Otto trying out some more paper weaving.
I've walked past these launchpads at my local library many times, only taking a closer look today. Have you used them? I borrowed one for Otto (4yrs), not sure what he will think! They are a pre-loaded tablet, the child can only access the themed, educational games it already has loaded on it, it has no advertising and no commercial characters (that I've seen).
Otto (4yrs) on his way to a friend's circus/disco-themed birthday party!! 🎪❤️
A stormy Winter's day at Coogee beach. ❤️
A lovely scooter ride at sunset!
Otto is always insanely happy after art class! Here the children were able to bring home the superhero capes that they made. 😍
Otto's (4yrs) superhero cape at the Little Ginger Art Studio in Randwick/Clovelly.
Love this sticker recycling sorting activity from Clean Away!
Monday morning at art class. Otto loves Rosie's Walk.
It was Potion Making Day at the Play Studio!!
I hope you had a wonderful long weekend!!
Another creation at the Little Ginger Art Studio, preschool class. I love the colours that Danielle puts out in her classes.
Friday!! Love construction play with these large shapes at the Play Studio.
Painting with secondary colours at the Play Studio.
This large mural!! At Play Studio.
Play at the light table. At Play Studio.
Loving these creations at the Little Ginger Art Studio, preschool class this morning.
Otto had his first drop-off preschooler art class today at the Little Ginger Art Studio. It's his first drop-off class, the first time he has been looked after by someone who isn't his mum or dad! Danielle was so sweet and Otto was excited and proud to show me his artwork afterwards.
Last weekend while in Blacktown we visited the Dennis Johnson library. I love exploring new libraries, this is the children's section. Cute flower-like lamp shades!
I'm not sure how I feel about this in a library (Dennis Johnson Library, Blacktown), but Otto loved it. Children can sit in the Storytime Pod and watch a short story.
He loves scootering around the park just as fast as he can. Scooters and bikes offer the child a feeling of freedom and are also fantastic for developing gross motor skills, coordination and balance.
Otto has finally started swimming lessons!! We've found a gorgeous local (within walking distance), heated pool with small class sizes. With my older children,we've had some terrible experiences with swimming lessons so it's a relief to find a class that works for us. ❤️🏊
Using a butterfly net (borrowed from our local toy library), Otto went in search of butterflies. There were a lot of white butterflies at our local environmental park, one landed on his net, but unfortunately he didn't catch one!
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!
Painting handmade Christmas cookies. This is a great activity for clean, quiet time or if you aren't into baking.
We love this book so much! The Detective Dog. 🐕🔎
Another book for Otto (4yrs) Nature's Treasures.
I'm wrapping up Oceanarium for Otto (4yrs). It's a lovey large-format book and my favourite in the Welcome to the Museum series. 🐋
On Friday night we visited Berkelouw's books in Paddington. It's one of the nicest bookshops I've found in Sydney. It has three levels including a second-hand section and a cafe. The children's section was wonderful, with lots of variety and lots of books I hadn't seen in-store before. ❤️
Caspar (13yrs) made Otto a volcano (out of clay) for his 4th birthday!! 🌋❤️ It's a fantastic handmade gift idea!
We have been in lockdown for around three months but we are so thankful that we live near this wonderful beach. We always love exploring in rockpools!
Otto (like many children) is struggling to correctly form an 's'. Today we did a little practice in the flour while making bread. I wrote the 's' and Otto is tracing it.
Writing on bread bags.
If you are looking for some new play dough tools or interesting cookie cutters have a look at Beadie Bug Play Bio Cutters (AU). They come in the most fun designs like sea life, dinosaurs, insects, and more.
We've been using our microscope every day. Above is a seedpod.
A close-up of our Rhipsalis.
Love this view of a flower!
Spontaneous activity! When I make Otto a sandwich I will often ask him if he wants it cut in halves or quarters. I didn't think much about it until today when he stated that he was going to cut all of his play dough into quarters. And he did. Learning fractions at three!
When I talk to parents about toys, materials, and rotating, the issue of storage is always, always brought up. Where do you store your materials? Wouldn't it be useful if our display shelves also doubled as storage?? Lovevery has just released the Play Shelf of my dreams. Display at the front (the shelves also come with two wooden trays and two storage tubs) and there is storage (yes!! lots of storage) at the back. Lovevery is now Certified B-Corp and I couldn't love this more. This is not available in Australia, so if you are in the US please enjoy!! Lovevery Montessori Play Shelf is available here.
Some colour mixing magic and fine motor skill work with the pipette. We are loving the Liquid Colour Lab in the new three-year-old play kits at Lovevery. This is from The Problem Solver Play Kit (for months 43, 44, 45). I think this is my all-time favourite Lovevery play kit 🌈🎨💕. (c/o Lovevery).
The Lovevery toys just keep on getting better! This is the Modular Playhouse from The Observer Play Kit (months 37, 38, 39), there are so many ways to use it. It's wonderful for children who love to build and it helps to promote storytelling. (c/o Lovevery).
Have you seen the Kiri books that were released TODAY? The Kiri book series is inspired by life with the author's daughter as she prepares for her Montessori school and settles into the classroom. Kiri in the Classroom and Kiri's First Ride to School are whimsical, charming and in some ways soothing as the child transitions from life at home to life as a part of the school community.
This is going straight into our poetry basket❤️. A felt finger puppet and verse from Etsy.
Some beautiful treasures from the beach today 🐚.
Our flower arrived safely in a box, ready to be arranged!! All packaging can be recycled. Flowers are c/o Bloom & Bud (Sydney AU).
Bloom & Bud flowers also come with a useful guide to help you arrange and take care of your flowers!!
A cute observational drawing of a poppy in a vase (Ottos is 3yrs 9mths). He's never drawn a vase like that before.
Drawing a rose (at 3yrs 9mths).
Rather than letters, the child is making simple shapes.
Although Sydney's lockdown has been extended by one week, we are almost at the end of our isolation period! So we have something small to celebrate. Today the boys made bread as per our Thursday rhythm.
Otto's drawing (at 3yrs9mths) of me (his mum!).
A comfy spot to put on his slippers.
Our gorgeous playgroup leader dropped off bread-making supplies and instructions so Otto could still make bread - just like at playgroup! It was so nice to be able to continue with some of the same processes and songs that we would normally enjoy.
My dear friend Anna, brought us a care package including a homecooked meal and some delicious cookie dough. Otis (10yrs) cooked the cookies straight away, and we were so thankful not just for the meal but for some outside interaction. (We are now 7 days into a 14 day COVID isolation period)
We did a little winter planting today. We are officially in isolation for 14 days. A few children at Otis' school have tested positive for COVID (the delta strain) so all families at the school have been put into isolation. Otis is also a close contact through his judo. Being in isolation means we can't leave the house, we can't go for a walk outside of our backyard, we can't go to the park or to the supermarket. It is incredibly isolating, however, we many of our friends and neighbours in the same position. I hope you are staying safe.
I can't walk past a good children's science book. This is a new release by Philip Bunting. I love the language used in it, it's all about bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, and archaea. Me, microbes and I. It's an Australian published book so, sorry I only have AU links.
As well as paints, I'm trying to make clay more available in our home. Both painting and clay can get a little messy so we like to use both outside. They also require some set up time. All three of my children enjoy it and I love to watch their little hands mould the clay. Clay and children's pottery wheel are c/o Modern Teaching Aids.
Currently reading Raising Them. One family's story about gender creative parenting. It's interesting and insightful. While this is not how I have raised my children I am always trying to be more aware of how gender influences my parenting and what I can do about it.
We are SO excited to be travelling again. This is our first time flying since COVID hit last year. Otto is, of course, fascinated by all the trucks and activity at the airport.
This weekend my eldest two children competed at the 2021 Australian National Judo Championships. Otis won two Silver (one individual and one team) medals and Caspar won one Gold (individual) and one Silver (team) medals. These two train so hard often five days a week. All of their hard work has paid off.
Otis (10yrs) receiving his National Silver Medal for Judo.
Caspar (13yrs) in the middle with his National Gold Medal for Judo.
Hands-on learning with a real preserved turtle specimen.
Exploring a real turtle shell at Forest School.
Loving Sydney playgrounds!
He couldn't wait to show me, a 100% child-made pinch pot. After a huge downpour (rain) at Forest School.
Have you seen the new Ikea GRÅVAL junior chair/highchair (here without the tray)? The tray can be removed, so it can be used as an independent type junior/high chair where the child can get in and out themselves and sit at the kitchen table. I really like the birch finish, looks good.
We recently joined a local organic fruit and veg co-op. Every few weeks we need to help pack boxes. I was nervous about bringing Otto, but true to any Montessori views, I gave him some work, like counting, stacking boxes or sweeping and he was a fantastic helper for a whole hour. This fruit and veg looks fantastic!
Tonight - exploring the NOX Night Sculpture walk in Randwick. It was lovely with lots of art, live music, and food trucks! It's on until Sunday 16th May, and it's free!
Doing rolls at Judo class this morning. My two older children Caspar (13yrs) and Otis (10yrs) are really into Judo, so Otto likes to take the young kids' class. There is always lots of tumbling, balancing, and strength work.
Today we visited my favourite bookshop. While I love visiting the bookshop it's difficult to take time and browse the books as I'd like when I have Otto (3yrs) with me. So we've been trying a few grace and courtesy lessons, today he was so patient and (for the most part) stayed where I could see him, and handled the books with care. I like to pick out a book for him first so he has a book to read and hold while I look at the other books, it keeps his hands busy!
At what age did your children learn to tie knots? Otto is only three but I'm sure with practice he could master it. Sewing independently and so many crafts and bushcrafts depend on the child being able to tie a knot. Many children like Otto, get frustrated when they can't do it themselves and refuse help. There are a few Montessori-style resources to help teach a child to tie knots, so I'm going to seek those out and give him some knot-tying specific work to try. Above today at Forest School, the children were making (Autumn) leaf mobiles, but the children needed help to tie the knots!
I've found it difficult to find real child-sized woodworking tools here in Australia. The UK has many more suppliers that have all the tools your children would need. Even New Zealand has a specific store for kids carpentry. Dragonfly Toys lists a lot of tools, but every time I look, most of them are not in stock. Our largest hardware store has bits and pieces but not in one section, you have to hunt for the right pieces and know what you are looking for, I wish they had a kids woodworking section. Happily, today we found three fantastic 'junior' saws. I can't wait to see what the kids will create now they can cut their own wood pieces.
On Sunday we found this awesome Sydney water park.
A beautiful skeleton leaf for our seasonal table. This would be fantastic to put in a magnifying tray or under the kids' microscope.
Otto has been drawing cars (at 43 months). His drawings often look more like scribbles so I love it when I find a drawing that is representational.
Our Autumn seasonal table is starting to fill out.
It has lots of items from nature and lots of handmade touches to help us connect with the season.
Is it important for children to see pictures of homes like theirs and to read stories about children like them? The Little Montessori Me Picture Book arrived today. I can't wait to show you more, I think you are going to love it!
I have been searching everywhere for Gold and Sliver Stockmar crayons (since Otto used them at a friend's) and I finally found them! These are from Dragonfly Toys (AU) where you can order individual crayons including these metallic ones in Stockmar Beeswax Crayon Blocks and Crayon Sticks.
We've been reading and learning about Weedy Sea Dragons and Sea Horses!
I hope you had a wonderful Easter!
This weekend we also had a birthday to celebrate. Otis turns 10!!
I recently attended a workshop on creating a Waldorf/Steiner Autumn seasonal table mat. The mat is made by wet-felting. Above is before the wet felting. Below is the finished product on our seasonal table.
Our work-in-progress Autumn seasonal table.
Kids magazines that we subscribe to!
Wow! The first time in over a year since we've been to a museum. I forgot how much I love museums!
Easter bread that Otto made at playgroup this week.
I changed some pictures in Otto's room, this one is more than appropriate with all the crazy, flooding rain we've had.
