Simple Parenting and Play Planner

Simple Parenting and Play Planner  with two weeks of giveaways.


I’m really excited to share with you the Simple Parenting and Play Planner as a brand new way to have your space and a place for taking action on your family haven.

What is the Simple Parenting and Play Planner?

  • Place for parents to catch their dreams, values and ideas and gently lay them out, evaluate and make them happen.
  • Space to focus on the things that matter in YOUR family. Set your agendas. Discard the rest.
  • Guardian of what you hold clear and dear in your family. Your play intentions, your family intention and you.
  • Opportunity to get ourselves, our spouse, our fun back on track after the shifts and changes of motherhood.

There’s this mismatch between what we do and what we want to do.

For whatever reason

  • we didn’t get to do that play activity we wanted to do.
  • we want to have better conversations about the school day or do that seasonal activity but we were too late ordering the parts or getting the time off to go.

We wish parenting was easier like menu planning that we can pick our best loved recipes and choices and use them over again. The thing about menu planning is when it works well it’s usually because we planned.

Meal times are more relaxed and calmer. But we don’t do this type of planning for play and creating the family haven we want.

Spend a moment in your Simple Parenting and Simple Play Planner– picking one area so we don’t go into overwhelm and use this focus to work on feeling happier about your parenting and play.

You don’t have to plan the life out of things. You’re always able to free flow, simplify, fly by the seat of your pants. Those things don’t change about you. The Simple Parenting and Play planner works with your family- is used in your family regularly.

This is a simple, intentional way to connect with your ideas, values, rhythms and routines on a regular basis without feeling guilty.

sample pages Simple Parenting and Play Planner

On Monday 31st March, we start the Simple Parenting and Play Planner- on tour!

This is cool for you as this 51 page planner will be visiting 10 blogs where you’ll learn a little bit more about the planner AND have a chance to win a copy.

So not just one copy but 10 chances.

Here’s how it works……

Check out the list below for each of the stops. Visit each blog and enter into the giveaway.

Monday 31 March    My Healthy Beginning

Tuesday 1 April        The Mom Writes

Wednesday 2 April    RainyDay Mum 

Thursday 3 April         Megan Flatt

Friday 4 April             Pickle Bums

Saturday 5th April       Bliss Beyond Naptime

Monday 7 April           A Free Spirit Life 

Tuesday 8 April           Simple Kids**Today**

Wednesday 9 April      Mama Scouts

Thursday 10 April       Plannerisms

Friday 11 April           Raising Playful Tots

I’ll be updating the posts here on Facebook and Instagram so be sure to follow me there.

If you’re curious to find out more about the planner you can check out Simple Parenting and Play Planner

Good luck!


How to schedule a less scheduled weekend – part 1

How to schedule a less scheduled weekend

Imagine a less scheduled weekend.

Sure there will be must attend and action events.

Instead of going out activities to here and there ,we schedule a less scheduled weekend.

Now this isn’t as easy as it sounds. We can’t just delete parts of our weekend and hope that the children will magically love all this time ( or us!)

Many times I found I was putting things off for the weekend and before long I had the great big to do list of activities. None of them were bad or took too much time. Most involved playing and doing things with the kids. The trouble was it was at my pace. It’s not like we suffered from a lack of things to do. We had too much on our plate and it leaked.

If this is your experience, I have a plan.

Scheduling a less scheduled weekend tips

  1. choose a  weekend and bagsy it as your less scheduled weekend. Mark it on your calendar. Guard its borders.
  2. identify the essential must go heres and must do these for your family.
  3. go back to step 2. Reduce a bit more just this week.
  4. in the lead up to this weekend as early as possible ( i.e. now) start listing games, activities you’ve been meaning to play, said that you would play, saw in the loft, know has been buried in the playroom. Keep it as a huge brainstorm not worrying too much about how much activity.

Choosing your activities

Let’s go a little deeper now.  Putting off the feelings of having to create something perfect and resisting the urge to create a weekend of delights to create the ultimate weekend extravaganza we can’t deny the biggest obstacle here. With a child centered weekend of play and fun is that we have these mantras going on inside our heads.

  • We all need to have fun all the time!
  • We’re the fun leaders and it’s up to us to keep this party going.

