A family getaway

A family getaway

We really started the New Year off with a bang!

Dave likes to take some time off in January and this year is no different.  He thought that we all needed a little holiday.  I was certainly in agreement!   Looking after young kids can really take it out of you, but I am very blessed to be a stay-at-home Mom.  I really would not change it for the world.

Road trip!

Dave found a great place right on the coast where we could go.  It was a stunning beach cottage, nestled between some sand dunes and about 50 metres from the sea.  The only problem – it was 600 kilometres away!  I was worried that it might be a little far to go for a road trip but Dave convinced me that we all would be fine. I wasn’t sure spending 7 to 8 hours in a car with the kids was a great idea but I could see Dave had his heart set on it.

The trip will also be the maiden voyage of my new travel wallet that I recently purchased.  Ok, so it’s not strictly for a trip like this, but it will come in handy when I fly to the U.S. for my sister’s wedding in June.   It’s really a clever thing; it has storage for all your important travel documents, tickets and money.


Dave’s great plan

So the day of the big road trip arrived!  Dave came up with a brilliant plan.  To minimise the possibility of four screaming children, we started out at 1am in the morning.  We transferred the sleeping kids and Toby the dog and off we went.  With the kids asleep, the first part of the journey went very well.  We took it nice and slowly and by the time the kids woke up, we only had around 200 kilometres to go to our destination.

Of course our little darlings woke up starving and I was as well.  I had prepared thoroughly by packing a small picnic basket and our picnic rug.  We stopped at a beautiful shaded area on the side of the road, purposely built for a picnic.  We sat down and ate our cheese, fruits and crackers.  The kids loved the early morning breakfast and so did Toby as he was fed crackers by everyone.  He eventually fell asleep again on the picnic blanket, with a full tummy no doubt!


We covered the remaining 200 kilometres to the beach house fairly quickly.  It was really a magnificent setting; the pictures we saw online really didn’t do it any justice.  We spent a great time there, fishing, swimming, hanging out with the kids and relaxing.  It was exactly the getaway we needed and our time there passed far too quickly!

How to Choose the Best Cot for your Baby Online

When myself and Dave found out we were pregnant for the first time, we had our nursery ready a full five months before our bundle of joy arrived!
cot for baby
This involved a lot of store visits, back and forth comparing products, much moaning from Dave and a few arguments! Eventually, we had everything we wanted, a baby cot, a bassinet, nursery furniture, clothes and toys!

After having three more bundles of joy, I have become much wiser. Kids will do that to you right!

My advice for any soon-to-be mom is to shop ONLINE! Everything you might need for your child can be found in cyberspace.

One of the first things you will need is a cot. This is an important purchase as you want to make sure your newborn has a safe and comfortable place to sleep at night.

Tips for buying a cot

Remember the following when looking to buy your babies cot.

1. Safety is your number one priority.

There are many cots to choose from online. Make sure that the cot you choose adheres to the safety standards of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). I didn’t compromise on this and you shouldn’t either.

2. Well made

The cot should be sturdy and durable. All finishes should be rounded and you should require a tool to construct the cot or to take it apart.

3. Drop sides

It is important the cot has at least one drop side. I found a drop side made it much easier taking baby in and out of the cot. Dave insisted that the drop side have a bottom locking mechanism, so that it cannot accidentally fall down at any point.

4. Movable with brake system

If you are like me, you are going to change the layout of your baby’s nursery pretty often. Make sure the cot has wheels that allow you to do this even when your hubby is not home. If the cot has more than two wheels, it is essential that a brake system is in place to make sure it stays in position even though baby might be wiggling around in it!
cot for baby

5. Consider a bassinet

We found a bassinet very useful for the first three months. It is easy to move around and more importantly, baby can sleep near you in the room. I make sure I put it near Dave’s side so he could wake up first to handle our screaming bundle of joy! Only kidding!

Tips when shopping online

Although Dave shops online regularly for music, I was a little sceptical at first. The prospect of not actually having to go to the shops with my kids in tow convinced me to give it a go, but not before I had researched some safety tips for online shopping.

  • Scan your computer for viruses and malware. Also make sure that you have the latest version of your web browser installed.
  • Have a unique password for each different store you might shop at.
  • Make your passwords long and with multiple characters.
  • Make sure the online shop is SSL secure. Look at the web address. It should start with https://. If it is http:// the site is not secure.
  • Always save or print copies of your online orders.
  • Check your bank statements for any irregular activity.
  • Delete spam emails, never click on the links in them.

I hope I have helped you with some practical tips in choosing your baby cot and shopping online. It really is the easiest thing to do!

How Young is Too Young for Bunk Beds?

bunk bedsSo as you can imagine, with four kids in a three bedroom house, space is at a premium.

Dave suggested that one way to help with creating space in the twin’s room would be to get bunk beds. I think this is a perfect idea, especially as they are now three years old and outgrowing their toddler beds fast! Twins should have bunk beds right? It is a rite of passage! I instantly jumped online to see what our options were and found this site that sells kids bunk beds. I was hooked!

