Sweet Free Advent Calendar

Sweet Free Advent Calendar

Christmas is fast approaching and we are getting seriously excited. When I was a kid, this is the time of year when I started begging my Mum for one of those chocolate advent calendars. This sweet free advent calendar is much more fun.

I’d anxiously wait until December 1st and open that little window to reveal my sweet chocolate treat…. But the truth is, by about December 6th I’d realise that the chocolate inside actually wasn’t that great and the advent calendar totally wasn’t worth all of my anticipation.

That’s why we now create our own anticipation-worthy advent calendars!

I wanted to show your how to create your own advent calendar, filled with Christmas activities and delicious treats that will have your family anxiously awaiting each new day – so let me show you

Before you do anything, you’ll need to get your supplies!

What You’ll Need:

1x Large Cork Board ($14 at The Reject Shop)

1x Reel of String/Bakers Twine (I used Christmas Cord which was $2.50 a roll at The Reject Shop)

24x Loot Bags/Small Envelopes (I used 2x 12 Pack Party Bags for this project which were $3 a pack)

24x Pegs ($2.50 for 80 Wooden Pegs at The Reject Shop which we sprayed with silver glitter spray paint – you could also use glue and glitter from TRS)

1x Set of our DIY Advent Calendar Printables which you can download here (includes Number Tags, Notes for inside the bags and a Christmas Organiser to plan your activities)

Push pins to attach your strings

Scissors, glue/sticky tape and pens to write your activity notes

 Total Cost of Supplies: $25
plus the cost of push pins/glue/scissors/sticky tape etc if you don’t already have them.

Once you’ve got all of your supplies, it’s time to get everything ready! You’ll want to print and cut out your printables if you haven’t already – and you’ll want to figure out where you’re going to put your advent calendar (as this will decide whether you’re going to have it vertical or horizontal!).

Once you’ve decided which way your advent calendar will go, decide on how many lines of bags/envelopes you’re going to have on your advent calendar so that you can cut the strings to size.

We decided on five lines to hold our 24 bags, folding each bag in half so that they fit perfectly!

Then it’s time to hang your lines! We first measured out how much cord we needed for each line (as well as how far apart we wanted to space them to fit our bags) and then cut and pinned them onto the board.

If using Christmas cord like we did, you’ll want to sticky tape each of the cut ends tightly so that the cord doesn’t unravel – and then stick your pin through that sticky taped part into your boards.

We found that the cords stayed best when we also pinned the cord down in the middle of the board (we pinned each cord 1/3 in from each edge for support) – and if you’re filling your bags with heavier items, stick one pin into the back of the bag to hold them in place (or simply use the note to explain the day’s treat and keep them separate like we did!)

Once everything is ready, it’s time to fill your bags! We placed one note in every bag explaining the day’s treat/activity.

In your downloadable printable pack you’ll find a Christmas organiser which will help you plan out your Christmas activities.

When planning our calendar and activities, I first filled this up with dates of what we had on and then worked out when we’d do our different activities and then stuck the sheet into my planner so I knew what was happening on each day

Why? Because you don’t want to tell your family you’re making Christmas Cookies only to find out you’ve got X Y & Z planned and no flour in the cupboard!

Submitted by Kristy Sayer of Southern In Law

Sweet Free Advent Calendar

How To Love Yourself On The  Inside First

How To Love Yourself On The Inside First

Love yourself.Love Yourself

It’s got a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

But here’s the deal.

Loving yourself isn’t just about loving what everyone else can see, it’s about taking care of all the bits of you that make you special and unique – even the parts you may only know about.

The old adage of beauty is skin deep also resonates with loving yourself, and more imperatively, accepting yourself wholly, from the inside and outside.

Give the Gift of Health

Few would be able to argue that health is one of the most (if not the most) important aspect of anyone’s life. When you’re healthy, even normal, mundane daily activities exude a sense of fulfilment and purpose. On the flip side, when you’re not at your optimum, even wonderful life journeys are dull and painfully arduous.

As the knowledge and educational awareness around Organic Products increases, there has never been a better time to gift your loved one with the tools they need to equip themselves to gain a more robust lifestyle.

Many of us are naturally aligning ourselves to nature once more, almost coming full circle with where our ancestors started, where we relied more on natural alternatives to healing and taking care of ourselves.

Why does this matter?

Let’s face it, avoiding technology like the plague is only going to get us so far in the 21st century! It’s not required either honestly.

Great strides have been made in all fields of study throughout the ages, not to mention amazing medical achievements and feats that improve all of our lifestyles in many areas we take for granted now.

