Best of 2013: Parenting

Best of Octavia and Vicky 2013 Parenting Home Family

Parenting is one of the biggest learning experiences I’ve ever had. I’m learning about myself, my husband and my children every day. I’m also learning about my parents, and with each passing day I’m able to see more clearly through their eyes as they raised me and my brothers and sisters.

Being the parent of small children can often be like holding up a mirror – they show you the best and worst in yourself, which is quite terrifying sometimes. But also incredibly rewarding and heart warming.

I suspect I have a lot more to learn on this bumpy parenting road. Strap me in, I’m ready to ride!

Best of Octavia and Vicky 2013 Parenting Home Family

How to deal with the poop explosion

The day I was asked to stop breastfeeding in public

A letter to my future self

Move your body – dancing with kids

Real parenting – dealing with anger

Mini meditation for parents

Where’s the reset button?

Baby travel tips

Choosing toy box essentials

How to feel overjoyed every day

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Best of 2013: Eat!

Whether it’s family favourites, baked goodies or party treats, I love to cook – and eat! Here are some of my best recipes from 2013.

Octavia and Vicky Best of 2013 Food and Recipes

Finger Foods for Babies 

Spider Snacks

Pork and Potato Pastries

Honey, Soy and Garlic Prawns

2 Ingredient, 5 Minute Chocolate Mousse

Creamy Chicken Korma

Mum’s Banana Cake

Upside Down Pear Cake

Homemade Pancake Mix

Maple Cinnamon Muffins

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Best of 2013: Create!

Octavia and Vicky Best of 2013 Create


Pebble LOVES ‘making’ and ‘art’ and we’ve had lots of fun with different projects this year. I hope you enjoy this little walk down memory lane with the best creative activities from Octavia and Vicky 2013.

Octavia and Vicky Best of 2013 Create

Pipe Cleaner Critters

Sticky Tape Resist Art

Bubble Wrap Printing

DIY Striped Frames

DIY Letter Puzzle

Making Medals

Potato People

DIY Board Game

Melted Crayon Decorations

Tissue Box Guitar

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Best of 2013: Play!

Octavia and Vicky Best of 2013 - Play Ideas

I won’t go on and on about how quickly the year has gone. Again! Drumroll please…. I give you the best play posts from Octavia and Vicky in 2013. There are lots of fun things to keep the kids happy, challenged and interested over the holiday break. Enjoy!

Octavia and Vicky Best of 2013 - Play Ideas

Bottle Top Play

Lego Marble Run

Shaving Foam Sensory Bag

Ball and Tube Play

Sticky Paper Play for Babies and Preschoolers

Imaginary Play Ideas

Play with Chalk and Puddles

Snowy Road Bath Play

Jingle Jangle Socks for Baby Play

Foamy Ice Cream Play

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How to have a Merrier Christmas (a letter to my future self)

How to have a merrier Christmas

How to have a merrier Christmas

Christmas is a crazy time of year and one that makes me a little … Grinchy. In December everything seems to become a big blur of frantic shopping and catch ups with every person we’ve ever known in our lives and the to-do list explodes with Christmas necessities. I find myself struggling to keep up every year. I never seem to be able to enjoy Christmas until the actual day has arrived. This year was tougher than usual, I was more disorganised, less ready to think about Christmas, anxious about facing the day without Ryan. And that’s ok. That’s reality. But I thought I’d take a moment to write a little letter to myself. A letter to the Mrs Grinch I become in December every year. I hope this letter helps calm the Grinch that threatens to overtake all of us at this time of year.

Dear Mrs Grinch (aka me)

Here are some things that you need to try and remember, so that you can enjoy Christmas and stop getting so stressed and shoutey.

  • everyone else is just as busy as you. If not more. So shut up about it.
  • stop and enjoy Christmas craft and play with the kiddos, especially Pebble, who adores it. Do all glitter craft OUTSIDE. Or enjoy some Christmasy chill out time in a tinsel tent. There are lots of fun Christmas ideas to try, pick a few and have fun with it.
  • go and see some Christmas lights. Don’t stress about the kids being too tired or cranky or out of routine. They’ll be fine.
  • visit Santa, but try not to plonk the little ones on his lap right after they’ve woken from a nap. It kinda freaks them out.
  • it’s ok to say no to ridiculously overpriced helium balloons in the magic cave. Isn’t there a helium shortage, anyway?
  • yes… it’s awesome to enjoy every moment and not get sucked into spending time on taking photos. But maybe take a few more pics of the kids at Christmas time. Every year you wish you’d taken a few more.
  • do some amazingly kind things as a family. That’s what Christmas spirit is all about.
  • round up the collection of Christmas books at the beginning of December and enjoy them all month long. Pebble (and hopefully Rocky by now) soak up the magic of every word and image and it all adds to the magic.
  • watch lots of Christmas movies as a family, the cornier the better.
  • don’t panic if the house isn’t spotlessly clean. Nobody is coming to visit you to check out your shining floors. And if they are you really shouldn’t give two jingle bells about that!
  • the practical stuff – get Christmas prepped well before the last week before Christmas:
    • get the presents organised early. PROPERLY ORGANISED. Remember how you planned to give lots of movie gift boxes (kinda like these… but not quite as awesome), which was super simple and easy? But then you left them to the last minute and were organising it on Christmas Eve when you had 6,876 other things to do? THAT.
    • make sure you’ve got wrapping paper (and sticky tape!)
    • start wrapping before Christmas Eve… sure it seems all romantic to imagine wrapping presents together while watching ‘Love Actually’ and sipping egg nog. But Paul hates ‘Love Actually’. And wrapping presents. And you’ll be too full from Christmas parties to drink egg nog. Not to mention so exhausted from Christmas pre-season that you’ll want a good nights sleep before the big day!
    • stock up on batteries for electronic gifts
    • make a Christmas e-card
    • write Christmas cards for the nanas and others who don’t have social media and can’t read your e-card (are there still people out there like that?!)
    • unbox, construct and power up any super tricky gifts that you know the kids will want to get stuck into straight away. Spending half and hour on unpackaging/constructing/fitting batteries is not very fun when you just want to enjoy playing with the kids and help them to enjoy their presents..
    • remember that after Christmas is birthday season for you – seven birthdays of close family and friends in just a few weeks. And that’s ok. You’ll be fine! Busy, but fine. Buy the pressies while doing the Christmas shopping and don’t moan about how busy you are (and get Pebble’s birthday invites out before Christmas).
    • plan to take delicious, festive foods to share when you need to ‘take-a-plate’. Yes, it’s extra work and time but there is much love to give through sharing a plate of lovingly prepared treats. If all else fails, a platter of shop bought goodies does the trick. Or take something you’ve made before that people loved.


  • remember that the build up is more stressful than the event. You always enjoy the day when it comes.
  • Laugh. Breathe. Hug the kids a little more. Kiss your husband twice as much.Be kind to yourself. Remeber what’s really important and don’t worry so much about the small stuff.

Much love.
Me x