Monthly Archives: June 2009

Surprise!

img_6814When I opened the fridge I knew that something was odd, but it actually took me a moment to work it out!

Life with young children is full of surprises.  Sometimes the surprises are good, sometimes they are terrifying, and sometimes they are just laugh-out-loud funny.  It’s at those times that I try to remember to grab the camera and take a quick pic.  One day our little munchkins will grow up, and hopefully become independent, responsible, rational adults who make good choices.  I don’t want to forget that in the process of getting there, we still had days when somehow, a gumboot ended up in the fridge!

Have your kids done anything ‘surprising’ this week…?

Tragedy

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full tummies = happy smiles

The entertainment industry is in mourning following the death of more than one celebrity this week.  Of course it’s sad when people die.  It’s devastating for their families and for those who knew and loved them.  But a tragedy?  I’m not so sure…

I understand that Michael Jackson made a significant contribution to the music scene over an extended period of time.  But does that make his life, or his death, more important than another person’s?  I’m just saying let’s keep some perspective.

Every six seconds a child dies from hunger or related causes.  That means that three kids have probably died while you’ve been reading this post.  Three mothers have had to say goodbye to a child they carried within them, gave birth to, nursed and loved.  On the day that one superstar died, sixteen thousand super little kids died too. No paramedics came, no paparazzi documented the occasion, there was no extended news coverage, and the world didn’t mourn for them.  They didn’t get fifty years to live.  Most of them didn’t make it to five.  We’ll never know if they might have been musical geniuses themselves, because they died of hunger.  To me, that’s a tragedy.

The king of pop said this:
Heal the world, make it a better place
For you and for me and the entire human race
There are people dying, if you care enough for the living
Make a better place for you and for me.

The Bible says this:
Then the King will say… ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance… For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me… I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ (Matt 25:34-40)

What do you say…?

Junk(mail) for Dinner

img_6593I love to flick through junk mail, and so my daughter has picked up this habit too.  Usually I read the ones from department stores and toss the ones from the supermarket (after a quick scan for cheap nappies of course).  Lately though we’ve been using them for craft.

I set my daughter up with a paper plate, toddler-scissors, a glue stick, and a bunch of supermarket catalogues.  There is quite a lot to take in on those pages!  She loves looking through them and deciding what she’d like to have for her pretend dinner.  Then she snips them out and glues them onto her plate.  It’s a great activity for practising cutting skills, and because it’s so simple she really doesn’t need any help at all.  I love activities she can complete independently.

You could take this activity one step further by talking to your child about healthy eating.  Conversation about food groups and making good nutritional choices is likely to happen naturally, so take advantage if the moment arises.

This activity entertains my three year old for about half an hour, and costs next to nothing.  (If you don’t have paper plates in your craft box, just cut a cardboard circle out of a cereal box instead.  Then it really will be a free activity!)  There you have it.  Next time your letterbox is overflowing with junkmail catalogues, don’t think of it as an inconvenience but rather as a helpful delivery of free craft supplies for your toddler!

Run to You

img_6788In the middle of the night, rain suddenly thundered down on our corrugated iron roof.  Within seconds my three year old was at my bedside.  “Mummy, it’s loud and I was scared so I ran to you!” she blurted.  I wrapped my arms around her and snuggled her, and despite the continuing downpour she slept peacefully.

When you’re scared as a mother, who do you run to?  When the noise of life is overwhelming, where do you turn?  When life is raining down around you, where do you seek shelter?  I know where I go.  Hope you do too.

Psalm 4:8 (NIV)
I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O LORD,
make me dwell in safety.

PS – Sorry about the bright photo… when she was back asleep in her own bed I took a quick pic, but the flash was so bright in the middle of the night and I was too tired to fiddle with settings on the camera…

Tagged! My Fave Photo

img_0195There’s a game of tag going on and I’m currently IT!  The lovely Brenda from MummyTime has “tagged” me, and now I get to share a favourite photo and pass it on.  Since I’m always showing current photos of the kids here on my blog, I thought I’d go back to an older one.  This is my favourite shot of my daughter and I when she was a baby.

