how to fund therapies for your young child

I was actually going to write about the busy-ness of this time of year but keep seeing this question pop up online and wanted to write so many things so decided to write a blog post and share it. If there’s one thing you hear when a mum has a child in therapies such as speech, OT, physio or seeing a psychologist, well it’s how to fund it. You are probably paying a lot of money out of pocket, getting a bit back through your health fund or not and wondering when will it ever end and why don’t we have a diagnosis. Here are a few things that you could do to help out

1. Do you have a few issues going on in your child and are they under school age?

Let’s say you’re seeing speech, physio and maybe OT or something else but your current dr/paed hasn’t mentioned an assessment. Contact the nearest Child Development Unit near you and explain your child’s situation. They will ask for a referral from one of your specialists or your GP and they meet and discuss all the cases they have and who they will meet and assess and if not what they will recommend for you to do. Often a paediatrician won’t tell you about this service. Some like to wait and see but they offer a wonderful service. You can read more about them here and find your nearest one at your nearest large hospital (e.g Westmead Children’s, Royal North Shore etc). Waiting lists depend on your area and current demand. If the waiting list is too long then see if you can go private. Often a psychologist will offer an initial consultation and you can meet with me, they will have read the child’s history and they will determine whether a diagnostic assessment is required or not and you can go privately. This is not the cheap option but they can tell you their initial thoughts and if a diagnosis that will get you funding is likely then this might be the right option to access funding (I’m thinking specifically of ASD here when I write this which we don’t have but the current funding model would be helpful for some families).

2. Make sure you have an chronic disease management plan (previously called enhanced primary care and actually what I still call it!) and a mental health plan from your GP which you can use for specialists appointments and claim those costs through medicare. You won’t receive a full refund but will get some money back. Your GP will be a great help if you have a good one on what you can access.

3. Carers allowance

It took me a year or two before I applied for the carers allowance and the current payment of $121 a fortnight might not sound much compared to the cost of therapies but it helps and once a year a supplement is paid which can contribute significantly towards your costs. If you are rejected you can always appeal. And be prepared to be rejected. We were rejected even with a diagnosed disability but I asked why it was rejected and filled in my forms with a 2 page covering letter detailing everything I did for my 4 year old and demonstrated the level of care compared to a regular child her age. Even with a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder you should be able to access the carers allowance depending on the age of your child – under a certain age it is harder to apply for because a child needs a high level of care anyway.

4.Look for organisations who can help you

Variety, Lifestart, Riding for the Disabled, Rainbow Swim Club, Aspect, Special Olympics, check out your local government area who should produce a guide for people living in the area with disabilities and all of the programs they run.

5. Look at your health fund

We reached our limit for speech and discovered we were on an old plan but if we changed to a new plan with higher limits we would get more back each visit and a higher limit. Contact your health fund to discuss your needs and the plan you are on.

6. Rotate therapies

We are on a break from physio and OT but made speech our priority this year with weekly speech. It put a big drain on finances but we are now seeing the benefits. A wise reader told me to take breaks, re-evaluate the greatest need, look for physical activities like swimming and dancing as a break from physio, what can you do at home that they love and will help them.

7. A diagnosed disability won’t necessarily solve all of your problems

Unfortunately under the current model and unless you are in a NDIS roll out zone, even an intellectual disability won’t give you access to funding. Some rare genetic conditions are included under better start funding but most aren’t. So what do you do? Do all of the above, find out when the NDIS is coming to your area and start working out what you want funding for.

8. Join Facebook groups

Other mums are going through what you are going through or one or two steps ahead of you. Ask questions, make sure you are receiving everything you are entitled to, talk to your GP as well and just stay up to date with everything.

9. Remain your child’s number 1 advocate

No one loves our children more than we do. It’s important to see our role as mum and also their case co-ordinator. We are responsible for their every day needs and we also need to make sure that we fight for what they need. Things will happen that are unfair or you will get rejections but it’s up to us to fight for them and make sure they receive what they are entitled to. I never want to become bitter or angry or annoyed with the system however flawed it is. Remember to stay proactive, research and find out what is best for your child and what you can do from home. Don’t rely on anyone else to solve your problems entirely. I did a wonderful course called Parents as Case Co-ordinators which put me in the driving seat. We set goals and looked at how as parents we need to take responsibility and manage our children’s therapies, needs, funding and more. I was already in that frame of mind but it did ensure I went after everything we were entitled to for our little girl to make sure she got the best start she could and also because it gets you into the system that when the NDIS comes through you are already working with organisations who you know and have relationships with.