Have you tried to use Modelling Beeswax with your children only to find that it is too hard for them to use? The modelling beeswax takes a lot of warming up in the hands. Recently I was watching a YouTube video of a Waldorf classroom, it might have been kindergarten or older. They had a big bowl of modelling beeswax for the children to use placed in the middle of the table, but the beeswax was all cut into little squares, making it much easier for the young child to warm up and use each piece. So I tried presenting the beeswax cut into smaller pieces with my children (3, 9 and 13yrs) and they loved it. Even my three year old was able to use it and mould several pieces together. Above are some of their creations.
Taking a nice slow nature walk through our local community Permaculture Garden.
It's been a while since I've shared some beach pictures. I love the ocean on stormy overcast days.
Love that feeling!
Otto doesn't always say what he is drawing - and as much as possible I try to give him some space while he is drawing. But he told me that at the bottom he is drawing legs, 'lots of legs'.
Over the weekend I attended a Waldorf/Steiner felting workshop and I absolutely loved it. This is the birthday placemat I made before it was wet felted, until this point it was needle felted. It turned out so sweet. The kids will love it. I also made a Waldorf birthday crown. I'll take some more pics to share.
Otto building a shelter with the wonderful Ranger Sarah at Bush School. (Otto is 3yrs).
Our FOGO bins have arrived. This is the first city I've ever lived in with a Council run composting pick-up system!!
Pond dipping, always a fun activity. This time we learnt about markers for healthy water systems & which organisms to look for.
Otto can almost do this independently. Checking out books at the library.
Otto at his very first Judo class. There was lots of jumping, balancing, and rolling, fantastic for developing gross motor skills.
Loving balance bike rides in the afternoon.
Otto enjoying using Wedgits, which are new to us!
We are loving these jumbo building blocks from our toy library. They require a lot of strength from the child to pull them apart and to connect them. Because they are so large Otto can use them in ways he can't with other toys.
When I have to take Otto grocery shopping we go really early in the morning when the store is almost empty. Otto loves it and today I made him his own shopping list. He can't read but he does recognise some letters. This is showing him another way in which writing is meaningful.
We signed up to our local toy library today. They have so many fantastic toys. Otto brought home these Mega Blocks and the below Kangaroo puzzle.
This Kangaroo puzzle is so lovely, it has lots of details and the colours are soft and soothing.
A cute sweet mini capsicum in Otto's herb garden.
When friends help you discover new Sydney parks and walking trails. The children could have stayed here for many more hours climbing and exploring.
After dinner, we took along the beach. It was so peaceful and beautiful.
There is so much to explore.
The colour, the texture, the salt air, the light!
It's that time of year! I hope you are staying safe. I'm really hoping that Sydney's covid cases don't increase or spread, it feels like another lockdown is inevitable. I hope you are able to see your loved ones.
Have you tried Zero (AU only) yet?
Look at this cute Kookaburra on our neighbour's fence.
Is there anything better than reading a good book, while listening to your favourite podcast, while snuggling with your dinosaur? So cozy.
Otto's drawing at 39 months. This is quite an unusual drawing for him, it almost looks like a cell. You can see at the top he has tried to write his name. Too cute.
I picked these up at Ikea today. They are small and real porcelain - perfect for Montessori families.
Over the weekend all of my children visited the dentist for a check up. Otto (3yrs) handled it so well!
Otto loves this microscope, highly recommend it for children 3-5yrs.
This is the best sight - a bunch of three, four, and five years olds pond dipping!
Pond dipping isn't just for big kids, these preschoolers had a blast!
What did we find? Two diving beetles and one shrimp. I love this huge ID card our ranger gave us, it's perfect for this age group.
Today at Bush School we went looking for Frog's eggs and tadpoles.
Mixing mud and berries to tie dye our tshirts with natural colours.
Otto's tie dyed shirts from Bush School - using natural colours from the berries, mud, leaves and gumnuts.
Some pics from Forest/Bush school. A cicada shell.
Clay play. Otto made a forest.
Risky play. Otto decided this was too high to jump. He took off his rain boots and climbed down instead.
We are loving Little Wildling Dough. We almost always have a playdough tray out. I'm happy to make our own playdough but I'll also splurge on some really lovely playdough on Etsy. ❤️✨
We are reading Composting: Nature's Recyclers by Robin Koontz and learning about different ways of composting and how food breaks down.
Another drawing by Otto at 37 months. Black marker on butchers paper. Interesting representation for the hands/fingers.
Caspar and Otis are teaching Otto all about vermiculture!
Forest School/Bush Kinder shelter.
I haven't photographed Otto's art work for a while. This is his drawing at 37 months, paint stick on butchers paper.
Today with friends we visited the absolutely beautiful Ian Potter Children’s Wild Play Garden, in the heart of Centennial Park.
It's so so beautiful and 100% child friendly.
Lots of little paths with low rope rails. It's Spring here and it's starting to warm up.
The wobbly bridge.
Otto noticed a snail on our back deck. We enticed it into our bug catcher using leafy vegetables.
Sydney has so many gorgeous beaches!!
Nature walking through this lovely community garden (food forest!) area.
Wonderful outdoor mud play!
A nature made see-saw.
A little clay critter that Otto made at Forest School. It made me really want to have clay out on our shelves permanently.
Some more scissoring work. This was for modelling but Otto decided to cut it all up. This is plasticine so it's a little harder than play dough. Fantastic work for building hand strength.
Otto's drawing today with paint sticks, at three years (36 months).
Do you find lots of spontaneous matching in your home? I find it the most with our construction vehicles!
As Otto finishes his wooden helicopter creation with some paint, a real helicopter flies nearby!!
I set this up for some self-portrait work. Otto drew a couple of small figures and lots of "footprints". He ended up drawing a lot more footprints and loved the physicality involved in drawing them (lots of dots and dashes). (2 years 11 months).
Otto's spider! He doesn't draw a lot of animals and this is the first time he has drawn a spider.
Getting ideas from our local community gardens.
Otto definitely has his own style when drawing people. (at 2 years 10 months)
Oil pastels on mirror (Otto 2 years 10 months).
Week one at our Montessori Parent Toddler Class!! And our very first time visiting this school!
So much time at the beach. This is winter!!
Mark making at the beach. No need for a sand tray out here.
Awesome children's board books (for Otto) at the beach.
I usually post on Mondays but today was the first day of our Winter School Holidays and I was totally distracted by this. Who would want to leave, the kids are happy and it's so, so beautiful. The beach looks empty but all of those black dots in the water are people out surfing.
We found a few crabs and lots of tiny fish and shells.
A shout out to one of my favourite Australian clothing brands Vege Threads. So much organic and Australian made goodness.
For the first time in years we are growing strawberries. It feels good to be 'home'. It's hard to believe that six months ago we were living in the UK, in winter. And here we are in winter again!
Our street library arrived!! Can you help? Street Library Australia has a mission to have 5000 registered Street Libraries in Australia by 2021.
It feels like our beaches were closed for such a long time! Now we appreciate them more than ever. Above and below Otto is exploring the seaweed at Bondi.
I was in the laundry when I heard a high pitched scream, "Mum, Mum, come, come...", I panicked and ran to Otto who was playing in the backyard. "Look!!". I was worried he found a snake or a lizard, but it's just a nice big earth worm. I love how excited Otto was to see it!
Most children's first recognisable drawing is of a person but Otto's is of a ghost! "Look Mum, it's a ghost!'. Yes it is!! Now he has started to draw faces, like these eyes and squiggly mouth all the time. At 34 months.
I've just placed an order for this Street Library!! It's happening. This one should have plenty of room for largish picture books. I still have no idea how to mount it or where exactly it will go. I also need to paint it. I want it to look awesome but I'm no artist!! I'll get the kids to contribute but I need a plan... Is there anyone else starting their Street Library journey??
Our favourite seaside books, at the seaside! We love Aussie beaches in Winter!
Otis found a crab!
Good mail day. Lunch Lady is fantastic in person and online!
Re-set this snipping tray with insects!!
Otto has spent most of his life living in the UK so he knows a thing or two about jumping in puddles! It's nice to find some puddles on our rainy nature walk today. No such thing as bad weather! His two older brothers are now back at school five days a week (COVID restrictions have started to lift) a nature walk kept him busy so he didn't miss them too much.
He's so happy to be out in the rain!
I can't remember that last time I went to Woolworths or the last time all of the children came to the supermarket with me. But tonight we did it and the kids where enthralled with this robot. Otto kept on following it around, too cute!
The playgrounds in Sydney reopened on Friday and Otto (pictured above) could not be happier! Our libraries are still closed but hopefully they will reopen soon too. Next week my two older children Caspar and Otis will go back to school full time. We are cautiously optimistic that Australia is on the right path and we can regain a sense of normality!
I encourage the kids to water sprouts or seedlings with droppers or pipettes, it's a gentle way of watering and great for their fine motor skills.
I love this series of photos of Caspar (12yrs) and Otto (2.5yrs) cooking pancakes together.
More cooking, this time on the electric grill. Otto (2.5yrs) is cooking the Mini Vegetable Kababs with lots of transferring work!
Otis is closely supervising and then...
Otis (8yrs) cooks the Sausages (Kale and Cauliflower Sausages) for lunch! Yum!
Otto's little wall collection of animals.
I think this may be Otto drawing circles for the first time (he is 31 months old). This also illustrates why I believe it's important to provide paper bigger than A4, there are lots of big arm movements here.
I'm loving this book - Connoisseur Kids: Etiquette, Manners, and Living Well for Parents and Their Little Ones.
I made this little DIY matching egg set years ago. I only found it recently with our Easter decorations. Otto found it too easy but he enjoyed playing around with it. I just painting the wooden eggs and wooden egg cups with bright liquid water colour paints. I sanded them down so they were super smooth and finished them with a little DIY beeswax wood polish.
I might just post every colour sorting Otto does! Otto (31 months) loves all kinds of colour sorting but my other children, didn't like it much, Otis (now 8yrs) really didn't like it or do colour sorting at all as a toddler.
Don't forget that the big kids love this too!
Otto enjoyed his tray with baking soda and coloured vinegar so much more than I expected!
Wow, look at the bubbles.
A little matching work.
An apple story basket.
More fun juicing oranges.
We are loving these Treasure Tubes (c/o MTA)!
If you are in Sydney and want to support local businesses, I highly recommend Fratelli Fresh. Their Ragu and Bolognese are fantastic.
Otto has been using this mirror tray a lot for open ended play and a little exploration of light and reflection! I love it. The tray is the Mirrored Sensory Tray c/o MTA. Look at these wonderful shapes and colours!
I've set this up for Otto twice almost every day, and for a while you can keep on topping it up. It's just a little baking soda in the muffin tray. There is some vinegar in the glass bowl which he is using the droppers to put into the baking soda. Lots of happy screams!! Our Fine Motor Twisty Droppers are c/o MTA.
Poor Otto had a fall at home and had to go to hospital. He had damage to his teeth and needed to wait overnight for surgery. Because of the damage to his teeth he couldn't eat, have breastmilk or even suck his fingers which is what he does when he is tired. So he (we) barely slept. Then six hours before surgery he wasn't allowed any fluids. He is now back at home and eating soft foods only. He is doing really well and is catching up on some sleep.
This morning Otto and I crossed the Sydney Harbour bridge to visit a very special Montessori parent toddler class.
I will feature this class in more detail soon. Just by looking at this picture you may notice this room is a little different from the typical or traditional Montessori toddler class. The teacher here is amazing, as well as being Montessori trained she is also trained in the Pikler and RIE approach. I can't wait to share more with you! The classroom is stunning!
Today's nature tray.
Finished Focaccia, ready for the oven.
Otis' (8yrs) focaccia! It was delicious and easy for a child to make.
The recipe for the Focaccia is from Bread Baking for Beginners.
Caspar, Otis and Otto taking a walk along the beach, with dark skies above. It's such a beautiful spot.
Water colour paints come in the most wonderful colours!
I've labelled our water colour paints with their real names. The labels aren't for Otto but for me to remember what they are called. Why not give children the correct names of colours. It really helps when you have different types of green paints at home, rather than just light and dark green, why not lime and forest green (or whatever they are really called)? Names like Magenta are fantastic to introduce to children as it is such a strong colour, it really isn't purple and it's not pink, it's magenta!
We have some new liquid water colour paints that I wanted Otis (8yrs) to try out. Isn't this beautiful? These colours are so vibrant.