Uh! Uh!  It’s a common place we all find ourselves from time to time. But just not true. Don’t wear this hat this weekend.

We should be present, encourage and notice.

Just looking at those three areas will help us have a pleasant weekend AND our children have a playful time.


Next up I’ll share how to get the balance right of activities we can try during our scheduled less scheduled weekend. We’re keeping it simple and doable for the kids and us.


In the meantime, tell us about a dream weekend of yours in the comments below.




Advent Calendar Blues



The Advent calendars are out and I’m looking forward to opening door number two, three times tonight.

We get a little bit of a story, maybe an activity and another part of Christmas story to form the picture. The Nativity Scene.

It’ll be a time of stillness and quiet as they deftly open the tiny doors and pull out the fragile box. There’s anticipation as we wonder if, if there’s anything inside and what activity we will do.

Originally we had something in everyone of the boxes but that was too overwhelming for me and us. Stillness, anticipation and waiting are all part of Advent. This time we’re embracing it.

With moving and dropping an advent calendar or two, the little post it notes have disappeared in some of the boxes. The plan was to update and add but who wants to do that in January? The calendar was put away in January. Next time I remember this is just as I pull out the calendar in time for Advent.So that was last week during Thanksgiving….

It used to bother me but now I’m at peace.


What we need in December

We need pauses during Advent.

We need pauses during December. It’s not like we don’t have many things we are doing already.

The Advent calendar is something that we primarily do together, just the boys and I. There are certain Christmas traditions we do together because I’m usually here.

As I walked past the Advent Calendars all lined up on the stairs today I wondered how many of these traditions they would remember. You see when I look back on memories from childhood it’s not the regular everyday traditions that I remember the quickest. I remember the time I spent with far away relatives, gifts a person shared once, an event with my dad.  These are mainly one off events and actions.

Where are the many reflections I should have of the people who were there day in day out. The Nativity plays and the Advent activities.

It made me pause on the stairs for a moment.

we do what we do

While we’re opening the doors and easing out the boxes- soak in the joy, excitement of these advent traditions. Feel the warmth of our children as they delight in the activity or action of the day. Let go of feeling bad when the door is just a door. It wasn’t it was a pause and a moment of connection.

Not all of the children will recall these precious times with you.  That’s okay! Really that’s okay.

In years to come they’ll recall the trip to the Christmas Market or seeing Rudolph for the first time with someone who arrived one time…… that’s okay…

Advent activities aren’t just for the children preparation,It’s preparing us too a treasure of memories for us to dine on.

Welcome stillness, pause and wonder into your homes.

What will your advent memories be of this period?


TED Talks for Parents- Self Control

Understanding the neuroscience when that tantrum happens and how we can teach ourselves and our children self control. Dr Becky Bailey shares simple examples

When you’re at home with young children your world can sometimes feel like it is shrinking. With the change of circumstances everything that used to happen is likely to be different. Different for a while and maybe even changed for good.

It’s not always easy having a discussion, when you have a newly crawling baby or pushing toddler while you are out with friends or at the local playgroup. We lose track. It’s not always the best time and we don’t see their body language as much as we’re busy resucing our child, bringing them back, seeing where they’ve got to or off to change a messy bottom.

It can feel isolating if you’re at home and everything has changed. A new area to navigate many would say but it’s not easy for everyone to learn how to navigate being a new parent with our need to talk about the rudimentaries of childcare along with our need to talk about topical issues, news and inspiration. Sometimes it’s just not possible.

Solutions to the brain fog

I love TED talks because you can listen and watch the video.

You can pause.

Invaluable ( see above)

They are often short.

Short enough to get a simple point across that you immediately have an opinion on and want to talk to your friend or spouse about. There are a huge and wide range of topics and directions of TED talks. I want to share a few of my favourites that I believe give great value to us as parents. They make us think and give us something to do differently perhaps and many times challenge or prod us gently to look in another direction.

Top of my list is this one from Dr Becky Bailey.  I love what she does over at Conscious Discipline. If you’re curious about more then listen into a show  on common behavioural actions that derail our play with the kids and their play with us.  There’s refreshing answers, scripts and time for reflection.

I believe we ALL can relate to kids throwing tantrums on the floor.

Full on.

In public.

