Travelling with Kooshy Kids

School holidays. They’re here. Just like that. Pretty sure last Monday I was dropping off Avery for the first time at preschool, but apparently not. So here I am. About to embark on my first of many two week periods where I have to figure out how to occupy a school-loving kid.

Naturally, the perfect solution is only 646.6km away. Grandma’s house.

Thankfully, we have many good reasons to make the trip to Melbourne this school break, but the biggest two are our new niece and Benji’s best mate’s new bub. BABIES SQUEEEEEE!

Along with the portacot, the pram, suitcases, pillows, too many toys that won’t get touched, scooters, presents and enough food to feed an army for the trip down, we’re getting a bit smarter and packing a few items that are going to make our life so much easier this holiday, thanks to Kooshy Kids.

On-the-Go Parent Backpack

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Mary Poppins would be proud. You should see the lamp I’ve packed in this bad boy.

I’ve been testing out the On-the-Go Parent Backpack for a couple of weeks now prior to our trip away and it’s become an essential item for all our outings, big or small. Slim enough to fit snuggly attached to your pram, but roomy enough to fit enough nappies for a three day Easter vacation to the coast (we are from Canberra after all), this backpack has been a God send. With more bells and whistles than I can mention here, the highlights for us have been the unisex design, the waterproof material and the inbuilt frame that keeps the bag open for easy access when you’re doing your best to emulate Mary Poppins.

On-the-Go Nappy Clutch

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Love when a nappy clutch doesn’t look out of place next to your latest Gorman purchase

Super slim, yet extra large when folded out, the nappy clutch is yet another essential item for our wriggling, needs to be toilet-trained soon, almost two year old. I can chuck a couple of nappies and wipes in this bad boy and know that I’ve got everything I need to tend to that cute (stinky) little bum whenever and wherever I need to. It’s washable and fits perfectly with plenty of room to spare in my backpack.

Now, there’s one more thing I want to talk to you about, and this is a bloody game-changer.

Unfortunately, I am not lucky enough to be planning a long-haul vacay anytime soon, but when I do, I know what I’m going to bring with me…

Kooshy Kids Kooshion

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Photo supplied because I couldn’t convince anyone to send me and the kids on a long-haul flight to road test the Kooshion

The Kooshion is your perfect travel companion. It inflates to create a flat, flexible space between plane seats for your little ones, giving them that flat bed experience that us adults can only dream of up in Business Class. Lightweight in design and accepted on more than 50 airlines, it’s a must have item for any long-haul traveling.

If you need more info on the Kooshion, head here, otherwise read on because I’ve got some good news for you…

I’m giving away a Kooshion to one lucky reader. All you have to do is:

  • Follow @thejadedmonkey and @kooshykids on Instagram
  • Comment below with your dream getaway location along with your Instagram handle.

Easy!

Competition closes Thursday 19 April 7pm AEST and is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Instagram or Word Press.

This has been a sponsored collaboration with Kooshy Kids, but we do not endorse or work with any products or brands we do not use and love.   

The Great Dollhouse Renovation!

My girls were the lucky recipients of a hand-me-down dollhouse from their Mardie and Pardie (is anyone else noticing that none of my children’s grandparents have normal names yet?) a couple of years ago. It’s wooden, beautifully handmade, and very solid.

But kind of old-fashioned.

And as you might have figured out if you’re familiar with my Instagram page, I don’t really do old-fashioned at home.

*cue music* It’s time for a makeover!

I had hinted to Benji for quite a while that the dollhouse could use with a bit of a face lift, but my whinging hinting fell on deaf ears. So there was only one thing left to do – get the job done girl.

With special thanks to Ryobi tools, this is how I made our little dolls house go from drab, to fab.

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“She’s wearing overalls, she must know how to use tools”

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “she’s wearing overalls, she must know how to use tools.”

WRONG!

My idea of DIY, is getting stuff out of the shed and then standing behind Benji, loudly offering my guidance on what I think he’s doing wrong as he goes about the task at hand. But this time I was determined to do it myself. I’m a woman, I can do anything!

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Benji: “Are you sure you want to do this?” Getouttamyway Benji.

Using the One+ 18V Compact Drill was easy, but kind of counter intuitive to start with for a thinking girl – “So I have to push the drill into the dollhouse to get the screws out? Huh?” Once my brain got over that little fact, and realised that this was going to make my life approximately 1052 times easier, I got into it and removed all those screws holding the house together quicker than I can make my way through a packet of Tim Tams.

The backing board was next to come off, and that was just a matter of using a little elbow grease and some pent-up frustration. A few strong taps (“like you mean it” according to Benji) and it was off.

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Eek, there’s no turning back now.

It was at about this point – five minutes in, that I got a little bored out in the shed and needed a little something to keep me going. Luckily, this is where the One+ 18V Bluetooth Radio comes in handy. It’s small, lightweight, has AM/FM, aux and Bluetooth capabilities and uses the same battery pack as my drill. Sorry neighbours, but this bad boy is getting turned up and I’m getting my shed-oke (totes a word) on.

Now, the wall of the dollhouse was probably the part of the house I disliked the most and was most keen to replace. To get rid of the old wallpaper, I set my 2000W Corded Heat Gun to low and warmed up the backing enough to scrape that bad boy off. Good riddance! Using my limited computer skills to good use, I made up some wall paper, printed it on card and using 84 2 rolls of double-sided tape, lived out my fantasy of having a house with beautiful wallpaper in every room, in miniature form.