Some white on black or high contrast painting. I presented this with paint brushes, but.... perhaps hands are better.
I found our old stickers from storage. Time for some fine motor sticker art.
Otto is loving these tumble down counting pegs. It was in storage while we were in the UK, so it's nice to find it again and great that Otto is getting use out of it. Since he has started using it I have found him spontaneously counting more during play.
At our first toddler art class in Sydney! The studio is gorgeous!
Obsessed with the OHP. (At the art studio)
Above is the projected image on the wall.
This is actually print making on foil. The child paints then adds paper to the top to make their print.
Taking a picture of these awesome block stamps before they get covered in play-dough or paint. How cute are they??
Squeeze bottles can be used in water play too! Great for developing hand strength.
Isn't this new Rainbow puzzle from Etsy gorgeous!!!
We no longer have a nice forest area to walk to and explore. We are no longer surrounded by farm land, sheep and tractors. We now live in a busy city, but... we have the beach. It's finally stopped raining in Sydney and we can visit our local, Coogee beach. I think Otto approves!
There is enough space in our ensuite shower for Otto to have his own shelf and little teeth brushing area. He still has a step stool at the basin that he can use but here he can see himself easily in the mirror. A mirror in the bathroom at the child's height is always a good idea (when possible).
Otto's drawing at 29 months. Still with lots of large circles but he is starting to make these more controlled little markings.
Our current play dough tray. Love all of the seedpods from around our home. The large Banksia pods are my favourite. It feels good to introduce Otto to all the native trees. He heard his first Kookaburra this morning!!
A cute little reading area!!
Old toys are new again. Otto (2yrs) is loving this old mobilo set!
We have arrived in Sydney but are struggling terribly with jet lag, it takes a few days for our bodies to recover/catch-up. It's so so bad, especially with Otto who sleeps all day and is awake all night. It has been raining heavily which is hopefully helping the bush fires. I will be travelling to the US soon to spend some time talking all things Montessori with Lovevery!! So I will not be posting again here until very late Jan/early Feb.
Otto tracking the plane on our way back to Australia.
Otto (27 months) has started to draw more dashes and dots. This looks very much like a devastating Australian bushfire scene.
Our most played with toy since Christmas!! Blocks by Lovevery.
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Caspar (12yrs), Otis (8yrs) and Otto (2yrs) on Christmas morning.
I love all of this expression!! On our toddler's writing station today. (by Otto at 27 months)
I love this idea in Creative Children's Spaces so much that I've ordered ordered our tab grabbers! This could work in almost any room of the house, for younger children for their artwork or for older children and school forms or photographs!
There are so many reasons to shop Etsy this Christmas. The is a gorgeous parcel that I received today. It's so, so lovely! It contains our new personalised Christmas stockings. They are absolutely amazing!! They have been made with such care and attention to detail! I can't wait for the children to see them Christmas morning!
It rains here non stop! So like usual we are the only ones at the playground. This is near our home so Otto rides his trike here, it's more like a neighbourhood walk/ride with a stop at the playground.
This is way too high for me. But I allow him to climb here and I stay really close.
Our first Christmas puzzle is out on the shelves!
My toddler (at 26 months) is obsessed with jigsaw puzzles. So I'm trying to offer him lots of variety. He can competently and independently do two and four piece puzzles but I like to do larger puzzles with him together (or he can do them with his siblings). These floor puzzles are lovely and are for children ages 3yrs+. Above is the Big Fire Engine Puzzle (with 20 pieces). Also pictured below is a favourite, because there is so much to look at, and count, the Big Tractor Puzzle (with 25 pieces).
My toddler, Otto here at 26 months, does over water the plants, but because he waters them all at once, and they are only watered around twice a week, they have lots of time to drain and dry out a little. I wouldn't allow him to overwater them everyday, this would be damaging to the plant's health.
Some of our most used puzzles at 26 months. Above a simple shapes puzzle.
Elephant Nienhuis puzzle. Love this one for toddlers!
Magnetic Let's Play Diggers! This is fantastic for language development. Otto has started describing what is going on in the picture, or what he is doing with the diggers and people.
Using this simple shapes puzzle by Goki (at 25 months). We currently put six on a tray but I feel like he could manage with more.
We buy a lot of our books online, it's convenient and our little town doesn't have a book shop. But when and where we can, we love to visit a real book store. It's always such a treat! Today it was in Frome's Hunting Raven Book shop while at the Frome Independent Markets. Otto picked out Hairy Maclary And Zachary Quack! It's so cute!
Otto (25 months) tries a four-piece puzzle for the first time. It's harder than it looks.
At 25 months all of his drawings look like this. All circles! He is showing some control though, the pencil stays on the paper, you can see he gets close to the edge but pulls himself back. Also that supporting hand (left hand) is good to see.
Pouring the water is an important part of the flower arranging! It's amazing how well a two year old can pour when they've had the opportunity to practise.
A step that can't be forgotten, putting away. Otto always puts his playdough back in the container and back on the shelves, it's a good habit to have! He doesn't always put away his tools but at least the playdough always gets packed away.
Otto is playing with the playdough while Otis uses the beeswax clay. He loves these stampers, the imprints are nice and clear and they are super easy for a toddler to use.
A beautiful spot at Forest School! Such lovely tall trees and filtered light.
So much green! Otis (8yrs) doing a little forest bathing.
For children who enjoy water play, hand washing can be a wonderful and meaningful activity. We use a wash bucket with a washboard, a rinse bucket, a few pegs and a child size clothes hanger.
Washing, rinsing, squeezing out the water and pegging are all fantastic for the toddler's hand and strength development.
Practical life for my eight year old!
Absolutely gorgeous t-shirts from Gather and Moss. Love the creek (that little platypus!) and bee themes.
I'm really struggling to get Otto to wear a coat. He is happy to wear lots of layers but will not put on a coat, gloves or a hat. It's a balance for me. I don't want to force him but he feels a little too young to understand natural consequences. So I am gently encouraging and making sure his coat is nearby if he needs it.
Today, Friday 11th October 2019 is National Forest School Day. Today Forest School was extra wet and muddy, perfect for toddlers. It looks quiet but Otto's class today had over 20 families in attendance and for weeks now has been at capacity, super busy.
This is one or two blocks taller than Otto, I think he needs a step stool to help him out.
Tomorrow I'm going to turn this little reading corner into a block corner. I'm feeling inspired by reading Block Play The Complete Guide! Unfortunately most of our blocks are back in Australia, but let's see what I can put together.
And some new blocks for Otto to explore!
Otis (8 yrs) loves almost every kids baking kit, he can't get enough. He enjoyed using these by Dragon Bakes. I really liked this card (pictured above), while all of the recipes are super simple I like these descriptions, I'm sure Otis learned something new!
The squirrels are very active in our backyard! It's time to get out our favourite squirrel books. The Busy Little Squirrel (Board Book), Autumn (Board Book) and Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep. Otto (24 months) keeps saying there is a 'mouse' so we need to do some language work in this area!!
Myriad (UK) have the most lovely toy catalogues!!
Unpacking the vegetables has so many opportunities for transferring work. For toddlers in the transporting schema unpacking can be a lot of fun and very satisfying.
Otto unpacks while I wash/chop/prepare and put away all of the fruit and vegetables. Seeing and handling so many different types of fruit an vegetables is fantastic for language development too! We have 'Calabrese' broccoli, 'Romanesco' and, 'Cavolo nero' - lovely language work for a two year old (24 months). The UK has a major issue with plastic wrapping in the fruit/vegetable section (so much more so than Australia), so this type of packaging with lots of recyclables is a welcome relief.
When you move to a different country, to a different hemisphere, you see seasons you don't recognise and it can be difficult to eat seasonal foods. Farmers markets or farm direct deliveries can be so helpful (I use and recommend Riverford Organic Famers in the UK)!! I love the richness of these organic, local and ethically grown Autumnal vegetables.
This photo is from last week, but I wanted to show how Forest School has taught Otto, from a young age, to be safe around a camp fire. Now at 24 months, he gets a knee pad from the pile, puts it on the ground and kneels at the fire, he gently and slowly leans forward and he knows how far he can reach and touch before it is too hot. He does this without any instruction. When the children gather at the fire they are taught to kneel so they are less likely to bump each other or fall or get off balance and hurt themselves. They can also warm their hands with less risk.
This is one of my favourite series of sticker books for toddlers, it has so much potential with all the opportunities for language. It's hard to see but the images are all stickers. Rather than 'digger' we have 'tractor with backhoe'. I wouldn't know what to call so many of these vehicles that the labels really help.
I'm getting ready to order some Soft Star shoes for Otto but I can't decide on the colour - red, whiskey (brown) or the green? These are the best shoes for little feet! Otis wore his Ramblers for so many years! The whiskey will go with more of his clothes but I also love the bright colours on toddlers. I love how you can customise so many of the Soft Star shoes.
Carrots fresh from the farm. They taste so different from supermarket carrots. But they need a good wash. Washing fruit and vegetables is an excellent practical life activity and a way a toddler can have fun, especially if they like water play, and contribute to the family meal. This took Otto 20-25 minutes so almost long enough for me to prepare the rest of the meal.
Triple washed carrots by Otto (24 months). A little scrubbing and lots of rinsing.
Little Otto at Forest School this morning!!
Autumn officially starts here in the UK on Monday 23rd September. What a lovely Forest School craft to celebrate the darker days. The toddlers made little clay candle holders, decorated with found things from the forest. Above Otto is closely watching the Forest School leader light the candles.
Every week I learn more craft ideas that are completely connected to our natural environment. We made the space in the clay with a cut branch, slightly larger than the candle base, so the candle holder is reusable.
We can't get to our local weekly farmers market, it's on the exact same time as Forest School and there is no physical way we can do both. We have other markets we visit in the area when we can. But for UK residents I can highly, highly, recommend Riverford. This was our first delivery and I was blown away. The quality and freshness was amazing. All organic and ethical fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy. Love it!!
Unpacking is a perfect activity for the toddler in the transporting schema!
This looks interesting, from Yellow Door!!
At Forest School my children are so close to nature, every hour, every minute. I love that all crafts are seasonal. Just this week we've noticed lots of little mushrooms sprouting up through the earth. Above Otto is showing me the little 'mushroom' he made with seasonally present acorn caps, branch cuts, sticks and clay.
Otis joined us at Forest School today. Caspar (11yrs/Yr 7) also had a full day of Forest School but as part of his school's normal activities, the school has their own Forest School teachers and own area of land within the forest. Below are just some of the mushrooms that we've seen today.
Otto (above and below) on his second birthday. We celebrated with a picnic and icecream (or sorbet) in the park followed by birthday cake back at home. The park was in Bath (Somerset, UK) and it was stunning! What a lovely day.
Happy second birthday sweet Otto!!
Currently reading Our Fight.
Otto has been talking alot about pigs so I put some pigs out on our play dough tray
My tractor loving boy found some child-sized tractors.
Markets present so many wonderful learning opportuniites for children!
My haul from the Frome Independent markets. The.best.markets. Prints, candles, chocolates, pottery. Not pictured Somerset apple juice and the best fish salad you willl ever taste.
Still loving the Pikler Arch!
Otto's little apple mouse. It is adorable. It's amazing how fast the toddler's speech develops. Within half an hour of having his apple mouse he was saying "apple" for the first time and he was saying it so clearly! It's about repetition.
Some of our toddler matching and language work.
Back in the UK and isn't this lovely, a bee garden in the city.
Can we be Danish? Otis loves Denmark for obvious reasons!! A whole shop dedicated to marshmallows.
Above on our canal tour of Copenhagen. On this trip we did a lot of child friendly activities and not so much sight seeing.
Tivoli Gardens was a highlight for Caspar (11yrs) and Otis (8yrs)!!
Awesome rides at Tivoli.
Bubble waffle icecream?!? A highlight for Otis.
Experimentarium was fantastic!! If you've been to Canberra, Experimentarium is very much like Questacon.
Experimentarium is for children of all ages. They have a lovely section for under 5's and two levels plus the roof top for older children.
One of my favourites, The Butterfly House at the Botanical Gardens of Copenhagen.