10. Look after you

Did you know that you are also entitled to sessions with a plan through your GP so you can see a counsellor or psychologist. Discovering your child has a disability, coping with the extra demands, the day to day demands and more are a huge change for us. I had no idea what my friends with children with special needs were going through until we started walking the same road.  Please make sure you are getting a break and time to rest and look after yourself. I keep this blog and my facebook page light and happy because that’s how I am but it doesn’t mean that I don’t go through absolute heartbreak and a range of emotions behind the scenes.

I hope that helps, if you have a question just ask.


rainbow ripple baby blanket all finished

It was a bit of a late night marathon to get this one over the line……………………2.30am bed time this morning…..on the day of my cousin’s baby shower! There were a few episodes of breaking bad and ladies of london to keep me entertained but I made it! Well that’s the short story – the long story is that I’ve been home for the past 5 days while my van was being fixed. And in between a bit of cabin fever since I had the 3 little ones all week and no way to get out of the house – so there was time to crochet.

It’s finished and I love it. First time using this pattern and am going to start a girly version tonight since I love the pattern so much. It’s really easy and if you can do a granny square and double crochet into a stitch then you can do this one.

The colours I used were parchment, daffodil, teal and glacier. We don’t know whether the baby is a boy or girl so I picked neutral colours and I’m not usually a fan of yellow but it just was the perfect little pop of colour in this blanket. And I don’t really do neutral colours but I really love how this turned out.

Now the pattern has 5 rounds of colour and 1 of white but I looked through people’s projects and saw that many had changed this and I preferred that look so decided to have less yellow and more white and it looked great. To finish I just went around with single crochet in 2 different colours. If I had more time and could keep my eyes open I might have done all of the colours as a final edge but love how it turned out. Oh and I would have blocked it but it was a chilly day and I knew it wouldn’t be done in time. That and I had to sew 2 presents for a birthday party my big girl was going to at the same time as the shower. Anyway, the mum-to-be loved it and so do I.

Ravelry details are here, pattern can be found here (it’s a free download) and bendigo cotton here.

And would you look at this little guy! Such a cutie. He had a great time.

peppermint bark

I was flicking through a catalogue and saw the price of peppermint bark in a tin and realised that I need to keep making the stuff. At a fraction of the price from the store. You could make these with just red candy canes or a colour combination. They are super easy to make. If you live in a hot area keep it in the fridge. It’s sweltering here today and definitely not the day I’ll be touching chocolate but this recipe is so easy and fun and everyone in the family is going to want to help you make it! Enjoy!


So give this one a go this year……………….

my first time with peppermint bark
Recipe type: Christmas
What you'll need
  • 1 bag white chocolate melts
  • 1 bag milk or dark chocolate melts
  • tsp vegetable oil
  • about 8-10 candy canes
  1. Peel the plastic off the candy canes, place in a plastic big and work out some frustration with a chopping board and a rolling pin. You can chop them up finer than I have them but basically just break them up. Set aside.
  2. Melt the milk or dark chocolate melts for your lower layer. I do mine for 2 minutes and 30 seconds in the microwave on medium or medium high. Keep an eye on it and stir it once or two in between cooking.
  3. Add in a dash of oil and stir well.
  4. Pour into a lamington tin - either a tin lined with baking paper or a silicone form (no paper needed).
  5. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes until set.
  6. Now rinse out your bowl or use a new one and melt the white chocolate melts the same way. Add in the dash of oil.
  7. Now take the finest pieces of your crushed candy canes and stir into the white chocolate.
  8. Pour over your darker chocolate layer and top with the bigger candy cane pieces. Spread them out so you've got a nice even distribution.
  9. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or so then remove from the mould/tin carefully.
  10. Break up or cut up - I found breaking it up was much easier and either wrap up to gift or keep it in airtight container. It was freezing cold and raining today so I've left it out on the kitchen island but if it was a warm day I'd keep it in the fridge.
  11. Enjoy...........................


tea party fun with My Little Pony

brought to you by My Little Pony

Some afternoons after school we do homework, early dinner, bath, reading and then bed. When the sun is out and everyone has a lot of energy then we head outside. I remember growing up that I spent a lot more time outside or playing with my toys. This was a time before pay TV, youtube and iPads. Do you remember? We made up our own games and were always inventing new story lines and adventures.

I find with all of the distractions of today as well as homework and housework that I sometimes have to remind myself that it’s time to go outside and play. Thankfully my kids love being outside or in the playroom and imaginary play is the best way to switch off the TV, have fun, build up their creativity and just be kids.

So on monday we decided to do homework after dinner, packed up a basket with some My Little Pony toys, lemonade (as a treat!), some biscuits and a big quilt to sit on. 

Pretend tea parties are so much fun and remind me of playing my own with my sister.

And if you’ve ever done speech therapy or early intervention with a little one then you’ll know how important they can be for speech development and play. Cup of tea please. Oh thank you. Milk? Sugar? My Turn. Here you go. Let’s give pinky pie  something to eat.

