Wednesday, 20 June 2012

There's Naughty, Then There's Being A Little Sh**.

My former, childless self really truely believed that I'd have children who grew up respecting each other, who would gladly keep their rooms tidy because they were responsible and understanding, and who would never chuck a wobbly in the supermarket. Those were other people's children. I would be a great parent.

Now, I'm a mini-van driving, mother of a snot eating, tantrum chucking, brother biting three and a half year old. Where did this come from?

Of course, I know that this is a phase. I know that it's apart of growing up, but what the hell do I do about it? Biting, hitting and being rude and disrespectful are not going to be tolerated.

I did the Positive Parenting Program a couple of years back, which favoured the time out. And then, I believed a properly used time out will change their behaviour. And believe me, I properly use the time out. I've reviewed the steps and have followed them scrupulously. I think he's so accustomed to the time out, that it doesn't bother him. He does his time, comes out, says he's sorry, and BAM bites Joey so hard that it bruises.

He's been such a good boy for the last three years. He knows it's wrong, yet does it anyway. Is it for attention? We have as much one on one time as we can. Chris and I both make sure that the older boys get time with us each evening without the twins. We encourage good behaviour and give plenty of praise when they are playing nicely, and doing the right thing. He's a clever boy, he knows he's doing wrong.

The other day, he got put into the naughty corner 7 times in about 4 hours! Where do you go after a bloody time out? I even smacked his hand on two separate occasions. He smiles! He's taunting my cranky face!

I'm gonna lose my shit.

What worked for you?

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Tokens Of Love

This blog post was initially to win a beautiful hand crafted Black Tree Pendant  by Sandra at Tokens Of Love. They have a competition going at the moment, so click on the "Tokens Of Love" link to win! But it got me thinking about little things in my home that are tokens of love.

Of course there is my engagement ring and wedding ring. Picked by Chris... all by himself. If you know Chris, you know how much thought and care went into it. How excited he was to keep it a secret until the day he proposed. We've been married for five years next month.

Then, keeping with the romantic theme, there is a bunch of pink roses on my dining table. Brought for no special reason. I love that.

Less obvious, but still so important, there is my fridge. It was bought out of money received from our wedding. There isn't a lot of space left on my fridge, but there always seems to be room for one more drawing, painting or important piece of paper. Wow it frustrates me when the weak magnets give way and thirty papers fly over my kitchen floor, but they remind me of our family life. They remind me that this kitchen has people using it.

Hand prints on my hall way wall.
No toilet paper on the roll but all over the floor. Thank goodness for toilet training.
Child safety locks that fool guests and keep kids away from danger and my chocolate stash. 
Alphabet magnets on my freezer that we can spell naughty words with (lucky the kids can't read yet). 
Lego on the floor that I promise I will never vacuum up. 
The smell of clean babies after the four of them have bathed and are in their pyjamas. 
The "up yourself" coffee that Chris makes me every morning, whether he's late or not. 

These are my tokens of love.

What are yours? 

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Bloody Snickers Pop Corn

If you know me well, you'll know I'm a little addicted to Pinterest. For those of you who haven't gotten into it, Pinterest is an online space that is one giant pin board. When you see something you like on the Internet, you "Pin It" to a virtual board that you have created. Others can see your boards, and you can see other's boards. I have made a few boards like Sweets For My Sweets Arts And Crafts  and Just Special . If you use the internet for these sorts of things, I suggest you sign up to Pinterest. I gather so many ideas for recipes, craft and household projects from there, and this post was orrigionally found here but like most of the things I make, I have adapted it to suit me.

I've decided to call my version Bloody Snickers Pop Corn. My cousin from New Zealand who got me onto True Blood, just happened to be over in Australia visiting when Season Four Episode ONE! came out. We got together and made a batch of this, and felt ill after eating a little too much.