It's a little quieter around here than usual as we are spending the week in Copenhagen. It was very rainy today but tomorrow promises sunshine!!
On Sunday, after the Frome markets, we visited a Children's farm. Otto was so thrilled, he loved the sheep. I realised some of these animals he hadn't seen before - like the goats!
Sorry for not posting on Monday, we made a last minute decision to take my cricket-mad-children to Birmingham to see Australia play England in the Ashes test match. It was day five, so we saw Australia win. It was good to be surrounded by so many other Australians!!
Warning, do not take toddlers to test cricket! Luckily there were lots of big screens at the back of the ground that I didn't miss the match. The seating was tight and the crowd likes a lot of quiet during the game. Those seated around us did not appreciate Otto's squiggly and noisy moments so for most of the match I took him out the back where he could talk loudly and run around. On a positive note, this is our furtherest day trip while being 100% toilet trained/in underwear and he had no accidents. He doesn't like or use public toilets but we took the potty (in the car) and he used it before and after the match, and before and after the 2 hour+ drive. I took three spare sets of clothing expecting him to have an accident but he didn't need them!
My enthusiastic 11 year old is on the boundary getting an autograph from one of his favourite (Australian) bowlers. So proud of him.
This is an amazing Wasp puzzle by Lisheen Montessori!! I can't wait until Otto is old enough to use it.
I love some of these captures of Otto's developing kitchen skills (at 22 months). Oiling the pan.
Peeling a banana.
Mashing a banana.
Pouring - without spilling.
Scooping the mixture.
Otis' (8yrs) artwork from today!
Awesome packaging from Whizz Pop Bang!
Otto's abandoned pasting box (at 22 months). He did not complete this cycle of activity, but it's a good start!
Love this new circle puzzle, I didn't realise that the colours underneath match the colour of the circle.
Toy rotation time!
Back at home. Toilet learning - taking off and putting on underwear can be the hardest part!
Godrevy Lighthouse. Made famous by Virginia Woolfe's To the Lighthouse!
"The white 26-metre octagonal tower of Godrevy lighthouse was made famous by Virginia Woolfe in her novel 'To the Lighthouse', though she places it elsewhere in the book. This, the focus of her inspiration, stands on the diminutive and rocky but pretty Godrevy Island, at the centre of a circular grassy area enclosed by a low stone wall." - Cornwall Guide.
Holiday reading for Otto. Perfect for reading while on a seaside holiday. Treasure from the Sea is set in Cornwall!!
Our accommodation at Carbis Bay. We stayed in these lovely holiday units with roof gardens.
They can see the shells, rocks, and seaweed on the bottom of the ocean. Cornwall is a wonderful location for a seaside vacation! This is the walkway to St Michael's Mount.
St Michael's Mount in Cornwall. Stunning. This was almost at sunset, taken at around 8.30pm. St Michael is the patron saint of fishermen!!
"From as far back as 495AD, tales tell of seafarers lured by mermaids onto the rocks, or guided to safety by an apparition of St Michael. The patron saint of fishermen, it’s said the archangel St Michael appeared on the western side of the island – below where the entrance to the castle is today – to ward fishermen from certain peril. It’s a legend which has brought pilgrims, monks and people of faith to the island ever since, to pray, to praise and to celebrate.
And four miracles said to have happened here during 1262 and 1263 would have only added to the religious magnetism that drew pilgrims from far and wide." - St Michael's Mount
At high tide, it is only accessible by boat. During low tide, you can walk across. St Michael's Mount, in Cornwall, UK.
Beautiful St Ives harbour. We came here last summer were determined to come back this summer too. The best seafood!!
We are staying at St Ives (Cornwall, UK) for a few days, one of my favourite places!! It's sooo British! This looks like a painting, I'm going to print these photographs and what what they look like framed.
Low tide!! I love this place.
Otto drew a star - almost!!
Otto's first underwear. Neatly folded in his basket.
This was very funny, but also very messy. Perhaps we need safety glasses next time?!?
A snapshot, Otto's room at 21 months.
I love this artwork by Otis that I found hanging on a wall at school. It's hard to believe the boys only have one week of school left before the summer holidays start. Caspar will start year 7 and Otis will start year 4 in September. We return to Australia in January and they will start the school year all over again!!
Lots of fine motor work using clay!! The rain has not stopped for weeks now, clay is a nice, indoor alternative to paint.
Have you read You Are Light by Aaron Becker? It's so, so beautiful but the concept is abstract. The young child could use it for colour work?? Yes, read it outside and hold it up to the light!
This has been a great way to create interest in an old toy. Presenting Earth Tiles on a metal tray. The magnets stick well to the metal tray (found at our local Waitrose) and they stay up easier, it's more fun for the very young child!! Otto here is playing with the Earth Tiles at 21 months.
Some fantastic Forest School art by Otto (21 months), simple pasting with sycamore seeds. These look like little flying insects or birds.
Maximum effort achieved! So often maximum effort involves toddlers carrying water, in this case, love the large watering can.
A little but of colour theory work. Using water colour paints. Otto at 21 months.
Awesome mud kitchen!! So much green in the forest!
Put it in your diary - Saturday 29th June 2019 is the International Day of Mud!!
It's been raining heavily for about a week. This was going to be a little painting but turned into a lot of finger painting, normally we would have taken this outside!
Open ended play on the light table.
Successful colour sorting stacking.
We are not growing any edibles at the moment so I thought we would try some DIY local microgreens!! I'm not sure what to start with.
We are walking the walk, no such thing as bad weather and all that! It was absolutely pouring with rain at Forest School today. I did think how nice it would be to stay home and bake some lovely muffins. But... it was worth the effort and the mess and the mud.
No cold just super, extra muddy!!
Otto using his digging hands (salad servers) in the sand water table (this is blue kinetic sand).
After his nap Otto is still quiet, he takes a while to fully wake up, so we will sit and play or read in his room until he is ready to play elsewhere, go downstairs or go out.
I must stop buying new plants, we leave the UK in around eight months and I can't take these with me. But I can't resist, look at the leaf shape and patterns!! Love!! The plant on the left is our existing Pilea. The plant in the middle is a Maranta and the one on the right is a Begonia Maculata, which I adore! The two new plants are from Frome Pilea Plant Shop, it's fabulous. Providing interesting plants in my children's spaces is a priority.
Loving these oversized/giant branch pencils. It's hard to see their scale in this picture. They were for Otis but I think Otto will like them too.
A few new instruments for our music basket. The first three are from the gift shop at the Eden Project. Their gift shop is amazing, we also bought a small watering can and a small broom - perfect for Montessori homes, or classrooms. The instrument on the right is a Monkey Ladder Shaker - a giant seed pod from the liana tree of Nigeria (from Grasp+Gather). I love how natural and interesting all of these instruments are. You can see our music basket here.
I love looking at the tts website for ideas, I love these Natural Wooden Mark Makers, but I saw these (pictured) wooden salad servers for only £1 each and they work wonderfully, not just for making marks but also for digging. They would also work nicely in a sand tray or sand box. So easy for the child to use.
New children's pottery. Both from the Frome Independent Markets.
A few new shells (bottom left) from Polkerris beach. Otis is the collector!
Otis' (8yrs) most used material/tool is his hot glue gun! Wonderful for construction and design work.
Routine, rhythm and home are so important for toddlers. It's nice to be home again and back playing in the mud at Forest School! Otto's hair looks so white!
At Forest School today Otis made this puzzle. He drew his design on a tree piece and then with the group leader cut the tree pieces (with a machete) into eight pieces. It is being held together with a rubber band. It's such a lovely idea for an all natural, handmade puzzle.
Cute buildings at Polkerris Beach.
I love the Cornish coastline, it's rugged and so beautiful. There are so many little coves like this to discover.
We spent the long weekend in a gorgeous forest cabin in Cornwall. This is my kind of holiday.
Otto checking out the nature/wildlife display near the Forest Cabins. This is such a good idea as visitors will know what to look for!
Caspar checking out the largest bug hotel we've seen.
On Friday I took some pictures of Otis and Otto painting some boxes outside. So messy. Otto went inside three times to wash his hands but he kept on going back outside and painting again.
The final product!
Following the stream.
Otis and Otto hanging out at the nature reserve after school.
More lids on the light table.
An amazing view of the leaves!
Using the pastry wheel with playdough on the light table.
Loving the mud kitchen at Forest School. Always a favourite!
A little balancing at Forest School.
We spent Sunday at a local nature reserve. The water was cool but the boys could have stayed there all day.
Perfect Spring weather and a nice day for a family walk!
Maximum effort! Otto carrying a bucket full of water.
Otis enjoying the balance beam too.
Otto's outdoor table.
Spring nature tables are the best!! Butterflies, bees, ducks, flowers and feathers.
I love this new Rainbow Sorting Board by Grimms. It's fantastic for one to one correspondence and Otto has started (or perhaps it was a coincidence!!!) colour matching.
I finally found an affordable source of Aussie treats here in the UK. I thought it was a Babipur order so I let Otto open the box!! Otis is going to be so happy when he gets home from school, he loves Cheezels but hasn't had any for over a year. We miss so many foods, not just treats, from home. We all feel homesick but are trying to make the most of our time left in the UK.
Loving these simple two piece puzzles. There is nine in a pack so there are plenty to rotate to maintain interest. (UK link for puzzles here).
A little Forest School play! It's Spring but it's still freezing!
Does anyone else love it when their hotel serves breakfast with jam in the little glass jam jars? These will be useful initially for spreading and the clean jars will be useful for paints or for pipette work or for storing little bits and pieces. The French jars with red lids are adorable.
o and I had the whole day in Bath by ourselves. We spent a few hours at the Roman Baths. It's a wonderful historial site and I highly recommend visiting if you make it to the UK. Last time we visted the baths Otto wasn't walking! It was hard keeping him out of the water.
ANZAC Day 2019 at Villers-Bretonneux and the Australian National Memorial.
Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery. This is the site of the Dawn Service.
Beautiful Northern France...
Fromelles Memorial Park. Fromelles is known as 'Australia's Worst 24 hours'. There are so many Australian memorial sites around this region and so many Australian flags, not just at memorial sites but on the streets, at people's homes.
Near Villers-Bretonneux. "When the Australians came to France, the French people expected a great deal of you. We knew you would fight a real fight, but we did not know that from the very beginning you would astonish the whole continent... I shall go back tomorrow and say to my countrymen: I have seen the Australians. I have looked in their faces. I know that these men will fight alongside of us again until the cause for which we are all fighting is safe for us and for our children." - French Prime Minister, Georges Clemenceau, 7 July 1918.
Caspar, Otto and Otis on the ferry leaving Dover (UK). You can see the white cliffs of Dover in the background. Last time we went to France we took the Eurostar (train) and the Eurotunnel. Taking the ferry across the English channel was super scary but was completely enjoyable, and better for the children as they could move around and it wasn't so busy.
This trip to France we are out in the country side and we've been moving at a nice slow pace. Lots of walking and lots of fresh air. The architecture in France gets me every time! This little guy has been travelling like a champion. Feeling very blessed.
Barefoot at Forest School.
Big kids like to build too!!
Eveyone loves playing in the cargo net.
Last Spring we found this entire space covered in frog eggs. We hope eggs will appear again this year.
A cup of hot chocolate at the end a very rainy Forest School day.
I love this!! Otis is being very gently guided by the Forest School teacher on how to use the saw.
Some lovely new puzzles arrived for Otto today. They are adorable and he can use them straight away.
Some painting for Easter.
While waiting for his brothers Judo class to finish, the Magnatab was a hit.
And on the long drive home (over 2hrs) Otis enjoyed the Galt Water Magic Book.
A little toddler jucing and drinking!
A little toddler flower arranging (18 months). Pouring is hard work!!
So pretty. After the flower arranging Otto helped to put the vases on some of our shelves. Later in the day, I found Otto drinking the water from the vases, with the flowers on the floor. I'm not sure if I should put the vases up high or stop doing flower arranging for a while, although this is a fantastic time for it as there are so many flower in the garden.flower in the garden.
