Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bunting Activity for the kids....

Bunting, there are so many different takes on it around the blogosphere, Pinterest and the like isn't there? But a thought came to me the other week after receiving some pretty Chinese envelopes with money in them for Chinese New Year from DH's auntie. How pretty they would be made into a bunting, so I took that idea of envelopes and bunting and came up with a great no mess, easy, bunting activity to do with kids.

I did this with Cohen this morning and he is turning three in April, so it's perhaps a good activity for three and up.

What you will need is:
* envelopes, you can use plain ones or be creative with colours sizes and shapes, but probably easiest with the self-adhesive variety of envelopes for the younger ones.
* string, wool or ribbon for hanging.
* pens, pencils, crayons, stickers or whatever other embellishments you want to get creative with, it's up to you.

I kept it simple this morning with plain envelopes pencils and stickers. But just let your kids go nuts with designs on the envelopes. Once envelopes are decorated determine where you will be hanging your bunting and the amount of string, wool or ribbon you will need, and the amount of envelopes you will be using for that space. Then flip your envelopes over flap side up, the lay your string, wool or ribbon under the flaps n then you and your little one can stick the flaps down closing the envelopes.

Then there isn't much left to do but hang your child's bunting.

I'm glad I left the idea of this activity until today as I moved around Cohen's room this morning and there was some hesitation to the change. However that quickly change when I suggested some decorations for his room.

This activity could be expanded on so much more with the use of envelopes, in fact I've got several other ideas lined up for young and old, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It's still raining - part 2

Well it's continued to be torrential on and off here last night and today. Oh and it's muggy, really sticky icky muggy, it's gross, the kids are gross, we are all gross. Thankfully this afternoon there has been a bit of reprieve with the heavy rain and DH came home early due to road closures and sever storm warnings (that were expected this afternoon, but we're canceled). So with a break in the heavy rain we decided to go outside and play with the kids in our sopping wet, water logged back hard.

The kids of course couldn't help but climb into the calm shell which was full of cold rain water and splash around.

DH and I than couldn't help ourselves and started wedding the gardens (they are beyond horrendous at the moment), a job made easier with the ground being so wet. The kids followed us around the yard and we all got well and truly muddy. Ahhh but we had a cool rain water bath so to speak to clean off in a bit, then it was inside for showers and proper clean ups.

A rather fun, and unexpected family afternoon together.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

When it rains.....

When it rains and someone is going a little stir crazy and needs a change of scenery, a circuit breaker if you please. What do you do? Send them outside to play. It's only water, right?

Yep he is in his undies, yep they are on inside out, but hey even with all this rain it is still muggy and sticky here, so fewer clothes make for happier kids.

Cohen enjoyed playing out in the rain for a little bit this morning and especially enjoyed using the chalk on the wet concrete and seeing how the colours came up more vibrantly than they would dry.

Weather forecasters are suggesting that we are in for more of this heavy rainfall through to and including the weekend, I think more outdoor rainy day fun may be had.

What activities do you do on rainy days?

Monday, January 23, 2012

What I've learnt from whirlwind travel with an infant and toddler.....

Yesterday was one of the longest and tiring days this little family has had in a long time. We were up and on our way at the crack of dawn to get to the airport for our flight to Melbourne for 90th birthday celebrations for my DH's Gran.

Any other other time we or I have travelled to Melbourne it has involved a break of a couple of days and nights away. So please indulge me to a list of things I have learnt with whirlwind one day travelling and flying with kids, especially infants and toddlers.

* Be organised the night before, right down with clothes being laid out. Get yourself ready and then if you have to wake sleeping kids, get them ready at the last minute. Hopefully you can get them into the car sleepy enough to catch extra zzzz's on the way to the airport.

* Those squeezable fruit pouches for kids and babies (my kids never have them, but I thought they would be handy for travelling) are not a great idea with a grabby baby, especially if you didn't pack a change of clothes for yourself (of course the kids had changes of clothes).

