28 December 2012

Week 52: Grateful for the end of a horrible year (and for turning 40)

On New Years Eve I will be turning 40! 40!! The big 4-0! Its hard to believe I'm nearing middle-age. I remember turning 25, and everyone having a crack at me turning quarter of a century.

I certainly don't feel 40, I guess that's a good thing. I've always thought I'd be the one crying in a corner about turning 40, but lately I've been trying to think about how I should be embracing it.

Some memories of the year
I remember hassling both my brothers when they turned the big 4-0, and asked them if they were going to sit in a corner and cry, of course that didn't go down too well!

A lot has happened in my 40 years for me to be grateful for; I was raised in a loving home by my two wonderful parents, I met and made friends at and out of school, through work, having children etc; I met my wonderful husband, I've travelled overseas and to places in Australia, I've gotten married, bought a house and became a Mummy to two sweet little girls.

I am grateful to be turning 40, even though it sounds daunting and means I'm no longer in my 30s (I hear 40 is the new 30, so really I should be celebrating turning 30, again) and inching my way closer to turning 50 (Arrggh!!! That's depressing! I only feel like I'm 30!).

I am grateful to have lived these past forty years (even with all the ups & downs), and grateful to have learned things about myself and others.

I'm also grateful that this year is nearly over.

While it's been a long, horrible year for my family, I am grateful for the wonderful memories we have made together this year, (for instance, "Cherub" crawling on her 1st birthday and our holiday to Port Stephens)

I will be grateful when this year is finally over on the strike of midnight, when it changes from my birthday to my husband's birthday, and for the new year to begin!

To those who have been with me on my "52 Weeks of Grateful" journey, thank you for checking in with me each week and seeing how my journey has been going. Hope to see you in 2013!

25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to take the time to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas, and a safe & happy New Year. While it will be a sad time for my family this Christmas, we are looking forward in spending some quality time together, and catching up with family & relatives over the break.

I will be taking a much needed break from the blog, so won't be publishing any new posts after the last "52 Weeks of Grateful" post, which is scheduled to publish on 28 December 2012.

To those who frequent this blog, thank you for dropping by and taking the time to read my little blog. Your comments are always appreciated. I hope to hear from you next year. :)

To those who have been with me on my "52 Weeks of Grateful" journey, thank you for checking in with me and seeing how my journey has been going. I've got to say I'm actually 'grateful' (mind the pun) that the journey is nearly over! It's been a long, horrible year for my family and I will be grateful when this year is over, and for the new year to begin!



21 December 2012

Week 50: Grateful for no more suffering

Last week my Dad died to bladder cancer which in the last few months became aggressive resulting in his immune system becoming weak and him contracting pneumonia.

While I miss him hugely and wish he was still here with us, I am grateful that he is no longer suffering and can now rest in peace.

I am grateful to have some wonderful memories of us being together and growing up.

I am grateful that he passed away fairly quickly (and hoping painlessly).

I love you Dad, and miss you so much. You will be forever in my thoughts.

R.I.P xxx

My parents and I on my birthday last year...it'll be sad without him this year

What are you grateful for?

I am linking up with Maxabella Loves over at Kidspot Village Voices.



15 December 2012

No grateful post this week

On Thursday night my father passed away from a long battle with cancer. At this time, I'm finding it hard to think of something to be grateful for so I've decided I won't be publishing a 'grateful' post this week.

07 December 2012

Week 48: Free printables and resources

I have been a bit slow this year in organising an advent calendar for "Popette". Last year she really loved opening the little flap of the advent calendar to see what was behind it (it was chocolate of course), but this year I forgot what day I needed to start the advent calendar (my maths is really bad!), and didn't buy one in time.

So rather than indulge "Popette" with chocolate (and more energy which she really doesn't need!) I searched Pinterest and found a great "craft" advent calendar.




It's such a cute idea! All you do is stick cotton balls on Santa's beard each day/night, and by the time Christmas is here he has a complete beard!

I thought this was very clever, and something "Popette" would really enjoy, as she loves her craft. We are 7 days into December, and she still hasn't stuck one cotton ball on, I guess she's going to busy tonight!

So this week I am grateful for free printables and other free resources that can be found on the Internet. I am grateful for the abundance of free printables and little craft activities that can be found on Pinterest. The other day we made reindeer pictures using handprints!

I am also grateful for being able to find colouring-in pages of the latest cartoon character "Popette" is into, and print out some sheets for her to colour in. Today it was a Winnie the Pooh and Peppa Pig christmas pictures.

What are you grateful for?

I am linking up with Maxabella Loves over at Kidspot Village Voices.

04 December 2012

Craft: Santa Advent Calendar printable

I have been a bit slow with getting an advent calendar organised for Popette this year, and since we are already well into December I thought it was no use buying one from the shops. Today I was looking on Pinterest and found this great crafty advent calendar of Santa from Inviting Printables blog. I thought this would be a great activity for Popette.


 
 
 
Source: JulieM on Pinterest


It's something easy for littlies to do. All you need is a printer to print out the poster, then some cotton wool balls and a glue stick.

Since we've missed the countdown, I'll get Popettte to add a few more cotton wool balls to catch us up to the amount of days left.

03 December 2012

Memories of Christmas

Can you believe Christmas is nearly here! It only felt like yesterday when I took "Popette" and a tiny "Cherub" down to meet Santa at the local shopping centre to have their photo taken with him last year.

Last year's Christmas photo with Santa
"Popette" is getting very excited about Christmas this year, as she is a little older, she remembers all the fun we had last year; buying and wrapping Christmas presents, sitting on Santa's knee and telling him what she'd like for Christmas, decorating the tree, and of course, Christmas day itself.

One of my fondest memories is of a present I received when I was about 11 years old from my parents.

