Mummy Stuff: Playtime for an 18-month old (Miss M's routine at 18-months)

In October last year, I wrote about Miss M's playtime routine when she was 10-months old (click here to read). Now at 18-month's old, her routine looks a lot different! I thought it might be interesting (for me as well!) to document her routine now, and to perhaps give some ideas for play activities suitable for children at 18-months of age. Obviously all toddlers are very different, in both their abilities and interests, so some of these won't apply to everyone :)


As I am working 5 days a fortnight at the moment, Miss M's routine depends a lot on my routine!

Monday & Tuesday - home with me
Wednesday - day care
Thursday - at Ma Ma's house (my Mum) & she takes her to playgroup
Friday - at Ma Ma's house (my Mum)
Saturday & Sunday - home with me
Monday - day care
Tuesday - with Brendan's mum at our house
Wednesday - day care
Thursday - home with me & I take her to playgroup
Friday, Saturday & Sunday - home with me

In a fortnight, she is at day care 3 times, with my Mum twice, with Brendan's mum once and with me for 8 full days. It is a crazy, hectic schedule but at least we have a lot of days that we can be at home.

When I go on maternity leave in September and have the new baby, I may keep her in day care each Wednesday to allow me some one-on-one time with the new baby, as well as (hopefully!) a chance to clean the house, and mostly because she absolutely loves it and has really thrived doing all the activities she does at day care.

Miss M is really social and loves being around other kids. She has lots of opportunities too:
 - day care
 - playgroup once a week
 - we go to a home group on Wednesday nights where she gets to play with others
 - we go to church each Sunday where she is in crèche with other kids
 - at least once a week we visit some friends and have a play date
 - Brendan usually takes her to the park once a week where she plays with other kids

When we are at home, our days usually go like this:

7:30-8am: get up, and have breakfast (I am not an early riser! I get up at 7am on a school day, but otherwise, I try and sleep in! Miss M has been trained well lol!)

8:30-9:30am: I try and get some jobs done around the house while Miss M helps me or plays independently. She is very good at playing by herself, but I try and include her in helping me get the washing out of the machine for example. Jobs that I try and get done each morning include making the beds, tidying the kitchen, putting on a load of washing, and a general tidy up of all rooms of the house (putting things back where they belong).

9:30am: We usually watch Playschool or we might go downtown or to a friend's house in the morning.

10am: If we haven't gone out for the morning, I will usually try and do some activities together, for example: time outside, reading books, play dough, drawing, painting, magnets, make-believe play etc. More on that below! (During this time we might have a snack for morning tea)

11:30am: Miss M has lunch, which usually takes awhile (she likes to feed herself and take her time lol!)

12pm: Nap time for Miss M and time for me to catch up on cleaning, preparing dinner, blogging or relaxing!

2pm: Miss M usually sleeps for 2 hours. When she wakes I feed her lunch/afternoon tea.

2:30pm: We will either continue our activities or if we haven't been out in the morning, we might go visit a friend or go to the park for a play. We visit my Mum a fair bit in the afternoons, where she loves to play with the toys, or the cat, or go outside.

3:30pm: Brendan is a primary teacher now (as of this term!) and he will arrive home now, and they always have a banana smoothie together (and some afternoon tea)! It's very sweet. Once a week he'll take her to the park, or they'll spend time playing at home.

5-5:30pm: I will begin preparing dinner at 5, unless it's a quick dinner and then I may not start until 5:30pm.

6pm: Dinner time! We always sit at the table, with Miss M in her highchair with her dinner.

6:30pm: Dinner clean-up for me, and Brendan will bath Miss M.

7pm: TV and relaxing time for the adults, plus some more reading to Miss M.

8-8:30pm: Miss M will usually show signs of being tired around this time, and we'll put her to bed. It does seem late, but this works well for us, and she seems to sleep a lot better at night if we hold off until now!


Creative ideas:

 - play dough
 - sand (we don't have a sandpit yet, but she loves playing in the sand at playgroup!)
 - music, singing, dancing, playing instruments (she loves The Wiggles at the moment!)
 - painting (we've been using the colouring books where you just use water to paint - much less mess!)
 - drawing
 - using stickers
 - magnets (which can later be used to sort colours, numbers, letters etc.)
 - organised craft (like at playgroup and day care)
 - using a blackboard

Outside play:

 - playing outside with balls
 - playing in her car, on her slippery dip, trampoline or see saw
 - balancing and climbing
 - going for a walk
 - going to the park
 - sandpit
 - swing set
 - playing with a pet
 - water-play (we mostly do this just In the bath in winter)
 - pouring (using rice and containers)

Physical play:

