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Who’s excited for book week? Because I’m not!!!

Of course I love book week. I love it when the kids are beaming and proud of their costume. I love it when they’re all dressed up as their chosen characters.. it looks so fun!

The preparation part? NOT. The kids would whine whenever I pick something for them yet they have NO IDEA WHAT THEY WANT!

Still, we do our best because that’s what parents do. What mums do! That happy face my kids make still makes me want to exert effort into helping them choose their costumes and this would be a lasting memory. Book week is a once-in-a-year event so let’s give it our best shot!

Every year, we make sure we make a list of costume ideas for the book week. We’re sharing with you some ideas for your girls on what book character they can go as for this year’s book week!

1. Violet Beauregarde (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

If there’s one person who’s so obsessed with gums, that would be Violet Beauregarde. She’s even the champion in the field (yes, she said that).

2. Cowgirl (I Wanna Be A Cowgirl)

Cowgirl is about how two young girls try to save the cows in their community. It’s plain and simple, but this is a good read because it teaches that one simple act of kindness can give a huge impact to the society. When they saved the cow, they made the people in their community much more connected to each other.

3. Ariel (The Little Mermaid) 

The love story of Ariel and the prince tells us a lot of things. First, there are times we have to let go of a part of ourselves just to be with someone we cherish. Second, even if our brain forgets, we will always hold within ourselves the memories we put in our hearts.

4. Wendy (Peter Pan)

Peter Pan perhaps is one of the children stories that’s very known all over the world. Dreams, even if seemingly unreachable, can still come true. It teaches us that we should think positive and don’t lose hope.

5. Belle

Who doesn’t know the story of the Beauty and the Beast? Belle teaches us that if only we choose to see the good in people, we’ll be able to see the beautiful things that lie within their hearts, no matter how they look like.

6. Mulan

Strong, independent woman!

7. Pippi Longstocking

The story of Pippi Longstocking is all about loving and being aware of yourself. She has her own way of doing things and she isn’t afraid to be judged for it. She also has a soft heart for the animals and the orphans, making her a good character for kids to look up to.

8. Cinderella

Not one kid wouldn’t know Cinderella. This story book is a classic and probably on the top of everyone’s favourite fairytales!

 

 

9. Cruella de Vil (101 Dalmatians)

Cruella de Vil is the main antagonist in the 101 Dalmatians. One thing that you can get from her is her ‘who cares’ mindset.

10. Aurora (Sleeping Beauty)

The sleeping beauty is a fun story with all the fairies and princesses. It teaches us that only the right person can awaken some parts of ourselves we didn’t know were even there.

11. Snow White

In Snow White’s story, the Queen’s jealousy was where it went wrong. Even if Snow White got poisoned, isn’t it nice to have dwarf and animal friends?

12. Tina Goldstein (Fantastic Beasts)

Between the Goldstein sisters, Tina is the serious one. She’s fearless and practical and always on the right side of things.

13. Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins is a sassy girl who doesn’t envy nor hate. She loves sharing her wisdom to other people and be of help in case of emergencies. She’s also friendly and has a heart for the people.

14. Matilda

The highlight of the book Matilda isn’t actually Matilda’s laser eyes or her being gifted but her genuine and innocent heart.

15. Miss Trunchbull (Matilda)

Miss Trunchbull is the worst. Many people are scared of her because she’s cruel, wicked, and muscular.  Love her or hate her but we can’t ever forget her!

16. Sophie (The BFG)

The story of the BFG is inspiring because it shows us that we shouldn’t judge the book by its cover. Just because they look strange, harmful, or even bigger than everyone else doesn’t mean that they have bad intentions.

17. Fern (Charlotte’s Web)

Fern has a huge heart for the animals. She fights for them even if she has to go against her father. She has a tender heart and she loves her pig Wilbur so much. She even treats him as her baby, dressing him up and feeding him from a bottle.

18. Alice in Wonderland

Alice is a nice, curious, and intelligent girl who shows us that kindness always wins.

19. Goldilocks (Goldilocks and the Three Bears) 20. Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)

Elphaba is described as isolated, dark, manipulative, and power-hungry, as well as an old woman having three pigtails and one eye.

21. Veruca Salt (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

This brat always wants to get what she wants.

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A sore throat is one of the most annoying symptoms of any cold or flu.

