31 May 2008

I'm proud of my boys

I am really proud of my two boys for taking part in the 40 hour famine this year. "Son of Mandrake" who is nearly 9, did the 20 hour fast, and "Mandrake Jr" who is 6 years old, ate only rice and water and slept in a cardboard box. Together they raise over $200 for World Vision and I know that they have learnt lots!

I have always wanted my children to grow up with an awareness of poverty in other nations, and learn to be grateful for what they have... but not only that, be generous with what they have and give to others in need. I remember hearing of a celebrity mother who used to put pictures of starving children on the walls of the family dining room, in an effort to remind her children of those in need... sounds extreme, but there have been times when my children have been grizzling about their dinner that I have honestly considered doing it myself.

It is so easy to start to complain with the rising petrol prices and food prices... I mean, come on, how can a pound of butter be $4 and a litre of gas be $2! Now a days our $10 family outing is just a drive down the road and back! But serously, we have so much to be thankful for! I remember hearing this quote once, and I have never forgotten it... "If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and some loose change someplace… you are among the top 8% of the worlds most wealthy."

Lets practise gratefulness and generousity in our life and model it for our children - just as Jesus did!



29 May 2008

We all need Heroes!

Having heroes is so important... especially for boys!

A lot of parenting tips mention the importance of heroes for modelling character qualities we would like our children to have.

So, we decided to ask my youngest boy (6 years old) who his heroes were... his answer was touching, very funny... and, well, should I also say disturbing??? Mandrake Jr's heroes are "The Hulk, Daddy, and Mr Bean". The Daddy part was touching, but the others... should I be worried?

We all need heroes... but my son definately needs to be exposed to some more!


28 May 2008

Simple & Sweet

Some things are so simple, and yet bring so much joy. You know, things like bubbles, balloons, boxes (I always wonder why we bother to buy the kids Christmas presents when the boxes and wrappings bring so much pleasure!).

Well today I decided to do something simple with Miss 4. I had promised baking, but after having the flu all week, I wasn't really in the 'baking mood'.

So below are a few snaps of our "flash pink bikkies". They were fun to make, and went down a treat. Yay for plain oval biscuits and sprinkles I say!






For more delicious recipes visit here.

26 May 2008

Tea Anyone?

I love teapots! One of my latest additions is this beautiful pink teapot I found hidden away in a store on the sales shelf! Takes loose leaf tea... very cute. I also love my tiny white teapot, just the right size for a tea party for two!




Mr Bean Night

Our family decided it was time for another family themed dinner, as things have been pretty busy lately and we all needed to have a fun night together. Miss 4 picked the Mr Bean card and I sighed a sigh of relief when I realised that meant cooking baked beans for dinner - yay!


The kids enjoyed brushing their hair to the side and tucking their shirts into their pants. There was a bit of a flurry of action when we had a knock at the door from our pastor's wife... my jeans were hoisted right up high and my hair had about 3 lovely fluffy clips holding it to the side! Ha ha.


It is so important to regroup as a family and do things out of the ordinary every once in a while, relax together and have some fun.


We must do it again soon!

See here for more of our fun themed meals!!

15 May 2008

Poor Little Softie

Latest little softie... nearly got thrown away (due to a few mistakes and wierd body shape)... but then I had a bit of compassion come over me and decided to give it a home on our bed.


Young Mums Coffee Group

I have always felt like a bit of a "tom boy" growing up. My favourite colour was yellow (I couldn't really stand pink), my only sibling was my big brother, so I have heaps of memories of playing with 'boy toys'... armies, star wars figurines, Asterix comics, and borrowing his surfie labelled clothing... oh, and I so remember his action man with the fuzzy hair and moving eyes - that was really cool!

Anyway, for some reason I didn't quite feel like I fitted in with the "girly groups" at school and even as a mum I never was really into coffee groups... that was until last year.

Last year we had our little "surprise" number 4 come along, and a lot of friends at church were finally starting to have their own kids, and there was a need for a coffee group of some sort... so we started "Young Mums" coffee group, and would you believe I have thoroughly enjoyed it!

We get together twice monthly (alternate between hiring out a playcentre and hiring out a party room at a cafe) and today was one of those days!

I have really enjoyed making new friends, drinking good coffee and eating yum food, and having support and encouragement in my role as a mother, wife and Christian. My girls have loved it too! We have also had a couple of special event nights... a pamper night (my first ever experience with a beautician!) and a chocolate night (chocolate fondue etc). Mother's so need pampering every now and then - and they also need friends to talk to about toilet training, bedwetting, tantrums and all the other mothery conversations that mums have!

