30 April 2010


This is a quick post to try and inspire me to get going on some more pages for our Book (the one I'm writing with Rebecca). I've been off the boil for the last few weeks but really want to get moving on it again.

(You can click on the pages to see them larger)

The Book now has a title. It may not be the ultimate final one, but we think this says what the Book is all about...

LOVING LIFE... with Kids

It is a book for mothers. The Book will be filled with all our best creative ideas for parties, celebrations and family fun (Rebecca is the Queen of theme dinners, and my original inspiration for the kids birthdays I do). And since we are not the be-all and end-all of cool ideas, we'll be including other mums' great ideas as well. You may just get invited to let us include your birthday parties or theme dinners in the Book...! (Have something you think we'd be interested in?? Email us greatfun4kids@live.com)

The Book will be Real. No stage-managed photo-shoots-with-mini-models in sight. All real photos. With Behind the Scenes stories as well. Tell it like it is... with humour.

The style will be chatty and informal, friendly. Almost an ideas scrapbook but also more than that.

It will share both our journeys - through depression (me) and divorce (her). It will share what helps us, inspires us, what works. It will be full of our funny errors and embarrassing stuff-ups. It will be encouraging, funny, honest and colourful.

We feel that so many Birthday Party or Ideas books are so beautiful and clever, but almost unattainable by most of us. This will be a book full of real ideas, tested on actual scallywag children!

Now I just need to get a few more pages done so I can print up a mock-up and try to find a publisher.
We think it's going to be great. Now we just hope that someone else (with a publishing company) will agree with us.

What do you think? Does our Book sound like one you'd like to have?
29 April 2010

On Days Like These...

...I am thankful for Artists. Artists who make pictures for their mummies that read: "I Love My Mum". A picture like that really helps.

...I am thankful for Neighbours. Neighbours who say, "Sure I'll take the kids with me to school." Neighbours like that really help.

...I am thankful for Friends. Friends who squeeze coffee into a really busy day. Friends like that really help.

...I am thankful for Txts. Txts that say, "Lets go walkin 2moro mrning afta skul dropoffs". Having stuff to look forward to really helps.

...I am thankful for a Husband. A husband who gets up and changes the toddler's nappy so I can have an extra 20 minutes sleep. A husband who goes to work so I can be at home. So on days like these I can find a way to get through. With friends. And coffee. And Neighbours. And txts. And husbands.

...And I am thankful to God. Thankful that even though I have days like these (where my brain ceases to work, where every small noise is like torture, where I am a ticking bomb, where it is all too much) he has filled my life with so many blessings that I can get through.

And still be thankful.
28 April 2010

She's Glowing RED

Here's my photo entry in the RAW(e) photo competition over at Sailor & Co. Click here to join in...

This weeks theme is RED and I have scoured my achives for "red" photos... this is the one that stood out to me. It's my mum with her birthday cake - isn't she just glowing red?

The photo was taken in December when we got to spend Christmas with Mum and Dad and spoil them rotten. Mum is going through a hard time right now, and I'm wishing she could live closer so I could spoil her more often. I spent last night making her a cool-as photo book for Mothers Day (thinking it was this Sunday) only to realise that I was a week early. Duh! Oh well, better than being late eh?

I don't expect this photo is really a potential prize-winner but I like it anyway.

The Rules:

Do not edit your photo.
It must be straight out of the camera!
Don't link up until you post your photo (and link to the actual post not your entire blog)
It must fit the theme, which is RED this week!

Join in the competition (it's fun)... and Good Luck to ya!
27 April 2010

Loving... NOT Loving: Kids

Of course you know that I am ALWAYS loving my kids. Just thought I'd clear that up before I got started. But you know there are some things that come with having kids that I am not loving so much.

For instance...

NITS. I am Definitely NOT Loving Nits.
Do you call them that where you come from? Cooties? Lice? Ugh. Whatever you call them the mere mention of them starts me itching. I've managed pretty well to avoid too many infestations. I bought a RobiComb (a battery powered nit zapper) as insurance. Totally useless. Then I spotted some little white cling-ons in Miss Fab's hair. Instantly I felt itchy. My scalp crawled. Off to the chemist I went and bought some Nit Shampoo. We were de-nitted quick smart. The boys are all clear. But I never found one single creepy crawly even after much combing of mine and Miss Fab's hair. Still,  you can't deny the itching. And better safe than sorry. Sigh. I hate those darn things.

CRUMBS. Wherever I go, crumbs! I vacuum, I sweep, I wipe. Two seconds later the crumbs are back. Ugh. NOT Loving crumbs. The birds can have them.