Medicines like Panadol and other cold and flu treatments often do not do a thing to help ease the pain of a sore throat, which is why many people turn to home remedies for help. If your throat is dry, itchy and sore, making eating, talking and swallowing a nightmare, then try some of these tried and tested home remedies.

1. Raspberry Tea

One of the best ways to rid a sore throat is to gargle. Many people recommend gargling with salt water but raspberry tea is a much better and more effective option. Use the dried tea leaves and steep for ten minutes before straining. Wait until the mixture cools before you gargle. It’s not advisable to drink this tea if you are pregnant.

2. Sage, Vinegar and Honey

Another good gargling mixture is sage (steeped for ten minutes then strained) mixed with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and honey. Follow the same steps as above and gargle a few times a day.

3. Mouthwash 

If you are all out of herbs and tea leaves, then head into your bathroom and grab the bottle of mouthwash. The commercial mouthwashes are not only a bad breath killer but can also aid in soothing a sore throat.

4. Turmeric and Salt

Salt water mixed with warm water gargle has been used to cure a sore throat for years and years. My dad still swears by this method every time he gets a sore throat. However, for an even more effective option, add turmeric to the mixture as well. Add ½ teaspoon of turmeric and ½ teaspoon of salt to a 1 cup of hot water. Just make sure you don’t swallow the mixture.

5. Honey and Vinegar

Here’s one you can enjoy as a warm cuppa. Mix 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of hot water. Stir together and drink slowly to soothe a sore throat.

6. Horseradish and Honey

Have some horseradish lying around the house? Mix up 1 tablespoon of pure horseradish or horseradish root with 1 teaspoon each of honey and of ground cloves. Add the mixture to hot water and drink (if you can stomach it).

7. Lemon or Lime Juices

Sprinkle some lemon or lime juice into a glass of warm water (and add some honey too!). Both of these citrusy drinks can calm down a sore throat.

8. Hard Lollies

You finally have an excuse to suck on hard lollies! Hard lollies will keep your throat moisturised and help make the swallowing process a little more bearable. Try barley sugars, or go for something like butter menthols or soothers (you can find them at the supermarket).

What other home remedies for a sore throat do you know? If you become concerned about any symptoms, please seek immediate medical attention. We have some hotlines and suggested websites for further information and advice. SAHM takes no responsibility for any illness, injury or death caused by misuse of this information. All information provided is correct at time of publication.

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We’re halfway through the winter season, but the cold still makes me want to sleep in in the morning!

I’m not worried, though, because I got tons of fast and easy breakfast recipe ideas that I can cook that’s great for the winter months.

So if you’re actually thinking now what to make for later? Don’t worry, we have frugal breakfast recipes from our 30-day winter meal plan! Just click on the recipe for ingredients and instructions.

We also have a printable that you can download if you want! Scroll down below and check it out!

Day 1: Chocolate Coconut Overnight Oats

Chocolate Coconut Overnight Oats

Day 2: Banana Oaty Smoothie

Day 3: Homemade Crumpets

How to Make Homemade Crumpets | Stay at Home Mum

Day 4: One-Handed Breakfast Burrito

Day 5: Hearty Cauliflower Breakfast Waffles

Day 6: Dairy and Egg Free Pancakes

Day 7: Vegan Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Day 8: Wholesome Breakfast Skillet

Day 9: 3-Ingredient Potato Pancakes

Day 10: Mango and Coconut Chia Pudding

Day 11: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Day 12: Huevos Rancheros

Day 13: Scrambled Egg Muffins

Day 14: Healthy Oat Crepes

Day 15: Corn Fritters

Day 16: Vegan Banana Pancakes

Day 17: Spaghetti Omelette

Day 18: Apple & Cinnamon Muffins

Day 19: Slow Cooker Breakfast Omelette

Day 20: Spinach and Ricotta Frittata

Day 21: Bubble & Squeak

Day 22: Low Fat Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt

Day 23: Berry Muesli Parfaits

Day 24: Quinoa Porridge with Berries

Day 25: Vegetable Hotcakes

Day 26: Breakfast Muffins

Day 27: Bacon & Zucchini Bake

Day 28: Banana and Peanut Butter Porridge Bake

Day 29: Glorious Veggie Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Day 30: Breakfast Waffles

Here’s the printable. You can download it for free!

Click here for the printable!

There, we got you covered now..for 30 days! Just redo some of the recipes that you like or the kids like! Then you have tons of ideas for breakfast up until the next months. You’re welcome!