* If you hire a car, take your kids car seats so they have travelling comfort they are used to. Also check and check and check again that anchor points in hire cars are tight and fitted properly (hire car companies are frequently changing them over and you're better to trust your judgement than the companies).

* iPads with a movie loved by your child and age appropriate apps are a blessing.
* You can do inflight crafts with an airsickness bag (another post to come on that one).
* A baby carrier is essential for the infant, so you can wrangle a toddler, bags, car seats and trolleys.

* If you take a child's loved comfort toy or teddy with you, treat him like a family member and frequently and I mean frequently do a head count and know where he is at.

I know I look a little weary in that last pic it was halfway through the flight down in the morning. But trust me we all perked up and we had a wonderful time, celebrating a wonderful women and a matriarch of a family.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Grocery Shopping with kids....

The mere thought of grocery shopping with kids sends some parents into a panic. To be honest I can't blame them really, there is so much for kids to look at and touch and whine about. I will admit until a few months ago I dreaded the thought or possibility of grocery shopping with both of the kids with me. Opting to try and get it done on a day when Cohen is in family day care, or asking DH to do it the evening or if all else failed doing it as a family on the weekend. But honestly all those other options don't work for us anymore.

So I've just had to suck it up and find a way it works and keeps Cohen happy. Sarah on the other hand loves grocery shopping and you don't hear a peep out of her. Good thing I guess in some respects because the whole time we are shopping I am in constant no stop dialogue with Cohen.

"Mummy what's that?"
"Mummy can I have one of those?"
"Mummy who lives in there?", referring to deli and butchers area.
"Mummy I'm just going to get out and push", to which ends in disaster because he starts to get distracted.
"Mummy that man drew on himself", speaking about and pointing at a man with tattoos.
"Mummy I need to go to the toilet."
"Lady come back, I talk to you", which he yells to anyone who has given him a smile and a few words.

That's just a small idea of what our trips entail, and seriously that is the tame version. However I have been able to find a focus for him to calm our trips down a little recently. All it has taken is a small notebook and pen or pencil.

Although he can't write words yet, he scribbles zigzag lines which are his items he has on his shopping list. So now I get told:
"Mummy don't get that it's not on the list."
"Mummy we need carrots."
"Mummy we need everything, see?" Pointing to his list.

At least now when he is getting too crazy, I can ask him to sit down in the trolley and add things to his list, that he thinks we need. Just the simple act of remembering to have a notepad and pencil or pen, has made the world of difference to our grocery shopping trips. It reduces his insistence on everything else in the shop that he says he wants, cars, stickers, crayons, books, because now his mind is occupied about "his list and his responsibility".

But it's another story and another post for how to get through the checkout unscathed.
What are your secret weapons for keeping calm with grocery shopping when you have the kids in tow?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

One day trip to Melbourne.....

We are off to Melbourne on Sunday for the day. Yes you read that right for the day, flying out at the crack of dawn and flying home mid evening. Yes, before you ask the kids are coming. We are heading down for the DH's Gran's 90th birthday, who is otherwise affectionately known as Gigi by Cohen because he calls his daddy's mum Gran.

Are we nuts? One day whirlwind trip to Melbourne with a nearly 3 year old and a 11 month old! Even though there is no over night stay, I am finding it ever so hard to work out what to take.....you know for every event and circumstance to arise. Oh and I should add that DH has booked the flights so with exception of the two car seats we can only take carry-on baggage. I have to pack cloth nappies for a whole day, clothes, snacks, toys and or entertainment, camera, present and all the other regular handbag necessities.

This is the first time we have travelled with both of the kids, it's a lot different travelling with just one and staying for several days, but this is different we aren't going to have time to grab things once we land in Melbourne.

So I am needing some hard and fast tips from any of my readers who have done anything as crazy as dragging two little ones off on a whirlwind trip for one day and what you did to survive it? Also any tips on how to pack, considering what I have to take and that it's only carry-on baggage would be great.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Breastfeeding milestone........

Have you ever noticed my ticker down the bottom of the right hand column there?
Do you know what it says today?