Farming practices have improved (even around organic farming) where humans are learning to work with the environment instead of against it. Organic foods combined with the learning curve of technology are a perfect blend of the balanced combination of good practices with ancient wisdom and new age cutting edge valuable innovation.

There are many modern, ethical companies out there now that provide such organic food alternatives and concepts that make for perfect gifts for those of your friends and families that are either nature buffs (like me!) or need a gentle nudge in the right direction.

So how about gifting the present of health to those who are close to your heart this giving season?

Organic Foods are a great way to begin your path to a healthier version of yourself, an ode to commencing your journey of loving yourself from the inside out. Begin at the core of your being and before you know it, it’ll start to radiate from within.

Article submitted by Nimveda


Keeping Anaphylactic Children Safe at School & on Excursions

Keeping Anaphylactic Children Safe at School & on Excursions

Managing medical concerns at school and on excursions is one of my biggest worries as a teacher! Keeping anaphylactic children safe at school & on excursions is at the top of that list.  Since a reaction can be almost instant from the allergen and has a cascading effect. This means the longer you leave it, the more difficult it is to recover. However, despite this serious concern, it just means effective strategies need to be in place to ensure preventative measures are the number 1 priority.

In outdoor education, we usually run our programs a considerable distance from emergency medical care. As a result, this adds an additional layer of risk to any trip away. However, rather than worry about this and feel as though it’s too risky to take kids away; my focus has always been on effective preparation and management. This ensures that the chances for an anaphylactic reaction becomes so low, it’s not an is-sue.

Keeping Anaphylactic Children Safe at SchoolIf a student’s medical profile is flagged with an anaphylactic allergy, I’ll phone home and talk to mum and dad. What I need to know when I call is what are the specific triggers? Can they have foods which might contain traces of the allergen? When was the last re-action and what happened? Even though this information might be in the medicals; I prefer the first hand information from parents, so I can effectively brief my staff. I also want to know how well their son or daughter manages their allergy. Are they aware of what can happen? Are they aware of what foods they can and can’t have? This information is vital in helping provide teachers with the best management strategies in the field.

As an example, on one program, I had 247 students out in the field for a week long camp. 11 of the students had allergies which could result in an anaphylactic reaction. Based upon the information from the parents, and the fact some activities were hours away from emergency care; I carefully placed students with the highest needs in the closest proximity to emergency healthcare facilities. In one of the extreme cases, given the number of allergens that the student was affected by; I asked his mum to provide and pack the week’s food in an esky for her son and I provided a clean stove which was specifically for his personal use.

At the end of the day, it about clear channels of communication between parents, teachers and the child. All staff are trained in first aid and anaphylaxis treatment, effective preparation and prevention is far more important. For every activity we do, we go armed with a list of dietary requirements and only shop according to each individual excursion. We don’t plan meals months in advance to save time. It’s about providing the best meal options for each individual group. This way, we’re prepared and able to ensure we provide a safe environment for every child and a wonderful memorable experience away from school.

Article submitted by David Gregory of Xcursion

Our 4 Top Family Friendly Weekend Activities

Our 4 Top Family Friendly Weekend Activities

Here are our Top 4 Family Friendly Weekend Activities

Having quality family time together can be difficult when you take into account work, school, after school activities and sport.  Although you may be ferrying the kids around here, there and everywhere it isn’t what most would class as ‘family time’.  Taking advantage of free weekends to spend some time together as a family can be very rewarding; if you can only manage one weekend a month where the whole family gets together, you may find that everyone starts looking forward to that special time together (even the teenagers).

So what do you do?  Find something that the whole family can enjoy together and that everyone can be involved in. We know that families are on a budget so most of things we are including are either free or minimal cost. However there are few things that do cost a bit more so maybe make them a once a year special trip.

At Home ActivitiesOur Top 4 Family Friendly Weekend Activities

If it is a nice day then find a bunch of games that keep everyone on an even playing field (i.e.: Little ones can play just as well as bigger kids).  Bocce, Crocket, capture the flag, totem tennis, soccer ball on a rope.  Play one on one or in teams, get outside in the fresh air and have some fun.  Why not start a bit of a veggie patch; you don’t need a lot of space or even a garden bed as a lot of veggies will grow happily in pots.  Pick some veggies that are easy to grow and care for (celery and spring onions are especially easy as they will re-grow from trimmings).  Herbs are also great and fairly easy to maintain, they just need a trim every now and then.