And us desperately trying to find a way through clenched teeth to get going and hoping no one is really seeing this.

Our child has lost the self regulation and self control and we are on the edge of losing ours.
When you see the neuroscience behind how we can help ourselves ( stay calm) and help our child…’s pretty amazing really.

After you’ve had a watch let me know what’s your favourite TED talk. I’ll be adding a few more. If you can’t wait then check out the TED talk board on Pinterest.

Connecting with our sons

Connecting with our sons ideas

I am a mother of sons.

I have three smiley active sons who have brought to our family much joy, sound and energy. I have one brother but this by no means prepared me for the growing wave of boyness that slowly became my home.

As a girl, adjusting to having a house full of boys has been and continues to be an interesting and curious discovery.

We need to be connecting with our sons.

Boys are different

Not in the bad way but just different to me and that makes a difference in how I respond.

Now over time I hope my responses are better. Some mothers come with more knowledge to being a boy mother.

Well, we can learn it. Learn from other mothers, learn from your boys and learn about boys.

As the boys have grown there is a struggle within mothers of boys to keep connecting with our sons as they pull towards being a boy and not a girl like their mother.

Keep the connection going and know that struggle isn’t a sign of failure but of something else emerging.

Struggle isn't the end. Keep pushing through there's more abundance coming.

Connecting with our children is something we all want to do.  Closeness is something we all desire.

We want that respectful distance and space- teenagers are always craving but we don’t want to be too distant that we can’t connect.

Look for side by side moments

  • Food Prep
  • Washing dishes/ loading the dishwasher
  • Sweeping/mopping the floor
  • Setting the table
  • folding/sorting laundry
  • Shoveling snow
  • Clearing the yard
  • Picking up the family room
  • hand washing the car

These are moments when you’re doing something that doesn’t require you to concentrate too much on your action. It allows your son to work with you and alongside. They also don’t need to concentrate on the actions.

Here’s where the magic happens.

They speak into the silence and comfort of the situation. In that pause and lull in the conversation. It’s an easy silence between you as you diligently do your action. You can concentrate and allow your thoughts to wander knowing that you don’t have fill the air with conversation and sound. There’s also the closeness and ease of being in each others company that means questions and statements can bubble up.

A trusted, special and sacred space.

Conversation won’t always happen. Here we’re giving space and opportunity for conversation to happen, now and in the future. Cultivate and nurture these side by side opportunities. Ring fence those moments through inclusion and not doing these activities alone.

Ask your son to join you. Just being close to them as you work together is a bonding experience. It takes time to muster up the courage to have some conversations. To really process what’s going on just knowing we are near will help our sons. Doing a contribution together gives us chance to share and show. Gives them chance to practice and be.

Side by side time seems less threatening to our sons. My husband loves it too. Seems to energize them than the face to face time I love.

There are no direct questions and looking in the eye. Just closeness.

Sometimes that’s enough.


Getting into that routine, rhythm and flow

Getting into that routine, rhythm and flow

After the long hazy days of summer we all tighten up and start focusing on routine, rhythm and flow.

Over breakfast we talk about after school activities with very different expectations for the 10, 7 and 5 year old. Ranging from no activities to the magic three activities limit for each child.

Okay there’s no magic three activities limit.

It is though what we as a family feel is manageable this year. After all we want to still have down time, project time, play time, contributions and childhood memories of good times. Anything more than this would leave one or more of us, I think you can tell who the first person to be would be ( ME!) frazzled.

It’s not the enduring memory I want for the kids, being shuttled back and forth with a frazzled mum.

I remember having a few activities and loving the freedom to do or not do after school. I got talking about how our family approaches after school activities or clubs on Kathy’s Bliss Beyond Naptime’s Podcast  #6.  It was a lovely chat where we swapped notes about how we try to keep things simple and how we do this well sometimes and not so well other times.

The easiest thing is to fall full headlong into the Fall season, school, after school activities without a concscious plan.

I’ve gathered together some resources to support your transition as you test and trial these ideas on your family.


