The Most Surprising Moments

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Most surprising are those moments in mothering,
When you’ve done nothing but shout all day
and you’ve wished yourself far away,
To somewhere quiet, somewhere clean,
Somewhere where white linen is more than a silly idea.

When being a mother is swallowing you like a prescription pill,
and you’re breathless with quiet rage.
Frozen in the face of anxiety and expectation,
And guilt and judgement
And paperwork.

When the tedium of washing and cleaning
and questions and cooking and washing and feeding
and fighting,
is equal to the weight you now carry on your stay at home mum belly…
And everybody is asking you “what’s for dinner?”

There will be a sparkling little moment,
A tiny shiny jewel,
Worth far more than the ring that brought you here.
Perhaps more precious and bewildering
than even conception itself.

Your little boy with his enormous heart,
And eyes like your own,
will for no reason other
than the fact that you are his mother,
Say to his brother, “let’s go and pick mum some flowers!”

And his brother will say “yes, good idea!
But not too many.
Because flowers are nature
and without nature,
we can’t breathe.”

In those most surprising moments,
I’m so thankful I am here.
And I smile at my babies
Who noticed the pretty daisies
Long before their mother.

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Snow Day!

I realise for many of you, snow is nothing new. But for us here in central Victoria, Australia, it’s a real rarity.
Don’t get me wrong, it gets cold, really cold. Frost covered lawns, hail, rain and crazy winds. Even snow occasionally, but rarely does it fall so heavily and settle on the ground so thick.
Today was just magical for us. Our boys now 5 and almost 3, have never seen snow and I haven’t had many opportunities in my life either to have a snowball fight or build a snowman. Limbs and leaves clothed in sparkling white, it was truly a sight to behold.

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We live in a country-ish town at the foot of Mount Macedon and this afternoon we bundled the kids into the car in their warmest woollies and headed up the mountain. Snow began hitting the windscreen as we drove higher and was met with squeals of delight… By all of us!
Honestly, it was like driving into Narnia.

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A place where magic happens and memories are made.

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The kids were beside themselves when we jumped out of the car, running off to make tracks in the snow, noticing how it crunched beneath their boots.

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Television has obviously taught them about snow ball fights as they wasted no time getting stuck into that.

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And before long, C and I joined in too.

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J5 got busy rolling snowballs…

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While R2 went exploring…

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And of course, snowmen were constructed by cold, wet little hands.

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Big and small…

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It was the most fun we’ve had as a family in as long as I can remember.

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Sometimes as adults we forget how to just play

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Home for hot showers, hot cuppas and hot, salty fish n’ chips.
Perfection 🙂

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Toy Storage

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I was just having a read of Barbara’s blog over at the new good life and she was talking about de-cluttering and the never ending battle against kids toys taking over our living areas.
Thought I’d post a few pics of some of my storage solutions.
That unit pictured with the shelving and wire drawers is brilliant for toys. I originally purchased it for the laundry but found the drawers weren’t big enough to be very practical for sorting our mountains of washing. For toys however, it’s ideal. It tucks away neatly in a corner. I can categorise types of toys in each drawer eg: cars in one, musical instruments in another, action figures in a third, puzzles in the fourth. And because the baskets are wire and the shelves open, the kids can easily see what they’re looking for without tearing 5 million toys apart as they do when they are all in a toy box.
Lego is a whole new world for us since my son’s 5th birthday a few weeks ago so at the moment we are working from an upturned kids’ play table. It keeps it contained and I can easily move it from the floor to the dining room table depending on where the kids are playing but long term I’m working on a better solution. Stay tuned!
And of course, every little boy needs a weapons chest yes?? Sigh… I quickly came to the realisation that boys will turn anything they can get their hands on into a gun or a sword so I’d rather it be something made of plastic than – my curtain rods for example. Or my now ruined rolls of wrapping paper. Or their father’s guitar, an attachment for the pram, a hobby horse, a broom… You get the idea.

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The formula tins pictured contain sorted small toys like army men, smurfs, animals, marbles and other bits and pieces. The empty baby wipes box holds about 50,000 matchbox cars. The shelf of books is the spillover from another matching bookcase full of children’s books.
I’d like to say this is where their toys begin and end but there is still a big plastic bucket tucked under the coffee table and 3 tubs of craft supplies in a cupboard. Plus other things like board games hiding away in any nook and cranny I can find!
How do you store your kids toys? Are you winning the war?
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Morning Madness Made Over – Create an ACTION STATION!

