Monthly Archives: April 2010

Compassion Day!

Today is Compassion Day, an annual event which sees Compassion Australia and Christian radio stations around the country join forces.  The aim this year is to have 1600 impoverished children sponsored in 16 hours.  In particular this year the focus is on the children of Kenya.

Did you know that in Kenya:

  • 20% of the population live below the international poverty line
  • 1.2 million people are living with HIV/AIDS
  • 2.5 million children are orphans
  • a third of women aged 15-49 have suffered genital mutilation

(Click here to read more about Kenya, including information and photographs about the Maasai people and the slums in Kibera and Mathare Valley…)

I feel overwhelmed by those statistics, especially the 2,500,000 children who are without their Mummy or Daddy.  But I do believe that Compassion are bringing hope to an almost hopeless situation.  Already there are 170 Compassion Child Development Centres caring for 42,000 Kenyan children.

To be honest I can’t even really visualise 42,000 people.  (I’m much better with big words than big numbers…)  I guess it’s a stadium crowd at a sports match.  So I suppose if I tried to visualise 2.5 million kids that would be almost 60 stadium crowds.  S-I-X-T-Y.  I think it’s brilliant that Compassion are taking care of one stadium full of Kenyan orphans, but my heart still aches for the 2,458,000 children in the other 59 stadiums.

I can’t help but think what a difference it would make if every family here in Australia who could afford to do so, sponsored one child – in Kenya or elsewhere.  Sponsorship through Compassion costs $44 per month, or just under $1.50 per day.  I don’t know about you but I feel like that is money well spent.  I’m not sure that I can do anything to change the face of poverty, but I know that I can change the world for one child.

Are you willing to change one child’s world?  Today is a great day to step up.

Click here to sponsor a child.

(Images and information in this post are from

Do You See What I See?

What do you see?  A mess of snipped junk mail, or something more?

It’s a pond, silly!

Here, I’ll help you:

Frog, rocks,

lily pads, fish,

dragonfly, reeds.


A whole ecosystem!

(With night time stars reflected in the water…)

When I stop looking with grownup eyes and start looking with toddler eyes this beautiful creation comes to life.  It ceases to be a box full of junk mail and becomes the play world my daughter dreamed it to be.  Isn’t play a beautiful thing?

Come play at the Childhood 101 We Play link up…

Suggest A Soap Combo – and WIN!

Congratulations to Mel who was chosen as the winner of this comp by Pure and Natural Aroma Beauty!  Here’s a pic of her suggested Mumma-Bubba pack all made up and ready to go.  Don’t forget that Aroma Beauty will happily send a gorgeous gift pack like this straight to a mum-to-be for you.  At only $22.95 I think it’s a perfect gift for a baby shower or new mama!  You can buy one here (or if you just want some soap for yourself, grab the 3 soaps for $20 pack on the same page…)

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to put together a giveaway for mums with bubs.  So I’m teaming up with Pure and Natural Aroma Beauty from far north Queensland.  Aroma Beauty sent me some of their all natural handmade soaps to try – and I love them!

As they say on their site, “Why spoil a natural product with artificial ingredients?”  All of the soaps are chemical free, and free from artificial fragrance.  Packed with natural goodness, they smell absolutely divine and lather beautifully too.  And there are so many gorgeous soaps to choose from!  This is just a sample, but you can click here or on the image below to find out more…

(Geisha Girl – Calming Calendula – Nature’s Garden – Lavender and Mint)

I was delighted to find Aroma Beauty also make natural and gentle baby soaps.  I mentioned that a pack with soaps for both baby and mummy would make a great gift for new mothers and Aroma Beauty agreed… but they would like YOUR help to design the pack!  (You’ll notice on the site their Mumma-Bubba Gift Pack is “coming soon”.)

So what would you put into a Mumma-Bubba gift pack?  Jump over to Aroma Beauty then come back here with your ideas.  Leave your suggestion as a comment below, and one lucky SquiggleMum reader will WIN THEIR GIFT PACK!  Aroma Beauty will choose the best Mumma-Bubba gift pack combo. (Aussie residents only, one entry per person, winner drawn 6pm Sunday 2 May 2010.)

