23 December 2013

Christmas greetings!

 I'd like to take this time to wish my readers a Merry Christmas and a safe & Happy New Year.

We have a busy few weeks planned as Hubby is taking a well earned break from work, which means I will be taking a few weeks away from the blog.

Over Christmas we have various get togethers with family & friends, our run of birthdays (my 41st, Hubby's 40th, and Popette's 5th), and in early January a week's holiday in Brisbane visiting family.

I look forward to coming back in January feeling refreshed and full of some more craft activities to share with you. :)

What are your Christmas plans?

16 December 2013

2013...a year in review

This year has been tough for my family with the passing of my Dad last Christmas. The first few months were hard not only on myself, my Hubby & Mum, but also Popette.

Thankfully we also had some wonderfully happy, spontaneous, fun and loving days spent together as a family.

Here's a little collage of our year in review. :)

09 December 2013

Paying It Forward - Homeless Hampers needs your support

Christmas for me is not just a time for giving, its a time when I stop and think about what I am grateful for.

I am grateful for the love and support of my family & friends.

I am grateful to have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, fresh food in the fridge, running water & electricity, a warm bed to snuggle in at night, and my husband's job.

I am very fortunate and grateful to have all these things, but it makes me wonder how homeless people cope. I cannot imagine what its like sleeping outside on a freezing cold night in a park or street somewhere without so much as a blanket to keep me warm.

Unfortunately, there are many people who don't have anywhere to live, so have no choice but to live on the street.

Earlier this year, my friend, Gen and her husband Rob, developed a Christmas hamper program for the local homeless people.

It was a clip of two men handing out bottles of water and bananas to New York's homeless on YouTube, that got Gen thinking of how she could help the homeless people of Western and North Western Sydney, when the Paying It Forward - Homeless Hampers Facebook page was born.

Through the page, Gen asked family and friends if they would pledge $17.50 towards a hamper. Within a few hours of sending the request Gen received 30 pledges. By the end of the week, 80 more. They now have 120 hampers to deliver this year.

What the homeless will receive in their hampers this year.
Gen and her family are currently supporting Hawkesbury's Helping Hands and the St Vinnies food van which covers the Hawkesbury, Penrith and Parramatta areas. In the future, they'd like to help the homeless within the Blue Mountains if the funding permits.
Grab N Go packs - busting hunger for just .85c (less than you can buy a bottle of soft drink!)

So far they have helped 20-30 people in Penrith, 30-50 people in Parramatta and 50-60 people in Hawkesbury with whatever items they had in stock.

They are now taking up donations of toiletries, blankets, scarfs, beanies, sleeping bags, Grab N Go packs and other necessary items to hand out to the local homeless when needed. As of January 2014, they also hope to have collection tins circulating around the local businesses.

With the generous support they have received from family and friends, Gen & Rob are hoping to help more regularly and are trying to get backing from local businesses. To encourage local business owners they need at least 500 members to join their Facebook group.

Gen and her family are an inspiration. Their commitment in helping the homeless in their spare time has seen them spend many late nights devoted to this cause.

So now I'd like to ask you to help pay it forward and help them.


Five ways you can help!

  1. Join Paying It Forward - Homeless Hampers Facebook page.
  2. Invite others to the Facebook page and help spread the word about this great cause. 
  3. Provide a cash donation or store voucher from Woolworths, Coles or IGA;
  4. Donate goods; i.e. toiletries, blankets, scarfs, beanies, sleeping bags, small tents, ring pull canned food and non perishable foods.
  5. Volunteer your time. (There will be days when volunteers are needed to distribute goods. Only 2 volunteers will be needed at any one time. No children allowed due to safety reasons.) 
If you are a local business owner and interested in donating goods to this worthy cause, in return for your support your business will be advertised on the Paying It Forward - Homeless Hampers Facebook page.

**This is not a sponsored post**

06 December 2013

Christmas craft projects link-up + free eBook

As you may know,  Popette & I love to make craft, and share our ideas with you.

So with that thought in mind, I wanted to let you in on a little project I am currently working on.

It's a free eBook featuring some of my favourite Kids craft activities posted on the blog, Christmas craft projects, the recipe for my yummy shortbread, along with a couple of unpublished craft projects for you to create with your little ones. :)

To receive a copy of this free eBook all you need to do is complete the sign-up form for the free Christmas craft eBook, and a copy will be delivered to your inbox once it's completed! (Which I hope to get finalised very soon)

Looking for some fun Christmas craft projects to make with the littlies? Well, look no further!