So to all you mums out there - especially those of you with phobia's towards 'coffee groups', give it a go, you might be pleasently surprised!

And if you live in Whangarei, New Zealand... let me know, you are so welcome to come along to ours!





14 May 2008

Random Parenting Tip

I can't believe how popular the autumn leaves are with the kids at our place at the moment... they spent all afternoon (after school) playing in them, building piles, jumping into the piles, moving them onto the trampoline, jumping on them on the trampoline... yay for autumn leaves!

Okay - here is a random parenting tip for any desperate parents out there, with grizzly children right on dinner time... frozen corn in a little bowl works a treat! It is my lifesaver right on dinner prep time... and the baby loves throwing it over to the chickens from the porch too!

I know... I'm weird!

Have a great week!



13 May 2008

Beautiful Autumn Day!

Today was a busy and freezing cold Autumn day!

This morning Mandrake and I took the girls to the library to hear a visiting New Zealand author (Melanie Drewery) read some of her books. Quite a neat experience, with burst of action songs in between books to keep the little ones busy. I was amazed during a question time that it took 13 applications to different publishers until her first book was finally published! Wow - persistance pays off.


The rest of the day was filled with baking, inbetween keeping the girls busy... baking two loaves of wholemeal bread, one large chocolate cake (for a friend who is under the weather at the mo) and some chocolate chip and banana muffins! Yum!

Before tea, we decided to feed the eels (that live in the creek running through our property) some leftover meat from last nights tea, and then the kiddies decided to play in the autumn leaves. It hit me then how beautiful Autumn really is... the crisp air, crunchy brown leaves, warm fires, hot drinks... mmmmmmmmmmmmm!

I love Autumn!

p.s. and I also love Robert Harris "Cookies'n Cream" plunger coffee!



12 May 2008

These are a few of my favourite things...

Don't you love sound of music!!! Here are a few of my favourite things at the moment...



Kopiko Coffee Drops... for that much needed coffee flavour when you are out and about with the kiddies! Yum!


This very cute teapot I inherited yesterday from my special Nana (who is now in a rest home).



A little pink 1 cup plunger... very special and cute!



Cowffee Latte cups and saucers... a special gift from Mandrake a couple of years ago.




My little white cow milk jug... despite dribbling milk from it's mouth, I still love him!



There you go - funny little things that I like... probably mainly because of special memories. I must go and make myself a pot of tea!




11 May 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Just wanting to send my love out to all the mothers on this special day - and also to women in general, whether you are a mother or not... there are so many aunties, sisters, grandmothers and females in general who are touching others with their nurturing hearts, encouraging words, gifts of time, energy and talents... you are so appreciated!


I awoke this morning to 4 little darlings on my bed... the two boys had made mother's day cards at school which were precious... one with coupons that I will definately use! Mandrake did buy me a mother's day present... 3 weeks ago! Apparently he got in a panic on the way home from work one night (thinking Mother's day was going to fall on the weekend he was away running a youth camp) so came home laden with gifts. Thank you darling... you are so thoughtful!


Today my Mum organised a Mother's day afternoon tea at her house, with my Nana and Aunty and families attending. It was a wonderful time... too much food (as always) and heaps of laughs. I promised them I wouldn't post pictures of us all on my blog, so instead, here is one with my awesome son, and another of my Butterfly Cakes, made especially for our yummy afternoon tea... I have never made Butterfly Cakes before, so am really pleased with how they turned out.


10 May 2008

Tiffany's

Tiffany's is a little coffee shop down two sets of stairs. It has been around since the dawn of time... and probably has exactly the same decor as the day it first opened. Modern cafes fill our city now, and yet, Tiffany's is still going strong.

My hubby calls it "The Dungeon", and I can sort of see why... the ceiling is black, the walls are a dark maroon colour, and it is hidden under other shops... but the food is great... and the memories are strong!

I remember as a little girl, going with my Mum to Tiffany's. I remember the excitement of going out to a coffee shop, the delicious smells, the vast assortment of cakes, pastries and savouries, and especially the colourful sodas... especially the Pink Panther!

My mother as a young girl used to also visit there with her mother, and believe it or not, my Nana and Great Grandmother were also frequent visitors to Tiffany's - apparently it was "the place to go" back in their day.

It is amazing how many of my friends also have memories of going to Tiffany's with their mothers, and believe it or not, my hubby remembers going there with his Mum... and he remembers the club sandwiches!