I think my suggestion would be a Busy Bees face washer, So Pure baby bar, Island Dream Soap (with cocoa butter for stretch marks) and Lavender Goat’s Milk Soap (to help the new mumma de-stress and SLEEP) in a gift box!  But hey – it’s not up to me.  What would YOU suggest?

PS – If you want to send a Mumma-Bubba pack to a new mum as a gift, Aroma Beauty will post it directly to them on your behalf!  I think it’s probably half the price of sending a bunch of flowers and twice as useful.  I would have LOVED to receive a package like this post birth, wouldn’t you?!

Ten Words for Ten Years

Ten years of…











Our marriage is far from perfect.  We have hard days and sometimes very hard days, but at the end of every day we still choose each other.  We try to grow together instead of apart, and we look for the colours that come after the rain.

Marriage is worth celebrating.  How many years are you…?

(Pic taken on our pre-kid travelling days! Scotland, 2003)

My Budding Birder

I’m a bit of a birder, and love teaching my kids about birds.  We love watching them together, mimicking their calls, taking photographs and even feeding them some times.  Since Thea’s five year old son tagged us for a kid-interview, I thought I’d ask my three year old about birds.

(Photos of Rainbow Lorikeets taken by my 3yr old with some Mummy-help)

What is your favourite bird?

Rainbow Lorikeets because they are so colourful.  Their other name is Trichoglossus Haemotodus.  They come to say good morning to me.  They sleep at night time.

Do you know about some birds that are awake at night time?

Hoot hoot – owls!  And Tooney (she meant Tawny) Frogmouths.

What do you know about nests?

Birds lay eggs in their nests.  Bower Birds even make special bowers and put blue things everywhere.

Do birds all have the same type of eggs?

No.  Eggs can be white, yellow, blue.  They can be spotty or zigzag-y.  They can be camouflaged so hungry foxes can’t find them.

Which bird has the best song?

I like Butcher Birds and Currawongs.

Can you tell me about this photo?

Me taking a photo of a rainbow lorikeet!  He was hiding.

Anyone else like to do a kid-interview on their blog?  I won’t tag anyone but feel free to join the fun. What topics interest your child?

ANZAC Day (Parenting Aus)

Over at Parenting Australia this week the topic is ANZAC Day, and as an Army kid this is a topic close to my heart.  I’ve written a very personal account and would love you to jump over and read it.  Here’s a snippet:

I stand tall on ANZAC Day.  It’s a big deal in my family.  Not only were two of my great grandfathers ANZACS themselves, but my own Father served in the Australian Defence Force for twenty years.  I grew up as an Army kid, and proud of it.  I remember climbing trees in the barracks while the dads all served the mums on Mother’s Day in the mess.  I have fond memories of Santa visiting at Christmas time in a tank full of pressies for the kids.  I remember feeling an immense sense of pride when I heard my father call his men to attention on the parade ground, and watching them respond to his commands with, well, military precision.  Of course being an Army family also had its challenges… (click here to read more)

I’m interested in how other families approach ANZAC Day.  What will you be doing for the long weekend?  Will you go to a service with your family?  Bake ANZAC bickies?  Do you talk to your kids about the tragedy of war?  Focus on heroes of the past?  Or do you talk about your hopes for the future?  You can comment here or at Parenting Australia.

Food Sources

I like my kids to play outside.  I’m happy for them to get dirty.  But let’s face it – I’m raising city kids.  Activities like milking a cow, collecting fruit from the orchard or killing a chook aren’t part of daily life for us.  Despite this I think it’s really important for city kids to understand where foods come from.

Here are three foods we have been talking about recently in our family:

1.  Pineapple!  We live in sunny Queensland which is an area known for growing pineapple, yet when we cook homemade pizzas we often open a tin.  Tinned pineapple is very convenient, and there’s nothing wrong with using it at all.  We always buy Australian pineapple in natural juice (not syrup) which is packaged at the cannery half an hour away anyway!!  That said, there’s a lot to know about this fruit that you can’t learn from the tinned stuff.  Just look at the way they grow (they’re actually bromeliads)!  Pineapples are interesting to touch.  They have a rough exterior and spiky leaves.  Inside the textures are interesting too.  Although it’s the same colour through the fruit, the core is much more dense than the rest.  It’s usually removed from tinned pineapple, but it’s still quite tasty.  The enzymes in fresh pineapple are actually different from tinned, and the taste and smell are different too.  On the whole fresh pineapple has much more punch!