Bloody Snickers Pop Corn 


2 bags of microwave butter flavoured pop corn 
1 1/2 cups brown sugar 
1 cup butter 
1/2 cup glucose 
1 tsp bicarb soda 
24 snack sized Snickers (say that 10 times fast) bars, sliced 

Pre-heat the oven to 60 degrees Celsius 

1) Pop the corn in the microwave as per the instructions on the pack and pour into a roasting dish lined with baking paper. Pick out ALL the un-popped kernels. I made this mistake, it could result in broken teeth. 
2) In a heavy bottomed pot, bring the sugar, butter and glucose to a boil and simmer for 5 mins. Take off the heat and add the bicarb soda 
3) Spoon the sugar mixture over the pop corn and stir to coat. 
4) Bake in the oven for 1 hour, mixing well every 15minutes 
5) Add snickers, stir and put back in the oven for three minutes 
6) Let cool (or not) and eat. 

This recipe makes an awful lot. It can be stored, once completely cooled, in an air tight container for three days. 

To be honest, it was all the Snickers goodness that made us feel ill. Omit the Snickers, and you have awesome crunchy caramel pop corn. Next time I think I'm going to add chopped salted peanuts instead and drizzle over just a little melted chocolate. 

Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Price Of Play

An young couple on a holiday drove along a secluded road in the country. In the distance they saw a little store, and decided to stop. It was a shop selling home wares and crafts, not really their thing, but they wanted to stretch their legs. It was run by a little old lady who sat behind the counter. To their surprise there was a set of vases that took their fancy.
"How much is this one?" the man said to the store keeper.
 "$70," she replied.
"Wow, that's expensive" 
The little old lady pointed to another vase. "That one's only $30".
"But they're identical," said the young man.
"Yes," said the lady, rising from her chair. 
"Because some people want to pay $70, and some people want to pay $30." 

Today it was rainy and cold so we took Andy, Joey and the Twins to Imagine That Children's Playhouse which boasts about an inside area that inspired imaginative play for children and a cafe for the parents. The entry price was debated publicly this week, as they had changed the entry prices for newborn-12months to $6.50 (which included a free drink). Ridiculous if you ask me (and the rest of their likers on facebook). They took this on board, and made 0-6monthers free. However... 

Some people are happy going to an indoor play centre, where you are not allowed to bring your own food, and pay $3 for a single party pie, $4.50 for a sausage roll and $5.50 for a cup of coffee, I am not. Perhaps it's because I'm stingy, or perhaps because it's overpriced. 

Cost and worth are very different things. To feed a hungry child, $3 is worth it. This "family" business has cashed in on this which I find disgusting. Not being allowed to bring some sandwiches when I've already paid $18 for entry for the two boys kind of gets my goat.

The thing is, if they let me BYO lunch for the kids, I would have happily bought a coffee and cake or some hot chips, therefore, cashing in. However, because they were so pissy about not allowing food, we scheduled our visit around "starvation o'clock" and didn't purchase any food. 

This reminded me of a conversation with a mother I had today.
For my kids, the play was not what they enjoy. The boys liked the vintage looking ride on cars, and the slide about as big as one in the backyard. They enjoyed the duplo and the wooden trains (both of which we play with at home). But the "village" wasn't as great as I thought it would be. Some kids loved the dress ups, but there wasn't enough to go around, and some enjoyed playing "let's throw the wooden food items at each other" but that mostly ended in tears.

Perhaps it was just me and the people that I was with, but it seemed more geared at people who didn't like their kids to get dirty, or sweaty, or climb or play. One father even told the boys and girls we were with to stop pretending they were crocodiles and chasing each other around and "just go down the slide". Chris heard that... lucky it wasn't me. 

We love the play centres like Gecko's Family Fun Centre where there is a huge climbing gym, great slides and reasonable prices. The kids can get thoroughly tuckered out and have the blessed together day time nap. 

I should have saved the $18 and bought some art supplies, or 24 chicken nuggets or some slippers. Not worth the cost. 

Monday, 4 June 2012

Arts and Crafts, The Easy Way

On my Facebook page, people have alluded to the fact, that sometimes they want to do Arts and Crafts with their kids, but without the catastrophic mess that can go with it.

I don't mind the mess as most of the time it only take 10 mins to clean up at the end. If you're actively involved in the craft, most of the time, a big mess can often be avoided. But, here are some hot tips.

1) Organise the activity in secret, before your kids get "SO EXCITED" that they are doing crafts. This can avoid them wanting to help squirt out the paint, or cut anything that they shouldn't be cutting.