Otto taking the long path to Forest School. All of this uneven ground is perfect for young walkers, it helps them develop their ankle and foot muscles in ways that walking on flat and even paths doesn't.
These stacking shapes are a big hit with Otto right now (at 18 months) with lots of repetition. Also, have you noticed that he is starting to take a lot more work to do at his little table, it's sweet to see.
We've had a really busy week, I have a lot of emails and messages to respond to, I'm sorry if you have messaged me and I haven't responded. Otto is having a quick play before we are going to visit Otis' school, he has a production on today. He was so nervous this morning, I hope he is ok. Break a
We tried to use the pond net but the smaller scoop was easier.
Many years ago I had a conversation with a Montessori toddler teacher about one of her favourite juicers. I was surprised to hear that she liked to use an electric juicer in the classroom. This stuck with me and today I introduced an electric juicer successfully to Otto at 18 months. It was so easy to use and Otto made a lot of juice, enough to share, perfect for a toddler who isn't ready for a manual juicer!!
I am left handed and Otto is obviously right handed. I almost always set things up for me to use, like the juicer. I put the handle on the left but Otto needs it on the right to allow him to pour. I have to keep this in mind going forward!
Check out our electrical outlet with the international converters, anyone else live like this?? All of our phone/rechargers and our kitchen appliances have AU powercords and somehow we have a few things like the juicer with EU powercords. (We are in the UK which have, UK power outlets)
18 months is a great age to introduce a dustpan, Otto has finally 'got it'!! We sweep leaves almost every day, this every day practice has been a large contributor to his ability to use the broom and dustpan.
I changed the art card on our shelves today. The buds and blossoms were collected from fallen branches we have found on our nature walks. We've only found one feather this year but I'm sure we will find more once the weather warms up.
Forest School was cancelled today due to high winds. So we spent the morning outside with a little paint. It was raining lightly but we didn't let that stop us. Above Otto is printing with dried lotus pods.
Here Otto is painting on a mirror. He's actually more interested in using the paint bottle to flick paint everywhere.
Lovely play dough mess. This is such an easy activity to set up.
I love these 'find and fit' type puzzles. They are perfect for this stage in development, just presenting three or so at a time.
Over the we
Otto at Forest School this morning - what a beautiful day!
Otis came to Otto's Forest School class. He loved these climbing ropes!! Otis was also taught how to eat stingining nettles. He tried one and loved it.
A little watering!!
This is a hit right now - the sand and water table. It's outside so we can enjoy the fresh air and the glorious sunshine. It's still cold, so we've used warm water, it makes a big difference, Otto's little hands don't get so cold.
So much sunshine on our walk to our local nature reserve.
From our nature walk.
Spring flowers, so pretty.
First signs of spring!! Daffodils.
Otis and Otto love playing the Elefun game together!
Forest School is the highlight of our week!! I'll never get tired of seeing this little one playing and exploring in the forest.
Otto is loving this dog basket. It's really for open ended play but it's also for language work. Win-win!
Otto putting his basket back on the shelves!!
This little kiddywash basin arrived today. It is so good, Otto loves it and it is really so easy to use. I'll try to post some pictures of it tomorrow.
Reading in bed in his new bedroom.
Forest school was cancelled, mainly due to access and keeping everyone off the roads. Otto had a fun day outside anyway.
So. much. snow!! Caspar and Otis (on slege) are in the middle of our street, you can't even see where the road is. It looks dark but this was taken in the middle of the afternoon.
Oxfam has a lovely range of baskets and best of all you know they are fair trade. These will be perfect for small laundry baskets, for plants and for storing blocks.
The Great Garden Birdwatch was held over the weekend. It's a good way for us to get to know the birds in our backyard.
Exploring the awesome structures at Forest School. Otto at 16 months.
Still loving the mud kitchen!
A home, learning how to use the rake (one handed apparently).
A few pictures of Otto's flower arranging.
Caspar (11yrs) and Otis (7yrs) really love their UK School. While there are a few reasons for this, I know that sport has a lot to do with it. This is so foreign to me but every week the boys play a match against another school. This term they are playing hockey. This is in addition to PE and (hockey) training. They are learning so many skills and playing sports they would not have ordinarily chosen, but enjoy! Unfortunately, in their Montessori school they only had one PE lesson a week. I know not all children enjoy sport but all the movement helps my children academically and their all-round development. Add in Forest school and they are spending ho
Otto watching the hockey!
Appreciating and noticing the flowers in our garden, these are snopdrops. They are so delicate!
Checking on the garden!
Our children's thermometer outside allows the children to check on and montior the outdoor temperature! This one is tied to a tree at the children's level, it's also an easy-read thermometer. We are really hoping it will snow soon!!
It's important to share your passions with your children but sometimes I don't want them so hands on!! It's winter and our fly traps have a lot of dead leaves that need removing. So I asked Otto to help. Above and below are before.
Otto was surprisingly gentle.
Above and below are after. We didn't prune/cut back the plants, just removed dead leaves. Can you believe one is flowering? I love these, they are so unusual.
Spending the weekend at Lyme Regis and on the Dorset Jurassic Coast.
This area is well known for Fossil hunting. Otis above is looking for fossils on the beach.
Otto trying to hand his leaf on the leaf mobile at Forest School.
I love this Forest School activity. Using the hole punch on leaves and then hanging them with wool to make a lealf mobile. I know a lot of people are against using leaves and flowers (natural items for crafts) as they feel it isn't respectful to the environment. However this activty uses materials that are plentiful and are biodegradable, it's much more energy efficient than using paper. I also think it looks really beautiful.
Friday = Forest School day!
He loves playing in the mud!!
Today I received the new catalogue from Community Playthings. These little beds are adorable, so cozy!
Taking Otto for an afternoon walk. It's just so incredibly dark and cold!!
We recently bought Otto a little dust buster and he loves it!!
Helping to hang out the washing (which is never going to dry outside). I always try to give him a little basket of washing of his own to hang up.
Another day as tourists. This is Bradford-on-Avon. So much English charm.
Today we visited Cardiff Castle in Wales. We have visited a lot of castles around the UK but perhaps this is our favourite! And to visit Wales, was amazing. It's so green and beautiful. We also tried some We
That's Caspar and Otis up there. They ran up and down these stairs so many times. But it's not so easy to do with a sleeping 15 month old in a baby carrier.
Cardiff! Love the national pride!
Of course we picked up one of our very own Welsh love spoons, and was told the com
So much love for this little red wheelbarrow!!
Currently reading and loving slow by Isabelle Huiban (UK link only here).
A few things in Otto's Christmas stocking at 15 months.
At what age did you first take your children to the theatre? We took Otto a couple of months ago and I had to take him outside after the interval because he wouldn't stop talking! But just before Christmas (at 15 months) we took him to The Nutcracker and he loved it. It was aimed at children/families so perhaps that why he found it so entertaining. He sat through the entire performance, clapping at the right times and swinging his legs to the music. So proud!
Christmas Eve - watching Christmas Movies in bed with my three children, eating Christmas chocolates!
A couple of interesting Christmas gifts. For Caspar (11yrs) Stories For Boys Who Dare to Be Different. For Otis (7rs) Forest School Adventure: Outdoor Skills and Play for Children.
A few things going into Otis' Christmas Stocking.
Caspar and Otis in their own Snow Globe, in Bath.
Christmas in Bath!
We've been using Bio-glitter this year. Have you used it before? It feels really different to regular glitter. I can't work out what it is made of (cellulose core?) but it's 90% biodegradable.
Caspar and Otis learning how to use a saw at Forest School today.
How do you dress your children for Forest School? Otto is now wearing snow/winter boots (with a wool lining) and they have been a game changer.
Otis made this little Christmas decoration! I think it's a Santa but it could be an elf?! I am loving all the homemade Christmas deocrations on our shelves!
A smaller version of Otis' outdoor weather station! This is so simple, easy to do and the children can learn so much.
Forest School love!! It was absolutely freezing!!
Just chopping some banana and strawberry!
Watering plants at this age is always best learnt outside! These are going to look beautiful.
The older boys and I are trying to make these Christmas stars. We have three books but ALL the instructions are in German!!
Not a day passes when I'm not asked where I am from. Often I am caught off guard. Often I feel like I am fitting in, then suddenly I am reminded that we are foreigners and so very far from home. No matter how hard we try we are not locals. This lovely parcel arrived today from my favourite sister-in-law - Noosa chocolate!
Taking Otto on a nature walk - but all he wants to do is play with the sticks!
Some Christmas themed nature discovery boxes. Perfect for this time of year!
Our Advent candles - before lighting them!
A few pictures from Forest School today! Above is the outdoor xylophone, I wish we had one of these at home. Today we saw some deer in the forest - it was so magical!
And the mud kitchen again! Spaces like this are important to new
This really cute and natural stacking toy arrived today. I love the texture!
This is aFirst 100 Cristmas Words Board Book.
His most prized possession is his broom! (In the new pants)
I am not familiar with this company but thought we would try out these waterproof pants made from recycled materials.
In Australia holly is hard to find and it is expensive. The opposite is true in England. So much holly and it's beautiful!! On our way back from our drive to the farm shop we stopped by at a farm and ended up picking out a beautiful Norway Spruce Christmas tree, a holly wreath and bunches of holly and mistletoe. Very different to our Christmas in Australia.
My children love novelty/shaped pasta. How cute is this Christmas pasta?
A few cute pictures from Otto's toddler Forest School class.
Toy rotation day. Don't forget to rotate the 'big' toys too.
We spent the weekend on the Isle of Wight. This is Carisbrook Castle. It's amazing to tour real castles.
Loving this - The European Community of Stones Amphitheatre (ECOS) in Frome.
This puzzle is a little advanced for Otto, but I still love it. I think it's called trees of Great Britain.
A lovely new children's poetry book!
The boys love these venus fly trap plants!! This one is thriving.
Otto at 13 months using the strawberry slicer. He is refusing to wear an apron, it's tricky isn't it, to respect their wishes while also protecting their clothes, at this young age it's difficult for them to understand and I feel they are too young to learn from consequences (you can't bake until you have your apron on).
He loves to chop with his little knife.
Tadpole to Frog - I love this board book, it has nice clear photographs and is scientifically accurate.
Have you ever seen a swimming hedgehog? This is a cute pic from one of Otis' subscriptions that arrived today, Eco Kids Planet. Caspar and Otis are still on half term break so it's great to have extra reading material on hand.
Some print making using clear perspex acrylic plastic sheets. We haven't tried this before but both Caspar and Otis loved it!
Beautiful coloured carrots, always a favourite.
I'm finding it easy to spend three hours a day outside with this little one. Not so easy to keep him warm and dry. He will take his socks off and any warm bonnet that I put on him. I received a question on FB about how to keep kids/babies clean while playing outside, if cleanliness is your priority it's going to be difficult to allow the child to fully explore their environment. We almost always finish outside play with a warm bath. It's almost weather for gloves/mittens, I am not sure how we will be able to explore the environment when it gets that cold!
This is a picture from my Instagram account, of Otto's new snack area. I will try to get a better/wider picture soon. He has his weaning table to the left and a small table with his chopping board and his cooking table to the right. He isn't walking but can stand confidently enough to work standing at a table. Putting just three fruits out gives Otto choice without me having to even say anything!
I can't wait to show you this! I will be reviewing this box of lovely materials + more next week!
I wanted to write an article about Almanacs, but I couldn't find many good ones for children. Let me know if you have any recommendations. We will be using this one in 2019!
When we were living in Brisbane, the boys mentioned to a waitress in our favourite cafe, that we were moving to the UK. She told us that we must visit the Frome markets. As it turns out we now love the Frome markets and rarely miss one!
Is it Autumn yet?! Our first Autumn in the UK has been all kinds of special. We found our first acorns today! Pictured below is Otis adding to his conker collection.
This is one of the most beautiful toy shop catalogues I have ever read!
I'm sure I will compile these ideas into a blog post one day. I'm not used to cooking and baking with such a young child, Otto is 12 months and not walking, but it doesn't stop him from helping. So two tips I've learnt from baking with him today, one is to use a non slip mat under the mixing bowl, it makes a big difference, the bowl doesn't move at all when he is mixing. Secondly, this bowl was a part of a set that came with his cooking table, it is useful for the very young child as it is wide but low, it has low sides, it's so much easier for the very young child to lift and tip things into it and to mix, they don't have to reach so high.