ENDLESS BITS OF PAPER. Everywhere. My kids are both scribblers. Miss Fab likes to draw pictures of herself and her friends. And me and her. And flowers and butterflies. Which I DO actually love.

Dash draws endless diagrams of football pitches, marking out player positions and listing down endless Premier League teams. That's fine. But then... they just leave their darn bits of paper discarded all over the house.

Under beds, behind chairs, all over the floor, in my bedroom... next to my bed!! I am not loving that at all. And I feel slightly guilty when I quietly scoop up the abandoned bits of paper and stash them in the recycle bin. What???!! Am I s'posed to hold onto every darn scribble for ever??? Not loving the residual guilt of being an art recycler.

MY SHORT FUSE. Not loving that at all. I don't want to be Grouchy Mummy. But lately I've had such a very short fuse. I've been tired and nauseous and sweaty and headachey... (don't worry I'm not, you know. I did a test. Or two.) Anyway to put it simply I have been feeling like total crap.

I've just been wanting to hide away in my own private (bloggy) world so I don't have to deal with... the noise. The squabbling. The complaining. The endless demands. Oh the guilt! That just makes me feel so much worse!

I'm getting some blood tests done (have to wait a few weeks for optimum conditions) but until then I will just have to soldier on and try not to transform into the Incredible Hulk Mum at the slightest provocation. I think the ear plugs will be making a re-appearance. Sigh.

All that being said.... on the brighter side of life, I can't deny...

...how utterly much I love my children.

I'm sure I would totally leap in front of a bus for any one of them. But most days don't require any bus-leaping. Just after-school snacks, homework & readers, changing pooey bums, playing choo choos, picking up stray hot wheels and hair clips, dinner-cooking, teeth-cleaning and bedtime prayers. Some days that all feels like a lot.

But the snuggles? LOVING those. They are like air in my lungs.

The slobbery kisses? LOVE them. Won't even wipe off the toddler drool.

My daughter holding my hand all the way walking to school because my hip ached and she wanted to help me?? Priceless. My heart was bursting, even as I limped.

My big seven-year-old boy wanting to lie in bed after dark and listen to stories about my life? The stuff of dreams.

So yes. I am LOVING my kids. Even on the sucky days. Even on the Hulk days. And I'm learning to switch off the computer before they get home so I can give them my full attention.

Because they are the best kids. And they deserve my best too.
26 April 2010

Followy Commenty Design Giveaway

Here is a bit of shameless self-promotion. I want to practise my writing on you. I have dreams of becoming a writer. To that end, I want lots of feedback... and lots of people reading my writings.

I also like designing things. I am a Photoshop Freak. Do you like my blog-look? I made it myself. Interested in a header re-design for your blog? I can make you one. Here's how...

I'm having a Giveaway (seems to be the season).
Here's what you must do to enter:
  • Become a follower (if you aren't already)
  • Leave me a comment on this post telling me what kind of new header style you would love for your blog and why you need one.
  • That's it!

The giveaway will run for 8 days... until Tuesday 4th May, 5.00pm NZ Time.
I will draw out TWO names from all the commenters.
  • One winner will be randomly drawn.
  • The other will be the idea that I think is the coolest for a new header.

I will post the winners on Wednesday 5th May. May the commenting and following begin...
25 April 2010

Lest We Forget

Anzac Day

In the pre-dawn darkness a hush settles over the large crowd. It is eerie. Misty. Hundreds of thousands of people, strangers, stand shoulder to shoulder, honouring the fallen of long ago.

Young people, old people, little children. We wait patiently together for the sounding of the Last Post.
Somehow in the misty foggy half-light it seems that we could reach out and touch the moment when thousands of our green young men landed on Gallipoli Peninsula and carved out their place in history with blood, sweat and sacrifice.

April 25, 1915.

In the darkness they set out in their little boats headed for the beach. Before they'd even landed all hell broke loose around them. The legend of those diggers lives on in our hearts all these generations later.

Somehow we can picture those boys, eager and innocent, from our farms and small towns, headed off on adventure to see the world, and instead landing in a bloodbath.

That was the day New Zealand grew up. We found our feet as a nation. We forged bonds of brotherhood with our Australian cousins. We shed our blood and lost our youth.

No longer did we see ourselves as just an outpost of Mother England. Through loss and tragedy and waste and bravery and courage our tiny nation gained a sense of itself.

A heavy price to pay. Only one in four of our boys returned home unharmed. So we continue to remember them. Long after the last Anzac soldier has been laid to rest, the crowds continue to grow at Dawn Services everywhere. Lest We Forget.