Mum & Dad had bought me a trampoline for Christmas, of course I didn’t know at the time I was receiving it, it was to be a B.I.G. surprise. All I remember is Mum & Dad piling me and my brothers into the car a few days prior to Christmas, and travelling a long distance to pick it up.

When we arrived the trampoline was all boxed up, it was so big Dad had to tie it to the roof of the car (I don't even think we had roof racks back then, so it was literally tied to the roof!!). I remember asking Dad “What is it?”, and his reply was “It's Daddy’s ladder”.

Of course when we got home I asked if he was going to get his ladder out of the box, and he would reply “No, not yet, maybe later.” But by the time "later" came around, I had well and truly forgotten about "Daddy's ladder".

Then late Christmas Eve when I was in bed asleep my Dad and Pop opened the box and put together my trampoline.

On Christmas morning I found a card addressed to me under the tree. Inside it was a long piece of ribbon attached to the card. The ribbon led me on an adventure throughout the house until I was finally taken down the back steps to the trampoline sitting in the backyard!

I remember being so excited to have a trampoline of my own. It was the best present I had ever received as a kid. Over the years I spent many hours jumping on it.

Do you have a memory of the best gift you ever received or had given someone?

30 November 2012

Week 47: Christmas Traditions

I can't believe there is only 6 weeks of the "52 Weeks of Grateful" journey left, and a little less than a month until it's Christmas.

I'm glad I started buying the Christmas presents a little earlier than normal this year. It's becoming chaotic finding a parking spot down at the shopping centre. I've only got a couple presents left to buy, and then pick-up the girls presents from lay-by. Then we can start wrapping them up!

When it was just Hubby & I we used to have this little Christmas tradition where we would decorate the fresh Christmas tree we had purchased that day while watching a Christmas DVD, like "Miracle on 34th Street" (one of my favourite's). We'd make up a batch of popcorn, so we could thread it on pieces of string for the tree, then once we finished decorating start on the gift wrapping...more me, than Hubby who's all thumbs in that area!

Last year we started a little Christmas tradition with our girls. On Christmas Eve, we visited a street in our neighbourhood where a group of houses had a great Christmas lights and ornament display. Santa then made a special appearance via an RFS truck, giving out lollies and listening to the kids. "Popette" was very eager to speak to Santa and remind him that she wanted "red jelly beans and a new bike!" I'm sure Santa hadn't forgotten!

"Popette" finding red jelly beans in her Christmas sack!

When we got home "Popette" & I sprinkled some special reindeer food on the front lawn (oats mixed with glitter), then "Popette" placed some cookies and a glass of milk on the fireplace for Santa. The night ended with a hot chocolate, which we drank while watching "Polar Express" on DVD.

It was a lovely little tradition, and is something we hope to continue.

Growing up, my family didn't really have a Christmas tradition as such. The only tradition was catching up with my grandparents and relatives for Christmas lunch each year.

It was always such a busy day, but it was something I remember dearly and enjoyed each year. It was great catching up with my cousins, and seeing my aunts & uncle. Once my Hubby & I got married and had kids that tradition changed, and we only see the relatives every now and again on Christmas day.

So this week I am grateful for Christmas traditions. I am grateful for beginning a new tradition with my girls, where it will hopefully be something they look forward to each year with excitement, and is something they remember fondly.

I am also grateful for the tradition I had growing up, where we would spend Christmas lunch with my family & relatives. This particular tradition will always have a special place in my heart.

What are you grateful for?

I am linking up with Maxabella Loves over at Kidspot Village Voices

23 November 2012

Week 46: I am grateful even if my life isn't perfect

I saw this image on Facebook, which reminded me that my life isn't perfect. I think I put too much pressure on myself and forget that I'm only human. Like when I've had a bad day (or two) with the kids, I forget that it's okay if they play on their own for a while or watch TV while I get some stuff done or just have a break. That I don't need to be spending all my time playing with them.

Or if I don't get all the housework done in one day (which has been a constant struggle for me this year) it's okay, and not to beat myself up about it.


Image source: Paying It Forward - One Day at a Time Facebook page 

I've had a crap couple of weeks. Last Tuesday I got a parking fine for being in a spot longer than an hour. It was in the Council carpark, which is where I park each week when I take "Popette" to music class. I park there all the time and have on occassions been there longer than an hour, and not got caught, but this day the rangers just happened to check my spot 5 minutes before I arrived back at the car, and fined me. I was not a happy camper!

Then this week (just happened to be on Tuesday again!) my mobile phone got stolen at the shopping centre. It was a HTC Sensation smart phone, which Hubby bought me for Xmas last year. I was lucky that I had downloaded all of the photo's (1400+) I had on it on to my computer the night before, but I was so annoyed at myself for not being more cautious. I was distracted by the girls and wasn't paying enough attention at the people sitting next to me, who swiped my phone. The security camera caught footage of the person taking my phone and making his way to the train station, so I hope he gets caught.

While it was stupid of me not to be more cautious with my belongings, or to take more notice of how long I've been away from the parking spot, it goes to show I am not perfect.

I guess I have a picture in my mind of what I should be like, you know the perfect housewife/Mother/Wife etc, where I have everything done perfectly. It's taking some time, but I'm slowly coming to the realisation that I don't have to be perfect.

So this week I am:
  • Grateful, even if my life isn't perfect.
  • I am grateful to have the money to pay for the parking fine.
  • I am grateful to have stored all the photo's I had on my phone to a SD card.
  • I am grateful that while my phone was stolen my two girls and I were safe.

What are you grateful for?

I am linking up with Maxabella Loves over at Kidspot Village Voices.

19 November 2012

Christmas Craft: Santa

Here is another little Christmas Craft project Popette and I made together. If you don't recognise the jolly fellow, its Santa! :)

Popette enjoyed gluing on clothes we made out of felt, and cotton balls for his hair, beard, and for his hat and coat.

All you need is:

Cotton balls
Red and black felt
Foam person (available from craft shops)
Glue
Black marker pen


The jolly old fellow...ho ho ho!
 
