A Family Update

Hello Strangers…..

It has been a long 6 months since I updated this blog.  The longest time it has sat quiet in 5 years!

There is so much to catch you up on I am not quite sure to begin, so lets start at January……

I was all out of leave.  You name it I had used it!  Unpaid leave, long service leave, maternity leave, extended maternity leave, all gone. So it was either return to work or forfeit my permanent position.  With bills mounting and future dreams scheming returning to work seems the most sensible decision.  The hunt for a job share partner started and ended quickly as I had the perfect person already in mind, with one catch.  I had to return in Term 1 and her Maternity leave didn’t finish until the start of Term 2.  So I sucked it up and went back full time for Term 1.  For the first time in 10 years I was placed not in Prep and instead tried a new adventure in Year 3.  To add to the craziness I also took on a one day a week role as a “Visible Learning Impact Coach”.  To say I have loved it is an understatement.  By far the best teaching year I have ever had.  A beautiful class, wonderful teaching team and I could just about go full time forever!  (I am now on 4 days, 3 in class, 1 in Visible Learning)

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The one catch is that this means our little Hurricane (who is now 2.3) had to start Day Care.  Bonus is it’s only 3 days a week and located at my work so super handy.  He cries every morning, but when I pick him up he has had a great day.  His language has EXPLODED and he talks more than any of my kids have!  He is an exceptional eater but a horrific sleeper.  Can’t win them all.

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Little Miss A is in Grade 1 and has been blessed to have the same teacher she had for Prep who has now just left for the rest of the year on long service.  Poor little girl is heartbroken!  We have upped the anti with dancing this year and are throwing all our time (and all our money) into her favourite thing to do.  She is now in 6 classes a week!  She would go every day if we let her.  She spends every waking moment watching dancing, playing dancing or practicing dancing.  She has her first Violin solo coming up and her first dancing eisteddfod!  She thrives at school and has a particular penchant for numbers.  Her obsessive personality sure comes into it’s own in Maths.  She fills pieces of paper with equations, just for fun.

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Master O is now in Grade 4 and filling his days with Choir and Drama lessons.  Still intent on a job on Television he will do anything to be on a stage.  His confidence still amazes me.  He completed a NIDA Drama workshop and at then end stood in front of a crowd of parents (strangers) and presented his line flawlessly and without the slightest hint of nerves.  Not only that but he simply loves it.  He is desperate to go to a film workshop but thats where the big bucks (so far the cheapest has been $500!) come in so we are shopping around for one in Brisbane that is good and affordable!

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Perhaps the biggest change in our lives is THE LAKE HOUSE.  After years of dreaming and scheming and planning we finally did it.  We sold our much loved first family home, bought a block of land, moved into a rental and started planning our new build, by the lake.  It’s our dream location and our dream home, but dreams sure don’t happen quickly!  This process is a whole blog post in itself!

So that where we are at.  Building, working, schooling, multiple drop offs, hours in dance and drama waiting rooms and living life!


Favourite 2015 Product – DYSON REVIEW

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If you don’t want to read about someone swooning over and falling in love with a vacuum cleaner, stop reading here.

We have lived in our house for ten years.  For ten years I have been searching for the perfect vacuum cleaner.  The problem being we have a big house (must have a long cord) stairs (easy to cart up and down) and multiple floor types (must be able to suck crumbs off the rug and hair out of the carpet and cereal off the tiles.)

The other problem we have had in the past is weight.  Not mine but the vacuums!   I am an absolute weakling and carting the big vacuum up the stairs meant I would rarely do it.  The large vacuum was also cumbersome to drag out when you just want to do a quick tidy after the kids have eaten.

I have need owned or even tried a stick vacuum as I assumed it just wouldn’t be powerful enough for the amount of mess and size of our house.  Boy was I wrong.

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After testing out the Dyson V6 Absolute Stick Vacuum at the Good Food and Wine Show, I was obsessed!  It was so light that even little Miss A could use it!

