Ok, so I’m just sneaking in my Real Aussie Mum for September. (Thanks to the reader who noticed I hadn’t featured a “Miss September” yet! LOL) Christie Burnett is an experienced Early Childhood Teacher and a Mum who has worked with hundreds of families with young children. Even though we’ve never met in real life I’d call her a friend. She blogs at Childhood 101 about growing memorable, healthy childhoods, with lots of ideas, tips and information for families. Here are her five faves and her biggest struggle as she raises her daughter, Immy.
1. Favourite outing with your child – If you asked Immy, she would stay swimming but I hate being in my bathers so I usually make my husband take her in! We recently found a wonderful toddlergym at our local PCYC which Immy adores. They have a lovely big space to run in, heaps of interesting equipment set up in a really, fun attractive way that engages the children, and Immy loves running, jumping, climbing, dancing and playing with balls and hoops. I was really uncoordinated as a child, so for me it is great to see Immy developing her physical skills and enjoying active play at such a young age.
2. Favourite at-home activity with your child – One of the major reasons we relocated back to Perth from Sydney this year, was to be able to enjoy more of the great outdoors, both space-wise and weather-wise! So, playing outside in the garden would have to be a favourite way for us to spend time together. You’ll find us tending the vegie patch, searching for snails and bugs, digging in the sand, jumping in puddles, or just lying on the lawn looking at the clouds.
3. Favourite family meal – I am really fortunate that Immy is a great eater and will eat almost anything, especially vegetables. For us, its not so much what is on the table (especially given my domestic disaster status) but that we are all sitting around the table together. We have made it a priority to sit down together as a family to eat dinner each night. Immy especially enjoys it when extended family members join us for a meal.
4. Favourite bedtime stories – We visit the local library fortnightly so our bedtime stories change regularly. This week’s favourites include Handa’s Surprise (Eileen Browne), Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? (Eric Carle) and Time for Bed (Mem Fox).
5. Favourite way to wind down – Sleep ins or hot baths! If neither of these are available, chocolate is a worthy substitute!
6. Finally, what’s your biggest struggle as a mum…? – My biggest struggle has been adapting to life as a Stay at Home Mum. I love being home with Immy and feel very blessed to have that opportunity but I don’t enjoy feeling greater responsibility for the domestic drudgery as the person ‘at home.’ I have also had to learn to manage a much tighter budget thanks to our move to one income, which feels a bit cruel given that I have more time to shop!
Christie is off to Singapore in a few weeks as a finalist in the Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards for Best Parenting Blog! How exciting!! Voting only takes a few minutes – make sure you click on Childhood101.
Have you seen these awesome sandwiches? They are so deserving of the name Funky Lunch. I’ve never eaten anything as funky as this!
I’ve also never made sandwiches with this amount of pizazz. But they do inspire me to try a little harder with lunches. Maybe not all the time, but every now and then it’s nice to make lunch time fun. I sometimes forget that using a biscuit cutter to cut a shape out of the centre of the sandwich is as exciting to a toddler as a new pair of shoes is to me.
So inspired by images from the Funky Lunch Gallery, this week I am going to get creative with lunch for my three year old. (Until my 12mth old gets a little better at eating sandwiches he can stick with the usual vegemite squares!) I’m thinking we could try some Charlie & Lola style faces like the ones shown in the gallery. Or even make up our own. I’m sure my daughter will have her own imaginative (read wacky) ideas of what we could create with a few salad items and a couple of slices of bread!
All this has got me thinking ahead too. There are always lots of end-of-year events I need to take a plate to, and I often struggle to come up with something healthy for the kids that still looks appealing. I think a sandwich caterpillar like this could be just the ticket.
PS – speaking of kids in the kitchen, have you entered my giveaway to win a copy of Small Fry: Inspiration for Cooking With Kids yet?
Congratulations to the winners of Small Fry: Inspiration For Cooking With Kids! The random winning numbers were 11 (Ros) and 1 (Nat). Next week I’ll be giving away Small Fry: Outdoors with another two chances to win a gorgeous book.
In case you haven’t come across the Small Fry books yet, let me introduce you to authors Susie Cameron and Katrina Cook. Their beautifully presented, well researched books are as jam packed with ideas as they are with gorgeous photos. To celebrate the release of the third book in the series, the Small Fry girls are giving away two copies of each of the three books to SquiggleMum readers!!