 
The Santa and Snowman we made earlier now sit pride of place on the fireplace!
 

16 November 2012

Week 45: Grateful for daycare

This week I am grateful for daycare. I know its a strange thing to be grateful for, but I really am quite grateful for the two days my "Popette" goes to daycare. Not only do I get a little rest from her asking me a million questions, and from her unlimited bounds of energy. We have found that going to daycare is something "Popette" needs.


It means she has a day of fun (minus Mumma) where she plays with other children, she gets to use her imagination, she learns something new (yesterday it was playing on the computer as part of an introductory free Computer Gym session, which I'm told she loved!) and is part of a little group which gives her a sense of belonging.

On 1st December the daycare will be holding it's Christmas concert, where the kids will perform dances and songs they have been practising at daycare all year. Last year, "Popette" was a little taken back with all the people watching and cried up on stage, so we hope this year she'll be excited and enjoy herself.

I love it when she comes home all excited and tells me about her day, or how much she missed me (I love that part in particular!!).

So this week I am grateful that:
  • We can afford to send "Popette" to daycare two days a week, and for her to learn and experience new things that I can't always teach her at home.
  • To have some one-on-one time with my little "Cherub", without the constant interruptions from her big sister.
  • I get a little time to myself (mainly when "Cherub" has a nap) so I can do something that pleases me, not just the list of chores or housework that constantly is required.

What are you grateful for?


I am linking up with Maxabella Loves over at Kidspot Village Voices.

12 November 2012

Christmas Craft: Snowman

With Christmas getting close I thought I'd put together a couple of small Christmas craft projects for Popette to make.


The first was a snowman which I had hoped she could sit quietly on her own and make while I sorted out some paperwork, of course Mumma had to sit down and help.

All you need is:

An empty toilet roll
Cotton balls
Glue stick
Felt pieces for scarf etc.
Small pom-poms for buttons
Foam ball

Cover the toilet roll with glue and stick on cotton balls. Then decorate your snowman how you choose, we decided on pom-poms for buttons, and a piece of felt for a scarf.

Popette managed to cover the toilet roll with glue and stuck on the cotton balls on her own, as well as a foam ball for the head.




Hot tip: If you are up to it, you could add some pipe cleaners for arms, and a little piece of orange pipe cleaner to represent a carrot for his nose. :)

A link to this project will be added to the Kids craft page, and don't forget to check for other craft ideas that can be found on the page too!

10 November 2012

Week 44: Chance encounters

Yesterday it was my wedding anniversary. It's hard to believe it was 16 years ago  when I married my best friend. Tonight we are having the girls babysat so we can go out for a nice dinner.

This week I am grateful for that chance encounter of meeting my Hubby at the bank he worked at 21 years ago and for him having the nerve to ask me out for lunch.

I am grateful that we are still very much in love today as we were when we married 16 years ago.

I am grateful that we have grown up together, and made beautiful memories together as a couple, and now as a family with our two girls.


I am linking up with Maxabella Loves over at Kidspot Village Voices.

What are you grateful for?

02 November 2012

Week 43: Grateful for all the things in my life that makes me happy

Yesterday I was sorting out my bookcase, and found a little piece of paper inside a "self help" book which I no longer wanted. Written on the paper was the following heading and bullet points:

What do I have in my life to be happy for:
  • a loving husband
  • my family (parents & brothers)
  • close friends
  • relatives
  • healthy life for me and my loved ones
  • a beautiful home
  • live in a nice location
  • my boy (the nickname for our dog)
  • a good relationship with my husband & parents

If I was to replace the word "happy" with "grateful", it reads like a post I would write on this blog. What's funny, is that I had written the list over 10 years ago, so was already on the way to feeling grateful for what was already in my life.


The piece of paper I had written over 10 years

If I was to write this list today, it probably wouldn't be that different apart from the addition of my two girls and being their mummy.

It's strange I never focussed on my job or work back then and included it in the list. I guess I didn't see it (or making money) as something that made me happy back then. I guess one day I'd love to find a job I enjoy or am passionate about, but at the moment I will love every minute of being a Stay-at-home Mummy to my two little girls.

So this week I am grateful for the all the things in my life that makes me happy, my home, my friends and relatives, my relationship with my parents & husband, but most of all my family.

What are you grateful for today?

I am linking up with Maxabella Loves over at Kidspot Village Voices.

29 October 2012

Week 42: Grateful for a holiday

I am a little late in publishing my grateful post for last week, so here it finally is.

My family & I have just returned from a relaxing beach holiday to Port Stephens. It was so nice to get away from Sydney and the day-to-day routines, the house (along with the endless housework) and have hubby all to ourselves.

After having such a crappy few months, it was nice to have some fun together and relax.

We all had a wonderful time and enjoyed being at the beach. I particularly loved going for walks by the water in the morning and taking in the views of the beautiful clear water.

It was "Cherub's" first holiday, and first time at the beach, she took a couple of visits to get used to the cold water, but by the time we were ready to leave, she had become our "beach baby", who loved playing on the sand with her sister "Popette" and being dunked into the water.

 
"Popette" loved building sandcastles, collecting shells and jumping up & down in the water.

So this week I am grateful for being able to go on a holiday.

I am grateful to take a break from the everyday tasks such as routines, appointments, housework, and daily stresses that two little cherubs can bring.

I am grateful to have returned home feeling refreshed and my batteries recharged.

I am grateful for getting a nice little tan, and that none of us got sunburnt!

I am grateful for the memories we made on our little holiday.

What are you grateful for?

I am linking up with Maxabella Loves over at Kidspot Village Voices.
 

27 October 2012

New Kids craft page

Do you like art or being creative? I love being creative in all forms, whether it's painting, drawing, taking photo's, scrapbooking or my latest hobby, making decorative birthday cakes for my girls.