I remember this moment.  She looked at me like she was sure with all of her little heart that she belonged to me, and I thought my heart might burst. On the days when she is infuriating, or frustrating, or defiant or just plain difficult – this is the photo I flick back to in my mind.  She will always be the little girl who took my breath away with her baby smile, and as I tell her often, I will always love her “to the stars and back.”

If these lovely mums would like to play along, I’d love to see their favourite photos.  You might like to check out their blogs…

Kate from Picklebums

Cathy from The Four of Us

Bec from Bad Mummy (who is actually a good mummy!)

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favouritephototag“It’s really simple. I love how every photo tells a story. Some short stories, some long tales. I want to know what is your favourite photo of yourself. Everyone has one. The photo they look at and smile. It reminds them of something, some time, some place. A moment in time. So share the photo, share the story and then tag three other people. I want to see photos and stories all around the blogosphere”.  (Chantelle from fatmumslim.)

Interview at Australian Mothers Online

thongs1I love “meeting” other wonderful mums online.  We come from different backgrounds, have had different pre-mum careers and live in different states (or countries!) but we all have common ground because we are mothers.  Michelle is a gorgeous mum who has started the Australian Mothers Online site.  She has posted in an interview with yours truly today, so head over and check it out!  While you’re there read some of her great articles.  Enjoy!  xx

The Mince Maven

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Stuffed baked tomatoes served with cauliflower, broccoli and new potatoes. Yum.

I was seriously lacking culinary inspiration this afternoon, and a quick peek in the freezer confirmed that my options for dinner would be mince, mince or mince.  So boring, I’m snoring.  So I did what any modern mama would do.  I asked the twitterverse for help.

I waited, and waited (for like two whole minutes), until finally an answer came, and it was a great one.  Relieved, I tweeted:  Just when I was thinking all my peeps must be “above” mince, @MitzyG saves the day ;)  Thanks!!!

After that comment the tweets came thick and fast.  It seemed everyone was keen to participate in the mince conversation.  Other mums either wanted to share a favourite recipe that works with their kids, or wanted a little inspiration for the mince sitting in their own freezers!  In the end I decided to cook stuffed tomatoes as MitzyG first suggested.  I will now forevermore consider her, affectionately, Mitzy the Mince Maven.

If you’re stuck for a meal idea this week, here are some of the other great family-friendly suggestions my followers recommended:

@mumspace – mini burgers (cut shapes out of bread with cookie cutters)

@gemisht – rissoles, tacos, meat pie, shepherds pie

@AngelaPinjuh – hamburgers

@onetiredmum – spaghetti and meatballs

@mummifiedx5 – meaty nachos

@OliversMummyRed – meatballs in tomato with rice

@mummytime – spaghetti bol

@MitzyG – stuffed zucchini/peppers/tomatoes, hamburger, quiche or frittata!

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Do you have another idea to add?  Leave a comment!

Rough and Tumble

img_6203There was a battle.  There were casualties.  The small boy was victorious.  The grown man was left bleeding.  Seriously.

We were having a lazy Saturday morning all together.  My hubby was playing with our 8 month old son on our bed.  They were laughing, tickling, making silly noises, and just generally having a bit of baby rough-and-tumble when WHAM!  Little man’s hand connected with Daddy’s nose and there was more than a trickle of blood.  All over my very white, very lovely 300TC quilt cover! I tried to attend to my poor injured husband, but to be honest I was more concerned about my poor linen!!

It’s interesting observing the similarities and differences between my daughter and son at the same age.  I have to say that my notions about nature and nurture are being somewhat challenged.  Boys really are built differently to girls.  My son loves to play with the same toys my daughter did, but not in the same way.  He loves noise!  The first thing he does with any toy is bash it on the ground to see what noise it makes.  And when he’s bashed each toy individually on the floor, he starts bashing different toys against each other to see  what that will do!  His displays of affection are far less gentle than his sister’s were too.  Her baby-kisses were soft and sloppy.  His are like a slobbery missile!  Perhaps there is more truth to the stereotype about boys being more physical than girls after all…

I’ve recently read the highly acclaimed Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph but I’d love some opinions from other mums with boys.  Are they rougher by nature, or is is more to do with the way we parent them?  And how do we make sure our sons get a healthy amount of the rough-stuff without becoming bullies?