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Love ham and pineapple pizza?

Well, you are going to be all over our Ham and Pineapple Pinwheels – they are sensational! They are great to make ahead and freeze for school lunches too!

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Is there anything worse than having children at home that are sick? Well, yes, there is – and that’s having a husband at home that is sick.

Recently, my hardworking and very tough hubby suffered a serious back injury, leaving him completely useless for… wait for it… a whole month! And while there were plenty of positives to the situation (having hubby home was great and the kids loved being able to see dad all day every day), there were plenty of not-so-enjoyable moments. But all negatives have a silver lining and the good news is I was able to come up with some helpful hints on keeping your cool when taking care of a sick partner.

1. Find Your Cool Zone

There are going to be times when you and hubby are going to lose your cool. During these blow-ups, it’s important to step back.

Everyone handles anger differently. Some will walk away. Some will take deep breaths. Some will find their happy place. Do whatever works for you. The last thing anyone needs is more tension than is already there.

2. Consider His Situation

While you may be stressed and tired of running around after the kids and bowing to your husband’s every command, take a step back and imagine how hubby is feeling.

Think about what it feels like to be sick or injured. He is probably concerned about work. He is probably feeling guilty about the situation. He is probably doing everything he can to focus on something other than the pain.

3. Blame the Pain

My husband turned into a growling irrational sergeant of negativity when he was injured. He easily snapped. He was miserable the entire time, and he was constantly picking on the little things I did. While it was hard not to club him with the laundry basket (which held the clothes I folded wrong), it is important to remind yourself that when you are in pain, life, simply put, sucks.

Everything sucks. And thus, my favourite phrase became “I know you’re in pain but…”. Pain can turn anyone into horrible monsters (remember labour?). But try to keep in mind that it’s the pain, not you, that is causing the barks.

4. Kids and Hubby First, Household Second

Routine goes out the window when someone in the house is sick or injured. This can be a hard thing to come to terms with, especially if you are a neat freak or organisation queen. We had a mattress in our living room floor for over a month with various pain killers, heating pads and other devices left all over the place. Dishes were dirty, laundry was piling up, and groceries were hard to shop for. While this lack of control can drive anyone to the brink of insanity, remember it is only temporary and as long as the kids and husband are content, the rest can wait.

How do you keep your cool when taking care of a sick partner?

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It’s a hard truth: today’s parents and kids are too busy to read.

With such a wide range of accessible resources available to parents, developing your child’s reading and comprehension skills can be difficult to tackle. But you have to remember that they are essential to their success in school, work and life. One of the most potent tools that you, as a parent, can employ is sight word recognition.

What are sight words?

While words like table, cup and bed are common in spoken language, they are not considered sight words since as they can be learned through phonetics and physical recognition. The most frequently used words in the English language, words like ‘the’, ‘a’, ‘is’, are examples of sight words. Most of these words cannot be learned by sound or illustration. After all, how in the world could we illustrate the word ‘of’ to convey meaning to a child who is still developing his/her decoding skills?

Repetition is key to developing good reading habits in your children. There are fun activities for kids purposefully designed to make learning sight words fun and engaging.

If you haven’t started educating your children with sight words, now is the time to start. Here are 20 tips to help your have fun while learning their sight words with ease. Here are the top tips and strategies for learning sight words.

1. Have an Overview of the Lesson

The sight words sessions should be split into two components – lesson and game time – each taking at least 30 minutes. The lesson time should be used to introduce three to five new words, while sight word games should be used to practice the already learned words. During the game, you can also review previously mastered words so that the child can develop speed and familiarity.

2. Let Them Name the Alphabet Confidently

Before starting sight words, your child needs to recognise and name all the letters as they occur in the English alphabet. They should be fluent in identifying them. A solid foundation in recognising and naming the letters in the alphabet instantly makes teaching sight words easy because the child is familiar with what makes up the words, and therefore how they are said. If their foundation in letter recognition is weak, you should first practice the letter names before proceeding.

3. Memory Games

You can now introduce new sight words with the help of techniques that encourage cognitive stimulation to enhance your child’s memory for words. Having a flash card for a each sight word is a great way to do this. Remember, although learning increases your child’s knowledge, true competence is most often achieved through engaging games that enforce your child’s mastery in recognising sight words. Done the right way, kids will enjoy the learning process all the way through.

