Saturday, August 29, 2009

Updating your wardrobe

Now is that horrible time of year when all of the stores are featuring clothes for the wrong season. If you are in the northern hemisphere, fall/winter fashion has started to arrive despite summer's heat, and here in Oz, lovely and light spring/summer clothes are calling my name even though it feels like it is almost cold enough to start snowing! For some reason, this time of year always send me into fits of "I have nothing to wear" as I survey my closet full of the current season's clothes. Maybe I am bored after a long winter, I don't know, but it happens every year. The solution for me is to update my wardrobe with a few select pieces that can be transitioned from winter to summer with ease, letting me have my fill of the new, as well as energizing the old.

Last week, I bought two items from Witchery; a grey tencel pair of cropped tie leg pants that hint at the harem trend while still being wearable, and a navy and grey silk race back tank. Last night for my niece's birthday, I paired it with my grey blazer, black peep toe booties, and a statement necklace. I looked and felt current, as well as excited rather than bored, even though all the additional pieces were things I already had (the booties are nearly a decade old!). Come summer I can lose the jacket, and switch up the accessories, and I have a light weight summer outfit.

When updating your wardrobe, it is also important to make sure that the items you are buying can be worn with quite a few other things you already have, so that they don't become orphans. In this case, the silk top will add a luxe vibe to jeans or denim cut off shorts, while the pants will look great as a casual outfit with a graphic print tee or a white tank.

So when you get those catalogues in the mail or the email in your inbox, don't trash them, but look at them for inspiration so that you can refresh and update your wardrobe and get out of the fashion doldrums.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Giveaway: Rembrandt Whitening Products

Rembrandt recently gave me the opportunity to review some of their products, as well as graciously giving me their new 2hr whitening kit to giveaway to one of my lucky readers.

I decided to try the Form Fit Whitening Strips ($24.99), as they only needed to be on for 30 minutes a day, for 5-7 days, which totally fits in to my (and the kids') busy schedule. This kit contains two strips per day, one for the upper teeth, and one for the lower teeth. You simply rinse your mouth with water, stick on the strips, and wait for 30 minutes before removing. In five days, your teeth are visibly whiter but for even more, there are enough strips for 7 days. I used them for all 7 days, and noticed that my teeth were significantly whiter. Using a teeth whitening chart from a friend of mine, after 7 days, my teeth were 3 shades lighter. This was not noticeably whiter in the "Extreme Makeover" sense, but it was enough that friends and family were making comments such as "how well I looked", and "you look great, have you had a hair cut?". My sister-in-law, who is particularly observant when it comes to appearances, noticed straight away, saying "when did you get time to get your teeth whitened?!".

There are only two draw backs:

  • you need fairly straight teeth for it to work well. My top teeth are perfectly straight and the strips went on easily and stayed on. My bottom two middle teeth are quite crooked, and the strips had trouble staying stuck on.
  • they only cover the front teeth (to your canine teeth). I have a wide smile, so I would have liked them better if they covered one more tooth.

The positives:

  • so easy - 1 minute to apply, 30 minutes of wearing, 1 minute to remove, all at home
  • very comfortable to wear
  • no yucky taste - they are supposedly mint flavoured, but really, they tasted of nothing while on, and just a faint mint taste once removed
  • visible whitening in 5-7 days

I will definitely use these again, in 6 months time as Rembrandt recommends.

And now for the fun part - the giveaway! I am giving one lucky reader Rembrandt's new 2 hour whitening kit that whitens, as the name suggests, in just 2 hours. How perfect would that be for the school reunion, or the last minute dinner invitation?

To enter, take a look at and leave a comment telling me what product you would purchase and why.

For extra entries, follow my blog, subscribe to my blog, or blog about this giveaway on your blog; leave a comment for each entry! Entry closes Monday 7 September.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Our Homeschool Schoolroom

In Australia, our school year begins in February, and in the past, all children would start school the year they turn four. A while ago, this system changed in Western Australia, and children turning four after July 1 of that year start school the following year. This is probably not a bad idea in theory, but I know that Stephen would have been ready to start school next year, so I have decided to homeschool him for PreK and K starting from September.

Since we moved into our house, the backroom has been a blackhole for everything we cannot find a place for, which is a real shame since it is one of the nicest rooms in the house. It is big, full of light, and looks out onto our backyard and pool. I decided that this would be the perfect school room for Stephen and craft room for me. And here it is:

This is one wall of the room, and is filled with Besta bookshelves from Ikea. This contains mostly cookbooks, reference books and craft supplies for both myself and the kids. All of Stephen and Irini's picture books are kept in shelves in their room.

I am going to follow Sue Patrick's Workbox system for organising our day, so here is the workbox set up at the moment. Stephen is not yet 3, so I am starting with 6 workboxes, and I can expand to 10 workboxes as we go along. I am using Sue's numbers at the moment, but I am planning to make my own up that are more fun.

Because Irini is only 16 months and gets into *everything* I cannot have all of Stephen's school necessities out on his table, so I have corralled them all together, and they are stored on the shelves with his workboxes. In the box, I have chunky crayons, twistable crayons, triangular pencils, markers, and safety scissors. Stored in the craft shelves are finger paints, tempera paints, and watercolour pens as well as various brushes and rollers.

This will be the spot for my poster center. Following Sue Patrick's advice, I have made this poster interactive by buying a second copy of the poster, cutting it up into various parts (in this case, the numerals, the words, and the individual items) which Stephen will then match and stick on to the intact poster. I am starting with numbers, but i will be adding more as I find some good ones.

This is our reading nook for reading aloud initially, and hopefully in the future, for Stephen and Irini to enjoy buy themselves as well. I have had this chair since Stephen was born, and have nursed both Stephen and Irini in it. The quilt was the first quilt I ever made, for Stephen before he was born. Everything I made then was green since I didn't know what I was having!

This will be Stephen's work area to start with (regular readers will remember seeing this in the playroom) until he needs a child size desk and chair. Since most of the activities at this stage are more puzzles and games than full on school work, I think this will be fine for now.

Lastly, this is my work area. The bookcase on the right holds all of my curriculum books, workbooks and other homeschool bits and pieces. I am trying out using a fit ball instead of a chair, to strengthen my core while I am working.

So, the room is organised. All that is left is to plan out my first week, and then get started!!

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Winner of the Homeschool Curriculum Cleanout


The first number drawn was number 30, PisecoMom from Mind Games, who wanted the 2000 games book. The second number drawn was number 6, Nikki, who fortunately wanted the 365 activities book, which worked out well. Thank you to everyone for entering, and stay tuned for some more (non-homeschooling) giveaways over the next couple of weeks.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Curriculum Clean-Out Giveaway


Homeschool Creations recently started their wonderful Curriculum Clean-out where various homeschoolers are giving away unused/gently used curriculum materials. To join in the fun, I am giving away two books:

Both of these books have fantastic ideas for educational games and activities for your younger children. The first entry randomly drawn will have the choice of book, and the second entry randomly drawn will receive the other one. There are three ways to enter:

  1. leave a comment letting me know which one you would like if you win.
  2. follow me and leave a comment letting me know. if you already are a follower, let me know!
  3. blog about this giveaway and leave a comment letting me know.
Entries close midnight 15th August.

Make sure you check out the rest of the great giveaways here!

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Short break

As you may have noticed, posts have been a bit sporadic as I have been dealing with 2 sick littlies. Just as they are starting to get better, my computer crashed, and it won't be back until the middle of next week, so posting will most likely be non-existent until then! See you all in little while!

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