Below I have created a link-up to all the Christmas craft projects Popette and I have made together.

Christmas craft project link-up


Santa Advent Calendar printable


Recycled Christmas card tree

25 November 2013

Kindy orientation and runny noses

Poor Popette has been unwell with this past week with a runny nose and dry cough. We originally thought it was just sinus, but now not quite sure. So off to the doctor's today, even though there's probably nothing they can do. We have tried over the counter cold syrups, baby vicks and the vaporiser, but nothing seems to help so I hope the doctor can advise us of something.

Poor little Cherub has caught her big sister's runny nose, and has been snuffly in bed. I'm hoping she doesn't get any worse.

We didn't think Popette would be able to attend Kindy orientation last week as she was feeling miserable, and broke out in a little rash (which we decided was just a sweat rash). Thankfully she was fine on Thursday, and was excited walking us through the gates of the "big school".

Hubby & I were excited for her (and a little upset), we can't believe our little premmie is going to big school next year! Where has that time gone?

Popette was a little shy when we arrived, clinging to us and not wanting to talk to the kids that she knew or be introduced to kids I knew through a friend. After a little cry, she settled down and enjoyed her time in the classroom.

After her visit, she received a nice wide brim hat, and tried on her school uniform...which only upset Hubby & I more. She looks so grown up!

I'm not looking forward to her first day of school, I think there's going to be some serious tears!

Popette loves her new school hat

18 November 2013

Craft: Recycled Christmas card tree

This is a little different to the normal craft activities I publish on the blog. Normally I like to share a craft activity I've made with Popette, this time however it's something Popette has helped me make :)

The other day when I was going through my drawer, I found a bunch of old christmas cards. I thought rather than throwing them away, it would be great to make a craft out of them. My original idea was to make a wreath for the door (like this one on here), but I didn't have enough cards.

I then had another look at the holly leafs I already had cut out, and decided to make a christmas tree as a decorative piece.


All you need is:a bunch of old Christmas cards
Pins, tacks or hot glue gun
Foam board
Piece of material to cover board
Shiny beads

To make the holly leaf shape:
I drew a leaf about 13cm long and 5cm wide on a piece of card, which I cut out and used as a stencil so all the leafs were the same size. You can make your tree however big or small you want, it all depends on the amount of cards you cut out and the size of your board. My board is the size of an A3 piece of paper.

Using my stencil to cut out some holly leaf shapes
I didn't want to use glue for this craft, so I used some small pins to hold the fabric and cards to the board instead. This is handy if you want to play around with the colours.

To make the tree:

Starting at the bottom of the tree I started by overlapping 3 leafs across the board to form the first branch and shape of a christmas tree, once I got towards the top I only overlapped two cards then made room for a star. For our star I used some shiny embellishments I had in my sewing basket. But you could cut out a star shape out of card and place that on top.

Other ideas: You could pin some ribbon on the tree to make it look like tinsel, cut out some small circle card shapes to make baubels for the tree. Its all up to you and your imagination!

Popette helping me pick the cards
While this activity is a little old for toddlers and preschoolers, Popette still helped me by choosing what "leaf" to go next and handed me them along with a pin. This could be a fun activity for the older school aged kids to make or you could make it yourself :)

15 November 2013

Grateful for being me

Saying no isn't something I'm always good at. There were times back when I was working, that I would take on so much work and became so snowed under that it was hard to get everything completed by its deadline. I managed it all, but I put a lot of pressure on myself, all because I didn't know how to say no to my boss or fellow colleagues.

I have never been very good at being assertive or telling somebody what I think, even if it was a decision I didn't agree with. I guess it was fear of me being wrong, or being laughed at or starting a confrontation with someone. I hate confrontations! I guess I should be better at speaking my mind, but I'm a big chicken!

Image source: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/430656783088132514/
I worked with a woman once, who thought she was superior to everyone (mostly people younger than herself). I think she felt threatened by me, since I knew a little more than she did on certain subjects and had skills she didn't possess. This resulted in more than one confrontation with her. On one occasion I ended up in tears (the big ugly ones) right in front of our boss! Not my greatest moment. Thankfully I wasn't the only one that had issues with her.

From that moment I realised I needed to be more assertive.
For the past few weeks I've been having discussions with an agency about some potential paid work. At first it was exciting, but then I realised what they wanted was different to what I wanted, and in the end it didn't feel right to me so I didn't go ahead with the work.

