:: Brought to you by Officeworks ::

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a list maker. A writer who loves to put pen to clean paper in order to create something to aspire to. Something to achieve.

I have so many – lists for work, lists for play and lists for running the household. A list of lists! Starting this week I have a very special, once in a lifetime list.

I am following the list of what my Littlest needs for his first day at school.

Big school. My special littlest guy.

No more babies, no more kinder kids, no more buddy around for adventures during the day while his brothers are off growing up and learning at school. It’s my very last ‘first year at school checklist’.

Nine years of having at least one child at home all the time, and I’m about to start a new phase of parenting. It seems like just yesterday I was making a list for the delivery room as I awaited my first child, and here I am with a list for my youngest’s leap to school. Time truly does fly when you’re having fun.

The common reaction to the youngest leaving for school that I’ve come across is Gulp! Someone hold me. Pass the tissues, please. Not me though. I’m filled with excitement for what lies ahead because I know he is really ready to learn.

There also a relaxing calm in the lead up that comes from knowing that I’m prepared, thanks to my beloved lists made through four years experience of back-to-school. All those tasks to be crossed out and items to be organised are comforting, because I know my big kids won’t turn up at school without all the things they need.

Here’s a peek at my to-do list for the next fortnight with six simple steps to ensure this last part of the holidays is a breeze rather than a stressful run-around…

Three of our must-haves for back to school: MegaMonster Premium Scrapbook (RRP $0.88); Faber-Castell Single Hole Pencil Sharpener (RRP $0.99); Staedtler Noris Club Coloured Pencils (RRP $2.47)


Back to School Checklist

Task One – Fill the bag

This week will see the organising of all the stationery needs for their school list. I love a school stationery list and joyfully remember going to the shops as a child, taking my time to find everything I needed and marking each item off my list.

I have enough experience shopping with three boys to know that I don’t have a lot of time for this shop in the way that I did as a child. They share my love for a blank page and drawing or writing materials, but not the patience for a long shopping expedition.

I will need to be in and out, and there is no time for shopping around stores to compare prices or to cruise the aisles. A one stop shop is necessary and I get what we need at our local stationery store – an Officeworks, where the Parents Price Promise ensures that I’ll get the best price and with the School List Service I can organise it so that I send them our stationery list and all I need to do is pick it up. This free service will see someone gather the items ready for my collection, which means I’ll be in and out in not time.

Fill the bag, check.

tiny & little product tip!
I bought my iPad from Officeworks and it was the BEST price around so I always check them out first for technology.

 Task Two – Dress the kids

Growth spurts have hit us this summer so as the end of this week approaches, they’ll each try on their uniforms and when the uniform shop opens the day before school starts next week I’ll top up with those last minute essentials.

We’ll also do the school shoes run, and knowing how challenging that can be – the memory of last year when they tried to sneak into the shop windows to be shoe models comes to mind – I’m relieved that it’s the only in-store shopping they need to be part of.

All that’s left is to attach names to everything for the inevitable visit to the lost & found cupboard and we are ready to go.

Kids are dressed!

tiny & little product tip!
We use this labelmaker which you can buy fabric labels for clothing and plastic labels for lunchboxes for.

 

Task Three – Kickstart their minds

All summer long, Mr Tiny and Mr Little have asked to be allowed to access their school learning apps. Even though it’s the long summer holidays, their minds are still sponges looking for information and I love to encourage their learning.

To get them in school mode, we’re using the Growing Minds app from Officeworks, a free app for Android and iPhone. The initial install comes with three problem solving and memory games based on their grade (you can choose Prep to Year 12), and we can unlock the other three games when we visit our local Officeworks to pick up the back to school stationery.

Stimulate those growing minds, we’re all set!

Task Four – Practise the school run

Some parents like to practise the school bedtime routine and the walk to school to prepare for the days ahead. Over the next week, we’re doing that as well as practising independence and the school lunch schedule.

It’s important for the new Preppie that he can open his lunchbox all by himself and wait for the school breaks for snacks, so for the next week we’ll have snacks and lunch on the school timetable and he’ll practise opening his new big lunchbox and drink bottle all by himself.

Practise runs, complete.

tiny & little product tip!
This is our lunchbox and drink bottle of choice. The drink bottle has never leaked, the lunchbox compartments mean no wrapping and food doesn’t touch plus a whole apple will fit in, and both are easy for the kids to open and close.

 

Task Five – Create a study space

As little ones go up through the grades, their need for a different study space changes. I remember the first year of Mr Little in Prep and we would curl up on the couch to do his words and readers. In his third year, he took over the dining room table to complete a project covering his family history over the last 245 years.

Now is the time that I’ll look at each of their rooms and consider if anything needs to be changed over for their learning needs. These school holidays both Mr Tiny and Mr Little are having desks put in their rooms for them to have a quiet study space of their own.