My girls love their My Little Pony toys. Braiding hair, combing tails, attaching headpieces and accessories. Sharing the toys and brushes. And I actually need to brush up on my pony names but the kids have got them all down pat and correct me.

and it’s not just for the girls,

And this Rarity Booktique playset that you can carry has quickly become the most popular toy here. You can pop your ponies and a few accessories in it and carry it with you making it great to take out and keep a little someone entertained. The hanging rack and coat hanger is so cute and you flick a page and can change the room. Very clever, very cute and very fun for play and make believe. My girls like to pretend there is some sewing going on just like one of the episodes they have seen.

or bathroom, the teeniest little bottle there. This has been so handy to take to church and out with us as it’s so portable and has little things to keep little fingers busy. Definitely popular here.

I also created a My Little Pony tea party Pinterest board here with some lovely ideas for little ones.

Do you do tea parties at your house?

what I’m working on

Well now that BH&G Live and my craft stall are over things have definitely quietened down. Yes we have all the end of year things filling up our school calender but it’s a huge relief to have those big projects out of the way. I’ve been taking any chance I can get to sit down and do my crochet this week.

crochet blanket

The pattern I’m using is called Rainbow Ripple Blanket which you can find as a free ravelry download here. Bendigo 8 ply cotton in a variety of shades from my stash and a 4mm hook. So far so good. The trickiest part of this pattern was making sure that I didn’t miss a dc as I was going down from the peak but so long as you keep counting you are fine. I am really enjoying it and I think that’s because I know I shouldn’t be preparing for this or sewing for that. It’s a really nice feeling. I’m also getting to spend lots of time with my little ones. Can you believe this is the baby of the family. Not such a baby any more.

Hope life isn’t too busy for you. I really missed quiet nights on the couch with my craft and just being at home the last few weeks so it’s nice to be slipping back into our usual routine.

Christmas drawstring bag tutorial

After a busy but fun 3 days at Better Homes & Gardens Live it’s nice to be home and resting. I thought I’d share the fun bags we made in the class at the show. It was a bit of fun the first day because I thought we’d have irons and instructions so we winged it, we did the easy option for both friday and saturday and with a nice small class on sunday we did this option which I love. It’s super easy to put together. A few steps to add the contrast trim but so easy. You don’t even have to cut the fabric down if you don’t want to. Just use a fat quarter and  a strip of fabric the same width and perhaps 3 inches high.

So today I’m sharing the instructions for this bag and tomorrow I’ll be sharing with you the instructions for the bag without the trim.

What you’ll need

1 fat quarter/50x55cm fabric

3 or 4 inch x 20 inch strip of fabric for contrast trim

Tape, ribbon or bias binding for ties

Scissors, pins, ruler (or rotary cutter and mat), safety pin or bodkin to thread ties

What to do

Cut one rectangle (18 inches across  x 10 inch high) for the body of the bag

Cut one strip 3 or 4 inches high x 19 inches across

Sew bag seams by folding the larger rectangle right sides together and sewing side and bottom seam together. Zig zag or overlock the edges on your machine. Turn bag right side out and set aside.

Now let’s prepare the contrasting trim. Zig zag each short end of the strip. Fold each end back until just a mm bigger than the bag. Pin each short end hem in place and take to your machine and sew a seam on each short end. Put a crease (lengthwise) in your strip of fabric as shown in the photo.

Now with raw edges of your strip and bag matching and right sides together you are going to pin around the top of the bag so that your strip is folded (wrong sides together) resting on the bag (right side out) and raw edges are matching.

Take to your machine and sew around the top of the bag making sure that you are sewing through 3 layers (2 for the trim and 1 for the bag). The seam allowance is up to you. You might do a wider seam and then overlock/zigzag your edges or a narrower seam. We will be topstitching later on.

Turn your bag right sides out and press the seam into the bag. I like to topstitch on the bag (not the trim) which keeps my seams down towards the bag. Here is an example on a different bag I made but you can see what I’m doing. I line up the edge of the bag/contrast trim with the inside of the foot and sew around with a nice straight stitch. It’s a little added touch that makes the bag look nicer.

Thread your ribbon/ties through the contrast trim/casing. Tie knots at the end of your ribbon/ties and trim the excess and you are done. 1 super easy drawstring bag with trim.

I hope you enjoyed that tutorial. I loved putting this one together because I wanted to add something special to the drawstring bags that I’ve been making and thought this would be an easy way.


running the craft stall for your school, church or charity fete

And breathe! The craft stall is done and dusted. That was my first time running a school craft stall and while I might have said a couple of times that I won’t do it again, I probably will. It was lots of fun despite being a big job but is one of those things where it is what you make out of it. I had the whole year to get organised and pinterest was my saving grace. There is always inspiration on pinterest and it’s good to have lots of ideas and then pick out what you are going to make. You can find my craft stall Pinterest board here.