I’m not a professional blogger. I blog for myself, and the little community that follows me here and here. Its taken some time, but I have managed to build a little blog that I am proud of. Its my little world, it stores my thoughts, my feelings, carries my voice, and is a place where I can dream. Over 3 years I have ever so slowly built a reputation for my blog and as a blogger. My blog means a lot to me.

So this week I am grateful for being me, while I am a big chicken when it comes to confrontations, I'm grateful to be able to make decisions, speak up, not give up on an idea or something that's worth fighting for.

What are you grateful for?

I am linking up with Octavia and Vicky for 52 weeks of grateful.

08 November 2013

Being grateful: Making memories

Last weekend we took a long weekend away to Canberra, we had a great time. The girls loved the Dinosaur museum, and playing at Questacon. They loved running around our 2 bedroom apartment, and watching TV on our bed...a bit of a novelty.

One day Popette enjoyed a swim in the pool with Daddy, while I flicked through a house magazine while Cherub slept, which made me very happy.

I really enjoyed being away from home, but mostly seeing the girls have fun and enjoy themselves.

So this week I am grateful for making memories. Memories of not just holidays, but of fun and special times spent together, which my hubby & I can look back on and retell to the girls, and talk about how much fun we had during that moment.

What are you grateful for?

I am linking up with Octavia and Vicky for 52 weeks of grateful.

05 November 2013

Craft: Homemade button board

Today I have a craft activity for the parents to make. It's a homemade button board. I came across one on Pinterest, the button board is a great way to teach your toddler or preschooler how to fasten their buttons.

Popette is starting "big school" next year, so I thought it would be great practice for her. The board is also a good way to teach your toddler the difference between big and small (using different size buttons), how to tye a ribbon or shoelace, and identifying shapes.

To make the button board I used an old piece of flannelette material which I cut into a large rectangle. I sewed five buttons, and a piece of ribbon on to the material, which I stuck onto an old piece of cardboard using sticky tape.

Then using scrap pieces of felt I cut out five shapes with a small button hole for fastening to the board.

Popette doing up her buttons
All you need is:

An assortment of buttons (I found different sizes worked best)
Felt or thick material (i.e. an piece of an old flannelette sheet)
Needle & thread
Sticky tape
Piece of thick cardboard

Note: I have sewn my buttons on to a piece of fabric, but if you have little ones who still put things in their mouths you might want to fasten the buttons using a hot glue gun or use large buttons.

Suitable age group: Mum or Dad (Kids can help select the buttons & pieces of material)
Estimated time: 15-30 mins (Depends how handy you are with a needle & thread :))
Messiness factor: low

31 October 2013

Checking in on my new year's resolutions

Today I thought I'd check the progress of my new years resolutions, and see how far have I come since April's check-in.

I have been trying really hard this year to stick to the things on my list. They aren't just a list of fluffy resolutions (ie. buy new underwear, eat less chocolate - ok, I do need new underwear and I should eat less chocolate! ) I wanted them to be something that is going to change my life for the better.

Eat (be) healthier

It's taken ten months, but I have finally joined a gym! After much procrastinating and saying to my husband "I need to join a gym". I finally went to a local gym and signed up for a 7 day trial. While I'm worried about being locked into a 12 month contract (I prefer the no-contract option) I found myself puffing after chasing Cherub around, so knew I had to get serious about my health and do something about it. Tomorrow night I have one last session on my 7 day trial, then I will be signing up for 12 months!

We have been sticking to our weekly menu plan really well, and even saving money by not buying items that aren't on the list. Of course, there's the odd occasion when we don't feel like the meal we have planned, and buy take-out. But usually we are pretty good at sticking to what's on our menu.

I finally saw a GP about how I was feeling. We talked about ways to manage my feelings, and my GP has prescribed some vitamins and is sending me off to get some blood tests done. As I mentioned
before, I think having a chat with someone about how I'm feeling or what I've been going through has been of help.

Declutter and organise

Keeping the house free of clutter and organised has been one of my biggest struggles. I can't seem to keep on top of it. When I think I have it under control, another pile of stuff seems to appear out of nowhere. Or the washing takes a life of its own and is piled up to the ceiling, along with the dirty laundry waiting to be washed. Its never ending.

I'd love to be one of those Mum's who has a spotless house, and can have people drop in unannounced and not be embarrassed by a huge mess, but unfortunately that's not the case here!

This resolution is a work in progress and something I will need to work on.