Egg carton caterpillars craft

When I was little I would spend hours sketching, or copying illustrations out of my favourite fairytale books. I also loved painting, and sitting at the table where I'd make things out of bits & pieces.

Art was my all-time favourite subject at high school, so when I left in year 10, I knew I wanted to persue it further at TAFE and completed a Fine Arts certificate. Over the years I have studied different forms of design (Fashion, Desktop Publishing & Web), so still in the creative field.

For now I get to share my love for craft & art with "Popette", and later hopefully "Cherub" will also show an interest. "Popette" loves it when we do craft together or as she calls it "crafting", or when we get the paints out and do some painting.

What I love most about our little crafting sessions is the special time I share with "Popette", and watching "Popette's" little imagination working away.

On the blog I have published several craft projects "Popette" and I have made. These posts can now be found under the new "Kids craft" page that's recently been added to the blog.

I will be adding new posts here from time to time, so make sure you check the page out regularly.

If you think you might be interested in sharing any of your own craft projects please contact me. If I get enough interest I might later add a craft linky to the blog!

19 October 2012

Week 41: Grateful for Big (and little) Adventures

Hubby is currently on holidays for two weeks. It's been a while since he's had a decent break from work, so apart from a much needed holiday that we had planned, we decided to take the girls on a "Big Adventure - Little Ted style", and on Wednesday took "Popette" and "Cherub" into the city.

As "Popette" had been talking non-stop about treasure and treasure maps lately, we decided to take her to the Pirates exhibition at the National Maritime museum.

"Popette" and I spotted a trail marking the way to the exhibition, so in my best pirate voice, I let out a couple "Argh me maties", and "Shiver me timbers" (Hubby thought I had well & truly lost my mind!) and we made our way.

With our treasure map in hand we went in search for clues, and finally located our treasure in the pirates cave. "Popette" loved the exhibit, and was already to walk through it again when we persuaded her to stop for lunch (our girl loves her food!)

After some calamari and chips, and gentle persuation on our part, we headed off to the Powerhouse Museum for "The Wiggles" exhibition.

The girls loved the exhibit, particularly Dorothy on her swing and her little cottage, where "Popette" and I made Dorothy some paper flowers. We didn't get to see it all, as we ran out of time, so will have to plan a return visit.

Afterwards, we caught a tram back to Star City, where we picked up some macarons from Zumbo's (Mummy & Daddy's treat) then headed off to Rozelle for a quick play at a friends before heading home.

We all had a great day, especially "Popette" who couldn't thank us enough, which was so gorgeous.

So this week I am grateful for going on adventures; big or small, and for the time we spend together discovering places that are new to us or somewhere were we haven't been for a long time and forgotten how much fun it can be.

What are you grateful for today?


Going on holidays

Yay, we are going on holidays today!! I can't wait! (Can you tell I'm a wee bit excited). I am packing a mixture of clothes, the camera, and a new bikini top and board shorts I bought. I'm hoping the weather will be warm enough for a dip! Of course I'm including a bundle of craft and kids activities to keep Popette busy for when Cherub is having a nap, or in case of rainy days.



It's been nearly 2 years since we've had a family holiday, so we are looking forward to relaxing at our favourite holiday park located at Port Stephens up the NSW mid coast. It will be nice to get away from Sydney and all the appointments, sickness, and routines we have had lately and to have some well deserved R&R...maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to fit in a well deserved massage too.

This is the first time Cherub has been to the beach, so we are hoping the weather will be warm enough so we can take her for her first splash. Popette is very excited, and can't wait to build some sandcastles and collect shells on the beach.

While I am away please visit my latest 'grateful' post, and look out for a new "Kids craft" menu being published on the blog. Under this page you will find craft posts that have previously been published.

Do you have a favourite holiday spot that you love to go to each year?

13 October 2012

Week 40: Grateful for a cuppa

Today I caught up with a friend over a cuppa. It had been a couple weeks since we last saw each other so we had a bit to catch-up on. As someone who sometimes gets anxious when talking I find the words flow easier when I'm enjoying a cup of hot steaming tea or coffee. It just seems to relax me, and let me talk without thinking too much!

 



Although I love tea (English Breakfast is my favourite) I love a good coffee. So yesterday afternoon I was little upset when I noticed that we had run out of coffee. Hubby who was working nearby, kindly bought me a coffee from the McCafe on his way home, it was certainly welcomed and was nice after the day I had with the girls.

So this week I am grateful for:

- the coffee my Hubby bought me on the way home from work,
- that first cuppa of the morning, it's so good
- the cuppa I had while chatting to my friend and
- the times I've chatted with Hubby over a hot cup of tea and a bikkie or two when the girls have gone to bed for the night.

What are you grateful for today?

I'm linking up with Maxabella Loves over at Kidspot Village Voices.

09 October 2012

Craft: Manilla Folder Girl

"Popette" and I made this cute paper girl out of an old manilla folder a while back. I thought I'd share it with you, it's so easy and fun to make with little ones.



All you need is:

Manilla folder
Glue
Scissors
Pipe cleaners
Buttons
Strands of wool
Pieces of coloured paper
Glitter pen

First cut out a girl's (or boy's if you wish) head and body out of the manilla folder.

Then cut out an outfit from any pieces of coloured paper you may have lying around (we have a tub full of different coloured paper). We cut out a dress with long sleeves, which we then glued to the manilla folder.

Your child can then decorate the dress however they wish, we used some buttons, which "Popette" glued to the dress.

I then cut some small strands of wool, which "Popette" then glued on the head to make a mop of hair.

"Popette" then glued on some buttons for the eyes, and for the mouth made a smile using a glitter pen.

We also cut out some paper bows which "Popette" stuck onto the girl's head.

I then twisted some pipe cleaners into little arms & legs, which I stuck onto the manilla folder with sticky tape, along with some string for hanging up the girl in "Popette's" room.