What sold out?

Pencil rolls, all sold out and I have a couple to make up for lovely people

Girls skirts. Super easy to put together, great way to use fun or special fabric and an easy seller. I didn’t even size mine just had lengths going from shortest to longest with a variety of waistbands on them and they were a hit

tissue holders. No brainer, super easy to sew, lots of tutorials on youtube

hairclips and lots of them. We had pom poms and yo yos made by parents and girls and I had corker bows and big bows made up for me through ebay and they all sold well. For the last hour we were doing 3 for $5 to sell more out

Shopping bag holders and doorstops. Super popular and another great way to use up fat quarters

tooth fairy bags, I picked up some felt (as much as I would have loved wool felt that would have broken the bank) just some acrylic felt and a sweet school mum whipped them all up on her machine and found some glitter tubes, oops I mean fairy dust and they sold like hot cakes. I had people who missed out – you snooze you lose – and we had over 20 to start with so they were a great hit!

embroidered tea towels. All gone. Cute sayings, Christmas trees and wreaths. They were a hit. $6 each or 2 for $10 and they did so well. Phew. Remember to check the restrictions on any embroidery designs you use. You are prohibited from selling anything with a Disney embroidery designs in public so check first.


Ahhh pricing. I was quoted as saying that I didn’t want to be a stall where people just admired things. I wanted a stall where people bought things. And so I priced to sell. All of our goods were donated and I had a lot of fabric donated so it worked out well. A good price for little things was 2 for $5 and $6 for other items and $12. If nothing is moving you can reduce your price later on. If you are running a craft business and pricing then you will be working out a different price, I really like the thinking of a cake decorating teacher many moons ago who taught be to set the price x 3 of the costs. That means 1/3 covers your costs of materials for that item, 1/3 for your time and 1/3 for your nice to have. For a business that’s a great way of pricing. For a charity /craft stall in a busy market I just thought of prices that were reasonable and would sell the items.

Anything I’d do differently

less fabric baskets, we sold a lot of fabric but really people wanted the skirts and handmade items.

more skirts, more pencil rolls, more doorstops, more small household items. The really practical things that people like

stop visiting other stalls and spending my own money on goods. Just kidding but if you’ve done a market you know that you have to be careful not to spend up big at other stalls

more handknits as they did really well especially the neutral baby cardigans. Big seller.

don’t eat chicken skewers covered in garlic from the lebanese food stall for dinner. Wow the chicken was soooo good but 2 garlic chicken skewers, what was I thinking! I had to cover my mouth and a sweet mum gave me a pack of freshmints for the last 2 hours as I sipped water. Save it for the end of the market or when I’m visiting.

measure tables BEFORE you order tablecloths from interstate. I got the table measurements wrong so had the most wonderful tablecloths for only $20 from melbourne only to discover the tables were much bigger. Thankfully my tables from home were the perfect size.

What worked

We set up the day before which was fabulous because I laid everything out and then saw what needed a better display, and I needed an extra table so I could run home and bring an extra table in the next day

Lots of volunteers, we had 1-2 each hour of the market which was great

A good float. I started the day with $230 with a mixture of $20, $10, $5  notes and  $2 and $1 coins and it worked well and I helped out other people with change later on

Now that my kids are a bit bigger they were great helpers! They did all my price tags, were runners for me and grabbed me some water, spent time with their friends, helped out. They were fabulous helpers even if they kept asking for more money for food or rides.

Ask for items. I made a wishlist and would update my class – people gave me packs of pencils, textas, gel pens, tissue packs, white tea towels, facewashers, handtowels and more. If you get donations of items then all the money can go to the school and it’s great. People will invariably say to you ‘oh I don’t sew or knit’ and you can say that’s ok would you grab me some pencils or teatowels next time you’re at the shops and that’s a wonderful way to help. People want to help out. Also a cash donation made it possible for me to order the hairclips on ebay and buy more white teatowels in bulk so put people to use.

Staying calm. I’m a bit of a stress merchant but I just kept telling myself it’s all for a good cause, the world won’t fall down if this isn’t a success, it will all come together and you will live to tell the tale. Just stay calm, enjoy it and remember that after the market you can put your feet up and relax and not think about another craft stall for a year or two.

And now to take a break! Craft stalls are wonderful fun. People love good old handmade things and get ideas. There will always be admirers and a crowd builds a crowd and we sure had some crowds during the market but it was great that we were selling and did well. My goal was $1k to help our school and we were almost at $1200 if I include in the credit card sales so I’m thrilled. I couldn’t have done it without a great team of volunteers, ladies who knitted and sewed for me and helped man the stall and donate items.