4. Emphasise Repetition in Learning

When you have introduced three to five sight words, you can bring repetition into the learning process in several ways. As well as spoken repetition, body language enables your child’s attention to form cognitive association to the sight words being learned. Here are some of the major sense strategies you can employ in teaching:

See and Say – A child first sees the word that is on a flash card and then says the word.

Spell Reading – The child says the word and then spells out its letters and finally reads the word once again.

Arm Tapping – When a child says out loud the word, then spells out the letters as they are tapping them on his or her arm, and later reads the word once again.

Air Writing – A child writes the letters learned in the air while looking at the flash card.

Table Writing – A child first writes letters on the table for the first time while looking at the flash card and later repeats the process without looking at the flashcard.

5.  Familiarity with New Words

Each lesson should establish basic familiarity with the new words. Most parents find that lesson part of each session takes around 10 minutes. When learning sight words for the first time, work on only 3-5 unfamiliar words to make it manageable for your child. As your child advances, you can expand the number of words you introduce in each lesson to power up their vocabulary.

6. Review and Reinforce Old Words

For effective learning, always start a lesson by reviewing the words you covered during the preceding lesson. Doing this helps your children to fully comprehend the words. During the review exercise, engage your child with a seeing and saying game. Mark all the words that the child is struggling to recognise and conduct a review of the words. For words that your child may find complicated, repeat them by using the five repetition techniques and by drawing their attention to the words at various times. It is best for a child to have mastery on the words before moving to new words.

7. Engage in Giving Constructive Criticism

Children often forget words, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Similar words might confuse them and they even struggle to recall unfamiliar words. It is normal that they find some words difficult and make mistakes in the process of learning. Be generous in giving constructive criticisms on proper pronunciation and meaning of the words as this helps them in committing them to their memory and vocabulary.

8. Word Association Through Word Patterns

During the first stage of developmental learning of sight words, your child can recognise words through a picture or shape and not by word patterns or individual letters. This can be a problem in learning sight words in the long term, but it is normal. For example, a child may not be able to differentiate between ‘look’ and ‘took’ as they appear so similar. The reason for this is the child cannot remember the specific word, so he or she tries to recall the shape created by the word. Although this may work in the beginning, it’s best to move your child away from this type of recognition.

9. Word of the Day or the Week

Consider coming up with a “Word of the Day” or “Word of the Week” strategy where a child is given a word and must construct a sentence from that word. You can put the word in question on the fridge or a chart where your child can easily see it.

10. Spelling Practise

Conduct a fun group game, such as a spelling game contest of sight words. This works particularly well if you have several children, but you can also make it a ‘game show’ style contest with mum or dad. Of course, it’s fun and engaging. Plus, it is helpful for them to learn sight words.

11. Spelling Word Memory

A double set of sight word cards makes for a great spelling word memory game. It begins by first laying out the cards facing down. Your child picks up one card and must then find the card that matches, running through the other cards until they do so. Correctly matching all the cards improves memory as well as word recognition.

12. Flip Four Steps Game

This game allows your kid to practice reading, writing or spelling of sight words. Have your child flip over a word card of his or her choice and then read it out loud. They should then say the individual letters in the word before flipping the card back and writing the word on the back of paper. This game is fun and enjoyable because it challenges your child to learn and understand words, as well as write and spell them.

13. Trace, Copy, Recall Game

You will just need to draw three columns on a paper. Label the first column ‘Trace’, then label the next column ‘Copy’, and the last column ‘Recall’. Choose a sight word and write it in the first column, and then have the child trace all the letters. Next, let the child copy the word while looking at what he or she has written in the first column. Finally, let the child fold and hide first two columns and try to remember the correct spelling of each word individually.

14. Chalkboard Race

This is a great group activity to do in a family, or with children of a similar age who are learning their sight words. Ask the children to form two teams. The team should identify one player from each team as the ‘scribe’ for each turn, and that scribe should stand at least 2 metres from a chalkboard, or other writing surface. When you call out a word, the scribe from each team runs to the board very quickly and write the sight word you’ve called out. The child who correctly spells the words and finishes first wins the game. The different teams can offer suggestions on the correct spelling of words if the word was misspelled.

15. Ball Toss

Instruct your children to stand in a circle holding a Nerf ball (or similar) to toss around. Call out a word and toss the ball to one child. The child with the ball should spell out the word. If the child does not spell the word correctly, he or she will toss the ball to the next child. The process continues until the word is spelled correctly whereby one kid tosses the ball to the adult to come up with a new word. The game is engaging and all children will enjoy in passing out the ball while spelling sight words.