Ta-da, and there you have it, a manilla folder girl.

05 October 2012

Week 39: Grateful for positive things

Did you know that October is Positive Attitude Month? I only just found out this week. As much as I try to be positive, there are days when things or life gets me down.



What hasn't helped is that we've had a horrible year with both my girls being really sick (you name it, they've had it), plus my Dad is battling cancer and been in & out of hospital 3 times in as little as a month which has been hard on Mum.

Then an old friend of mine recently died of terminal cancer, which came as a complete shock to me. I hadn't been in touch with her for a very long time, so I took the news hard.

I know there are people who are worse off, but it just seems that things keep knocking me down, and making life difficult, which then makes me feel tired, stressed and not feeling at all positive.

As I wrote in yesterday's post ("30 things I love about myself") I haven't been happy with my attitude for some time and need to make some changes.

So my first step is to be grateful for the positive things that have occured in my life recently:

I am grateful for:
  • The 1st birthday party we had for "Cherub", which turned out lovely.
  • "Cherub" who is finally crawling (I know it's strange to be grateful for this, as it means she'll be in to more stuff!) but she's been a bit slow with some milestones, so it's great watching her crawl around the place.
  • The gorgeous spring weather we've been having. It's been so nice sitting out on our back deck eating lunch with the girls and watching "Popette" jump on her trampoline and blow bubbles.
  • My Dad who is finally at home, although he's not 100%, he's got enough strength to walk around on his own.
  • An upcoming holiday that's been booked for later in the month, I can't wait, I'm counting down the days until Hubby is off work!

What are you grateful for today?

I am linking up with Maxabella Loves at Kidspot Village Voices.

04 October 2012

30 things I love about myself

Do you ever take the time to think about the type of things that you love most about yourself or your life? I must admit, I don't frequently think of what I love about myself. Lately I've been focussed on the things I'd like to fix with myself (ie. weight, my appearance, attitude, mood etc) or how I would like things to be (ie. more time for myself) instead of being happy with what I have right in front of me.

Do you wear your heart on your sleeve?





If I think about it, I'll admit that I haven't been happy with my attitude for some time. The person I used to be before having my girls (probably even before I got married) was a fun loving, happy, bubbly type of person.

But over the last couple of years I've slowly changed. I'm not going to detail it here, as it is something for me to deal with personally, but it's something I hope to change...I need to change...if not, I will continue to be unhappy with myself (which I don't want), and probably hurt the people I care about (another thing I don't want to happen).

Recently I read a post on Debra Dane's blog (Home Life Simplified) about "30 things that I love about myself", which inspired me to sit and have a hard think about what it is that I love about myself and what makes me unique.

What makes me the person I am (flaws & all) and how I can improve myself and make me a better me. Someone I am happy to be.

So here's my list in no particular order.
  1. I am a mother
  2. I am creative (I love being creative on my own and now with "Popette". It's something I've loved ever since I was small and I hope my girls will grow a love for it too!)
  3. I am a good listener
  4. I am a good friend
  5. I am a loving wife (My hubby & I will be married 16 years this year, he is my best friend and I am so happy to have met him)
  6. I am a good daughter (My parents did so much for me growing up, so I think its only fair that I'm there for them when they need it)
  7. I am good at thinking outside the square (When I was working I was paid to think outside the square, and come up with designs or concepts for marketing material which I loved.)
  8. I am patient (Although there are times when I've been pushed to my limits by a wingy toddler!!)
  9. I am resilent (This year has been the hardest with my girls being terribly sick, my Dad's cancer coming back, and both my brothers moving away leaving it up to me to support my parents, amazingly I'm still standing)
  10. I am trusting (I always thought being trustworthy was a good trait, but often I feel taken advantage of by so called friends and aquaintances)
  11. I am a lover of coffee (Not against tea at all, but I love a good coffee)
  12. I am a dreamer (Growing up I was always daydreaming about doing something with my career or becoming something, I still have those sort of dreams but unfortunately have stopped chasing them. I hope my girls dream big.)
  13. I am strong (Not so much physically, but have had to be emotionally going through a traumatic birth with "Popette" who was born at 29 weeks + 3 days, and in the NICU for 50 days)
  14. I am genuine (What you see, is what you get. I don't pretend to be something I'm not.)
  15. I am compassionate (I care when someone tells me a problem they have had, or if something has happened to a friend or person I know)
  16. I am sensitive
  17. I am an artist (I love art, and love to paint and draw, although its something I haven't done much of recently)
  18. I am a world traveller (I have been very lucky to have travelled overseas, can't wait to do more once the girls are bigger)
  19. I am a lover of good wine and food (We don't go out as much as we used to, but hubby and I both love to dine out at a nice restaurant once in a while).
  20. I am a good cuddler (There's nothing I love more than cuddling or snuggling my hubby, and wrapping my arms around my girls and giving them the biggest hugs and kisses)
  21. I love to learn new things (Lately, I've been learning how to decorate cakes using fondant, and scrapbooking)
  22. I love to read (I haven't read a novel in a while, must buy one for our next holiday!)
  23. I love movies (Just watched "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" for 2nd time other night, is the best movie I've seen in a long time!)
  24. I am a writer (Writing is something I have been working on with this blog, one day I'd love to write & publish children's books)
  25. I love spending time with family (My hubby & girls mean the world to me. I love and treasure everyday I have with them...although there are days I'd like a break :))
  26. I love to bake (Last week I made "Cherub's" 1st birthday cake, which featured "Buzzbee" from The Hive and some flowers & butterflies)
  27. I love taking photos (I like to capture special occasions and moments, which I can look back on)
  28. I love making people in my life happy (Especially my hubby & girls)
  29. I am a battler (When I was young I had petite mild epilepsy, and required physio/therapy for developmental issues. There were some things Doctors thought I would never do (like drive a car) but I proved them wrong)
  30. I am thoughtful

Have you written a similar sort of list? I'd love to hear about it if you have.



