The end is nigh

Monday, October 31, 2011

So here we are the last day of October and the last day of Blogtober. What a fun ride it's been. I've enjoyed it but it was a challenge too. There were days I really struggled to think of things to write but all in all it was a good challenge. I only missed one day (well technically 2 but the first one was the 1st October and I didn't start Blogtober till the 2nd so technicality really).
Blogtober has been the kick in the pants I have needed to start blogging again. So whilst it's the end of Blogtober I am hoping to keep writing regularly here. Most likely not everyday (in fact definitely not everyday ha ha ha ha) but maybe 1-2 times a week.

So thank you to everyone that read my posts. To those that commented both here and on Facebook. Hopefully you'll continue to follow along in the coming weeks and months.

Till next time!

A different kind of Christmas present

Sunday, October 30, 2011

So as we all know Christmas isn't that far away. The decorations have been out in the shops for weeks and a lot of people have even started shopping for presents. I am one of those people. I love giving people presents. I love seeing the look on their faces as they unwrap that present I have chosen for them.
Since Joel was born, we've had a little tradition with a couple of other families in our church who have boys the same age as Joel. In the couple of weeks before Christmas we get together for dinner and the boys (and now the siblings) exchange gifts. They aren't huge gifts - $10-$15 spent on each kid. This year, Marina and I had really struggled with the idea of all the 'stuff' our kids already have and all the 'stuff' they would be getting at Christmas already. It seemed so unnecessary, especially when there are those around the world, and even in our own neighbourhoods, that have so little, if anything at all. They are concerned about where there next meal is coming from, whether their young child will survive the night from malnutrition, or how they are going to provide for their families long term. So we have decided that instead of the boys getting presents from each other, we will put the money towards a gift from the JustSalvos site. JustSalvos is the social justice department of The Salvation Army in Southern Australia. It's a great site with lots of info. They have a section called JustGifts. You can choose all sorts of 'gifts' from the site - things like building materials, toilets, school supplies, healthcare and animals. We are going to buy a goat. That goat goes to a needy family somewhere in a third world country - the goat will provide them with milk and meat (eventually!) and also they are easy to breed so that can be a source of income for the family.
We'll get a little card for each of the boys that explains what we have done and we'll talk about it with them too. I think it's really important for them to know that Christmas isn't just about getting getting getting. But it's about giving as well. I want my boys to have a heart for others especially those who are less fortunate than us. I want them to find the joy in giving to others. 
So please, consider giving up one of the kids Christmas presents this year and buying a goat, chicken, pig, toilet, etc... Let's teach the next generation that it's not all about me me me. It's not all about stuff that we have, more stuff, more money, more more more. It's about doing, giving, being aware of the world around us and those in it that are suffering. To us $20, $30 is nothing but to so many around the world it could be the turning point. The break they need to get out of the poverty cycle.

Please consider it.

Till next time

I love Ellen

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I really love Ellen. In the "man I love her show she is so funny" kind if way. When I get a chance to watch her show it really brightens my day and gives me a laugh. The last couple of weeks there have been some really funny segments and I wanted to share some links to the YouTube clips of them then. Grab a cuppa, sit back and have a laugh.

Before you watch the Sophia and Rosie ones further down, watch their original YouTube performance here -Sophia is amazing (full on, but amazing!!)

Sophia Vegara Prank (I love her too - this one was from last year but I found it when I was on YouTube the other night).

Ahh I love YouTube. It has got me through many late night/early morning feeds. So fun. So many more links I could have posted. 

Till next time

Learning letters

Friday, October 28, 2011

Joel's been practicing writing his name this week. He's getting really good at it too. He's got the J, O & L down pat but the e is proving a bit trickier. I've been dotting out the e and he traces it. But we'll persist, keep trying and practicing and eventually get it. So proud of him for trying so hard. He's doing so well. And he's a leftie! Cool huh. First one in this family.

Till next time

A full day, a full heart

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Today has been a beautiful day in Melbourne. Perfect day to be spending time outside. hanging out together, playing and enjoying each other's company. We've done so many fun things - played cars, made a cubby, spent time hanging out under the trees. It's been lovely. 
It's been such a good day and I have such a full, happy heart tonight. So grateful for my life and all that I have, especially my gorgeous healthy boys. Grateful that I have the opportunity to stay home with them in these first few years of their live. I love watching them grow up and discover the world around them. What a blessing.

Till next time.