16. Teaching Sight Words Using Word Walls

Word walls have been widely used in classrooms, and they can be used in the home as well. They provide visual presentation of high frequency words in the English language and help children see patterns and relationships in words. They are also a great reading reference. Set up the wall in an area where your children can easily see them, and encourage them to read from the wall and identify words during sight word practice.

17. Sing it Out Loud

Try incorporating music to sight word learning. After all, your child might be the next Mozart! You can sing a song to the tune of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ or ‘Roar’ by Katy Perry. You call the shots!

18. Word Walk

Write sight words on a big index cards and lay them on the floor. The goal is for your child to spell and read each word before taking a step forward. He or she can only move a step if the word is spelled and pronounced correctly.

19. Teaching Through Manipulatives

You can use magnetic letters, cookie cutter, a Lego block or even rubber stamps in helping your child learn the words. These kinds of mediums are easy to bring into the home, and you may already have the tools you need to get started.

20. Hit it with a Ball

Write sight words on a huge card then tape it on an empty wall. The goal of this game is for students to find the words you call out, read them and finish them off by hitting with a stuffed ball. You can also do variations like letting them choose their own word, read it, and then hit it with the ball.

Learning sight words can be fun exciting and entertaining.

These learning techniques are effective in helping kids understand the word’s concept as well as its meaning, all while having fun. A good understanding of sight words at a younger age provides a strong foundation for future learning ability, especially when it comes to reading. For parents, it’s a way to give your kids a head start in a new world of learning.

As well as what we’ve mentioned, you can try many other strategies depending on your child’s individual skill at comprehending sight words. Some kids have a shorter attention span, while others can quickly grasp almost everything in a lesson. If your child shows very little progress, it can help to pause for a moment and give them time to catch up before continuing. Above all, it’s important to have patience with their learning process, and make adjustments as they need them.

Being a parent is a full-time job, but there are many opportunities to educate your children and help them on their way. Teaching your children their sight words sets a great learning foundation, and it really does begin with a single step.

What techniques did you use when you taught your kids about sight words?

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This post is brought to you by ITP The new financial year has arrived and those like us who balance work and parenting need all the help we can get when it comes to maximising our tax returns at tax time.

Not everyone is knowledgeable on the latest changes and tax laws that seem to change with each financial year and unfortunately, work at home mums don’t always have the time and energy to find out a lot about the hows, whys and wherefores. I’ve been there, too. I was just lucky enough to learn over the years and I’ve had lots of help which I will be telling you in a bit. There definitely are things you can do to double your tax return or to reduce the amount of tax you pay. You just have to make sure you’ve done your homework.

Self-assess

Have you been keeping records? It’s important have a separate bank account and credit card for just your business transactions. This will help support your claim that you are operating as a business with the Australian taxation office (ATO). Keeping records, such as receipts, will help you accurately distinguish which purchases are personal and which ones are for the business. Personal expenses and business expenses should be separate. But let’s admit it, we sometimes mix one with the other. So, first off, make sure to review your monthly bank statements and always keep those receipts. Come tax time, our bank statement might not have all of the information needed to support your claim. You can also keep an electronic copy of your receipt such as a photo or there are heaps of APPs out there that can read and store your receipts for you. This year, the ATO is cracking down on unsupported expenses more than ever before.

Pay Expenses (that you know you will be paying within the year) in advance

This includes membership fees, subscription fees and other relevant expenses that have a fixed amount every month. But, only do this if you have sufficient cash flow.

Look at some Applicable Tax Credits

According to the Australian Taxation Office, you may be able to claim deductions for some of your expenses for work whether you have a home office or not as long as you spent it  for work. This includes a percentage of gas, electricity and phone.

The Home Office

You can claim deductions if you have a home office. If you are an employee who has a home office and mostly works from that office, you can claim a deduction for the work-related use of your phone, internet and equipment expenses. You will need to keep a logbook of the hours worked from the home office every day for a month to support your claims. The number of hours worked in the month is then averaged out over the entire year, less any weeks away for example, going on holidays.

If your home is also your place of business, you can claim a deduction for the work-related percentage of the utilities such as gas and electricity, business phone costs, equipment expenses, office furniture a portion of your occupancy expenses such as rent, mortgage interest, home insurance, Council and water rates.