30 September 2012

Week 38: Happy Outcomes

This week's been a busy week for me in getting "Cherub's" cake made and decorated, and the house clean & tidy for "Cherub's" 1st birthday party yesterday (not so easy with two little munchkins wanting something from me).


Buzzbee cake


While I love planning birthday parties for my girls, I'm also glad when they are over. It's so tiring. My back began aching making Cherub's cake, but I was so pleased with how it turned out. It's just a shame Cherub didn't recognize Buzzbee (I was hoping for a big goofy smile from her), she did enjoyed eating it though.

Cherub enjoying her cake!

Cherub had a lovely time playing with her new toys with her bubba friends on the lounge room floor. Popette loved having her big cousin over, who she played with all day and well into the night, since her cousin, Aunty and Nanny stayed the night.

Me and Cherub

All in all it was an enjoyable party, so for my entry this week I am grateful for happy outcomes.

What are you grateful for today?

I am linking up with Maxabella Loves over at Kidspot Village Voices.

23 September 2012

Week 37: Grateful for firsts

Today its my baby girl's first birthday. Hubby and I can't believe it was a year ago today when I was laying on the operating table having a caesarean when at 7.48am our sweet little "Cherub" was born.

Our birthday girl
"Cherub's" first year has flown by, and with it our precious baby who has now turned into an infant.

Today we witnessed "Cherub" crawl properly for the very first time, usually Hubby being at work misses out, so it was wonderful to be able to share that first together, even more so that it was on her birthday.

So this week I am grateful for all the firsts we have experienced with our girls - first smile, first roll, first word, first tooth, first solids, first crawl (hooray!) and first steps. I am sure there are many more I have forgotten, which are all equally as important and cherished.

What are you grateful for today?

I am linking up with Maxabella Loves over at Kidspot's Village Voices.

14 September 2012

Week 36: Best friends

Late Wednesday night I was checking Facebook and received an email from a friend. The email shocked me. It read that my oldest & dearest childhood friend had died in hospital last week, and that her funeral was going to be held on Thursday.

The friend who had emailed me, hadn't known if I had checked the local paper. And thought she would contact me to check if this was my old friend who was my bridesmaid.

Us on my wedding day
Unfortunately it was.

My friend had terminal cancer and was given 12 months to live, she died at the age of 40.

I wish I had known she was sick. Maybe I could have seen her and made my amends, at least see her and say goodbye. I guess it wasn't meant to be.

We were the best of friends growing up, then life just got busy and everything changed. What was once a relationship where we talked for hours about anything and everything, became hard in connecting with each other or we'd only talked about things that happened in our past.

I blame myself for not trying harder, or for keeping in touch. But my husband told me it can't be all my fault, as there was 2 of us in the relationship.

I remember our last catchup was very awkward. The conversations I tried having with her were responded in 2 or 3 words. She was distant and not her warm, happy, self.

Then over the years we sent a few christmas cards and birthday cards to each other, then our lives went in separate directions and we lost contact. She was married, a young mother with 2 children, where as I was working hard at my job, travelling overseas with my now husband and buying a house. I tried to keep in touch, but it was difficult when she didn't talk to me or get in touch with me.

Although I hadn't spoken or seen her in such a long time, I often thought of her. For the past few years I had been trying to find her online. Then a few months ago I found her on Facebook. I sent her an email, but never heard back from her. I was upset in thinking that she had moved on and didn't want to talk to me. Maybe that was the case, I'll never know.

These past couple of days has been the hardest for me.

While we hadn't been friends in over 11 years, I still remember how she could make me laugh, and how she was always smiling and joking around. We always had a fun time when we got together. 

Yesterday, my husband drove me to the funeral, but couldn't be with me through the service as he had 11 month old "Cherub" in the car. I was devastated. I tried to give my friend's husband our condolescenes, but it came blubbering out as a "I'm sorry".. which is all I could say to him, my friend's Mum and sister, who I knew all well. They didn't respond with a greeting, not that I was really expecting one, only a thanks for coming.

This week I am grateful for having a best friend. She was my best friend throughout childhood to early adulthood and was a fun loving person, who I will always remember fondly.

I am grateful to have shared happy times with her, and to have had her as a friend even if it was only for a short time.

What are you grateful for?

I am linking up with Maxabella Loves over at Kidspot's Village Voices.

07 September 2012

Week 35: Grateful for warmer weather

Spring is truly here in the mountains! We have some beautiful little freshias popping up in our front yard, and our plum tree is blossoming away in the backyard.

Our plum tree in full bloom
The weather this week has been a nice change from the cold days we've had over the past few months. Usually I love winter, especially cuddling in front of our log fire, but I am actually grateful to have the warmer weather here. It's warming us up, and will hopefully get my girls over their nasty colds and sicknesses they've been battling throughout winter.

I am grateful for the sunny, spring days which allows us to go on picnics or play at the park, and soak up the sun.

"Cherub" having fun in the sun


I am grateful for the warmer weather letting us get out our dresses, t-shirts & shorts and to feel the sun's rays on our bare arms and legs.

I am grateful for the warm winds drying the washing on the clothes line.

What are you grateful for?

I am linking up with Maxabella Loves over at Kidspot's Village Voices.

05 September 2012

Being creative with pasta

Popette is always wanting to make "something fun". So today I thought we'd make a picture out of pasta as a little craft activity. We love pasta in our household, so it wasn't hard to find some in our pantry.

The picture was so simple to make and didn't take up a lot of time, which is good when you are busy doing the washing, and don't want to pull out the painting supplies! But most of all it gave my big girl the 'craft fix' she needed, so that made us both happy. :)

It was such an easy and fun thing to do, Popette loved sticking down the pasta and using the 'gloopy glue', all you need is an idea of what you want to create and some paper, glue, pasta and pencils.