2.  Corn.  We use corn in cooking quite often… but usually get it from the freezer!  The kids love to help when we instead cook fresh corn on the cob.  The first time I cooked corn with my daughter she had NO idea what it was!  She was so surprised when we peeled off the green husk and stripped away the silk to reveal the corn kernels underneath.  At 18mths my son loves to chomp on a cob of corn too.  We steam them for a few minutes on the stove, then I run them under cold water to make sure they won’t burn his mouth.  After shucking corn together it’s great to look at the corn kernels from the freezer again, and even compare with pop corn kernels!

3.  Eggs.  My parents keep a few hens and the kids love collecting the eggs when they come to visit.  They also give food scraps and fresh water to the chooks, and let them out into the yard to roam.  The kids eat lots of eggs when they visit Nanna and Pa, and always bring a few home.  We even dyed some with turmeric and red onion skins at Easter recently.  Chooks are wonderful for city kids.  My daughter has been helping collect eggs from the chook-chooks since she was very young (as you can see from the pic!) and now carefully collects the eggs and feeds the chooks independently.

Other great food activities we’ve done as a family are shelling prawns and planting veggies.  I can’t wait for strawberry season again so that we can take the kids picking!

What foods have you been exploring with your kids?

Justine Clarke – Great Big Giveaway!

I’ll admit it – I am as much a fan of Justine Clarke as my children are.  She’s our favourite Playschool presenter, we have all her albums and know all her songs by heart.  So were the kids and I excited to receive a pre-release copy of her new CD before it was launched last week?  You betcha.  And thanks to Roadshow Entertainment I have THREE copies of Justine Clarke’s new album Great Big World to give away to SquiggleMum readers!

Truthfully, I was a little apprehensive as I put the CD into the car stereo.  What if it didn’t have brilliant tracks like on her first album I Like To Sing..?  What if I didn’t love it as much as her second album Songs To Make You Smile..?

As soon as the first track, Little Day Out started, I smiled and relaxed.   The kids bopped along in the back of the car, I picked up the catchy tune easily and we all sang along like the first song on the new album was already an old favourite.  Justine and her brilliant team (Dasent/Baysting/Lindsay) have again produced a fabulous album which Aussie families will adore.  As a primary school educator with a major in music I can be hard to impress – but Great Big World is a great big win for me.

The album is chock full of wonderful songs which are lyrically appropriate for young kids without being musically “dumbed down” in any way.  Climbing Up The Rainbow is fantastic early childhood song, with a melody that rises and falls as a reflection of the rainbow.  Clever, clever.  Though not my personal favourite, Happy Dog was an instant hit with my one and three year olds and has a lovely cyclic story which finishes back at the start.  My Granny Loves To Laugh is a beautiful song for kids with elderly grandparents, and Silver Ships and Golden Ships has a sweet message about friendship.  And as with previous albums, the title track is a real highlight.  Check it out for yourself!

There are 15 brand new songs to enjoy, with a range of styles which will expose kids to some variations in musical genre and ensure parents don’t tire of Great Big World too quickly!  The album winds down nicely too, with three soft, starry, beautiful tracks to lull the backseat passengers off to sleep.  If I have one criticism of the album it is only that some of the songs such as My Shadow and Me are in a key too low for young kids to sing along with.

Released April 1, Great Big World is available now in ABC shops and online.  Well priced and worth every penny, that is – if  you don’t win a copy here first!  If you’d like to win Great Big World leave a comment below either sharing your favourite Justine Clarke song, or a favourite song you and your kids like to sing together. Aussie residents only please, one entry per person, winners drawn randomly 6pm Sunday 18/4/10.

If you’re a fan, you can join Justine’s facebook fanpage here – and mine too!  And if you don’t already subscribe to Squigglemum you can do so here.


Congratulations to the winners of a copy of Great Big World:

  • Ros Gittins
  • Mon Thornton
  • Jess Fealy

Other posts you might enjoy:

Backyard – Home Truths

I was delighted and devastated all at the same time when the lovely Christie from Childhood101 made this comment on a previous post.  (Click the image if you can’t read it…)

Delighted, because I think there is always beauty to be found in outdoor spaces and I’m glad I’ve been able to find snippets of beauty in our yard.  But devastated, because I’ve made people think our backyard is something it’s not.  Well, not yet anyway.