Giving the kids space, check!

tiny & little product tip!
Mr Little loves this chair for its pop of colour and because he can spin around on it. I love that it has adjustable height and that he wants to be on it because getting him to sit down to do his homework will be that little bit easier.

 

Task Six – Prepare for the days ahead

Talk to parents in the first year of their little one’s school life and you’ll hear a common thread – They’re so tired!

Starting school is exhausting and little ones find not only the first term, but sometimes the first year, too much. Forget tired, they’re beyond EXHAUSTED. There’s so much learning for their growing minds to take in at all grade levels, and that’s where home becomes a quiet sanctuary when they’re not doing homework, projects or extracurricular activities.

In those moments, you need to make sure they have a chance to calmly and quietly relax. In preparation for the need for quiet moments outside school this year, our desks have been stocked with art supplies for when the need for a quiet moment strikes.

Preparations are complete, and we GO for school launch!

tiny & little tip!
We have these scrapbooks, which my boys love the cover of, a packet of these colour pencils and a sharpener in their desks ready to go.

 

A little something on the side

As I pop in to Officeworks to pick up what my children need, I’ll also be taking the chance to help a disadvantaged child with their return to school as well. All children have growing minds and education is very important, so it saddens me to think about how many kids can’t afford what they need for the education that all children deserve. Until February 15, you can add a stationery donation card to your shopping cart and all contributions will go towards The Smith Family’s children’s charity. This will provide stationery for disadvantaged people in The Smith Family’s 94 Learning for Life communities.

Just like that, my back to school checklist is completed with ease. By breaking it down into those six smaller steps, nothing is forgotten and I can focus on enjoying these last days of the holidays instead of worrying about having everything for when school starts.

Have you completed your Back to School list for your little one? What’s your ‘must do’ in the lead up to school starting?

There was a moment while thinking about our January 2015 theme of adventure when my breath was taken away. As I was going through the archives of tiny & little’s former e-magazine for inspiration, I rediscovered a lovely poem by Lilly Blue.

Lilly is one of the two Creative Directors of BIG Kids Magazine, which is one of the most beautiful magazines for children, and a visual artist whose words will take you on a journey as much as her artworks. BIG Kids Magazine really is something special and if you haven’t grabbed a copy before, I highly recommend it!

This poem by Lilly, Toy, originally appeared in issue 2 of tiny & little’s digital magazine and simply couldn’t stay in the archives of pieces lost when the old site went down – it is as moving to me now as it was then. This poem is, to me, what the adventure of childhood is about and I hope you enjoy this start to our month of adventure.

Paddling, by Lilly Blue

“Paddling” by Lilly Blue

Toy

Let them play with dirt and stones
so that they always know how to find their way home.

Give them seeds as treasure and teach them to plant gardens
of flowers, herbs and vegetables.

Take them to sit quietly on early morning dew drenched grasses,
sun kissed and alert,
long shadows and wind songs for their laughter.

Show them how to build with sticks and mud and hay,
so that their walls are soft, and strong.

Give them hands full of river rocks
to count, balance and cherish.

Walk gently by their side,
arms swinging.

Sing them to sleep in your arms.

They are our children.

Let them play.

Text and Image by Lilly Blue, all © BIG
www.bigkidsmagazine.com

Paper Threads

A paper couture workshop for the young and young at heart

This summer, tiny & little has partnered again with Meetoo and the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) to bring a fun children’s activity to the NGV Children’s Festival, Paper Threads.

We think children can design amazing clothes and accessories for toys using paper as the fabric and in this free workshop, children will create a fashion accessory for their favourite cuddly. Inspired by Jean Paul Gaultier and his first muse, Nana (currently on display at the NGV), we’re asking children to bring along their favourite cuddly to design for. Once their outfit is complete, the super-stylish cuddly toys will be able to stop by our red carpet to model for the waiting paparazzi.

When

Friday, January 23, 2015
10.00am – 2.00pm

Saturday – Sunday, January 24-25, 2015
10.00am – 3.00pm

Monday, January 26, 2015
10.00am – 2.00pm

Where
NGV International
180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Children have a special relationship with their most precious cuddly toy, often named and viewed as a friend with its own ‘personality’ and ‘style’ and we are very excited to have the chance to help little ones create something for them. So much so, in fact, that tiny & little and Meetoo will also be bringing along our childhood cuddlies in their paper threads. We’d love to see your little one and their precious cuddly there!

If you can’t make it, we’d love for you to play along from home too! Snap a shot of your little one’s paper threads creation and share it on Instagram using #paperthreads and we’ll be sure to stop by to check it out. You’ll also be able to see our creations over the coming weeks and tutorials for some of our designs will be coming to tiny & little soon.