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Tonight, the winter holidays and our family break comes to an end and we will be back to a frosty reality tomorrow morning. Hubby has had three weeks off work and being cold and wintery, we haven’t done a lot, but rather simply enjoyed spending time at home together. We celebrated our little one’s 5th birthday and caught up with my sisters’ family, down from Sydney for the school holidays and spent a weekend with C’s family. Other than that though, we’ve just relaxed and enjoyed slowing down a bit. The kids stuck to their father like glue which was in some ways a bit sad for me. My babies are now little boys learning how to be men and not very interested in hanging out with mum when dad’s around. (Especially as he was a bit of a novelty I suppose.) On the other hand, it was so lovely to get a break, sleeping in and spending some time on my own for a change.
Tomorrow morning however, the madness of getting the kids fed, dressed and out the door for an 8.30am kinder start, begins again.
In fact, term three starts for most kids tomorrow so I thought I would share my secret weapon: our “Action Station.” (Pictured above)
Each family member has a box on the top row for their bag, hat, and scarf and below it, a box for their shoes. My DIY key hooks mean never doing the mad key hunt and the silver bowl holds bits and pieces like phones, wallets and sunglasses. Having everything in one central spot is an easy way for me to pack everyones’ bags and lunches and the kids know exactly wear to find their boots and hats etc… To get themselves organized quickly.
The storage cubes were just cheap from Aldi, the frames for the keys were from target, and the hooks and wooden letters were from Bunnings.
I also lay the kids clothes out on the couch, make lunches the night before and put breakfast stuff out on the bench so everything is ready to go without requiring too much thinking.
And that’s how I make our mornings manageable, how about you? Would love to hear your tips and tricks!

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Spider-Man Cake And A House Full Of Five Year Olds

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My great big five year old celebrated his birthday last weekend and requested a spider man cake. I wasn’t sure if I could pull off a convincing additive- free version but the Hoppers natural food colours that I bought from Healthy Angels were really vibrant and looked great. I added a little yellow to the red to brighten it and used an entire bottle of blue! Piping the dark chocolate for the spider web was tricky for a decorating novice as it set quickly making it quite unforgiving but I was pleased with the overall outcome. I used this simple chocolate cake recipe and bought the Spider-Man chocolate moulds off eBay. J5 loved it and it seemed to impress the 18 little boys and 2 little girls that filled our house wall to wall! They were so well behaved though – simple foods make a huge difference – sausages, plain chips, fairy bread with real butter and natural sprinkles, yummy earth natural lollipops, honey joys etc…
There was no shortage of sugar but a noticeable absence of artificial foods, rashes and emotional melt downs!
The kids engaged in some fun party activities – decorating their own superhero masks, (I bought plain cardboard ones from a local cheap shop) playing “pin the Spider-Man on the web,” and of course, pass the parcel. The weather was cold, windy, rainy – everything you wouldn’t wish for, but kids being kids they still happily rugged up and played outside on the trampoline and in the cubby.
In all, it was an exhausting but really wonderful day making memories.

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Do cookies make everything better?