Our first time baking together (without Otis). His first time mixing the dough. It was all the feels, all the Montessori magic. I was slow and precise with my movements and Otto just took it all in, there was no throwing, no crawling off, I had his 100% attention, he was absorbed!
Some nature study!
Otto using the coin box at 12 months.
I presented this to Otto recently (at twelve months) and he got it straight away! Love this threading activity.
We are using the FunPod 4-5 times a day, sometimes more! (A pic taken from my IG account.)
Our postie puts our parcels in Otto's wagon, and Otto brings them inside.
Otis has been doing some collecting! I was surprised to see what he found and what interested him, he loves looking at the decaying leaves (in the centre of the bowl). We preserved the autumnal leaves with beeswax earlier in the day, so they look nice and glossy here. Autumn is also a tricky word to spell, so it's nice to have it visible on the nature table (Otis is still taught cursive at school).
Apparently, Otis (7 yrs) now plays (tag) Rugby! Above he is about to tackle/tag. It's a school sport, not something I would have chosen for him, but he enjoyed it. Our UK school offers so much more sport than our previous Australian schools. It might not suit everyone but my children thrive being active. In one week Otis played rugby, football/soccer, judo (three times a week) and had swimming and tennis lessons.
Do you remember that feeling as a child, of running down a hill as fast as you can and not being able to stop?
What I am currently reading to the younger boys at night, using the night light! It has references to Cornwall which is just lovely and reminds us of our visit there this summer. Collected Poems for Children.
Caspar and Otis have been making some beeswax sculptures. The candles are perfect for warming up their hands and the wax.
Otto has turned one! We've given him Otis' wooden barn (one of the few toys that we bought from Australia) and a few old Schleich animals. He only has four animals right now as so many of the others are choking hazards, Otto still puts so much in his mouth - the cat, chickens, rabbits, piglets were all too small. For his birthday we gave him the little wooden tractor and trailer, and some new play silks (peek a boo is still his favourite game).
A start of our nature basket for Autumn. These colours are lovely. These were just in our front yard. I've pressed them hoping to do some art with them, but we'll see what the boys want to do!
A few pictures of our Sunday morning. Above Otto (11 months) is whisking his eggs for breakfast. I'm teaching him to use slow and deliberate movements.
Wiping down his table using a little sponge.
Eating (mostly) with a fork. He knows how to use it but often puts it down and uses his hands, who can blame him? He's using this this placemat as it's non-slip.
Drinking with his weaning cup. He's working on putting it down softly on the table when he is finished, not throwing it on the floor.
It's a long weekend here so we decided to explore parts of Cornwall. We started in St Ives which may be the most beautiful place I've ever visited.
It can be difficult taking Otto to the beach because he puts everything in his mouth. So we found a spot away from any choking hazards like rocks and shells. He ate a little sand but was ok. Unlike my other two children he loves textures, he loves the sand. He would run it between his hands and look at it, he loved moving his feet in it.
Above and below at St Ives.
This weekend we also visited Land's End, which is literally at the end of the country!
This is another well-used toy at 11 months. An object permanence ball push. The child uses their hand to push the balls through. Ours is from Absorbent Minds (UK) but I have seen the same at other Montessori specific stores.
Up and down. I love to watch his whole of body movements using his ball tracker.
One of Otto's current favourites (at 11 months), the wooden pop-up toy.
Have you seen these Indestructibles books? There were a couple in our Paris apartment and I was so relieved I could give Otto a book and not worry about him destroying it. These are chew proof, rip proof, non-toxic and washable. They are not as engaging as some of our other books but I would still recommend them if your child likes to chew (or eat) paper books. These are usually in my nappy bag to take when traveling as I don't have to worry about them getting damaged.
This is a picture from my Instagram, it's too cute not to share here. After looking online at everyone's discovery baskets I put a few of our larger shells together (and I purchased a couple new) for a shell basket. The textures are really different and the patterns are amazing!
Otis' treasure found at Lulworth Cove, could it be a fossil (we are on the Jurassic Coast!)??
Lulworth Cove in Dorset.
Visiting The White Horse at Westbury. It looks amazing.
Caspar reading about the White Horse at Westbury.
Otto noticing the small things. At Westbury.
Loving the texture of this lotus pod.
His first pizza at our favourite (UK) pizza place - Dough. I love this age for eating out - when they can independently sit in the high chair and feed themselves, giving you at least 5 minutes to eat in peace - before they start grabbing for your food!!
Bath really is so beautiful! The boys go to Bath twice a week for Judo and it's also one of our favorite places to shop. The Roman Baths are amazing too.
Earlier in the year we ordered some personalised stationary for Otisyear we ordered some personalised stationary for Otis
I wasn't planning on taking the kids to the Louvre, but my husband insisted. I'm SO glad that he did. It was so beautiful and so amazing, and also overwhelming. It was a wonderful experience for all of us.
Otis, living his best life in Paris! On the Eiffel Tower carousel.
Laduree macarons - every day. Also sorbet and gelato every day - it's summer time after all!
Our apartment is only just around the corner from Rue Cler - a wonderful market street with macarons, cheese shops, bakeries, fruit shops, icecream and chocolate shops and cafes and delis.
We are so lucky that our Paris apartment is a perfect fit for our children, it has a baby room, a children's room (including toys), highchairs - everything we could wish for, including little tiny chairs for Otto!
A Sensory Basket for Otto (10 months). This has small parts and Otto is still putting everything in his mouth, so I sit with him while he uses this basket. All of these items are scented and provide a lovely sensory experience, it allows the child to touch and feel and smell real things, different things. In thelemon grass, cinnamon sticks and vanilla pods.
When gardening I'm much more capable with indoor plants, or those in pots or baskets. I'm loving our hanging baskets at the moment. I apologise for the quiet start to the week. We had some sad family news back in Australia. Yesterday the boys Grandad passed away. My husband has flown back to Australia but it's been a difficult week. Caspar and Otis are terribly sad and are now missing their Dad, it's hard being so far away from friends and family.
Otis' skittle experiment! It looks so pretty!
This RSPB Nature Clipboard is brilliant. It contains a book with lots of nature based activities, activity sheets, identification sheets and a nature spotter chart. It is British/UK based and is a lovely resource for taking little ones out in nature.
I must be doing something right, my very healthy Pilea is sprouting babies!!!
It's not just Montessori things, I am committed to handmade and love Etsy for just about everything, including linen!
We spent the weekend at West Bay Beach in Dorest. All week, all I could think of was the fresh sea air. We are trying to make plans for our summer holidays (including Paris!) but all I want is to find a nice secluded beach. This coastline is absolutely gorgeous, I want to move here. Does it look familiar to you? A lot of the beach scenes from the series Broadchurch (I love a good English crime series) were set here including around this cliff (especially in the the first series, first episode). We didn't know that this was a pebble beach though, it was so hard to walk on. I also mad
I just ordered this... With free shipping to the UK! I still convert everything to AUD, I can never work out the price in Pounds.
This children's wooden fruit and vegetable cutter arrived today! It's lovely, I actually really, really like it. It would be suitable for a young toddler for cutting fruit, cheese in place of a crinkle cutter and I love the wood feel. I can't wait until Otto is old enough to use it!
I am not sure if all UK schools are the same, but our UK school has a policy that is very different from our schools in Australia. Our school has a 48-hour sick rule. If the child has been vomiting they cannot go back to school for 48 hours. Otis was sick on the weekend but felt better Monday. Because of this policy, he cannot go back to school until Wednesday. It's excellent in that it helps to limit illnesses that can sometimes feel endless because they keep on going around at school. So Otis has been at home being very helpful with Otto, here he is supervising Otto using his nature discovery basket. Otto needs to be supervised with this, as you can see, he put absolutely everything in his mouth.
We made it to Stonehenge which is an amazing place. The boys had so many questions - it was wonderful. So many questions about this place remain unanswered I love that the children can discuss what they think happened and why. This is a must see if you visit the UK!
Otis refused to be in the same photo as Caspar?!?
Trying out Otis' new Illuminated Mini Beasts Centre, it's solar powered and lights up at night to attract mini beasts, what a wonderful idea! This would make a great gift idea too. Can you see the little doors on the sides, so you can observe what you catch for a while before releasing it. The idea is also to support British moths!
And how it looks at night! It really lights up! We can't wait to see what we find in the morning.
There are lots of things to love about the UK, including Farm Shops! They are everywhere we travel and they always have the best produce.
This is picture perfect, can you believe it was taken by me, on my iPhone? We have learnt that there is no such thing as bad weather, unless there is thunder you must get out even in the light rain. This was such a lovely walk and the kids took in so much.
These pictures are from Stourhead in Wiltshire.
We had an amazing day at the Bath and West show. It was our first British show! The boys loved it! Who knew there were so many breeds of pigs, sheep, cattle, and chickens? The pigs were gorgeous, Otis just adored them and didn't want to leave. And now we are all absolutely exhausted, what a big day!
The Horticultural displays were my favourite.
An Air plant display at the Bath and West Show. So beautiful, I love air plants, they are so unusual. I hope my air plants back in Australia are still alive!
It's our half term break and it's been so rainy. Today Otis made these cute mini cupcakes and some small star shaped Confetti cakes. He used the Confetti Party Cake recipe at Smitten Kitchen. This Funfetti Cake recipe at My Name is Yeh looks good too.
Although we couldn't find the exact sprinkles recommended (the artificially coloured cylinder type) so ours weren't as colourful on the inside. We'll keep our eyes open for the sprinkles and will try again.
Love plants in bottles!
Otis' rocks from Weymouth beach.
Otis' insect collection... when you live in a different country and even the insects are different.
We made a weekend trip to Weymouth in Dorset! We were very much in need of a beach visit.
Although I prefer a more secluded beach!
Still it was very beautiful. The fresh sea air is everything.
The friend who recommended Weymouth mentioned it was very touristy, she was right! There was an amusement park right on the beach. I think we'll visit Bournemouth next, please email me (email@example.com) if you have any ac
Otis and Caspar admiring the view from Northe Fort, poor Otto is rarely in any of our sightseeing photos as he is almost always in the baby carrier.
Some new nature books! Lots: The Diversity of Life on Earth, Bug Detective: Amazing facts, myths and quirks of nature and A First Book of Nature. (We already have a copy of A First Book of Nature but unfortunately left it in Australia).
Otis is entertaining Otto with his 'science experiment'. Do your kids do this? It's water with some paint and a few leaves and feathers, and salt - a few things Otis has thrown in to see what happens.
Snack time! Otto at seven months at his weaning table.
Craziness at the Frome Independent Markets. It was so super busy! A baby carrier is a must at these markets, some areas are cobblestone, there are lots of tight inclines and so many people. But it's my favourite market in the UK (so far). We always take home so much from these markets but most of all I love buying handmade ceramics (so I'm feeling fufilled).
Nature walking, it's the best. It's also 25°C and a long weekend!
So much green, it's gorgeous.
The English countryside, the view only a couple of minutes walk from our house.
These are the tastiest things Otis has ever made!! Mini Lemon Bundt Cakes. One of our (German) neighbors recently made this gorgeous Bundt cake. I was feeling so inspired I bought a mini Bundt pan. Within a day or so Otis has put the pan to good use! Recipe adapted from The Little Kitchen.
Otis' sea rock collection from Morecambe (Lancashire).
It's all about the sea here at the moment. Where should we visit next?
Luckily we have lots of resources (books) about the seashore on hand.
I love Otis' little display on the mirror, including the sea glass. Makes me think we could incorporate mirrors into more of our nature displays and perhaps observational work and art work... something to think about. It looks so pretty.
I love how Basil does this and shoots off new roots.
Some cookbook inspiration.The Forest Feast Gatherings, The Forest Feast for Kids and River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook. The Forest Feast books are visually stunning and all three have lots of good vegetarian ideas.
Otis collecting shells and stones at Morecambe. He learnt a lot about tides on this visit, this coastline is amazing. The tide goes all the way out almost as far as the eye can see, when it comes in, it comes in really far, Otis would be underwater. Our hotel overlooked this lighthouse and the sunset views were absolutely beautiful.