Make new friends/save old friendships

I am happy to say that I have made further progress with this resolution. :)

Popette has been a little lonely at home and recently asked if we could arrange some playdates with friends of her's from daycare. As someone who is not good at breaking out of the 
comfort zone, I left a note in the pidgeon holes of each girl inviting them on a playdate with Popette. Popette was so happy when we got 3 replies saying "Yes please!"

We caught up with two of her little friends a couple weeks ago. The girls all had a great time running around and playing together at the park. I also had a nice time chatting to each of the mums.

We have another playdate planned for next week with little friend no 3, followed by more playdates in the coming weeks.

I am taking the girls to playgroup more regularly, which has been good for me as it gets me out of the house and I get to talk to other women. Plus its good for the girls. They are getting out of the house, playing with other toys, making craft and sometimes playing with other kids.

A few months ago I opened up to an old friend of mine, telling her how I had been
struggling. We seem to talk to each other a bit more regularly than before, which is a good thing.

Spend less time on computer, more time with girls. þ

I have been trying to limit the time I spend on the computer to when Cherub has her day nap, or when Popette is busy drawing or chilling out on the lounge. While I do spend a bit more time writing posts, there are other days when the only time I go on the computer is in the evening. While I'm not giving the girls all my attention, all the time, I have been spending more time with them playing, creating, laughing and going out. So I'm happy with this resolution.

The results so far - 3 out of 4. Not too bad!! :)

Have you been ticking any items off your resolutions list, or have you given up and thrown it in the too hard basket?

25 October 2013

Being grateful: For having a home, changes in the weather and heroes

This past week has been full of stress, and fear of the unknown but with that given me a number of things to be grateful for.

One of the biggest fears for me was of the bushfire coming in our direction and destroying our house; its more than a house to me its our home & life of 12 years, its the girls 1st home, its a place where we've made some beautiful memories as a couple and as a family. While there are so many people who have lost their homes, I am grateful that we have one.

The view from our front veranda last Thursday

Wednesday was a horrific day with extreme weather conditions and predictions from the RFS that the fire would take a turn for the worse.

I am so grateful that the weather wasn't as bad as they predicted, and while the fire is still burning, it hasn't destroyed any further homes and is currently under control.

I am also grateful for the men and women of the NSW RFS and other emergency services, who dedicate their lives to protecting people and their homes.

I've read stories of firefighters that have fought a fire somewhere else while their own home was being destroyed by a fire, these people are the real heroes and I am so grateful for them.

What are you grateful for?

I am linking up with Octavia and Vicky for 52 weeks of grateful and With Some Grace for FYBF.

22 October 2013

Craft: Bottle-top stamps

Popette and I had a little fun today making some stamps using craft foam and some bottle tops. It's very easy to make, and gave the kids something fun to play with once Cherub woke up from her nap.

Our assortment of stamps
With a black marker pen Popette and I drew some shapes onto some craft foam, which we carefully cut out. Then using sticky tape stuck the shapes onto the bottle tops making stamps!

All you need is:
Craft foam
Marker pen
Sticky tape or glue
Cleaned bottle tops (we found juice lids worked the best)
Stamp pad

Suitable age group: 2-5yrs
Estimated time: 10-15 mins (if Mum or Dad helps cut out the shapes)
Messiness factor: medium (remember to buy stamp ink that is easy to wash off little hands)

20 October 2013

Some happy news amongst the chaos

With all the stressing of the fires that are blazing around us, I forgot that we had something to be happy about this week.

Popette finally received a letter in the mail inviting her to Kindy Orientation in November. Popette is so excited and can't wait to attend "big school" next year. Me on the other hand is a little apprehensive about my "big girl" attending school. I'm sure I'll have a box of tissues handy on her first day.

To celebrate, we took the girls out for a little "celebration dinner" of pizza & pasta.

Me and my big girl

If you have been following the blog's FB page, you would have seen my updates about the Blue Mountains bushfires. I've been trying to stay calm, but unfortunately that hasn't been working too well. I have been on edge since Thursday, experiencing headaches, and not sleeping well as I've been too worried about the fires spreading. I'm thankful that the girls don't realise how the close the fires are to our house.

Taken outside the front of our house on Thursday
Hubby has been busy in the yard today raking, mowing, mulching and blowing leaves to have it prepared for the worst case scenario. I’ve been packing a few bags with clothes & paperwork just in case we get evacuated. I'd rather be prepared then running around wondering what to pack if it approaches us.