Routines Around Play and Parenting

Small steps to an easier morning exit

Evening Activities That Keep Kids Busy Playing


Simple Steps To Family Rhythm And Ritual


For more ideas on routine, rhythm and flow check out this board


Raising Playful Tots Note

Being upbeat and positive in a negative and routinized world [Host]

Being upbeat and positive in a negative and routinized worldThere are many days when parenting is far from being a joy! It’s hard work with very little reward. When you’re in the trenches with your little one or little ones it can really seem that life is pulling you along. Finding the escape from this thinking and emerging happier and more content isn’t easy. Simply because the children are still with you and this situation probably hasn’t changed too much. Developmental changes use to blindside me with more backchat or movement so they’re getting into more things. Yet at the back of my mind I knew that a few things helped me, if I could just remember to do them.

[Read more…]

A New Chapter

a new chapter

As I sit here listening to the sounds of a quieter house, the walls echo with memories of the sounds of playtime.

My youngest son had his 5th birthday last month and graduates from this space and sharing his play activities.

His brother, middle one and his oldest brother, big guy before him also graduated from here; the blog.

All made cameo appearances on and off. It’s hard to believe the big guy is now 10 and the middle one 7.

Neither could resist the pull of play activities they loved or a style of play they enjoyed.

All except the youngest. The little guy although he loved to play it was definately on his terms. His brothers liked the guidance, invitations and springboard to launch their own ideas. The little guy preferred to do things his way, alone and over there.  He wasn’t much of a talker loved to smile and was very loving and helpful. Observer and guarder.

Getting to take snaps of our activities got longer, tricker and harder to take.

What I knew was how precious our time together is snuggling and reading as his stroked my arm and I could hear him breathing next to me. This is a time I didn’t want to ever forget.

Isn’t it interesting how much the youngest one is keen to let you know he’s big enough to do everything and it’s not fair comes more frequently. I’m sure it was his word of choice.

All three boys are nestled and loving the environment of school. We get to play and spend much time together in the evenings and weekend which we will be sharing here.

After training as a Simplicity Parenting Group leader, I’ll be leading workshops and groups in my local area and am in the midst of piloting a new online course helping parents create a family identify….their own family identity. I’ll also continue sharing early years information in the podcast Raising Playful Tots.

It’s a new chapter and budding beginnings.

Stay and get to know us as we talk parenting, family and intentional play.

What’s a new chapter, budding beginning in your family?


Small steps to an easier morning exit

Disclosure: This post from my archives is being re-run as part of BlogHer’s Smart Mom’s Guide to Being Busy editorial series, brought to you by Rice Krispies and BlogHer.

With three children to get out the house, I needed an update to the ‘ getting the kids out the house’ routine. Also known as the morning exit!

Before, with two children to get to school, it was easier as they fell into two distinct camps.

One who was task driven; what do I have to do and let me do it. One who would experience and notice everything. He was easily diverted, distracted or waylaid by frankly anything.  With a third added to the mix I wanted the LO to choose the good habit of routine but risked his exposure to the his brother and his slower paced method.

Not underestimating the power of their personalities I felt it was better to have tried, tried and tried than to have never tried at all. It would do  everyone good to have a better routine, including myself.

Perhaps you’re in a similar situation with children who need to get on a school bus? Or you need to make it out the door to drive to school with everyone- no latecomers, get to the drop off at preschool, daycare, or work each weekday  morning without it turning us all into a bad version of Good cop/bad cop.

Try these 7 steps to making the routine stick with young children because who wants to start the day in a fluster of emotions everyday when there are other ways.

1. Evaluate what worked and the hotspots [Read more…]

How to be attractive to new followers on Pinterest

How to attractive to new followers on pinterest

Pinterest housekeeping

Over the years we’ve been collecting Christmas ornaments in a box.

The box has got bigger each year as the children make more, more goes in at the end of the season. Each year it is a surprise what we have inside as things slip down. We have no real system other than, if it’s Christmas it goes in the box.

Pinterest can get like that sometimes.

All the different pins and new boards. You can end up with your boards in a mess. It’s a bit like the Christmas box. Except- no one needs to see inside our Christmas box but everyone looks at your pinterest boards.

If it’s pretty hard to navigate through your boards or find pins who will follow you?

If you’re looking to connect with people then you need to show your best first.  Get a little organized and do a little Pinterest housekeeping. We want to see who you’re about really quickly. We make our choice in seconds. Follow these simple steps to become more attractive to new followers on Pinterest.

[Read more…]

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