Up for grabs this week is the original Small Fry: Inspiration for Cooking With Kids. Don’t be mistaken – it’s not just another recipe book, although it does include a few recipes. Rather than cooking for your kids, this book is more about cooking with them. It’s about helping your kids to interact positively with food and explore it with all of their senses. Raw foods, cooked foods, food games, food for art’s sake, shopping for food, taking food from garden to table… it’s all covered!
I love some of their ideas about making shopping trips fun by exploring shapes, numbers, textures, colours, letters and more. There are fantastic activities like Rainbow Salad and Musical Patties. (And beautiful suggestions for kids to make breakfast in bed for Mum…) I also love the inclusion of heaps of creative ideas for humble ingredients like rice or eggs. I am hanging out to make my three year old actual green eggs and ham (just add two tablespoons of basil pesto to scrambled eggs)! Brilliant!! You don’t need to be an expert in the kitchen to give your kids a love of good food. You just need a little confidence and a great book that you can go back to again and again for inspiration.
To win your own copy of Small Fry: Inspiration for Cooking With Kids leave a comment below sharing a food related activity you and your kids enjoy! I have two copies to give away!! The comp is open to Aussie residents and the two winners will be drawn randomly at 6pm this Friday, 2nd October.
PS – winners chosen by random number generator:
I know, it’s still only September, but the countdown to Christmas is on. Blogging-mamas have started sharing their plans, shopping mamas have started eyeing off Christmas displays, and crafty mamas have started creating gifts. Personally I love Christmas and I love gift giving. But when it comes to gift getting? I have enough stuff. Really I do.
I don’t know when I got so grown up. I look around now and realise I am a thirty-ish mum with two kids, a house full of furniture and trinkets and bits, a mortgage and two cars. My cupboards are full to overflowing. There is more junk squirreled away under beds and on top of wardrobes than I know what to do with. And every Christmas, I get more stuff.
Is this ringing any bells with you? If so, I’d love to encourage you to think outside the square when people ask you what you want for Christmas this year. Instead of more clutter you don’t need, what about letting someone else get the benefit of your “present”. And instead of racking your brains for the perfect gift for someone who has everything, why not give something that will make a real difference?
I love Gifts of Compassion. For $11 you can give a family a mosquito net that will help protect them from deadly malaria. For $29 you can supply a child with the resources they need to attend school. Heck for $41 you can buy a goat! Do you have any idea what a huge gift that is for a family? A goat can produce milk and have baby-goats (yes, I do know that baby-goats are kids but that’s too confusing in the context of the next sentence! LOL) Baby-goats can be sold, milked, or eaten. They are such an asset to a poverty stricken family.
Interested? You can buy Gifts of Compassion here. There are heaps to choose from so you should be able to find a gift in your price range. Don’t give more stuff to people who don’t need it. Give something that means something.
PS – and if you really want to make a difference in the world, sponsor a child like I do
It’s been a few days since I’ve been able to spend quality one-on-one time with my daughter, just the two of us. Now that my little man is a big one year old he is into everything, all the time, and that means his big sister often misses out on mummy time. Today he slept late and long, so we made the most of some girl time and made fairy boats.
Last week, while playing in the yard with a bucket of water my daughter discovered that some things could “float like a boat” and some things sank to the bottom. She experimented with leaves, rocks, nuts and bark – testing each one to see what it did in the water. When she discovered how perfectly the outer casings of macadamia nuts floated I promised we could make fairy boats out of them one day.
So today, we collected casings from under the tree, plus a few bits of bark and some boat-shaped leaves. We tested all of the potential materials in a container of water, and discarded the sinkers! Then we made boats out of the good ones. We put a little ball of playdough into each one, stuck a toothpick into it for a mast and attached a paper sail with sticky tape.
We filled the bird bath up in the backyard, and our little fairy boats set sail! The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, and our little boats bobbed beautifully. Well, until Little Miss 3 got too excited with her play and dunked a couple!!
It would have been lovely to let these boats go in a creek, but you’ve gotta work with what you’ve got, right?
We wanted to keep our first pregnancy to ourselves until the “safe” twelve week mark, and keeping the secret was exciting! (Well, nauseating and exciting all wrapped up together). With my uncertain second pregnancy things were different. We needed people to know because we needed support. You can read my story at Parenting Australia, but here’s a snippet…
There were no guarantees that this pregnancy was going to be… what do they call it? Viable. My head told me to protect myself and expect the worst. My heart told me to will this baby to stay with me. My common sense told me I couldn’t keep this a secret.
The rest of the article is here.