The weather forecast for the next couple days doesn’t sound good. The RFS are expecting the fire to spread with the hot/windy conditions that are predicted.

Thanks to those of you who have sent through your support & well wishes.

08 October 2013

October is mental health month

The quest for chasing happiness has been high on my "to-do" list this year. But I found the more I thought about being happy, the more miserable I felt.

I'd be lying if I said I had a bad life, I don't. I am very lucky to have a wonderful husband who is loving and supportive, and two adorable little girls.

I love my girls, but there are times when I get so frustrated (no doubt like most parents) and can't seem to be the "bigger person" and walk away from the tantrums, outbursts etc, or often lash out at the trouble maker, then feel really terrible for doing so. 

Ever since my Dad died, I found myself struggling with being happy, feeling tired all the time, unmotivated, and snapped at the people I loved. I didn't have the energy to do things that often made me happy. I found that I just wasn't myself.
Some days I feel really emotional, especially if I've spent time with my Mum, as we often talk about Dad. Dad's death has hit us both hard. Unfortunately, my brothers don't live locally so are not around to give Mum or myself the support we need, which means we've been struggling with Dad's death by ourselves instead of as a family.

I've been lucky to have a couple of close friends, and my husband to talk to.

Last week I saw my GP for a check-up on my chlosterol, and chatted to her about how I was feeling. She also treats my Mum, so knows what we've been through with Dad. Not just Dad's death, but the constant care that Dad needed, and when we both found Dad after he had passed away.

Source: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/125397170847437234/

Lately, I've been trying to find contentment in being grateful, spending quality time with my family, and finding a little time to myself. Some days it's hard to find time for myself or think about what I am grateful for. It is a work in progress.

Having a chat with someone about how I'm feeling or what I've been going through has been of help.

October is mental health month. If you know someone who is struggling, try to be mindful when talking with them. You don't know what their journey involves or what they may be going through. If they haven't been in touch for a while or have avoided catching up, it doesn't necessarily mean they don't want to see or speak to you maybe they just don't know what to say or having a rough time. I can say this as I have been through that exact feeling with my own friends, and unfortunately it has taken a toll with me losing some friendships on the way.

If you know someone who has had a rough time of late, why not be a friend and check in with them to see how they are doing and ask them "R U OK?".

{This is not a sponsored post, its just something I strongly believe in}

04 October 2013

Being grateful: For my Mum

My girls, Mum & I taken on Mum's birthday

This week I am grateful for my Mum. Mum & I have been through a lot together this past year. Dad is always on our minds. I know Mum misses him deeply as do I. I'm grateful that we can talk about him, and be there for each other. There are days when I'm feeling down and in need of some company, and Mum has been there to listen over a cuppa.
I'm grateful to have such a close and loving relationship with her, I hope that one day I will have that same relationship with both my girls. 
I hope that we can be there for each other, and talk about anything like I do with my Mum. 
I am grateful to have a good relationship with her, and to have her as my Mum.
I love you Mum. xxx
What are you grateful for?
I am linking up with Octavia & Vicky for 52 weeks of grateful.

24 September 2013

A letter to Cherub for her 2nd birthday

To my little Cherub,

Happy Birthday!

You are now 2 years old and officially a toddler (as much as I hate to say it). The past 2 years have gone by way too fast, I wish time would stop so I could enjoy you as my little bubba for a while longer. You have been such a sweet sweet bubba, and now, my cheeky little monkey.

What better way to spend your birthday then with Daddy taking the day off work and the four of us spending the day at the beach. It was a lovely day.

You loved sitting on the sand with Daddy building sandcastles, and having a little splash in the water.

Your big sister was happy to splash in the water with Mummy, and make sandcastles alongside of you.


It was a beautiful sunny Spring day. A perfect day for a birthday.

We enjoyed some fish & chips for lunch, then back for more play in the water and sand.

Then to finish our day we ate ice creams by the beach, before making our way home.

You had a lovely day. Too excited to sleep on the way home. You enjoyed the trip through the tunnel and chatting (screeching) along with your sister.

We had held a little party for you on the weekend with family which you also loved, you're a very lucky girl and loved very much.

Please don't grow up too fast, Mumma wants you to stay her little girl for just a little longer.

Love your Mumma

20 September 2013

Being grateful: To my readers

This week I am grateful to the readers who have joined my little community on the blog and over at the Facebook page, as well as other followers who pop in from time to time.