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It sucked up cereal, confetti, everything quickly AND quietly!

It’s manoeuvrability was excellent, the swivel head meant it was easy to get into corners and under the couch.  Literally hours after I got it home, this happened…..

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I wish I could say it was a first, but for some reason smashing the glass salt and pepper shakers seems to be a regular occurrence in this house!

What we are loving….

Run-time: This machine will run for 20 minutes, 16 with the motorized cleaner head and for 6 minutes on boost mode.  This enough to do the entire floor of one level of our house.

Dyson digital motor V6: The latest Dyson digital motor gives V6 Absolute the most powerful suction of any cordless vacuum. This thing has sucked up everything!  The clear barrel lets you see how much (and what!) has been sucked up and its incredible.  The scary thing is how much it got out of our apparently clean rug and carpet.

2 Tier Radial™ Cyclone Technology: Flings dust out of the air and into the bin, separating out even the most microscopic particles.

Handheld conversion:  Hands down (no pun intended!) I am an absolute stick vacuum convert.  The ease of being able to vacuum the stairs or grab it out for a quick run around with no cord to plug in is amazing.

Extra tools:  I don’t know what they are all called but all the tools that come with it are great. My window tracks have never been so clean love the little nozzle pack and love using “short” version (just remove the wand) of the vacuum for cleaning the car. The wand can be easily removed and tools attached directly to the cyclone pack for cleaning stairs, couches, mattress and car interiors.

Quiet:  This Vacuum doesn’t scare our little hurricane boy like the last, most probably due to the fact that it is noticeably quieter.

Cords Free:  With a house full of stairs and lots of quick cleans required the convenience of no cords is a winner.

The Dyson V6 Absolute has a RRP of $899 and is worth every cent.  This is by far the best item we got in 2015 and has literally changed the way we clean!

To find your own local stockist click HERE



Organising The Family Finances

Yesterday I posted some pictures of the Cash Envelope system I have used in the past, to help keep on top of the Family Finance Budget.  This is just one small part of what we do to manage our finances and stay on budget.  It’s actually one of the very last parts! For those new to the blog or need a refresher here is where and how we started……..


Doing your homework. Getting your head around the finances. The aim here is to work out

How much you spend
What you spend it on
When you spend it (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Yearly)
STEP 1. Make a list of ALL of the household expenses. At this stage this could just be off the top of the head. Every family has different expenses but some possibilities are;

  • Mortgage/Rent
  • Rates
  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Home Telephone
  • Mobile phones
  • Pay Tv
  • Home Insurance
  • Car Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Car registration
  • Car Maintenance
  • Petrol
  • School/Childcare Fees
  • School Expenses (uniforms, books, excursions, levies)
  • Extra Curicular Activities (sporting teams, clubs, hobbies)
  • Other Loans/Regular Credit Card payments
  • Groceries
  • Entertainment/Going Out
  • Holidays

If possible write them directly into a budget spreadsheet. You can create your own using Excel or Even a table in Word. Or browse the web their are so many to choose from.

STEP 2. Gather or PRINT OFF YOUR BANK STATEMENTS. At least 6 Months worth.

STEP 3. HIGHLIGHT – You will need at least 4 different colour highlighters. Use a different colour to highlight each of the expenses on your bank statement accordingly, as per the list below.

I am going to use colour examples just to help make the example clearer.