Christmas Crafts for Kids

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I know Christmas is still a little while away (well not that far away really - 8 weeks or so - scary huh!!) but I've been looking at lots of different kids Christmas craft ideas on Pinterest. Pinterest is a fantastic online pinboard where you can save all sorts of inspiring and fun ideas. I have been having all sorts of fun finding craft ideas that I want to do with Joel leading up to Christmas. Thought I might share a few here as well

Source: via Megan on Pinterest

Looking forward to starting some of these soon.

You can find me on Pinterest here
Till next time

Finally some scrapping

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

So I finally got around to doing some scrapping. And I even did 2 pages. Man it was good. I really need to find the time to do more of it. It relaxes me and I really enjoy doing it. Bit of me time!! 
I think I almost forgot how to scrap. I wouldn't say they are my best pages but I am hoping they will get me back into the swing of things. Hope I have many more pages to share with you over the coming weeks.
First page is of my big boy and his cousin Sadie. They live in different states but have a great time when we get to catch up. Second one is pretty self explanatory. Joel and Noah meeting for the first time.
That'll do for today!!
Till next time

Food Inspiration

Monday, October 24, 2011

The last couple of months, with me being off my foot, I haven't been cooking much. Andrew has been the cook in the family (something he does quite well and enjoys) but he doesn't really like to cook too much new stuff, especially when he was looking after all of us as well. Totally fair. So our meals have been yummy but same old same old. Even before I broke my foot, I was stuck in a bit of a cooking/food rut. Churning out the same 10-12 things every fortnight or so. There is nothing wrong with that. It fed us and it was easy and the food was good. But I like to try new things. So now I am back on my feet and wanting to get back into cooking meals again. We've been having lots of "freezer meals" - things we've batch cooked and then frozen serves. 
So I need some inspiration and I need to start menu planning again. I find it easier to cook new things if I know ahead of time what I am going to do. I tend to fall back on the old faves if I haven't menu planned.
So I am wanting to try a couple of new things a week, and still have the old faves - spaghetti bolognaise, pies and veggies, steak and veggies, etc..

Any suggestions on recipes/meals I could make?

Here's my menu plan for the next 7 days. We'll see how we go with it.  
Tuesday - Slow Cooker Butter Chicken (from here) Trying this for the first time
Wednesday - Corn and Sweet Potato Fritters with salad
Thursday - Still deciding
Friday - Falafels (from a mini cookbook I got with the Herald Sun) Trying these for the first time
Saturday - Homemade Pizza (using a Pete Evans base recipe - found on my friend Tam's blog)
Sunday - Breakfast for dinner (Bacon, eggs, tomato, mushies, spinich - recently discovered Joel loves it!)
Monday - Roast Beef and vegetables

Till next time

For the love of kids books

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Whoops. Yes yes I missed a day. It was bound to happen. Life got in the way and that's ok. I am back now. Blogging again. It was only one day. No problems.
So I am a big fan of books. I love to read and love reading to the boys as well. Joel loves books as well and I am so glad that my love of books has been passed on to him. I love the classics - The Very Hungry Caterpillar, We're going on a Bear Hunt, Possum Magic. I could go on and on. So many wonderful stories to read and share with the boys. 
I love buying books as much as I love reading them. Which was becoming an expensive problem until a year or so ago I heard about The Book Depository. The books are really reasonably priced but the best part is free shipping worldwide. Awesome, hey.
Now I really want to buy some more kids story books and would love some suggestions of what to get. What were your favourites as a child? What are your kids favourite storybooks?
Would love to hear from you
Cause you can never have enough books hey.

Till next time

In memory of Hazel

Friday, October 21, 2011

Today I attended the funeral of a very special lady. Her name was Hazel. I used to clean her house and for most of this year, every Friday, Noah and I helped her with her shopping. She loved going shopping with us. She'd treat Noah as if he were her own grandson, proudly talking about him to the people we met whilst shopping - the butcher, the girls at Bakers Delight, the checkout girl at Woolies. Telling them all how good he'd been shopping, how old he was etc.. It was very sweet.
She was such a strong independent woman with a generous spirit and love for people. She was funny, opinionated, caring. She loved the finer things in life - good food, good people, good wine. In her 65 years she had faced so many trials - 2 bouts of cancer, the death of her husband, a diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease and then a daughter who got breast cancer at 27. But none of these things was able to break her. She continued to live and fight and enjoy life. She had many passions - quilting, sewing, card making, photography, cooking, gardening. 
She was an amazing lady and had a great impact on my life over the last couple of years and I will miss her. I will miss our weekly shopping trips to Eastland. Our coffee and cake date at the end of the shopping. I will miss her funny stories, her honesty and her views on life.
Death/funerals always make me value life that little bit more and make me hope that I will have an impact of those around me. That I will be someone that others will learn from. That in me, people will see a woman of love, strength, generosity, trust and determination.
Hazel was one such lady.
I am so grateful to have known her. To have called her a friend.