 - puzzles
 - blocks (stacking)
 - sorting (magnets, colours, toys)
 - busy bag box

Pretend/Make-Believe play:

 - Dress-ups
 - Playing 'mum' to her dolls (feeding, putting to bed, taking for a walk in the pram)
 - Playing shops, cafes/dinner time/kitchens

Being social:

 - Play dates
 - Playgroup
 - Library
 - Park
 - Creche at church
 - Home groups
 - Day care

Language activities:

 - reading
 - audio books
 - DVD's or Playschool
 - nursery rhymes, singing songs

Games with rules:

 - hide and seek
 - peek-a-boo
 - matching activities
 - toddler board games

Hopefully that gives you some ideas for playing and learning for an 18-month old! Thanks to E. Whan for some of the ideas. More ideas can be found by clicking on this link!


Our Laundry Routine

How nice is it to see empty laundry baskets and have all your clothes put away?

I used to struggle with the laundry. I hated the long process from putting it in the machine, hanging it out, getting it in and putting it away, only to start all over again! I became much better at the laundry when I had Miss M, mainly because I had to! Now I rarely have baskets of laundry sitting around, or overflowing laundry hampers. Here is my current laundry routine with just one child (no doubt it will change when I have #2 in 3 months!):

1. I do one load a day (except for maybe one day a week). I dislike doing much more than that, and by doing at least one a day, it never piles up. During my 5 days of work, I actually don't usually do much washing though, unless I need to (especially in winter, as it's too cold to hang it out!)

2. We store our dirty clothes in our own individual hampers in our rooms - Brendan and I have our own baskets, and there is one in Miss M's room. I have a basket in a laundry cupboard for any towels/bibs/tea-towels etc. that I might chuck in there during the week.

3. When I clean the bathrooms each week, I also wash the towels that day. Sometimes I have two loads of towels, which I will do both in the one day, but it doesn't feel like much because towels are easy to hang out.

4. I wash Miss M's and my clothes together, which I do 2-3 times a week, depending on how many clothes we've used. Brendan washes his own clothes (yay!)

5. I hang everything out, as I love that the sun is a natural sanitiser. During a really rainy week however, I will use the dryer. I will put off doing the sheets and towels as long as I can in order to be able to hang them out, though I do love fluffy towels straight out of the dryer!

6. When I get clothes or sheets straight off the line, I don't fold anything, but come inside and put it away straight away to avoid creases. I don't iron, unless I am wearing a shirt or dress to somewhere like a wedding. My hubby didn't even know we owned an iron and an ironing board for the first 2 years of our marriage!

7. I usually fold towels straight off the line though, so I can come inside and put them away (and plus it doesn't take long!)

8. I have two sets of sheets for our bed, and during summer I change these straight away and then wash the dirty ones. I only have one pair of flannelette sheets so far though, so during winter I bring them in off the line and make the bed straight away.

9. I soak all of Miss M's soiled and food-covered clothing in a bucket in my laundry sink before it goes into the washing machine. I have been really surprised at how well the Homebrand Pre-Wash Stain remover, along with the sun, has meant I rarely have a stain on Miss M's clothing.

10. If I can't put a basket of clothing away one day, I make sure it's the first thing I do the next day. I fold all Miss M's clothing into her drawers, except dresses and jackets, and I fold a lot of my tops, and hang all my jackets and pants.

That's it! It's simple and works for us.

Here's a link to a blog post by The Organised Housewife about other laundry routines!


Cleaning up the kitchen sink in 15 minutes

Do you ever have those really hectic weeks or days where you let the kitchen get the better of you? Is your washing up piling up every day? Mine certainly does from time to time, usually when I'm really busy. Recently it was during report-writing time at school. I walked into my kitchen and saw this:

Not a pretty sight! Especially when the house just feels so messy with the dishes all piled like that. However, I have recently put into place a really good system to clear this mess in only 15 minutes!

Step 1:
If you have a dishwasher, go through the pile and quickly find the items that can be washed in the dishwasher (I am picky about what goes through the dishwasher) and stack every else that needs to be washed up beside the sink - it's sorting into what needs to go into the dishwasher and what needs to be washed up and then stacking beside a clear sink that saves me the most time. 

Step 2:
Give the items ready for the dishwasher a quick rinse, and load up the dishwasher. Make sure your sink is otherwise clear, ready for the washing up.

Step 3:
Wash up! I briefly rinse everything first so that I don't have floaties in my water, and then wash the small items first, followed by the large items (it makes it easier to stack that way). I wash any knives/scissors or chopping boards that have touched raw chicken last.

Step 4:
Wipe over all your benches, and make sure everything is back where it lives, and there you go! A messy kitchen to a clean one in no time at all!