GREEN – Set Payments Mortage/Rent/Phone/Rates/Insurances/Registration/School Fees – These are the amounts that do not regularly change or if they do it is by a few dollars. These items are classed as essential and are not negotiable. When you come accross these items write the AMOUNT and FREQUENCY of the bill onto your template.
ORANGE – Regular Payments – Electricity, Gas – These payments are due regularly, are essential. but can fluctuate in their amount. Write these AMOUNTS and FREQUENCY onto your budget template in pencil only as you will have a lot of amounts!
PINK – Unavoidable Expenses – Groceries, Petrol, Gifts – These payments can fluctuate in how often they occur and how much they cost. They are essential but negotiable and open to finding some big savings. DO NOT WRITE THESE IN YOUR BUDGET JUST YET.
YELLOW Avoidable Expenses – This is the other category – These are one off non essential items – like entertainment (hiring dvd’s,parties, clothes, hair cuts, eating out, holidays, days out, buying coffee etc) This is the category with the most chance of savings. DO NOT WRITE THESE IN YOUR BUDGET JUST YET
These 3 easy steps will now have your head around what is being spent!
For me this was the hardest part of all. It was hard to be honest about how much we were spending or should I say wasting! You are now off to a great financial start and ready to FINALISE A FAMILY BUDGET!


So here is our Family Finance System…

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1. Mail In. This can be either the paper variety or most often electronically. As soon as the bill comes in it is opened. NO MAIL REMAINS UNOPENED FOR MORE THAN 24 HOURS. Yes sometimes you dread opening bills. But delayed bill paying adds to paper clutter, increases the chance you will misplace it, pay it late and have to pay more in late payment fees. Collecting and opening the mail is a shared task and part of our everyday routine. As we enter the house, after the school pick up, Master O collects the mail. He loves this job! Whilst the kids are having afternoon tea, I go through the mail (and all the notes in the school bag!)

  • Junk mail straight to recycling bin
  • School notes to School File it Folder
  • Invitations and Notices onto The Family Noticeboard
  • Art Work into Art work folders
  • and of course THE BILLS!!!

What about the bills???

2. Bills Board. The bills go straight onto the Bills Board. This is simply a clipboard where we keep all bills until they are paid. By having them in one location, we both know what needs to be paid. I briefly check:

  • When is the bill due? This is recorded in iCal (a software calendar program for Macs) This allows me to get electronic reminders for when bills are due.
  • Is it how much I had budgeted for? We rarely get surprises! In general we have calculated how much each bill should be and put that money aside each fortnight. My HOT TIP IS. When creating a family budget slightly over calculate each bills. That way you are never left short! Even if the bill is less than you had expected, PAY WHAT YOU HAD BUDGETED FOR! It will mean you are always a little ahead and give you a cushion, should you find yourself struggling one month.
  • Is it accurate? I always check our bills for inaccuracies. Especially if it doesn’t seem to match previous bills or is more than I expected. This way I can judge wether it is time to change suppliers or switch to a better plan or deal.

3. Family Finance Folder. Once the bill is paid it is stored in the relevant section of the Family Finance Folder. I ALWAYS record the receipt number and the date paid, on the bill, before storing it away. At the end of the financial year all of these records will be used for tax purposes.


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As mentioned above I store all of our financial paper work in a “Family Finance Folder” I have chosen this style of filing system after the great success of our

School File It Folder

To create this “Family Finance Folder” you will need;

1. An A4 Ring Binder Folder with a clear insert on the front.

2. A packet of A4 Plastic pockets

3. A packet (or two!) of EXTRA WIDE tabbed folder dividers! They must be EXTRA WIDE if you want to be able to see the tabs when the folder is closed.

4. OPTIONAL – A clear plastic envelope made for ring binders.

5. OPTIONAL – Scrapbook Paper for the Front and labelmaker for the tabs.

To really make the system work you will also need a clipboard! I have two kinds a plain one that I decorated with scrapbook paper and a groovy one found in the office section of Big W!

This folder is customised for your families needs so sit down with your paper work, sort it into piles and figure out which categories you will need in your folder. Grab your supplies (all can be found at BIG W or Officeworks!) and get ready to conquer the paper clutter!

Why a system and a folder.  This ensures that important paper work, notices, bills are not discarded with the junk mail or lost under a pile of school work.  Having the bills on the one clipboard ensures that when they are due you know where they are and how much needs to be paid.