PS – the more time I spend with mums in real life and online, the more I hear about the deep sadness and pain associated with miscarriage. To the mums reading this who have lost little ones – I cannot begin to imagine your grief but my heart goes out to you. May you find joy again.
We’ve all done a pretty good job in recent years of being sun smart when it comes to our kids. New research is showing that perhaps we’ve gone too far the other way though as increasing numbers of babies are being diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency due to lack of exposure to the sun!
You can read more about the importance of vitamin D in this article on the Raising Children Network. The bottom line is, while it is imperative that we still slip, slop, slap and stay out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day, our kids literally need sunlight on their skin for healthy growth and development.
This is easy with toddlers. They want to be outside burning off energy! It’s much more of a challenge with babies though and we all know how easily a bub can burn. Here are some things you can try to make sure your little ray of sunshine gets a few minutes of the good stuff every day!
- put a picnic blanket in the yard and read a story in the sunshine
- go for an early morning or late afternoon walk with bub in the stroller
- take a rocker outside and put baby in the sun while you hang out the washing
- set up a hammock so that you and your little one can swing in the sunshine together
- take the highchair outside and feed bub there
- spend a few minutes exploring the front yard with baby when you collect the mail
- sit older bubs directly on the grass and let them feel the leaves, stick, soil and grass around them
Any other suggestions for safely getting some sun into baby’s day?
The floor was mopped last night. It was sparkling clean. And this morning I swept this much up off it, after only breakfast. *sigh*
Cleaning up gets me down. I feel really good about our home (and about myself actually) when it’s clean and tidy, and I don’t mind hard work. It’s just that it needs doing over, and over, and over again. It’s relentless. I mop the floor, the kids spill weetbix all over it. I tidy up the toys, they empty them out again. I finally see the bottom of the laundry basket in one bedroom and the basket in the next room is already overflowing. Just. Never. Ends. I try to be joyful about household tasks, but I struggle with this at the best of times.
This morning as I swept up the mess under the table I drew a parallel between my house and my life. I try to keep my heart clean. I feel better about life when I’m right with God. So I confess in prayer my judgemental spirit, or my envy over someone else’s home, but then in the next breath I find myself gossiping about a friend!! Oi oi oi. My heart needs cleaning over, and over, and over again – rather like my house. I guess that’s one of the reasons I go to church every week (though it’s not the only reason). I’m not saying that I do what I like during the week, confess on Sunday and then start all over again! Jesus didn’t do what He did for me to take that attitude. But I do need to keep coming back to God, keep admitting where I’ve stuffed up, and keep asking Him to help me live my “best life”…
On this day, one year ago, I woke up early even though the house was unusually quiet. I knew my two year old daughter would be wide awake at her Nan and Pa’s place. I imagined her pulling on my Dad’s arm saying, “Feed the birds, Pa? Feed the birds?” I missed her a little already, and wondered when I’d see her next. One day? Two…?
On this day, one year ago, my husband and I drove calmly to the maternity ward (again) for me to be induced (again) at 41 weeks (again). No waters breaking in the middle of the night. No timing contractions. No mad-dash to hospital. Not even a single false alarm.
On this day, one year ago, I listened to other women as they arrived at the birthing suites, laboured and delivered. I heard their babies cry, and I heard them leave to go to their wards. All the while I waited for something to kickstart my own labour. I paced the halls. We walked laps of the carpark.
On this day, one year ago, with all other options tried, I agreed to the synto drip (again). But this time I refused the epidural. An avalanche of contractions descended upon me. There is no easing you into labour with the drip.
On this day, one year ago, I roared an apology through the wall to the couple in the next suite still in the early stages of labour. I didn’t use pain relief but I did use my lungs.
On this day, one year ago, I gave birth to a son. I learnt that you really can love your second child as much as your first. I discovered that my little girl really was ready to become a big sister. And I was reminded (again) that my husband really is an amazing man.
On this day, I remember. Happy birthday my beautiful boy. xx
"Very Hungry Caterpillar" stones
Mumblers launched this week! It’s a melting pot of great online content relevant to Aussie mums. I’m a regular blogger on the team, so I’d love you to follow me over there once a month or so. Here’s a snippet from my post about story stones. My daughter and I have had a wonderful time in the garden with these simple stones, so I hope you give them a go with your kids!
Literacy isn’t always about books. There are countless ways you can explore language with young children without a picture book in sight. For example, stones have been used in different cultures throughout the ages to tell stories to children and adults alike. This week my three year old and I made some simple story stones of our own and headed out into the garden…