Miss Piggy, one of Natalie from tiny & little’s most beloved childhood toys, will be on display throughout Paper Threads workshops, with a special outfit for each day. Kermit will also join her in his paper threads.

Teddy, Kate from Meetoo’s childhood cuddly, will also be on display throughout Paper Threads workshops.

  • Paper Threads – coming soon |January 19, 2015 - 10:56 pm

    […] summer Meetoo has again partnered with tiny and little to bring a family fun event to the NGV’s Children’s Festival.  More information coming […]ReplyCancel

Here at tiny & little, we love painting and not just on canvas and paper… We’re partial to painting the walls as an easy way to update a tired room and because there are so many shades of white when it comes to walls, we have a few sample pots that weren’t quite right taking up space in the cupboard. We’re also a fan of a pop of colour on the toes following a home pedicure and the bathroom has a rainbow collection of unused polish.

If you have corners of your home filled with little bits of leftover polish and paint too, today’s DIY is for you. This DIY is a fun way for the little ones to help clear out some of those pots and bottles of leftover colour, and you’ll make a cute little Christmas present in the process!

What you’ll need

* a poinsettia plant
* a terracotta pot that fits your poinsettia
* paint
* nail polish

tools

* paintbrush

Step #1 :: After giving your terracotta pot a wipe over to make sure there’s no dust or dirt on it, you’ll start painting. We grabbed a tin of leftover interior wall paint and painted the outside first, popped on a second coat once it was dry, then did the same on the inside of the pot.

Step #2 :: Once your pot is completely dry, it’s time to decorate – fun! For this bit, simply use the brush already in the nail polish bottle to make little dots around your pot and the base. For added sparkle, we went back over some of the red dots with the glitter nail polishes.

Step #3 :: Once it’s completely dry, it’s time to plant your poinsettia in the pot.

Voila! In three simple steps, your cute Christmas gift is complete!

Today we’re dipping back into our archives for something truly very special. Back when the original tiny & little magazine published its first issue, we were absolutely thrilled to share this breathtaking children’s birthday party. The lovely ladies at Cake Ink, a Melbourne-based boutique studio that designs mouthwatering cakes and beautiful stationery for celebrations, gave us a peek inside their Enchanted Garden Party and it is so lovely that it simply can.not. remain in the archives of articles lost with our old website.

The lovely ladies at Cake Ink also shared tips and tricks for an easy and cost-effective beautiful dessert table, but before we get to those let’s take a moment to enjoy a few pictures of the Enchanted Garden Party.

Incredibly pretty, right?! There is so much to love about this party and lots of other photos we’d love to show you but first of all, let’s hear from the Cake Ink experts tips and tricks for creating your own dessert table.

Six terrific tips and tricks from Cake Ink for creating your own beautiful dessert table

Tip 1: Source platters, bowls and servingware from op shops

Vintage finds are a lot of fun and add a lot of character to a display. You’d be amazed how different something looks once you take it home and clean it up, and place it amongst some other beautiful things!

Tip 2: Keep it simple.

Don’t try to clutter too much stuff onto the one table. If you have a lot of guests to keep happy, just put out a few items and top them up as you go – trying to cram 60 cookies onto one plate is not going to be pretty.

Tip 3: Fresh is best.

If you don’t have time to bake cupcakes and desserts in the last day, or the morning of, an event then source them!! Or go for less perishable treats like lollies, cookies, cake pops and meringues.

Tip 4: Think about the backdrop and the environment around a dessert buffet.

If you are putting a table against a wall a great backdrop is a sheet of MDF or chipboard wrapped in fabric to match. Or stick up some patterned papers, or posters. Perhaps the plain wall is ok, or some venues have patterned wallpaper or coloured feature walls – use these to your advantage.

Tip 5: Think about height and dimension on a table.

You want to create a really pleasing, three-dimensional look that is easy on the eye but still interesting. Cakes are usually a central focus of a dessert table, so they may look best on a cake stand or propped up on a plinth. You can be creative with your plinths too, put found objects like wooden crates or upside-down teacups underneath platters and bowls to raise them, or we love to cover polystyrene blocks in matching papers or fabrics.

Tip 6: Take a look around for great printed party items, like fun napkins, favour bags, thank you gift tags, menu cards, etc.

Etsy and Made It have a lot of great designers you can purchase artwork from and print yourself. For a little bit extra, some designers also offer a customised personalised solution.

We hope these tips help you next time you’re organising a special event to create a beautiful dessert party of your own!

A very big thank you to the lovely ladies at Cake Ink who created this beautiful party. You can visit their website here or follow on Facebook or Instagram.

The lovely ladies at Cake Ink also shared with us a tutorial for those super-sweet paper flowers in the photos and that will be coming here very soon!