Practical Parenting Website

My holidays are going well, hope yours are too. As promised, I'm just popping in with the link to the new "Practical Parenting" website. I've only had a chance to have a quick look around, but it looks great. There's so much to see - recipes, food tips, play ideas, forums and of course, the great informative articles you always find in PP. Here is the link to the homepage and if you're interested in looking at some of my work, you can find it by clicking here

Off for the Holidays

Late last year, I was going through a bit of a rough patch. I was stressed-out busy and my sweet little three year old was giving me a very hard time. That all changed over the holidays and peace was restored to the Butler household. So, I decided this year to not work too much. I love my writing work and my blog, so I decided those two things could stay, under strict time management conditions, but I let every thing else go. And so, this year has been lovely so far. I write while Ed is at Kinder and I spend the rest of my time being a relaxed, in-tune, happy mum (well most of the time anyway). I have to say, I'm really enjoying myself and I'm happier than I've been in a long time (and my sweet little three year old has returned!)

So, in the tradition of my new found peace, I'm going to take the school holidays off. I'm going to enjoy having my 2 children around for 2 weeks without having to worry about getting some time on the computer. I have a deadline for PP to manage, I'll probably check my emails from time to time and I'll be back with a quick link when the Practical Parenting website goes live (things that can all be managed while the kids are resting), but apart from that, I'm going to have a break writing about play so that I have time to play with my children while they're around. Here are some of the things I plan to do:

1. Some Art and Craft

As I mentioned last year, I love doing a structured "art and craft" activity at Easter time. I was tossing around between decorating eggs and making easter baskets, but after I read Liss' post over at Frills in The Hills, the baskets won hands down.

I also want the kids to paint a couple of canvasses for their bedrooms so I've got these ones ready to go. We're going to experiment a bit with paints too.

2. Out and About

I always try to take the kids on a couple of outings through the holidays. Last time we went berry picking and it was such good fun. We're just in time to catch the end of the season, so we'll head off to do it again. If berry picking might be your thing, you can visit to find out what's available in your area by visiting

I also plan to take the kids on a minature train ride to keep my little train-spotter happy. Here in Melbourne, we like to visit the Diamond Valley Railway

3. Play time

I'm hoping to leave a few days for some home-play time. As I've mentioned earlier, school is running in my lounge room and that has been going on for months. The play has evolved to include a staff room and an office and the kids play in this area drawing, talking and learning every single day. I might take them on a special shopping expedition to get some more supplies.

In my banner above, there is an elephant standing in some grass. I've been thinking about growing grass with the kids again this year. Ed confirmed it the other day when he asked "Mum, can we do that elephant in the grass thing again?". So, we will through the holidays. I'm going to grow the grass in lots of different sized meat trays this time so we can use them as different play spaces. I'm going to be writing to about growing grass for play spaces for PP in the coming months, so I'll keep you posted about that.

Ed has a new found passion for dressing up at the moment. He did it a lot when he was two, but hasn't really enjoyed it for about a year. Then, just yesterday, he was a lady bug, a dragon, a "girly-boy" (?!) and a builder in the space of about an hour. I'm going to encourage this new interest over the holidays too, because it's a great way for him to expand his learning and development.

4. Jet setting

The kids and I are off to Adelaide for a few days too. It's only an hour flight and the kids are pretty seasoned travellers, but I don't want to be complacent about the need for them to be kept busy. So far I've got some small activity and colouring-in books that came from Big W for just $2. If I combine these with a pencil case of new textas each, some Littlest pet shop toys with some plastic conatiners as houses, some matchbox cars and some foam roads, and some tasy snacks, I should be just about set.

I'm really looking forward to the holidays and I'll be back in just over 2 weeks to tell you all about it. Hope you enjoy your holidays, wherever you are, too.

Practical Parenting News

I have an article in April's Practical Parenting magazine which is out now. It's all about setting up a home corner at home and how to get the most from your childs' play while he's busy playing there.

I'm also excited to let you know that Practical Parenting is (finally!) launching a website on April 1st. Some of my work will be featured, as well as a link back to my humble little blog. I haven't heard too much about it, but PP is such a wonderful magazine, the site is bound to be fantastic. It's very exciting news. I've been trying to do a bit of housekeeping and tidying up around here before the launch. I'll be in touch with the link when it goes live.

We're Going on a Leaf Hunt

Leaves are falling all around us here at the moment. On the weekend I took the children down to the park for a quick play to burn off a little energy. We took a couple of plastic bags with us on the trip to collect any interesting leaves that caught our eye on the way.

I thought it would be a nice way to pass some time. There are many great developmental advantages to this kind of 'Nature Treasure Hunt". It was something I wanted to do with my children because:
- it slows them down and helps them to be in the moment rather than rushing ahead and just thinking about getting to the park
- it teaches them to look at and appreciate nature and beauty in general
- it gets them talking about colours, sizes and shapes
- it encourages them to think about the seasons and life cycles
- it gets their imagination working overtime. There were many discussions about the shapes of leaves and what they look like - "Look at this one, it looks like a witches hand"
- it adds to creativity as they think about what they want to do with their treasures.
- it's a lovely way to spend a beautiful autumn morning

We had such a lovely time meandering to the park and the walk and search became the main focus of our trip, the fact that we eneded up at the park was just icing on the cake for my two. What would normally be a 10 minute walk took well over half an hour. It's made an impact too. Every walk we've done since then, the kids have their heads down, looking for more treasures. We're yet to decide what we're going to do with our leaves, but I'll keep you posted if anything interesting eventuates.

Voucher Winner

The 'True Random Number Generator', has decided the winner of the $30 voucher giveaway is comment number 2 which is Melissa!!!!! Congratulations and a big thank you to all 4 people who entered (gotta love those odds!). Melissa if you drop me an email with your email address and a contact number, I will forward these details to Maree from buyster who will look after you.

Early Learner's Booklet Pt II

Thanks to a very favourable mention from Nicole aka The Planning Queen, the "Early Learner's Booklet" I spoke about late last year has gone into another print run. If you missed out due to the chaos of Christmas and New Year and would like to purchase a copy, you can email me at the address on the top of my blog. The booklet is $15 plus $1.50 p&h. You can read Nicole's review by clicking here and even if you're not interested in reading the review, check out Nicole's blog if you haven't already, it's one of my favourites.