Peanut Butter and Choc Chip Cookies

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Found the recipe for these amazing cookies, on Smitten Kitchen, and wanted to share the peanut butter chocolatey love with you

1 1/4 cups plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temp (either smooth or crunchy. I used smooth!)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. 
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and the salt. Set aside
In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy.
Add the sugars and beat until smooth
Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter and chocolate chips.
Roll teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place on a baking paper lined tray, leaving space for expansion
Using a fork, lightly indent the top of each roll with a criss-cross pattern but don't overly flatten
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear underdone, but they are not.
Cool cookies on tray for a minute then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Seriously these are so so moreish. We made them today and i've eaten more than I would like to say. They are delicious! We are making up for the fact we haven't had peanut butter around for awhile.

Till next time

Kiddie Kutters

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thanks to some friends, I've recently discovered Kiddie Food Kutters. These awesome little knives have made getting food ready at our house, a fun activity. They are able to cut through all sorts of food because you use a sawing action to cut rather than relying on the sharpness of a knife. This means it's perfect for little people as it doesn't cut their little precious fingers.
We've only had the knife for two day but Joel is loving helping me by cutting food up. Tonight we had steak and salad and Joel cut all the mushrooms, cucumber and capsicum up. Now the cutting is fairly uneven and messy but who cares hey. Joel is helping and feels useful, and he's learning the basics of cooking and food prep. All winning points in my book. He was so excited to use the knife tonight that he started asking me when we could start getting tea ready at about 3:30! Then continued to ask every 10 minutes from then on. Cutie.
So there you go. A clever little find. Just wanted to share it with you guys. I got mine from this site. Only $9.95 including postage. 

Was going to share some scrapbooking LOs today but I forgot to take photos so that can be tomorrow's post. 

Till next time

Grandpa Potato Head

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Joel loves to play with his Mr Potato Head. He loves coming up with new faces and combos. On a visit to our local kids secondhand shop over the weekend, we found a box of Mr Potato Head accessories. All sorts of things - pirate parts, hats, shoes, bags, funny noses. He's enjoyed making all sorts of funny faces that last few days. This morning he showed me his latest creation - Grandpa Potato Head. Now Grandpa (my dad) doesn't have a big nose like this one but the facial hair is very much my dad (or at least if was until he shaved his mo off a couple of days ago - only the second time his been missing the mo in the last 30 odd years). I thought it was very cute that Joel had done a Potato Head portrait of Grandpa. Love how the mo is above the nose! Cute.
Love watching him play with stuff like this - creating, imagining, discovering. It's awesome.

I'll be back tomorrow with a couple of scrapbooking LOs. You heard right. I scrapped!!

Till next time

Over halfway and Little Melbourne

Monday, October 17, 2011

Well it's over halfway through October and I have managed to blog every day! Yay. So far so good. It's been hard some days coming up with ideas for posts, and then finding the time to write them, but I've enjoyed it. Hope i can see the next half of the month through. 
Wanted to share another website find before I go today. It's called Little Melbourne. It's a guide to all the stuff happening around Melbourne for babies, toddlers and kids. What a great resource hey, Between that and Little Eats, you'll have plenty to do to entertain the kids. I am hoping to try out another cafe next week sometime so I'll let you know how it goes. 

Till next time

Words that define the way I want to parent

Sunday, October 16, 2011

 So last week I came to a decision that I wanted to write a mummy mission statement for myself (you'll find the post here). This came about from some reading I did on another blog - Everything is Edible written by Loiusa  I wanted this mission statement to be something that would help me be a better mum and remind me of what I want to be about as a mum. First step was to come up with some words that define the way I want to parent. Some of the stuff I have borrowed from Louisa and others who are taking on this challenge. A lot of their words and descriptions resonated with me.
I want Joel and Noah to know Jesus. I want to show them and teach them what a life of faith looks like.
I want Joel and Noah to know and feel they are loved by me 100% of the time, by me, even when I am cross with them or grumpy. I never want them to doubt that. I also want them to learn how to love others.
I want them to feel safe in our home and I want them to feel safe in sharing things with me and talking to me.
I want Joel and Noah to see me as a generous person. Not just financially - although I am sure that will come soon enough - but generous with my time, my praise for them and generous with myself. That I am available to them. Hopefully they will learn to be generous people too.
I want to be the sort of mum who Joel and Noah know will listen to them and respect them. I want them to know that what they say and think matters to me.
I want to be the sort of mum (and person for that matter) who is able to admit when I am wrong and show examples of humility and forgiveness. I also want to show Joel and Noah that it's ok to make mistakes and to handle failures and hard times with grace and a screwed on head.
I want Joel and Noah to see me as a fun person. Happy, laughing and confident. Able to be silly and funny. To get messy and join in their fun. To play with them and enjoy them.