While this blog was originally setup as a way for me to record my feelings, thoughts and moments as a Mummy, it's now become somewhere where I can interract with other parents and feel as though I'm not alone on this Mummy journey. It's also become a place where I can share craft ideas and record moments of gratitude.

I can't believe the blog is now in its 3rd year, its gone by so fast.

So thank you to all of you have commented, liked, shared or just taken the time to read a post. :)

What are you grateful for?

I am linking up with Octavia & Vicky for 52 weeks of grateful.

17 September 2013

Off to the park's 3rd blogoversary!!!

Yesterday I was doing some maintenance work as well as freshening up the blog's appearance (what do you think?), when I noticed my blog had celebrated it's third blogoversary without me! I knew it was creeping up, but can't believe I missed it!

One of my illustrations

I am quite pleased with how far I've come, not only with the blog, but with my writing.

When I started over 3 years ago, I didn't give much thought to who would be reading the blog, mostly I was doing it for myself as a hobby, and using it as a creative outlet to record my thoughts and journey as a parent.

But over time its also became a place where readers can come and find fun things to make out of craft (something we love to do here), record my dreams and feelings of gratitude.

I am grateful to the readers who have joined my little community, and to other followers who pop in from time to time and leave their comments.

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

To celebrate my 3rd blogoversary, I thought I'd share some of my favourite posts with you here.

10 ways to be happy & find gratefulness in the (little) day-to-day things & printable

30 things I love about myself

A mother's pride

My "big girl"

A Mumma's letter to her girls

09 September 2013

Photos and privacy - how much control do we really have on Facebook

Did you know that Cover photos on Facebook are made Public, and cannot be changed? Over the weekend I found a huge amount of my personal photo's, along with some status updates were shared as "Public". I didn't realise this at the time, and think it's because of how they were published through my old mobile phone's FB app which didn't have the audience selector option, meaning anyone on Facebook could see these photos.

Posting photos on Facebook has become a bit of an issue in my household lately. Hubby has been a little uncomfortable about who I've been sharing photo's of our girls (mostly friends on my personal page, and the odd photo on my blog's FB page), and who should and shouldn't be allowed to share our photo's.

Facebook says that you can change the privacy setting for albums such as Mobile uploads, Timeline photos and albums created through other applications such as Instagram.

On my blog's Facebook page, the "Timeline photos" folder tells me that I can change the audience for each photo in this album, but for some reason it doesn't let me. I have lodged a form with Facebook asking them how I can fix this up.

To be a little more vigilant with what photos I publish on Facebook, I have decided to remove some of the older photo's of my girls since I can't change the privacy setting or hide them from my timeline. I'm not sure if its because they are published on a fan page, rather than a personal page?

But it begs the question how much control do we have over the privacy of our photos.

Can people who aren't "Likers" of a blog's Facebook page still see the content and photo's posted?

Well I did a little research (created an anonymous FB account) and found that, yes you can see all the content including the photos, even if you haven't "Liked" the page.

I think I should be allowed to change the privacy settings so only the people who have "Liked" my page can see the content & photos. I also believe we should be able to change photos that are shared as Public to Private or Friends only.

Has anyone had issues with changing the privacy settings on their blog's Facebook page? Love to hear your thoughts, and what you did to change it.

06 September 2013

Being grateful: Holidays

This week I am being grateful for holidays. There are days when I reminisce about holidays my husband & I went on before we had our girls.

We had adventures overseas and within Australia. Some big, some small. Some over a few weeks and others a few days.

While we were fortunate to travel, we both worked hard in saving our money so we could go on these holidays.

I am grateful for the wonderful memories we have of all the places we have visited together. One of my most favourite memories is of spending 3 weeks in Paris for our 10th wedding anniversary seven years ago.

J'adore Paris!
Whenever our girls come in to our bedroom they love to stand on our bed and look at our montage of Paris photo's we have hanging behind our bedhead, pointing to the different parisian scenes.

It's been nearly a year since our last family holiday to the beach. The girls have been craving the beach, so have I. Hubby & I have been discussing a little family getaway for later in the year, it would be lovely if we can spend a week away from our house. Away from Sydney, and to be by the water enjoying the sand between our toes and watching the girls play in the water.

What are you grateful for?

02 September 2013

Is she ready for "big school"

I found this great post via a feed on Facebook the other day, which talked about "What should a 4 year old know". It came just at the right time for me, I've been stressing so much about Popette starting (or not starting) kindy next year, that I've forgotten she's only 4 (+9mths) and still learning (as she likes to tell me!).