Growing up, my sister and I had bunk beds and we loved them, although I am not sure my mom was as keen as we were. We would always fight about who would sleep on the top bunk and this drove mom mad. Eventually she made us take turns on the top bunk. Later, as we grew older, we wanted our own rooms and we no longer wanted bunk beds. I suppose our new found interest in boys might have being the cause for that!

Although I do think they are a good space saver, I do have concerns about bunk beds, especially as I have childhood memories of falling off my own a few times. I wonder if the twins are just too young. I decided to do some research online about the best age to put children into bunk beds.

Bunk bed safety

It seems like kids should only be really using bunk bed from the ages of six and up. I can see the logic in that. I think children, especially boys will always want to play and climb on the bunk beds, so they need to be slightly older and able to understand some ground rules before you consider using bunk beds as a sleeping and space saving solution.

bunk bedI found a few smaller, mid-height bunk beds, so as the twins get older we will definitely look into that as an option. I think as they grow and their personalities come out more, we should be able to see if they are suitable for bunk beds, or if we will have to make them run around with helmets on! The latter option might be in our future! Boys will be boys!

When we eventually buy bunk bed for the twins we will consider the following.

    • Place bunk beds in the safest area of the room

Placing bunk beds in corners is of utmost importance. This will only give the twins one access point and the walls will add support.

    • Make sure the bunk beds have railings

Railings are a perfect way to stop a child from rolling out of bed. Both twins are very restless sleepers, so protective railings are a must.

    • Rules, rules and rules

Most information I have found online stressed the importance of having a set of rules for your children and their bunk beds. No climbing, jumping or fighting, in fact, NO ANTHING other than sleeping on the bunk beds. Let’s hope the twins listen and follow the rules!

bunk bed
So at this point bunk beds are not an option, but we will be looking at them when the twins are slightly older.

Quick and Easy Kitchen Makeover!

wall clockAs you can imagine with me as a stay-at-home mom and our family officially a one income household (we appreciate the hard work Dave!), money is tight for home makeovers.

I didn’t let that stop me when I wanted a makeover for my kitchen. It is the one room in the house where we hadn’t changed a thing since moving in. Dave agreed we needed to do something, but painting or redecorating were out of the question. We decided the best approach was to change a few things in the kitchen by buying new bar stools for our counter, a funky wall clock and installing some pendant lights.

I turned my attentions online once again as it really is possible to find whatever you want!

Speciality online stores

As I wanted very different items for the makeover, I decided that buying from speciality stores would be the best option. Dave would have preferred if we bought everything from one online store, but who listens to a man when it comes to makeovers!

Starting with the bar stools, I jumped online and had a good look around. I found that specialty stores that only sell stools are often the best pace to get as much information as you need about the products you are after. Because they are just focused on one thing, I find that they have a lot more knowledge and can give you some great advice.

Next I went on the hunt for a wall clock. Now I was skeptical about this because I wanted a big wall clock and I thought the shipping costs of buying this online might be prohibitive. Turns out that’s not the case. There are plenty of stores that sell large wall clocks that offer free shipping. Go figure!

Lastly was the pendant lights. These were a bit more difficult because I was worried about breakages. In fact, I didn’t event think you could buy them online because surely, the they when handled by all the people required to get them to you. Turns out my fears were unfounded. There are tones of stores selling pendant lighting and shipping is not a problem!

Sourcing the bar stools, wall clock and pendant lights proved very easy and they were delivered within a week. Our kitchen looks amazing!

A few tips for online shopping

As I have been shopping online for a fair amount of time now, I have some advice to make the experience as safe as possible.

1. Only use reputable online stores

Do your research. Make sure the store is reputable and has had an online presence for a number of years.

Read customer reviews and see how they rate the store.

2. Get the contact details for the store

Make sure you have an email address, phone number and physical office address for the store, especially if you are using it for the first time.

3. Check guarantees, billing and delivery before you buy

Dave is a stickler for this, and he always makes sure I double check these, especially if we are using a store for the first time.

4. Only enter your credit card details on secure sites

Sometimes we can get so excited when we find a product we have searched for that we do not check if the site is secure. Never input your credit card details on an unsecure site.

5. Never email your credit card details

If you receive an email asking for credit card details from a site you might have browsed, never, ever send it!

6. Record your purchase details.

This is something I forget to do sometimes. Either print your order, or take down the order number, time and date of purchase and the cost.

Online shopping really is the easiest way to buy any items you might need. Oh and did I mention my kitchen looks amazing!

Buying a Dog Bed for Toby

Just the other day Dave came to me with a suggestion. He thought we should get a dog for the kids.