Car Expenses

It’s important to track your mileage so you know how much driving was conducted for business as opposed to personal driving. The ATO allows you to claim 68 cents per km up to 5,000 of work-related kilometre. You will need to keep a log-book recording all your business travel and odometer readings over a 3 month period if you wish to claim the business percentage of all your car expenses over the year. You must keep all of your car related receipts and only claim the work-related amount. Depreciation of your car may also be claimable using this method. Mileage can be small compared to other business expenses that you can claim a deduction on, but small amounts can add up, right?

Work Related Travel

Business-related travel is also something you can look in to. These include airfares, taxi, UBER, public transport. Accommodation and meals can be claimed for yourself if travelling away from home overnight. If you dine regularly with clients, those expenses are not deductible, so be careful. Don’t forget the deductions for business use of a vehicle as well.

Fringe Benefits

Fringe Benefits Tax are paid by employers for their employees. Employers can claim an income tax deduction for the cost of providing fringe benefits for their employees. According to the Australian Taxation Office, these are the examples of fringe benefits:

  • Allowing an employee to use a work car for private purposes
  • Giving an employee a discounted loan
  • Paying an employee’s gym membership
  • Providing entertainment by way of free tickets to concerts
  • Reimbursing an expense incurred by an employee, such as school fees
  • Giving benefits under a salary sacrifice arrangement with an employee

Get help from experienced professionals

Here’s something I always was torn between as a work at home mum. I really wanted to double my tax return but at the same time, I also really wanted to be able to spend time with my family and get the amount of rest I need to get stuff done for the day. And what I ended up deciding on was seeking advice from the experts. Ain’t nobody got time to understand complicated tax rules and whatnots! ITP The Income Tax Professionals are the best at what they do and a great help to MUMpreneurs like me.

They are registered tax agents – that means they’re more than just accountants. They’ve done the extra stringent training to learn all of the latest tax laws. They know everything you can claim and advise their clients on how they can save money come tax time and into the future.

If you’re looking for a way to minimise your burden and maximise your tax refund, then it’s your lucky day. Because we have some good news for you, mum!

You simply have to use The Income Tax Professionals (ITP) to lodge your tax return this year. Book online at itp.com.au and use the competition code: SAHM19 and you’ll go into a draw to double your return. Competition Rules:
  • Entrant must supply code SAHM19 to enter competition to their nominated ITP tax agent
  • ITP The Income Tax Professionals are the nominated promoter/s of this exclusive offer to SAHM members
  • The winner must use ITP to lodge their 2018 – 2019 tax return
  • Entrants will be liable for the cost of their tax lodgement by an ITP tax agent
  • The entrant must lodge their tax return by August 31 to be eligible
  • The winner will be announced September 10
  • The winner will receive a separate cheque or bank deposit from ITP.
  • The winner will be announced on SAHM social channels
  • The winner will be announced on ITP The Income Tax Professionals social channels, website and blog at the discretion of ITP The Income Tax Professionals
  • ITP The Income Tax Professionals reserves the right to disqualify any entrants or entries where reasonable suspect or unlawful or improper conduct, infringing on ITP The Income Tax Professionals or SAHM intellectual property rights, or if there has otherwise been a breach of the competition terms and conditions.
  • ITP The Income Tax Professionals comply retaining private and personal information in compliance with the Australian Privacy Principles under the Privacy Act.
Don’t forget to lodge your tax return by August 31 to be in the draw!

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Menopause is a natural part of life, but that doesn’t make it easy to deal with.

The changes in a woman’s body can be challenging, and it pays to be prepared and well-educated on them.

Most people are familiar with at least some of the signs of actually experiencing menopause, but did you know that there are symptoms that show up before that, which can indicate that the menopausal time of your life has begun?

This time is called menopause transition or perimenopause, and it starts as early as a few years before your menopause begins. Generally, this occurs in women in their 40s, but it can start around the 30s or even sooner, depending on the person. To help you prepare for this, we’ve put together 25 of these perimenopause symptoms, indicators from your body that things are changing.

1. Change in Menstrual Cycle

One of the first things that women tend to notice in the lead up to menopause is that their menstrual cycle changes. Your cycles might get closer together, or farther apart. They may also be much heavier, or much lighter, than you usually experience.