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them
Inscription on War Memorials

You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries...
Wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
And are at peace.
After having lost their lives on this land, they have
Become our sons as well.

~ Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
Turkish Commander at Gallipoli 

Anzac Biscuits*

It's been twenty years since I attended that dawn service at the War Memorial Museum. One day I will go again, and bring my children so they can experience that eerie hushed reverence for themselves.
This year I baked my first batch of Anzac Biscuits (thanks PaisleyJade) in memory of the mothers who had to send their sons away. Mothers who heard about the terrible conditions their boys were enduring, the terrible food they were eating. Mothers whose ingenuity produced a healthy, delicious recipe that would journey well to the other side of the world, to sustain their precious boys.

1/2 cup plain flour
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup coconut
3/4 cup rolled oats
50g butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons boiling water

As I mixed my bikkies I could so imagine that the secret ingredient that went into them was Love...

Mix together the flour, sugar, oats and coconut... (oh my sweet Jimmy will be getting these biscuits)...

Melt the butter and golden syrup... (he will hold these biscuits in his precious hands...)

Mix the baking soda with the boiling water... (he'll put these biscuits in his mouth; they'll be inside him...)

Stir into the melted butter... (oh I do so pray these will find him well...!)

Combine and mix well. Place dessertspoonsful on cold greased trays and bake for 15 minutes at 180oC. (Come back to me Jimmy. Come back in one piece!)

Ah, well that's what I was imagining anyway. It's the mother in me.
ANZAC stands for Australian New Zealand Army Corps. Anzac Day has been celebrated since 1916; the numbers of people travelling to Gallipoli in Turkey and attending Dawn Services on Anzac Day are steadily climbing. The younger generation has not forgotten.

Click here for more about the Anzacs & Gallipoli (thanks Weza for the link) 
Pictures from Google Images (Except the ones of my bikkies).

22 April 2010

Creative You

"I'm not creative like you...!"

How many times have I heard that statement from other women? Whenever I hear it, something niggles at me. It makes me feel sad inside.

I wanted to write this post to get something off my chest. Here it comes:

We are all creative. We are Women. Mothers.
Creativity is in our very bones.

There, I said it.

Aha! I heard you!
YOU... the one thinking to yourself, "Nope, not me. You're wrong about that..."
You're the one I'm writing this for.

Girl, you were creative from birth. The seeds of life were already there inside you, just waiting for the right time. Your whole person was designed to carry and nurture life. OK, some of our girly bits don't always work how they should, but still! You're a mother at heart. And mothers are creative in their very essence.

We have a very narrow view of what creativity is. I paint so I'm creative. She sews, so she's creative. He's an amazing musician: creative.

But what about the gardeners (those pullers of weeds and coaxers of seeds)... creative, yes? The cooks, the bakers, the nutritious meal-makers? Creative.

The photo-takers, the hair-up-doers, the outfit queens? Creative. The op-shop hunters, the curio collectors, the bloggy wordsmiths? Creative.

What about the ones who love taking walks on a beach at sunset? Whose hearts lift when great music plays? Who cry at a great story well told? Those who appreciate beauty... creative.

Creativity comes in so many forms.
As wise King Solomon once said: There is nothing new under the sun. Most creativity starts with something borrowed - an idea, a style, a thought. We see something we like that someone else has done and we think, I like that! I could do that!
We take it, use it and make it our own. We give it our own slant and it becomes new, fresh and original.

Years ago I was inspired by my wonderful friend Rebecca. Her blog was full of ideas for wonderful home-made birthday parties, family fun and creative ways to make life with kids easier and more enjoyable.
I loved the way she did things, the way she parented. I thought to myself, I like that! I've borrowed her inspirations, I've used her ideas, modified them, bounced off them and made them my own.

Was that cheating?? Nope. That's how it's meant to work. We inspire and egg each other on. That's what's so great about blogging!

We are all artists, girls. Our canvases are our children, our homes, our gardens, our relationships, our lives.

We express our creativity through the obvious: art, craft, music, cooking, decorating, style...

...and the less obvious: celebrating, encouraging, enjoying, giving, nurturing and appreciating the beauty we see around us.

Still think you're not creative? You just need to figure out where your creativity lies.

Try some new things. Who cares if your people look like stick figures: have a go at painting; splash some colour around (then frame it). Hang your kids art on your walls, who cares if your home doesn't look like a magazine (fill it with what you love). Plant a herb garden in unusual containers; put music on loud and dance with your kids...