At first I wasn’t sold on the idea. Dogs don’t look after themselves and need a lot of daily attention. There is the feeding, walking, cleaning of dog beds or dog cushions and picking up their mess. I explained my concerns to Dave, but after a while he persuaded me to go along with his plan. I think Dave’s words of “I will handle anything dog related” may have convinced me!

dog cushion

The kids were ecstatic when we told them! We decided our first task even before went looking for a dog was to name it. Dave and I already knew that we wanted a male dog, so we told the kids that they could suggest some boy names. “Snuggles”, “SpongeBob”, “Chocco” and” Woof” were the early contenders but when the twins shouted out “Toby” and the other kids immediately joined in, we knew we had the winning name. Thank goodness, I can just imagine Dave standing by the front door calling “SpongeBob, SpongeBob.”

Last weekend we went to the local pound to find our new best friend. This wasn’t an easy task as they all were so cute with their sad “pick me” eyes. After what seemed like hours, we decided to go for a four year old fox terrier. He was a real cutie and everyone loved his good nature, especially when he took a turn to lick each of our kids as they greeted him. Toby the terrier was going to be our dog and he was just about perfect.dogs

On the way home Dave realised what he had let himself in for. We had to make an emergency stop because Toby had left a little present on the back seat!

Searching for the right dog bed

dog bedAs soon as we got home I immediately started searching online for a dog bed for Toby.

You would think it is pretty easy to find a dog bed, but there is a massive range out there! I was determined to find something perfect for him. I knew I wanted something that was comfortable, easy to clean (for Dave’s sake) and not too expensive!

In my research of online dog bed stores I found out the following:

  • Dogs mostly like to sleep stretched out, or curled up nose to tail. Sometimes a dog will use a combination of the two sleeping styles.
  • The right sized dog bed is of the utmost importance. Your dog needs to fit into his dog bed properly to be comfortable. Never buy a dog bed that is too small.
  • Dog beds come in various shapes and forms. I suggested to Dave we should get one with a removable and washable cover.

As we didn’t really know Toby’s sleeping habits we decided to order a medium sized rectangular dog cushion with a removable cover. We observed Toby for a week and saw that he liked to sleep all curled up in a ball. He looked extremely cute! Buying sleep products requires a lot of thought.

Armed with this knowledge we found the perfect dog bed online, a snug oval shaped padded bed with a removable cover for easy cleaning. Toby really loves sleeping in it, when the kids give him a break that is! I am still not sure if Dave’s decision to handle everything dog related is working out for him though!

Finding the Ideal Gift for a Picky Husband

So Dave’s birthday is fast approaching and I am stressing out! With four small kids, Dave helps out around the house all the time so he really doesn’t have time for a hobby. This makes it so difficult to buy a gift for him.

This year though, I think I might have found the perfect present for him! I am sure he will love it! Dave is big music fan and he has collected around 100 old records over the years. The only problem is that he cannot listen to them. I might just have had something to do with that! You see, I sold his record player in a yard sale just before we moved out of our old house. Dave wasn’t impressed, but I packed the records away out of sight and he has forgotten about them (I think).

Time for me to make amends for my poor decision in selling his record player and become a heroine in his eyes!

Of course I started online in my research. I want to make sure I get the perfect record player for Dave.

Types of records players available online

I didn’t realise there were so many record players available. There are a few things that you should note of when looking to buy one.


Crosley Cruiser Portable Turntable - Orange-LEFT 11. USB vs. Non USB

Did you know that a record player could plug into your PC or laptop? If you buy a record player that has a USB connector you can actually convert your records into MP3’s.

I think Dave would really appreciate being able to have his old records on his phone or even playing on the car stereo.

2. Price Range

The prices on record players vary… a whole lot! I don’t think I need to get anything too expensive for Dave. His music always sounds like someone is about to fight… using guitars and drums as weapons. A mid range priced record player should be fine!

3. Manual vs. Automatic

At first I wondered why the record player had gears. After some research I found it that a manual record player means you have to move the arm and put the needle on the record. An automatic one does this all by itself.

I think Dave would prefer a manual one. Our last one was like that. It puts you in charge, Dave will like that!

4. Style

Record players come in a variety of styles. I am leaning towards a more retro look, in the same kind of style that Dave’s old record player was.

5. Replacement parts

With small kids in the house, you can be sure that something will be misplaced, broken or possibly both! Replacement parts will have to be available for the record player I choose and of course I want to order them online! You might at some point need to replace the stylus, needle, the arm, drive system or the rubber mat.

So I have a fair idea of what record player I want to get for Dave for his birthday. I am leaning towards a retro style, manual, USB compatible player. I really think Dave will love it, and just maybe he will forgive me for getting rid of his old one!

My new blog is coming soon!

Hi! I’m Cathy and this is my new blog. I’m a busy Mum with a busy household and I love it. While things can get tough at times, I wouldn’t give it up for the world. I’ll be posting regularly about tips for keeping your household running smoothly, keeping your kids happy and keeping you sane! I also love home decorating and want to make my home as ‘homey’ as possible for my kids. I’ll share some tips on simply but effective home decorating techniques.