Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Shout Out

I've had an amazing couple of days and been lucky enough to spend time with some awesome bloggers in the process, so I thought I'd do a Sunday Shout Out and share the bloggy love.

Early in the week I spent some time with Louisa Claire from Everything is Edible and Brand Meets Blog. She is an incredibly inspiring woman and my little two loved playing with Bliss and Bear as well.

On Friday I was invited to the Bloggers Brunch hosted by Kids Business. For a wrap up of the event that was live blogged by the awesome pink haired Marita (who I love to pieces) check out Stuff with Thing.

The adventure began early as I had offered to pick up some interstaters from the airport. I was more than a little nervous as these three bloggers are so inspiring to me!

Firstly I met Naomi from Seven Cherubs who is every bit as gorgeous as you would imagine from her blog. By the way her Facebook Page has 950 likers and her goal is 1000 by the end of the year so pop over and show her some like!

Then the amazingly energetic Brenda from Mummytime and beautiful Tina from Tina Gray {dot} Me joined us and we were on our way. Sadly a babygirl was not a very happy camper for the duration of the drive, but I loved the chance to chat with these women who I admire so much.

While we were at the brunch I loved the chance to chat with Becky (Becky and James Do Reviews) who I've long loved on Twitter, and Kym who writes at Mumma's Mini Me's, who I felt an instant kinship with and was sad I didn't get to spend more time with.

I also had a moment to chat with Trish from My Little Drummer Boys. Trish was one of the first bloggers to really make me feel like part of the blogosphere and she was as beautiful in real life as she is online. I wish I'd had more time with her over the weekend, I have so much admiration for her.


Backseat full of Bloggers!
 When we were done I kidnapped Glowless (Where's My Glow) along with the other three. If you met her you'd kidnap her too. She is just beautiful and a total sweetheart. I may be a bit in love with her. Or a lot even.

Then to Saturday and Blogopolis!

Seriously I could write a bigzillion posts about the awesomeness of the bloggers I crossed paths with. And a list as long as your arm! So I'll keep it to those I actually got to talk to for more than 5 seconds.

Early on I met Mardi from Mummycino. Who is 40+ weeks pregnant. I kid you not. After about 36 weeks with my kids I had to drag myself out of the house and was a total misery guts. She on the other hand looked radiant, and I hope she isn't reading this because she is having her baby!

The blogger babies
 I spent most of my time up the back, and the babygirl enjoyed playing with Deb's baby boy (Wild Hope) along with the Picklebaby (Picklebums). Deb and I travelled to and from together, and I so enjoyed her company. Our babies share their birthday... in fact her baby was born at home in the morning, and our baby was born at home that night. We had the same midwives and all!

And KatePickle is always a pleasure to spend time with, and has been an amazing friend to me for many years now. On top of that she is a design genius. See this blog? KatePickle. I adore her and admire her and am blessed to have her as my friend.

While I'm raving about friends, the inimitable Shae from Yay for Home! was in attendance as well and as always I loved seeing her too. She is the funniest chicken ever. Even when she's hungover.

Dorothy (Singular Insanity) came and had a chat and some baby cuddles, and was as lovely as always too.

At lunch I shared a table with Mardi, Deb, Nathalie from Easy Peasy Kids, the Twitchy chick from Twitchy Corner (who shares some excellent musical tastes with me), Laney (Crash Test Mummy) and Denyse (Memories by Denyse) who I've had some great chats with on Twitter too.

Afterwards I finally met Fiona from Oh Gorgeous Baby who is in fact gorgeous herself, and I loved talking to Veronica (Sleepless Nights) who is a wonderful writer and a beautiful woman.

And who could forget the awesomeness that is Kelley (Magneto Bold Too). She is an incredible woman and I simply adore her. So much so that I took a photo of her bags. In my posh pram. Although shoes are her thing, she gives good bag too.

Classy bags for a classy pram
And of course down the bottom is my beautiful Vanchi Joplin Barrel Bag which served me so well over the past couple of days. And today is your last chance to win a Vanchi Change Clutch! So once you're done clicking all the links to those fabulous blogs click that one and win it!

To anyone I've missed my sincere apologies, leave a comment telling me off! You'll forgive my baby induced distraction I hope, but I truly loved spending time with all of you <3

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thankful Thursday: The one where I am going to play with GROWN UPS!

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Alright, so it's highly unlikely that the next few days will look anything like this, but it made me giggle!

It's Thursday and I'm feeling thankful! The next few days are going to be a madcap rush around interspersed with extreme awesomeness.