This picture above was taken from the balcony of our hotel room. We woke to the sounds of seagulls (which I know not everyone would enjoy!). It was gorgeous.
Love these new nappies that just arrived today, the designs are so cute!
After school cookies and painting!
He isn't reaching for or pulling up on his arch yet so we made it into a tunnel to crawl through!
Otis has been doing some more leaf dye printing Hapa Zome, these are all leaves, mostly geranium leaves, they are nice and thick so perfect for printing! So nice!!
I love the concept of this new release book. It's a bit old for Otto, best for toddlers an preschoolers but I'm glad we have it for later! Wiggles by Touch Think Learn.
Happy birthday to my dear sweet boy Otis!
Over the lon
This was so close. The black and white stripes you can see in the car window is the reflection of Otto's top, we were less than a meter away from this lion.
It's not everyday we get to see an Anteater (I've never seen one before)..everyday we get to see an Anteater (I've never seen one before)..
or Pocupines. These were so large. I always thought porcupines would be small, the size of echindas, but these were so much bigger. Pocupines. These were so large. I always thought porcupines would be small, the size of echindas, but these were so much bigger. Pocupines. These were so large. I always thought porcupines would be small, the size of echindas, but these were so much bigger. Pocupines. These were so large. I always thought porcupines would be small, the size of echindas, but these were so much bigger.
And of course, the large historic buildings. That's Caspar and Otis in the doorway. It was so, so beautiful inside.
Tonight Caspar (10yrs) cooked dinner. He doesn't really enjoy cooking but will do it when asked. This week it's the school holidays and I asked for him to plan for and cook one meal. He also had to pick out all of the ingredients while we were at the store. I think it's a life skill that is so important. So it was chicken stir-fry! I didn't leave the kitchen while he was cutting up the chicken... I was so worried he would cross-contaminate everything, he was ok but still not completely comfortable with handling raw meat.
It's finally warm enough to for some Spring plantings!! We're using a fabulous, all included Flowers Growing Kit (c/o Manine Montessori).
Today was so sunny and so beautiful! Did I mention the boys now have three weeks of school holidays! Otis spent most of the day outside riding his bike, we had to move to the other side of the world for him to have such a carefree childhood. We are now living in a rural area, some have called it semi-rural, we are within a township but it's small, in Australia we lived in Brisbane in a busy suburb. Anyway, carefree days of playing and bike riding sound really good to me!
Otis was loving this (Caspar did some planting too), it's really our first time gardening here.
We had a super busy day today and I didn't take many new pictures. The older boys has their school Spring Showcase at school today. It was like a school assembly but to celebrate the Spring Equinox. It was our first British school assembly/performance and it was so, so much more professional than I had experienced in Australia. It was fantastic and the boys were really proud to be a part of it. These are a few pictures I took for Instagram. Otto is teething right now (top teeth), so I'm trying to see the bright side of things. Our spring school holidays start next week!
Today... now! It's a snow day. The boys' school is open as it's a boarding school, but there is no way we could make it, we are totally and completely snowed in!
There is something really satifying about using cloth nappies! Is it weird that I love washing and folding them?? I know that I personally like nappies with the velcro (not snap) closures, and I've found these easier than the cloth squares we used when Otto was smaller. I ordered a lot of the specific "nappy wash powder" only to find that my washing machine doesn't like it. The washing machine was brand new in February... it doesn't flush out all the powder from the dispenser area, most of it sits there and accumulates, no matter the temperature I use. So I'm now using a standard laundry liquid (non-bio) which seems to be working just fine.
Cute artwork by Otis using some nature stickers.
Otto has started his journey into eating soilds! Until today, he's only had yoghurt and puree banana, avocado, blueberries, rapberries and stawberries, and often the fruit mixed into the yoghurt. So much fruit! It's time to start him on some vegies! Today I started steaming and making some vegetable puree. Hope he likes it?!? Starting with single foods only, introduced over a week or so, butternut squash, carrots, broccoli and sweet potato. The puree butternut squash tasted so good, I might make it into some soup for the rest of the family!
I ordered these for Otis' birthday. But I couldn't wait and gave them to him as soon as he got home from schoool!! From Dino Raw in Australia.
I read a blog post that said you can grow these, String of Hearts, i
Mother's Day flowers. My first Mother's Day as a moth
Today's mail, my Etsy haul! Sensory bags for Otto, although I will wait untwait untgorgeous candle is for me and the British Butterflies and Wildflower Illustrated stickers are for my little artist, Otis.
Crocus is my favourite online gardening store! Their catalogue is lovely with so many gorgeous pictures, perfect for little ones learning to cut and paste.
Otto is spending lots of time rolling and on his tummy, creeping and on all fours rocking, learning to crawl!!
On his back and resting.
Otto, exploring his new weaning spoon.
We had an awesome weekend. The boys made this snowman just next to our front door. Our first ever, real, snowman!
Why we love National Geographic Kids! This picture is amazing and challenges our preconceived ideas - goats in trees?
Could life get any crazier? Now we are surrounded by snow! Most schools were closed today but our school was still open. But now the roads are completely snowed over, so no school tomorrow! The boys spent the afternoon free ranging and playing with the neighbours in the street. They are such a good, good bunch of kids. Sleighs and snow balls abound!
We had a little snow last week but not like this, today was so special.
I think everyone in England has some of these growing on their windowsills! It is a lovely way for children to observe growth over the winter months.
Isn't this whale planter super cute!?! Trying to find cute, but cheaper, planters for Otto and Otis' rooms, handmade if possible... it's fun looking!
At five months, Otto hasn't started solids yet, but he has started sitting with us at the table for breakfast and dinner!
I adore this name puzzle, perhaps when Otto is older he can use it to learn his name, it's a really easy name for a young one to learn to write and spell. I remember Otis learning his name and it took him years before he got the 's' right.
On our walk home from school. It's really green here, but cold, look at all the bare trees.
We have been made to feel very welcome here. Over the weekend we attended our first British birthday party. I was cautious, would it be relaxed, casual, and fun, like Australian parties or more formal or uptight? It turns out it's pretty much just like at home, with the exception of some of the food. I've found the same for playdates, they are exactly the same as playdates in Australia, the kids (almost) play the same games and like the same things.
This was a party for one of Otis' friends. The party had a science theme. Here the children took turns holding fire. Above is Otis' before shot (all excited) and the second is during!
Packages from Manine !! If you are i
Rotate mobiles just as you would rotate toys!
"Surround the child in beauty". I love this woven rattle, it iit i
I want everything in here! Loving Muddyfaces! It's a bit like the old Michael Olaf catalogues in that it is filled with ideas and inspiration.
Otto (five months) fast asleep on his floor bed!
These are really awesome puzzles for toddlers. I bought them for Otto thinking for perhaps around 18 months but looking at them I think more like for two year olds. If I see something fabulous I always try to get it, you never know when people will stop making it or not replace it. These are two, three and four piece wood, hand cut farm animal puzzles from Absorbent Minds (UK).
Trying to relax!
There are so many teething toys out there, it's hard to know which ones your child will like. After walking around a store one day and allowing him to literally chew on the sleeve of my linen shirt, I concluded that Otto might like more fabric type teethers. He still loves to chew/gnaw on his skwish, wooden ring and the handle of a wooden rattle, but these two toys pictured, the rabbit lovey and the koala crochet rattle are his current favourite. At four months he has his two bottom teeth and loves to chew and kind of pull on these while biting them.
My hobbies - indoor gardening, and reading about indoor gardening! On the left - String of Hearts.
Otis on our walk to school this morning. There's no such thing as bad weather! Poor Otis forgot his gloves this morning, natural consequences, I am sure he won't forget again (by the time I found out it
Otis has been asking since we arrived, so today we did it. An after-school visit to the pottery cafe! I can't wait to see the results, he only had time to paint one plate and now needs to wait for it to be fired.
Otto (at four months) is enjoying his rubber sensory ball. I love the different textures!
First and foremost as a Montessori family... go for a nature walk! Today we took a look around (but didn't entirely cover) our local nature reserve, this is the nearby park which is lovely, even on a dark and cold winter's day! We didn't see any wildlife other than the ducks in the park and the gray (introduced) squirrel. We are still fascinated by the local squirrels much to the amusement of our neighbours.
Otto's first ride in his new pram! We did a test walk to the boys' new school. We will be practising what we preach this year about getting outside, and that includes adults too (no pregnancies to use as an excuse). Our walk to school is around thirty to fourty minutes and takes us right through the village centre. It's going to be a great way to get to know our local community. My conclusion after today's walk is that Otto is snug as a bug, but I need thermal gloves, if such things exist (I wore leather gloves and my fingers still ache).
A little life update! All of our boxes from Australia arrived safely today!! I am SO thankful to be surrounded by some of our own things again. Only one minor breakage
What is one of the first things you do when you move towns (cities/countries/continents)? Check out the local library! We still don't have our Australian air freight, it's due this Thursday. At leas
So sorry for the silence, it was not intentional. We have made it to our house in the UK however it took much longer than expected to get the internet connected. We have our new UK furniture but are waiting on our Australian things, including my desktop computer, which are expected any day. I can't wait to be surrounded by a few familiar things again. The move has been hard on all of us, while we love exploring this new country we are lacking any type of rhythm. We are also terribly busy doing lots of administration that is required when you move countries including getting the boys ready for their new school. A new blog post should be up in the next day or so!
We have been exploring our new neighborhood in the rain and looking for paths through the woods. It's so rainy here! Isn't this post office box cute??neighborhood in the rain and looking for paths through the woods. It's so rainy here! Isn't this post office box cute??
We only had two and a half days in London. Otto and I slept the first day. I slept so little on the plane that I just couldn't help but sleep when we made it to our apartment. We stayed on High Street in Kensington so on our second day we went to the Natural History Museum, which the boys loved!! I'd seen so many photos of this museum online it was amazing to see it in real life. While my husband checked into work, the boys and I explored High Street including finding some amazing pastries!
The boys could have listened to this lovely volunteer forever! She was so interesting and engaging.
Yay, we made it to London!! We flew from Brisbane to Singapore (9 hrs) and Otto slept almost the entire way. We had a three hour stop over in Singapore (9pm-12am local time). Then a long flight (13 hrs) to London. The flight to London was sooo long, and Otto had a tooth come through. So thankful for the advice to bring Panadol on board. We arrived in London around 6am local time. Caspar and Otis really enjoyed the flights, so many movies!!6am local time. Caspar and Otis really enjoyed the flights, so many movies!!
These are terrible iPhone pictures of Otto's little movement area in our new apartment (still in Brisbane). I wasn't planning on packing any mobiles but after I asked for advice on Facebook I received a few suggestions about places to hang mobiles that I had not considered before (thank you Nicole and Emma). Feeling inspired I packed a few mobiles and found it easy to hang them. I also introduced Otto to the butterfly mobile which was completely new to him (he is loving it). Above the butterfly mobile is hanging from an air vent. The black and white images are on the door to the laundry. It has been well worth the effort of setting up this area. We have been able to maintain a sense or normalcy and rhythm for Otto even while travelling. Next stop London!
We have moved out of our house in preparation for our posting to the UK. We are currently staying in a lovely apartment in South Brisbane (above is the view). We fly out next week. While I have internet access I will give a few updates here. I hope to publish a blog post or two along the way! Stay tuned.
I made a set of these for Otto and a set for my little nephew, for when they are a little older. I had heaps of natural wooden eggs and cups so I dyed them to make a colour matching egg and cup set. Super simple to do and it's a cute little colour matching activity.
We had to move Otto's movement area into our living area as we had guests in his room. As we move out of our home in a couple of days we've decided to leave it here, rather than further confuse him and move it back into his room. We had to increase the size of the movement area and combined two playmats, he was moving so much he was pushing against his shelves or his mirror (I don't like him slithering on t
Last weekend he started consistently and repeatedly rolling from his back to his tummy and had two teeth come up, on the same day! There is monumental development at this age (three months). He is also sleeping on his tummy, which I don't like, but I turn him onto his back and he just rolls over on his tummy again.