There were so many words and things that came up but to make this doable, I needed to try and scale down a bit so these are my thoughts for now. A mission statement is only useful when it is practical so my challenge for this week is the following - need to choose 3-5 of the above words to practice and define. How do I do these things? What do they look like in action?
Hopefully that will help me get a better picture of what my mission statement will look like.

Till next time

Parenting. Illustrated with crappy pictures

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I was planning on sharing a bit more about my Mummy mission statement in today's post but I have a very tired Noah fast asleep on me and the notes i've jotted down are not with me. So I will have to post about it tomorrow. I thought i'd share with you a funny blog I came across a few weeks back. It is very funny and I have been known to actually laugh out loud whilst  reading it. It's called Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures. It's brilliant. I love the stories and I love her pictures.
Wanted to share a few links to some of my favourite posts there

I could go on and on. They are all so funny

Enjoy the laughs!!

Till next time

Fridays Five - Places I want to visit before I die

Friday, October 14, 2011

Today is Friday and that means Friday's Five. I love travelling. Don't do a whole lot of it but plan to in a few years time when the boys are a bit older. I want to share with you my top 5 places that I really really hope to visit before I die. My travel list is a whole lot longer than 5 places but that's a whole other blog post!!

I've wanted to go here ever since I saw photos of Mum, Dad and Beth here. It looks absolutely beautiful and amazing and magical. The hot air balloon ride is a must too.

Saw this on an episode of The Great Outdoors a few years back. It's got the most dense concentration of animals in Africa. It looks beautiful.

How fun does this look. Saw this on a travel show as well. What an awesome experience this would be, especially with kids.


I have wanted to go to Prague for so so long. It looks absolutely beautiful and everyone I know that has been there says the same thing. It looks like it's out of a fairytale. Gorgeous.

After all that sightseeing and walking around all the above amazing places, I am certainly going to need some rest and relaxation. Can't think of a more gorgeous place to do it that The Maldives. So spectactular. Bet the snorkelling is amazing. 

How awesome is this world God has created!!

Till next time

Feeling inspired

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I really love scrapbooking. I love cutting and sticking and embellishing and making memories and telling stories. I love paper and typography and ribbons and buttons and paint. But the last 8 months since Noah has been around, I've really only done about 4 pages - and only one of them has had a picture of Noah on it. Gosh by the time Joel was this age I'd almost finished an album on LOs of him. A lot of the reason is time. I haven't had a lot of free time and the time I have had to spare I've been too tired to do anything. I kept hoping and praying that Noah would soon sleep through so that I didn't feel the need to be in bed by 8:30 most nights. But that is yet to happen and I think I may be waiting for a full night's sleep for a long time yet. The tiredness and lack of free time has left me feeling rather un-inspired about scrapping. But no more. I want to do it again. I need to do it again. I have so many fun products and Studio Calico kits I need to use. FULL KITS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN TOUCHED!! I planned on scrapping on Tuesday all day (Joel was at childcare) but Noah had other ideas. Not wanting to be put down at all! So tomorrow - Friday - I am going to attempt to scrap again. I am praying Noah will nap, or at least be happy to lay on the floor or sit in his highchair.
So tomorrow I scrap. I thought I might set myself a challenge of 2 LOs (hoping more for 3 but hey I'm out of practice). And another part of the challenge is to use inspiration from some of the following LOs.
Maggie Holmes (for Studio Calico)
Jen Jockish (for Studio Calico)
Nicole Harper (for Studio Calico)
Hopefully i'll be able to share some LOs soon.
Till next time