I've been thinking (stressing) about things like...
  • will she be able to cope with going to the toilet on her own (some days she'll ask one of us to go with her),
  • will she be okay at school drop-off - she had terrible anxiety problems at the beginning of the year
  • whether she's going to have the concentration, and can be quiet when the teachers talk (she talks non-stop!),
  • will she be able to manage her lunch box, opening her sandwiches etc.
  • whether she'll be able to remember her full name & address,
  • "stranger danger" (she needs to know, but I don't want to scare her to death!)
  • whether she'll be able to remember her hat, lunch box, raincoat etc and put them in her bag.
Even little things like will she be able to use scissors, write her name, raise her hand & ask the teacher a question....I'm sure I'm like any mother who is new to a child starting school? Right? Just a few nerves. Nothing to worry about. Right? (This is where you chime in, "She'll be fine, don't stress. Everything is going to be alright!")

I had a chat to her daycare teacher last week, who told me she had no concerns about Popette starting kindergarten next year, and said that she'd be fine.

I guess that's great news.....but as any mother that's new to a child starting kindy, I'm feeling a little apprehensive. Hubby of course, has no issues and is quite happy for her to start school next year.

Whenever I say to someone that I've been wondering whether to hold Popette back, he will pipe up that it's only me and not him!

Popette's photo taken at daycare

Of course Popette can't wait to go to "big school". The other day she said to me, "Mumma can I go to big school now and not go to preschool anymore". What happened to my tiny little Popette. My sweet baby girl. I can't believe she will be 5 in January. It doesn't seem that long ago, that she was my tiny sweet, precious baby girl laying in the humidicrib at hospital.

I'm going to miss having her around at home. While she can drive me crazy, she has been a delight as well. We've had so much fun making "something special", or making craft or painting. Going to music class, catching up with friends, going to the library or park. It'll be strange with just Cherub at home. While I adore Cherub, I think I'll be a little lost without Popette by my side. Suggesting things for us to do, or saying "I know what we can do Mum" or "Mumma let's make something special for Daddy".

Who was more nervous when your child started school, you or them?

30 August 2013

Being grateful: Spring

Last week I was grateful for warmer weather, the pockets of sunshine we were having and to see the end of Winter, so this week's post had to be about Spring!

I love Spring, its probably my most favourite season.

A blossom from my plum tree

I remember growing up the flowers Dad grew in his greenhouse: carnations, sweet peas, orchids, chrysanthemums and roses.

The flower shows my parents helped with and visits to beautiful gardens.

The jasmine is flowering like crazy, I love its smell.

A couple months ago we planted Dad's favourite rose (Mr Lincoln) in our front garden, in memory of Dad. Over the past few weeks the leaves have started sprouting. I can't wait for it to bud, it's a beautiful rose. We also planted some english standard roses, and lavendar which are starting to flower.

"Mr Lincoln" standard rose planted in my Dad's memory

This week I am grateful for spring weather, flowers in bloom, birds chirping outside my window and gorgeous sunshiny days spent playing at the park.

What are you grateful for?

I am linking up with Octavia & Vicky for 52 weeks of grateful.

21 August 2013

Let the creative juices flow

Lately I've been letting my creative juices flow! Spending time creating is something that makes me really happy. I love to sit outside & soak up the sun while doodling ideas in my journal.

I love to draw the first thing that enters my mind (when I have some peace & quiet), and see where my ideas take me.

My latest drawing titled "Don't give up on your dreams"
Lately, I've been inspired by all the beautiful stationery & prints found at kikki.k (I'd love a job there!), and would so love to one day start up my own little business selling my own watercolour prints. It's a little dream at the moment, but something I keep thinking about.

Some watercolour drawings I've been working on

Another one of my creative passions has been baking. I've been loving all the cooking shows that's on TV at the moment especially "Great Australian Bake Off", a shame its on late, as I'm always left hungry after watching it!

As an early anniversary present, my Hubbby bought me my own mixer!!! Can you tell I'm a little excited, it's sooo pretty!!

My new baby, she's so pretty!

Today Popette and I christened it by making some cupcakes, which were very tasty!

A couple weeks ago we celebrated my Mum's birthday, it was the first birthday without Dad, so I wanted her cake to be something fun, and that cheered her up. So I made her a garden bed cake with "Nanna" sitting behind a little garden bed which spelt out "M.U.M". Mum got a good laugh out of it, so that was all that I needed.