Finding 'Otto' books at the library!
Otto's ball basket.
Always with his fingers in his mouth! Having a morning nap with Caspar.
Lovvving the Dancers Mobile!
Who knew the Skwish was so tasty? It's his favourite thing to chew.
I don't really know how to dress a baby for the UK winter, but I'm loving these woolens! woolens!
Way too cute!
In our garden! So many Rainbow Lorikeets at this time of year.
Thank you so much to Irene for the book recommendation!
"Don't come into the kitchen, I'm making you a surprise!" He is the best hot chocolate maker and so good at surprises! Yummo. Trying to catch some one-on-one time with my middle child while his little brother sleeps and his big brother is at a movie with friends. Out of al
Otto (3 months) Christmas present is this gorgeous little bird rattle. It's so sweet! Thankfully it arrived in time, you never know when ordering from overseas.
A couple of friends have asked about Snappis! This is it (the blue thing)! We most often use these nappies at home as they are not so good for long car trips. At home I often don't even put on a cover, Otto will let me know as soon as he has used it.
At the park, every day!
This is Christmas in Australia! Loving these Christmas lights in our street. Looking at Christmas lights has been a good way to encourage our night walks (more like at dusk!). This is a pretty typical suburban Australian scene.
Loving some infant massage with Otto!
The Gladiators exhibit at the Queensland Museum (I was told that children get in free for the rest of the year).
GOMA is looking rather bright!
Photographs of Earth!
Beautiful, at the art gallery!
This woven rattle!
Moving to the UK, I'm not sure my Aussie children will survive! A maximum of 4 degrees, what do you even wear in such weather?? It's going to be an adventure for sure.
Otto at two months (10 weeks) rolling from tummy to his back. Love watching this development.
Montessori has taught me that I can put my baby down, I can put him in his room on the floor, all alone. When Otto is content (well rested, well fed) he will stay here concentrating and engaged for long periods of time. I can do some washing, do the dishes, always checking in on him. This is what I found when looking in on him for about the tenth time, so surprised that he was still content, I grabbed my camera and took a photo (sneaking around the doorway as not to distract him).
If you haven't noticed - Otto is growing up fast! He is constantly needing new (and bigger) clothes. So far we have used softer colours but perhaps it's time for something brighter! Here are some great choices from Baby Goes Retro (we have and love the rainbow pants, they are super soft!). They have lots more gorgeous baby clothes here. I adore the balloons and apples!!the balloons and apples!!
My beautiful little chicken, at two months.
Otis was home from school today feeling unwell
We've started packing up our house for our move. We have removalists coming but I'm sorting what few things we are taking with us and cleaning up/tidying what we are leaving in Australia and putting into storage. We will be taking only a few of our toys and Montessori materials. I'm trying to remember what toys my older boys liked before they turned two so I know what to take for Otto (our posting is for two years). I'll take these cute puzzles, I think he'll like them, perhaps around the 18 month point??
Another non-mobile idea to promote visual trackvisual track
Where you will find us after school... Marché du Macaron!
I'm going to try making these myself at Christmas! What a fun idea. Also from Marché du Macaron.
I want to rotate his mobile but his still looks at it like this! He's not ready to let this one go yet, he's still too engaged. I've never met a baby who didn't love (and visually track) the Octahedron mobile.
Yes, we do tummy time. He can now push himself one to two body lengths forward. During tummy time I love for his legs (knees and feet) to be free of clothing so they can really dig into the mat.
An iceblock and cookies at the Northey Street market, at least they're organic right? Otis made this cute little person
He went to the dentist today (at eight weeks). We all need dental clearance for our overseas move, Otto included. It was super cute, the dentist just had a look and a feel around his gums. He was the perfect patient! And we've moved Otto's mirror into our living area. This movable mirror is one of the best things we've bought, he loves it so much. Look at those little fingers and toes!
Bath time and big blue eyes!
Have you ordered from Jamie Kay (NZ) before? These colours are gorgeous. Wake up Otto, I want to try these on you!
Otis (6yrs) at school this morning, working on the Montessori Multiplication Chart.
Our Spring Nature Table! All rainbows and birds.
We found this gorgeous (and new) cheese shop in Brisbane. Otis was bedazzeled! So many cheeses.
I can't wait to use these. The Mededith Dairy Goats Cheese is familiar though, we almost always have this in our fridge. I've been looking for Pecorino Romano in Brisbane for ages and couldn't find it anywhere... until now. Need cheese? Visit Woodblock Cheese in Bardon (it's on our way to school so it's easy for us to drop in!).
And the store has a lovely story behind it. We met Margie today and she was so helpful and knows her cheese!
This is the largest and most exciting Playmobil sets we've ever had. c/o Parent Direct - check them out for Christmas! This small diving boat has spent a lot of time in our bath tub!!
The bottom part of the ship slides in and out. There are boats, dolphins and so many people!
Surfers, beach buggy!
A playsilk makes the perfect ocean. Loving the cute turtle. This set is amazing!
Tidying and reducing the amount of art materials we have in preparation for packing for the UK!amount of art materials we have in preparation for packing for the UK!
Last week at the physio. I've never taken any of my children to a physio before so this was a completely new experience. If you are looking for a recommendation for a Paediatric Physiotherapist in Brisbane, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Our physio, Lauren, is a good friend and is so respectful and caring.
Sweet Otto. He looks different in every photo.
OMG does anyone have sick children? Our weather has been up and down and everyone in our family has a cold. How do we deal with it? Snotty Grotty Room Spray (c/o Milk Baby) in everyone's bedrooms. Papaya Vapour Balm on the big kids (c/o P'URE Papayacare). For the little one who is so blocke
Caspar turned 10 this week, he's the best big brother anyone could ask for! This is how I shower when Otto won't settle, he really doesn't mind being held by his brothers.
Otis' first Lego tec
Lego projects! This one is Caspar's! The manual has almost 400 pages...
We are finally feeling comfortable using the Ergo Omni. I've tried (and wasted money) on a couple of carriers but this is my favourite. I've always struggled to feel comfortable using a carrier in the newborn days and I just can't get the soft/cloth/wrap carriers to work for me and feel secure. Otto is now six weeks and he is super comfortable here, it just takes practice! The Ergo Omni doesn't need an infant insert which is fantastic.
At our local library on a ridiculously rainyInto the Woods clothing which I adore, it's so soft and comfortable and ideal for children, it's organic and free moving.
I'm appreciating borrowing magazines from the library. Have you read the Wildlife Australia magazines, they are great for the kids, you can see them in my post for magazines for children here.
A few books from the library for Otto. These three are really good and would recommend!
My little Otto. Photo taken by Otis. Don't they love sleeping like this! It's all about skin to skin contact and the maternal points of reference - the mother's heartbeat, breathing (rhythm) and warmth!
Otto (five weeks) playing in his movement area with Otis.
Today was Otto's first visit to the Pathe Pa
Our DIY Swat a Sight Word Game. Using clean/new fly swats and Miss Rhonda's Readers sight word cards. We use some words that Otis (six years) knows and some that he is struggling with. This is non-competitive and a no pressure game. We take turns and swat the words we know (reading the card as we swat them), I also give lots of hints if Otis gets stuck. Otis can also play with Caspar (nine years) which is also fun as they do get competitive
Before going into hospital to give birth to Otto I wrote a post about what I packed in my hospital and labor bag. I didn't end up publishing the post but here is a quick picture that I took. Due having an emergency c-section (after my waters breaking and being in the labor ward for two days) I didn't start straight away with cloth nappies but I had intended to. I met with another mum who recently used cloth nappies from birth, including in the hospital for five days (her husband took home and washed the nappies every day). I felt so inspired, I packed a Tots Bots all-in-one for going home. The kimono style clothing is wonderful for those very tender early days as you don't need to put any clothing over the infant's head. We used the topponcino in hospital as Caspar and Otis wanted to hold Otto all the time! It made a big difference, I am still surprised at how sL'Occitane Amande hand creamAmande hand cream is good, the problem is they only make them in small sizes which I go through in about a month, the scent is divine. For my lips I use P'URE Papaya Ointment (which is c/o P'URE PAPAYACARE) which uses organic papaya grown in Queensland (also palm oil free), you can also use it on nappy rash and cradle cap! If you are wanting a healthier version of a vapour rub for your children we use the P'URE Vapour Balm which is natural and gentle, using eucalyptus and lemon myrtle (I'm using it on Otis now who is home sick with a cold).
We made it to five weeks! Some times the newborn days just feel like it's about survival, making sure the kids are fed, clean and the big ones get to school on time! This week I was solo parenting, which is tough. Otto and I did all the school drop offs and pickups and even made it to the supermarket and a cafe for the first time. Thankfully I have not had mastitis this week, which is a big focus for me, I've had it two times since Otto has been born and I'm doing everything not to get it again (mastitis hurts so bad). Above Otto is enjoying his Octahedron mobile.
Clean sheet day (and he's fast asleep)!! It's super hot in Brisbane at the moment, so don't worry he isn't cold.
This rattle! It's a hand turned Australian timber rattle from Etsy.
Wooden beads and rings to DIY some Montessori baby toys!
Otto's wardrobe close up!
Otto and Otis!
Greenery in Otto's room (and a new leaf about to unfold).
Look Look! Black and white board book in the movement area.
Otis (6yrs) and Otto (3 weeks). Somehow Otto sleeps in Otis' arms.
Today Grandma came to visit!
Otto is two weeks old today and we took our first walk to the park! We are trying out the new Ergo OMNI, you can use it from birth without an infant insert. It's going to take a little getting used to (perhaps he needs to come up a bit higher too).
Hummus 101, recipe at Plant-Powered Families. With a baby in the house I need to cook quickly, you just don't know when they will wake from their nap. Hummus i
Otis is totally obsessed with these stickers. These are all scratch and sniff stickers and they all smell sooo good. Love the strawberry, watermelon, grape, and popcorn but the pizza are my all time favourite. These are all bare my all time favourite. These are all bsooo good. Love the strawberry, watermelon, grape, and popcorn but the pizza are my all time favourite. These are all bPeaceab!
Absolutely loving these handmade, gender neutral and organic baby clothes from Sunny Afternoon (on E
I can't wait for Otis to get home from school... he is going to love this!
Caspar admiring his puzzle globe. This a great way to reinforce geography knowledge. Our puzzle globe is c/o Parent Direct.
Still no sign of our baby, I'm feeling really impatient! I'm keeping the house super tidy
Saturday afternoon - Otis is in charge of making the pizza dough! It's always a fine balance between too much water and not enough water. Anyway, it's rising nicely now! I'm telling myself it's the process that's important!!
Both boys are playing with their K'nex today. We are staying in, hoping the baby might come soon! Fingers crossed! I was worried Otis might not use these as much as the age recommendation is 7 yrs+ (Otis is 6yrs), but he loves it as much as Caspar (9yrs). Ours K'nex is c/o the wonderful Parent Direct (Australia). K'nex is perfect for kids who like Lego, but want something a little more complex!
Otis finishing his Crocodile anatomy model.
Always propagating! Loving all these fresh roots.
We adore Sarah Garland and this series of books. This one is gorgeous and an old favourite - Coming to Tea.
A walk along the Brisbane River before school. My very pregnant body can't sit still for long, and the school is so far away (and there is so much traffic!), a short walk helps!
Otis received this fantastic kit for his birthday. We put it aside for a rainy/sick day and today was the day we got it out! I love to have a few ideas put aside for when you need the perfect activity or distraction for the child. This was completely age appropriate and fun. The balls are really bouncy and perfect to give as little gifts (for best friends only!).was completely age appropriate and fun. The balls are really bouncy and perfect to give as little gifts (for best friends only!).age appropriate and fun. The balls are really bouncy and perfect to give as little gifts (for best friends only!).
Pour the mixture in.
Immerse in water.
And ready to play! These are also glow in the dark.
A Montessori baby can't have too many play mats! This one is gorgeous, found on Etsy.
Loving our new crochet tactile/sensory ball!
Otis doing big work - the Thousand Chain!
Totally overwhelmed, Montessori parents should not enter baby stores! Sensory overload!
OMG, too much choice!