(By the way, it looks like my quilt will make a full recovery.  Oh, and my hubby’s fine too.)

Reverse Finger Painting

img_6568Last week I posted ten tips for fingerpainting, and one of my readers suggested a great follow on activity – thanks Kate!  As promised we gave it a go.  I guess it’s technically a very basic lithograph, but we just called it reverse finger painting.  Here’s what we did.

Lithographs were originally done on a smooth stone or metal surface so we began hunting for something suitable.  After ruling out a few potential suspects around the kitchen, we settled on baking trays.  To aid with cleanup we covered the trays with aluminium foil, spreading it out as smoothly as possible.  (Wrinkles in the foil will show up in the paintings).  I figured that the edges of the trays would help to contain the mess.

We put a big blob of paint into the middle of the tray, and I spread it out smoothly and evenly with a wide, flat paintbrush (a bit challenging for toddlers).  Then my daughter drew a picture directly into the paint with her fingers.  She just LOVED it!  When she was happy with her artwork, we carefully put a piece of paper down over it and gently smoothed it over the paint.  My three year old was so surprised to see the “reverse” image on the page when we lifted it up.  She was hooked after the first print.  I just respread the paint between images, and she happily painted (or unpainted…?!) the afternoon away.

I must admit this activity exceeded my expectations.  It was less messy than traditional finger painting, and when we were finished all I had to do was peel off the alfoil and throw it away.  It was also more successful than I anticipated.  It certainly held my three year old’s attention, and the pictures turned out very well.  Interestingly, she wasn’t at all worried about working with a single paint colour.  She never once said, “Mummy I need green for the leaves…”  I think that because she wasn’t overwhelmed by colour choices she was able to focus on shapes.

We really had a fun time together with this activity.  I would definitely recommend that you give reverse finger painting a try with your kids!  And you know I want to hear about it if you do…

Real Aussie Mum – June

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Janelle + 3 kids + 1 supportive hubby

Have you seen the funky designer cards and stationery at Earth & Ink yet?  Janelle Keys is the creative force behind this gorgeous, environmentally friendly range, and she’s my Real Aussie Mum for June!  She started her graphic design business after eight years in the print industry, and now happily juggles motherhood with her own rapidly growing business.  Her three kids are aged 6, 4 and 3.  Here are her five faves:

1.  Favourite outing with kids: Every school holidays our local library shows free movies.  The kids grab their pillows and bags of movie munchies and we sprawl out on the library floor.  It’s free, it’s fun, and it’s a great way to enterain the kids!

2.  Favourite at-home activity with the kids: I don’t get to do it often, but I do love playing hide and seek indoors with the kids.  It’s a game that has us all laughing, and on those days when I seem to do a lot of work, it’s good just to turn the computer off for twenty minutes and have some fun.

3.  Favourite family meal:  The humble spaghetti bolognaise is definitely one meal that will please everyone – which is fine by me!  I make it choc-full of grated veggies so I know the kids are getting a healthy meal.  It’s also my personal favourite because I make a double quantity of the bolognaise sauce,  leaving plenty for another meal during the week.  And that means a night off cooking (yay)!

4.  Favourite bedtime stories:  I remember when my eldest son loved to hear “Cat in the Hat” every night.  I could almost recite it!  At the moment my daughter is really loving her “Letters from the King” devotion each night where she is learning how to be a real Princess.  I think it’s helping control some of those 4 year old tantrums…

5.  Favourite way to wind down:  Friday night is my favourite time, knowing that I don’t have any client deadlines the next day.  I enjoy just watching tv with a good cup of tea.  It’s not much, but knowing that I don’t have to do anything for anyone is great!

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earthandinkIf you haven’t been for a look, go and check out the cards at Earth and Ink.  Personally, I’d rather buy a pack of eight fabulous designer cards for under $10 than pay up to $5 for one generic card from the newsagent…  You do the math!