Later this week I will share how we budget bills and set up bills accounts.  This may seem like a lot of work but as you can see from some of the pictures I set up this system 4 years ago and have not had to touch it since!!!  It works that well!!!! When it comes to living stress free their is oohing more important then being on top of and managing your finances!!


Happy New Year


I LOVE this time of year.  So full of new hope, fresh starts, blank slates.  I am not one for new years resolutions and instead prescribe to the new “word” of the year.

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For me to Hustle is to set goals and then busily and enthusiastically set yourself to achieving them, to strive for more, give it your all, negotiate, dream, believe.  This year is going to be hectic.  But in the best possible way.  2016 is the start of a new chapter in my life.  The years of babies are over.  The last 10 years have been costumed with trying to fall pregnant, being pregnant and having babies.  Those days are now over and we now have time to think about ourselves a little more.  Our goals and dreams are slowly shifting.  after 3 years on leave and countless years prior to that working only part time in 2016 I am returning to work. I haven’t felt this excited by teaching since being a graduate teacher!  Add to that a few new job opportunities, smashing some study, the Hurricane starting Daycare, new extra curricular activities for the kids and our biggest family project ever (more on that later) we are going to be BUSY!


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After years of dreams, this is the year for those dreams to become plans and to bring them life.

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I choose to live a life full of abundance.  I truly believe it is a choice.  Day by day we are designing our life’s journey, why not create one you love!  I am not sure there is a better way to start the year than with a head full of dreams, a heart full of excitement at the possibilities ahead and a belief that this year is going to be truly amazing.

How To Make Your Home Entertainment Friendly

The festive season has well and truly begun in this house and we currently have a home full of visitors.  With Ballet concerts, speech nights, christmas parties this certainly is a busy time of year, but one I love to share with friends and family.

We love to entertain and designed many elements of our home to reflect this.  With a kitchen at the centre of the house, open plan living and bi fold doors that create a seamless inside to outside entertaining space, we have plenty of room to entertain both little and big guests.

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Regardless of your homes layout, there are many ways you can prepare your home for entertaining, the right space and atmosphere can have a big impact on your get-together. It pays to prepare your home for successful entertaining before you start inviting friends over. Here are a couple of ways to make your home more entertainment friendly.

Enhance Your Outdoor Area

If your property has the room to spare, a deck or patio is the perfect entertaining space. Adding value as well as style, decks provide an informal space perfect for relaxed dinners, casual lunches and more. When you are ready to add a patio or verandah to your home, choose a skilled builder that specialises in outdoor spaces, such as Additions Building. A knowledgeable builder can help make the process much easier.

Choose Beautiful Lighting

Lighting helps to set a mood, so choose your lighting carefully. Pendant lighting over an indoor dining table is a pretty way to add soft lighting. For outdoors, you may choose tea lights or fairy lights to provide some illumination without attracting swarms of bugs. Changing up your lighting is one of the most affordable ways to make your home more inviting for guests.

Don’t Go Overboard Decorating

No one feels completely at ease in a home that isn’t their own. While you are disappearing to prep food, your guests may be wondering where they can set their drinks without upsetting the carefully laid table. When meal time rolls around, the more room for plate passing, the better. Don’t block the flow of conversation with tall centrepieces you never get a chance to use. Instead, keep the table informal and let your guests relax while they dine. This is particularly important for outdoor entertaining.

Offer Guests Somewhere to Relax

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Ever been to a dinner party where you had to squish in next to someone you didn’t know? It can be really uncomfortable, particularly for introverts. Make sure you have plenty of seats for your guests to stake out, as well as room for them to move around. Extra seating (away from the dining area) also allows guests to stretch their legs and an opportunity to chat with other people.

Create a Killer Playlist

There is a reason bars and restaurants often play background music. It helps to dictate the mood of the venue or function. You may choose a playlist that matches the theme of your gathering. For example, a birthday party could feature songs from the year the guest of honour was born. To save time, use a music streaming service with pre-selected playlists. Most streaming sites also have a method of matching similar songs to save you combing through thousands of tracks to find the right sound.