Two years ago today marks the point in which Cohen latched back onto my breast after I came home from hospital after a D&C for my second miscarriage and tried to nurse. Today marks the day the decision would be made to throw everything I had and more at trying to establish my supply again, and right the wrongs I felt I made in having taken him off the breast for those 3 months. Today marks second chances, special journeys, sweet moments and hard work.

I don't think mothers often stand up and say they are proud of themselves, but we should. Today I'm standing up to say I am proud, I'm proud of me, I'm proud of my darling boy, I'm proud of us. I'm proud of my family, I'm proud of my ever supportive husband who's support on this journey has been second to none. I'm emotional at the love and pride he has for our efforts. I'm proud of Sarah, who brings more love to this special journey and relationship and shares breastfeeding in tandem with her brother.

Today I am just proud.
What a milestone........2 years my re lactated booby boy, I love you.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One word to live by for 2012....

It's been a busy start to the year, we've already squeezed in so much and I've been catching up on some more blog reading again. I was over at Maxabella Loves just the other day and read her one word to live by post for this year. She asked the question about, what her readers word to live by was for this year. So I've been thinking about it and all that I want achieve this year, and I've decided my word for 2012 is:

That's right, GO.........just give it a go. No doubts, no questioning ones self for too long, no letting doubts talk me out of it, no fear of failure or someone not taking notice......just give it a GO. If you never give it a GO, win, lose or otherwise you will never know the result, or meet the better you on the other side of those efforts. Everything on my list this year, I'm going to give a crack, give it a GO and just see what happens.

What's your world for 2012, I'd love to hear it? Why not pop back over to Maxabella Loves and link up with everybody else sharing their words for the year and be amongst other inspired people to this glorious start to 2012.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cool fun for kids in the heat....

Would you believe just in the last week summer has started to finally amp up the heat here, and our air conditioner looks like it has died, the compressor looks like its shot itself. Sad thing is we aren't in the market to buy a new air condition at the moment, although we knew it would need replacing at some point soon we were hoping we could get one coming into next summer.

Anyways the decision has been made and we will ride the heat out, but in lieu of an air conditioner, it's going to be cool and wet fun ideas here for my kiddies. This morning we went out on the other side of the house were I have a small concrete area out from the laundry and as the pictures show I just added water. Cool, happy, shaded, wet, playful kids learning, splashing, playing, loving, laughing.......

Bubbles, bubble machine, cups, watering cans, rock washing, spray bottles.....all fun.

That was a good hours worth of fun and when they got grubby it was a quick wash in the laundry sink.

If your copping the heat what are you doing with your little ones to keep cool and happy?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Memory Games...

At two and a half Cohen is amazing us with his memory, recalling events and specific details from months ago even right up until about a year ago. So with that being said and Cohen's love for little games I have recently introduced him to a memory game I remember when I was a little girl in preschool and one of which I used in my Early Childhood Educator days as well.

It's been as easy as grabbing familiar items, we've been playing with up to five or six items.

Before we start to play, I go over the name of each item (sometimes colour as well).
Cover the items with a dark cloth or one that can't be seen through.

Then Cohen and I take turns to close our eyes whilst the other removes an item or two, and hides it behind their back.
Then it's a guessing game to what is missing.

Little games like this, especially with younger children of Cohen's age should have the child as a willing participant to the game. There is no point in forcing interest in such an activity unless the desire is already there. Memory games help build a child's concentration and attention span, not to mention countless other skills as well as social skills of turning taking and following instruction when playing simple games like this.

To simplify this game for your child you could group a few items together of two different colours your child knows the colour of and remove an item for your child to guess what colour is missing. But as it is with anything with your child, I'm sure you will have an idea of your child's limits and understanding of concepts, so with that being said experiment with the amount of items you begin playing with as well as colours, categories, textures. It really is a game with endless possibilities to tailor to your individual child's stage of understanding and development .

Sunday, January 8, 2012

What are you reading.....