2) Have a good variety of crafts up your sleeve. Variety will make your kids more involved. If they have to learn a new skill, they are less likely to be bored. If you're always pulling out the paint, by the third or fourth time, they'll be painting each other, the cat and their hair- true story.

3) Invest in a cheap piece of lino or thick plastic. If it's a yucky day, or if you need to be inside, lay the plastic down. I also have a couple of disposable table cloths if I know it's going to be a big mess (like glitter).

4) Set the rules. If you're doing something dangerous for the age group (scissors etc), using food dye, or just want to make sure everyone has fun, including you, set some rules and make the kids understand. My rules are always similar. Use your words, share the equipment and if you have a tantrum it gets packed up instantly (they learned this the hard way). Other rules are "things in this box only Mummy can touch" and "if you stick your fingers in there, they will be red/blue/green forever" (food dye)... Harsh but effective.

5) Limit the time for each activity. Three year olds aren't going to want to do an activity for more than 15mins to half an hour. Perhaps even less if they've only just begun crafting. If there are many parts to the one activity (like, cut things out, glue them on, wait for it to dry, paint over it, peel bits off and THEN it's ready) kids aren't going to dig it. We want crafts that we can complete in the one sitting, or that you can pre-prepare that they can complete them in the time allocated.

6) Choose the time you do crafts. Don't do it if they're tired, hungry, or restless- or if you are.

7) Be in the moment. Don't use crafts as your baby sitter. That's where Busy Bags (link to come) come into play. If you look away for more than the time it takes to blink, your crafty kid will be gluing his eyelids together. Sometime, if your kid is really crafty, they'll be doing it in the time it takes to blink.

8) If crafts are a chore, don't bother or just find some that you do like. This is my real quality time with the kids. I love it, they love it, we love talking about it together. Find your thing that you love, and give up on the toilet roll cars and fizzy plates.

When I do arts and crafts with my kids, they are happy which means I am happy. It brings us close together and I feel that they grow and learn because of the activities we do. Whether something simple, like play dough and cookie cutters, or sometime that takes a bit of time to set up, there hasn't been one activity that we haven't enjoyed.

Comment below with your hot tips for crafting with kids! 

No-Sew-Double Sided-Baby-Floor-Mat-Slash-Blanket

One of the earliest encounters with my most horrid vice was being so jealous of Mum's mad skillz at colouring in. She was just so neat. No white bits. No out of lines. Perfect outlining. No scratchies. Perfect.

Nanny was the same. She could draw beautifully, paint, and the Christmas craft- Oh My Santa.

I'd like to think that I've inherited the crafty gene.

The boys are now finally old enough to really get into being crafty. We've been saving up toilet rolls, plastic trays, yoghurt tubs and googly eyes since they were born, and now is the time to use them.

I said to Andy the other day, "What do you want to do?" And he replied, "Arse and Craft".

I guess there will be lots of craft posts to come, but for now, this is about my

No-Sew-Double Sided-Baby-Floor-Mat-Slash-Blanket 

This idea came from my sister-in-law Belinda, who's friend made my nephew a lovely fringed blanket.

You Will Need

2 complementary lengths of polar fleece (I used 120cm x 120cm)
Sharp scissors


1) Lay the first piece of fabric right side down and the second piece right side up (so shit bits together)- no, I'm not a sewer.

2) Bang a few pins into all four sides just to keep it together. The polar fleece isn't slippery so if you don't have pins, don't worry about it.

3) Just doing one side at a time snip down about 9cm (3.5 inches) and about 2-3cm (1 inch) apart.

4) Ready, now the tricky bit. Knot each snip in a double knot. Make sure you try to make the underside fabric knot to the top side. So, my blanket has yellow fringe on the blue, and blue on the yellow. Do all four sides. You'll need to snip off a couple of knots on each of the corners to make it work.

5) Once you've completed it, you'll need to stretch the sides. I loved hearing the snap of the fabric. Polar fleece is great because it doesn't fray.

The double polar fleece is great for a floor blanket, giving your little ones the warmth and comfort they need to have some tummy time. It would also look great cot or pram size. Just remember to add an extra 6 inches to the size you need to allow enough for the knots.