2. Menstrual Flooding

Menstrual flooding is the name for a situation when you experience rapid onset menses, a worrying time for women unfamiliar with the condition. It is also the name given to the situation when your menses appear to be over, but then continues heavily for several more days. In both cases, it is experienced by perimenopausal women.

3. Headaches or Migraines

Headaches and even migraines are a symptom that many women experience during the perimenopause time. These headaches are often felt just before, just after, or in the middle of their period and can hinder everyday activities.

4. Clumsiness

A surprising symptom, but still one that many women encounter. Women in perimenopause may find themselves feeling less coordinated and graceful, or even more awkward and can find themselves either tripping over more or dropping things more often.

5. Lethargy and Exhaustion

Both lethargy, a persistent feeling of sluggishness, and fatigue, which is often crushing and can grip women very suddenly, can be experienced during perimenopause.

6. Insomnia or Sleep Disturbances

Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, regardless of how tired you might actually feel, are not uncommon for women during perimenopause. Women may also experience persistent night sweats, particularly between the breasts, which can in turn lead to chills.

7. Muscle Cramps

If you’re a lady in your 30s or 40s and you’re having consistent issues with muscle cramping without any explanation, menopause could be behind it. Muscle cramps anywhere in the body might be an indicator of poor diet, but low progesterone can also be to blame.

8. Low Backache

Women often experience pain in their lower back before or during their period, but when hormones remain at low levels as they do in perimenopause, this pain can be consistent.

9. Urinary Issues (frequent or incontinence)

There are a few urinary issues associated with perimenopause. The first is more frequent urination, despite not having increased water intake. The second is a sudden and uncontrollable loss of urine beyond a woman’s control. It’s not pretty, but during perimenopause, it can be spontaneous, not just because of coughing, sneezing or jumping.

10. Food Craving and Appetite Changes

Women in perimenopause can experience and suffer intense cravings for sweet or salty foods, as well as marked changes in their appetites. They may feel increasingly hungry in the evenings, despite having eaten dinner, or may experience blood sugar crashes that lead to food binging.

11. Muscle and Joint Pain

As well as muscle cramps, women in the midst of perimenopause can also experience general muscle and joint pain. Many describe it as a general ache, but it can develop into actual carpal tunnel syndrome or cause panic, thanks to the symptom being common in other diseases. If you’re concerned, get it checked.

12. Dark Under-Eye Circles

Genetically, some women do have more of a predisposition to dark circles under the eyes, regardless of the actual number of hours they might have slept. However, even women who have not previously had issues with dark circles may find them popping up more often during perimenopause.

13. Hair Changes

There are a lot of hormonal changes going on during perimenopause, and those can cause a number of changes in hair growth. This might show on some women in hair loss around the body, while other may experience unusual hair growth in areas it has not been present before.

14. Acne

Perimenopause symptoms are not always fun, even if they do hark back to a woman’s youth. For example, some women find themselves experiencing a greater rate of acne, which again is due to the changing hormones the body goes through at this time.

15. Reduction in Breast Tissue

Women complain in their age that their breasts are not as full as they were, and it seems that menopause might be the cause. Even during perimenopause, women can experience a loss of breast tissue, which is sometimes accompanied by breast sagging.

16. Tender or Sore Breasts and Nipples

Along with a reduction in breast tissue, some women may experience pain in their breasts and nipples. This pain is not so dissimilar from the pain that often occurs prior to a period, and may be accompanied by engorgement.

17. Hot Flush With Cold Extremities

Hot flushes are one menopause, and indeed perimenopause, symptom that most women are aware of. But did you know that many women also experience very cold extremities despite undergoing hot flushes? It can be a strange combination to get used to.

18. Loss of Libido

As hormones deplete in the body, women often find that their sex drive reaches a low point where they have little sexual energy. In some women, this is so strong that it’s almost an aversion to sex.

19. Painful Sex, Dryness and Irritation

That loss of libido is not that surprising, though, when you consider that another common perimenopause symptom is painful sex due to vaginal dryness and irritation following sex.

20. Ringing In Ears

Ringing in the ears, sometimes called Tinnitus, has been experienced by some women during their perimenopause. The ringing can also be accompanied by a whooshing sound or a buzzing sound with an unusual sensation in the ear.

21. Dizziness

Feeling dizzy or lightheaded is a common complaint in women as they move through perimenopause. This is often felt in conjunction with a loss of physical balance and a wobbly walk that can leave women suffering from fainting spells and vertigo.