Tomorrow morning I will be dropping off the small boy with my fabulous sister then heading to the airport to pick up Naomi from Seven Cherubs, Tina from Tina Gray {Dot} Me and Mummytime's Brenda, then heading in to the city along with my babygirl to attend the Bloggers Brunch put together by Kids Business. I was so excited to be invited after having a big sulk wishing I had been to the last one. I can't wait to meet so many bloggers that I read and love!

Then on Saturday it's the one so many bloggers are flying in from around the country for... Nuffnang Blogopolis is finally here! I'm so looking forward to a day of learning and socialising. So many bloggers. So little time.

Plus this all means I'm having nearly two full days with just my babygirl. I adore my kids, you know that. But truly at the moment the toddler boy and I particularly could do with just a tiny break from each other. As Shae from Yay for Home puts it, we need to see other people.

And the other people I will be seeing are some of the most supportive and amazing people I've never met. But I'm going to! I am so full of squeeeee I might just pop.

So if it's a little quiet around here the next few days, that's because either a)I'm in shock from the awesomeness of the blogosphere or b)I've returned home and the small boy has tied me up so as I can never leave his sight again.

What are you feeling thankful for this Thursday?


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday


A big boy loves a lazy pyjama day as much as his Mum.

I'm playing Wordless Wednesday with My Little Drummer Boys, come play along!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Afternoon Delight

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It's Term 3 and we are well and truly back into the school day routine again. I loved our lazy mornings during the holidays but I also love that I have some great systems in place for coping with the mad rush that can be afternoons at our place, especially when the supertrucker is on the road.

So I thought I'd share some of my best systems junkie tips for keeping a calm head during the week.

Lunches
I have two kids at school and I hate making lunches. Truly it just annoys me. My solution is to do all the legwork on Sunday so I'm not having to think of it every day.

Sandwiches are made and frozen in their Tupperware containers. Heaps of fillings freeze well so I mix it up a bit for them. Cheese and vegemite, ham, peanut butter, very occasionally nutella... They both love cold meat and cheese the best.

I don't buy prepackaged snacks. I challenged myself back in Term 1 to try not buying them just for that term and it made such a difference to our budget and to our big boy's behaviour that it's now second nature to bypass that aisle at the supermarket.

Over the weekend I'll make up a batch of Too Many Biscuits and freeze rolls of dough so I can bake them fresh as needed. I'll often do some Easy Peasy Cheesy Muffins as well and freeze them so the kids have some different options. Both recipes are quick and easy, and my big girl loves helping with them.

As soon as the kids get home from school I empty their lunchbags and refill them for the next day with their sandwiches, snack and some fruit. It literally takes less than ten minutes and it's done.

Routines
My two biggles are STARVING when they walk in the door in the afternoon. I try to have something ready for them right away... the difference that afternoon snack makes to their attitude is amazing!

Once they're fed we try to get homework and readers out of the way pretty quickly.

They pretty much do whatever they please after that until dinner time around 5.30. The little two go to bed after they all have a bath or shower and the bigs have some quiet time together or with me (assuming the littles have played nice and actually gone to sleep).

My bigs are in bed by 7.30, by which time I've done a load of washing ready to hang on the clothes horses. I've found washing in the evening has really made my mornings a lot less stressful too!

And then if the stars align just right and no one is teething or unwell or otherwise discombobulated, I get a couple of precious hours all. by. myself.

And many evenings I feel like I've earned them ;)


How do you manage your time most efficiently? And how do you get on top of your least favourite tasks?

Monday, July 25, 2011

When I Grow Up

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I've written here before about the many hats I've worn in my life so far.

I've reached a crossroad. If I'm to keep my teachers registration I need to complete a fair number of days teaching before the end of next year. Not millions, but enough that I'd need to put my small two in care, arrange before/after school care for my big kids and try to get as many emergency days as possible between now and then.

If my big two were my little two I'd not think twice about it. They were both in family daycare one day a week from quite a young age and they thrived.

But my small boy is a different kettle of fish altogether. I don't think he'd cope like his brother did, and until we know what is going on with him I'm not comfortable with it at all. Also the delightful easy going babygirl (who would no doubt be absolutely fine) is my last baby and I'm loathe to give up our days together because I know all too well how fast they will disappear.

And in complete honesty, my heart is just not in it. I feel no passion to teach at the moment, although I know I'd enjoy it enough and I do love the kids.

An idea has been germinating for a little while though. And there have been a few signs that it may be a good one. I'm looking forward to nutting it out with some people who know the ins and outs; for once I'm going to thoroughly explore before leaping straight in.