Any hot tips from the craft stall experts out there?

time to crochet a baby blanket

I’m off to a baby shower at the end of the month and for some crazy reason have decided that I have enough time to crochet a baby blanket before then. I could be kidding myself but with stress levels running high with so many things on the go at our house, it’s just the relaxing project that I need.

I love crochet because it’s faster than knitting and works through the stash but I’m not great at it. I stick to simple blankets and love granny squares. But I’m not a fan of weaving in ends or joining 50 million squares together so large and quick blankets are my favourites.


First up and a great one for the absolute beginners is a big granny square blanket. You just keep growing a granny square until you have the size you want. You can also add a border to make it fancier. This one was made in Bendigo 8 ply cotton and is bright, colourful and best of all easy to master. Great for a tv project. I’ve written instructions here.

Once you’ve mastered the granny square it might be time to turn your attention to the granny stripe. I’ve only done one but think this will be the one I choose. Use Attic24’s fabulous pattern instructions and go for it. Attic24 instructions are here. Here is mine. I did this all in Bendigo cotton (you can’t beat big balls of yarn with projects like these and so much more affordable). I really loved it and the kids love to snuggle under it. Ravelry details here.

For something different a chevron or ripple blanket is a really great project. I’ve only made one but loved it and ran out of the wool a few times but managed to grab more to finish it off. I still love the colours in this one. Also still going strong but has a bit of pilling. The yarn was a Spotlight brand and ravelry details are here.

And I’m also thinking about this new pattern by Patons in their 8 ply cotton/blend. Thanks to Australian Country Spinners I have the cotton and the pattern…just need the time. It looks great as a neutral blanket and so bright and fun. I’m really itching to make it. Image source

2015banner-Summer-CottonBlendNever crocheted before? It’s easy. My favourite person on youtube is Mikey of Crochet Crowd and you can see all of his tutorials here. He takes it slow, you need a ball of wool and a hook and you’re off. It’s easy once you get the hang of it and with youtube there are no excuses. You just need patience and the willingness to stick it out until you get it….and then you’re off!

And you’ll find more ideas on my pinterest board here, I do go a bit crazy pinning on pinterest but it’s always good to look back on when I need some inspiration or miss craft!



Thermomix Festive Flavour + a giveaway

congratulations Carlia the winner!

I was very excited when I heard about Thermomix releasing a new cookbook just for Christmas. I buy way too many magazines as Christmas approaches and then tend to make the same dishes each year. But one of the things that has been missing is a big Christmas cookbook just for Thermomix owners. Until now.

Festive Flavour has just been released by Thermomix and they kindly sent me a copy. And this is a big book, 223 pages all up. Photos of every single recipe in the book (those of us who had the older style Thermomix cookbooks will know what I’m talking about) and so many recipes that are new and can suit whatever style of Christmas you are planning. Cold lunch with seafood and pavlova to the hot traditional Christmas lunch. Budget to more extravagent. You are covered. Drinks, dips, salads, seafood, baking, cold desserts, pickles and more.

And I really liked how you could do a simple chicken or turkey roll from the supermarket and cook it in your thermomix which is great for people on a budget or who get nervous about roasting at Christmas time. I have a certain someone in the house who hates the oven being on for hours so your varoma can be doing the roast which is a great idea.

I also loved the gift section at the back and we made the Chocolate Hazelnut Kisses. I still melt chocolate in my microwave but with just 3 ingredients in your TM bowl and a bit of scraping down the sides once or twice, popped into the moulds and then voila. Deliciously sweet little chocolates. Big thumbs up from everyone in the family for this recipe. festi

Festive Flavour can be used in both the TM5 and TM31 and a recipe chip is also available for TM5 users. I just received the book and I know that it will become a family favourite and not just for Christmas as the desserts and meals are all delicious and perfect for entertaining and gift giving year round.

5 stars from me for this book, it’s about time we had a Christmas cookbook and this is better than I could have imagined. Love to hear what you think and as a special treat I will buy one of you lucky readers out there a copy of the book (valued at $50 plus postage). Just tell me something you make every Christmas……..I’ll pick a winner next Monday 9th November. Competition open to people residing in Australia only and I will order from the Thermomix website and have it sent to you.

when you feel overwhelmed

Life is so busy at the moment and I have had a couple of moments when I’ve had a panic about how much is on my plate. You know the feeling in your stomach when you just think how on earth am I going to get through this and I can’t think straight. So I’ve put all of my strategies into place and I can honestly say that one week later I’m feeling much calmer and more zen like despite my crazy schedule coming up. And then just when I was feeling relaxed and that I could do this we’ve had to book in our little guy for grommits in his ears next week! Not my baby! I’m being big and brave about it all and know it will be fine!