You may have noticed I've added what I am reading to my side bar? When I am in the groove of reading regularly, I tend to have a habit of having several books, mags and periodicals on the go. Often I have reading material throughout the house in different locations, ready and waiting for where ever my backside may land for some moments of leisure.

I'm trying to get through his book Buddhism for Mothers of Young Children - Becoming a Mindful Parent. It was given to me as a gift and it has only been recently I have had time and opportunity to get back to reading.

What are others reading at the moment? Have you read this book? Have you heard the buzz about it ? Since I received this book I've heard so many others talking about it in my circles. Are others interested in reading along with me, and finding a calmer more peaceful way through and with our parenting? Are others interested in talking about the book and linking up for a discussion? If you're interested please leave a comment and depending on interest I will arrange a Linky for us all.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Going through the archives.....

With all the changes I want to start facilitating here, this morning perched up in bed I started reading back through my posts right from the start to now. Oh my goodness how much has happened, how much I have learnt and how much I have to learn about this whole blogging thing. I have a lot of work ahead of me breaking down content to be more readable and accessible. So much of my grief journey and re lactation reads like epic diary entries without pictures. If there is one thing I've learnt from reading blogs and writing my two blogs, is that your readers don't want to be faced with mass blocks of text without any break. However in saying that I am also very grateful to all my readers to date who have walked all these emotional journeys with me reading my posts without pictorial relief.....oh how I have thrown epic posts at you, oh so many of them.

See above that's epic isn't it? There are so many of these. My goodness, it surprises me now people read them.

Yesterday I was also looking at my blog stats and it was surprising to see the blog posts that are most frequently viewed. Viewing the stats for the most read posts has been reassuring to me about the changes in direction with the blog and what I want to do to help others.

Above anything else though, it's amazing how much we have done and been through on our journey as parents so far. Reading back over posts this morning I've been taken back to moments, good, bad and otherwise in the last few years.

I'm curious though how others have gone about the changes in their own blogs? Did you start out with a direct purpose ie. craft blog to teach and inspire others or were you like me a rambler of life ponderings and life's ups and downs? How have your blogs changed?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Start the morning with Bircher....

I shared with you all recently that we are embarking on lifestyle changes, permanent, sustaining ones in 2012, and everything from meals to routines and everything else in between is being examined. So the start to our days is being looked at, my breakfasts with kids have always been healthy with fruit, toast and Wheatbix generally on offer. But with all our efforts in place and going full steam at the moment I am upping the ante on everything. Yesterday I gave scrambled eggs another go in a hope that Cohen may have found a fondness for them since the last offering........no such luck.

But one thing I know he does love is porridge and one breakfast I absolutely adore is Bircher muesli. So with that in mind I thought I would offer up my little combo and see if he enjoyed it and to also give myself a more sustained start to the day, rather than the toast and coffee habit I have fallen into since Sarah's birth.

Trudie's Bircher Muesli

(I am never an exact cook with measurements......I like to say that's how the magic happens, so bare with me and my use of measurements).

In a large bowl or airtight container place:
* two good, large handfuls of rolled oats
* a small handful of shredded coconut
* a grated apple.....red or green whatever you have on hand
* a good sprinkling of cinnamon.....probably about a teaspoon and half or to your tastes

Mix all together then cover mixture with milk or fruit juice ie. apple juice. I use milk as apple juice is too loaded with sugar most times. The milk or juice should just cover the mixture, give it another stir around and then cover with cling wrap or airtight lid and put in refrigerator over night.

In the morning serve out into bowls with a sprinkle of sultanas, nuts (I used crushed walnuts because that's what I had on hand, but almonds and seeds like sunflower seeds work well too), also add a dollop of natural yogurt, sliced banana and a drizzle of honey.

I guarantee you that it will be the yummiest of starts you will of had to your morning in ages. These rough measurements will give you about 3 small serves. Give it a go and if you have any troubles with measurements and your results let me know, otherwise play around with it and the nut and fresh fruit combos to your tastes.


