Monthly Archives: August 2009

To Eat or Not To Eat?

IMG_7650When it comes to books and babies, there is one tricky question other mums often ask me.  Should we, or shouldn’t we let babies put books into their mouths?  There really are two schools of thought on this one.

To Eat – putting things into their mouths is one of the ways babies explore the world around them.  They especially enjoy “mouthing” toys and items they love.  Some people feel that this is an early way for infants to learn to love books.  There are many books available which allow for this… tough board books, fabric books, even teething books with special tabbed corners or handles.  The downside is that some children may not take care of their books as they get older.

Or Not To Eat – even young children can learn boundaries.  They can be taught to touch gently, and that special things are for fingers and not for mouths.  Some people feel that it is vitally important for little ones to learn to respect books.  They make sure books are stored carefully around the home, and teach their children how to handle books.  The downside is that some children may learn books are only for shelves and not develop a sense of ownership.

So, to eat or not to eat?!  That is the question.  There are professionals and parents on both sides of the fence.  In the last week Christie (of Childhood 101) blogged about book care, and at the same time Kirsty (of Cradle Fables) posted a facebook pic of her nephew chomping on a favourite book!  Both of these highly regarded ladies love kids and love books.

What are your feelings on this topic?  Are you more concerned about your kids learning to love books, or respect books?  And which ever way you lean, how do you deal with the downside?  Or do you feel the whole issue is a non-issue?!  I’d love you to share your thoughts (but be nice to each other, ok?!)

Bark Art #2

IMG_7367We had a great time painting on paperbark, but once the bark was used up the activity was over.  Of course the next day my three year old said, “Let’s do some more bark art Mummy!”  I had to be a little more resourceful, but we came up with a great activity.

Firstly we collected whatever bark we could find in our yard.  It wasn’t paperbark, but it was bark and I figured we could work with that!  I helped my daughter to collect interesting little things from around the yard and she spent a good twenty minutes collecting in a bucket.  Then all I did was squirt a heap of cheap craft glue onto the bark, and let her stick flowers, leaves, seedpods and gumnuts onto the bark!  On one piece of bark she grouped similar items together, and on the other she carefully arranged them in a way that pleased her.

We wasted a lovely afternoon with this outdoor craft.  But if she asks for more bark art tomorrow, I’m all out of ideas!

Bark Art

IMG_7468During a weekend walk recently, my daughter discovered some gorgeous paperbark which had fallen from a melaleuca tree.  She was fascinated with the bark and we spent a fair bit of time investigating it and comparing it to the bark of other trees nearby.  We also talked about its paper-like qualities, and I told her about how Aboriginal people painted pictures on paperbark to tell stories.  As there was quite an abundance of bark lying around, we took a couple of pieces home to paint on ourselves.

To paint on the bark we used good quality thick paint, and cotton buds as they are smaller and firmer than brushes.  (Egg cartons make great paint containers for cotton buds too.  Best bit is that cleanup only involves throwing it all out!)  We painted pictures of Australian animals (like possums and lizards) and also worked together on a piece of bark that we covered with all kinds of insects.  We both enjoyed working collaboratively on the big piece and it turned out very well.  I also love activities that combine outdoor and indoor time, and especially enjoy following a child’s interest in an area.  The only problem was that the activity was finished when we ran out of bark!IMG_7472

Parties for Little Ones (Parenting Aus)

parentingaustralia-majorbluelogowweb-lowresThis week I’m blogging about parties at Parenting Australia. Come on over to read about why in my family we’ve chosen to skip the first birthday party and celebrate for the second one instead!  You can read the rest of this post here

First birthdays are wonderful celebrations for kids, families and friends – but mostly for the parents.  Let’s face it.  You’re on a pretty steep learning curve during your first year as a parent, and it’s quite a challenge managing the changing dynamics as each new child is added to the family.  There is a lot to celebrate, and I have enjoyed attending some wonderful first birthdays with little friends. In our family though, we have broken with the tradition of the first birthday party…


PS – have you entered my Little Billies Giveaway?  There’s still time!  The winner will be drawn at random tomorrow at 6pm.  You could win a $25 voucher to spend on Little Billies positive parenting tools.  Reward charts, schedules, and more – personalised for your child.

Book Week

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It’s Book Week!!!  From August 22-28 Aussie kids, librarians, parents, teachers, and book lovers of all ages go ga-ga for Book Week and the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) awards.  If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the cute trailer for Book Week 2009.

In keeping with this year’s safari theme, we decided to go on a book hunt at our local library.  Binoculars were a necessity, of course, so we spent some time making our sophisticated devices out of toilet rolls, glue and string before setting off.  We chose to hunt for animal books and found a nice collection to bring home.