Anyway, here is what I do when I’m feeling overwhelmed……….

1. Make a drink (it’s coffee for me) and sit down with pen and paper and some peace and quiet. I always go old school, none of this electronic stuff.

2. Write down every single thing that you have to do and that is worrying you. Don’t worry about order of importance and put in the overdue things too. A week’s worth of laundry to be folded. Yep put that in.

3. Now write numbers of importance/dates when things are due next to each task. The most important things might be a piece of work, a day you have a big appointment on, a big bill etc. Rewrite the list starting from number 1/what is due first.

4. Tell your hubby/partner/friend/mum/someone who loves you how many things you have on and that you are starting to feel overwhelmed and really sick about it all. Get them to look at your list and help out. For me the best thing was when hubby just looked after everything for the night so I could sit down and make two projects that I had to get done.

5. Work out what you can get an extension on. If it’s a bill or financial worry you can always ring and explain your circumstances and negotiate an extension. Work due? ask for an extension on that or give a date that it will be due. The laundry? The housework? what is one more day. Can you get a cleaner in just for a one off to get things up to scratch?

6. Switch off your phone and tv. I don’t watch tv anymore and don’t miss it. Especially the news. But my phone can be a distraction so for night times it is recharging in another room away from me so I don’t use it. Take some quiet time each day even if it’s just 10 minutes before bed. I’m reading Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying and loving it. Just a bit each night.

7. Get out your diary and work out when you’ve got some free time to get things done. I had 3 tutorials to write up and it was another thing on my mind that was stressing me. Disney DVD and snacks on and I sat down and wrote all 3 tutorials with time to spare. I felt so much better that I folded all the outstanding washing that was on my bed and even put it away. It was much easier to tackle that task since the big job was done. Perhaps after school care, a bit of babysitting to keep the little ones entertained, cancelling something in your diary to free up a bit of time can all help.

8. Put a treat in your diary or think of when things are going to quieten down. In 3 weeks life will quieten down quite a bit and I am counting down and in a few weeks after that school breaks up. The end is in sight so don’t lose sight of the holidays and quieter times.

9. Be kind to yourself. Now is not the time to start a strict diet or give up the caffeine. Little treats, takeaway if you need to and whatever gets you through. They will be important to get you through this.

10. Get some sleep. For a couple of nights last week I was up till 1 or 2, it did not make for a happy person. So now I’m doing as much as I can do during the day and making sure I’m in bed before 11. Mornings are much easier.

What works for you? What’s your number 1 strategy when you feel overwhelmed? My best bit of advice really is to tell someone! Don’t feel like you are alone or that you can’t tell anyone.

cleaning my floors with my new Enjo floorcleaner + giveaway

Brought to you by Enjo

congratulations to Dee the winner

I have a confession and a funny story to share with you. After a year and a half of going it alone with cleaning the house I had to get a cleaner back to help me. I just couldn’t get to the big jobs and keep on top of the whole house. First morning she’s here and I heard a oops and a laugh. Yep she had lifted the couch cushions and probably found a year’s worth of bobby pins, hair elastics, some knitting needles, jigsaw pieces, small toys and some more. The jobs I don’t get to. I grabbed a plastic bag and did all the couches before she had to.

One job I do get to regularly but get sick of doing are the floors. With a baby who crawls, walks and plays on the floor keeping them clean is a must. And whenever I’ve mentioned cleaning on the blog I will always have someone mentioning Enjo in the comments. My readers love Enjo. Also the thing about being a blogger is that when I mentioned that I use a brand of cleaner (that contains bleach) then someone will come on and tell me that it’s bad for the children and to breathe in. I’ve probably thought about that with spray cleaners and don’t use fly spray or air freshener because of the risk of breathing it in but hadn’t really considered the floor cleaner as a culprit.

So I’ve never used Enjo (pronounced en-yo) before but with a floor cleaner delivered to my door I had no more excuses. And neither did the kids. Cleaning floors is something I do twice a day. Crumbs, crackers, toast, dust, sewing threads, you name it…it ends up on the floor. My usual way to clean floors is to vac twice a day, not the whole house but just the messiest areas. Once a week I wash the floors downstairs with a mop, bucket and some cleaning product in the hot water. The floors are very wet once I’m done and it always feels like a big job. Now I don’t like using too many chemicals in the house but have always thought that clean floors require a strong cleaning product in the water. I’ve used a steam mop in the past but also found it a bit of a pain with the cord and also the steam around children being dangerous.

Since we’ve had the Enjo I’ve been washing the floors daily and no need for the mop and bucket. Or cleaning product! You just spray water onto the Enjo fibre or can wet it first and then attach it. It’s worked really well and best of all the kids can do it which I love. Here is my big girl helping out.