All of these suggestions can help make your home feel more inviting when entertaining. You don’t have to spend a stack of money to make significant changes to the entertainment value of your home. Of course, the most important part of an enjoyable night is spending it with the people you love!

 Do you have any suggestions for how to turn your home into the perfect get-together location?

Working 9-5

The time has come.  In 2016, after 3 years of leave from my permanent teaching position, I will be back in the classroom.  The enthusiasm and excitement can only be compared to what I felt when I took on that very first teaching position many moons ago, fresh out of uni.  I have found the most perfect job share partner, with the only catch being she is on leave until Term 2!  So I will be working Full Time for Term 1 and then 3 days a week for the rest of the year.

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So many changes in stall, as this also means our Baby Hurricane will also be off to Day Care for the first time.  Our last experience with Day care was Master O going for 1 day a week just before he started Kindy so this will be a whole new experience for everyone.

We are going to have to be more organised then ever before, with now 4 different sets of school dates and events plays the one million activities these kids seem to have already signed up for in 2016.

Over the next few months I will be sure to share;

  • How we get organised (and stay that way)
  • Keep up to date with different schedules and dates
  • Prepare for Day Care
  • Set up Our Classroom
  • Organise a Teachers Desk
  • My Teacher Planner
  • Tips and Tricks for the First Day of School (For kids, parents and teachers!)

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but first we have the 2-3 busiest weeks of the year including the fact that I am going to be working!

  • 2 x Dance Concerts
  • 3 x Dress Rehearsals
  • 2 x Photo Days (with multiple costume changes!)
  • 2 x School Speech Nights
  • 2 x Dance Break ups
  • 2 x Dance Awards Nights
  • A swimming Carnival
  • Christmas break up parties
  • a cute angel in the nativity play to watch

and thats just the kids activities!  Through in work and christmas parties and end of year drinks and it will be fun, fun, fun!

Oh and visitors who are arriving to watch it all! Sleep who needs, sleep!

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I wouldn’t have it any other way and know that it is only going to get crazier when we have 3 kids at school and activities.

Now to get that calendar out and get organised!




Starting THE ELF ON THE SHELF – Everything You Need to Know

Every year I am bombarded with questions on how to “do” the Elf on The Shelf.  It is such a hard question to answer as their is no “right” way to enjoy the Elf On The Shelf.  But to get you  started and get your own ideas in motion everything you need to know is right here! In ONE post!  Follow these 6 Steps to begin your ELf On The Shelf memory making!


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What is this crazy thing I keep hearing about? A Joyful Christmas Tradition


Our favourite place is The Book Depository.  Mainly because they almost always have stock and quick and affordable shipping.


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Get some inspiration and see how other people use the Elf on The Shelf. The Elf On The Shelf in Our House, The Elf on The Shelf In Real Homes


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Be organised! It’s a busy 25 days!  Plan ahead using a FREE PRINTABLE Elf Antic Planner


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 So now you are ready to start, how ill the Elf Arrive?  Some ideas on introducing him to your children and a free printable letter from Santa to help you on your way. IDEAS on How to Introduce The Elf, FREE PRINTABLE Letter of Introduction From Santa


 Use the Search Bar >>>> to search Elf On The Shelf and My Christmas Elf

and uncover photos, FREE printables, educational activities, clue cards and


What I learnt the day my blog broke.

As a mum of three you think I would be use to things being broken.(remember the broken Angel?) Once the baby Hurricane entered our lives it has been an endless stream of broken phones, label makers, calculators and vacuum cleaners.  (Do you sense a pattern there?  If it has buttons and makes noises this kid has to have it and “tinker” with it.)

I still remember so vividly in my own childhood the despair over my brother and sister constantly breaking “my” things.  As the eldest of four, and a collector of random things, it often felt as if anything special to me ended up being destroyed by them.