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Lately, J4 has been driving me insane. It is typical I know, of 4 year old little boys to be full of energy, testing every limit and boundary, scaling walls, climbing fences and exploring every inch of their ever expanding world.
However, often it is my boundaries being tested, and I have just about reached my limit.
J4 is extremely bright, highly curious and generally very social. He has never been the sort of child to play with toys, instead he would rather find a tool to open the battery compartment of a toy and lose a part or break it so that it never works again.
Sometimes it would appear he is unable to focus on one task, jumping instead from one thing to the next. However, he is simply focused on an unlikely aspect of the activity. In fact, often this focus is so intense it becomes obsessive.
Take DVDs and CDs for example. From aged 1, he became obsessed with “BBD’s” as he called them, though not in the way another child might.
He very rarely sat to watch a DVD for longer than a minute or so. He simply liked to hold them, take them in and out of their covers, slide them in and out of the machine, carry them around, show them to people and sleep with them.
He still does this at aged four though.
He is also obsessed with his father and anything that belongs to his father. He knows how to operate the Play Station better than I do and talks with authority about hard drives and HDMI cords. When the digital signal was interrupted whilst I was watching a tv show, he was the one who jiggled a few cords around and fixed the problem. He loves feeling useful and is often absolutely delightful to have around.
That said, sometimes he is also just flat out, deliberately naughty. He wrecks things, a lot. Locks, heights and cross words have never kept him out of trouble. Where there’s a will there’s a way, so they say. Well there is most definitely a strong will.
If I send him to his room for time out, he destroys something. For example, he will tear a book apart or scribble all over his walls and furniture. Actually, the drawing on walls and furniture seems to occur whenever the idea takes his fancy. If I send him outside to jump on the trampoline and burn off a bit of energy, instead he climbs to the highest shelf to get C’s tools down or my garden fertiliser or anything else on a top shelf, clearly out of children’s reach for a reason.
He stacks the outdoor furniture, piece upon piece, to reach and open the locked gate to escape. In fact, that sort of thing started when he was 16 months old, when he would stack his toys and bedding into the corner of his cot so that he could climb out.
He has always tested my patience, and lately that patience is wearing thin. I’ve been getting so caught up in yelling, and disciplining, counting to three and basically losing my shit, that my focus became all about his bad behaviour and I was increasingly blind to all the lovely good things he does. Like the way he helps his little brother navigate his world and his beautiful manners when speaking to me, the postman or a stranger. His love of books and passion for art and music is inspiring in one so young.
So anyway, I was determined that this week would be better than last and set about trying to shift my focus, concentrating instead on the positive. To build him up rather than tear him down, to spend more time with him, particularly one on one, to praise good behaviour and try to engage with him in things that interest him. To take deep breaths…
For the most part, it has worked. I feel more calm and he seems happier. He is thrilled to bits when his good behaviour is acknowledged and often rewarded. Sometimes I can see him literally catch himself mid sentence and rethink what he was going to say or how he was going to say it and instead say something quite sweet instead of rude.
The weather here has been particularly grey and uninspiring all week so to keep him out of mischief, today I thought he might like to help me bake some cookies.
When he was three, we discovered that he is incredibly sensitive to additives in food and for this among other reasons, have sought to eat only real, whole foods ever since.
Which is why I could not have been more excited to discover this absolutely brilliant recipe for homemade tiny teddy biscuits by Bianca (the wholefood genious!) from Whole food Simply. This easy recipe as well as many of her others, have made transitioning away from packaged foods to real food, not only easier, but thoroughly enjoyable. I’m sure there are mothers every where like myself who thank the world for women like Bianca!
We loved making these, they were so simple, came together beautifully and even little R2 cut a few teddies. We added cacao to ours and some Hoppers all natural hundreds and thousands which I bought from another inspiring mum called Colette from Cut Out The Crap.

We also loved eating them 🙂

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Anyway, to answer the question, no, healthy or not, cookies probably don’t make everything better, but they are definitely a good start.

Enjoy 🙂

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COCOA POPS (WITHOUT THE CRAP)

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My little four year old has recently discovered commercial television in the mornings, and has abandoned the family friendly, quality viewing on ABC 4 KIDS, in favour of cartoons like “The Power rangers” and other typical, action packed boy shows. This in itself, is fine. What I’m really not enjoying though, is his exposure to the brainwashing of relentless advertisements.
Every morning, it’s “can you buy this mum? Can we get that? Can I have those?”
Argh!!! It’s bad enough when the “Toy Sale” catalogues arrive. He takes them to bed at night, pouring over every page and adding junk item after junk item to his wish list.
Now, I’m guilty of perusing the junk mail myself and making mental wish lists, but as an adult, I understand that in life, we can’t have everything we desire. (Thank goodness! Every cupboard in my house is bursting at the hinges as it is!)
But it’s harder for kids to accept that.
Especially when a magical fat man comes once a year and fills their sacks with desired goodies.
As a parent, it’s not always fun saying no, no, no. No we can’t go there, no you can’t have that, no you can’t eat that because its full of crap that will give you rashy cheeks and turn you into a lunatic…
So when he came to me this morning saying “Look mum! Cocoa pops! Just like a chocolate milkshake! Only crunchy! Can you buy them? Pleeeeease!!! I want those for breakfast!”
Today, instead of saying no, I said “yep, we can have cocoa pops, I’ll make you some.”

Cocoa Pops (without the crap)

Organic puffed rice – nothing added (I use the “Abundant earth” brand from the health food aisle in Coles supermarket )

Chocolate Milk

In a blender, combine:

1 litre (4 cups) almond milk (or milk of your choice)

1 Tbs cacao

1 Tbs maple or rice malt syrup

Pour desired amount over a bowl of puffed rice and reminisce your childhood.

Or at least feel like a good parent for reaching a happy healthy compromise 🙂

Note: While ridiculously better for your kids than store-bought cocoa pops, I still don’t think it’s an ideal choice for breakfast every day. It is free from refined sugars, artificial colours, flavours and preservatives which is awesome, but its still not very nutrient dense. Adding some protein like a sprinkle of chia seeds would be beneficial and topping with some sliced banana and or blueberries would be great for some extra fibre, vitamins and antioxidants!

The chocolate milk will keep in a jar for a couple of days or you could gently heat it on the stove and have hot chocolates for afternoon tea. Yum!

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Enjoy 🙂

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