What inspires you? DIY programmes on TV? Your best friend's quirky fashion sense? Do you feel at peace with your hands in the soil? Does music soothe your stressed-out soul?

List down the things you love and realise that your creativity is not missing, it's just unrecognised.

Borrow the inspirations of others and make them your own, in your own way.
Practise makes perfect. Start somewhere.

And don't let me hear you say "I'm not creative" ever again, OK?!
20 April 2010

Wild Water

I'm joining in the RAW(e) photo competition at Sailor &Co. The theme this week is "Water". Photos must be Raw and un-retouched, straight from the camera.
Widge put me onto this one. Check out her cool-as photo. I think she might win. Good luck Widgey!

I hunted back through my old photos and found some from a few summers ago, of Dash and his pal playing at a wild wavey West Coast Beach. This one kind of captures the action best... wave jumping is one of my favourite things, but how do kids always manage end up totally saturated??

P.S. Join in if you like. Just click here.
19 April 2010

Loving... NOT Loving... Party Prep

(Behind the Scenes of the Wacky Wheels Party)

LOVING My Little Helper
This girl is my bestest helper ever. She sweeps the concrete, pulls weeds and scrubs toy trucks with a big smile on her face. It's so much more fun doing party prep with Miss Fab helping out.

LOVING Baking with The Boy
This guy helped me bake the Birthday Cake. It had been a long day, I was knackered. The last thing I wanted to do was wrangle kids into bed (so I didn't). They were watching TV after 7pm while I prepared to bake. Then my big boy spotted me dragging out the ingredients.

"Oooh! Can I help??" he begged. Sure why not?? It's always more fun doing stuff together.

I loved baking the cake with the Big Boy. He loved licking the spoon.

NOT Loving Cleaning the Oven
I heard somewhere that a great way to make a train cake "engine" was to bake it in a lined tin can. Sounded easy to me.

I lined a bean tin with baking paper. I filled it up with cake batter and stuck it in the oven... before long there was a funny burning smell... I opened the oven to a rush of black smoke. To my horror I had overfilled the bean tin. The cake had risen (duh!) and was spilling out right onto the element. So mid-bake I had to turn off the oven, pull out the racks, and clean the darn oven (trying not to burn myself). Sigh. Oh well, I guess the oven was due a clean.

LOVING Community Cupcakes
On the day before the party (Scrag's actual birthday) I'd planned to meet some girlfriends with our kids down at the local Beach for coffee and a play. But the weather was blustery and showery, so I stuck my hand up and said, "Come over here! we've got Hire Toys..."

Of course it was mess and mayhem, but how nice to have lovely friends for coffee on a special day. And even nicer, how great that they rolled up their sleeves and help me ice the cupcakes. A batch of cupcakes shared is a batch of icing halved. Thanks Gail and Justine! You rock (and there wasn't a single cupcake left over after the party - they were a big hit!)

NOT Loving Feijoa Soup
Er, well actually, I am kinda loving Feijoa Soup. What the heck is that??? I hear you ask.
Well it's what our daughters made in the garden while the mummies were icing cupcakes! Mushed up feijoas and water stirred with love into a soupy gloop. Hilarious.

They thought it was delicious. I actually tasted it (brave I know) and it wasn't too foul. The worst bit was when Miss Fab thought she'd do the right thing and "clean up" i.e. throw it out onto the concrete behind a plant pot. Ugh! At least she was the one who scooped it up and deposited in the right place (after some "encouragement" from me, of course!)

NOT Loving Accidents
Splitting your ear open on the day of your party and having to get stitches is not fun. My poor little guy. He slept and slept. The first guests arrived and he slept on. We had to wake him up. Awwww. But he still had fun. He's such a little star. LOVING my two-year-old.

LOVING Fun with Chalk
I soooo enjoyed marking out the "roads". It was like being a kid again. Fun times.

NOT Loving The Cleanup
That's right. The mess. The crumbs, the mushed up ground in leftovers and sticky puddles of spilt juice. The endless bowls caked with coloured icing and piles of baking tins waiting to be washed...

LOVING that my husband did the dishes. And put away the gear. And mowed the lawns. And trimmed the hedge. And finished the treehouse. And wore a silly orange vest. And pumped petrol. And made kids laugh. Thanks babe. You are awesome. I know you are at times so over my hard-out party-making... but hey, don't we have a blast? Don't the kids just love it?? Isn't all the fun worth it??? I know you think so deep down. Next Party: July for Miss Fab's Sixth! xx

Click here for the Wacky Wheels Party