But I am excited.

And then on Sunday Sarah Hopkins who I follow on Twitter for her inspiring quotes posted this:


"It takes ONE decision, ONE change in thought to change your ENTIRE LIFE to the very core. LIVE THE LIFE U WANT TO LIVE; It's never too late"



I believe this wholeheartedly. I live by it. Admittedly I find it harder at some times than others, but I truly believe in the power of the positive and this spoke to me immediately.

I feel a change is coming. And it's going to be a great one. Watch this space.

In the meantime I'm off to reread The Alchemist and remind myself that the treasure is always out there, I just need to remain focused on it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Things I Know

It's Things I Know Friday again with Yay for Home!
This week I feel like I know too much, and a lot of it isn't mine to share.

I know I've felt heartsick over sad and scary news for a couple of families, and that I wish them both peace. I know I am thinking of them a lot and sending them lots of love.

I know I'm thinking of my sister constantly, and hoping she is feeling much better very very soon.

I know I've had some really exciting news this week too, and that I can't wait to share it with you all when the time is right.

This week I know that I love it when the supertrucker does the school run, it makes my morning much less stressful.

I also love it when my BFF comes to stay and play with her beautiful baby girl.

I know a baby girl is teething, but coping much better than other children have. She has an amber teething necklace and it really seems to be helping.

I know I've already made a few of the awesome recipes from Menu Monday, and I'm looking forward to trying the rest too.

But mostly this week I know I am so very grateful for my children. That they are healthy. And I know how incredibly lucky I have been with all of them. I'm holding them all extra tight this week.

What do you know?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

For Kristie


Today a woman I've never met but have known for many years laid her precious, much anticipated baby boy to rest.

A woman who has shown nothing but support and love for me and many others through online forums and other media. A woman who has walked a difficult path with grace and dignity.

A woman who my heart is breaking for.

There are no words to express the sorrow I felt when I learned that her son was born still. The anguish at a dream that won't come true. I can only imagine how Kristie, her partner Ally and their daughter Tara are feeling now, but if I could have one wish it would be to offer them some comfort and support.

Tonight I lit a candle for their family. A candle which was in flame during my own Blessingway and labour with our baby. I lit it to honour the love a mother's body shows a child as it grows inside her. I lit it and thought about the nurturing baby Avery would have known in utero, even if he couldn't know it here. But mostly I lit it because I am a mother too, and my heart aches for her.

Kristie has invited the sharing of tributes here.

Blessings to you Kristie, and so much love.

Thankful Thursday : The one where I am Sally Field

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Today I'm feeling thankful for my blog.

On Tuesday I published this post that I'd written over the weekend when I was feeling frustrated and lonely and generally like a pretty average parent.

I held off publishing it for a few days because I wasn't sure how it would be received, and the act of writing it had been quite cathartic in and of itself. In the end I decided to share it because I figured if I was feeling like that then chances are other parents were too.

The comments here, on Twitter and on my Facebook page have been amazing. I've received so much support and validation, and most importantly I've been reminded that I am not alone in my self-doubt at times.

Parenting is hard. As a stay-at-home Mum whose partner is away an awful lot of the time it can also be very isolating for me sometimes. How amazing to know that I can come here and share my random thoughts and experiences, and have people who I've never met (but many who I absolutely count as friends through our conversations online) show me such care.

I love my blog. I love blogging. It's all good :)




Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Raw

Some days I feel like an epic fail as a parent.

Some days, when the supertrucker is away and there are still a few days left until he gets back, I wonder why I ever thought I could do this with four children.

Some days my nearly eight year old son makes me want to yell and throw things with his attitude and 'memememe' tantrums when he doesn't get what he wants.

Some days when my six year old daughter puts her hands on her hips, stamps her foot and hmmmphs at me I want to do it right back to her.

Some days I even do.

Some days the sense of entitlement my big kids display makes me wonder if I'm doing it all wrong that they can have such selfish and greedy attitudes.

Some evenings the juggle of getting the small two to sleep means sending the bigs off with promises to tuck them in when I'm done. Some nights they are asleep before I get there, and I feel guilty that I can't be in two places at once.

Some nights, most nights lately, my toddler wakes up to ten times. By the early hours I lie there feeling resentful and angry.

Some days I remember life before children. I never got angry. Not like I do now.

Some days it is hard to find my gratitude.


But then...

The baby grins showing off her tiny new teeth. She snuggles into me and I know I am the very centre of her universe.

