tennis to be had, too!

The Hand of Time Adelaide Fringe Festival The Hand of Time Adelaide Fringe Festival The Hand of Time Adelaide Fringe Festival The Hand of Time Adelaide Fringe Festival

We entered the dimly lit Peacock tent for the performance. As our eyes adjusted to the light we saw a stage at ground level where a woman sat cross legged and a man was zipping about, chatting to the kids as they entered. This turned out to be Emily and Thom, of Not Safe For Drinking, the stars of the show.

I’ll confess that I haven’t seen a lot of live theatre lately. Or, um, ever? I’m not very cultured, sorry. You’re much more likely to find me (slightly reluctantly) seeing Peppa Pig at the local Westfield than a two person play. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this performance. I looked at the stands on the stage, each holding several props – hats, bags, jackets, wigs. What was to come?

I soon found out. From the very first line The Hand of Time had the audience captivated. The story of Ella, a young Lanalite, striving to live an extraordinary life, was magical, heart-warming, funny and inspiring. Children in the audience called out to the actors, joined in on stage and played a hands on role in an uplifting finale. I won’t give the ending away, but Pebble and Sarah were grinning with delight.

Emily and Thom were just amazing, they are truly talented. I loved their ad libbing as the kids joined in. You never know what you’re going to get with kids! I don’t know much about acting or how to describe it, but I do know that this performance was completely convincing. For an hour I was taken away to another land, another time and cheering for the heroes of the tale to succeed, to be extraordinary. The moral of the story is one that spoke to my heart, as a mother and a teacher. We each have our own extraordinary abilities to embrace, that we must help each other to nurture. The kids were totally swept up in the performance too, especially Sarah. Pebble was getting a bit wriggly towards the end of the hour, which is pretty good for a little one who’s only just turned five!

The Hand of Time Adelaide Fringe Festival The Hand of Time Adelaide Fringe Festival

If you get the chance to visit the Adelaide Fringe make sure you take the kids along to see this performance. It’s got a little bit of everything. The Hand of Time is on Saturdays and Sundays until March 15. Tickets available from FringeTIX: Adults $23, Children $18, Family $58. Thank you very much to Emily and Thom for the free tickets to the show.

After the performance we wandered over to The Garden for a late lunch and a little look around. There’s always something to see and do. We found ourselves seeing a $5, 15 minute tight rope walking show in The Little Palais, which was a bit of fun. Pebble was quietly terrified (“Are they going to hurt themselves, Mummy?”), while the rest of us were spell bound.

After a ride on the ferris wheel, scoffing a delicious vegetarian quesadilla and an slurping down an ice cream it was time to go home. We could quite happily have stayed for longer, but Rocky and Paul were waiting for us at home and it was almost dinner time.

The Hand of Time Adelaide Fringe Festival The Hand of Time Adelaide Fringe Festival

Have you been to the Adelaide Fringe? Got any recommendations for us? What’s your dream super power?

February 24, 2015
by Kylie Gardner

Magic Reading Sticks

Magic Reading Sticks

I can’t believe that Pebble has been at school for five weeks now. She’s really enjoying it, especially learning to read. She’s flying along, as these new Reception kiddos do. Their progress is so quick! That’s one of the reasons that I love teaching Reception (five year olds). That, and they’re so much fun!

In the first week of school, however, she was a bit overwhelmed by her reading homework and needed a little push to get into it. We made these ‘magic’ reading sticks to help her reading. She used them every day for a couple of weeks and now only for a bit of fun. They really gave her confidence in those early weeks. She loved choosing a different one each day.

I first saw the idea on Pinterest (of course). I also made these with my class at school. Here’s how you make them – though they’re so simple they hardly need instructions at all.

 Magic Reading Sticks

Magic Reading Sticks

You will need:

  • pop sticks
  • low melt glue gun and glue
  • googly eyes
  • foam shapes

To make:

  • use the low melt glue gun to stick one googly eye or foam shape to one end of each pop stick. Allow to dry. Done!