22. Weight Gain

Unfortunately, for women struggling to stay fit as they age, perimenopause can put up some road blocks. When a woman hits perimenopause, she often experience fat settling in the waist, buttock and thighs, creating a thickening of the mid-section common in older women.

23. Fluid Retention

Fluid retention, or edema, is also a concern of women in perimenopause. Women may find they have more issues with fluid retention in their legs and ankles, as well as bloating that is not solved by sleep or..

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As full-time mums, sometimes we have the itch to get back into working or start our own small business.

There are plenty of options for lifestyle businesses to help family cash flow, take care of the mortgage, or just have a bit extra to spend on luxuries.

However, businesses require capital – be it financial capital, intellectual capital, or human capital (that’s you!).

Figuring out where to start can feel daunting. Here are some of our tips to get your stay-at-home business funded and up and running.

1. Choose your business

There’s no shortage of business ideas you can start up when you’re a stay at home mum. From online fashion boutique, web content writer, cake baking business, tutoring, beauty product selling, selling jewellery; the possibilities are endless. In fact, we have 62 small business ideas that suit stay at home mums – and won’t eat into family time. Click here to get some ideas!

2. Think about space

The second question you should ask – where are you going to run your business from?

Many online businesses such as photographer or online tutor – don’t need much space. If you can park a laptop or PC on a table, you’re good to go! However, some businesses will need you to store inventory. Do you have a shed or a spare room you can use? Think about the space you’ll need before launching into your dream stay-at-home business – you don’t want to overcrowd your living space with boxes and packaging!

Food vlogger recording a video

3. The fun stuff – ABNs and paperwork

Before you start trading, you should register yourself as a business and get an Australian Business Number. Using the Australian Business Registry, you can set yourself up as a sole trader. This can open opportunities for funding, special business only deals, and for streamlined tax and accounting purposes at the end of the Financial Year.

4. Funding – getting inventory or machinery

Most businesses need capital of some kind, as we mentioned. The capital you really need is financial capital. Most small businesses don’t need tens of thousands of dollars to get started; you can start many online businesses by lifting the lid on your laptop – and you’re almost done! Even so, a business does need starting (or “seed”) capital to begin. For small business loans, a loan product called an unsecured business loan is often a go-to for smaller businesses starting up.

Small business loan expert Bill Tsouvalas explains: “An unsecured business loan is a type of loan that doesn’t need collateral to set up, doesn’t need endless paperwork and bank statements to get going, and loans as little as $5,000 are considered.” Unsecured business loans also have shorter terms – sometimes as few as six months. “These loans are for business, so there are less restrictions on it than personal loans – however since they are unsecured, interest rates are higher. Make sure your profit can cover the interest payments.”

5. Marketing yourself

Once you’re up and running, it’s all about marketing yourself. Using your seed capital, you can advertise yourself online through Google Ads, Facebook ads, or other online marketplaces. Networking with other Stay at Home mums in person or online is also a great way to make connections and find out about opportunities. A small business can be slow going to start, but marketing can help you get off the launchpad.

Do you have more tips on how to get that small business idea going? Share it with us!

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Google Street View. Helpful stuff. I definitely think living in this day and age has its perks.

But if there’s one thing I still love most about living back in the day is that none of my shenanigans are being documented. It’s harder to pull off crazy sh*t now because someone might have recorded you and next thing you know, your face is viral on Facebook and Twitter. Google unveiled this feature years ago and since then, weird things have been captured and has been floating around on the internet and we made a post just for laughs. Some are hilarious and some are just creepy – but all of these are our favourite and really cracked us up!

1. Google is not liable for any relationship ruined because of the internet

Fingers crossed she’s DOING this with her husband.

2. Oops. They’re captured! Twice!
3. Rabbits can fly. 4. Well this is awkward 5. Not feeling very stable at the moment 6. What is he even doing there?? 7. A reminder of how dangerous skateboarding is because someone might take a photo of you. 8. Mondays: 9. Someone forgot to put on pants today 10. Hello? 11. “What a beautiful day!” “Oh.” 12. Her earring probably fell off and now she’s looking for it. 13. This is why you should never pick your nose in public even if no one’s watching 14. Just chillin’. 15. Probably should be on top of this list if the title was weirdest things captured on google street view. I know that we should always laugh at mistakes, but, if I was the one caught on camera, I think I’d just pack up and migrate to Mars.

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