January 19, 2015
by Kylie Gardner

And then she was five

 Pebble Turns Five

Five years old. Pebble is five years old! This is only the beginning really, isn’t it? But it feels SO big, this number. Five is an important turning point, she’s a big school kid now. She won’t be at home with me anymore and the outside world becomes a much bigger influence now.

Pebble already told me that she doesn’t believe in Santa or the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy anymore. I just can’t EVEN!? Apparently an older kid at school told her. We thought it would be a good idea for her to have a few OSHC hours under her belt before she starts school, as she’ll have to go there once a week now. Well, that sure backfired on us! I’m not sure if this non-believing stuff will stick but for now I’m downplaying it and we’ll see what happens at Easter. And also, a small part of me is wondering about the whole thing anyway…

Do you ever feel a bit weird when trying to encourage your kid to sit on Santa’s lap? Or when repeatedly ‘lying’ to them about these made up fantasies? I do, sometimes. I LOVE these things too, I love the joy and wonder and delight that children have for them. But when they start asking questions it all gets a bit awkward. And starts to feel a bit wrong? What do you think?

Anyway, back to the point at hand. FIVE. Our Pebble. She’s our big thinker, our logical kid. She has an amazing memory, much better than mine. She’s determined, which is sometimes a good thing and sometimes not so good. She’s a caring soul, so incredibly loving towards her little brother,  it’s intensely beautiful. Pebble is careful and particular, most of the time. She likes rules and for things to be done the right way. But you will still find her up to her neck in a mud bath or screaming at the top of her lungs in delight. Pebble is articulate and good with words. She hears a word once and uses it in context straight away and forever more. She’s also super awesome at remembering song lyrics for this very reason! Pebble can sometimes need a little push to do something new or scary, a bit more of a push than other kids perhaps, but she’s getting better at taking risks and pushing her own boundaries. She can push my boundaries like no one else on this earth, the talent of children around the world, I’m sure. But she also makes me feel a love so fierce that it can be terrifying.

 Pebble Turns Five

This year we celebrated her birthday very simply, with a party in the park, shared with her cousin who was born one year and two days after her. We’ve been talking about combining their birthday parties for years and we finally did it. We are also planning a party with school friends when term starts, which will also be shared with her bestie and neighbour. Sharing the birthday love! On the big day itself we had a day of nothing but ‘yes’ to everything (including peas for breakfast ! and a ride on this gorgeous kangaroo at the shops), some crafting (of course), a play at the park then her favourite tuna mornay for dinner and a watermelon cake for dessert.

 Pebble Turns Five Pebble Turns Five Pebble Turns Five

Happy birthday, Pebble. We love you and are so proud of the person you’re growing up to be.

January 13, 2015
by Kylie Gardner

High 5 Sight Words

Last week I saw a cool idea for high five sight words  and the idea has been rolling around in my head. I’ve been thinking about how I can use it in my classroom and at home with Pebble (age 4 years, 11 months and 3 weeks!). This morning Pebble asked “what can we dooooooooooooooooooo?”so I decided to give it a go.

She traced around her hand onto some coloured paper, I helped her cut them out and I wrote sight words on them. She chose where to stick them around the house and then followed me, repeating the sight word and giving them a high five. Rocky joined in, of course. We’ll keep practicing together and eventually Pebble will get to know the words on her own.

High Five Sight Words


High Five Sight Words

I used the Magic 100 Words, as these are the sight words that we use in our classroom, but there are lots of free sight word lists on the internet, just Google it to find your own. Planning with Kids has some great ideas for using Magic 100 words too.

I’ll let you know if and when I use this in the classroom too :)

How do you practice sight words at home with your kids? Or in the classroom?

January 6, 2015
by Kylie Gardner

Stepping into the unknown

It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.

Well, hello there! I’ve missed you, dear readers. And I’ve missed THIS. Sitting at my little desk, words flowing from my fingers tips onto a crisp white space on the screen. I’m back! But things will be a little different around here in 2015. I hope you will step with me into the unknown, because I’m still figuring out exactly what ‘different’ looks like.

As my family and life changes this blog will change with it, as it always has. What does that mean right now? For starters, our big girl, Pebble is turning five and starting school. That’s going to be a big adjustment for us as we get used to all that comes with that gig.

Meanwhile Rocky will turn two and continue part-time at his wonderful child care centre, moving into the toddler room where I just know he will have so many adventures. He also gets to spend a day a week with his Grandma and Aunty J, which is very special for him (and them!). Not to mention that I get two days a week to spend with just him. Now that Pebble is off to school I know how fleeting and treasured that time is.

In other news, I’m taking on more teaching time at school. I’m really excited to be teaching with my bestest teaching partner ever (fist bump Mrs O!). We’ll be taking an awesome group of four and five year old kids through their first year at School, learning with them every step of the way.

I’m also taking a step back from everything, just a little, and focusing on doing a bit less. Not stretching myself too thin, ya know? That’s what I like about this quote – it reminds me to slow down, to breathe, to let go of the FOMO.

As for blogging? I’ll be here, but I don’t know how often. I do know that I’ll be here a lot less than I used to be, for the time being. I’ll see you around.

December 10, 2014
by Kylie Gardner

Breathe. Trust. Let Go.

Breathe Trust Let Go

I’ve decided to take a break for the rest of the year, and into January 2015. I need some screen free time with my family and some time to think about where I want to take Octavia and Vicky in the future. Octavia and Vicky is my third baby and I love it so very much. I’m so grateful to all of YOU because somehow this little blog has grown bigger than I ever imagined, and that couldn’t have happened without your support.

While I’m taking stock of things I’ll be enjoying Christmas with my little (and very big extended) family, and soaking up every moment of Pebble’s last few weeks at home before she starts school in the new year.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays, I hope you make the most of the time with your loved ones too.


December 9, 2014
by Kylie Gardner

Kids Christmas Style

As much as I have been enjoying dressing myself up these days, I also really love dressing my kids in cute clothes too. The trouble is that I don’t like spending a lot of money on kids clothes because I believe in messy play and having fun outside. So when Nikki from Second Dressed got in touch and told me about her recycled children’s clothing business I thought it was just brilliant. I told her that I’d love to share it with my readers, just because I love it so much (I haven’t been paid or given freebies for this, it’s all small business love).

Second Dressed - children's recycled clothing boutique

Second Dressed is an online recycled children’s clothing boutique that makes it super easy for you to buy and sell high quality, second hand children’s clothing. It’s very easy to navigate, just choose the age and gender of your child and see what’s in stock. Once you’ve ordered your clothes they will arrive quick smart along with a reply paid satchel for you to pop your own children’s clothes in and send back to Second Dressed. It was SO easy to do and Nikki has done a great job of explaining the no fuss process on her website:

Second Dressed - how to sell

My account was credited with the money for my clothes within days of sending them off. Unlike other online selling options I didn’t need to take photos and set up auctions or worry about collection or postage. It was all done for me and it was AWESOME.

15% off all purchases for Octavia and Vicky readers

Second Dressed is offering Octavia and Vicky readers 15% of all purchases from now until January 10th, 2015. Just use the offer code ‘OV15′ at checkout. Please do pop over and give Second Dressed a try, I bet  you’ll love it as much as I did.

What are you waiting for, go and pick up some cute threads for your kids to wear this Christmas. 


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