We’re also continuing the theme by hiding a couple of books around the house each day to find.  We look through our trusty binoculars while singing “We’re going on a book hunt…” (thanks to the Australian Library and Information Association).  Once we find a hidden book we sit and read it together, then set off in search of another.  This is such a simple activity, but it’s all very exciting when you’re three!



Look what we found hiding in the cushions!

If you have any Book Week ideas to share I’d love you to leave a comment.  If you are blogging about Book Week, please feel free to leave a link here too.  As expected, Literacy expert Trevor Cairney has a fabulous review of the winning CBCA books, and  Planning With Kids has a great post listing all of the winners.  There’s an Aussie safari happening over at Adventures With Kids and a lovely post in honour of book week at Good Goog too.  Of course, you can also read several posts at the gorgeous We {Heart} Books and a wonderful article about “Growing Kids Who Read” at Childhood 101.  Anyone else like me to link to their post…?

100th Post!

img_7349Ok, so it’s taken me longer than many other bloggers, but I am finally putting up my 100th post!  Can I call myself a blogger now?!  Here are ten things I couldn’t blog without:

1.  The support of my hubby and kids – who provide me with much of my content!

2.  WordPress

3.  “Blossom” – aka my Dell Inspiron 1525 (& gorgeous laptop bag designed and made by my sis!)

4.  Chocolate and coffee – these bickies are called Squiggles! LOL

5.  Networking – I “know” some amazing people on twitter, facebook, blogchicks, Connect 2 Mums and more.  Thanks ladies (and a couple of gents) for helping me to become a better blogger.

6.  Google analytics – but I know my self worth is found in God and not in stats.

7.  Camera – I’m just a point-and-click girl, but I love my Canon Powershot S3 IS.img_7593

8.  Gravatar – it’s great having my headshot beside comments on blogs. You can get a globally recognised avatar here.

9.  Google Reader – how else would I keep track of all the cool things happening on other blogs?!  (If you like what’s happening on my blog you can subscribe in a reader or by email so that you never miss a post).

10.  Offline life – which gives me stuff to write about in my online life!  It’s all about balance.

Real Aussie Mum – August

picklebum-familyMy Real Aussie Mum for August is the down-to-earth Kate, from Picklebums!  She is a very creative lady, and mum to twin girls and a gorgeous little boy.  Kate and her hubby are raising their brood on the Pickle Farm in “almost rural” Victoria.  Her blog is always a great read, so pop over and say hi!  Here she shares her five faves, and her hardest struggle as a Mum.  (Thanks to the reader who requested I add Q6 to the Real Aussie Mums feature – you know who you are!)

1. Favourite outing with your kids - We love going to the various Victorian Zoos – Melbourne Zoo, Healesville and Werribee Open Range Zoo. We have a zoo pass which makes even a couple of hours at the zoo very economical and it’s the perfect outing for kids of all ages, and adults too!  Best of all though,  we like spending time out with friends – no matter where we go!

2.  Favourite at-home activity with your kids – My kids LOVE to do anything arty and crafty. Drawing, painting, collage, more drawing. Even our two year old loves to get into the paint and crayons.

3.  Favourite family meal – The girls are arguing over which is better – a vegetarian version of Planning With Kids Mexi-bake or Porcupine Meatballs. Now our home made Naan Bread has entered the debate, as well as roast lamb and chicken noodle soup… Can you tell my kids love to eat?

4.  Favourite bedtime stories – The big girls love to read the Sneezle books we have been given – A Midsummer Night’s Faery Tale, The Winter Child and The Faeries of Spring Cottage by Wendy Froud and Terri Windling. These engaging stories are a little longer than your average picture book, so we read a few pages a night, just right for those who are very, very fond of reading and faeries, like our girls. The pictures are just amazing. We’ve read them over and over, and even I am not bored of them yet.  The small boy loves any book with animals and all Dr Seuss books. His current favourite is the Foot Book!

5.  Favourite way to wind down! – I confess… I’m a tad computer obsessed, so I’ll happily vege out clicking through blogs or tweeting away. I also quite enjoy having a nice uninterrupted adult chat, accompanied by some yummy food, but that only happens once in a blue moon. Failing that, I’ll take a long, hot, bath any time!

6.  Finally, what’s your biggest struggle as a mum…? – Can I just answer everything? Oh…You want me to pick just one thing? I could write a book on this subject and still not be done! I struggle with finding my way and not sweating the small stuff. Sometimes I think I know exactly how I want to parent, other times I feel so completely and utterly lost and out of my depth. Sometimes I feel like I am totally kicking goals with this mothering gig, other times I feel like I am completely letting the team down. Oh and I worry way way WAY too much.