And yet it still didn’t prepare me for the day my blog broke.  Oh she was long suffering and since her last cosmetic makeover has succumbed to a series of glitches but nothing a quick google couldn’t fix.   Then one day a reader sent me this…..

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I see red, I see red, I see red. (Sing it with me)

I studied enough random theatre and literature subjects at university to know that red symbolises evil, danger, stop, BAD BAD BAD!

I sent out my problem into the hands of the blogging world in the hope someone could explain.  Rather than an explanation I got lots of  what seemed like dire predictions that this would not be pretty.

After much consulting, and swearing (which I never do) and googling and crying I wondered if it was all worth it.  I am busy.  Kids, work, house, husband, projects, a side job, social media, kids activities…Do I really need a blog as well.  So I walked away.  Itbwas hard but it had to be done. She sat abandoned whilst I continued running the social media channels.

Who needs a blog anyway!  Well actually I do.

It’s cathartic, reflective, motivating and mine.  My little pretty and positive pocket of the internet to unleash the random nature of my mind onto others.   A place to indulge my varied loves of houses and organising and teaching and parenting.  I suddenly realised that after nearly 5 years of blogging it has become a part of my identity. I can not go a day without seeing something that I want to share with others.  I constantly format posts in my head.  I talk, I ramble, I write.  It’s just me.

But how much is that part of me worth?  To fix it will cost money, time and patience none of which I have in an abundant supply.  If this is just for me maybe I am best just to leave it be and keep a diary. Done.  Decided.  Walk away from the red screen now.

and then….. whilst the blog sat unattended it continued to be viewed and shared.  The emails continued to come in, including this one…..

“After the birth of my little one (14 weeks ago) and his diagnosis you have inspired and helped me get everything sorted. From Mr E’s medical records and appointments to dinner planners and weekend ideas (I’m even recovering our couch and redoing our bookshelves)
When ever I feel out of it a little I have a look over your blogs. Thank you, you are helping me when I have those moments of feeling out of control of my life.”

Cue tears.  Seriously?  Someone is reading?   It’s not just about me?

and like the world often does, signs appeared in the most random of places.  A teacher on playground duty, the lady at Gloria Jeans waiting in line, the Mum in the school car park.

“Oh you should see my Quiet Critters!”

“Where do you buy the Borax from for the Christmas decorations?”

“Your blog is down and I need to print off your meal planning template!”

When did this happen?  It was supposed to be my little secret.  I actually went for two years before I even told anyone I had a blog. Turns out, it may be a part of me, but it’s not ABOUT me.  Whilst I write about the musings in my head it’s relieving to know they are also the things in other peoples head.  I would never have predicted that something I was selfishly doing for myself may be something that other people could use.  Bingo. That’s what this blog is about.  It’s about sharing, supporting, motivating and inspiring myself and others.  I need my blog back.

and so I am back.  After pondering and saving and spending and fixing and way too many conversations with someone techy on the other side of the world in the middle of the night as we try to get off the google blacklist (I didn’t even know such a thing existed!) and deleting 1 million spam comments and malware….

I am back.  Well actually I was always here but The Organised Nest is back.

And she is her pretty Mint and Pink and glittery gold self with nor a trace of google blacklist or red to be seen.


Give The Gift of an Experience

This is a Sponsored Post in collaboration with Adrenalin

After 11 wedding anniversaries, 9 Father’s Day’s and  countless birthdays I was well and truly running our of gift ideas for my husband.   The kids always contribute with their boundless amounts of homemade cards and artwork but I love for him to know how much he is valued and appreciated by the way of a gift.

So this Father’s Day I searched a little further than the department store junk mail for a gift he would remember.  A quick google of “Experience Gifts” and I hit the jackpot, “Adrenalin.”