Readers use them to point to each word in their book as they are reading. It helps children remember to look at each word, especially in the very early stages of reading development.

Magic Reading Sticks

I hope you have fun making and using these magic reading sticks. Do you have any tips for making homework a bit more fun? 

February 9, 2015
by Kylie Gardner


Baby Nostalgia

I was just scrolling through Facebook when I read a status update from a friend, sharing a beautiful photo of her little girl. A squishy, smiley,  super-freaking-adorable bubba. I thought to myself, “Oh, honey, enjoy your baby while you can, this time will go so fast, soak it all up”.

And that, my friends, is when I turned into the kind of person that I have frequently wanted to punch in the face.

I vividly remember doing my grocery shopping one morning and wanting to punch an old lady in the face. I know, so rude, right? Don’t worry, I restrained myself. There have been many, many times that I’ve been told to stop and enjoy these early days with my children.

Absolutely, I think we should all enjoy the sweet moments of our lives as much as we can. I know that one day I’ll be in a quiet, still, tidy house and wish that I could have just one more baby snuggle, a little one to feed or bath or care for, a kid to have silly imaginary conversations with. I still take the time to gobble my babies up with sloppy kisses and bear hugs, to breathe them in when they’re sleeping in my arms. But I think we need to remember the crap-fest that parenting can be at times. It’s HARD. It’s clench your fists and scream at the sky kind of hard. It’s “I want to run away and never come back” hard. I think that gets forgotten, the longer you’re away from a situation.

I wonder how I’ll feel about all this when that old lady is me?

For now, I’ve given myself a mental slap and put my rose-tinted glasses back on the shelf. I promise not to accost any supermarket shoppers with warm and fuzzy nostalgia for my own baby days.

Have you ever wanted to punch an old lady in the face?

January 27, 2015
by Kylie Gardner

First Day of School

First Day of School

I woke up this morning, groggy from a fitful sleep and not sure what day it was or what I was supposed to be doing. Then it hit me, like a kick in the guts. I felt sick. It was Pebble’s first day of school!

This reaction completely surprised me. I had been feeling excited, a little anxious, but otherwise ok about this new phase of our lives. I lay in bed pondering this interesting feeling and laughed at myself. So, this is what it feels like when your baby goes to school!

Pebble took the morning in her stride. She ate breakfast, asked if she could wear pigtails and flatly refused to wear her summer uniform. In the name of peace and a smooth first day of school I relented and let her wear a skort and polo shirt instead. She looked cute as a button with her socks and sandals, a look that only school kids can get away with.

The morning flew by and before I knew it it was time to go. NOW. We couldn’t be late for the first day! As we went to leave the house I did a routine check of Rocky’s nappy, only to find that he’d filled it to busting. Arrgh! I did the quickest nappy change of my life and chucked him in the pram for the three minute walk to school. As I suspected, living so close to school is likely to make us late – the convenience makes it all too easy to take it slow in the mornings!

We sat in the classroom, taking in the chaos that is 20+ kids and their mum and dad and siblings, all nervous and excited. Rocky played in my lap with some cars, Pebble alongside. All was going well until I kept getting a whiff of a distinct poo smell. I checked Rocky’s nappy three times and couldn’t see anything. I checked his hands (because he’s known to go digging, occassionally). There was nothing there. A final whiff of definite poo smell had me check up his back…. bingo. A poo smeared t-shirt. And me surrounded by 50 people with no nappy bag on board my pram (what was I thinking?). I smiled and looked around me to see if anyone else had noticed, but they seemed none the wiser – or too polite to point out our shitty predicament.

A few minutes later the teacher gave the parents the nod to leave and we all started our goodbyes. Pebble clung to me and needed a little help from one of the support workers to detach herself, but she did really well. No tears. From either of us. I’m so proud of her!

I skipped the parent morning tea in the staff room because: POO and hot footed it back home to clean Rocky up.

And that was Pebble’s first big school drop off.

How did you feel on your child’s first day of school?

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