28 June 2010

My little buddy...

Recent bonding with Grover - I think he's getting rather comfortable having a little preen on my shoulder.






Not long until we leave for Israel!!!  Thankfully, Grover has some wonderful birdie-sitters who are going to look after him.

27 June 2010

HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELP!!!!!



Sometimes, a parent needs a little bit of help when it comes to parenting.

Last week I had the awesome opportunity of hearing Diane Levy speak about the very topic of parenting, in her very humorous and straight to the point way. If you haven't heard of Diane, she is a well known and highly regarded family therapist and bestselling author in New Zealand, and around the world. 

Her three books are very popular (Of Course I Love You... Now Go To Your Room!, They Look So Lovely When They're Asleep, and Time Out for tots, teens and everyone in between), and although I have read them in the past and been greatly helped with some of her tips, by child number four, I definitely needed a refresher course.

There was so much covered on the night, but a few friends have asked for me to share some of her tips, so here are a few - I hope they help!  


Firstly, take the time to learn about your child's personality.  Everyone is different, and although I don't believe that you can put everyone into a neat little box, each of us have different needs depending on our personality type. When you take the time to get to know your children (and spouse), it can make parenting a whole lot easier - believe me!


Secondly, remember that every child needs emotional support.  The basics are rest, food, and a warm space... but they also need our empathy and physical love (i.e. cuddle).  What they don't need when they are frustrated/upset/angry at a sibling or friend, is our mini-lecture/problem solving ideas/criticism/explanations and blame (Diane does some really really funny examples here of our little ones coming to us after fighting with a neighbour and us giving them big lectures or ideas of how to play nicer, when all they need is some emotional support before they handle the situation themselves).

If  we want to raise healthy and balanced children that learn how to solve their own age-appropriate problems, we need to give them space and support to make their own decisions when issues arise.  p.s. I am so good at giving mini-lectures and wearing myself out with suggesting other ideas, when all my kids need is a boring cuddle of support before they skip off again to play.


Thirdly,  I love Diane's simple steps for teaching our children to do as they are told.

Ask - Tell - Act

When you ASK a child to do something (i.e. pick up the toys on the floor), if they do not do it, you move up close to them and with a firm but quiet voice, TELL them again, if they still don't, ACT.  This can be taking them to their room to have time out until they are ready to comply with your request, or other options like not allowing they any other goods or services until the job is done (i.e. you can have your afternoon tea once you have done what I asked you to do). 

When you ask a child to do something, anything other than compliance is really a big fat NO.  My Miss 3 has a habit lately of lying on the floor and wailing "but I'm too tired" or "I can't" - she is really just saying "NO, I don't want to", as I know for sure that she isn't too tired!


Anyway - overload of information - but I hope something helps.  If you haven't read her books, I would definitely recommend them! 

Happy parenting! 

25 June 2010

Makings

This last week has felt really busy... but amazingly, I have stolen moments here and there to finish of a few crafty things - and when I say "stolen", I really have.  Symon actually caught me hiding behind our bedroom door the other morning doing some stitching on a softie face while everyone was frantically getting ready for school - whoops.

So here are a few of my current makings...

This little softie bunny - nearly finished...


Some fabric bunting (available here)...



Another leaf green beanie, not so slouchy (also available here)...



I like making stuff... especially when the kids are running late for school.


23 June 2010

Wordless Wednesday



*Late night lawn mowing in pajamas

21 June 2010

Candlewick memories


While picking up some more wool today (one of my favourite things to do - and one of my husbands worst nightmares), I discovered some candlewick fabric... and had a flashback into my childhood.

If you grew up in the 70's and 80's like me, I am sure you would have had a candlewick bedspread... they were all the rage!  I even remember my parents double bed, sporting a bright orange candlewick bedspread - very, very cool.


Alas, candlewick fashion came and went (no offense to those of you who still have a dearly loved candlewick cover on your bed), but the memories stay strong, especially the memories of bits of fluff everywhere.

So, I just had to buy some of this retro fabric... and can foresee some snuggly "Candlewick Softies" coming very soon. 

Feel free to share your candlewick memories... 




19 June 2010

Chocolate Rough Slice




As promised yesterday, here is the recipe for 'Chocolate Rough Slice'.  I love anything with coconut, chocolate and condensed milk in!

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Makes: 30 pieces

Ingredients:
1½  cups plain flour
3 tblsp cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
¾ cup castor sugar
½ cup coconut
175g butter, melted

Topping:
1 cup icing sugar
2 tblsp cocoa
3 tblsp butter, melted
1 cup coconut
4 tblsp sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

Method:
Preheat  the oven to 180°C.  Grease and line a 20cm x 30cm slice tin.  Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a bowl and stir in the sugar and coconut.  Add the butter and mix to moist crumbs.  Press the crumb base mixtureinto the prepared tin.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool.