With 100’s of experiences to choose from I left it to the kids to pick! One loved the idea of Parasailing but he has already done that!  Another (can you guess who?) loved the idea of Daddy driving a Race Car.  I could only wonder if that is a reflection of his everyday driving skills?  Keen for him to not just be a passenger but to experience the thrill of actually driving the car we signed him up for 6 Laps driving a V8 Race Car.

As excited as he was approaching the Race Track he admits he was slightly daunted when he realised just how fast these machines went!  He had a choice of cars, a quick safety talk and off he went.

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To say he loved it is an understatement.  He grabbed a video of the experience on a usb to bring home and we all loved watching the Spedometer to see how fast he was going and the expressions on his face!  He loved to talk us through what he had to do at each part of the track and raved about how heart pumping it was.

Honestly, the only negative thing was why didn’t I think of this sooner!  To think of all the hours wasted shopping for a present that was then going to sit unused for the rest of the year, when I could have been giving a gift of an experience.

Best of all it was great to see how much our children loved to watch Daddy taking a risk, experiencing and learning something new and that sometimes the best present are not material items but experiences and memories that will last a life time.

3 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Landscaping

When we built our current house, landscaping wasn’t part of of our “Build Package” and it has literally taken years for us to finish it off! Now as we begin to prepare our house for sale we have been paying particular attention to making our yard look it’s best.

Landscaping is an integral part of your property and can either enhance or detract from the overall appeal of your home.  In addition to adding valuable outdoor living space, a nicely landscaped home also has better ‘street appeal’ and will increase the value of your property. If your outdoor areas are looking somewhat shabby, here are some ways to improve your home’s landscaping.

1. The Grass Is Always Greener…

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A lovely lush, green lawn is often the envy of neighbours in many suburban streets. Not only is it visually appealing for any home; it also adds value to your property and, most importantly, provides an inviting outdoor living space to use and enjoy. Unfortunately, lawns are often the most overlooked element of many gardens. The wonderful thing about turf, however, is how quickly and cost-effectively it can be used to completely transform a tired, under-utilised outdoor area. ‘Hard landscaping’ options like pavers require a great deal more labour, materials and cost. An area can be quickly prepared for turf laying and, if you call in some help, this could be done in a day. By using a turf specialist such as Hancey’s Turf for preparation and installation, you’ll end up with a better quality lawn that is easier to manage and looks sensational. They will also be able to provide invaluable advice on the best turf variety to use at your home and the best ways to maintain it.

2. Does Your Landscape Have a Theme?

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 It might sound like a funny question, but one of the governing principles for good design in any setting is consistency.  We failed dismally with this one when we started and ended up with a real mismatched looking garden.  A theme is a great way to achieve this and can provide cohesion and balance to your landscaping. There are many different types of landscape themes to choose from including native, cottage, tropical, Mediterranean, ‘dry-spell’ and contemporary.  In fact, some new housing developments insist that you plant a certain amount of “natives” within their covenants.

Before you rush into choosing a theme, however, the most critical thing to think about is your location. Plant selection needs to be determined first and foremost by the climate and soil type of your home. There’s simply no point spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a garden makeover with plants that aren’t suited to your location and will end up dying. There are ways to overcome this in some instances, but it will require a lot of time, effort and probably money to make it work in the long term.

3. Landscaping Must Complement Your Home

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Another major consideration for any landscaping project you undertake is the vintage and style of your home. It’s important to base your landscaping choices around this and to make the two blend and work well together. For example, an ultra-modern landscape design against a 1960s or ‘70s house is not likely to look great. Cross the street and look at your property from some distance away. Then try to visual what type of landscaping options will complement your home. If you’re unsure, grab some landscaping magazines and get some tips and inspiration for how to transform your garden.

Improving your home’s landscaping is relatively easy to do once you understand the principles of good design. Depending on the options you choose and whether you call in expert help, improving your home’s landscaping might be easier, faster and more affordable than you think.

Any suggestions on some hardy plants that will survive my kids?