My Mum's birthday cake

What do you do to get your creative juices flowing?

12 August 2013

Popette's celebration dinner

Popette has successfully completed toilet training! Yayyy!!! Its only taken her 2 and a bit years to get out of nappy pants at night, but she's finally done it. We are so proud of her.

It was like one day her little body decided it was time to be a big girl and no longer wear nappy pants to bed. She had a couple weeks of waking up in dry nappy pants, then we started her in undies. She is so excited to be wearing undies to bed.

For the past 1 1/2 weeks she's been wearing undies to bed, and has only had one very small accident (so small we didn't need to change her sheets), so Hubby & I thought it called for a celebration!

On Saturday night we held a little celebration dinner just for Popette, with lots of "plates of dinners" (as Popette called it). Hubby cooked us a mixture of tapas, which we set on Popette's table in the lounge room and ate while watching Sleeping Beauty.

After dinner we presented Popette with her Huggies Disney Princesses certificate (which she was sooo very excited to receive, she loves the princesses!) which had been stuck on the bathroom wall for the past 2 years, waiting for the day to be handed to her.

Hooray for Popette!

08 August 2013

Suffering a cold with a mild dose of motherguilt

I haven't been feeling very well this week. Last Saturday we had a lovely afternoon playing on one of those giant jumping pillows, but I think the jumping in cold windy weather didn't help me! :(

Popette having a bounce on the giant pillow on the weekend
For the past few days I've been battling a soar throat and headache that just doesn't want to go away, so I've been letting the DVD player have a workout (I will soon know "Cinderella" and "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" off by heart!) and the TV tuned to "ABC4Kids".

I always feel guilty when the girls sit in front of the TV for too long. Most days they are playing with the TV going in the background, so don't really sit for too long. Popette is now turning off the TV by herself (except she usually forgets to turn the DVD player off) which is great. Good for saving power!

As it's been a bit nippy lately, they haven't played much outside, so have missed trips to the park.

This week we were supposed to catchup with friends of Popettes, but had to cancel because their Mum was sick also. Another friend tried arranging a catchup, but I knocked her back because I wasn't feeling well.

Why is it, that when you try and look after yourself, your littlies suffer.

Yesterday Popette was playing with "imaginary" friends. She had two balloon's that she had drawn faces on and called them "Fred" and "Olivia", and told me they were here new best friends. It was a short friendship, they lasted all of 2 minutes and burst!

She got quite upset afterwards, and shared with me that she was sad that she didn't have any friends to play with at home, and doesn't want to play on her own. She told me that she doesn't like playing on her own, and asked if I'd play with her.

It broke my heart.

I felt so guilty for her not seeing much of her friends lately, I know I have been reluctant to take them out when they are sick or just gotten over a sickness, as I haven't wanted them to get any sicker, or I've had so much on my plate I would decline a catchup and stay at home to get things done.

Sometimes I forget that they are little for only so long, and soon Popette will be going to school, and I won't have this time with her.

I feel so bad for Popette. She used to be such an outgoing little toddler, now she's become a little withdrawn and shy playing with other kids. When I asked her about playing with kids at daycare, she said "What if they don't like me or don't want to play with me". Poor darlin.

I really need to make an effort and arrange some regular catchups for Popette with her friends.

Poor Cherub doesn't really have any little friends to play with, I've been taking her to playgroup in a hope she'll meet some little kids her age, but she normally plays with me, her sister or on her own. She follows her big sister around and will play with her sister's friends & their siblings, so I guess that's one good thing.

Do you ever experience motherguilt? What do you do to overcome it?

02 August 2013

Being grateful: For some peace & quiet

Lately the girls have been driving me crazy with their non-stop "Mum" or "Mumma, Mumma", screeching matches & constant chatter.

Popette just. doesn't. stop. talking! I'm sure it's like it for all 4.5 year olds, she asks so many questions, talks incessantly even when we ask her to be quiet...she can't seem to stop even to eat her dinner.

At the dinner table last night she was taking forever to finish her dinner, and said to me.

"It's taking a while to get my tummy full", I replied "Its because you are talking too much", which she cheekily responded with "I think I'm a chatterbox!" (no, really?)

Popette is at daycare on Thursday and Fridays, so I am grateful to have some peace & quiet! While Cherub can be a little noisy its nowhere near as much with them both at home. And thankfully she still has a nap during the day!

I am linking up with Octavia & Vicky for 52 weeks of grateful.