If your planned family day is a bit gloomy and rainy; grab out the board games and puzzles and enjoy the competition.  I strongly advise avoiding Monopoly unless everyone can handle losing.  Sit down and read some books together.  Jump in the kitchen and do some cooking together (even using some of your home grown veggies and herbs).  Kids love to help in the kitchen and there are parts of the preparation that are safe for even little ones to help with.  (Have a read of our Kids in the Kitchen article).

Go on a scavenger hunt, this can be an inside and outside game although I recommend you limit the territory (either inside or outside), set a time limit and give the kids a bag to keep their ‘treasure’.  Put together a list of about 20 items for them to find.  Be a bit creative and let them use their imagination by giving clues like “find something beginning with K”, “find something that smells really bad”, “find something that is yellow” etc.  Set them off and when time us up everyone comes back and the winner who has found the most items gets a little prize (they get to choose dinner, a trip to an ice cream shop), something that they will enjoy but that you can also include other children in as well.

Visit the Local Park/Explore Your Local Area

Family Friendly Weekend Activities

Visit your local tourist information centre and see what they recommend for tourists to do in your local area; you might be surprised at what there is to do that you never knew about or even something that you have been to previously and forgotten about.

Why not find a great playground that has a mixture of play equipment for the kids and open space to run around, kick a ball etc.  There are more and more parks with exercise equipment popping up around the country.  These are a great way to get the whole family some exercise while having fun.  Most of the equipment can be used by kids about 5 years up with a little help from Mum and Dad.  No matter what type of equipment your local park has you can even create your own obstacle course and make a bit of a competition of it.

Have a look at your local council website for a list of parks in your area and see if you can find one close by that will suit your family.

Miniature Trains

Family Friendly Weekend ActivitiesThere are a surprising number of miniature train ride facilities; they are a great, cheap day out for the family because seriously who doesn’t like Miniature Trains?  Most miniature train locations will run a ride day once a month and they generally have picnic/BBQ facilities on site so why not take along a picnic lunch and extend the day out a bit?  Try doing a google search for miniature trains in your local area and see what is around; I can assure you that even if it is a bit of a drive it will be worth it; the kids will have a ball and most parents do too (although we could never admit that we had more fun than the kids).



Discovery Centres/Museums

Family Friendly Weekend Activites

A little bit of research in this area can go a long way.  Discovery Centres and Museums are becoming more popular and most nowadays have a dedicated kids’ area where they can play and learn.  There are
loads of discovery centres, museums and botanical gardens throughout Australia so no matter where you live; you should be able to find something close by; if not some of these places would be well worth a weekend away to see.

Have a look at this website for some ideas: https://www.scienceweek.net.au/discovery-centres/


Whatever you decide to do; do it as a family and do it as regularly as you can and enjoy your family.

How to Get Your Kids to Eat Their Greens

How to Get Your Kids to Eat Their Greens

My 3 year old niece and I spent time in the garden recently, picking veggies for a banquet I was hosting and what amazed me was that as we picked the vegetables, and I asked her, did you try it, she would say YES and then happily put whatever it was in her mouth, chew and say YUM! Even curly parsley..which, even for adults, is a flavour to be acquired!

Vegetable garden - little girl taking care of the plants in the greenhouse

What I realised in watching her is that there were three things at play – 1. Modelling 2. Interaction. And 3. She knew what her body wants

This little woman that I adore has always known what her body needed….when she was sick and I handed her kombucha, she drank it down, even though it’s a grown up flavour, she knew instinctively it would make her better…like the parsley. I didn’t tell her that it was good for her, she just knew and so she went back for more!

I believe she was happy to munch out on greens because we weren’t sitting at a table forcing her to eat them. We were out in nature, playing, have a great time, enjoying the experience of being together. She was a participant in the process and was subtly distracted by that…enough that she was willing to try everything and not notice if she didn’t really like it.

And I was showing her, through my gestures and my conversation, that things were yum and safe to try and experience…as I picked I would show her how I ate it and express my glee at the flavour.

Kids are soaking it all up…they have short attention spans and are spirited, open beings, we must feed that in them…literally and metaphorically. If you want your kids to eat greens make it fun, interactive, model it and trust and listen to your child as they are guided by their own needs (for the good stuff!).

If I’d followed these things I think I would have a 19 year old step son who wouldn’t avoid green stuff on this plate still…we had many, many arguments about eating his greens or no ice-cream!

As they say – you catch more ants with honey…and modelling, interaction and faith are the sweetest of all when it comes to the green stuff!

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