It’s great to just be using water and get a really clean floor and I always think the house looks 100 times cleaner if the floors are clean and everything is back in its place.

And every single time I wash the entrance floor I wonder why on earth anyone would lay white tiles in an entrance way. It was at this moment that I yelled out shoes off I just washed the floors. But as you can see there is hardly any water just after I’ve washed them with the Enjo. A big difference to if I’d just washed with the good old mop and bucket.

So my overall verdict is that this is one good quality floor cleaner. It’s durable and feels solid and I can say that since the kids have accidentally dropped it to the floor a few times. It’s built to last and you choose the Floor Fibre depending on the floor you have and the job you want done. We used the Matt Floor Fibre for our floors because they are a mixture of surfaces. And I really love that you aren’t using any chemicals. I’ll be ditching the mop, bucket and cleaner and sticking to the Enjo which has been much easier to use. And now I think I’ll get something from the range for windows and mirrors.

AND we found an added bonus. Because of the telescopic pole we tackled all the bugs and cobwebs that were sitting at the highest point of our ceiling. Big high ceilings are wonderful for an airy feeling but not so great to clean and I never had anything long enough to reach them. But we just used the Enjo floor cleaner to tackle the top of the ceilings and they look so much better. Now technically I should be using a different cloth on the end but I was just happy to get all the cobwebs and bugs down. You can also add a different fibre cloth for windows which would be perfect too. I hate breathing in the window cleaner and know it’s not good for anyone to breathe in.

You can find out more about the Enjo floor cleaning range here and for a fun giveaway I’m giving away a Floor Cleaner and a fibre to go with it just like I’ve got. You’ll love it and it’s valued at $198.

All you need to do is tell me why you need the Enjo floor cleaner at your house?

full terms of my giveaways are here, competition is open to Australian residents only. entries close 30 October 2015. And just to let you know that there is a special promotion running at the moment where as a host of a demonstration you can receive a floorcleaner for free (valued at $99). Find out more here.

addicted to embroidery

There isn’t much sewing going on at the moment but there is a whole lot of embroidery going on. One of the best things about machine embroidery is that you set it all up, press start and off it goes. You need to come in and change the top thread colour but that’s it. Leave the room, do other things, it keeps working for you. This wreath was 22 minutes on the machine to embroider but considering you are just changing the top thread colour and don’t have a foot on the pedal it’s not too long and it looks amazing!

Christmas projects have been fun. This design is built in with the Brother 6200d and is gorgeous. I love embroidering on these white waffle weave towels. They don’t cost too much and you just pick them up at spotlight. They need a medium weight stabiliser on the back and I’m so happy with the final product. Remember I’m a total beginner in machine embroidery land.

I’m not a read the manual kind of person so I’ve been using the touch screen which tells me what to do and beeps at me if I press the wrong thing. And for words and pictures I just go to embroidery edit and can add things and create writing. This was meant to be a pair but I learnt a valuable lesson, the kids love the touch screen and one cheeky devil was pressing a button and I could hear a beep. They were moving the design up on one of the towels so when I lined everything up perfectly and thought I was matching the previous design…well I wasn’t because of someone’s little pressing up of the design. But anyway. These are cute and will be a great little seller at my craft stall….when they match up perfectly. These took 2 minutes each to embroider. When you do a towel you just need to put a stabiliser on the back ( I use a light weight tear away) and a water soluble tear away stabiliser on the front of it which gives you that perfect finish.

I was asked on Instagram for other embroidery machines by Brother! Yes there are a few, you can see the embroidery only machines here and combination machines (so that you can sew and embroider on the same machine) here and this one looks like a great entry level one that I often see mentioned.

And if you’re in Sydney I’m going to be at the Better Homes & Gardens live show helping Brother so come down and say hi! I’ll have more details once I’ve finished my projects (haha you know that means I haven’t done my samples). Oh and  I will not be using a rotary cutter over the course of the weekend. Trust me. To buy tickets just go here and for a 30% discount use the code M109430

guest pinning for halloween

Well I don’t really need a costume for halloween (not that I’m trick or treating) because now that my finger is unbandaged I’ve named it my freddy krueger finger. It’s quite something with 7 stitches in bright blue. Still a bit sore but feeling much better…and I faced my rotary cutter again for some cutting.

Now, for the next 2 weeks I’m over on Brother Australia’s Pinterest board for Halloween and you can see some of the fun things I’ve been pinning over there. I think the mason jar crafts and some of the foods are my favourite. And I whipped up some quick and cute trick or treat bags that my girls have nabbed as their own too. You can find the instructions here. They make great little gifts in different fabrics too. These fabrics all came from Spotlight in the quilting section and didn’t cost too much. I really don’t buy orange fabric so was struggling to find anything in the stash


be careful with your rotary cutter

Ever since I’ve started using rotary cutters (must be at least 6 or more years ago) I’ve been so careful around the kids…and in my craft room. That was until yesterday when I was rushing, thinking of other things, a bit flustered about how much I still had to do for my school fete and was trimming down some fabrics for a pencil roll and lifted my hand at the same time as the cutter was still going and I lifted it off and into the path of my hand. Oh the pain.