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New versus old… Ugh, get rid of it now!

In hindsight, I should have used PVA to glue down the paper, as the taped paper buckled slightly. If I was a perfectionist, I would have redone it, but it isn’t noticeable to anyone but me, so I’ve left it as is!

Next came the part I was dreading the most, and more than likely was the reason I avoided doing the renovation myself for so long – the sanding. Ugh…

Thankfully though, thanks to the 100W Multipad Sander, the old varnish came off that bad boy fast and easy. I decided not to disassemble the entire dollhouse because I’m lazy like that, which meant there were lots of little nooks to get into. The sander handled these with ease and I was able to sand the timber back to its former glory without too much mess or fuss. Smooth as bruh.

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Super easy to use. Dare I say it made sanding fun? Too far?

Because I’m a narcissist at heart, I decided the colour scheme for the dollhouse would mimic that of our renovation that we’re about to undertake, so off I went to Bunnings and picked up some sample pots of the colours I’ve had my eye on – Dune for the exterior walls and Basalt for the Roof. Snow Peak for the interior walls which I watered down to whitewash the floorboards to show the beautiful wood grain.

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The whitewashed flooring and herringbone “marble tiling”. So chic. So what I wish I could have in my actual big house.

Finally, it was time to put the house back together and see if it actually looked any good…

Drum roll please…

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Time to see if it’s been worth the effort or if I’ve just ruined a perfectly fine dollhouse…

Success! Avery running out to see the finished product and looking at me with delight was a major highlight. “I love it!”

*heart swells with pride*

I made this for her. Me. Not Benji. Just me. I must admit, I didn’t realise how proud of myself I would be at the end of this project. It wasn’t particularly difficult, or challenging, but it was something that I would usually make Benji do for me. I feel a real sense of pride in my achievement and I must admit, I’ve developed a bit of a taste for DIY…

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Happy girl, happy Mum

Watch out shed, I’m coming to see what else I can play with next!

This has been a sponsored collaboration with Ryobi, but we do not endorse or work with any products or brands we do not use and love.   

Ryobi delivers affordable power tools with pro features, all backed by their 6 Year Warranty* and are available exclusively at Bunnings Australia and New Zealand.

* 6 year warranty applies to cordless products registered at http://www.ryobi.com.au. Batteries and chargers have 3 year warranty only. Corded tools have a 4 year warranty.

 

The Problem with Preschool

2018 marks a big year for the Morrison family, Avery in particular. You see, in February, Avery will start what we in the Nation’s Capital refer to as “Big School”. What we are actually talking about is Preschool, or for those of you who live in most of the other parts of the country – Kindergarten. It’s the year before you start actual school. Ugh can we just have a nationally standardised school system already please?

Anyway, I digress.

Next year, Avery will be breaking free from the shackles of childcare and making her way into the public school system and she can’t wait. She asked for and received a new backpack from Santa this year, and we just braved the Boxing Day sales with Noonsie (AKA Grandma) for a new pair of school shoes.

It all sounds a little too fantastic, doesn’t it…

Of course. Here it comes…

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Swinging into the new year like…

BUT

2018 is going to be a major pain in the butt for the parent’s of the Morrison household, because Preschool in the ACT is only five days a fortnight. Two days one week, three days the next and repeat.

I’ve been chatting to many a parent over the last couple of months to get a feel for how they are going to navigate this weird and wonderful year in the schooling calendar and for most, it’s easy. Pay for a day a week at childcare and then only use it once a fortnight, or pop the kids over with the grandparents once a fortnight for free babysitting family bonding time.

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The Pre School year is a balancing act for many Canberra families

At this stage, Avery is booked into childcare, but to be perfectly honest, I’d rather burn a $100 note once a week than continue to put her in childcare for another year. I’m ready for her to move on. And as for the grandparent option, well… That’s just not an option for us. We don’t have any other family here to rely on. *Cue the violin please reader* Yes, we chose to move away from our families and set up in Canberra, but there’s still a massive amount of jealousy when I hear people talk about how their parents look after their children. I have tried in vain to convince my Mum to move to Canberra, but alas, she’s staying put interstate for the time being. Probably until the kids are both through Preschool and she knows it’s safe to come here without being hit up for a regular babysitting gig. Smart woman.

So where to from here? Ben and I are toying with the idea of us taking a day off once every four weeks, but realistically I don’t think we can actually afford to do that and we have to save our annual leave for the bloody school holidays (don’t get me started on those.) We could look at a nanny, but again, there’s the whole money factor. I’ve tried to hit up parents who have kids in school the same days as us to see if they want to do a sharing arrangement between the four parents so we would only have to take off a day every eight weeks, but haven’t had much success with that yet either.

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Someone is hanging to start Preschool. It’s not me, give you the hot tip.

So, here we are, with six-ish weeks to figure something out, I’m a little bit stuck. Not quite sure how this is going to work. And to be honest, I’m probably going to let it be Future Amy’s problem, because Present-Day Amy is still a little full and tired from Christmas to be thinking too hard about schooling schedules.

Sorry ’bout that Future Amy x