25 July 2017

Bushwalking with kids

It's hard to believe it's been 7 months since our family road tripped to Victoria and South Australia. Being together discovering new places, having campfires and stargazing, exploring little towns or beaches, and going on adventures through the bush and national parks was amazing. The girls loved exploring, and finding little discoveries together. We made lots of wonderful memories. Hubby and I are missing that time together, and can't wait to get away for a trip like that again.

Even my art has been inspired by our little trips away
For the time being we have been exploring our own backyard so to speak, by taking the girls on nature walks throughout the Blue Mountains and visiting some lovely waterfalls.

We have found quite a few Kid-friendly bushwalking trails which weren't too long last weekend. We still have a lot to see, but I thought I'd share with you some nice little walks and spots we've found so far.

Cherub exploring a little cave near the waterfall
Cataract Falls - is an easy 800m walk located within the Waterfalls loop (or circuit) in Lawson. We had tried to visit Cataract Falls before but the path was closed due to work being carried out, so it might be worth checking with the Tourist Information centre at Glenbrook, before venturing out to the waterfalls. Especially, if there's been a huge downpour, as sometimes they'll close the tracks.

Cataract Falls

There are a few steep steps, and steep drops going down into the bush, so we made sure the kids were careful walking down the track. Some of the paths can be quite slippery, so it's worth wearing good walking shoes. Thankfully, there was some railings to hold onto, where there wasn't we stayed close to the rock side. It's such a beautiful tranquil spot.

Wentworth Falls Lake - is a lovely place for picnics by the lake with lots of ducks swimming around. There are paths where kids can ride their bikes, a playground and barbeques. We went for a round trip walk around Wentworth Falls lake. It was an easy-medium walk, and took us approximately 1 hour. There is a little path for most of the way, then the path goes offroad walking up through side streets of Wentworth Falls, with views overlooking the lake, park and playground. Cherub got a little tired towards the end, as their was some slight hills, so needed Daddy to give her a lift. But it was a lovely way to see the lake, and see some nature. The girls spotted some honeyeaters, and finches.

At Wentworth Falls lake, the playground, views from the top, a tired Cherub getting a lift

Queen Victoria Lookout (Wentworth Falls) - is located near the Conservation Hut (which is a nice cafe with a woodfire for those misty days!) at Wentworth Falls. It's a 30 minute medium grade walk with over 300 steps. Going down was fairly easy, but as some steps were steep we made sure the kids held onto our hands or stayed close to us. My eldest was quite enthusiastic walking back up the steps, and was seen at the top of the staircase doing star jumps! Poor Mummy on the other hand was puffing & panting on the way up! If you are looking for a cheap workout, bushwalking certainly does that! However the views are spectacular, and worth the climb.

Do you like bushwalking? Have you been to any nice spots lately?

Please note, this is not a sponsored post.

20 June 2017

Getting through the clutter - ideas in getting your child to help

There are days when negative thoughts and the mess of the house gets on top of me.

The clutter in our house has been doing my head in for a while now. I try and get myself motivated and do a big clean up, but it seems once the girls are home from school and require food, drinks, or want to do craft or play with their toys, the mess returns again!! It drives me crazy.

My mantra at the moment!
I started decluttering (or minimalising) with a friend who is having a Facebook game where each day you are supposed to get rid of (or donate/recycle) a number of items...yesterday was my first day and I managed to get rid of 15 items. Today its 16 items! I mentioned the game to my girls who are excited to help Mummy!

I know if I can get on top of it, I'll have more time for myself and the girls. I will be less stressed (and less of a snappy Mum), or worried about having people over (lately I have been inviting people over, but letting them know there is a mess beforehand), and I will feel more calm when their is more free space and less mess.

Tidying up has become such a chore though, especially in getting the girls to tidy up after themselves.

Over the past few years I have been trying different things with the girls.

Making a list

Popette whinges when I ask her to tidy her room, she's like most 8 year olds I guess, and will spend a total of 5 minutes tidying then comes out announcing her room is tidy!...hahaha. She wants me to help her clean up her room, which usually consists of her looking at things and me doing the work. So now what I do is tell her a list of things to do or write them down for her, which she can easily follow.

Break it down into small jobs

I still help Cherub (5 1/2) clean up her room. The other night I mentioned that she needed to pick up her toys before bed, she had so much stuff on the floor I kept treading on her toys and was worried I may break something.

If I break down what she has to do (ie. Pick up all your teddies and put them in the box) she seems to be able to do it without too much help.

Creating a job board

Our magnetic job board which is on the fridge
We have resumed the girls jobs board, where they get a tick for each thing they do...for example, brushing teeth (twice a day - gets 1 tick), put their dirty clothes in the laundry basket (1 tick), packing up their toys/books and putting them away (1 tick), putting their clean clothes away (1 tick) etc.

When they get a large amount of ticks (total is up to Hubby & I to decide) they get $2 each. And a further $2 if they have brushed their teeth all week (an incentive to get them brushing!) $4 pocket money is pretty good I think!! We introduced a "second chance" tick, mainly for Popette who doesn't drink her water at school. To get her drinking her water, I said I'll rub a tick off the board, so if she hasn't drank her water or brush her teeth one day, she gets a "second chance", but it can only be used once!

Giving them a toy bag or basket

Another idea I am thinking of is to have a tote bag (it could be a Woolies green bag or basket) with their name on it, ie. "Cherub's things" which she then uses to collect her toys from the lounge room floor and takes it into her room.

Cherub doesn't play with just one thing at a time, she seems to play 2-3 different things, so at the moment we have her lego blocks, duplo blocks, teddies with plastic food, and monster trucks scattered throughout the lounge room. She always tells me, "but I'm tired"..."I want you to do it/help me", "There's too much..." etc...and the toys stay there another night. I'm hoping by having a bag it will help her carry it in her room, and not be so overwhelming for her.

Making it a game

A friend once mentioned make tidying up a game, see how quickly they can pick up their toys off the floor and if they can beat you or a timer.

Do you have tips or tricks in getting your kids to tidy their room and pack up after themselves?