Winter Dinner Ideas

I don't know about you, but as soon as the colder weather hits, I'm looking for hot, comfort food of a night time! I've put together a handy list of winter dinner ideas if you are stuck for things to make for dinner, and the best bit about it is that lots of these can be prepared ahead of time so that dinner time isn't so hectic!

Click on each heading for the recipe. Some recipes are for the slow-cooker, others are for the Thermomix, and others are just the good old-fashioned stove-top or oven instructions!

Frozen fish, sweet potato fries and veggies (no recipe - just an easy, tasty meal idea!)

Beef Nachos (no recipe - just cook some mince with taco seasoning, add nacho chips, and any salad of your choice, plus salsa and guacamole!)

Other ideas:
 - Quiche
 - Cannelloni
 - Risotto
 - Zucchini Slice
 - Veggie or beef burgers
 - Lasagna
 - Corned Beef
 - Shepherd's Pie
 - San Choy Bow
 - Burritos/Tacos
 - Tandoori Chicken
 - Satay Chicken
 - Chicken Parmigiana
 - Cashew Chicken
 - Apricot Chicken
 - Chicken or beef stirfry
 - Spag bol
 - Homemade pizzas
 - Sweet and sour pork
 - Pesto pasta
 - BBQ Ribs
 - Lamb Shanks
 - Vegetable Soup
 - Ham and Pea Soup
 - Potato and Leek Soup
 - Beef Stew/Casserole

Hopefully some of those ideas help with meal planning during the winter!

[All images taken by me - I'm no food stylist haha!]


Autumn Declutter Week 6

This final post is a long time coming - I have been extremely busy with writing reports at school/work, but they are all done now, and I can breathe again!

I originally was going to do 8 weeks of decluttering, but I will finish with week 6 today because I am excited to be beginning 'Project 14' with 'Organising the Four of Us' for 2 weeks during week 10 and the first week of the July holidays coming up! I won't share all the details as it is a paid group but I will be doing some more decluttering and organising, as well as focusing on self-care and creating effective routines. I can't wait!

So to finish up, here are some of the tasks I've been working on slowly over the past couple of weeks!

Tidying up the guest room

Miss M, my little 18-month cyclone, had had a field day in my stationery trolley in the guest room! We normally keep the door shut but not today!

It didn't take long to tidy up and cull some of the items on the trolley.

Tidying my clothes cupboard

This is a tough one because I'd love to get rid of lots of clothes but being pregnant, I am going to wait until I fit back into these clothes to see what I wear and what I don't.

Much tidier!



Tidying my top bedside drawer

This drawer had clearly become a dumping ground for anything and everything!

I've culled a heap of stuff, and a basket will help keep the small items together.

Cleaning out my handbag

My handbag is a constant mess. In an effort to keep it tidier, I've laid out everything I need and use, and put it into a small pencil case/beauty case, and hopefully this will keep it all together and neat!

Cleaning out my medicine cabinet & rearranging the cupboards in the kitchen

My medicine cabinet/shelf in the kitchen hasn't got a lot of items but it does get messy. I'm moving it into my pantry in the laundry but will need to purchase plastic drawers from Kmart (which won't be until I get to a Kmart again!) I will share a picture on Facebook when I have completed it.

In the meantime, the shelf that was the medicine cabinet now has Miss M's plastic plates and cups and cutlery (don't worry about the cords, it's really high up, so Miss M can't reach it!)

The cupboard that did have Miss M's plastic plates in it is now a lot less cluttered:

Labelling my fridge!

I received my order from Pretty Paper Label for my fridge labels! I love them!

Decluttering the top of my microwave and the sink

I felt like the top of my microwave was way too cluttered, so I've taken away the mug stand and put the mugs into the cupboard (turns out there was room all along!)

I also felt the sink was too cluttered with all the brushes on the sink, so I've just got my handwash and the detergent in a soap dispenser and that's it!

New purchases this week!

Matching Sukin body products for the shower (and I got a free gift of these mini products with purchase!)

Peonies in a glass vase that will sit on the mantelpiece in the master bedroom from Big W.

A new quilt for the guest room! Only $25 on sale at Target. I love how bright and happy it is!

I also purchased a new blue ottoman for the loungeroom as it was on sale at Big W!

I feel like my house is slowly getting there again! The 3 big spaces I will tackle in Project 14 are:

1. The tubs under my bed in the master bedroom & Brendan's clothes/side of the room
2. The cupboards, the bookcase and Brendan's teaching resources in the guest room
3. The garage

I am also hoping to have some time to organise my photos on my computer! They are getting out of hand. Can't wait to have everything done, especially as it's just over 3 months until Baby #2 arrives!!

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