Oh and Cohen's verdict was yum and he cleaned his bowl out and asked for more. Oh and obviously for little ones omit any ingredients of concern like nuts when serving.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pay it Forward.....

This morning before my two poppets were awake I was sitting in bed catching up on my blog reading and so forth. Reading up on the happenings of the gorgeous Love Elycia, and her post reminded me that I was part of a Pay It Foward challenge amongst my friends on Facebook last year. The challenge was to make something handmade for the first 5 people who commented on my status at that point. Then I had 12 months in that time to make and send a little handmade love off to them.

So guess what? I'm going to do this again both here and over at My Vintage Vow, so that will mean 10 people in total will get a little handmade love from me some point within the next twelve months.

All you have to do is be a follower and be one of the first 5 people to leave comment and a way of contacting you and I will get lurking about your blogs to suss out a little something special for you.

Please also leave a comment if you're not one of the 5 but you have been inspired to pay it forward too.

Oh and if there are already 5 comments here and you'd still love a chance t a little handmade love from me pop on over to My Vintage Vow and see if there is still a chance for you there.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Teeny photoshoot sneak peak....

Just before the new year we had our photoshoot day, to try and catch some pics for the blog redesign and overhaul. Between Kerri-Anne of KMCT Photography and I are working in photo editing at the moment. It's still too early in the game to know which images I'm going to settle on and I can't go showing you them all......at least not yet anyway. But I wanted to share this pic that was snapped of Cohen and I.

I've been playing around with different filters and so forth on my iPad with the Pixlromatic app.

Not only was the photoshoot fun it also was a great afternoon out of family fun again. I'm so excited about all the possibilities in all the elements of my life this year , including this here blog. Please remember I have a call out for contributors and people to guest post, so pop on over to the post I've linked and have a read. Even if it's not something up your alley, be sure to let your other blog buddies know who might be interested......I really want to share the blog love around with all these upcoming changes.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Moments like these....

Well DH is back to work tomorrow, so this morning we packed up the kids early and headed out for a fun morning for daddy's last day off with us.

We found Cohen's response to getting into the water strange. He loves his swimming lessons on a Saturday morning at a near by pool and he is very proficient. However today in the saltwater and very gentle tiny waves he was uncertain and seemed to have forgotten all that he has learnt and kept clammering to hold onto daddy even though they were in water deep enough for him to stand up. Has anyone else had this reaction with children, because of the change in location of swimming ie. pool vs beach, lagoon etc.

But despite Cohen's apprehensions we still had a wonderful morning as you can see.

I love solider crabs they remind me of fun times as a kid running across big sandy flats and hearing thousands of scamppering claws.

Sarah was done at this point, but who wouldn't be after trying to eat sand, I ask you. Finally there is daddy, it's been nice having him home and we've only hit our stride with him being around morning, noon and night the last few days. Here's to hoping that 2012 brings more fun, and health to us.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy new year for TwentyTwelve.....

It has been an utterly splendid start to the new year here, everything has made my day. It is going to be an awesome year, I just know it. The trees across the road from our house have been playing hosts to huge black cockatoos on and off all day. They rarely visit but when conditions are right we see them and I always get so excited, something about them just fills me with such joy and positivity. If I'm honest when they do visit, I tell myself they are doing it just for me because I delight in them so much. I took their arrival today as a sign, that it's going to be a tremendous year.

I didn't get any of my own pics (image source) this time, because I was so in the moment about hearing their sqwarking that I grabbed Cohen's hand and we went running outside to see them. We then sat quietly on the footpath across the road from our house when we saw they were in lower branches just mere meters away from us. It was honestly the most magical part of my day to have Cohen and I share that moment, he was so entranced and quiet sitting on my lap. As we watched the cockatoo peel bark of the branches, Cohen whispered quietly to the bird do you want to see my smiley face (stamp for top behaviour today).....awww he is cute. I tell you what that kid puts a smiley face in my heart.

How has the new year greeted you? What has delighted you in the dawn of a new year? What ever it is or however you've spent your day, I hope it was magic.

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