Well, I decided to keep the tradition alive last year, and took the girls out (dragged Mandrake along too). A week or so later, I also took the boys along after school... each of them picking a soda and something to eat... and now they all talk fondly of "Tiffany's" too. So much so that Miss 4 decided that she wanted to meet there with family for morning tea on her birthday. So cute.

I wonder if Tiffany's will still be going strong when Miss 4 has her own children oneday... you never know!


09 May 2008

My Little Pony Cake

Today has been a day full of pink, ponies and princesses. Our little girl turned 4! Wonderful day - went out for morning tea with Grandparents, Great Grandparents and family (another post coming about that!) and little princess had a beautiful cake with her brothers when they arrived home from school. All she wanted was a My Little Pony Cake! Lots of fun and heaps of precious memories made. Happy Birthday Missy!

08 May 2008

I need a laugh...

The last few days I have felt a bit under the weather... and reading this gave me a good laugh. Hope it gives you one too!

Things I've Learned About Being a Mom by Marilyn Janke

1. You no longer have to lock up your favorite candy stash. Just put it on the stairs under the folded laundry and no one will touch it.

2. I don't have to use a road map-- I can just use the veins on my legs.

3. If I had to choose one voice in the world to have instead of my own, it would be Daddy's.

4. Taking your child to the emergency room is one memorable way to spend Mother's Day.

5. "An object at rest tends to stay at rest" is a law written to describe the contents of your child's bedroom.

6. You don't need glasses to see the weaknesses in your child. Just look in the mirror.

7. I've learned to quickly tell the difference between a good disposable diaper and a bad one.

8. A child's thank-you letter takes 25 times as long to formulate as a Christmas/birthday wish list.

9. There is no use crying over spilled baby cereal on a wicker chair.

10. The people that know best how you should be raising your kids are never free to baby-sit.

11. An Emmy is never more deserved than by a child just asked to clean her room.

12. Fridges were designed because children needed a cardboard box big enough to make a slide or playhouse.

13. Every parent possesses many valuable pieces of artwork that didn't cost them a thing.

14. When you help your children with their math homework, you suddenly realize how little you learned in math.

15. The bags under your eyes do not disappear until at least three years after the birth of your last child.

16. Mothers alone hold the secret recipe for refilling ice-cube trays.

17. Nothing is sweeter than leading your own child to Christ.


04 May 2008

Family Traditions

Ian & Mary Grant (founders of Parents Inc.) talk alot about the importance of creating and having family traditions. This is something that we are trying to build into our own family, and are continuing to gleen ideas from other friends and experts. Family traditions build a sense of belonging in a childs life, and help to develop secure and confident adults... well, that's what we're aiming for anyway!

Some family traditions that we keep as a family are...

Birthdays... everyone jumps into mum and dad's bed in the morning. We all share something special we like about the birthday person (e.g. I love your kind nature), then we each have a turn saying a short prayer for that person, and then it is present time! Heaps of fun and the kids really appreciate the thoughtful and kind words shared.

From birth... each child has a 'special box' where a special item of baby clothing (or toy) is saved, birthday cards, baby books and funny things said etc. are stored. Heaps of fun to look through on a rainy day and very precious to keep.

Mother's Day & Father's Day... (something we are endevouring to begin this year), the adult (mum's on mother's day etc) writes a letter to each child, sharing something special, aceivements they have made that last year and something to work on or watch out for. Once again everyone piles onto mum and dads bed and each letter is read out. Afterwards they are stored in each child's special box. Very precious (thanks Keri!!).

Easter... rather than chocolate overload on Easter, our family makes a point of reading the story of Jesus crucifixion and having communion together - hot cross buns and red fizzy is awesome! This year I discovered some chocolate lambs that have the story of Easter on the back - they went down really well too!

Christmas... we have adopted a few fun ideas from Becca here, too many to list, but have tried to plan a few fun activties leading up to Christmas that the kids enjoy, like have a red & green jelly night, making sundae faces,bubble beards in the bath and the good old Christmas Lights drive around, and on Christmas morning, all gathering around the Christmas tree to read the Christmas story and pray together. Heaps of fun and great to bring the true meaning of Christmas back to where it should be.

Let me know if anyone has any other great ideas or traditions to share!


03 May 2008

Softie

Latest softie addidtion - don't really like the plain material on the body but it's still cute!


Chocolate Truffles!

Rushing to get organised for our church's Young Mum's group tonight. We are having a "Heavenly Delight Night" with chocolate overload... chocolate fondue and all sorts of yummy chocolate treats. So proud of my chocolate truffles that I whipped up today that I just had to take a photo and post it! Yum recipe from the good old Edmond's Cook Book... everyone Kiwi should have one!



For more delicious recipes visit here.
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