Thankfully I had a clean towel nearby, and wrapped it, unlocked the front door as my friend was coming for lunch and I was scared I might faint which I did the last time I sliced my finger (same hand on a sheet of glass). How lucky my friend was on her way for some sewing. She drove my van up to the dr who looked at it and said she could do the stitches there and then. The 2 anaesthetics in my finger were more painful than the wound but she stitched me up, it was a nasty deep wound, wrapped it up and sent us on our way. It’s still hurting so I’m treating myself with nurofen, donuts and coffee.

I can’t even bring myself to look at the offending cutter so am sticking to scissors when it stops hurting and I can get stuck into sewing again. So please be careful of your fingers, always concentrate when using your cutter because it’s so painful and dangerous.

making friends when you are a mum

Being at home with little ones can be lonely at times. I’m a homebody and I love it but I also love catching up with other mums. And I realised it early on. Whether you’re a new mum, you’ve moved house (or country!), have found yourself in a new situation, are feeling a bit lonely or maybe wondering how can I make some friends here are a few ideas that have always worked for me.

1. Join a playgroup

if you have little ones not yet at school then playgroup is just wonderful. A cuppa, time to chat, people who live near you, the kids get to play, even if you have a baby find one near you and join up. I am a big time fan of church playgroups and special needs playgroups. You can find your nearest playgroup here and if you have a little one with special needs then look for a MyTime group near you here. If you go to one and it’s not for you then find another.

2. Volunteer

Yep once the kids start preschool and school you’ll want to get in there. Even if you have other little ones it’s a great friendly way to meet other parents. I’ve always volunteered (it must be in my DNA as my mum was the same, serial over-volunteers in our family!). My husband did warn me to ease myself into volunteering at a new school but I have always found it’s great to be involved, you know what’s going on, you can offer constructive advice and have a say in things. And trust me the school always needs helpers. I’m really looking forward to being able to help at special school next year as it’s something I’m passionate about. Just keep reading your newsletter and looking for ways you can help.

3. Keep smiling and saying hi

If you think people aren’t very friendly where you are just keep smiling and saying hi. Even if I look a bit stressed or my hands are full I always have a smile and try to say hi. Make small talk. And even if it’s just a wave from the car then just do that. I love waving at the mums I know or if I’m going past them.

4. Just take that first step and have coffee or a playdate

If you’ve met a nice mum then see if she’s free for a coffee or wants a playdate at the park. I realise that now sounds like I’ve told you to set up a romantic date but sometimes we meet someone and think wow what a nice mum and I have a lot in common let’s catch up. Or thank goodness there is someone normal around here like me! I need to stay in touch.

5. Put people’s numbers in your phone

I do this so I don’t forget or can pass things on. It’s really useful to do this if you’re a special needs mum and meet another mum out and have something to tell her or share with her later. Or you forget something. And ALWAYS have the number of a mum in your child’s class so that if you need to find out homework, mufti days or something else then you won’t be stuck. For a second I thought wow what did our mums do. Well I think they probably picked up the phone and rang another mum. On a telephone. With the round dial. Back in the day. Now I hardly ring anyone except to make appointments or to call my grandparents and mother in law.

6. Join online facebook groups

What did we do before Facebook? There are some great closed groups on facebook for your hobbies, special interests, children with special needs or particular health issues and mums near where you live. Join up the ones that interest you, not too many or they fill up your feed and get in touch. I was at the park recently and met a mum with the cutest little boy with special needs and I told her about 2 facebook groups and she told me she was going home to join them straight away. I have found out more from other mums than a geneticist could tell me so it’s worth being on facebook for the various groups and pages that can make you feel less alone.

7. Join a local group or community college

I’ve done some great courses over the years at local colleges – cake decorating (I’ve done quite a few and am hopeless, absolutely hopeless! we did 1 term on sugar flowers and I could only do rose buds and frangipanis). I’ve done japanese cooking, pattern design, wine tasting (that was a good one!), nutrition, sewing and more. There are so many courses and it’s nice to do something for fun and learn a new skill or hobby. I’ve met the nicest people and a real mixture of people when I’ve done courses. They aren’t all expensive either which is great. Check out the local newspaper and noticeboards for local groups especially if you’re a crafter or exerciser.

8. get in touch with friends you haven’t seen in a while

Goes without saying that everyone is busy these days so make some time to catch up with an old friend. They are the best because you can pick up where you left off.

What’s your best tip?