I have big plans for our backyard.  At the moment it’s just a weedy hill, with a rock wall, a macadamia tree and a couple of gums – but we make the most of it!

My kids have lots of fun out there as it is, but it has so much potential to be a wonderful playspace with a few additions.  Call me crazy, but I have never wanted a flat, grassy backyard.  Here’s what I do want:

  • back deck – the plans have already been drawn up by Your Architect, but it will be a while before it all comes together.  (My sister is an amazing architect – if you’re Brissy based you should definitely check her work out.)
  • digging area – I’d like something more natural than a square box or clam shell, and plants around it.
  • dry creek bed – yes, I’m serious.  I’d love a rocky narrow “creek” running down the hill.  It will only run in pouring rain, but that’s fine with me!
  • plants – lots of interesting, bird attracting, hardy, climate suitable plants.  I’m much more into foliage than flowers.
  • meandering paths – connecting different areas of the garden.
  • secret spaces – I love the natural cubbies that form under overhanging branches, and don’t mind encouraging them and adding some seating.
  • a yard that will grow with us and accommodate everyone in our family.

Catherine from Adventures With Kids has me thinking about pulleys too, and I’m always inspired by Jenny’s posts at Let The Children Play.  I’m bound to get planting ideas over at Caro’s blog.  Any other Aussie bloggers you would recommend for playscape inspiration?

Don’t expect to see our backyard transformed in a weekend or anything like that – but I will update you as we go.  We started our digging area over Easter so I’ll have some pics to share soon.  And maybe one day I’ll show you a photo of the whole backyard, instead of just pretty snippets.

What would you love to have in your backyard?

In A New Light: Making of a Mumpreneur

Some of you will know that I am active in the Connect2Mums online community.  As the 2010 C2M Seminar and Awards Night approach, I was asked to write an article about my experience…


Isn’t it funny how sometimes others see you more clearly than you see yourself?

I was still calling myself a SAHM.  I still considered myself a teacher on extended maternity leave, and I thought I was comfortable with the box I put myself in.  But the truth was that I had already stepped out of it.  I was stretching my wings in a new way, and I wasn’t half bad at it.  It’s just that I was the last to know.

I went to the Connect2Mums 2009 Seminar to test the waters.  I was gaining momentum as a blogger and considering ways to take my writing further, but I wasn’t even sure if I could belong in the online business space.  As a teacher-turned-full-time-mother I was a little intimidated at first.  The other women at the seminar seemed to know infinitely more than I did about business!  Soon I came to see though that the collective strength of the group came from the individual strengths of each woman there.  All mothers, all from different backgrounds, all with something to offer.  I listened and learned as a range of women spoke on their areas of strength.  I asked lots of questions and took lots of notes.  Later that day I ran a workshop on blogging, and had the opportunity to share one of my areas of strength.  Other women asked me lots of questions and took lots of notes!   Finally I started to recognise that I had something to offer too.

My view of myself shifted a little that day, but the AusMumpreneur Awards dinner that night changed my view completely!  I wasn’t entirely sure what a mumpreneur was, and I certainly didn’t consider myself one.  Yet sure enough, there was my name on the trophy.  Catherine Oehlman. Top AusMumpreneur Award Winner 2009.  I am not a woman who is often lost for words!

Since the seminar and the awards last year things have changed in my world.  Winning the top award raised my profile considerably in the online parenting space, resulting in stronger readership and increased attention from the media and PR companies.  My following in social media spaces continues to grow as well.  I have received mentoring through the C2U business network and it has been a privilege to be an ambassador for the C2M community, speak at events and write a column online.  I have to admit it’s been kind of a buzz to be on the front cover of a mini-mag too!

Thanks to Connect2Mums I now see myself in a completely new light.  My background in education and my choice to stay home full time with my kids contribute to who I am but do not solely define what I am.  I have a whole range of skills and strengths that are helping me to carve out this new career path.  I am a wife and mother, an educator, a writer, a blogger, a social media advocate, a speaker, a reviewer and more.  I am learning all the time about what it means to be in business online and I’m crazy-busy, but happy.

I think I can finally say it:  I am a mumpreneur.