The toddler beams so widely, he has such an open face that shows me how he is feeling all the time. He says 'Mummy peese, nuggle' and squeezes me tight.

The big girl says "Mummy I love you. I will love you until I die and you die. But I hope you die first.' And I hug her and think that I can't imagine a world without her in it.

The big boy does something unexpectedly lovely for one of his siblings. He cuddles the baby. He encourages the toddler. He is kind to his sister. And I remember that it can be so hard being the oldest, because I am too.


And I think to myself that when they grow up, my children won't remember the state of the house when they were small but they will remember the state of their Mum. And I take a deep breath. I time myself out for five minutes. I remember how incredibly lucky and blessed I am to have four happy healthy children.

And I am grateful.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Menu Monday Linkup: Basic Chicken Casserole

Yay it's Menu Monday again!! Can't wait to see what you guys have to share this month... I've been feeling very uninspired lately (ohai Winter SAD) and am looking forward to trying some new things. A number of the recipes linked up previously have become firm favourites at our place.

If you're new here and have no idea what I'm talking about, or if you just want to go check out our previous Menu Monday linkups you can see them here and here.

So this Menu Monday I'm sharing a basic chicken casserole recipe that I kind of just made up. I will say upfront it's on the bland side because my children suck are quite fussy eaters, but I add some extra curry powder or chili for the supertrucker and I (and the baby actually, because she has the best palate of the lot!).

What you need:

500g chicken breast
4 medium sized potatoes
1 small or half a larger butternut pumpkin
Broccoli
1 can evaporated milk
1 tsp Seeded mustard
1 tsp Curry powder
300ml or so chicken stock


Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

 Brown the chicken then place in a casserole dish.

I love my wok by the way. I love that my stovetop has one of those wok holder thingies that sits above the burner. Handy.


Dice the potatoes fairly small, the pumpkin less small (because it will cook more quickly) and chop the broccoli into florets.

 Combine the evaporated milk and chicken stock in your pan, and mix in the curry powder and mustard (you can put a little or a lot more of either or both to taste obviously, a teaspoon of each just gives it a little flavour subtle enough for those who prefer life on the blander side).

Pop in your veggies for a minute or two over medium heat.

Add the liquid and vegies to your casserole pot and stir through.

Cover and place in the preheated oven for an hour.

Yum. Serve with whatever floats your boat. We often have this with couscous.

Enjoy!




Thursday, July 14, 2011

Things I Know

This week I know that the school holidays are nearly over, and it's back to routine this weekend with lunches to be made and kids to get to bed early Sunday night. I will miss my biggies!

I also know that it's been awesome having the Supertrucker not do the extra shifts he usually does during the holidays. He's taken the big boy to the motorcross track a few times and there has been much motorbike fun going on at our place too.


I know a small boy loves the motorbikes as much as his brother and his Dad. But he doesn't love them so much when they are actually running ;)

This week I know I've loved spending time with my sister, and I'm sad that she's heading back home today.

I know that I'm looking forward to my babyest sister's wedding in October! It's going to be lovely having all the family in one place at the same time!

I know it's been a funny old week, and that I have a lot to be grateful for in my life. And I am.


I'm talking about things I know with Yay for Home! Come play along!

Thankful Thursday

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I have so much to be thankful for yet again this week.

I'm thankful for my beautiful friend who looked after a big girl yesterday while we were off to the hospital, and who so thoughtfully provided some lovely new little toys to distract the small boy while he was undergoing tests.

I'm thankful for my sister who came to hold my hand help with the babygirl while we were at the hospital. Love you so much K.

I'm so very thankful that the small boy coped with the EEG so well. The hospital was well set up with a portable DVD player and Cars DVD (his favourite!) and he was so engrossed that he barely flinched while they applied the electrodes. He actually fell asleep for a short while, and did so well while they were flashing the lights in his eyes.

I'm thankful for the invention of AnGel cream which made the blood tests much easier for my boy. He was quite distressed by the tourniquet and wasn't at all happy, but the needle itself wasn't too bad and he recovered well once he had his Wiggles bandaid applied.

I am just so very thankful that our afternoon at the RCH went much more smoothly than I had anticipated, and for the resilience of my little boy.


In other news, I'm thankful for the opportunity to trial the Munchkin Nappy Disposal System. I put it to the ultimate test over the weekend by leaving a poo nappy in there when we went away. I came home to no smell whatsoever. Impressed so far.

I'll be posting a full review next week as well as announcing the two winners of their own Munchkin systems, so be sure to get your entry in here.