Do you remember making macaroni craft when you were in pre-school/ kindergarten?

02 September 2012

My blog is 2 years old today

Today it was my blogoversary! I can't believe it's been a whole 2 years since I started blogging and created Off to the Park.

When I first started my blog I didn't have a goal in mind for Off to the Park, or devote it to just one topic. Maybe one day I will. But at the moment it is a hobby. I started Off to the Park, to write about my thoughts and ideas of parenthood as well as document the goings on of my little "Popette".

Since I began two years ago, the blog has grown with the type of content I publish as well as followers (thank you very much :))

As someone who was used to working in a full-time role for nearly 20 years, its been a good outlet for me in writing stuff down (instead of filling up my head). It also helps me utilise my writing skills so they don't get rusty while I'm out of work and allows me to connect with readers (kinda like me being at work and having a chat with my 'desk buddy' or a colleague while making a coffee).

Unless I can get a paid bloggers job, blogging will remain a hobby for me (much to my hubby's annoyance - I'm sure he thinks its a waste of my time). My main role is Mummy to my two girls who I adore, even when they drive me crazy!

If you are first-time visitor to my blog or a follower that visits regularly, thank you for taking the time to visit me at Off to the Park, and I hope you will come back and visit me soon :)

31 August 2012

Week 34: Grateful for Friday

Yay, it's Friday! Thank goodness its the end of the week. Some weeks literally fly by and you wonder how that happened, while scratching your head trying to remember what you did.



Do you ever feel like that?

This week we've done some Father's Day shopping, went on a couple of walks, did some craft and painting.

While it was much nicer week than last week (you can read about it here), I'm grateful that its Friday and tomorrow is the weekend.

I am grateful that Hubby will soon be finished work for the week, as we miss him when he goes to work.

I am grateful that we can enjoy Friday afternoons together knowing he doesn't have work the next day.

I am also grateful that its the end of another long week with the girls, as much as I love them dearly, they drive me crazy at times, so I am grateful to have hubby's support over the weekend.

What are you grateful for?

I am linking up with Maxabella Loves over at Kidspot Village Voices.

28 August 2012

"Popette" painting on canvas

"Popette" loves to paint. It's one of her favourite things to do (as it is mine). Whenever I ask her if she wants to do some painting, she gets very excited and runs straight to the dining room (our art studio) waiting for me to cover the table with newspaper and bring out the supplies.

For something different, I thought I'd introduce her to painting on canvas. She's always painting on paper, so I thought she could try a small canvas I had lying around using my "big" brushes and acrylic paints.


She loved mixing the paints and making colours.

My little artist at work
 
Painting with cut-out shapes
 
Popette's finished artwork
 
Its been so long since I picked up a paintbrush. Before "Cherub" was born, I was attending an art class at a local creative arts community centre. My project was an oil painting of a beach scene and some lemons, it's still unfinished as I haven't had time or the motivation to get back into it.

My unfinished artwork

Do you or your little ones like to paint?

23 August 2012

Week 34: Grateful for this day



 

This week I am grateful for this day (not that it looked anything like this picture!) because it's not yesterday. Yesterday was a long, exhausting, emotionally-fuelled day sitting in a hospital room with my Mum while my Dad underwent surgery for bladder cancer.

For 4 hours we spent the time chatting about the girls, having deep and meaningfuls about Dad, the family and 'what if' conversations...some conversations I never thought we would have. We went for a couple of walks, had lunch in the hospital's coffee shop, looked at a knitting pattern for "Cherub" which Mum has kindly taken on, all of which to distract us from gazing at the clock.

I am grateful for this day as Dad has come out of surgery and seems to be okay. For someone who was given a "1 in 3 chance" of not coming out of it at all, I am so grateful that he is still here with us.

I am grateful for this day as it allows me not to worry so much about my Dad. After a restless night of worrying if Dad will be okay, seeing him today and hearing reports from nurses have given me some relief.

What are you grateful for?

I am linking up with Maxabella Loves over at Kidspot Village Voices.

20 August 2012

My little "Cherub" is growing up fast

I feel terrible that I haven't written much about my little bubba. Apart from her being sick, I haven't written anything, unlike all the posts I have written about Popette when she was a bubba.

I'm a little sad that this past year has gone by so quickly, you kind of forget once you have a toddler how quickly your baby's first year goes. I sometimes wish that I could rewind this past year and go through this time with "Cherub" all over again...minus all the times she's been sick and when she suffered the bad reflux.

Today I took her to her pediatrician, who thinks she has a big head for her age and is concerned about her fontanel's which have already closed up. He also commented that she hasn't 'grown into her eyes' and thought she might be a little cross-eyed. Of course being her Mummy, I think she's perfect!

My gorgeous girl


Last week she finally started commando crawling. Cherub is our chubba bubba and has been a little on the lazy side when it comes to moving. She's been rocking back & forth on her knees for a couple months, and sliding backwards for a few weeks. Yesterday she managed to commando crawl after my cup of tea. I guess it won't be long and she'll be crawling around after her big sister.

All dressed up in her new clothes

Cherub adores her big sister to bits. It's wonderful seeing them play together on the floor and being affectionate towards each other. Popette is always making her laugh, which is gorgeous. Cherub has got such a hearty little chuckle.

The girls playing together

I feel guilty when I leave her alone in her rocker or playing on the floor while I have a little time to myself (like the time I write a blog post or check my email/Facebook). I feel as though I should be spending this time with her.

I'm lucky that Popette goes to daycare twice a week, so I try and spend quality time with Cherub then, but there is always something that needs to be done like housework or errands, and I don't spend as much time with her than I should.

Cherub has a lovely little personality. She is so cheeky, and often grabs our finger and playfully bites it with her little fangs. She's always sucking her socks off her feet, then shoving her foot into her mouth. She loves playing on the floor with her toys or splashing away in the bath where she'll splash water all over the floor, walls and shower.