Playpen Perfect

img_7475I’m a big fan of the playpen.  I know some parents feel that limiting a child’s physical environment is harsh, or even cruel, but I disagree.  I think that planned, independent play in a small, safe area is really important for healthy development.  I also think that playpens are incredibly helpful when you’ve got a busy little crawler or new walker on your hands.  (Of course, it goes without saying that leaving a child in a playpen all day does not make for a happy child or warrant a mother-of-the-year award!)

I’d like to write about how we use the playpen….

I’d like to share my thoughts on the importance of kids being able to play on their own for short bursts of time without needing to be “entertained” by mum, or the tv, or anyone else.  I’d like to remind parents that the world is a very big place to a very small child, and sometimes it can be overwhelming.  Children can relax when they have clearly defined boundaries.  I’d like to reinforce my belief that it’s good for kids to be limited to just a few toys of mum’s choosing at times.  In life you can’t always have everything you want.img_7586

I’d like to write about how having a playpen means I can pop to the bathroom (which is up a flight of stairs) all by myself, or duck outside to grab the washing.  I’d like to tell you about how I can move the playpen around so that my little man can safely be in the same room with me while I’m cooking or crafting (or blogging).

I’d like to, but I can’t.  I can’t because today my little man busted out.  Broke free.  Escaped.  The connectors are completely shattered.  In several places.

Just perfect.  *sigh*

Now how am I going to go to the loo in peace…?!img_7578


Last week I posted about the Unbloggy Bits of life, which inspired Kate to start up The Perfectly Imperfect Life Challenge on her blog.  If you’d like to read about other imperfect mums, imperfect homes or imperfect days – head to Picklebums for a look.

Let Dads Be Dads (Parenting Aus)

parentingaustralia-majorbluelogowweb-lowresAre you guilty of sometimes telling your husband he is “doing it wrong” with the kids, when really he is just parenting differently?  Head over to Parenting Australia where I’m blogging today to read the rest of this post.

…I am starting to see how vital it is that we let dads be dads.  My husband and I complement each other, and our children need both of us.  They need his rough and tumble play, his laidback approach to meal times, his interpretation of stories and his crashing, splashing bath times!  What they don’t need is two of me.  Dads are supposed to be different…

PS – please leave a comment somewhere to reassure me that I’m not the only one working through this issue!

Little Billies Giveaway!



Congratulations Nicole!  You have won a $25 voucher to spend at Little Billies.  I’m sure your kids will enjoy their special chart, whatever you choose!  (Please note that birthday messages and general chit-chat comments were not counted below.  Only the 24 legitimate entries were counted).  I wish I could have given more away!  I’m heading over to Little Billies now to purchase a morning chart to go with our evening one…!LB_winner


It’s my birthday!!  Getting presents is fun, but I think I get more of a buzz from giving them.  So what better time for a give away?!

I don’t know about you, but the late afternoon is the most challenging time of day for me with the kids.  My three year old no longer naps in the middle of the day so she fades by about 4:30pm, just as my ten month old hits grumble o’clock.  Navigating the stretch from dinner time to bed time can be treacherous!  My hubby usually makes it home just in time to kiss the kids goodnight, but I’m sailing solo until then.

The evening routine chart from Little Billies has been a great help since we received it recently.  (As a teacher turned SAHM I’m a big fan of schedules!)  The magnetic chart helps my tired toddler to stay on track with everything that she needs to do.  I’ve had far less hassle getting her to help with packing up toys at the end of the day because it’s the first job on her chart and she loves sliding the arrow along as we complete each step!  Using the chart helps me to nag less and encourage more.

The lovely Sarah from Little Billies is giving away a $25 gift card, which will allow one reader to select a chart of your choice, personalised for your kids!  You can choose a routine chart, reward chart, schedule or even piggy bank chart!  All of the Little Billies positive parenting tools come with a helpful handout brochure full of hints and tips too.

To enter this giveaway, pop on over to Little Billies and subscribe to their newsletter.  (Your inbox won’t be flooded with junk – the newsletter is just a monthly update at most!)  Leave a comment below to let me know you’ve subscribed.

If you’d like a second entry, leave a separate comment with a suggestion for the new jobs chart!  Which jobs do you expect your kids to do around the house…?

littlebilliesThe giveaway is open to Aussie residents, and the winner will be drawn randomly on Friday 28th August 2009.  I’d love you to get behind Sarah by entering this comp. She’s a great gal who genuinely wants to support Aussie families.