It's Thursday, and I'm feeling thankful. How about you?



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Mother's Heart

I have an amazing little boy.

He is in fact terrific.

For a while now we have felt that something isn't quite right.

And today my heart hurts, because tomorrow we will be taking him in to the hospital to have some tests done that he isn't going to like.

I keep feeling like I need to kick my own butt over this. He is hearty and healthy. We're not staring down anything like the sadness or sickness of many children and for that I am immensely grateful.

But still I feel so sad.

My boy does not like anyone touching his head at all, or being near his ears. Such actions can cause enormous meltdowns and trauma. And tomorrow I will take him to have electrodes attached to his head, and blood taken from his arm.

And so today my heart hurts.

Because my little boy is such a beautiful little soul, and I don't ever want anything to hurt or upset him.

Because I don't know if I want these tests to show us anything wrong or not.

Because I want to understand him when he tries to talk to me.

Because I want him to be 'fixed'.

Because I'm scared of where we go next if these tests are all normal.

Because he wakes upwards of four times a night and I am exhausted.

Because I love him so much I could burst.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Little Things

We're home from a weekend away and so many little things have made me happy over the past few days.

Driving more than two hours with four kids (and a GPS that sends you to a dead end at a dairy farm) is so worthwhile to spend some time with my sister and nephew.

My sister is so thoughtful and beautiful. She had bought a book pack for my bigs and a very special book for my little man. He has few words and isn't a big fan of reading time, but loves this book because he knows the people in it.




Driving around on a little island with 5 kids in the car while it is blowing a gale and pouring with rain is still fun when you have great company.

Movies, icecream, cake and marshmallows in front of a roaring fire are a good substitute when the weather is too wild to go penguin watching. Call it a party and kids are happy!

Being a systems junkie pays off big time when it comes to travelling with kids. Packing even for a couple of nights is a pretty big undertaking. Having outfits packed together makes life so easy. As does having all the dirty washing bundled together to go straight in the machine at home, and the unworn/clean stuff folded and ready to be put away again quickly and easily. Snacks for the car are all win too!

Ducted heating is the best. Especially when you walk into your house after a few days of it being closed up and the thermostat shows that it is 9 degrees inside!

The Supertrucker is on the homeward leg and will be back tomorrow. My favourite <3

A baby girl has started saying "Mumumumum" and holding out her arms to be picked up and cuddled. Love love love.

My rAdelaide sister is flying over for a few days tomorrow morning, and I can't wait to see her! Yay!

What little things are making you happy today?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Gratitude and Giveaways Day 4: Thankful Thursday

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Yesterday I had the opportunity to do something I very very rarely do these days. I went clothes shopping. For myself.

Thanks to my incredibly generous sister and the big kids being otherwise engaged I was able to wander a shopping center with just my small two in the pram. And they both fell asleep. At the same time. Sign from the gods yes?

So I wandered. And I wandered. And it hit me.

I didn't know where to go.

The last time I went clothes shopping specifically for me, I definitely had fewer kids. Maybe even none. The shops I used to go to were suddenly full of clothes that just weren't going to look any good on my mid 30's four kid bearing bod. So I went to the grown up shops. And I didn't like anything, it all felt too old.

And then I realised. I'm in my mid 30's! No one is looking at me and no one really cares what I wear any more. I don't have to dress a particular way to 'fit in'. I can wear whatever I want and even if people think it looks naff I seriously don't care!

How awesome to be 34. How fantastic to like myself enough to wear what I want to wear and dress as I like. How amazing to be happy in and with my body. It's a far cry from the misery and self hatred of my teen years that is for sure.

This Thursday I am so grateful for where I am in my life. I love my family. I love myself.

What are you thankful for this Thursday?

PS I totally bought jeggings. Oh yes I did. From Supre. I am wearing them AS PANTS as I type. And they look awesome.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

(Not Quite) Wordless Wednesday: Giveaways and Gratitude Day 3

Four kids ready for a big afternoon out.

Settling in to watch Mickey's Clubhouse. 

Baby girl getting into the party atmosphere.

A big boy loves colouring in. The activity stations were great!
Taking a break to watch some Handy Manny. Popcorn? Yes please!

Nail bar for the Mamas. Nice one.

Facepainting fun!

Tiger boy.

Minnie Mouse, entertaining in more ways than one. And apparently delicious!
Thanks to the lovely people at Porter Novelli for a fabulous afternoon at the Disney Junior Tweetup!

I'm playing (not very) Wordless Wednesday with My Little Drummer Boys. Come play along!