Cherub loves the bath!

I can't believe we will be celebrating her 1st birthday soon. It's gone by way too quickly.

17 August 2012

Week 33: Grateful for "52 weeks of grateful"

It's grateful time again, how quickly it comes around. I've had one of those weeks where I found it hard to think of what I am grateful for, which you can read about here. If you are not familiar with my grateful journey you can read up on it here.




When I started the "52 weeks of grateful" challenge in January (because it can be a bit of a challenge at times), I thought it would be quite easy writing about what I would be grateful for each week. I didn't think about how life might affect the posts I write, or fear that I wouldn't be able to write an entry one week...there are so many things to be grateful for right?

As part of my new years resolution I had already been thinking about starting a grateful blog (inspired by something I saw on Oprah, do you miss Oprah?) before I saw the announcement on Kidspot of the linkup. So I was very eager to get involved on this journey.

So this week I am grateful for the "52 weeks of grateful" journey.

I am grateful where each week I am reminded of what I am grateful for in life.

I am grateful for it challenging my lazy Mumma brain to think about something other than baby or toddler stuff, and make me write posts that (hopefully) has some meaning to each and every one of them.

I am grateful for the little community of bloggers I have come apart of through Kidspot Village Voices link up (thanks KS!), where I read and connect with some amazing bloggers. And for the readers who leave comments on my 'grateful' posts telling me what they liked about my post or leaving me a friendly message.

What are you grateful for?

I am linking up with Maxabella Loves over at Kidspot Village Voices.
 

15 August 2012

When life gives you lemons...

And here I was going to write a sweet little post about my little "Cherub" saying that she's just started commando crawling (finally), when I get a phone call from my Mum saying that Dad has to go into hospital next Wednesday for another operation. :(

Life sucks at times. I know there are worse people off, but lately we seem to be going through a lot of crap!



We've had the worst year with sickness, the girls have been so sick over the past 5 months, in particular "Popette". You name it, she's had it....the flu, colds galore, viral infections, bronchitis, gastroenteritis...it seems she always has a runny nose (I guess that happens when they are in daycare two days a week). She's also started coughing at night again. I know littlies get at least 10-13 colds a year, but it would be nice to have a bit of a break!

Poor "Cherub" has caught the majority of them off her big sister, including gastro. She's recently gotten over a week of vomiting, high temperatures, being off her food, along with a bad cold and cough (which she still hasn't gotten over), which was caused from the measles vaccine she needed to get after being in contact with someone with a case of severe measles.

It's just been one thing after another...I am so tired of it.

My Dad's cancer has also returned causing him (and Mum) a lot of pain and stress. It's horrible to see them so worried about it, especially Mum. She called me today to let me know that Dad needs to go in for operation next Wednesday as the pain has become unbearable. She's asked if I could be her moral support on the day, so now I need hubby to stay home on that day to look after the girls.

This year both my brothers have decided to move. My oldest brother moved to Queensland a couple months ago, and now my other brother is planning on moving his family to the NSW central coast fairly soon. While it's great news for them, I just don't feel all that excited for them. I feel as though they get to have a 'seachange' and start their lives over again, while my hubby & I are stuck living where we are. Not that that's a huge problem as we love it here, but if my hubby was offered a role elsewhere (he's already knocked back some really good offers) we probably wouldn't move because of my Dad's cancer and staying close to my parents.

I've been telling hubby that I want to go on a holiday, it's been nearly 2 years since we've had one. I think we are both rundown and in need of some time away from the house.
Do you ever feel that you've had enough?

11 August 2012

Week 32: Grateful for learning

Today we had my Mum's 70th High Tea birthday party at our house. It was a lovely day spent with some of my family. My eldest brother and his family now live in Brisbane so couldn't make it in person, so we had a virtual get together over Skype, and wished Mum a Happy Birthday.



I had spent the majority of yesterday baking an orange cake.  As the cake hadn't risen very high, I decided to make a double-layer cake with whipped cream in the middle. And later decorated it with butter cream icing, some roses I made out of fondant, and silver balls (I know they have a proper name, but can't remember it!)

Ever since I made "Popette" a Peppa Pig cake for her 3rd birthday, I've been interested in learning more about fondant and making characters. In a few weeks time I'm attending a beginner's cake decorating class, which I'm really looking forward to.

I love that on the web, there are platforms such as YouTube and VideoJug, that allows people to load up a video of them showing off their skills and sharing tips. Over the past few weeks I have been busy teaching myself how to make roses out of fondant. I found some great tutorials on VideoJug (similar to YouTube) that shows you how to make simple roses out of fondant.

In six weeks time, we have "Cherub's" 1st birthday coming up, so I've been thinking of what type of birthday cake to make her. One of her favourite TV shows at the moment, is "The Hive", so thinking of making her a beehive with some of the characters from the show.

It's been quite some time since I have attended a class and learnt a new skill, so this week I am grateful for the opportunities in learning new skills, whether it's off the internet, from a friend, or from attending a new class.

I am also grateful to learn something that sparks my creativity, and brings pleasure to the people I make it for.

What are you for grateful for?

I am linking up with Bron over at Kidspot Village Voices.

04 August 2012

I knitted a strip

My first attempt at knitting a square

Well I was hoping to get a square or two knitted up for the 'Knit In' campaign that was run by the ABC, but in a month I've only managed 1/5 of a square, so have knitted a strip.

Hubby joked that its 1/5 complete, only 4 months to go til its complete! (hahaha)

It's a pity the knitting was due yesterday, I was enjoying the challenge, but having two sick kiddies over the past month has been challenging enough and when I did get time to knit it was late at night.

My parents are awesome knitters and will often knit up a beanie, cardigan or jumper within weeks, so I guess I haven't got the knitters gene in me. Maybe I'll continue with it for next year.

Do you knit? Have you ever finished knitting anything?