A cafe date

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Had to take my sister to the airport this morning so we decided to make it a bit more interesting and have a coffee somewhere beforehand. With the 2 little boys in tow, it had to be somewhere kid-friendly, but not Maccas. We headed to Jellystone in East Brunswick. It was lovely. Very cool cafe and then a walk through to the covered courtyard where there was a lovely sandpit with Tonka trucks, shovels and other toys. Joel loved it. The food was delicious (I had the Lemon and Pistachio gluten free cake - YUM!) and really reasonably priced. So nice to go somewhere and be able to enjoy the food and the company without worrying about whether Joel is going to muck around. He was awesome. Playing nicely and then came back and sat at the table nicely for his milkshake and gingerbread man. And Beth and I got to chat and enjoy ourselves. Not a Happy Meal in sight either!! Win all around really.
Jellystone is in Albion St, East Brunswick. If you are interested in other places that are good for a meal or coffee with kids, check out Little Eats. (and if you are in Adelaide - CLARE - there is a similar site Little Lattes) Lots of reviews on Little Eats of all different cafes all over Melbourne and they things they have on offer for kids. Not a lot in the outer Eastern suburbs :(
Might have to open one up!!
Think as the weather gets better I might go and visit some others. Maybe make it a fortnightly thing.
Anyone else have any kid friendly cafes they know of?

Till next time

10 ways to Love

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Found this on Pinterest a little while ago and wanted to share it here, not just for others but to remind myself. Might actually print this out and put it somewhere that I can see it regularly. I want to love better! (Click the picture for a better view!)
Till next time

A new found love

Monday, October 10, 2011

 Joel has always been a very VERY active boy. Always on the go, never sitting still for more than 10 minutes (unless he's in front of the TV) and constantly asking us to play with him. Very much an only child for a extended period of time. Whilst I love playing with him (most of the time!!) I crave for times when he just goes and plays by himself, just so I can get some stuff done. And I think it's really important for him to be able to do this. So I was very excited when he discovered he actually really loves to draw and colour in. He hasn't really been into it much until last week and now he LOVES it. He'll sit at his table for a good 20 mins or so, without needing me there, and draw pictures (mostly people) and colour in colouring books. He then proudly shows off his work and ask for it to be displayed around the house somewhere.
It's lovely to see him interested in a quiet, sit still activity for a change. 
Just more proof that he is growing up as well. 

Till next time

Almost 8 months

Sunday, October 09, 2011

It's hard to believe that this little guy came into our lives almost 8 months ago. Crazy right? Time seems to be passing so much quicker the second time around and I am barely keeping up. He's not a tiny little baby anymore, all squishy and new. 
I want time to go slower. To keep you cosy and small for longer. Stop growing so fast my little baby. Stop rolling everywhere and eating everything and growing teeth. Stop trying to crawl. It's too soon. I haven't had you as a baby for long enough. I miss your floppy little neck and your scrunchy little eyes. 
But no time won't stand still. So I embrace all the new things you are doing. The clicking with your tongue, your two bottom teeth poking out of your gums, your belly laughs and your animated and joyful interactions with Joel. How exciting it is to see you discovering all the things around you. What a proud mummy I am to see you growing so well. Just not too fast buddy.
On another note, thanks for all your sweet and encouraging comments on my last post. I know I am a good mum but I know I can be better and this is what this challenge is about. Thanks for coming along for the ride with me.

Till next time

Grumpy Bum Mum

Saturday, October 08, 2011

The last 6 weeks, having a broken foot, and not being able to do a whole lot. has been frustrating to say the least. This frustration (which hasn't been helped by severe tiredness, due to a baby who doesn't sleep well) has been flowing over into my parenting and I hate it. I hate being a grumpy mummy. I hate feeling like crap cause I've yelled at Joel too much. I hate this feeling and I want it to stop. I don't want Joel to feel unhappy at home, to feel like I'm always yelling and frustrated and tired. I want to be his biggest cheerleader. The person he knows will always be there for him, no matter what. I want to be a fun, happy and loving mummy to both of the boys. When I have good days as a mummy I think WIN, but the bad days always leave me feeling like the worst mummy in the world. And that's just crazy.

On one of the blogs I follow - Everything is Edible - it's author, Louisa Claire, set herself a challenge to write a Motherhood Mission Statement. Here's what she said on her blog..
"I want a mission statement that gives me a picture of what I am trying to achieve as a mum - the values and practices that matter most to me, so that when I am tempted to feel like I am failing, I have something realistic and tangible to measure myself against. I want to see the real wins for what they are, and same for the times I feel like I'm not doing a good job.... A mission statement is something enduring - it's not bound to a stage of parenting or a season of life but incorporates your goals."
So I am going to join in the challenge. I want to get this right. 
Week 1 Challenge is... What are the words that come to mind when you think about the mum you want to be?
I'll post my thoughts in a few days. Need to really sit and think on what it is I want my mummyhood to look like.
Wanna join in?
Till next time