To prepare the topping, sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl and stirin the melted butter, coconut, condensed milk and vanilla essence.  Mix well.  Spread over the base and refigerate for 2 hours until firm and then cut into pieces. 


Enjoy!!!



For more delicious recipes visit here.

18 June 2010

Favourite Things Friday...

Here are a few of my favourite things at the moment... 

Family adventures and fun... 



 
Discovering another cool guy who crochets - Nathan Vincent...




Chocolate Rough Slice (recipe coming tomorrow)...


Finding an old photo (from a friend - thanks Loren) of hubby with his long hair...


And of course, crochet beanies (very addictive to make - available here)... 



  

16 June 2010

I'm living the dream?

When I was young, I dreamed of becoming a Nun. 

No one in my family is Catholic, and I hadn't seen The Sound of Music too many times... I think it was the romantic notion of women calmly wandering about in robes all day that appealed to my innocent mind... or maybe the fact that the idea of moving out and getting married to some strange guy as a little girl seemed very scary indeed.

I even had a backup plan (if becoming a Nun didn't eventuate) which was moving out and living with my bachelor Great Uncle Bill.

In the end (thankfully - but no offense to Uncle Bill) I met and married a wonderful guy, and all my innocent dreams of becoming a Nun evaporated rather quickly.


I think there is often a certain romantic notion that comes along with getting married and raising a family (once that childhood fear of leaving home has dissipated).  Picture the beautiful wife wearing her freshly-ironed pinafore, as she daintily hangs out crisp, white sheets on her washing line, while the children happily frolic in the background, with a beautiful baby sleeping soundly in a pram nearby (well, to be honest, I had images of Symon and I living in a Kombi van while touring around New Zealand surfing and living the dream... a rather selfish but beautiful dream). 

That's what some of us thought it was going to be like didn't we?


When reality sets in, it can hit you rather hard.  After countless nights with no sleep due to a screaming baby, five loads of washing hanging on the line (and the ground) during a thunder storm, too many bills to account for, including a mortgage bulging at the seams and not one ounce of energy left to even rustle a kind word, it's a wonder that you aren't packing your bags for the nunnery at the first sight of dawn.  That, and the fact that you have realised your deepest and darkest fear... that the guy that you married has discovered what you are really like when no one is watching (or listening).

Yes,  marriage and parenting is a beautiful and serene thing isn't it?


There is something that I have discovered over the years full of love, joy, heartache, hugs, tears and biscuit crumbs down the back of the couch... that life is all about your perspective of reality, not in reality itself.  The age old saying about the glass being half empty or half full actually has quite a lot going for it.


And how do you change your perspective of reality, I hear you ask?  

It's quite simple really... it's choosing to look past the temporal things to what really matters.

Truly loving them, despite their faults.
Choosing to be thankful, rather than complaining. 
Finding something to hope for, when everything else seems hopeless. 
Choosing to forgive, even though it isn't deserved.
Seeing those countless hours spent folding washing, making lunches and patiently stroking the head of an unsettled child as more than the mundaneness of parenting, but pure love in action.

Choosing to look up, instead of looking around you. 

I know it's easier said than done, but I'm thankful that with God's help, it is possible.

My greatest example is Jesus, the One who did the lowest of tasks out of pure love, the One who sees the heart, rather than the exterior, the One who loves us, even when we are unlovable.

Yes, I'm living the dream... while standing on my muddy lawn and getting the soaking wet washing off the line.

And I'm thanking the Lord for my clothes dryer. 





15 June 2010

Best Friends


Miss 6 has a very special friend who she loves to bits.  They talk on the phone after spending all day at school together (even do paper/scissors/rock over the phone), they hang out at church together and even then would probably love to hang out more.

The cool thing about this friendship is that they were friends as babies (because their parents are friends).



Very cute, very honest and very special.

Here are some of my favourite 'friendship quotes'...

Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty. ~Sicilian Proverb

True friendship comes when silence between two people is comfortable. ~Dave Tyson Gentry

It takes a long time to grow an old friend. ~John Leonard

Friends are relatives you make for yourself. ~Eustache Deschamps

True friends stab you in the front. ~Oscar Wilde

A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half-cracked. ~Author Unknown

A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they're not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they're not so bad. ~Arnold H. Glasgow




Boy am I thankful for friends.

14 June 2010

Shop Update

I was super happy this morning to see the latest post of the stunning FaerySarah (of BobbyRobin) in her new slouch beanie I made.  So glad it looks fab on you Sarah!  Sarah is also the genius behind kiwi mummy blogs and was interviewed recently (here) at Li'l Magoolie!  I love her weekly creations and guest blogger Aunty Debra's posts as well.

So here's a little showcase of what's in my felt shop... click here to see more.

p.s. If you don't live in New Zealand, go here to check out your currency converted.

xK

































Have a great week everyone!!
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